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Race- Religion- Politics- 2-11


[1607] DONT DEAL ARROGANTLY WITH THE PEOPLE- DON’T TAKE BRIBES! Okay, before we do news- lets cover Exodus 18. Remember- the reason I’m doing this series [Exodus- insights from a Revolution] is because of the obvious present situation [2011] in North Africa and the Arab/Persian world. While I am not sure how all these ‘Revolutions’ will turn out, the fact is they are happening. So doing this series is for the purpose of appealing to those who are ‘revolting’ for truly democratic purposes [as opposed to those with other goals] and to say ‘look- if you want change- than this is the right/noble way to go about it’. Okay- in this chapter Moses is confronted by his father in-law, he says to Moses ‘why are you wearing yourself out like this? Delegate some authority to those under you and let them share the load’. Moses was ‘judging’ the people all day- he was personally hearing all the disputes- from morning till night- and it was too much. So Moses takes his father in laws advice and appoints Elders- leaders who will take care of the smaller decisions- but the ‘big’ ones will come before him. I heard president Obama say the other day ‘when a problem gets to me- it by nature is a difficult one’ he was saying all the easy ones get solved down the line- they never make it to him. Moses father in law praises God for the way he delivered the people from EGYPT and he says ‘God did a just thing in overthrowing Pharaoh- because he dealt arrogantly with the people’ in many of the present protests you hear this as a common theme among the youth- they are not calling for Islamic Jihad [generally] they are mad that they have been treated with disrespect- they want to be treated like humans. The father in-law also says ‘when you appoint new leaders- make sure there men who won’t take bribes’ another cause for dissent among the protestors- corruption in leadership.

Okay- a few current events that might be relevant. One of the major problems the U.S. govt. is going to have [or let’s say get worse] is the reality that all the years and lives and money spent on our wars- in the end it looks like the leaders we backed [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are doing no better than the leaders in all the other countries who have protestors. To be honest- the regime of Hamid Karzai [Afghanistan] is one of the most corrupt out of them all. So how do we justify fighting ‘on one side’ while they are as corrupt as all these other leaders who are falling like bowling pins? Like I said before- it might be time for us to seriously look at a real exit strategy. I have been following the story of Raymond Davis, the U.S. spy who shot 2 Pakistanis a few weeks ago. The U.S. media kept reporting the official govt. line- that he was an innocent diplomat who was being robbed in Pakistan- and he shot these thieves out of self defense. Yet the Pakistanis would not release him. They actually were being more diplomatic by saying ‘well- he did kill 2 people- we can’t just release him’ after weeks of the Obama administration calling for his ‘immediate release’ and stating how this is such a human rights abuse- finally some of our C.I.A. guys leaked the true story. That yes- he was spying for us- illegally- and he shot 2 Pakistani intelligence people who were legitimately following him. Why did our C.I.A guys have to leak the truth? Because the Obama administration was actually allowing the false story to go very public- they made it sound like the Pakistanis were committing an atrocity- and the truth is all countries practice ‘spying’ and when they get caught- part of the game is- well you got caught. The U.S. govt. is still holding spies we caught years ago. But yet instead of the U.S. govt. accepting the card they were dealt [caught- do your best behind the scenes to work it out] they were allowing the media to report it as some type of hostage thing ‘they have our innocent U.S. diplomat- look at this atrocity’ geez- are our guys real armatures or what? So the C.I.A. insiders looked at what Obama was doing and took a great risk to tell the truth. Now- why was this leak a risk? Understand- no other president- in the history of all past presidents- has gone after leakers like president Obama. He has pursued/prosecuted more leakers than any other U.S. president in history- in the first 2 years of being in office! Yes- more in 2 years than Bush in 8- that’s a fact. One ‘leaker’ who was caught- was expecting to get in trouble [like lose his job] and found out that Obama prosecuted him for a very long prison term- he was a very able man- educated and serving the country- the leak [like most leaks] was something he thought needed to be done [like the C.I.A. thing I just mentioned] after he realized the administration wanted to destroy him- he pleaded for mercy. Our govt. ruined the man- broke up his family- kids, wife- the whole 9 yards- and told every other potential leaker ‘you mess with me- we will absolutely destroy you and your family’ now- you don’t see this image in public- but in private that’s the way this administration decided to go [all these stories have been reported in the media- they usually don’t trickle down to the public at large]. So now you see why I say the above C.I.A guys took a real risk in leaking. The point? When govts. are caught spying- or breaking other countries laws- we should do our best to mitigate the thing- but to actually allow it to get so out of hand as to create a permanent rift among these nations- that’s just amateurish. So we all need to be aware that the U.S. – as well as the countries we are fighting for/against- all have legitimate times when they are wronged- or are doing what’s wrong. We can’t always view things thru a prism that says ‘we were right’ often times we are not. And when picking leaders- they need to be people who are above ‘bribes’ [corruption] men who truly are just- who care for people. When leaders cheat- steal- mislead- abuse people- in the end they have ‘dealt arrogantly with the people- and God will remove them’.


[1606] LIBYA [Exodus 18] – Before I get into the chapter, let me cover a few news stories. Obviously the biggest event taking place right now is the tragedy in Libya. Gadhafi has decided to use his troops against the civilian population – as of last night he seems to be taking his final stand in the western capitol city of Tripoli. A famous Imam put out a Fatwa [Islamic call for assassination] on his head- I must admit this is the first time I think the Fatwa is justified. President Obama finally spoke after 9 days of silence; he tried his best. As I listened to a woman holed up in Tripoli- she called CNN’S Anderson Cooper on her cell phone- she was giving him up to date info on the situation in Tripoli. Cooper seemed happy to let her go on- at one point she said all of the people in Libya felt so let down by Obama’s speech- they thought they could look to the west for real help and a much stronger condemnation- she was being very honest- and explained clearly the real feeling on the ground- Cooper cut her off [you can tell they clipped the audio in the middle] obviously she was not giving the story that CNN wants to hear. What’s going on? What can we really do? The fall of Tunisia [right to the west of Libya] was a speedy downfall- the leader- Ben Alli caved quickly. Egypt was a surprise- many observers debated the wisdom of the U.S. govt. calling for the rapid removal of Mubarak. If you carefully read/watched the coverage- you could read between the lines and tell that certain more conservative Democrats were not wanting the quick downfall of Mubarak- other more progressive [liberal] Democrats did think it would be ‘beneficial’ [politically] for the president to take the side of Democracy. Obama sent Gibbs out [former press secretary] and he said ‘Mubarak should have been gone yesterday’ the president made his choice- Mubarak’s gone and Gibbs has since ‘retired’. So I’m sure some insiders said to Obama ‘you do this- and you will set the Middle East on fire’. Now- I am not blaming him for what’s going on- but it’s obvious that after seeing the tragedy in Libya- the Somali pirates killing the 4 hostages off their coast- the pirates opening fire on our warships- it’s obvious that the level of fear that the U.S. used to have- is gone. Obama seems to be hesitant about the next step- some reports said ‘he hasn’t spoken out too strongly because we fear for the safety of Americans in Libya’ wrong signal for sure. How bad will it get? During the day I saw a ‘best case/worst case’ scenario on Bloomberg news [financial show] the worst case scenario was the violence will spread to Saudi Arabia and oil will hit $220 dollars a barrel [Libya alone would not do this- they are Africa’s number one producer of oil- but number 8 on the world stage. By contrast Saudi Arabia produces 20 % of the world’s oil supply]. Later on Hannity reported this as what some analysts are saying will happen- he did not say it was a worst case scenario [he did take it out of context]. Frankly- no one really knows how bad it will get- but as of right now there is a humanitarian disaster talking place on a scale we haven’t seen in many years- forget Wisconsin [as a major news event] forget ‘high speed rail’ and realize that this is the major event of this presidency- how to deal with it in a just way. Europe is in real danger if these dictators make the conscious choice to fight their people [Yemen has also opened fire on its protestors- and the western media are not reporting on the fact that Iraqi police/military have also fired on some of their people- when the reports do come out they say ‘Kurds’ which is a tricky way to not say ‘Iraq’]. Sarkozy [French president] made a stronger statement than Obama- they realize this fire is on their back door- the refugees continuing to flee Africa [Tunisia first- now Libya] are causing a major problem for the region. And Iran’s warships ships have indeed passed thru the Suez Canal for the first time in 30 years. I heard Shimon Peres [Israel] give a speech in Madrid [Spain] he warned of Iran’s nuclear threat and said if they don’t deal with it a nuke will end up blowing up Madrid one day. Yet as I heard him speak about the unrest in North Africa and the Middle east- he wisely attributed it to the younger generation of people being connected to the internet/facebook- and how they for the first time realize what true freedom looks like- they also see corruption- things that they were never able to see before- and that they now realize their leaders have abused them. Listen carefully- if any leader was going to ‘cover up’ for these protests being run by radical Islamists- it wouldn’t be Perez. So we need to watch carefully- we need to understand that the choices we make now [as a nation] will have a real impact in the world. I heard some Middle East experts [not right wing radio people] say the presidents unwillingness to come out sooner and much more strongly was a huge mistake- that the people in these countries loose heart when they feel like the west is not behind them, and the dictators use this as a wedge to oppress and kill the people- many in the media do not want this story to get out [the feeling of let down that many feel by the U.S. president]. As I listened to the woman calling from Tripoli- risking her life to get the story out- as she began telling this side of the story- Cooper seemed to have no time for it.

Will get to Exodus tomorrow.

NOTE- I do not think these events should be used in a political way- whether for or against the president. Nick Robertson- a reporter for CNN- was on the streets of Egypt a few days back, at the time I heard some on ‘the left’ begin trying to spin a story that Obama’s speech given in Cairo in 2009 was the catalyst for this new Democracy uprising in the world- you could tell that the left was pushing a narrative that would benefit them- as well as the right trying to push one that would help their side. Yet as Robertson was interviewing Egyptian protestors- he asked one guy ‘and what do you think about Obama- don’t you think he gets some credit for the Democratic uprising’ and the protestor said in no uncertain terms that he felt Obama was a sell out- It was a little surprising [to me and Robertson]. He then found another protestor- trying to get a more positive response- he asked him the same question- got the same answer. Okay- at this point- non biased journalism should simply report the story- or drop it. Instead Robertson than said ‘but even though you think Obama didn’t speak out soon enough- aren’t you at least glad that he has finally spoken out’ and the guy still wouldn’t budge- he simply said this is not an ‘Obama’ story- and seemed confused that Robertson seemed to make it all about the U.S.- sort of narcissistic. Then to my surprise- Robertson turns to the camera [it was a live shot during the protests] and says ‘there you have it- the feeling on the street is they are elated that the president is now supporting them’. When the media does this stuff [whether right wing or left] they do a disservice to the people who are dying for the cause they believe in.


[1605] WATER FROM THE ROCK [plus comments on the present atrocities in Libya] – Before I get into the chapter [Exodus 17] let me overview the latest world events. First- I do not think the majority of Americans realize the ‘bigness’ of what’s going on right now in the Arab/Persian world- the events of the last few weeks are major world changing events that will play a major role in every aspect of American life. The recession? More than likely it will be extended [or double dip] because of the oil situation [unrest and war in and around the major oil producing nations of the world]. Arab allies? Over [at least in the short term]. Last night Gadhafi used the military against his people. The major eastern city of Libya [Benghazi] has fallen [the govt. is no longer in control] the eastern capitol city- Tripoli- is in a war like situation. Gadhafi’s son went on national TV and basically told the country that they are not like Egypt and Tunisia- they will fight back. The son is smart, educated in the West [London- geographically north of Libya- ‘West’ in the sense of the western world- that is London] he told the people ‘do you think the Americans/Brits want you to revolt? This country [Libya] will fall into chaos and the hands of radicals- the West depends on our stability [for oil] and they don’t want you to succeed’. Understand- this is a brilliant power play in the game. Is he telling the truth? In a way- yeah. In all the revolutions taking place- some nations are Arab- others Persian. Some are majority Shiite [Bahrain] with a minority ruling Sunni dynasty. Iran’s leaders are Shiite- they would be glad to see the fall of Bahrain- so the Shiite majority could overthrow the Sunni kings and have more support from Bahrain. Some Arab nations are ‘pro west’- Egypt, Jordan- and even Yemen are/were working with us- many of our friends in the area were shocked that we publicly called for the ouster of Mubarak, because he was our number 1 ally in the Arab world. They thought ‘what the hell are you doing! You picked the wrong king!’ Libya, Iran and Syria are anti western nations- they hate us- we them [in politics]. Yet without a doubt Gadhafi is crossing the line in violent responses to the protestors- yet president Obama has not called for his ouster- not like the way he did with Egypt. The protestors in these countries are confused and see the west as being sell outs. We have protests that seem to be breaking out of the Arab regions and even affecting Asia. There are reports of protestors in China. I obviously am not advocating the apocalypse- but I don’t think we [western society] realize the import of all these events- our world is changing and there is nothing we can do about it- but try and act justly! We [president] can’t go ‘public’ with a king who is bad- but not 1-100th as bad as Libya’s leader- and then go ‘silent’ on him [the president and U.S. position has been to speak out against the violence- good- but we have decided to not go public in support of the people and the call for the leader to step down]. So all in all we need to act justly- love mercy- and walk humbly with our God [Micah- Old Testament prophet].

Okay- Exodus 17. As the people of God continue on the journey of freedom- they once again come to a place where they lack water- they complain to Moses and God tells Moses to strike the rock with his rod/stick and water will come out. This supernatural miracle is spoken about by the apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians chapter 10. He says all the people who were with Moses on the journey drank from the spiritual rock that was to come- Christ. The church has songs about Jesus being the rock who was broken open so salvation could come to the nations ‘Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee’ [also from the story we will read later when God puts Moses in a cleft in the mountain/rock and passes by him]. All these stories speak of Jesus as the savior of the world. The New Testament tells us when Jesus was on the Cross the soldier pierced his side with a spear and blood and water came out. So Jesus is the rock that was struck [by God- Isaiah 53] and we all can ‘drink’ the living water [Gods Spirit] that flows from his side.

And in keeping with the format of these posts [I’m going to put all these posts in one study and call them ‘insights from a revolution’- Exodus] let me try and give some practical advice for all our readers/friends from around the world who might be in these countries who are revolting. In this chapter the word used against Moses when the people complained is translated ‘Quarrel’ in English- in the original Hebrew language the word really means a legal complaint against leadership- that is they were wanting to bring Moses to court! In many of the current cases of revolution- some simply want change- others want justice- some revenge. In the case of Moses and ‘his revolution’ the people made the mistake of going too far by wanting Moses to stand before the ‘court’ that is they raised their level of protest too high. My advice- in all the nations going thru these things- I side with the people- and do see the tragic mistake the west has made by siding with these dictators for all these years- we truly did overlook the rights of people for the stability of oil- we sinned. Having said that- revolution is messy- and some might go too far in their complaint- that is the bottom line is freedom and democracy for the people- not vengeance on past leaders. In due time those who have committed crimes should be held accountable- but right now the bottom line is freedom and democracy- and NON VIOLENT protests. In Libya the leader has hired mercenaries from the Sub-Saharan part of the continent- these paid soldiers are in the streets of Libya- killing innocents. They are foreign people who don’t even speak Arabic [they speak French- remember parts of Africa were colonized by the British and French- Algeria used to be under French rule] the scene is surreal- so we condemn all these atrocities that are being carried out by these leaders- we call for peaceful protestors to be treated with dignity and respect- and I think our president should also speak out more on the Libyan situation. Let’s all PRAY FOR PEACE- FOR ALL NATIONS.

[1604] IS IT POSSIBLE TO PROTEST TOO MUCH? A couple of days ago I started teaching the story of Moses and God’s delivering of his people from Egypt- I talked about the Ark of the Covenant and the fall of Pharaoh- try and go back and read those posts- and for the next few days I want to simply tell the story found in the book of Exodus [Old Testament]. In Exodus chapters 15- 16 we read the story of the great deliverance of God- in the previous chapters the people were under bondage to oppressive rulers [much like the autocratic rulers in the Arab/Persian world right now] and the people cried/protested and God heard them and he sent them new leaders [Moses] and this new leadership was needed in order for the old guard to pass away. Now- as they proceed on the journey the first spot they come to is a place named Marah- which means bitterness [present day Suez canal area]. They traveled for 3 days and found no water- and at Marah there is water- but the water is bitter, it’s not fit for human consumption. So they complain and Moses finds a stick/tree branch and puts it in the water and the waters ‘are healed’. In Christian teaching this branch is a symbol of Christ [who the bible calls the true vine- also the apostle Peter calls the Cross ‘the tree’] and the symbol means that when people believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ- in a spiritual way the ‘waters are healed’ [people are brought back to God thru the Cross]. The next spot they get to [Elim] has plenty of food and good water. Now- as they continue on the journey they begin missing the old stability they had under the old regime [Pharaoh] they start to complain against the new leaders and say ‘you led us out on this journey- now we have no good food like the old days- we will all starve out here- we wish we never protested’ wow- talk about rebels! Okay- Moses gets mad too- thinking to himself ‘man- I never asked for this- and now I’m supposed to put up with this’ [sort of like some of the leaders who have had to fill the gap after Mubarak fell- some of these guys- being prodded by the U.S. govt. are being asked to keep the peace until they can transition into a new Democratic rule]. God answers Moses and tells him he will send them meat and bread- God supernaturally causes a bunch of Quail [birds] to blow into the camp and they have lots of meat- and in the morning when they woke up there was this wafer type bread that was on the ground. The bread is called ‘Manna’ which actually means ‘what is it’. God fed them for 40 years with this ‘unknown’ bread- and he tells Moses to put some in a jar and save it as a memorial of Gods provisions. Eventually this jar with the bread in it will go into the box [the Ark I wrote about a few posts back- which had the 2 tablets of the 10 commandments it] and it will be a reminder to future generations how God was with them on the journey. Okay- a few practical points; it is possible to ‘protest too much’ that is after God initiated the process of ‘new rule’ the people couldn’t just keep protesting their way into a new govt., they had to ‘put up’ with some type of leadership along the way. Right now in Egypt [2-2011] some of the people are split on what to do ‘should we keep protesting’ some ask- others are saying ‘okay- we got Mubarak to step down- we need to give some of these military leaders a chance to set some things up for the elections to come’. In the case of Moses this was Gods will- that is the people went too far in not even being willing to let Moses lead a little. So some times as the protests succeed- there might also need to be a few months of letting the new guys have a chance to get some stuff done. A few interesting points; in chapter 16 the bible says ‘this happened on the 15th day of the 2nd month’. Geez- that’s right around the same time that the present Egyptian uprising also took place [I am aware the months of the Jewish calendar are different than mine- but it’s still pretty good!] and in the book of John [John’s gospel, chapter 6] Jesus has a conversation with the Jewish leaders and he says he himself is ‘the bread of God that came down from heaven’ he says the bread Moses gave them [the Manna spoken about here] was a symbol of his own life and death on the Cross for the sins of the world- he says ‘all who eat/receive me will live’. I find it interesting that in this story the original Jewish people are eating the bread for all these years- and the name of it means ‘what is it’. Both Muslims and Jews respect Jesus, they see him as a prophet sent from God- yet in Christian theology we teach that Jesus is much more than that- he is the ‘sent one’ [Jewish Messiah- the one who originates from God] many well meaning Muslims and Jews ‘have’ Jesus sort of like the Manna- they know the bread is there- they even ‘eat it’ [benefit in a way from it] yet Jesus says ‘I am the true bread- the bread that comes down from heaven and gives my life for the world’. As the Arab world is going thru their own journey right now- facing many difficult days ahead- days where some will be tempted to say ‘we regret this new found journey of freedom- we wish we never left Egypt’ there will also be a chance to feed from the Manna- the bread that has been there all along- the bread that many said of ‘what is it’ [or who is this Jesus] Jesus himself testifies that it is speaking about him- he is the true bread of life- the only ‘leader’ [new Moses] that can truly liberate- may we all find true revolution thru him.

[1603] WEEK IN REVIEW [MEDIA BIAS] – Okay, this past week has been big- lots of very important stories. Some ‘news’ outlets present the most favorable view possible- others seem to play into the fears of ‘the West’. Yesterday I read a news paper article- now understand- this is supposed to be straight reporting. The story was about 4 people shot to death as they were protesting in Bahrain- the jist of it went like this ‘as the protests grew out of hand- the govt. increased resources to deal with the unrest- as a result of the govts. attempt to restore order- 4 people died’. Now- out of all the nations that are ‘falling’ Bahrain just might be the most strategically important one for the U.S. We station our ships their [5th fleet- Persian Gulf] and they are a small- yet very important ally. When you have 1 death in Iran- or 20 in Libya- the papers report it as ‘the regime killed innocent people in cold blood’ yet when the media organizations [Associated Press- or whoever] actually try and present an important ally as ‘noble’ when they do the same thing, then they are nor reporting the news in a fair way. This week we had the school teachers protesting in Wisconsin- the newly elected Republican governor has the majority in the state senate/house and he is trying to balance the state budget- and he is wanting to eliminate collective bargaining- except for salary negotiations- in the state [exempting the cops and firefighters]. Okay- as a retired firefighter- who still gets the monthly magazine from my union [international association of firefighters] I see their point- yet as the teachers have taken to the streets to protest- you have seen pictures of the governor [Walker] as good ole Hitler- posters of his face and Mubarak’s together- ‘get rid of the tyrant’ and even a poster of the governor in actual RIFLE SCOPE CROSSHAIRS- saying ‘reload’. Now- we just went thru a few weeks [in the Western media] of CNN- MSNBC- ABC- NBC- CBS- ETC. associating the use of the word ‘target’ and using crosshairs on a political web site- as being possibly responsible for the shooting of rep. Gifford’s in Arizona- yet the same media who were outraged over Palin- seem to be fine with the union protestors actually saying ‘reload’ with an actual scope sight on the Republican governors face. So you pretty much have to be blind to not see the bias. Even Diane Sawyer- in her coverage of Bahrain- showed a scope target over the country as they ‘zoomed in’ for the story- I mean they just can’t help themselves! Now- on a more serious note- as Anderson Cooper [CNN] made it his own personal vendetta to go after Mubarak [you know they beat Anderson up] as he was portraying the govt. as evil [in many ways they were] yet at the same time- we now know that 200 protestors [people Anderson gave ‘cover’ to] were raping Lara Logan- a reporter- in the crowd. As they raped her they shouted ‘Jew- Jew’. This must be condemned by everyone- in no uncertain terms. It should be noted that she was rescued by the women on the street along with the military [the same military that Cooper was vilifying on screen at the same time]. Problem? Like I said before- very rarely does one side take all the blame- or another side all the credit. I think it’s important for Western society to realize that there are over a billion Muslims in the world- and lots of us view them thru the paradigm of ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ or the Iranian madman- yet in many of these Arab/Persian nations- there are lots of younger generation people who also reject these stereotypes- you have many of the younger generation who have connected with the outside world thru social media and many of them do not fit the mold of radical terrorist. Yet some of these younger people do hold to beliefs that Sharia law should be the law of the land- or some of them have very anti Semitic views that were instilled in them thru their ‘religious’ education -they are taught that Jews are pigs and dogs- we can’t simply overlook the racial hatred that is found in many of these societies- and we must say ‘NO- NOT ACCEPTABLE- YOU CAN’T KEEP DOING THIS AND AT THE SAME TIME EXPECT US TO RESPECT YOU’! So, we need to be honest and fair on all sides- If a govt. we need/like kills it’s people- then don’t report it as ‘ accidental collateral damage’ while a govt. the media doesn’t like says ‘they killed them in cold blood’. If a reporter is miffed because he got his ‘butt kicked’- then don’t present the whole story as the military are all evil- protestors good- especially when some of the protestors are raping a female reporter while shouting ‘JEW- JEW’ and the military are the ones who saved her! I want to take the side of the younger people- who do indeed feel oppressed and beaten down- many of these Arab regimes have been repressive- yet the younger people must openly reject anti Semitism- religious theocracy- they must disassociate themselves from the image that many in the Western world have- when we in the West see the Iranian president appealing for the return of the 12th Imam- calling for the slaughter of the Jews- we see a true nut job who we want nothing to do with [as many other Arab leaders also feel- we now know thanks to Wikileaks]. So the younger protestors have a chance- a chance of a lifetime- to show the West that you reject radicalism- and when an atrocious incident happens on the side of the protestors- one that should have been roundly condemned- LOUDLY- then we in the West need to hear it.

[1602] REVOLUTION- NOT ANARCHY! As of last night many streets in the Arab world are experiencing protests- Iran has launched 2 battleships to head towards Syria [right off the coast of Israel] and there are reports of oil prices spiking because of the unrest. These last few weeks I have been reading thru some chapters in Exodus- the book that records the historic liberation of Gods people from Egypt. Those of you who are bible readers will remember that the initial cause for revolt was actually an economic injustice; the children of Israel were under the oppressive regime of Pharaoh and they were grumbling about the poor economic conditions- the leader heard their ‘protests’ and he oppressed them more! He required them to produce more bricks and mortar [for the building of his own wealth] and yet they were to do this from the same amount of natural resources they had all along. In many of these states where the protestors have taken to the streets- they survive on 2 dollars a day- or less. These same people are now required to survive off of the same measly amount- even as the cost of food soars- many of them are indeed going hungry- for real. In the biblical story God sends them Moses [a type of Christ] and as you know Moses confronts unjust authority and the people revolt. Now- one of the key ingredients to a successful ‘revolt’ is a just constitution! God gives them the 10 commandments [rules on treating each other justly- and loving God] at the start of their journey- they will eventually conquer the Promised Land and grow as a society- yet the rules of the game were laid out early in the revolt. What do I think is happening right now? I believe our people [the president and U.S. govt.] are seeing these revolts as the major danger in the world right now- the level of world instability has not been like this in many years- the news media have tried to ‘manipulate’ the environment. After CNN and a few others chose to hone the cameras in on the thousands of protestors in Egypt’s square- yet they initially would not show/report the thousands who were revolting in Iraq. Why? They obviously want to push the narrative of ‘change’ in one place- while pushing the narrative of ‘Obama ended the war and all is well’ in another. The reality is there are major dangers taking place in the world right now- do I think Iran wants to invade Israel? To be honest- yes. What? All these leaders are shaking in their boots- from ‘the shores of Tripoli’ [Quadaffi] to the ‘kings’ of Bahrain. I assure you- if the protestors topple the Iranian leaders- it will not be a ‘peaceful’ exodus to some vacation spot [like Mubarak did] it will be Saddam Hussein all over again [strung up in the streets- or on TV]. Now- do you think the Iranian madman would attack Israel as a last ditch effort to save his skin? You bet ya! [Okay- too much Palin]. Remember- before all the recent developments- there were some major movements in the Middle East that spelled danger for Israel. For years they faced opposition on their northern border from Lebanon. For many years Hezbollah was a political force in the area- for the first time ever they recently elected someone from Hezbollah to high office- deposing the former leader. In the south and on the West bank there was also lots of turmoil right before these revolts took place. The leader of the Palestinians came under tremendous pressure because the Wikileaks ‘leaks’ revealed that Abbas [Palestinian leader] agreed with Israel to kill some Hamas leaders [Hamas is the radical pro Palestinian group- branded as terrorists by Israel and the U.S.] When the leaks got out there was rage in the streets- the chief negotiator [Saeb Erakat] had to step down. So all these events were seen as major threats to peace in the region- add to that the fall of Egypt- and the current uprisings in the other Arab/Persian states- yes indeed- we have not seen a time like this since our world wars [yes that’s strong- I do believe this to be true]. Okay- should we be afraid? No. How should we view the young people who are the primary demonstrators on the streets? I think it would be a mistake for the older generation [especially in the West] to view them all as potential terrorists- remember- Iran wouldn’t be sending her ships to Syria unless they too felt like they needed to hedge their bets. So we want to hear the cries of the younger generation- people who have felt oppressed for years- who were told ‘make do with the same resources- yet make it go further’ these people have indeed been wronged in many ways- many of them feel this is their only chance to ‘escape’- and finally- the advice to the protestors- you need a ‘law’ constitution- a statement of just principles that you will hold each other accountable to- maybe an ‘on line’ statement of beliefs to go along with the ‘days of rage’ that are being posted on facebook- some type of open rejection of radical terrorism and holding accountable those who would like to ‘hijack’ the protests for their own purposes. It’s really too late for the West to say ‘okay- we liked the Egypt thing- but now we want to hold up on the rest’. It’s so sad- right after the Egyptian uprising- news organizations like CNN and others- who were actually ‘parties’ to the success of the revolt [yes- watch carefully and you will see] they then ignored the other protests and were headlining their shows with the Grammy winners- yes- whole hours of not mentioning any of the other protests. Or MSNBC making the stop story about Rumsfeld or how 50 % of the Republican primary voters think Obama is a Muslim- I mean a whole hour on this stuff? The media do ‘play the fool’ lots. Just a note- in some nations there are actually protestors [not govt. cronies] who are protesting against the ‘protestors’- that is some more stable economies [Bahrain, Qatar, etc.] many of these nations- though not democratic- have ‘shared the wealth’ with the people- many successful businesses thrive in some of these countries- these more stable people do not want the Egypt revolt to spread- some have pointed out [very legitimately] that when the media focuses the cameras of the world on a few hundred- or thousand protestors- they need to remember that there are many millions who are not protesting [the population of Egypt is 80 million- some did not want revolt] so the media has to be careful that they are not showing the wrong ‘narrative’ in some of these places. All in all- the cats out of the bag- some regimes are indeed going to shoot their protestors- others will try and start a war with Israel- yes- these are very serious times. Lets pray for the safety and freedom for all people- when the children of Israel were under an oppressive regime- the bible says God heard their cry and sent them a deliverer- the New Testament says Jesus is the ‘Moses’ of this day- even Gandhi used the non violent principles of the Sermon on the Mount to have a successful revolt- I hope the present protestors will do the same.

[By the way- in many of these present revolts the citizens are revolting against the autocrats who were installed after their countries broke away from their colonizers- like India from Britain- yet they never transitioned into real democracies]

[1601] PHARAOH- KING OF EGYPT- I had an interesting experience yesterday- as I was doing the early morning prayer routine [I get up at around 3-3:30 and do about a 2 hour prayer time- I walk in my yard and cover a bunch of things- world situations, natural disasters, war areas- etc.] I got to a spot where I pray for world leaders. I start with president Obama and his wife and kids and then pray for world leaders. At one point I pray for all those in authority who are Christians- I ask the Lord to give them wisdom- help them make right decisions- I also pray for non Christian rulers- I don’t pray ‘against them’ I ask the Lord to also help them to rule justly- to not oppress their people. Then I pray for a 3rd category- let me quote it to you ‘Lord- for all those in authority who are persecuting believers- those who rule oppressive regimes- I ask that you would remove them for these positions and replace them with just leaders- and until that happens- that you would be glorified in them like you were with the rebellious leader of Egypt- Pharaoh’ the thing that surprised me was the realization that the only nation I mention every time I pray [besides the U.S.] is Egypt. The other nations get mentioned [Iraq- Israel- Palestine- etc.] but only as world events would warrant it- but Egypt is actually part of the prayer format. Now- I’m not saying that Egypt ‘fell’ because of my prayer- but it kinda did freak me out a little. Okay- in the last note we ended with Iran. In the past few days there have been uprisings in Yemen, Algeria [formally a colony of France- they too have been independent for around 30 years- yet many of these nations have not translated into Democracies], certain Persian Gulf states [Bahrain] and there are a number of nation/states that are foreseeing trouble [the more stable wealthy gulf states- United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia- are taking preventative steps to ward off any massive demonstrations- many of these countries are flatly handing out one time cash benefits as a sort of early tax return- geez- they are blatant about buying off the people.] So how are the Revolutions doing? Remember- the 1st domino to fall was the African nation of Tunisia [remember- Africa is a continent- so the nations/states in her are separate ruling governments] these past few weeks many thousands of refugees have fled Tunisia by boat and have landed on a port city in Italy. Italy is having major disruptions trying to deal with the crisis. Of course they are dealing with problems of their own- let’s see- what’s the big scandal story in Italy? Oh yeah- Berlusconi paid an underage Moroccan girl for sex. I remember watching the news a month or so ago- as the Italian leader was dealing with all his ‘girl’ scandals- he comes out and says ‘hey- it’s better than sleeping with the gays’. I guess their level of political correctness is a little different than ours. And for Egypt it’s too soon to tell how well the Revolution will end up. Now- at the same time we had the Taliban attack the police in Afghanistan- killing 18 people. There was one protestor killed in Iran- and the news media showed full coverage of the body- top of the world news- yet a few weeks ago while reading the paper- I read a story of 51 people killed by a suicide bomber right outside of Baghdad [Iraq], the next day I read the story again- the headlines were the same- the same amount of people killed- I thought they accidently ran the same story twice- as I read the article it wasn’t the same story, it was indeed the 3rd batch of more than 50 people killed in suicide bombings in 3 days. They said how in the last few weeks many hundreds were killed in these attacks- many more hundreds injured- yet not one top news media story- I found this story hidden on the back pages of the paper in a very obscure spot. Why? Is it because the media ran with the recent celebration of the so called end to our war in Iraq? I remember how MSNBC [yes- Matthews again] spent 3 days trying to make it sound like the end of WW2 – nobody bought it. So the media does pick and choose what they will run with. I’m glad they are covering the protestors- and I’m glad they covered the 1 person killed in Iran [even though they weren’t even sure who killed him] but we need to be very aware of the role the media plays- for them to have ignored 2-300 hundred suicide deaths in Iraq- because they want to show us a particular picture [war is over- let’s celebrate] and to have showed 1death as top major news in Iran- well you get the picture [I hope!] Yes- it’s too soon to tell how the Revolutions will turn out- Tunisia is a mess, and Egypt has a long road ahead of them- and yes- Berlusconi has his problems too. Lets pray for the nations, mention them by name- who knows- maybe one day you will wake up and say ‘geez- I’ve been praying for the removal of corrupt Pharaohs in Egypt for years- and sure enough he ‘got removed’.
NOTE- When the media tried to ‘spin’ the end of the war in Iraq- they showed their obvious bias in the way they reported the story under one president [Obama] versus the other [Bush]. What happened in Iraq was we left 50 thousand ‘non combat’ troops in the country [who by every account- even a local boy who is serving their right now wrote in our editorial- have said our guys are still engaging in combat on a regular basis]- we are building the world’s biggest ‘embassy’ in the country [it has been described as a giant permanent military base] and the uptick in attacks from the enemy have gone up- their country just installed one of the most outspoken enemies of the U.S. in their official govt. and like I said we just had hundreds of innocent people blown apart by suicide bombers in just a few days. During the Bush years- a single death with a burned out vehicle made national headlines- top story for days- showing all the various positions of the vehicles that were blown up- the Democrats regularly questioned the competence of the president- publicly stating that the wars were lost [Harry Reid] and accusing the president of willfully lying- in public- and being responsible- personally- for the deaths of both Iraqi innocents and American boys and girls- yes- senator Kerry went around the country- publicly saying ‘Bush lied- your kids died’. Now, none of this was seen as ‘raising the level of discourse too high’ the media did not freak out about any of this- a movie even came out called ‘the assassination of George W Bush’ the media did not roundly condemn this, not in the same way they spent weeks covering the ‘target’ story from Sarah Palin’s political sight. Can you imagine them not covering the story of a right winger who produced a movie called ‘the assassination of Barak Obama? Nor were the presidents enemies blamed for lowering the discourse and allowing stuff like this to happen. When a certain Democrat was asked ‘do you think it’s wrong that you described the president as an idiot in public’ he said ‘he is one’. The point being this same media- when Joe Wilson said ‘you lie’ some actually said this statement was so dangerous that it put the president’s life at risk [because it lowered the bar of respect]. Now- even though I agree with the need to stop using all this type of language- the point I’m making is the media has an agenda- even if it’s not a ‘secret’ underground thing [like Beck thinks]- never the less they report more favorably about a situation if they like the president- they report more negatively if they don’t. For the media to have reported the ‘end of the war’ in Iraq was a joke- and to have not even covered the hundreds who were just killed- while making 1 death in Iran the top news story- this too is a joke.

[1600] YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION? YOU GOT IT. Okay- history was made yesterday- on the exact anniversary of the Iranian revolution [that didn’t work out so well]. First- I’m glad the people in the square prevailed- I’m on their side and stand in solidarity with them. There are already a few other Facebook pages popping up- DAYS OF RAGE for other countries who are seeking to capitalize on the mood of revolution in the air- it looks like we might really be living in historic times. These events could very well be the defining moment of this century- that which historians will look back on and see as momentous- a defining time. Are there dangers? Yes. There are always dangers when Revolution happens- honest [and dishonest] people on both sides- we [the U.S.] are children of Revolution- if any nation should support these revolts- it should be us! We had dissenters during our season of revolt- some preachers/Christians sided with England- they felt like it was disobeying the bible to ‘Revolt’- there are bible verses that say ‘obey your earthly rulers- listen to the kings and governors- don’t rebel’. Now- that sure does sound problematic if you’re a believer on the revolting side. The apostle Paul wrote this, not under Western Style Democracy- but under Imperial Roman Rule! [ in his letter to the church at ROME!] So how do we join the spirit of freedom and popular revolution with this? Jesus obviously rejected violent revolt [those who live by the sword will die by it] yet he was not against challenging the authorities of the day- non violently standing up to corrupt leaders- and yes- instituting a new revolutionary kingdom- one that would overthrow the ‘kingdoms of this world’ [ The Kingdom of God]. I mean you can’t escape the imagery of revolt and kingdom and righteous dominion [rule] this is the heart and soul of the Kingdom of God. Problem? Well yes- at times [like in our day] many Christians misunderstand the purpose of the Kingdom of God- they [in my view] place too much emphasis on the geographical area of the Holy Land- they develop scenarios that pit Arab/Muslim nations against Israel- and they read the very real Old Testament prophecies thru a lens that says ‘this is God’s word- this ethnic group [Jewish] should posses this area- and this other ethnic group [Palestinian] should get out’. I think when we see the purpose of God and his kingdom thru this lens- we err. But the reality is the bible and the message of Jesus are one of true revolution- peaceful- but revolution nonetheless. The verses Paul wrote are indeed scripture- and they were real practical advice given to the fledgling church in the 1st century- Paul did not want the nascent church to get a reputation of being political rabble rousers- you had what were called Zealots at the time- Jewish political activists who advocated violent overthrow of Roman rule from the Jewish land- and Paul [and Jesus] rejected this idea. So I think if we read the basic instructions from Paul and see the context of the time- that yes- a political revolt was not what the early church needed. But what we are seeing in our day is a possible major realignment of the nations in the Arab [and Persian] world. We are seeing people who have been oppressed by religious theocracies- these people have every right to rebel- to non violently go to the streets and stand in protest to the dictators who have ruthlessly oppressed them for years- these rebels are not criminals- they are non violent protestors who are speaking truth to power- much like what Jesus did. Now- where next? I think we need to do Iran again- I think the president [Obama] thinks this too. Yesterday as he gave a speech after the historic events in Egypt- he spoke to the leadership of Iran and told them ‘let your people also freely protest in your streets’. Now- that message is saying ‘you guys are also gonna fall’- do you really think the Iranian madman thinks ‘well- maybe if we let the people protest- that’s all the president meant’ c’mon- if we thru Mubarak ‘under the bus’ [I’m glad he’s under the bus] there isn’t a snowballs chance in Hades that The mad man from Iran will get a free pass. So yes- lets support all the days of rage that are popping up- lets be on the side of freedom from tyrants and U.S. puppets- the Arab street is smart- they know much more than we give them credit for- and yes- there will be a danger from radical Islamist elements- we should make a distinction between violent and non violent Muslim groups- but even groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that have rejected violence- we should still be aware of their goal- they do indeed advocate for religious rule and we need to say ‘yes- we honor your principled stance against violence- yet we reject any religious theocracy- whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim- we want freedom and rights for all people- regardless of their religion- and we do not support your goal- even if you want to achieve it thru non violence’. Where next? IRAN.
[just a note- as I’m presently studying Marx and Freud and other thinkers- Marx himself rejected God because he felt like the religious rulers would use these types of ‘non revolt’ teachings to keep the people suppressed- Marx’s problem with God came thru this economic challenge- the masses were unwilling to revolt against economic oppression because religion was being used as a tool to keep the people under. I think in the beginning Marx meant well- saw the oppression of people and saw how rulers used religion to control people- too bad he couldn’t read this post]

[1599] DAY OF RAGE IN EGYPT- Okay- I have been holding this story back for 2 weeks- it’s been reported primarily thru the financial shows [cnbc, Bloomberg] The only cable news guy that I saw cover it was Dylan Rattigan [MSNBC]. The story is that this administration made real decisions that have added to the very real discontent and rage that we are presently seeing in the world. I was waiting to see how long it would take before Rush, Beck or Hannity would catch on- as far as this morning they have not. A few months back this administration sat back as the Federal Reserve [Yes- I know there supposed to be independent] printed 600 billion dollars of new money. We were in a dispute with China’s fiscal policy- they are keeping their Yen low, artificially, and we wanted them to stop manipulating their currency. Why? When one country [a major trade partner] does this- that makes their goods cheap and ours more expensive. We already have a huge trade imbalance with China, and this makes it worse. So China ignored our pleas [a common response from more nations as the days go by] and Ben Bernanke- the Fed. Chairman announced we would print 600 billion dollars- just make more money! Now- many economists warned that if you do this- you will be creating lots of ‘fake cash’ and this money will flow into commodities- in essence this policy can cause the food prices to increase dramatically on the world market- creating an atmosphere of unrest through the world. Just yesterday I read in the business section how food prices have soared on the global market. Some of it has to do with the clean energy policies of this administration [yes- again]. Over these last few years many environmentalists have pushed Ethanol [corn for fuel]. Al Gore has since come out and publicly admitted that they [the environmentalists] have made a major mistake in doing this. Why? We have found out that in the production process of the fuel- it still creates a huge amount of pollution- factors we didn’t know at first. Second- this new demand for corn has drastically raised the price of corn on the world market- corn is one of the major factors for food prices- not just because we eat it- but it is a major source of feed for Cows, Chickens, etc. in essence this policy [introducing corn as fuel into the world markets] has drastically increased world food prices- which is one of the major reasons for the protests going on both in Egypt and the world- yes many countries have stated that they are actually starving over this- they make a couple of dollars a day, their price to eat has gone up drastically- and many protestors have taken to the streets because of this. Ben Bernanke was asked about this point blank by a reporter- he denied the logic. This story is very real- it is not the conspiracy theories that we are hearing in the conservative media- it is a very real prediction that was made by moderate financial gurus- they said these policies would cause real inflation that could create instability in the world- they were indeed correct. The U.S. supply of corn is at its lowest in 15 years, the projected orders for corn this year have risen 8 %- to 13 billion bushels. We are estimated to have a reserve of 675 million bushels by august [when the harvest begins for corn] that’s about 5 % of all the corn that will be consumed- the lowest levels since 1996. Corn prices have doubled in the last 6 months- from $3.50 a bushel to $7.00. We have made global decisions, based on certain ideological views- that have indeed caused people to die- for real. Now- the Egypt crisis. I was shocked to hear Mubarak’s speech yesterday- I thought he was stepping down [as did Obama] and instead he shoved it in their faces. The Egyptian leadership has told us, in public, to bud out of their country. The Saudis have told Egypt they will replace the billion dollars of annual foreign aid if the U.S. threatens to stop the aid. Mubarak and Suleiman have told the U.S. news [cable] coverage to bud out. And right after the speech- Chris Matthews from MSNBC says on the air ‘I guess he’s telling the protestors they are going to have to kill him’ this man needs to be pulled off the air- immediately- before he starts world war 3 [no joke]. Obviously we have had lots of missteps, president Obama has very much mishandled things- you do not send Robert Gibbs out to the media to say ‘he needed to go- yesterday’ this nation [as well as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq- yes, why are the media not covering the actual street protestors in Iraq- protesting the guys we installed!] these nations are going to do all that they can to maintain power- the worst one of all- Iran- was the only one that got a free pass when their citizens protested in the streets! Yes- of course we have blown it- lots. Having said all this- we as a nation need to back the democratic process for all these people. They have been abused by tyrants- killed- limbs chopped off- secret govt. police coming to your door at midnight- taking you away never to be seen again- we need to side with the people- these protests are not about radical Islam- they are people starving- living in oppression- desiring to be free- it’s a travesty to the highest degree that we [both Democratic and Republican presidents] have been in bed with these tyrants for all these years- the chickens are coming home to roost- and it’s time for some national repentance.

[1598] DON’T LOOK IN THE BOX!- Let me try and do 2 things today; a short ‘memorable’ truth that is in keeping with yesterdays spirit- and the current events in the Middle East [never got to this part-will do it tomorrow]

First- How many of you remember the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies- go ahead- raise your hand. Yes- those of you reading this- actually raise your hand if you’ve seen the movie- believe me there is a purpose to this. Okay- did you do it? Wow- see how easy it is to engage in stuff when no one’s looking? Well yes, in the bible there is a famous story about ‘not looking’- it has to do with the Indiana Jones movie. First [or 2nd?] the Ark in the movie comes from a real story in the bible about a box [Ark]. Sometimes people confuse the Ark of Noah with this Ark- I heard Keith Olberman [one of my favorite liberals- now with Al Gore’s channel, Current TV] mocking someone- and in his mocking he talked about all the animals that might fit into the ark- the problem was the person he was mocking was talking about this Ark [small box] not Noah’s! Okay- in the book of Exodus we read the famous story of Moses delivering the children of Israel out of bondage [okay- what country was it again? O that’s right- Egypt- wonder of this is significant today? A stubborn dictatorial leader- ruling Egypt- who can’t seem to read the writing on the wall- guess not] and as they flee Egypt they do the Red Sea crossing and they wind up spending 40 years wandering in the wilderness because of their unbelief [too much to explain right now]. So- during their journey they get the 10 commandments and God sets up a tent [tabernacle] system that consists of this small little building surrounded by a fence and in this little room/building there is this box [Ark] that holds the 2 tablets of the 10 commandments. This box is covered with gold- has 2 angel statues on each side of the lid and the lid covering the box is called ‘the mercy seat’. Now- this ‘seat/lid’ is actually the altar that the high priest puts the sacrificial animal blood on once a year [Day of Atonement] to cover the sins of the people. In a nutshell- the lid on the box allowed a holy God [represented by the 10 commandments- his character revealed in this symbolic way] to dwell with sinful man- because the lid ‘atoned/covered’ the sins of the people- allowing God [in the box] to dwell with the people. Got it? That’s the Ark of the Covenant- the box in the Harrison Ford movies. Now- the movies tell the story about Indiana trying to find this ancient artifact- because it is said to have this awesome nuclear like power. Is this true? No. The idea comes from the bible [1st Samuel chapter 6] one time the box was taken captive in one of the battles- during its return to Israel [another long story] it winds up in this area where the people look in the box and the bible says 70,ooo people died [some bible versions say 70 people]. Wow- why did this happen? The lid covered the sins of men- once you take a peek- lift the lid- you have removed the only covering that man has for his sin- Gods holy character [the tablets] meets mans sinful one- obliteration. That’s the story- not some secret nuclear device. In the New Testament book of Hebrews [chapter 9] the same word used to describe the lid [mercy seat] is mentioned again in connection with the Cross of Christ. In the book of Romans [chapter 3] Jesus is said to be ‘the propitiation for our sins’ this is the same word- from the Hebrew language to the Greek [Old Testament story was written in Hebrew- New Testament in Greek] for ‘Mercy Seat’ so what’s the story? The lid on the box represents the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross for all men- it’s because of Jesus that God can once again dwell [the same word for Tabernacle- the whole tent system I just described] with men. The language used to speak about the Incarnation [God becoming man in Jesus] speaks about God dwelling [tabernacling] with men- in a very real way the box also represents the humanity/Deity of Jesus- it was made out of wood [a type of flesh] yet covered with gold [a type of divinity]. So Jesus is the covering [actually for you theologians the New testament sacrifice of Jesus does more than cover- it removes- but this post is supposed to be short!] and if you try and approach God without the ‘lid on’ you get creamed- got it? Now you can tell your kids the real story behind the box- and O yeah- someone let Keith in on the secret! P.S. for all of you who raised your hands- please send me an email- you’re the type we want for mailing lists! 

[1596] HAIL TO THE CHIEF- OUR KENYAN BORN PRESIDENT? [and other fables]. Okay- before you liberals curse me out and do a quick delete hear me out. I did mention the other day that if you want people to read your posts you need to catch their interest with a ‘short- pithy comment’ [OReilly]. In the last post I mentioned how some people do indeed think/believe the president is a closet Muslim. A few weeks ago the N.Y. Times ran a story- showing how a very high percentage of people do think he is Muslim [I think it was close to 20 %] and in the last post I mentioned why these beliefs are so prevalent; to just dismiss all these people as right wing Tea Party nut cases is a major mistake in my view. Now- out of all the Presidents of the past- President Obama is the only one who spent time living in the most populous Muslim country in the world [Indonesia] he did attend schools with other Muslim boys- his father also felt strongly enough about his cultural heritage that they did give the president a ‘Muslim’ sounding name [as opposed to Barry- the name he used in school]. And of course there have been times, caught on tape, where the president said he was indeed Muslim [my Muslim faith]. Okay- taking all these things into consideration- it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think he is indeed Muslim. Like I said yesterday- I personally don’t hold to this idea- but for others to embrace it is not a ‘wacko’ belief. Second- I do find it kinda funny to see all the liberals voice such outrage at the idea- they do sound like Seinfeld on the episode where they thought Jerry was gay- all through the show he says ‘I’m not gay’ and of course has to add ‘not that there’s anything wrong with it’. I do think the defenders are protesting a little too much- after all the left [MSNBC crowd] are the ones always accusing the right [FOX CROWD] of Islamaphobia! Right now there are reasonable moderate voices on both sides of the political spectrum- if you listen carefully to the president- he is very much a moderate voice- he sees both sides and does his best to make the more liberal argument- in a very intelligent way. You also have people like George Will, Kathleen Parker [Spitzer’s sidekick on their new CNN show] and others who make an intelligent case for conservative principles [Paul Ryan too]. These voices articulate their case well- share their views- and at the end of the day are able to sit down across the table [or pub- Boehner] and spend some time fellowshipping with the other side [a good example would be Orin Hatch and Ted Kennedy- a right/left wing friendship that was able to thrive even though they held sincerely to their beliefs]. This is what we need more of- both in politics and- yes- religion. As someone who has spent many years engaging the various religious beliefs- the different stands that Christian churches hold to- it is very sad to see the demonization of one church by the other. Often times we view the ‘opposing team’ in the worst possible light- and then after you demonize them- it is next to impossible to sit down later and try to understand one another- because everyone on your team already believes they are the enemy- and if your caught rooting for the opposing team- then you too become ‘one of them’. So we seem to have lost the art of respectful dialogue- yes we can ‘cut each other down’ in a friendly way- kid in fun- but to actually view the other side as the enemy- for real- that’s dangerous. I heard 2 statements yesterday about the president- that I liked. They came from staunch Republicans- John McCain and Lindsey Graham. They were both asked about how they felt the president was handling the revolt in Egypt- they said they felt he was doing his best and they supported him. It seemed like they knew something that the average citizen might not- that the president is really trying to do his best- and the narrative that is trying to link him to an undercover Muslim plot to take over the Middle east- well that narrative might be affecting the president a little more than we realize. Now- what’s the ‘real story’ with the president’s birth certificate? Let me give you my best shot. I have watched this debate for a long time- I’m obviously a watcher of both the left and the right [by the way- I think The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a good show- he does comedy/news- but he is fair and does get the story right most of the time]. During the campaign some people made an issue out of the fact that the Obama team never released his original birth certificate- was he secretly born in Kenya they asked. Of course this idea was rejected out of hand at first- but as time went on it became a story- a ‘narrative’ that fit certain conspiratorial views. As I listened to the staunch defenders of the president [Matthews] defend the president time after time- interviewing right wingers [Gordon Liddy- you know- the Nixon guy who bit off the rat head- hey- you can’t get more stanch then that!] Matthews would go into his normal rage ‘how dare you even think anything like that!’ I found it interesting to see the ‘birthers’ respond fairly reasonably. The defenders of the President would often point out ‘the fact’ that the Hawaiian Certificate of Birth [the record Obama has put out] was the official original certificate- I even saw a video of a young school child saying how you can find the presidents birth certificate on line [MSNBC showed the clip- saying ‘look- even this young girl is brighter than the Tea Party]. So after hearing Matthews go on- week after week- month after month- I mean he reported many times that the Certificate of Birth was the actual birth certificate- he explained it very thoroughly- that people are confused because that is Hawaii’s birth certificate- you don’t get a ‘normal one’ like we do on the mainland. I mean he described his belief well. The problem- yes, once again- he was just flat wrong. How do I know- because after the recent elections Hawaii got a new Democratic governor- he grew up with Obama’s parents- went to school with them. As soon as he got in office he made headlines by publicly stating that he was tired of the whole birther conspiracy- he was going to put the rumor to rest once and for all. So he says he personally will override any privacy rules and release the document by Divine [okay- governmental] decree! So Matthews jumps on the bandwagon- does a show where he gets these 2 Democrats to agree with him- yes- lets finally release the real thing. Matthews holds up a redacted copy of someone’s real Hawaiian birth certificate [you know- the thing he swore never existed- the thing he called the birthers idiots over- because they insisted that what Obama showed us was not the real thing] so Matthews holds a real Hawaiian birth certificate up and compares it to the thing Obama has released- the Certificate of Live birth- and Matthews goes on to explain that these 2 things are indeed very different- the Certificate thing- the thing the birthers said was not the real McCoy all along- Matthews now agrees with them- guess he finally googled ‘is the certificate of birth the real thing’- and got the same answer the right wingers were giving him. So Matthews joins the liberal chorus of ‘now it’s time to release the real thing- let’s put this thing to bed once and for all’. How did the story end? Well the other day the governor put out a very quiet announcement- he said ‘I will not seek to reveal the birth certificate- it would violate the privacy laws’ and that’s that. Matthews made a small mention about people who still demand the ‘paper hard copy’ he said it in a way where you could tell he too has dropped the matter. What happened? Again- if you’re a birther- this would play into your worst case scenario ‘see- I knew it’ type thing. But what happened? After all the years of watching this debate- I think there are 2 possibilities; 1- it is very possible that the birth certificate might record the presidents religion as Muslim- his father was a proud Muslim [not that there’s anything wrong with it!] and they were thinking ‘culturally’ at the time of his birth [they named him Barak Hussein] so this is a possibility- the other thing is Hawaii might have actually lost the real thing- I mean birth certificates do accidently get destroyed- fires happen- there are many cases where the original does not exist any more. So- I’m sure someone ‘in the know’ finally contacted Matthews and said ‘here’s the scoop’ and he dropped it. Why not just report the real story? If the ‘religion section’ says Muslim [I don’t know if there is a section for religion] sure- you could explain the fact that parents don’t choose their kids religion- you could explain the fact that Obama joined a Christian church in Chicago- but you would never be able to stop the critics from using it as major attack tool. So yes- both sides might have gotten it wrong [I mean Matthews ridiculed his guests over and over again- he described people as idiots because they insisted the certificate we were all seeing on line was the actual original- he was just flat wrong]. But when we view the other side with disdain- whether that side be right or left- then it’s hard for us to see that yes- they might have been right [about one part of the story] while being wrong about another part. I think there are good points to be made by both conservatives and liberals- but if I hate you- I will never hear your side.

[1595] MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE? – Okay- let’s try and go with the narrative thing a bit more. What do I think the ‘real story’ is right now? I mentioned yesterday that I have been reading the N.Y. Times these past few weeks- in order to get a more in depth ‘feel’ for the things going on in the world today. Sure enough- an article I read in the morning- on a man named Frank Wisner- helped me put together a few more pieces of the geopolitical puzzle. The article described Wisner as the premier U.S. representative on the stage right now- our ‘go to’ man for Egypt. He is sort of an undercover Richard Holbrooke- the popular ambassador who died a few months back. Wisner is a guy with just as much [or more] experience as Holbrooke- it’s just he isn’t a flashy type guy- sort of like comparing the old mafia bosses with John Gotti, you know- the quiet type versus the celebrity hound. So in the article Wisner goes to Egypt- he is a personal friend of Mubarak- and he leaves quickly. His abrupt trip to Egypt raised some questions- sort of like Mubarak might be saying ‘what is wrong with your American president- he is going to ruin the Middle East’ [I’m guessing]. Wisner is questioned by the press on why he left so soon- and he gives some politically correct answer. Then sure enough last night I saw a bunch of reports- and Wisner himself- coming out and saying how he thinks Mubarak should not step down immediately- like the president is asking- and that Mubarak should stay in power until a safe transition can occur. Then other voices came out and said the same thing- The president of Israel [ Shimon Peres] gave a speech in which he praised Mubarak as a man of peace who was willing to stand for peace and whose rule saved the lives of many people. The feel I got was that behind the scenes- the smart players do indeed think Obama has blown this thing. How? Mubarak and other Egyptian leaders have said ‘what’s wrong with you- how can you be calling for our overthrow so quickly- in Iran- a major enemy of the U.S.- a real nuclear threat to world peace- just a few months back you had a popular uprising in the streets- and chose not to side with democracy- why now?’. We must understand that many serious minded people are asking this question. Now- being I have read a lot about this story in the past few weeks- one of the things I read was a story about the book ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ it’s a conspiracy type book that traces Obama’s roots and says he was prepped his whole life to one day become the U.S. president- and because of his leanings towards Islam- he will use his power to realign the nations and assist them in becoming Islamist states. Now- I do not believe this at all- yet the book is out there. Why mention this? These books were indeed donated to Mubarak and his cabinet- they were given 20 of these books by the author- who claims he did discuss this theory with a top Egyptian diplomat. If this is true- it would not be hard for Mubarak- a man who has served Egypt for 60 years [30 in the military- 30 as president] who has sent his family out of the country for their safety- who has been told by the U.S.presdient ‘leave now’ I mean the man is 82 years old- he never saw this coming- he actually has said he wants to step down- but heck- I would assume he doesn’t want to flee and live the rest of his life in some other country. The man might very well intend on stepping down- but if he is pushed out like this- his life is over. Now- am I sympathizing with the man- no. Realistically when you put a proud person like this in a dilemma- he might just try and hang on and ‘get’ you in the end. So the smart politicos [Wisner] are trying to leave the man some dignity- actually publicly disagreeing with the White House- in public- because they see the dire situation of the whole thing. It is very, very rare to see such a public split between different voices who are representing the president. The White House had to immediately put out a statement disassociating themselves from Wisner- saying it was his personal view. All this tells me that there are indeed some major problems going on right now- major fears the president has about this thing spiraling out of control. If- in even a small way- world leaders [Mubarak- Peres, etc.] are buying into the Manchurian Candidate ‘narrative’ then we have huge problems. Don’t think it impossible for these leaders to possibly think this. Last year- some diplomat [It might have been an Egyptian? I read the story a while back] swore to the media that he met with Obama in 2007, before he was running for Pres., and that Obama assured him he too was a Muslim and wanted to work for the peace of all people. Of course the story made headlines when Obama became president. The man never retracted the story. Then you did have the famous interview by George Stephanopoulos-a Clinton Democrat- where Obama did say ‘my Muslim faith’ if you watch it on UTUBE- it does not seem to be a slip of the tongue- it seems like he might have been used to embracing his past [Time in Indonesia as a boy- attended school with Muslims- his dad was a proud Muslim- etc.] while at the same time embracing his present Christian beliefs. Sort of like a person who is open to all types of cultures and religions- but who realized he couldn’t use that line if he were to run for president. I mean I can’t think of a more ‘acceptable’ explanation than this. These types of things [telling the diplomat he was indeed ‘part Muslim’ and seeming to embrace it during the interview] can’t simply be slips of the tongue. Now- do I think the president is Muslim? No. Do I think he might have played to that background in the past- in sort of a multi cultural way? Probably. But when you take all these dots- put them together in a book- then feed them to a king/president- who indeed is confused- family on the run for their lives- being told ‘step down now’ while Iran got a free pass [a real Muslim radical theocracy] in this environment was it possible for Mubarak to have told Wisner ‘your president is trying to destroy Egypt and Israel- we have read about all his past connections’ of course it’s possible for them to accept the narrative- and for Wisner to possibly have seen the real fear in these leaders faces- that would explain why he would publicly come out on TV and back Mubarak- against his own president. Now- I am not a ‘birther’ nor do I hold to the Manchurian Candidate conspiracy- I think Obama was sidelined with this whole crisis- did his best [yes- at times amateurish-I think Susan Rice and others lack real world experience] and he began commenting on the side of Mubarak- got blindsided- he did give a speech last year in Egypt- publicly telling the Egyptian people that he would be on their side in their future struggle for Democracy- and he probably got some advice saying ‘look- you told them you would be on their side- don’t make the same mistake you did in not supporting the Iranian protestors- this time side with freedom’ and he then makes the 180 degree turn- and he indeed caught Mubarak off guard-Mubarak was an ally for 30 years- Iran an enemy. Yet he sees it as he is the one getting thrown under the bus- not the radical Muslim country. Now- is it possible for Mubarak to believe the Manchurian narrative from his view? Of course! Okay- mistakes have been made- It’s probably best to go for a slow transition than a fast one- you need some time for other opposition parties to organize- right now you only have Mubarak’s party and the Muslim Brotherhood- not too many choices. And if we think it’s in our best interest- and Egypt’s- to give Mubarak a chance to save face- to give him some credit for his willingness to be our ally for 30 years- then let’s be smart about this- I see how the man might really be thinking that Beck was right all along! I personally don’t accept the theory- but when you have an 82 year old man- on the verge of him and his family possibly being killed or fleeing to some foreign country- yes, with stress like that- Beck just might be what the doctor called for.

[1594] THE NARRATIVE- These last few days we have all been given a lesson in Narrative- that is we have been shaped by ‘the story’ that people tell. If you view a certain event thru a conservative lens- then you will see things in the story that confirm what you already believe- the same with a liberal bias. These past few weeks I have been reading the book of Proverbs- just a few hours ago I read the verse ‘labor not to be rich, cease from your own wisdom’ then it referenced the verse I quoted the other day in 1st Timothy chapter 6 ‘those that desire to be rich have fallen into a trap and have swerved from the true faith’. Now- I haven’t spoken on this topic for years- but whenever I bring it up- it usually seems to disturb the narrative [story line] of the contemporary evangelical church. Many well meaning believers have been given a story line that says ‘the old traditional churches have told us money was not good- that God loves the poor- but the bible teaches otherwise’ now- are there verses that do speak about God blessing people financially? Sure. But the other side of the coin [like the verses I just quoted] these are not ‘old church traditions’ these are also part of the biblical narrative- the whole story we find in the bible. So we are often given- or drawn to- the story line we like the most- and then we look for proof that our story is the only right one. Last night [actually the repeat of the 1 a.m. show] I saw Beck interview a moderate American Muslim- he is the president of some Muslim group who have vocally rejected militant extremism. Now- Beck introduced him in a well meaning way- as a friend he met around 5 years ago. But in his introduction he said something like ‘I have been looking for a Muslim who is willing to tell the truth- to reject radicalism- and I finally found one’. In Becks mind- moderate Muslims don’t seem to exist- except this lucky one he found. Yet the man shared how his organization is made up of the majority of Muslims who in fact reject radicalism- he was Becks friend- but his reality did not fit Becks story line. As time was running short- Beck just really wanted the man to admit ‘yes- we Muslims are all basically dangerous- and I’m the only brand that managed to get plucked out of the fire’ their story lines contradicted each other. I have a confession to make- a few years ago when working at the fire dept., yes, I used to pick up the N.Y. Times and read it along with our Texas papers. Now- these past few weeks I have been picking it up every so often. I actually read the whole paper- just about every article- you have to be a junkie to read the entire times [very long articles]. Why do I do this? Because even though the Times is at times biased [let’s see- McCain runs for president- a few days before the primary vote- the Times runs a front page, top of the fold article about a rumor that he was ‘too friendly’ with a female staff person. John Edwards- known by the insiders to have actually fathered a child out of wed lock, how did the Times originally treat it? Nothing- you know- it’s the man’s personal life- got ya] yet I do find the articles real thorough, and you get to hear both sides of the narrative- something that you very rarely get from television media [especially cable]. So it’s important for all of us to try as hard as possible to be exposed to the different sides of the story. Now- Egypt. Some have said ‘do you really think that the Egyptians just woke up one day and wanted Democracy’ this narrative says it’s the radical Muslims behind the uprising. At the same time- many Egyptians themselves will say ‘you are disrespecting us- when other countries citizens rise up [Iran] you cheer for their independence- yet you treat us with disdain’. These protesters are saying we are getting the story wrong. And in the Arab world- yes- you have all sides realizing these things. So the pro Mubarak group- while being against militant Islam- at the same time realizes that if the world thinks the protests are being fanned by the militant Muslims- then Mubarak knows the world will turn against the protests and support him. So they attempt to tell ‘that story’. After reading all ‘the stories’ it seems to me that the initial protests were indeed the younger generation feeling like they had no real future- they seem to have really ‘woken up one day’ [being emboldened by the Tunisian protests] and yes- wanted Democracy. This is not to say that the radical Muslim groups are not trying to use it to their advantage- but in a way these protests actually work against ‘the narrative’ of the militant groups. How? The ‘story’ that the radicals try to tell is ‘the only way we can be free from these autocratic, western loving- Israel peacemaking leaders is thru violent revolution’ if the Arab street believes peaceful protests can do it- then they not only challenged Mubarak’s rule- but also the narrative of the violent radicals- see? So as we view these events from afar- be sure you’re not only being shaped by one sides view- even if the side you listen to seems sincere- heck- I think most of what Beck says he believes! But at the same time there is good journalism out there [I do think the Times still has tremendously valuable info. Despite the bias] try and listen to the more respectable news sources- for many years I did not subscribe to cable- I watched the networks and P.B.S.- yes- the news hour is an excellent source for news. And at the end of the day realize that there might be some truth to both sides of the argument- it is rare to find the whole truth resting with only one side.

[1593] EGYPT, ROUND 3- Okay, it’s been around 10 days since the protestors took to the streets- where are we at? If you listen to the right [Beck, Hannity, Rush] the narrative that you get is that Obama is blowing it- like Jimmy Carter did with Iran in the 70’s. Carter did not support the moderate Shah and instead we got the militant Iranian Revolution that set up a religious theocracy- one of the biggest enemies of the U.S. today. Is this accurate- is Obama throwing an important ally under the bus? Well- in a way- yes- but in another ‘way’ he really has no choice. It does seem like he initially sided with Mubarak- the first statements from the Whitehouse were sympathetic to the man- they did not call him a dictator and they seemed to be satisfied with the promise that Mubarak would do better in the future- not at all what the protestors wanted. As the days went by, it became obvious that Mubarak’s days were numbered and the president changed his tune- he needs to go- now. Okay- he has been behind the curve somewhat- doing the best he can. The right wing narrative- that Obama is really in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood- that’s a little much. Has he tried to reach out to them? Some reports say yes- but the reality on the ground is these guys will play some type of future role in the govt. so it seems likely that we will have to talk with them. Okay- what about the left’s narrative- yes- they too have one. Rachel Maddow- Chris Matthews- as advocates for the president- have actually mocked the theory that the radical Muslims want a ‘Caliphate’ [Becks new word]. Maddow ‘exposed’ Becks conspiracy theory as being nutty. First- we do need to remember, just because someone is paranoid- that doesn’t mean people are not really out to get you! I reject Becks narrative- but for any news person to not see the real danger in the radical Muslim groups- that they very much are positioning themselves to take advantage of the instability- then you are simply being ignorant of the real world. While I think the protests were probably not instigated by the radicals, yet there is no doubt that they would love to pull off a Caliphate- if they thought they could get away with it. In the end of the day it does look like Mubarak’s days are over- whether he hangs on until September or not- he is finished. Who will replace him? We don’t know- Mubarak and his new V.P. are speaking some truth when they say to the West ‘look- even if we wanted to transition right now- we can’t do it in a day’! They have warned Obama that to just walk away [like the president of Tunisia did the other day] would open the door to a radical revolution. I think there is some truth to this. Whoever takes over down the road- it is obvious that they will not be an ally like we had in the past 30 years. The majority of the Arab world will not support a strong support of the West and Israel- those days are over. The fear is this thing might domino- not only in the unstable African countries [Libya] but that it might grow to the Persian Gulf states. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, countries that were deemed stable because of their economies and wealth, these are now possible candidates for a revolt/revolution. It is possible that Yemen will fall- and Al Qaeda has a very strong presence in Yemen [remember the underwear bomber? He was trained in Yemen] if that happens- we will have another Afghanistan on our hands [when the Taliban ran the country]. So overall we don’t have a lot of say in the matter- if Mubarak seems to be on his way out- Obama can’t support him- because the new govt. would be our enemy from day one. To link the entire thing to some secret political motivation [going all the way back to Frances Pivin!] is loony, but to think that there is no real danger of an organized radical takeover in the region [call it Caliphate or not] is being naïve’ to say the least. As Christians we should be on the side of justice and equality and freedom- for everyone- yes even Muslims. We should reject ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE to achieve these goals- and we should not ascribe hidden motives to our president- it’s legitimate to ask whether or not he’s doing the right thing- but to link his decisions to a past affinity to Islam- that’s going a bit far.

[1592] EGYPT, ROUND 2- Wow, I haven’t posted in a few days- and what a few days it has been. The protests in Egypt have the world’s attention- the king of Jordan voluntarily replaced his govt. [he saw the ‘writing on the wall’ an actual biblical story of a finger writing judgment on a wall- announcing judgment on a real king who once lived in the area!] and other ‘quasi’ democracies are shaking in their boots. Okay- what’s happening? Of course you have various theories on what’s really going on. Some [Beck] see a behind the scenes move by the Muslim Brotherhood to institute a modern Muslim Caliphate- where all the Muslim/Arab countries in the region will eventually join together and attack Israel. There is no doubt that many militant Muslims would want this- yet it does seem like the initial reason for the protests is the reality that the younger generation of Egyptians, who have grown up under a corrupt regime- they are tired of being brutalized by the police and treated with disrespect by their own ‘president’. These Egyptians [some Christian] are wanting Egypt to move forward in the 21st century and to modernize their political process. The present ruler- Hosni Mubarak- took the reins after the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. Sadat was the first leader of an Arab country to sign an actual peace treaty with Israel [1979] and it led to his killing a couple of years later. Mubarak was Sadat’s right hand military man- and he was elected [Egypt is a Republic- allows for elections- they’re not what you would call a Western Style Democracy]. He has since been ‘re-elected’ to office 5 consecutive times- most outside observers says these elections were rigged. Mubarak attempted to show that he was willing to allow for real elections in 2005- he ran against some nominal names- the real political threat was prohibited from running- and after the corrupt count was in- he won by some unbelievable percentage- and the politician who was deemed the biggest threat to Mubarak was put in jail. That’s the type of ‘Democracy/Republic’ they have. So after 30 years of this kind of rule- the younger generation is fed up. The human rights abuses in Egypt are also very high- the police regularly brutalize their people- and those who have tried to speak out about the abuse- they are retaliated against. Now- what questions should we in the West be asking? First- why have we been sending this country a billion dollars a year in aid? How many other ‘friends’ do we have like this? Countries whose leader is corrupt- yet they side with us politically [Egypt has been our number 1 ally in the Arab world when it comes to ‘peace in the middle east’] and because of these alliances we overlook the abuse of the citizens. Over the years we have tried to nudge Mubarak towards a more open/humane rule- yet he has never seemed to respond to ‘the nudge’. After a while- the U.S. needs to re-think it’s willingness to continue to turn a blind eye to the oppression that these leaders are inflicting on their own people. In the last post I wrote I mentioned how I ‘felt’ like I needed to write a post on Africa [Egypt is in Africa- the other African nation- Tunisia- seemed to spark off the Egyptian protests. The Tunisians began their protests first] I felt like the words/thoughts ‘Africa is on fire’ were running thru my mind for a few days- this was before these protests broke loose. Sometimes these ‘ideas’ are said to be ‘prophetic’ you know- Christian talk that normal people usually don’t use- so let me say- it seemed ‘strange’ that I had these thoughts a few days before the real fires broke out. As I was watching the news last night- my daughter sees all the fires in the streets of Cairo- I explained some of this to her- and I realized it was just a few weeks back that I kept thinking ‘Africa is on fire’. During the news broadcast a woman was asked what’s happening in her country- what does she blame the riots on- she said it was her generations fault [she was an older woman] she said for years the Egyptian people willingly turned a blind eye towards the corruption in their government- she said they sacrificed justice for stability- she said it was their fault that this happened. Sounded so ‘strange’ to hear her describe it like this.

[1591] CHRIS MATTHEWS ‘THE PANAMA CANAL IS IN EGYPT’!- Okay- this past week a lot has been going on in the world- I really wanted to title this post ‘we didn’t start the fire’ [Africa’s revolution] but the Matthews thing was too tempting. First- as I write- protestors are in the streets of Egypt- a popular uprising calling for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Why? The same discontent that we saw on the streets of Europe- low wages- a rich/poor caste system- and an overall economic rebellion- people do not want what they see as an unequal balance. These past few weeks the African continent has been in a sort of revolt; Tunisia and Ivory Coast want their ‘dictators’ out- Sudan overwhelmingly voted for independence from the north- and Egypt- the most stable Arab country in the region [though Egypt is technically the northern most country on the continent- it really is a major player in the middle eastern conflict- it borders Israel’s southern border] is in the middle of a popular uprising that no one expected. Egypt has the largest military in the area- has made peace with Israel- and has a proud history of a continuous rule dating back all the way to the Pharaohs- for this country to possibly fall into the hands of the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’- the other major political player in the country- this would not be good. Okay- why the title to this post? Last week- yes- Sarah Palin did it again- in a very short response to Obama’s state of the union speech- she criticized Obama for using the term ‘Sputnik Moment’ [it was very weird- to be honest- I’m sure the speechwriter has been removed from his job after this blunder]. And she kinda criticized Obama for pointing to the former Soviet Union as an example of ‘our moment’. So she says the Russians launched their space program –did beat us with the Sputnik satellite in the space race- we came back fiercely under good old J.F.K. and put a man on the moon. In the end we won the race- and the U.S.S.R. lost- plus they eventually bankrupted themselves with their soviet system. So in Palin’s quick response- I guess you could read it like she was blaming the Russian space program for their financial woes- but it just seems like she was making a legit criticism that using ‘the Sputnik Moment’ was way out in left field. Then of course Chris Matthews spends a few days seriously concerned about the intellectual criteria for the Tea Party crowd- I mean he asks whether or not they really need to go back to Elementary school and get educated- on and on- Bachman, Palin- etc. So as Matthews is covering the Egyptian story- yes- he talks about the importance of Egypt- and he says one of the major reasons that Egypt is so very vital- is because we ‘all know’ that the Panama Canal is located in Egypt. Okay- if you don’t know history/geography- we can forgive you- but when you spend a week critiquing the ‘low level of intellect’ of your political enemies- and do this- then you too need to take a few moths/years off and simply get an education. I mean it’s possible to not know the whole history of the region- but the PANAM CANAL- in Egypt- It’s the Suez.

[1589] THE KINGS SPEECH- Okay- I didn’t see the movie yet [though it’s supposed to be good] and I also didn’t watch President Obama’s speech the other night- but of course I heard the usual spin from the right and the left. From the snippets I did catch- it seems like the President did the best he could do with what he has to work with. Okay- I think the ‘high speed rail’ thing is kinda beating a dead horse at this stage of the game- sure- would I like to zip real fast around the country without having to go thru the plane molestation procedure- yeah. But in reality, even if we managed to accomplish it- it would basically serve the needs of the ‘blue states’ the most. I love the North East- grew up in Jersey- but its kinda playing to your base when you promote a major investment that will primarily benefit the home team. All in all there really isn’t a whole lot the President can do to turn things around. Though the stock market broke the 12,000 mark yesterday- in reality we have a long way to go before the country as a whole experiences real recovery. This year we are probably going to have more home foreclosures than last year. Last year we topped just over a million- this year it’s projected to be around a million and a half- we start the year with 5 million home owners 3 months or more behind in their payments- not good. Unemployment is still very high- 9.4 %- and we are still spending way more than we can afford as a country. The 3 main expenses of our govt. are the military- Medicare/aid and social security. Now I realize social security is not ‘part of the budget’ in the sense of borrowing and spending- yet we do have to address the reality that too few workers are expected to support too many retired folk- we need to change some things- and politicians in general don’t have the stomach for it. The military budget is another taboo- we can’t keep spending the amount we have been- this doesn’t mean we need to back down on national defense- but do we really need to keep hundreds of thousands of troops all around the globe- 50 thousand still in Germany- we need to retool this thing. Overall we have some major adjustments that need to be made- and we can’t just say ‘cut’ nor do I think the answer is ‘spend more’ we need to spend more wisely- and cut wisely. When talking about saving millions/billions by taking away a benefit from a person who is really in need- or saving a billion in one slice from some plane the military says they don’t even need- then of course- don’t keep the plane! Yet at the same time- there are lots of cases of people gaming the system. Look- I have lots of friends- for many years- who have gotten disability checks- or sold food stamps- or used the food card- to buy drugs. One of my buddies- been gone for a while now [Fla.] used to get his monthly check from the govt. [S.S. disability] and the entire check [around 500] was spent on crack- gone in 2-3 days. Okay- we have a problem with this system. Many years ago- while working as a firefighter- I got into the whole ‘buy a cheap house- fix it- rent it- sell it’. It was okay- made some money. After a while I made a conscious decision to get out of the whole thing- though I had lots of ‘preacher’ friends- who were ‘preaching money’ all the time- I mean the whole message was wealth- yet out of the whole bunch- I probably was the ‘richest one’ and I was the only one preaching against it! So I finally got out. I had a buddy at the Fire House- a new guy who came all the way from California just to take the job [it was a little strange for someone to move from Ca. to our little town for the job] and he was a few years older than me- but I had worked as a firefighter a lot longer. So as time rolled by he told me he still had a condo in Ca. and his renters were tearing up the place- lots of problems- things I was all too aware of. I advised him to sell- because Ca. has this screwed up system [because of their property tax] where the value of the residence is much more than what you could make on rent [I think he was getting around 800 a month on a condo worth 250 thousand] I told him- from a purely financial view- that this was a bad investment. That if I were him- I would ‘get out while the getting’s good’ [it was right before the big drop in the Ca. market] and that I would maybe buy a rental or 2 from the money- residentials were going for around 80 thousand at the time- nice rental homes that you could rent for 1000 a month- and that I would simply stick the rest of the money in some safe return instrument. Sure enough he sold- made the money- and told me all about these financial seminars he was attending. He also refused my advice- he was taught that you should spend every penny of the profit from the previous sale- to avoid paying taxes on the profit. I told him ‘yes- in theory it sounds good- but I’m giving you practical advice from experience- you should not blow all the profit- you need to keep some back for expenses’. So he didn’t listen- spent it all on 3 homes in San Antonio and later told me as the end of the year came up- that he was having trouble paying the huge tax bill. He also was going to invest all the rental profit into a life insurance policy- and instead of making interest income that would be taxed- he would take a loan from his policy- tax free- and then pay the loan back [with more rental income] in order to avoid the taxes. I told him ‘brother- we are in the middle of the worst insurance company meltdown in the history of the world [AIG] who are these geniuses telling you to put all your cash in an insurance company?’ he took my advice this time. The point? There are real financial difficulties that the country is facing- and there are not any quick fixes to get out- it’s going to be tough for a long time. We should all do our best- be charitable- it helps others, as well as yourself- and seek first the kingdom of God [not money!] and all the things you need will be taken care of- at the end make smart financial decisions and trust God as well- it does work.

[1584] OUR COURT SYSTEM- Okay- yesterday I spoke a little about race- politics. Let me share a routine I got into these last few years- whenever I read/see a news story about a local person facing severe criminal prosecution- I add that person to an actual ‘prayer wall’ [about 12-15 names so far] and I pray for the person/case over the next few years. I have people on the wall who I have been praying for- for around 7 years or so. These are cases where they were sent to jail for murder- others who had stiff sentences for multiple felonies- and some who seem to have gotten ‘shafted’. One case is Hannah Overton- she was tried for murdering her foster child- Andrew Burd. She was found guilty and I think they gave her life in prison. As I watched the case develop it got lots of attention in the media- Hannah was a Christian missionary, living locally and attending a local church. Her foster son had drank water with spices in it- Hannah found him not breathing and they took him to a clinic down the road from where they lived. I did not join the crowd of ‘free the Christian’ type thing- she claimed total innocence- said she gave the boy the water/spices because he had an eating disorder- always wanted food- and she gave it to him as a filler. I personally did not believe that- yet I felt trying her for murder [I forget the exact charge- it was a charge that you would get if you actually shot someone] was overboard. The case was public- the prosecutors- who are basically elected politicians- played it to the hilt ‘we will rid the streets of such heinous criminals’ while right down the street from me they can’t even solve the crime of the car that pulled up in broad daylight- blew the other driver away- and took off. But these cases, child abuse, make for good theater among the electorate. So during the trial, the prosecution dropped the charge of making it sound like she killed the kid by giving him the water- even the doctor for the prosecution disputed his own team- instead they found her guilty of not getting the boy to the hospital in time- and this crime/mistake [not abuse] was punished with the same severe sentence of actually killing a person. The problem? As someone who has worked in the emergency field for 25 years [Fire/E.M.S.] the last thing you want to do is discourage people from bringing injured people in for treatment because they think if they didn’t bring them in fast enough they might be sent to prison! This case eventually made it to one of the news magazine shows [20-20, 60 minutes?] and they had some medical experts testify, that yes indeed, this boy did have all the signs of an eating disorder that was consistent with Hannah’s story. During the case others who knew the child did testify that he used to eat anything he could get his hands on- trash, stuff like that. So it did very much raise doubt in my mind- but even if she was guilty of all the things eventually charged against her- which was simply not getting aid rendered in time- this should not have merited such a harsh sentence. Then a few months back- while watching the news- I saw a local judge [might be the same one? Not sure] involved in a car wreck that almost killed a person- maimed him pretty badly. The judge was doing 70 MPH in a 25 MPH ZONE- on a turn. He hit a city worker on the shoulder and almost killed him. As the case developed the judge was simply fined a traffic ticket and the local media explained how even though the stated speed limit was 25, the official limit on the highway is 70, and that’s what you go by. I have been to these wrecks many times- if it was a civilian- he would have gotten some type of reckless driving charge. The judge got off. The problem with these cases, dealing with the law- men who get sent to prison for 30 years- later released on DNA evidence [just happened to another Black guy here in TX.] We need to hold the system responsible- what type of penalty should the prosecutor get for lying under oath? You ask- what do you mean brother? These prosecutors stand in the court- look at the jury- and then point to the defendant and say ‘he is guilty, he robbed- killed- raped- etc.’ and then when we later release them after ruining their lives- those who stood in court- and yes- did lie under oath [the things they said are now found to be factually false] what penalty do they pay? ‘Why brother, if we held them to that standard [of not lying] then you would have a hard time getting prosecutors to try cases’. Maybe we need that- we need judges, prosecutors, and others in the system to be more careful before they go after people- knowing the case is getting good political theatre- then they will be more careful before they falsely accuse people [the Duke Lacrosse team]. And to have a system- a system where a judge gets a ticket for what others face harsh penalties for- this system is simply too unjust at times- to trust this system with handing out the death penalty- I personally am against it- too much room for personal agendas and false balances. Though we do get our court system from the Old Testament law- Moses the law giver and the moral code of the bible is actually the basis for our system- yet in that system you did not have the role of a government sponsored prosecutor- who would actually lie in court as part of his job- you had witnesses appear before a judge and the witnesses and the accused would have a chance to tell their story- but you did not have cases where the govt. officially had a prosecutor falsely accuse the defendant- our system is problematic- even from a biblical view.

[1583] DOCTOR KING- This past week we once again celebrated the life of Martin Luther King- a few weeks ago I did some teaching on how important it is to keep things in their proper context. In the area of Christian preaching/teaching the worst example I have dealt with over the years was the very popular teaching- often described as ‘the prosperity gospel’. Maybe at the end of this post I’ll re-post my first little book I wrote- it dealt with the issue. Years ago, when learning the bible and pastoring my own home church- I had lots of preacher friends- and one time everyone got into this business [it basically was a pyramid scheme] I think it was called Diamonds- anyway my Christian friends all got into it. I avoided the whole deal. One day one of my buddies was telling me all about it- how it’s based on the bible and all. He went on and explained the verse in Matthews’s gospel [chapter 6?] where Jesus gives the famous teaching about the parable of the planter [sower] of seeds. In the teaching Jesus makes a statement ‘and some get a hundred times back from what they plant’ [the 100 fold return]. And as he went on he explained that the will of God was to make a hundredfold return on your money- so that’s why we should all be joining the ‘team’ because if we are not out- every day- pursuing ‘the return’ then we are obviously disobeying Jesus. As he was speaking- I realized he really did not see that the way he was reading Jesus words was so out of context- I mean in the actual teaching Jesus says ‘the deceitfulness of riches chokes the seed- so you don’t get a full harvest’ in this context- you see Jesus is not all about us spending every day of our lives seeking a huge financial harvest- I mean you can’t miss it! I did say to my friend ‘ hey brother- you do know the bible says ‘they that desire to become rich have gone off track- they have been sidetracked from the faith and have gone down the wrong path- the love-pursuit of money is the root of all evil’’ 1st Timothy chapter 6. He simply had no idea that the bible taught this- the preachers he was listening to never dealt with the bible in context- they just took bits and pieces of it- and developed teachings that were contrary to what Jesus actually taught. So I found it ironic that many in the media- who praise doctor King for his non violent stance- his statement on judging people- not on skin color, but character. These same people portray the president as a socialist because of his past associations with the labor movements. Yet Doctor King, the night before he was killed- gave the famous speech at Mason Temple- in Memphis- he said how he now wasn’t sure that he personally would get to see the final results of his mission- in a sense he knew he was going to die- but yet he ‘saw the mountain’ he knew he had traveled far enough on the road God had initially called him to- with all of his own personal failures- yet God permitted him to see that the end result would be accomplished- though he was beginning to doubt whether or not he would live long enough himself to see it. It was a very prophetic event for sure- the next day doctor King would give his life for the cause. But many in the media don’t tell you that King was in Memphis supporting the poor working conditions/wages of the garbage men- he was supporting a union cause! The point is- we often read- hear bits and pieces of the story- and if we are not familiar with the record- the life of the person- his struggles and personal convictions- then it’s easy to miss read what the person was all about. I guess I’ll post the short little book here at the end- those of you reading this on the sites that are not big enough to fit the whole post- you can go to the blog- corpuschristioutreachministries- and the books and studies can be found in the 2-2010 posts, and the 8-2010 posts [and next month they will also be in the 2-2011 posts]. The book I mentioned is called House of Prayer or Den of Thieves and the study is called Prosperity Gospel- you’ll get more from those teachings on this subject.

[1582] HITCHENS-PIRATES AND M THEORY- Let’s talk a little more about Christopher Hitchens book- God is not great. As I’m reading thru the book- and also doing some studying on Modernity- it’s obvious for me to see the errors in the arguments Hitchens is making in trying to refute the existence of God. Instead of attempting to refute each argument he makes [and to be honest- he does make many classic mistakes- things that are not really hard to show as false]. Let me give you just a few points- Hitchens comes at you from all angles- history, science, historical criticism [a view of the bible that tries to undermine the historical accuracy of the faith] politics- he basically covers all the angles that I too like to engage in. He is smart- no doubt about it- and he mocks Christians, Jews, Muslims- and he does it in a way that says ‘you are all idiots’. So that’s why when attempting to refute him- when I see him doing something stupid- I try and bring that out. Okay- one of the major mistakes Hitchens makes [a common mistake in the field of apologists versus atheists] is he appeals to the basic idea ‘we- as intellectual people do not accept things based on faith- we only believe things that can be scientifically proven to be true’ now- how many times have you heard this? This argument is only made by those who are ‘novices’ in this debate. Why? Because at face value it is very easy to refute. Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris- and all the other famous atheists believe in all types of historical events- things that happened in the past- without a single shred of ‘scientific proof’. Let’s see- Do you believe Lincoln was shot? Have you personally done DNA tests on the remains? Have you even seen the remains? Let’s see- what about Aristotle and Socrates and Plato- surely as refined as these men are- they most certainly believe that these great Greek philosophers lived 4 centuries before Christ. Again- what scientific proof can you show me- you know- the standard that you’re using to judge whether or not Jesus ever lived? Basically the argument that says ‘faith and Jesus and God are not real truth- not like science’ is a totally illogical argument- unless these men would have us believe that they reject all of the above historical figures I just mentioned. So how does the bible- Jesus- God- hold up to the historical test [not the scientific test!]? Point of fact- there is no other historical person- in the history of the world- with more historical proofs of his existence. There are no other ancient documents- dating back to the time of Christ- that have the historical accuracy that we find in the New Testament- Luke- the writer of both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts- from a purely historical point of view- is considered the best- most accurate- first century historian to have ever lived [I explained it all before under the Evolution/Cosmology section- I think it’s in the 8-2010 posts]. Basically the argument Hitchens is making is dishonest at its core. Then- he gets into M Theory [geez- didn’t really want to go there] Okay- I love studying science, history, Physics. And to be honest- Physics is really not my ‘field’ that is I prefer to show you the mistakes Hitchens is making when he pretends to be a bible student [he makes statements that he is a regular reader of the bible- who goes thru it often- I seriously doubt that claim- he seems to be familiar with certain critical scholars of scripture- theories that have long been rejected- documentary theory by Wellhausen- and you can kinda tell he simply reads the critics and incorporates their ideas into his own- heck- if there is no God- then what’s wrong with plagiarism?] Okay- Hitchens seems to be enamored with Stephen Hawking- I wrote about Hawking a month or so ago- in his recent book- Grand Design- he made some ‘Grand mistakes’ and I refuted these errors. Now Hitchens seems fascinated by certain theories of Hawking- and his worship of the man’s theories goes to the extreme. Hitchens speaks of the famous idea in theoretical physics called M Theory- modern physics [standard theory] says our universe is made up of Pixels- fine points of matter that are unseen by the naked eye- but exist as the basic fabric of the universe. Now- we all accept this- Atoms- Neutrons- etc. all little ‘dots’ if you will, that make up our universe. So M theory [a theory that expands upon String theory] says ‘no- maybe the universe is made up of these strings- these vibrating strings that form into circles- and under these hoops- there are buckets that make up the matter of the universe’ Okay- just think in your head of a piece of string- make a loop- under the loop stick a basketball net. Walla- that’s the theory. Now- does this sound stupid to you? Well you’re in good company- it also sounds stupid to a growing number of very able physicists! Yes- many brilliant- non religious scientists- will tell you that doing science like this- just making stuff up- is loony. So to be honest- as interesting as theoretical physics is- there are many things that simply do not meet the standard of ‘solid science’. So- why mention this. Hitchens uses this theory as proof against the existence of God [in a weird- tortured way] and at the same time says ‘I don’t accept things that can’t be scientifically proven’ yet the whole M theory field is very doubtful- some think the whole thing is simply not true. So it’s stuff like this- obvious mistakes- that are sprinkled all thru out his book. I mean he even makes mistakes that novices make- he mistakenly refers to the establishing of the state of Israel as having occurred in the 19th century- I mean I can’t believe he doesn’t know the actual date- 1948- I have to think that he simply made the common mistake of thinking the years 1900-1999 are the ‘19th century- a common mistake made by people who are just beginning the journey of learning [obviously the 1900’s are the 20th century]. But at the same time he lambasts Christians as idiots and does stuff like this. It reminds me of the time I was watching MSNBC- now this cable channel is filled with nonstop mocking of the political right- one morning the host [Scarborough] was doing his show- and he reads the upcoming story to come on after the commercial- but you can see he’s confused- he asks someone off screen ‘does that say Pirates’? And they tell him yes- he then says ‘folks- your not gonna believe this- but when we get back- yes- we will cover the developing story of Pirates- yes I know it sounds unbelievable- Pirates attacked a ship off the coast of Somalia’. Now- no one ever said anything- he came back and simply reported the story. What’s wrong? He obviously thought Pirates meant ‘Pirates’ you know- Johnny Depp and the Caribbean. I’m sure someone informed him during the commercial ‘Piracy is the official term for robbery on the high seas- you dummy’! Can you imagine the mocking they would have done if Sarah Palin had done this? So I see in Hitchens a mocking of religion and at the same time a conceited view of his own intellect- and the intellect of other atheists- he engages in a sort of debate that says ‘look- you religionists are idiots- we are not’ and he makes such obvious mistakes- things that ‘uneducated’ people do all the time- not bad people- just common mistakes like the ‘19th century’ thing. And if people make mistakes like this [Pirates- etc.] fine- we don’t want to beat people up- but if the entire premise of your book [or cable channel] is ‘look at all the Christian idiots’ and then you make the same mistakes your criticizing the Christians for- well then yes- you look as silly as Joe Scarborough thinking Johnny Depp and his crew were out robbing ships!

[1580] MODERATE ISLAM? The other day I wrote a post on one of the coalition leaders that formed the new govt. in Iraq- I noted how this guy was a warlord who killed our men during the war- he is now one of the top political leaders in the govt. – the same govt. that our men are dying for. O well, maybe he has changed his tune? As soon as he took his seat- he spoke of our brave men and women- our guys dying on the field- he referred to them as ‘THE ENEMY’ and vowed to rid his nation of the U.S. scum as soon as possible. You wonder why I’m against the war.

I wrote another post about the killing of the governor of Punjab province- Pakistan. The governor- Salman Taseer- was a moderate Muslim who spoke in defense of the Christian woman- Asia Bibi- who was sentenced to death for INSULTING MUHAMMAD- And just how did she commit this terrible crime you ask? There were some guys working the fields in her area- she offered them water to drink- they told her they would not drink water from the defiled hands of one who believes in Jesus. Fine- she defended her faith and they reported her to the law- for supposedly breaking the blasphemy law. O- I forgot- they raped her first. Surely the govt. – you know- our allies in the war- the country we pour billions of dollars into every year- surely they will step in and stop this atrocity. I’m sure MSNBC and all the liberal women’s rights groups will spend weeks condemning this atrocity- that is if they can take a break from accusing Sarah Palin of being responsible for the mass murders in our country. The Pakistan govt. condemned the woman to death. The killer- Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri- who murdered the governor for defending the woman- has been praised for his act- by whom? The radical extremists who have ‘hijacked Islam’? He has been praised by 500 top leading scholars of Islam. These scholars are referred to as ‘moderate’. These same leaders said anyone attending the funeral of the governor- or speaking out on his behalf- they too will be guilty of blasphemy and would deserve to die as well. These are the top moderate scholars mind you.

The point? We have our kids dying in these countries- we have parented with these governments and spent billions of dollars in aid- some estimates say we are spending 100 billion a year in Afghanistan alone. The former president [Bush] often defended the wars by saying we are freeing women who are being oppressed by oppressive regimes- we are establishing free- peace loving democracies in the midst of the radical extremist world- when I look at all these above events- I wonder if the ‘radical- extremist’ governments are being replaced- it seems to me that they are still running the show.

[1578] WEEK IN REVIEW- Okay- I need to share one of those weird moments- at times in the past I’ve had signs and stuff that to be honest- do freak me out. So this week, as I have been reading various bible chapters- kinda skipping around- I read the words of Jesus in Matthew about the last days. So I realize I kinda joked about it the other day- wrote a post called ‘doomsday is here’ and shared a few thoughts. So as I was looking at some of the bible passages on the end times- I focused in on a verse- one that I have liked/written down in the past- It’s Jesus doing the talking [you know- the red letters] and he says ‘when I return- it will be no secret- everyone will know- it will be just like the lightning that shines from one end of the sky all the way to the other’ [my paraphrase- which means I’m basically making the king James version easier to understand] Some versions say ‘like a bright light that will shine from one end of the sky to the other’. Okay- no joke- I’m watching CNN the other day [yes- the doomsday channel- go read the other post] and sure enough Wolf Blitzer [In Letterman’s top 10 the other day- he had the top 10 things said at Larry Kings retirement party- one was ‘will somebody tell Wolf Blitzer to put on a shirt’!] has a story about a strange light that ‘shone from one end of the sky to the other’. So I watched the story- yes in some state [?] many people witnessed a bright unknown light that lit up the whole sky- and they said it went from ‘one end of the sky to the other’ they had one video of the reflection seen on the ground- it looked like a huge flash from a camera- only longer. It was weird- you say ‘Okay brother- you have gotten me mad with your politics- you rub me the wrong way with all your bible stuff- and now you got me a little scared- kinda wondering- so what do you want me to do’? Okay- sow a financial seed for $1,000 every time you see …. [okay- I know- I need to top doing stuff like this]. The story is true- just kidding about ‘the seed’ [I don’t take money- ever].

Kinda wanted to stay on track with the last few posts [guess I already blew that] but let me do this- let’s do a ‘week in review’ thing- and at the end I will post the study I did on the book of Galatians- it’s in keeping with the bible study I’ve been sharing.

Okay- the week is gone- we had the terrible shooting in Arizona and the nation mourned. The [liberal] media made total fools of themselves- they blamed the deaths on Sarah Palin and the right wing- day after day Chris Matthews said ‘where is Palin! Why won’t she talk! Come out and take responsibility [for something you didn’t do?]-or you will be erased’. Then- after the entire nation realized that the shooter held to no specific political ideology [though you could make the case that he is a radical liberal- he is an atheist- had Marx’ book in his possession- he certainly does not fit the description of a right wing radical Christian fundamentalist] after a few days of Mathews and one of the main stream news networks accusing her of being responsible- she finally puts out a video [yes- I now the blood libel thing] and she says she is not guilty for the shooting [which is true] simply defends herself in public after being accused, and the main accuser [Matthews] saying day after day ‘why are you in hiding- it’s proof of your guilt’ so what should the woman do? She ‘comes out of hiding’ and yes- the liberal media says ‘can you believe the gall of this woman! To have the nerve to make a statement and to shame the victims by trying to steal the spotlight from the dead 9 year old girl’ wow. I believe MSNBC should just go away- this network- along with the entire group of accusers who jumped the gun [Paul Krugman] these people are a shame to humanity [am I blunt enough?]

A few years back we had some guy fly his plane into the I.R.S building in Austin [Texas capitol] at first people though ‘right wing nut job’ found out later that he was a disgruntled left wing ‘nut job’ an avowed Marxist. Oh well. A year or so ago we had some guy try to blow up a car bomb in Times Square- mayor Bloomberg opined ‘maybe it’s someone on the right, disgruntled with the health care law’ wrong again- radical Islamist. Strike 2. Okay- one more chance to find a real right winger- I know- remember Ted Kaczynski [Unabomber]? He was the guy sending bombs to corporations and stuff- blowing up people for many years- they finally caught him- it turned out that he was a radical environmentalist- had Al Gore’s book in his hut- and he saw the industrialized world as the enemy- strike 3. I do not recall in any of these instances- a single media story about the danger of radical left wing speech- about Chris Matthews dangerous rhetoric when he says ‘someone needs to shoot a co2 pellet into Rush Limbaugh’s head’ in none of these stories was there even an inkling of blame placed upon those who hold to left wing ideology. But the media this week not only blamed Sarah Palin personally for the victims in Arizona- but the entire mainstream media, when caught with their pants down- haven’t themselves apologized for jumping the gun in the shameful way that they did- they haven’t retracted their accusations [in the main] nor have they personally apologized for doing stories about Palin ‘targeting’ the district of the woman that was shot- linking the silly political ‘targeting of the district’ with the horrendous shooting of the congresswoman- this single piece of reporting has been the most irresponsible piece of biased journalism I have seen in years.

So to finish for the week- I think the president gave an excellent speech the other day- did not play into this hype- and deserves credit for being a good president- a president who represented both sides of the aisle.

[1576] CHRIS MATTHEWS, ED SHULTZ AND THE HOMELESS- Spent the day yesterday on the streets with my homeless buddies- it was cold! I was on foot. Ran into Henry, one of the brothers who really knows his stuff. Henry is originally from Massachusetts and he always has great discussions about the bible- he’s sort of one of those undiscovered genius types- a ‘rain man’ type guy when it comes to the bible. We came back to the house for the afternoon- made a little lunch/dinner type thing. A few months back another one of my buddies, John David [I wrote about John a while back- he was strung out on cocaine for years- has been clean for a while] came by- he started a drug rehab- told me the location and showed me the story they ran on him in the news [it made it to CNN!] I was excited- the next day I wrote a 50 dollar check- stuck it in my wallet and figured the next time I run into him I’ll give it to him as a gift. Never ran into him since- so I gave the check to Henry- he will get with brother Ray- a street preacher who is also struggling with finances right now- and they will split it. Henry would never be able to cash it by himself- or else I would have just given him the 50. I Heard Roger might have died in jail- about a year ago he threatened to kill a cop [he’s all talk- never would have done it] and they charged him with a terroristic threat- sent him away for a year. Roger was a good friend- hope he didn’t die. Around 4 o’clock Henry was heading out to go down the road to brother Rays place [lives a mile or 2 away] I gave Henry a bunch of bible studies that some ministry sends me every month- I don’t have time to read them- hate to throw them away- so I save them for Henry, he loves them. The preacher is from New Jersey- a Messianic Jew- I sent him some stuff once and just said hi- he has been sending me the studies ever since. As Henry was walking out- he had the check- a little doggie bag I whipped up for him with some stuff- the studies and all- he told me ‘John- this has been the best day I have had in a long time’ I knew it wasn’t the check- or food- Henry sees me as one of his best friends- and he really gets into the fellowship time- I usually share some ‘scholarly’ stuff I’ve been reading- the trends going on in theology and all- he eats that stuff up- loves learning- but doesn’t always have up to date info on the recent developments in the field of theology- so he just likes learning.

Okay- though I hate to do this- let me make a few more political/news comments. After Henry left I caught the news for a few hours- Chris Matthews has chosen to use the deaths of the innocent victims in Arizona for political gain. He went on a rampage of saying because of this Sarah Palin needs to come out and apologize for using political targets to target Democratic districts- he said she will forever be associated with the deaths- that you will be able to Google Palin and crosshairs and she will be marked for life with the deaths of these people- and he said she will be ‘ERASED’ [no lie] if she doesn’t apologize. This man is more dangerous than Glenn Beck- most people see Beck for what he is- Matthews is not seen as a ‘nut job’ it is very possible to take his words to mean he is calling for the assassination of Sarah Palin- so very sad. Then Ed Shultz [another guy I do like] did his show defending his segment ‘psycho talk’ I missed the beginning of the show- but you got the drift that some on the conservative side have shot back at the liberals and said ‘look- you lib’s use radical talk too’ so Ed was defending his segment- than- to my shock- he transitions to a segment called RAPI- FIRE [God- please help us all] and as he asks the 2 democratic guests their views on the irresponsibility of Palin and the right using images of guns and crosshairs and targets- the 2 guests seem embarrassed that the name of this segment is called RAPID- FIRE with the words ‘rapid fire’ blazed in red and blinking on the bottom of the screen- I mean Shultz comes on MSNBC right after Matthews- who just called for Palin to be ‘ERASED’. I couldn’t believe the stupidity of these men- to put it bluntly. At this point it looks like the shooter was just a mentally disturbed young man who had no consistent political views- yes- in the beginning it seemed like he might have been a right wing nut job- a Tim McVeigh type personality- but the evidence just does not show that. Of course what he did is still horrendous- it just doesn’t seem to have been instigated by right wing ideology. It just seems hypocritical- of course the right wingers are going to show you all the examples of the left doing the same things that they are outraged over- so another ‘target’ was revealed- it was made by the Democrats- and it had exactly the same rifle/scope targets over the districts of Republicans- then they of course showed you the clips of Obama saying ‘when they bring a knife [political opponents] we bring a gun’ and I even caught this one my self- when the president made the end of the year deal with the republicans- the lame duck congress- he had to defend himself against the liberals who were mad- so he innocently says ‘You know- I didn’t agree with everything in the deal- but when HOSTAGE TAKERS are threatening to hurt the hostages- than you make the deal’ now- we all know the president did not mean to send a message to the real hostage takers of the world- telling them ‘yes- I will deal with you if you start killing off the hostages’ and I heard no conservative voice accuse him of this [someone might have- I did not hear anyone so far] – it would be irresponsible to take the political speech of the president [we’ll bring a gun- hostage takers- etc.] and use that as a political tool to shame the man- yet that’s exactly what some on the left are doing- I agree with those on the right and the left who are calling for a step down on the rhetoric- from both sides- but those who are publicly saying that the rhetoric from one side is what caused these peoples deaths- that’s being irresponsible to the max.

[1575] ARIZONA SHOOTING, PART 2- I really didn’t want to do a ‘part 2’ on this- but after I wrote yesterdays post I caught the news and this thing is really heating up. The first day the shooting happened I did not watch the 24 hour news cycle that covered it nonstop. I also skipped it the following day. Whenever a major event occurs [the minors trapped underground] I think these news events are important, but to do a 48-72 nonstop coverage of the event is not good. There are many important world events that take place- and when you pick a single one to cover nonstop- for a few days, then it distracts from the other very important events. Okay- the major problem I see right now is you have both sides of the political aisle blaming the other side for either causing the event to happen because of their rhetoric- or the conservatives blaming the Democrats for using this as a political tool. Who’s right? First- lets all agree that we should stop using language like ‘target’ or ‘take the opponent out’ in political speech- lets also be honest that both sides have used this language- and I don’t know of a single case where a politician has used the language to incite violence. Now- some are saying whether they meant to incite violence or not- they did. Others are saying it’s too soon to link cause with language; that we don’t yet know what set off the disturbed man who did this. On his site he had his favorite books listed- Mein Kampf [Hitler wrote it] and the Communist Manifesto [Karl Marx]. While the Hitler book might define the man as a radical right winger- the Marx book would make you think he was a radical progressive- so we don’t know what set this man off. Number 2- Sarah Palin. First- personally I am not a fan of Sarah Palin- I don’t dislike her [or her family] but I think she just isn’t the type of person who is ready for high office. Second- the media [MSNBC] has done the woman wrong by opening the door to criticize her and her kids- some were minors at the time- and by involving her kids personal lives [Bristol] to become fodder for the comics and late night comedians who have actually made jokes about the girl getting ‘knocked up’ under the bleachers by A-Rod and stuff like that. I remember watching Keith Olberman one night [I like Keith by the way] and he often calls her an idiot- this night he had a reporter on the show- this reporter was in Alaska the week before and he was attempting to get a scoop on Palin- she refused to talk with him and wanted him to leave. The next day her kids came home- one was a minor at the time [9 or 10?] and they told their mom that this same reporter ‘ran into them’ in town and was asking them questions- trying to get info. Now, these were Sarah’s daughters, they were in town and approached by this strange man- how would you feel- after you already told the man to leave you and your kids alone? What if something like this happened with the president’s kids? So Palin reports the guy- wants him to leave them alone. Olberman reports the story that Palin is a psycho who is so paranoid that she is harassing this innocent reporter- the reporter- in his mocking of Palin- says ‘this woman is a nut Keith- I was just in town the next day because I figured I already flew to Alaska and might as well go sightseeing’ he then says that the kids spotted him- they recognized him as one of the media reporters who covered Palin in the past [probably a lie] and that they came up to him to say hi. Keith accepted this version and went on to mock her. What’s the problem? This man did indeed cross a line- as an adult male- approaching young girls outside their home- after being warned not to bother the family. These girls were not defended by the media- but mocked- that’s wrong- the media has lowered the level of responsibility in dealing with this family. When they [including a major news network] continually had the ex- boyfriend of Bristol on their shows, they allowed this kid to say whatever he wanted ‘did Sarah walk around and call her son a retard Levi?’ Are you kidding me? How many ex- boyfriends of Chelsea Clinton- Joe Biden’s daughter- or anyone else ever get this type of coverage? Yet they have dragged these kids into the spotlight in a way that is simply not done with anyone else. Now- why say all this? Many in the media are saying that Sarah Palin is responsible for the congresswoman’s shooting and the deaths of the people. Okay- now what do her kids do? Go to Skate Night with their friends? Are you kidding- the media is blaming her family for one of the worst mass murders we have seen in years. When the Democrat, Joe Manchin, recently did a TV ad- holding a rifle with a scope- pointed it at a target that was ‘Obama care’ and put a real bullet thru the target- was he blamed for violence? Do you think this ad was worse than Palin putting a target on the districts that they were ‘targeting’ politically? Should we drag Joe Manchin’s daughters into the spotlight- finding out all their secrets- making jokes about them having sex with A-Rod? The problem with this whole mess is both sides need to reject the games- drop the language that may incite people who are unstable- don’t just blame one side for using the language- both sides have. And pray for the congresswoman and the families of the victims as well. When we demonize the other side- make them look like enemies of the state- these things can effect unstable people- but if Palin and others have done this- don’t make it sound like they themselves are responsible for the deaths, or that they meant for this to happen- because it puts her whole family in danger- including her kids.

[1574] ARIZONA SHOOTING- Kind of wanted to cover a little more about yesterdays post- by the way I mentioned I had a few studies in the 2-2010 posts, the others are in the 4-2010 posts [Galatians, John]. Maybe I’ll just post one of them at the end. Of course 2 days ago we had the horrible shooting in Arizona- a congresswoman and others were shot- last time I checked she was still alive, and 6 were dead [I haven’t checked since last night]. First- of course we as a country should be outraged at this, the young man who committed the crime is obviously unstable- many in the media think they are being responsible when they use this as a ‘conservative versus liberal’ agenda. The first report I read kept reminding the readers that Sarah Palin ‘targeted’ this woman during the campaign- the reporter kept stating how Palin even had crosshairs over her district. Now- I have written about this before- how I actually watched CNN do a whole show on the irresponsibility of using crosshairs [I agree]. The problem was they had a Democrat [Paul Begala] condemn the use of the crosshairs by Republicans- and they chose the co-host of the longest running show in the history of the world that every week had huge crosshairs on all the guests [The show was called CROSSFIRE]. The point is for the article to have made it sound like the political use of the word- target- was the cause, this is playing into the entire fear mongering that we all need to drop- every side! I also noticed the rage of those who spoke out against the killings- yes- we should all be very mad. Some said ‘you don’t understand- these people were good people’- our entire country stopped for a few days just to be enraged. Now- in no way am I saying this terrible event was ‘brought upon ourselves’ like God is punishing us for our sins [like Pat Robertson and Falwell said in their comments after 9-11] but listen- carefully. The other week I watched a CNN show on a foreign reporter who spent a few weeks behind the scenes with the Taliban- they showed you the local commander and how he was living with his 2 little cute kids in his worn out house. The boy and girl must have been around 5 or 6 years old- they sat on the reporters lap and posed for pictures [yes- I’m sure some of it was propaganda] – the little girl was so cute- wearing her little dress and all. At the end of the report they reported that these 2 precious kids were accidently killed when we hit the camp. Now- were these kids as innocent or as valuable as the innocent victims in Arizona? Did we stop the news for 2 days over this? For 2 minutes? Does the fact that this president has been responsible for more civilian deaths by drone planes than all other presidents combined bother you? Yes- we’ve only been using these remote control planes [to kill people] since Bush- but Obama has been responsible for more civilian deaths in 2 years than Bush killed in 8 [with the drones]. Do we- as a country even care? We seem to get outraged when the innocents are wearing our skin- but when they wear Arab/Muslim skin we don’t care. Once again- I am outraged too over the crime committed in Arizona- I too feel that the political tone in the country has gone way overboard- and in a sense when a nation involves itself in many deaths of innocent people- whatever the excuses- when we not only don’t stop- but actually have increased them under a president who swore he would end the entire debacle- then we do reap what we sow in a sense- we open the door for things like this. I was outraged when I saw the deaths of innocent Muslims- and when our president was able to comment while vacationing in Hawaii with his 2 beautiful kids- I just wish we could see all these kids as beautiful- not just the ones who belong to us.

[1573] Let me just give you guys a heads up today. These past few months or so I have been doing a lot of posts on Philosophy. Sometimes I do a bunch of history- or science- or another subject. For those of you who come to the site strictly for bible teaching- yes- there are times where I do an entire book of the bible- or cover a series on a biblical truth [Justification by faith- etc.]. On the blog [corpuschristioutreachministries]- if you go to the February 2010 posts- you can find all these studies. But for today let me just do a brief overview of where we are at- by the way I also wanted to mention the referendum in Sudan [Africa] today- today southern Sudan will vote on whether or not they want to be independent from the North [I’m almost positive they will vote for independence]. Sudan has been in a civil war for over 20 years, around 2 million people have been killed [massacred] in the process. The ruling north is predominantly Muslim- the South Christian [another long story having to do with independence from Britain in the early days]. So why should we pray for Sudan today and in the next few weeks? Because if the South does break away- many Christians who live in the North will be in danger of severe persecution as retaliation for the South’s vote- so let’s pray today [1-9-2011] and in the next few weeks for Sudan. Okay- the brief overview I want to do is to simply remind all our readers that the main truth- or thing we all need to re-focus on is the reality that the Christian message is one of reconciliation- that God, thru Christ- has ‘brought back’ the world to himself as a Divine gift. In essence the Christian message is not ‘turn your life around- be good- and then go to church and you will be saved’. Now- being good- going to church- all of these things are good to do- but many times people get the cart before the horse and the world never really understands the message of the Cross. When the bible says ‘repent and believe the gospel’ it is not saying ‘stop sinning and believe the gospel’ in the sense that your telling a drug addict ‘once you quit the habit then God will accept you’ the word repent in the new Testament does of course carry with it the idea of ‘turn away from sin’ but it mainly means ‘change the way you think’ or basically it means ‘are you finally tired of what you’ve been doing? Then let’s try the God thing’ [of course that’s my spin on it]. In essence the message of Jesus and the church is ‘God forgives and accepts people, not based on how good they are- but on the fact that his Son died for you and rose again’. In the book of Romans the apostle Paul says ‘If God gave his son for us- how much more will he freely give us everything else’. People [Christian’s/ preachers] often make the message confusing- sort of like if you don’t get all the details just right- you aren’t ‘saved’. The fact is if God gave his son for us- paid such a high price to save man- then why would he also go thru all the trouble to make ‘getting saved’ so difficult- that most of mankind will miss out on it! The basic way we are saved is thru faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ- this is what the gospel [meaning good news] is according to the New testament [1st Corinthians 15]. If you read the gospel of John, the letter to the Romans- or the letter to the Galatians [all New Testament books found in the bible] you will read the story of how God chose to save men when they would simply believe in Jesus- yes- the gift of God is eternal life thru Jesus Christ. Now- as a student of theology and history- I certainly am familiar with all the many controversies surrounding the various churches and how they implement the sacraments- or baptism- or ‘the sinner’s prayer’ when encouraging people to accept Christ. The main point I want to make today is the reality that many times in the New Testament the bible speaks about those who believe in Jesus, that these are ‘the sons/daughters of God’ [John chapter 1]. If you just pick up the bible this next week or so and read thru the gospel of John- you will be surprised to see how many times Jesus himself connects simple belief in him with eternal life ‘for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life’ 3:16- ‘he that hears my words and believes on him that sent me has everlasting life’ 5:24- ‘he that believes on me has everlasting life’ chapter 6- the last chapter of John says ‘many other things did Jesus do that are not written in this book [John’s gospel] but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of God- and thru believing you might have life thru his name’. I want you to think differently today about ‘Christianity’ or ‘going to church’ or ‘God’. Over these last few months I have engaged in lots of arguments for the truth claims of Christianity- refuting the contemporary atheists- showing the historical proofs for Christianity. For many people they hear things thru out their lives- little bits of info that cause them to doubt certain aspects of the faith- and then they use these arguments- often easily disproved- as excuses to say ‘that whole Christian stuff is a bunch of bull’. So the apologetic arguments for the reality of God are intended to ‘un-do’ many of these excuses- but at the end of the day the message of eternal life is simple- it’s a free gift given to all who will simply believe. I was going to post one of the bible studies here at the end- but just go read one or 2 of the ones I just mentioned from the blog- or pick up a bible and read a chapter or 2 a day- I mean the book of Galatians is only 6 chapters, you could read it in a single sitting. Okay- that’s it for today- remember try and pray for the church in Sudan- that all will go well and there won’t be any violence because of the vote- and do a little bible reading the next day or so. God bless, John.

[1571] DOOMSDAY IS HERE! Okay- they say when you make a post you should try and start with something that will catch people’s interest. One time I was gonna begin one with ‘SEX CULT’ and then say ‘hey- did I ever tell you guys the new name of my ministry’? But then I thought someone may be a first time visitor to the site- and last! [I did a study on a movement called ‘the children of God’ and read a few books on it years ago. Then about 5 years ago they made it back into the headlines- one of the kids who was brought up in the cult- Ricky Rodriguez- killed one of the leaders and made a confession video and took his own life. The story is very sad. Every now and then I see a documentary on the group- when I first studied them they were not that popular in the media- then later it became much more exposed. I have the post on them under a section called ‘cults’ I think it’s in the 8-2010 posts? ] So anyway that’s where I’m at today.

This past week the news has been showing the strange bird deaths that have taken place around the country- to be honest it is a little eerie. Then yesterday I plopped down on the couch to feed my news addiction [yes- a true addict. I have the remote set for my own favorite channels- about 10 news channels. Every now and then I’ll hear my wife or kids in the living room trying to find their channel- I’ll here ‘geez- dad’s got the thing on his news channels again!’] So I figured I would escape the world and catch some news- you know we all have tough stuff we are dealing with- some people eat chocolate to escape- others watch soap operas- I escape in the world of news. So as I turn on the set sure enough Wolf Blitzer is reporting another ‘breaking story’ of a massive fish/crab kill off the beaches of some country. Now I already knew about the birds dying- and I earlier read a story in the news paper that a bunch of Manatees died off the coast of Florida- and now Blitzer is doing a ‘collage’ of all the events- with the heading IS DOOMSDAY HERE?

So of course we all would like the answer- as soon as possible if you don’t mind- you know I might change my plans for the day if it is here. Then Blitzer says ‘we’ll let you know at the top of the hour’ What! I felt like my wife’s friends son- he is a real nice kid, growing up with his mom in a single parent home- kind of a hard luck story. Chris has been by the house lots over the years- he struggles with ADD and his mom has had her tough times too. I kid Chris a lot- he’s around 15 now. One day my wife tells me that Chris was feeling sick- so his mom [Sunshine] gave him some medicine from the cabinet- and then she realized it was the wrong stuff. She panicked- running around calling the poison control center and all- she tells my wife the next day [he is fine by the way] that it was kinda funny- as she was running around trying to find the number- telling Chris she gave him the wrong stuff- she says the poor kid went and laid down on the couch- reading his bible for the first time in years!

So you see- if doomsday is here- I would appreciate it if you could kinda give me a heads up. Then I flipped the channel to Beck- I figured he surely will be telling the world some type of global conspiracy behind the thing- to my surprise he was covering it- in a responsible way! Yes- he said he googled ‘bird deaths’ and found that these events are not that out of the ordinary. I was surprised to see Beck being more responsible than Blitzer. So as I waited for CNN to finally cover it- they showed the events and really didn’t say whether or not doomsday is here.

Okay- I don’t want to make too much light of the subject- the bible does speak about an ‘end of the world’ but we should not jump to conclusions too fast. In the gospel of Matthew Jesus does say ‘like it was in the days of Noah- so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man’ [Jesus return] and Jesus himself goes on to say that in Noah’s day they were eating and drinking and marrying right up until the day that Noah entered the ark and the flood came and took them all away. Jesus says many people will be caught by surprise. The apostle Peter says that people will scoff at the idea of the second coming of Christ- they will say stuff like ‘geez- we have been hearing this for years- it’s never gonna happen’. So we as believers want to be aware of the reality that yes- someday there will be a wrapping up of the ‘present order’ and a ‘new heavens and earth’ will appear.

It’s a little too much for me to cover right now- but a lot of the language we find in the New testament about ‘end of the world’ in the original Greek language means ‘end of the present age’. It is not necessarily a biblical belief to see the world exploding in one big bang- but more of a future hope that someday [preterists believe that day has occurred with the coming of Jesus and the establishing of the ‘new age’ of the new covenant] God will ‘wipe away all tears from our eyes’ [Revelation 21] and a new age/world will appear. Yes- it is true that there will also be a future judgment- but the main point is the Christian belief of ‘the end of the world’ does not simply point to some type of destruction of the planet.

So where are we at right now? Come back tomorrow and I’ll finish the post. Okay- won’t pull a Blitzer. Basically I think we should always live with the possibility of ‘meeting God’ at any moment- whether it’s in death or some outward thing- we should try by Gods grace to live unselfish lives- not always consumed with our own welfare- but to put others before ourselves. We should use situations like the ‘bird deaths’ to talk about what the bible says- and what Christians believe- and at the same time not overreact to things like this [like some Christians did during the Y2K event]. And it also does no harm- if by chance you ingest the wrong medicine- go ahead- grab a bible and start reading- it won’t kill you.

[1570] NOTE- please pray for my daughter Becky this next week or so- she has a serious health issue that she is facing- thank you]

This past week we have been able to read more of the Wikileaks memos; what more have we found out? It was revealed that last year we put pressure on the president of Afghanistan to remove a corrupt official from his govt. The man- Ismail Khan- was a former warlord for the Mujahedeen, he heads up the water and energy department. It is estimated that he is stealing around 100 million a year- his total cash assets say he’s worth around 250 thousand- what a shame. When we put pressure on Karzai to get rid of the man, he said he was told by Hillary Clinton that he could stay- as long as would appoint better officials under him- our U.S. ambassador says he told the president [Karzai] that if he didn’t fire the man- we would stop giving them financial aid. When all was said and done, Karzai kept the man- basically saying ‘I don’t care what you do’- we are still giving them the aid.

In Iraq- the govt. finally cobbled together a unity coalition from the various ethnic/religious tribes and formed a ‘unified’ govt. One of those included [Muqtadar Alsadr- I’m guessing on the spelling?] was one of the chief warlords who used to be deemed a serious threat to our troops in the region- he had his own militia and he killed our men- as we did his. I remember years ago during the height of military action we said we were going to kill the man and dismantle his little army. Now he’s part of the government. After he got in- the president of Iraq gave a major press statement- he said the 2011 date for the removal of all U.S. forces was non negotiable- even though our country was hinting about extending the deadline. I’m glad they want us out- the point is once again those in authority are not leaders who are embracing western democracy [except for the corruption!] nor do they view us as their friends- these are the countries our sons and daughters are spilling blood in.

Last but not least. In the province of Punjab [Islamabad, Pakistan] their progressive- pro western governor was assassinated by one of his security team. This governor was educated in the U.S. [Harvard?] and was considered one of the most moderate voices in the country. Why was he killed? He publicly criticized the death penalty verdict given to a Christian woman who broke the blasphemy law of Pakistan. This woman said something that was deemed offensive to Islam [?] and she was given the death penalty- by a government that is supposed to be our ally- who we pour billions of dollars in aid every year- this same government whose intelligence agency is infiltrated with those who we are fighting- yes our boys and girls have shed much blood working hand in hand with this government.

The other day the Pope gave an address after the recent bombings of Christians in Egypt and Iraq. He said there were 2 main threats in the world today; religious extremism and secularism. Secularism is the belief that religion and morality should be a private matter- that nations and governments should be totally free from the influence of religion and those who wish to practice it should practice it in private. The other threat- radicalism- is the belief that religion and those who embrace its tenets should try and impose their views on others by force. The Pope saw both of these extremes as being dangerous. As I’m reading thru the book by Christopher Hitchens [god is not great] those of you who have been reading my posts see that I am very critical of the man- showing his flaws in logic- the obvious mistakes he is making in his quest to ‘secularize’ religion. Yet at the same time I must admit I agree 100 % with his argument against radical religion- the ‘fundamentalism’ spoken of by the Pope [not talking ‘fundamentalism’ as defined as the bible churches we see spread throughout the Bible belt].

The main reason we are in Iraq and Afghanistan is to repel Al-Qaida from territories where they might plan attacks against the U.S. [of course the other ‘main reason’ we are in Iraq is because of false intelligence that said Iraq was amassing W.M.D.’s] The terrorists who flew the planes into the towers on 9-11 were people who have been influenced by radical Islam- not all Muslims hold to these views- but the majority of terrorist networks in the world today do. In our attempt to ‘rid the world’ of this danger- we have embarked on a worldwide agenda that has cost the lives of many innocent women, children- as well as our soldiers and even soldiers who joined the Taliban or Iraqi forces simply as a means to put bread on the table- many Taliban fighters are in it for the job! After all these years of trying to deal with the threat of radical fundamentalism thru the means of force- where has it got us? The poor [deceived] religious fanatic who took the life of his governor in Pakistan- he killed him because the governor spoke out in defense of a Christian woman who was given the death penalty [by stoning!] because she insulted Islam. My friends- this is a war that cannot be won with bombs and guns- we cannot rid the world of the threat from ‘fundamentalism’ by means of violence. The sooner we figure this out- the better off we will all be.

[1568] ALEXANDRIA- EGYPT. Last night I was watching the news coverage of the demonstators in the streets of Egypt- they were protesting the government’s response [or lack] to the bombing of the church in Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt [around 4 million people live in the city]. As I watched the sad story- in my mind I recalled all the times I have run across Alexandria in my studies of history. The city was founded by Alexander the great in the 4th century b.c.e. It had the largest library of the ancient world and was Egypt’s capitol for around 900 years. When the Muslims took over in the 7th century Cairo became the new capitol [under another name at the time]. Alexandria was one of the great centers of Christian learning during the first few centuries of the 1st millennium of Christianity. I remember reading about the great church father Origen- he lived in the 3rd century and eventually would head up the school out of Alexandria- one of the first Christian schools of the day. The famous philosopher Plotinus also had a lot of influence in the city. It was sad to see the destruction on the news- so many years later. This morning I read Revelation chapter 13. The apostle John writes about the persecution of ‘the beast’ against the Christians- the apostle says he makes war against Gods people and overcomes them. We often neglect to see this aspect of scripture- I mean how many songs have you heard that say ‘the beast overcame us and killed us’. We like to sing stuff like ‘we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb’ [another verse from Revelation]. Yet the apostle foresees a time of persecution of the church that will include the deaths of many believers. Those who think the book of Revelation was written early [before a.d. 70] see Nero as the one who bares the mark of the beast- yes the popular 666 is in this chapter. Others who date the book later [around a.d. 90] see the emperor Domitian as the beast- either way John was speaking about a future ruler who would severely persecute the saints [and of course the most popular view today among evangelicals is the anti Christ is yet to come]. In verse 10 of the chapter John says those who kill with the sword, must die the same way- this is the patience of the saints. John is communicating to the 7 churches that he is writing to that they should not retaliate against their oppressors- they should patiently endure- knowing that the persecutors will eventually ‘hang themselves’ with their own rope. Of course the great empire of Rome would finally fall- and for those who see Nero as the 666 guy [my view] he eventually dies a shameful death as well [he killed himself].

As I watch the various responses from Muslims and Christians [and Jews] to these types of events- we all have a tendency to view things most favorably to our own particular viewpoint. While some Muslims are of course outraged over the church bombing- yet the Christian community is more enraged. When the recent peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down- many Christians in the west couldn’t care less- many of them view the entire conflict thru the lens of end time dispensationalism [an end time view that sees Gods plan being played out by the displacement of Palestinians from the land]. I grew up in New Jersey [yes- the state of the great governor Christie!]. As a good old Italian boy- I had lots of ethnic friends- Germans, Dutch, Spanish- etc. Many of these families were immigrants to the U.S. whose families had a history of living in the country for a hundred years or more [some less]. Now- if I were to come to your neighborhood, and tell you ‘look, the governments of the world made a deal [league of nations- later called the U.N.] and you have to leave this area and another group is going to move in’ how what this make you feel? Put aside your view of the bible and how you see ‘Gods plan’ being carried out- I mean just as a human being- how would you feel? You would feel terrible- you would think ‘geez- my father and his father settled here a hundred years ago- I’m not an alien!’ Yet the Palestinians were living in their land for 2 thousand years! Okay- just see the other point of view. Some of the Palestinians are Christians [small %- 2-5]. How do you think they feel when they have been praying for justice- many lost their homes and family estates during the displacement- and then they see the parade of American Christians trod thru the land like their on some Holy Land adventure- taking the kids to Disney world type thing- and yet in the real world lives are being lost on both sides of the conflict.

Most American Christians who hold to these end time scenarios that play into the geopolitical situation on the ground- they don’t realize that many Jews- and even many in the Israeli govt. do not completely embrace their enthusiasm for Israel. The Israeli leaders also know that most of these scenarios see a bloody conflict that will take place in the Holy Land [does Armageddon ring a bell?] and that many Jews will be slain- only a small remnant will escape [does the number 144,000 ring another one?]. The Israeli security forces in the city of Jerusalem actually have a specific profile for a group/persons that they see as dangerous to the city. Do you know who these ‘dangerous persons’ are? They are the tourists that enter the city every so often- and they have this wild look in their eyes- they are there to await the return of Jesus and they believe that they will be a part of the end time army that will spill much blood and defeat the forces of the enemy- yes- these types are deemed dangerous to the Israeli’s.

Lets pray for the peace of all people- let’s do our best to reject all forms of violence as being totally unacceptable- whether it be the bombing of a church in Egypt- the destruction of the Buddha statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan [they destroyed these ancient pieces of art when they rose to power in the early years]. Even the bombing of abortion clinics- or the shooting of doctors- we need to see what the apostle John saw- those who take up the sword must in this manner be killed. I think too many of us have signed our own death warrant.

[1565] HITCHENS- BLOOMBERG AND ADAM- Okay- being I’m finishing up my last book, I made the mistake of going to half price books yesterday- mistake? Yes- I’m going thru some courses right now on philosophy and really shouldn’t be starting any new books right now- but heck, I couldn’t help myself. So as my custom goes- my wife dropped me off [they know better than to wait at the store- I usually take a few hours] and I begin the obsession. First I go thru all the shelves of the targeted category [theology, philosophy, etc.] and pluck out the books I think are relevant. Then when the process is complete I usually purchase 3-5 books from the collection [yes- I leave the rest on the shelf for the poor book worker to put back into the proper section]. So anyway as I was walking outside after the purchase I sat at one of the outside coffee areas where lots of people usually hang out [you know- the professors- one time there was a guitar playing hippie singing about the war in Vietnam- in 2009!]. But this day it was surprisingly empty- only one homeless guy. As I sat to start Christopher Hitchens best seller ‘god is not great- how religion poisons everything’ I realized that the reason the spot was empty was because the homeless kid was sitting there at one of the tables- playing with one of those kids toys- you shake it back and forth and it claps- and he seemed to be talking to himself. To be honest- some of these guys are my best friends- I’ve spent thousands of man hours just hanging out with these brothers over the years. I really didn’t talk too much- trying to dissect Hitchens- then my wife drove up and beeped the horn. As I got up to leave- I saw the brother kinda look my way- seemed to be waiting to see the scared- or violent type response they usually see- you know ‘stay the hell away from me’ type thing. I caught his eye and just gave him a friendly ‘hey brother- how you doing’ he was so glad to be seen as a human being. I walked over and figured I’d talk for a minute or 2. I didn’t realize it at first, but he was wearing headphones and listening to music- he wasn’t talking to himself after all. He told me he was listening to Floyd- I told him I too am a big classic rock fan- that while living in Jersey I missed their concert in 1979-80 ‘The Wall’. He knew the year- it was 1980. I just spent a few minutes having a friendly talk with him- maybe the first real communication he’s had all day- most of these brothers are nice guys- yet they often struggle with mental issues- he looked to be in his late 20’s, originally from some northern state- probably headed south for the winter. As my wife was waiting in the car- beeping the horn- probably thinking ‘Oh know- another one of his homeless friends’ [yes- I’ve met hundreds over the years- and they’ve all been to the house many times] I told my buddy I got to go- he asks ‘what’s your name’? John. Hi John- my name is Adam. Strange- the man who was made in God’s image- Jesus said ‘in as much as you helped one of the least- the down and out- you have helped me’.

Okay- once again I really needed to do a post or 2 on philosophy- before I get too ahead of myself in the study; but let me make a few comments on Hitchens book [see- I told you I shouldn’t have hit the book store!] Okay- I’m gonna try and be nice to Hitchens- he is one of the famous atheist writers of the past few years- these guys are referred to as ‘the new atheists’ the group consists of some notable names- Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris- a few others. These guys kind of became popular in reviving some of the old arguments against religion and God- most modern readers are not aware that they are simply re-hashing the same old arguments that have been refuted in the past- and to be honest this bunch make a whole lotta errors in their thinking/arguments. Most well trained Christian apologists have thoroughly refuted them. But being Hitchens is dying [or died? I haven’t checked recently] of cancer- I’ll try and be nice [try!]. Okay- like some of the book reviews I read- Hitchens is crude and mean- and yes- at times ignorant of his glaring mistakes. He describes a nice old teacher he had as a youth- as a young boy growing up in England- she taught the schoolboys about nature and science- and yes- God. I thought he was being nice telling the story. Then he calls her ‘a pious old trout’. He refers to the sex abuse scandal that’s rocked the Catholic church- he calls it the ‘no child’s behind left’ scandal [a takeoff on the no child left behind policy]. So yes, this book- while containing some real good history- also sounds overly crude. Hitchens also appeals to mans great intellect and sophistication as being all we need for true morality- he says man does not need God, religion or the bible to be moral- after all we have the great works of literature! Sounds good- right? He then goes on and mentions the names of the great authors- he mentions Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy among others- and makes the argument ‘see- we have morality and truth contained within these books without needing religious truth’- geez- every well read person will tell you that these authors are known for their books being inundated with religious morality- it’s no secret that these 2 authors are considered some of the greatest Christian/religious writers of their time. How Hitchens could appeal to the ethics contained in their writings and say ‘see- we don’t need religious ethics- we have these guys’. I mean these types of obvious flaws jump right out at you- to be honest I have only read the reviews from these famous atheists in the past- but most of the reviews have pointed stuff like this out- I just didn’t think these guys would be this ‘amateurish’ [geez- don’t want to call the guy an idiot- or an old trout- that wouldn’t be the Christian thing to do]. So anyway I guess I’ll hit a few high points of the book the next week or so.

Last- but not least. Have we had our own Greek crisis? Those of you who follow the news are aware that this last year the European Union has suffered from a severe debt crisis- many states that make up the union have struggled to try and cut costs and sure up their economies- Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland are still very much in trouble. So the other healthier economies in the union [Germany] have put pressure on the weaker ones to get their houses in order- they refer to this as ‘austerity’ taking measures to reign in the financial crisis. As a response to these cutbacks- like raising the retirement age and hiking college tuition- many citizens have taken to the streets in protest- govt. workers going on strike and all. People have wondered if stuff like this could happen in the good old U.S. of A- it looks like it might just have! In sort of sneaky way. The blizzard that has wreaked havoc on the north east these last few days has caused problems for N.Y. and N.J. [my old home turf]. The mayor of N.Y. – Michael Bloomberg- has come under fire for not getting the streets cleared in time. Word has gotten out that some of the street workers were told by their bosses ‘go slow in the clean up’ so to put pressure on the mayor to not eliminate their jobs- sort of like an under the cover strike. If this is true [we don’t know for sure] then it would be our own workers rebellion against our austerity measures- while it’s not as bad as what Europe has gone thru- never the less it’s still bad.

[1564] DRUNK WITH THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS- Wasn’t sure which way to go today? It’s strange that I have been thinking about covering the sad story of the Christians in Iraq; since the war they have been persecuted severely- a few months back one of their main churches was attacked, many have fled to the northern region of the country [Kurdish area] and many are seeking asylum in our country. Saddam Hussein protected the Christian church in Iraq- he was not considered to be a radical Muslim leader- like the Mullahs in Iran. So it’s sad to see the Christian church possibly being eliminated from this ancient country. The church in Iraq dates back to the 1st century- they still speak Aramaic [some of them] which was the actual language Jesus spoke. Anyway- the thing that seems strange is I felt like I should read Revelation chapter 17 this morning- and in the chapter the apostle John has this vision of Babylon [which is Iraq- geographically. In the chapter it’s a symbol of the Roman Empire] and as he sees Babylon he says ‘she is drunk with the blood of the saints’- yes indeed, much Christian blood has been spilt in Iraq.

Okay- the other day I was watching some show about a group of people picked from all over the world who were chosen to participate in a sort of round table discussion where each person would spend so many months just sharing in conversation with these other people. Some were from the U.S., others from Muslim/Arab countries- some were from Israel. The conversation they had was really revealing- they were not scholars, but they showed you the point of view from other perspectives. One of the questions they asked was what should happen to Iran? Should the U.S. intervene in their desire to obtain nuclear weapons? One of the Americans said we should- because they might be a danger to world peace [a common ideology among many Americans] then one of the students from a Muslim country said ‘then why do you not feel it is also wrong for the U.S. to have nuclear weapons’ and the American gave some type of simple answer. Why does the Muslim world have a problem with the U.S. seeming to play the role of arbiter- who can have- or not have a nuclear arsenal?

Are there any Muslim/Arab countries that have them today? What about other countries who are also unstable? Let’s see- Pakistan [the most unstable of the bunch right now] India [Pakistan’s rival, also a major reason why Pakistan will not eliminate the Taliban from the mountainous region of her nation- they see the Taliban as playing a major role in the future govt. of Afghanistan and they need some ties to the Taliban in order to balance out any power play between India and Afghanistan] Egypt, Israel, North Korea, Saudi Arabia- well as you can see there are a bunch of nations who already posses nuclear weapons- or are on the road to getting them. So when the average Muslim sees our attempt to intervene in who gets nukes, they see it as a hypocritical game.

What is the world history on nuclear attacks? How many countries have actually used nukes to attack/respond to other attacks? One. Who dropped the first Atomic bomb in the history of the world on another country? We did. Okay- let’s give this another shot. Who dropped the second Atomic bomb? Okay- us again. One more time- who dropped number 3? No one. So let’s see this from the perspective of the Muslim student who questioned the reasoning of why the U.S. has nukes- but doesn’t want other nations to have them. The student was told that if other nations [Iran] has them- they might use them. Yet they see us as the only country that has ever actually used them. Look- I know why we used them- and many have questioned the morality of what we did in WW2. Were we just in dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? We killed around 200 thousand people- civilians- not military [not counting the many who died in the following years from radiation sickness]. One of the definitions of terrorism is the purposeful targeting of civilians for a political/military goal. To the Muslim world- we targeted these civilian cites [they were not collateral damage- the civilians were the target] for a political/military goal- to end the war. The point is we [Americans] have a tendency to view things from one perspective- we rarely see the end result of our actions. Who would have thought that our war in ancient Babylon [Iraq] would have contributed to one of the fulfillments of John’s prophecy ‘Babylon- you are drunk with the blood of the saints’.

[1563] VICK- PAKISTAN AND THE GAMES WE PLAY- I really wanted to do a little more on Philosophy today-maybe I’ll get to it at the end. Let me talk about a few points of interest in the news right now.

First- the other day- right around Christmas- a Pakistani woman strapped a bomb around herself- had 2 grenades in her hands and walked up to a food distribution center in Pakistan and blew herself up- killing 45 people along with herself. The President spoke about it from his Hawaiian vacation spot and called the act cowardly. Now- what would cause a woman- possibly a mother- to do this? Cowardice? Desperation? A feeling of hopelessness and seeing our bombing in her streets as oppression? I obviously do not condone the act of the woman- but she was primarily looking for a way to retaliate against our remote control planes [drones] dropping bombs all over the damn place- killing women and kids in the process. This whole thing is a mess.

On a lighter note- the President made another announcement- a phone call from Hawaii- he called Tony Dungy and thanked him for giving Michael Vick a second chance with the Eagles. Michael is the quarterback who a couple of years back was caught doing the dog fighting thing [yes- bad stuff]. He was convicted and did 18 months in jail. The eagles picked him up and he has had a great season and has managed to redeem himself as a really good player. So some in the media have criticized the president for congratulating Dungy for hiring Vick. I must say, while I disagree with the president on lots of stuff- I agree with him 100 % on this. At the time of the Michael Vick story I wrote in favor of Vick- I thought it was nuts that we have had players involved with killing people- guns falling out of their sweat pants at the clubs- all types of stuff- their chauffeurs running people over when they are in the car- and lots of times these players keep playing and never do jail time- yet Vick did almost 2 years- and some people still want him to be punished. I’m happy for Michael and I thank God he’s doing so well- he had a real risk of maybe not being able to play well, when you go to jail for a couple of years during your prime- that can ruin your career. I thank God he has made the most of his second chance- and I too praise Dungy- a fellow Christian- for giving Vick the second chance.

Okay- last but not least. As 2010 comes to a close- these last few weeks investors have pulled over 8 billion out of the U.S. bond market. They see the writing on the wall- that inflation is very likely to rear it’s ugly head and interest rates are going to go up. Why? How many of you remember a few weeks back when the Federal Reserve [our nation’s central bank] bought billions of dollars of U.S. treasuries? At the time you had global trading partners condemn us for trying to manipulate the global market- many voices from our country also said it was a risky move- it might cause inflation [when investors think interest rates will rise- they pull money from the bond market and put it into stocks- that’s also why the Dow is up]. They seem to have been right. The other day I was talking to my brother in law- he was asking me about some of this stuff. I explained to him that if you were playing Monopoly- and you and a few other players did real well- but mid way thru the game the banker simply put another million dollars into the game- how would that affect you? Basically ‘printing money’ like this- out of thin air- will devalue the money that’s already in the game- it will create inflation- everything else would become more expensive because the extra money devalued the original money that was on the board. So it looks like we did this- they’re predicting gas to go up to around 4 dollars a gallon- and those of you buying food- you already have seen the prices go up. So the nation basically borrowed money from ourselves [monetized our own debt] and it seems like the world won’t get fooled again.

[1558] ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel- which is translated “God with us”. Matthew 1:23. This is an interesting- and important verse for all believers- we celebrate the reality of the virgin birth of Jesus during this season. Do you know where this verse comes from originally? It comes from the mouth of the prophet Isaiah [chapter 7]. The scenario is the king of Judah [Ahaz] is targeted by 2 other nations- Israel [the northern tribe of Israel] and Syria. These 2 kings make an alliance against the southern tribe of Judah and decide to make a breach [hole] in Judah’s wall and use their land as a staging ground for future military and economic purposes. The king of Judah hears about the plan and the bible says ‘he- and all the people shook like trees in the wind’- yes it felt like Rumsfeld was coming with a shock and awe campaign. Then in the midst of this fear- God tells Isaiah the prophet ‘go to the king and speak with him’. Isaiah gives him a prophetic word to not fear these 2 nations- their plans will not succeed. Then Isaiah tells the king ‘ask God for a sign- in heaven or earth’ and Ahaz says no, he will not test God. Isaiah then prophesies the above verse about Jesus. It just seems so strange for this verse, about Jesus- the Prince of Peace- to come in the middle of a military setting like this. The other day I saw some video of our troops in Iraq/Afghanistan- it was video leaked by the Wikileaks organization. They showed a few instances of our pilots in attack helicopters chasing down suspected insurgents in vehicles. You see the video of the chase, and the men in the vehicle getting out of the car and holding their hands up to surrender. The pilot radios back to his commander that they are surrendering- the commander tells them they are not able to take prisoners during the helicopter attack [obviously it would be difficult- you would have to land- slow down the entire operation for a few hours, and then go back to base camp and unload them- yes- it would be very inconvenient]. So the commander tells the pilot ‘we can’t take them’ the pilot doesn’t know what to do. The commander says ‘they are still targets’ after about 3 seconds of waiting- the pilot realizes the commander is saying ‘shoot them- with their hands up’ they do. Now, do I demonize our brave pilots for this- No. What about the commander- not really- though he bares more responsibility for the call- it was later shown that we do indeed take prisoners with helicopters. But I ‘blame’ the political miscalculations that were made years ago that allowed these men to kill these surrendering forces. They also showed video of a chopper targeting a building- as they unload the payload and destroy the building, you see a civilian walking right in front of the building- unaware of the impending attack. He’s blown away. Later- when the investigative journalists found the report for that attack- there was no mention of the civilian death. Just last week we pulled our station chief out of Pakistan- he’s the head C.I.A. guy running the drone operation from the country. In essence he’s in charge of the ‘remote control’ planes that bomb certain targets. Many innocent civilians have been killed thru these attacks. Mothers and fathers have sued the U.S. govt. over the deaths of their relatives and children. They showed protesters in the streets calling for justice for their loved ones. The Pakistanis finally realized the station chief is the person running the show and they ran him out of the country. How would you feel if someone was conducting a remote control war on your block and was accidently killing your son or daughter? King Ahaz was in the middle of the thicket- worrying about the next military move to be made against him- God sent a prophet to him in the midst of the action- he prophesied of one to come some 700 years later. A sign if you will- a virgin will conceive a child and this child will speak truth to power. He will stand before the governor of Rome [Pilate] and give no defense. Pilate will say ‘don’t you realize I have the power to take your life- my status and class have allowed me to rise in the political ranks to hold a position where I make the decision if you live or die’ Jesus responds ‘you have no power over me- accept what God permits- those who delivered me to you- they will have more to answer for’. It was the political posturing of the Jewish leaders- those who manipulated the system to get what they wanted politicaly- those were the ones who were to bare the greater blame. May Immanuel- may ‘God be with us’ all in this travesty.

[1555] I really want to cover a little more Philosophy/history- but let me mention a few recent news/political developments. This past week Richard Holbrook died. He was our special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan. I actually wrote a post about him a week or so ago. The Wikileaks revealed him to be less than truthful in his dealings with the public. The reason I want to mention him is because after he died the media [both left and right] praised him as a wonderful man- a great humanitarian- on and on. Holbrook was said to have been the highest diplomat in his area of foreign policy who never became secretary of state. If you remember during the presidential campaign many thought he would be picked to take the position if a Democrat won. He was also said to have had a ‘big’ image of himself- he saw himself as a very important figure. I saw an interview he did with Rachel Maddow one day- he simply gave the same justifications for the war in Afghanistan as Bush and Cheney gave- no difference. Holbrook was involved with our actions in East Timor in the late 70’s [Carter administration] and also played a role in our ‘war’ in Yugoslavia. During the 90’s under the Clinton administration we ‘sided’ with the Muslim’s who were fighting the ‘Christians’. Slobodan Milosevic was the president and we backed the Muslims because we claimed the Serbs were practicing Genocide. So the Muslims did the same against the Serbs when it was their turn. Holbrook had a hand in those killings as well. So whatever a persons political leanings are- we should also be truthful about the history of people. If someone has leaned more heavily towards the justification for U.S. action- and has pushed for the more aggressive role- than let the record show that. When Cheney or Rumsfeld die- I’m sure you will have some who will praise them- and others who won’t. In Holbrook’s case there seemed to be no one telling the other side.

Okay- let me quickly cover a few more things. I’m doing a study right now on the Western Intellectual tradition- covering the period between 1600-2000. Some if it gets a little dry- but it’s important for believers to have a basic grasp on this period. Many thinkers went thru a transformation during this time- in the pre-modern era philosophy and theology went hand in hand. But during the enlightenment and scientific revolution many new ideas arose. In the midst of the 17th century [1641] the famous Christian thinker- Rene Descartes’- sent a letter [called the Meditations- it would be released in book form later] to the university of Paris [the leading university of the day- theology and philosophy were the main fields of study] and he challenged the thinkers of the day to ground their arguments for God in Reason as opposed to Revelation [meaning tradition and what God has ‘revealed’ to us thru the bible]. Descartes’ believed that the Christian thinker could argue his case in a more powerful way if he based his argument on reason. Now to be sure this idea was not new- you had men like Thomas Aquinas advocate this in the 13th century- and as far back as 400 years before Christ the philosopher Aristotle used this line when speaking of the ‘prime mover’ [God]. But Descartes is credited with challenging the church of his day to do philosophy on this new ground. John Lock, Immanuel Kant and others would take certain aspects of Descartes ideas and develop them more fully. Some were more skeptical than others- and some rejected the idea that any reason/rationality could ever be combined with religious belief. Later on in the 19th century you had many openly advocate a type of reasoning that would totally exclude God from the picture. But for the most part the earlier thinkers did not go down that road- they thought it foolish to deny the existence of God- all things coming into existence from nothing seemed be a non starter for them- yet many of today’s most famous atheists seem to have no problem espousing a view that is absolutely proven to be false [you can never- ever- ever get something from nothing- which is the most popular view of the big bang theory among many atheists today]. So I think Christians today should be more aware of making the argument for the existence of God through rational/reasonable means- the other day I heard a radio preacher trying to debunk the theory of Evolution- he argued that it can’t be true because the bible says God made everything. Well this argument doesn’t cut it with people who don’t believe the bible! Likewise we need to be able to give a defense for the faith- without always appealing to the articles of the faith while doing it.

[note]-Seriously, I believe these issues need to be addressed honestly before we can see real healing in our country. I stand against all racism! Even discriminating against Whites by hiring quotas and affirmative action. I agree with chief justice John Roberts [current Chief justice on the Supreme Court] when he said ‘the best way to stop discriminating against people by race, is to stop discriminating against people because of their race’. This might seem obvious enough, but he was saying this in the context of affirmative action. So I advocate for a color blind society, I know to some this ideal is unrealistic, but yet I think we should set our goals high.

[1552] A SOCIALIST- A SEAFOOD JOINT- AND THE BAILOUTS OF THE RICH- Last night I told my daughter ‘take orders from everyone- my treat- George’s steaks and seafood’. So she looks up the number and their closed! They went out of business. This was one of my favorite spots- been around ever since I lived in Corpus Christi.
Yesterday I watched part of the speech Bernie Sanders [Senator from Vermont] gave on the Senate floor. He spoke for 8 hours- the closest thing to a real filibuster in years. Sanders is the only member of the Socialist party that is a member of the senate. He spoke in opposition to the deal the president cut with the Republicans; many Democrats are fuming and it looks like the president has a mutiny on his hands.

Okay- I have to make a confession. These past few weeks I have been mad at the president- I thought he was a weak leader who caved in too quickly to the Republicans on the tax deal. Then this week while watching the news I saw a bunch of clips of John Boehner crying. It seems as if he cries at the drop of the hat. So maybe the president isn’t weak- maybe he just couldn’t take sitting in the meetings with a grown man crying every time he couldn’t get his way?

Though I’m not a socialist- yet Sanders speech was very enlightening. He made some great points. At a time when our country is in serious financial trouble- should we be giving billionaires a break on the estate tax? The Walton family alone [Wal Mart] would gain an extra 30 billion as a result of the deal the president made with the Repubs. 30 billion! You ask ‘John- are you telling us we should soak the rich’? Yes- yes- lets please start soaking them- as soon as possible! Look- I know the whole debate between supply side economics and the trickledown effect- the truth is we tried it and it doesn’t really work. If we were true capitalists we would have never bailed out Wall Street and the bankers.

When my favorite Seafood joint couldn’t pay the bills- what did they do? They went under. That’s capitalism. When Wall street and the bankers and all their corporate friends got in trouble- what did they do- go under? No- we- the American taxpayers bailed them out. Yet at the same time many poor and average Americans are losing their jobs, their homes are being foreclosed on- many are on the streets. Are we acting with the same urgency as we did when Wall Street was in trouble? No- Why? Probably because they have no real advocates working inside the White House. All the big shots who warned Bush and Obama that we need to act fast- these guys were all part of the group who would lose fortunes if we didn’t bail them out. Paulson. Bernanke, Geithner- all these guys have friends- family- personal fortunes at stake- sure they made it sound like a dire emergency- because to them it was!

So we opted to spend nearly a trillion dollars to bail these guys out- and they kept their fortunes- even the bankers kept their million dollar bonuses- a real travesty. So why are the Dems mad at Obama? Because he pledged- over and over again not to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich- and he didn’t keep his word. This alone- extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich- will cost us a trillion dollars- it will add an extra trillion to the debt. Trillion! When the news got out- the bond market almost crashed. Why? The investors see the writing on the wall- we are not going to responsibly deal with our debt problem. Obama’s commission failed, and we just added another trillion to our national debt. We are going down the road of Britain and the E.U- we are not going to act until there is another major crisis.

The responsible thing we probably should have done is let the tax cuts expire for ‘the rich’. This deal puts a burden on the poor and rewards the rich. It reminds me of Reagan’s ‘war on poverty’ one day the news reported ‘the White House announced the war on poverty is over’ gee- I didn’t think the poor would give up so soon? Look- what do I have against the rich? They won’t let me join the club! Well actually our country has created an environment that allowed for the billionaires to become billionaires- so in that sense they do owe a special- extra debt to society as a whole. And many of them know that. Buffet, Gates, and just last week Zuckerberg [Facebook] all have made moves and spoken publicly on their responsibility to pay more- use their wealth for the public good- many of them see the special burden they bare because of their wealth. It looks like this deal the president made will pass- maybe not? But then the Repubs will be sworn in and they will pass it- or maybe something worse! So for now we’ll do our best. No more steaks and seafood for me though- just wish George’s could get a bailout like the rest of them.

[1551]- WHERE’S THE CONFESSING CHURCH? During WW2 the German church was split on how she should respond to the rise of Hitler and the racist tendencies that were beginning to be revealed as time went on. Many German Christians initially embraced his ideas- they seemed to join a nationalistic/patriotic spirit in with the practice of their religion. Germany was coming off of years of national inferiority after their loss in WW1 and many Christians embraced the new felt spirit of ‘exceptionalism’ that was surging thru the land. On the other side you had men like Dietrich Bonheoffer who resisted what he saw as unjust govt.- others took his stance, these were called ‘the confessing church’ they believed it was their responsibility to speak out- to ‘confess’ the things they saw as unjust. Bonheoffer would get executed for his role in attempting to assassinate Hitler.

As we continue to read the release of the Wikileaks documents- we see more and more how our govt. has lied, deceived, been involved in the deaths of many civilians- and both the media and the govt. have denied these things- until they actually were exposed. Yemen. The last few years there were many attacks in the country of Yemen- when these attacks first started the U.S. govt. vehemently denied any involvement at all. The official reports and the N.Y. times ran stories that said ‘Today in Yemen- Yemeni fighter planes struck a terrorist compound and possibly killed some high level Al Qaeda terrorists’. During a press conference- state dept. spokesman P.J. Crowley was point blank asked ‘are we involved in ANY military activities in Yemen’- he point blank said no. There was speculation that we were doing secret drone attacks in the country- our govt. said ‘NO’. On average about 50 civilians die for every target we hit- quite a cost. So obviously these innocents demand to know the truth about why/who killed their kids. Yemen and the U.S. simply saw it in their best interest to lie. I mean- these people are just pawns on the grand stage- right? What rights does the average person have to really know what’s going on? So the Wikileaks revealed that yes indeed the U.S. did do the strikes- yes indeed we did kill many innocents- and yes indeed Yemen said ‘you do the strikes, and we’ll tell our people it was us’. They were caught in the act. So what is our govt. saying now? P.J. Crowley- the state dept. spokesmen who lied- he is now saying ‘well, I meant we weren’t involved in a specific attack’. When you read the actual transcript of the press conference- he was asked ‘are we involved IN ANY military activity in Yemen’? His answer- NO.

Last week our military began trial hearings against a team of U.S. soldiers for their involvement in what’s being called ‘a death squad’. This group of young men were caught killing Afghan civilians- they shot a farmer in a field- cut off his finger for a souvenir and eventually were caught. Now- do these guys represent the majority of our troops in the field- of course not! Yet this story runs as top news in the Muslim media- have you even heard about it?

How should the church respond to these types of things? Should we be the silent majority- like Germanys nationalistic church who saw ‘church and state’ as one big patriotic cause? Should we just keep ‘preaching the gospel’ while our govt. carries out hidden agendas and lies to us and the people who are being killed? Should we question the ridiculous strategy of engaging in these never ending campaigns? What’s out strategy? Do we believe that after more than 10 years- and thousands of lives- that eventually we can set up Democratic governments that will be allies to the U.S. ? What’s to prevent these radical religious countries from voting in some nut- like the president of Iran- and we spent all our time dying and killing for this?

We tried this in the West Bank- we helped the Palestinians set up some free and open elections. We wheeled and dealed with Israel and Palestine- we gave much aid and effort- after all was said and done they finally held their democratic election- and they elected Hamas!

What is the primary cause for terrorism amongst radical Islamists? They see our forces in their ‘holy lands’ as the number one cause for resistance. After our initial war [Bush 1] to expel Iraq from Kuwait- we for the first time established bases in Arab countries. Saudi Arabia- Iraq- etc. Bin laden and the rise of Al Qaeda were a direct result of what they saw as Americans’ ‘defiling’ their sacred land. Do you remember any car bombings and these types of efforts before that time? Yes- you always had some type of fighting- but not to the level that ratcheted up after the first gulf war. So, the number one reason these radicals are carrying out this insane agenda is because they see us as invaders in their land. So how do we respond to the threat- WE INVADE MORE LAND! Overall the strategy is not going to work. Right now we are fighting the Taliban- who are these people? They are ethnic Afghans who have NO WORLWIDE AGENDA. They see themselves as ‘freedom fighters’ who simply want to ‘restore’ their land to a religious theocracy. Not good- but no real threat to the U.S. So why are we fighting them? They gave space for Al Qaeda to operate out of their country. Okay- Al Qaeda’s been long gone- yet we keep fighting this group who sees themselves as defending their homeland. Its nuts! It’s like if some gang attacked you, they lived down the street in some hotel. So you start a war with the hotel owners and the gang leaves. Instead of spending all your time and resources hunting down the gang- you start a never ending war with the hotel owners! Not only is this stupid- but the gang is laughing at the strategy- it actually helps the gang to recruit more members- because the gang points to the fact that we are in their ‘holy land’ which after all is the original justification for the existence of the gang! All this would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.

So what does the church say about all this- not much. We keep hawking our religious wares on our TV channels- we keep appealing for a never ending need for money- and all the time the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It’s time for us to become ‘the confessing church’ to speak truth to power- because our govt. seems to have a hard time telling us the truth.

[1550] ASSANGE- THE POPE- AND JOHN THE BAPTIST- Kinda wanted to cover the recent developments in the Wikileaks case- also a few more notes from the Pope’s book- and a little bible stuff; let’s see what I can do. First- The head guy in charge of the leaks that have exposed our govt. and other governments secret behind the scenes wheeling and dealing- has been arrested in London. They took him in on the Interpol charge that he ‘raped’ 2 women in Sweden. These charges stem from encounters that Julian Assange had with these ‘ladies’ while doing some type of seminar on their work as freedom of the press crusaders. It seems as if the women- who were attendees- found it worthwhile to have hooked up with the big shot of the week. Initially the reports said that the women did voluntarily agree to having unprotected sex with Assange- yet they later got together- after talking for a few days- and went together to the police to file their claim. Initially Sweden rejected the charge- it seemed like a voluntary type thing! A famous lawyer, who is trying to get Sweden to toughen their rape laws, to include stuff like this- took the case. That’s how it got back into the courts. Now- it seems as if this lawyer is using the publicity of the case to leverage his own cause- which is to extend the rape laws of Sweden. That’s the case- rapist? You tell me. In the midst of it all our country is trying to extradite the man to face all types of future charges. Where not ‘officially’ doing it- but the behind the scenes deals are in the works. First Sweden still has to get him. Okay- this whole case will be a future test case for freedom of the internet and just who qualifies as being ‘press’.

As more of the leaks come to light- we keep finding out about how our govt. lied to us, and deceived us. Last night I caught an interview with a family member of the victims of the Lockerbie plane attack. If you remember a few years back a terrorist shot down a plane over Scotland, 283 people died- many Americans. The case was tried in Scotland and the man was put in prison- with the guarantee that he would not get out. Yet Scotland let him go a few months back on ‘humanitarian’ concerns. He supposedly was dying of cancer and had only a few months to live. Now, when they released him our leaders were outraged! Yes Obama and all the rest were fuming! [in public] but the Wikileaks showed us that they all knew about the release 10 months before it happened- and we kinda turned a blind eye to the deal. Britain was accused of releasing him back to Libya because they wouldn’t deal with the U.K. unless they let him go. So the family member who found all this out- thanks to Wikileaks- was outraged, our govt. lied to them. Oh yes, and another talking head called for the assassination of Assange- Bob Beckel- a Democrat who works for Fox said someone needs to put a bullet in his head. Can you imagine any of the media talking this way so openly about a Muslim journalist? This case is important because it shows us how far the govt. and the corporate world will go to silence someone who is exposing them to the light [Assange is about to release leaks on a huge American bank].

Okay- just a few more things. While reading the Popes book I like the way he gets into the details of the different perspectives of the gospel writers and the give and take between Jesus and the disciples. I didn’t get this from the book- but the book led me into the study. If you read the account of John the Baptist in Matthew chapter 3- you see John baptizing in the Jordan and the big wigs of the day show up- they want to get baptized by John. You would think John would take the whole thing as a diplomat- you know- greeting them with pomp and stuff. Instead he calls them a bunch of snakes and serpents- he says ‘who warned you to flee from the judgment that’s sure to come’- the leaders and influential men of the day were facing their own judgment- and they didn’t like the writing on the wall [sound familiar?]. In Luke’s gospel [chapter 3] you have the soldiers also coming to John- they ask him ‘what should we do?’ John says ‘do violence to no man’ wow! Now you’re meddling. Society was being challenged by John in many ways- he himself was spoken about in Isaiah and Malachi [Old Testament books]. Yet Jesus comes to John to get baptized and John says ‘I’m not worthy to do this- to carry out the mission’ Jesus says it needs to be done. In another gospel [John] we read how they come to John and ask him ‘are you the Messiah? Are you the Elijah prophet who was to come’ and John denies it. He says he is simply the voice- a messenger. There was a prophecy about John in the book of Malachi- it said a prophet- like Elijah- would come before the coming of Jesus- so one time they asked Jesus ‘if you’re the Messiah- then where’s the Elijah prophet who was to come first?’ Jesus said it was John. What’s going on here? John seemed to not be able to accept who he really was- yes- he had a bad image of himself- yet even though he felt unworthy to fulfill the task he would take it to the end. John would finally be executed for his ‘free speech’ at the time it seemed like the right thing to do- now it seems like a gross injustice.

[1549] THEY WILL LEARN WAR NO MORE- Isaiah the prophet. This verse comes from the book of Isaiah- he also speaks of the nature of Christ’s kingdom by saying ‘the wolf will lay down with the lamb’. Isaiah has more prophecies about Jesus [Messianic prophecies] than any other Old Testament prophet. To all my ‘bible students- preachers’ most of us our aware of the various ways teachers interpret these passages; we see the dual nature of the messianic prophecies [that is many prophecies speak of Jesus first coming and second coming in one verse- you don’t see the time lapse between the 1st and 2nd coming]. At the same time we often overlook the fact that the nature of God’s kingdom is one of peace- not war. Yes ‘Make love- not war’ actually has biblical backing! Now when Jesus arrived on the scene in the 1st century, he came at a time when the nation of Israel was under ‘occupation’. Rome was the controlling authority- and the Jews knew it. Israel had different views among her people on how to deal with the Roman occupation- some wanted a violent overthrow of the Roman govt., these were called Zealots- others took a more moderate stance. Out of Jesus 12 disciples, 2 were Zealots- Simon and Judas. They thought they were getting in on a strong Messianic movement that would be violent in nature. Yet Jesus would teach them that those who live by the sword will die by it. He showed them a better way- when he said ‘greater love has no man than this that he would die for his friends’. He wasn’t saying ‘that he would risk his life in battle- while trying to kill others- and maybe die in the process’. No, he was speaking about non violent protest- even to the point of laying down one’s life. He taught them ‘war no more’. I understand that my position on these wars has upset people, and I do not see our brave men and women as ‘the enemy’. But I feel the leadership- especially in the church, has not rightly understood these things- the nature of Christ’s kingdom is one of peace- not war. When some of the most popular TV evangelists, and ‘end times’ books promote an idea that seems to pit natural Israel against Muslim/Arab nations- and they give scenarios that seem to ‘encourage’ one side fighting- and killing the other side- then in these ways we are teaching ‘war’ that is we are presenting Christ’s kingdom in a way that seems to say ‘yes, God is in this violent thing- and when he comes back he will personally wipe out the other side’. We have not done right in the church- we have not taught ‘war no more’.

[1548] THE FALLOUT- Okay, think this will be the last political post for this recent run [hey- I don’t want to stroke out!]. Let’s review a few things; remember what we were told when the Wikileaks files were first released? The media and our govt. [the Obama administration included] said the files were releasing the names of ‘undercover’ people- they were releasing info that would get our guys killed- they basically claimed the info. was going to cause harm/damage to many of our fighting men and women. What has happened? All the stories I have seen have been things that exposed the hypocrisy and lying of those in power. How our govt. put pressure on other countries not to pursue justice in certain cases- how our top political people have publicly lied to us about our actions in the wars. About a year ago ‘the nation’ magazine ran a story on our troops operating ‘illegally’ inside Pakistan’s borders. Our govt. publicly denied it; Richard Holbrook- special envoy to the region- stated in no uncertain terms that those stories were false. The press secretary for the White House denied it. The reporter who was about to run the story got a call from one of our top military leaders- he was warned not to run the story- there would ‘be consequences’. The story ran, our govt. denied it. The leaks showed us that yes indeed; we were operating in Pakistan in a way that we were denying to the public. They lied to us- not about an insignificant thing- but about war. Former president Putin [Soviet Union] was on Larry king the other night; he ‘told off’ the U.S. govt. he said we should mind our own damn business. The leaks revealed how our guys were gossiping about Putin and his disarray among his men. The leaks showed how the Obama administration put tremendous pressure on Spain and other countries- to not pursue any ‘war crimes’ investigations against Bush and Cheney, Obama pressured other countries to not pursue it. Lots of these leaks have not been about putting our men in danger- or exposing undercover ‘ops’- they’ve been about revealing how our govt. has lied, cheated, did back room deals- all under the guise of ‘doing what needed to get done’. This week we had Peter King [Republican rep. from N.Y.] call for the assassination of Julian Assange ‘on site’. Sarah Palin said the same- Mike Huckabee advocates the execution of the disturbed soldier who illegally stole the files from the computer base. ‘Assassinate’ wow- strong words to use against a person who exposed the hidden deals and agendas of our leaders. Our wonderful media- both sides [the MSNBC/FOX crowd] – produce political theatre for their target audience- the bottom line is what their concerned about. We need to keep ‘public news’ sources around [P.B.S.- radio- etc.] We need sources that are not run by the ad money they bring in. Just last night I started seeing a little change in the coverage of Julian Assange, and saw some media shows using the Wikileaks in a positive way- treating the leaks like real news stories- carefully looking at the real ‘hidden’ info that we were previously not aware of- that’s what the media is supposed to do with ‘leaked’ info- they do it all the time for heaven’s sake! I don’t know how this story will end- I’m sure I’ll write a few more posts as time goes by- I just wanted to make us all aware of our own biases- our ‘inability’ to see that we were sold a bill of goods- we were told ‘innocents will die- assassinate the man responsible on site’ now were giving it a second thought- maybe we jumped the gun-maybe we didn’t truly think for ourselves but let others do the thinking for us. Maybe we’ll do better next time around- maybe?

[1547] THE SAGA CONTINUES- I guess I’m going to try and stick with our countries response to the Wikileaks ‘leaks’ and the medias total unwillingness to hold this president and his administration responsible for anything. Today the world is hunting down Julian Assange- the infamous head of the organization that leaked thousands of secret files. Interpol has him listed as a rapist- our people see him as a terrorist, who needs to be captured and tried for war crimes. For what? Whether you like the mans politics or not- he simply performed the same function that goes on everyday with reporters and ‘secret sources’ he received documents and made public the info- this is not a crime! Every journalist and free media fan should be shaking in their boots over the seeming willingness to go after this man and shut down his web site- whether we like it or not- this is what we call FREE PRESS. Now, did the soldier who downloaded the files break the law? Where not even sure about that! It seems as if the U.S. govt. blew it by not having these documents sealed [on-line] in a way that would not allow any person to access them. So what should the story be then? That the Obama administration was so incompetent that they let the thing happen! I have not heard a single criticism against this administration- he’s viewed as a victim- not a person who should be held accountable for the actual failure of our govt. to contain secret info. Can you imagine the calls for Bush- or his secretary of state to resign- if these things were revealed during his time in office? As the days go by we continue to see more fallout from the leaks- Hillary Clinton seems to have directed our diplomats to spy illegally during their duties. If Bush’s people were found out- Reid and Kerry would be roaring on the floor of the senate for a resignation- so far not a peep. Another news leak- during the Iraq war one of our tanks struck a hotel in Iraq that killed 2 civilian news reporters. The family of the Spanish reporter has sued the U.S. over his death- they have made a video over it. The leaks revealed that our govt. has been pressuring Spain to get the charges dropped- and that Spain has been negotiating with us to drop the charges. Yet the family of the reporter was being told all along that Spain’s leaders were fighting for them- they have been lied to- right now this story is dominating the news cycle in Spain. How does our govt. respond to these injustices? We label the news person who revealed these things as a serial rapist who has put people’s lives in jeopardy- we aren’t admitting that a lot of the things that are in jeopardy are the secret behind the scenes deals of those in power- and how they run rough shod over the common man. Today is 12- 2- 2010- let’s see how long it takes for the liberal media to wake up and see this story for what it is- if we as a people accept the fact that leaked info- that makes us look bad- can be responded to by accusing the ‘leaker’ of treason, terrorism, war crimes- etc. then that’s a bad day for freedom of the press.

[1546] JULIAN ASSANGE- Okay- it looks like I’m gonna have to get personal! Yesterday I wrote a post on the Wikileaks ‘leaks’ and the developing storm to follow. Sure enough the media and the West in general have labeled the founder of Wikileaks as a war criminal- rapist [Chris Matthews-better not start with him!] and an overall disgrace to human kind. So what exactly did he do? He leaked thousands of ‘secret’ military/govt. files that have exposed a lot of behind the scenes dealing. His organization actually contacts the U.S. govt. first, and allows us redact names and identities of people who we feel might be in danger. Wikileaks also gets published in the world’s major news papers. And a lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ material reveals the hidden agendas of other nations as they say one thing in public- but another thing in private. Now- I just watched Chris Matthews [yes- another all night news night!] and his rage against Julian Assange- Matthews- the man who still can’t stop speaking about all the ‘neo con’ hidden agendas of Bush and his team- a ‘news man’ who himself tries to expose hidden agenda’s of top leaders. Yet he can’t stand the fact that someone else would interfere with Obama’s agenda- so he rages against Assange. There is a story in the bible- about a prophet who was rebuked by his donkey. The old King James version says ‘the dumb ass, speaking with man’s voice’ you know every time I watch hardball, this verse pops into my mind.

[1545] POLITICS, RELIGION UPDATE [11-30-2010] Recently there have been a few notable news stories; The Popes new book- Light of the World- and the media frenzy over a MINOR statement about condom use [I was gonna name this post ‘Condoms- Condoms everywhere’ but heck- I post the blog all over the world- figured I’d reign it in a little]. The other story is the Wikkileaks release of hundreds of thousands of secret documents that give insight [and in some cases cause risk] to the major players in the theatre. A week or so ago I wrote a post named Risk- I spoke about the reality of other countries trying to manipulate our soldiers to do the dirty work for them- sure enough that’s the biggest story coming from the leaked documents. Many Middle Eastern states have been exposed thru the leak- leaders of those nations doing their best at getting us to strike Iran. The news is very damaging for these leaders- many of their people were unaware of the leaders desire to hit Iran. Now- what about the war? As I cover the ongoing war in Afghanistan, I am trying my best not to misrepresent the story. Yes, I’m against the war- want our guy’s out- within a year! General Petraeus has said [privately- Bob Woodward’s book] that this is a war our kids and their kids will be fighting- hope not. In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan- they were attempting to establish a communist state. We backed the ‘resistance’ fighters- the Mujahedeen. After 10 years- and an estimated 1 million civilian casualties, the Soviet Union pulled out and in 3 short years [1992] the Mujahedeen toppled the puppet govt. A few years later the Taliban would rise to power. The Soviet invasion destroyed the country- they did indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and did not limit civilian deaths. So far the NATO forces have killed around 10 thousand Taliban and about the same number of civilians. Afghanistan has experienced around a 10% annual economic growth rate the past few years, many children are in school and medical aid has improved- over all our ten year venture has not been like the Soviet one. Yet- our people have died [around 1500 in Afghanistan- under 5 thousand in Iraq] and we have killed civilians. Our stated goal is to help the Afghan people establish a strong enough govt. that would be able to resist any future attempts for Al Qaeda or other terrorist networks to operate out of the region; the 9-11 attack was launched from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Yet there are talks going on right now to make a peace deal with the Taliban- so I do feel that our guys dying in the field, fighting the Taliban- and at the same time Karzai is sitting at the table with them- it just doesn’t seem right. We also have our aircraft carrier doing ‘war games’ in the Yellow Sea [right off Korea- inside Chinas economic zone] and the tension for all out war between North and South Korea is as high as it has ever been. A few months back the North torpedoed the Chenoan- a South Korean warship- and killed 40 something men. Last week they hit the South Korean island right off of their coast and killed 2 civilians and 2 Korean marines. Our response has been laughable at times. We said ‘look- we don’t want war- lets all calm down’ [good]. Then the media say’s ‘the president is standing up to them- he is still going to do the war games’. We looked stupid- to be honest. Many South Koreans have been demonstrating for a stronger response- they want to go to war. So these past few weeks have been hectic- I don’t fully see the Wikkileaks thing as a total disaster- many have demonized the guy who runs Wikkileaks- Julian Assange- in some ways I think he’s doing the world a favor. Okay- guess I won’t get to the Condom story- maybe another day.

[1542] RISK- Okay- a little drained right now- I watched news from midnight till 5 am. The guys at the fire station used to kid me- they saw some 20-20 type program- it dealt with people who were actually news addicts, the running joke was some day they would find me at the substation dead- when they pulled my eyelids back they would read ‘Fox News’ [I watch them all- not just fox]. So I caught all the re-runs of the day- a few I watched twice! But I also caught a very informative CSPAN show- they were covering some geopolitical seminar out of the University of Chicago. The level of discussion was about a thousand times more mature than all the talking cable heads. They had on both Democrats and Republicans- past U.N. ambassadors and all. But the conversation was great. A while back I took an open stand against the wars [not our men and women] simply because I felt we needed to put more public pressure on the promise that the President made, that he would get us out. Realistically- yes we can’t leave ‘today’ but I fear another 10 years of the thing! In the discussion excellent points were made- some conservatives even said how many of our global enemies are glad we are in Iraq and Afghanistan- they see those struggles as us spreading ourselves too thin- sort of like when the worlds super power engages in ‘nation building’ then other nations can get away with more- because ‘the cop’ is distracted. So in a way we are playing into the hands of our enemies- but the political environment of our country does not leave room for an open discussion like this- I mean you can’t run a campaign on a serious thought out question like this- you would get branded as being weak on defense-or ‘un patriotic’ it’s sad. Last week the president of Afghanistan- Hamid Karzai- was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying we need to stop doing night time raids in their country. Ever since General Petraeus took over [after Stanley Mcrystal was pushed out for spilling his guts to a Rolling Stone reporter] he has re tooled the efforts, and one of the main changes was doing night time raids and routing the Taliban- he’s been highly successful. Yet many civilians have died. But I feel there is another possible reason why Karzai made the statement- he has been sitting at the table with the Taliban for months, they are talking and discussing future plans on settling the war. Plus Iran is also funding Karzai, and having friendly talks as well. So in a way they are using our guys as pawns- they realize our guys will kill so many of their guys, and they will bomb us every so often- but all of a sudden, in the middle of this chess game- comes the U.S. troops knocking off a bunch of Taliban men- hey- they’ve been buddying up with Karzai for months- it’s quite possible that the Taliban have told Karzai [over dinner!] ‘Damn it- cant you get these night time raids to stop’! Whatever the facts are- in a way our men are being used in this political agenda. Sure, we have our own agenda- and their lives are not ‘being wasted’ yet it’s sad to see the president of the country we’re ‘fighting for’ actually buddying up to the force that’s killing our men. But- all this is too much for a political sound bite- so your either branded as ‘for our troops’ or ‘against them’ and many of our enemies couldn’t be happier about it! Okay- time to confess- years ago at the fire house we got into a stage where we started playing the board game- Risk. It’s a fun strategic game- of course no one took it too seriously [I actually threw the whole game in the dumpster one night- hey- war is hell! LOL.] So one day me and a buddy get into a 2 man contest- and I figured I’d up the ante [you know- living on the edge] so I tell him ‘ How bout we play 10 bucks a game- and the loser always has the option of challenging the winner to another game- double or nothing’ so we shake on it. After about 5 hours- and one trip to my ATM [yes- this is sad] I win game number 4 or 5 and the pot is around 100 bucks. So I’m hoping my buddy had enough [he had his wife bring him money too!] and as I look into his eyes, trying to read the Poker face- instead of ‘Poker’ I see tears [yes- now the story gets really sad] ‘I say- bro- either pay up or challenge for the next round’ and he begins whining about me forcing him to play the last game- and he’s gonna tell the Captain I made him play the last game! So as you can see the night didn’t go too well. One of the strategies when playing with multiple people is if you can get your enemy to start a war with another player- you just sit back and watch him waste all his resources and money- and you even try and get other players to fight among themselves ‘Hey Joe- you gonna let Sean get away with that!’. As I watched the CSPAN program- the smartest minds said we have played into this game on more than one occasion. That’s what I mean when I say I’m ‘against the wars’ the whole nation building agenda- our guys getting caught up in the middle of the board game- at times, being manipulated by the political agenda of either party- that’s what makes it sad. Well, I need to go- just remembered something- need to go collect on an old debt.

[1541] SOCIAL JUSTICE- These last few months there has been lots of talk in the media about the role of the church- are all ‘liberal’ churches communist? Are the Sarah Palin’s of the world the future representatives of conservatives? I have been downloading songs form UTUBE these past few weeks- I stumbled across Nickleback, and found Daughtry also, there style is my favorite. As I viewed the videos I saw a bunch of stuff on the starving kids of the world- one of the greatest ‘injustices’ on the planet. Why? Do we in the West have any responsibility? What about our role in the global ‘village’? When countries compete for our customers- countries that have no child welfare laws [or if they have them they don’t enforce them]. When we buy their goods- are we responsible in a way for the abuse the kids [and adults] go thru? What response has the church had? For the most part we pump ‘Christian TV’ into their countries- and they hear a message equal to that of the real estate info-mercials that come on between midnight and 6 a.m.! In a great way we have become irrelevant- we have believed that Capitalism in itself is just! We think the market itself will answer these questions. Yet we have bibles that actually contain teaching on ‘unjust capital’ [the hire of the workers is fraudulently held back by the employers- James] Stories in the Old Testament where God told his people ‘when you harvest your fields- make sure you leave some ‘free food’ in the corners- so the poor- the ALIENS can have something too’! Our problem is we only see the things we want to see. The apostle John says ‘how can we say we love- who we can’t see- when we don’t love our brother- who we do see’. You tell me.

[1537] OH SHUT THE HELL UP! – Okay- the elections are over [11-2010] and I have not written a post yet for the blog [I wrote a short thing on Facebook- but nothing for the blog]. So I figured I’d better do one for the whole group. As I was ‘examining my heart’ to see if I have allowed politics to interfere with ‘my peace’- I had a quick impression in my mind-a picture [you know- the light bulb thing] and I saw myself over the last month watching the news channels and every now and then Andy Griffith would come on the commercial and he’d be promoting Obama care- he would be telling the seniors how wonderful the plan is for them [how you take billions from it [medicare]- and it still be good is beyond me?] So anyway- as ‘Andy’ starts promoting the plan [day after day] I found myself, yes- just like one of Pavlov’s dogs- responding ‘OH SHUT THE HELL UP ANDY’ as I reach for the remote to change the channel. As Jeff Foxworthy would say ‘you know you got a problem if…’ So yes- I need to repent! Okay- now that the Republicans took the house, and the Dem’s held the senate- how should Christians [and humans in general!] respond? First, if people have serious political differences with the president- that’s fine. To voice those concerns [in a right way- without ascribing wrong motives to the man] is a good thing. But when the pundits and even the ‘preachers’ begin buying into the paranoid notion that the president is secretly carrying out this lifelong plan to purposely undermine the economy- so he can carry out this childhood ‘Kenyan’ [secretly born there- didn’t you hear!] plan to overthrow the U.S. then at that point we have left all serious minded politics [and Christianity!]. It is fine to disagree with Bush, Obama- etc. It is not fine to demonize people- to see hidden motives behind every tree! I personally think the health care reform was a mistake- why? Listen- I’m for national health care- yes, call me a liberal. Yet the plan we got mandates private citizens to buy private insurance, by law! Whenever you pass a law that says ‘you must by this product’ and yet you don’t restrain the seller of the product in any way- that is you put no controls on the price of the product- then in the end that’s not a good thing! But I see why the thing ended up like that, and it wasn’t all the presidents fault- both sides are to blame for it [you say how can the Repub’s be responsible- well when some in the party simply want Obama to fail- that is they won’t seriously work with the man- then yes, it forced his hand to pass something that even many liberals hate!]. So, over these next few years the correct response from the church should be- when the president does things we feel are wrong, yes- voice your concerns. When he does something you feel is good- praise the man, give him credit! I’m worried that the man might be having a hard time dealing with all the hatred that is regularly directed at him and his family- sometimes you can see it on his face! He’s still fairly young, yes inexperienced [first term senator] we never had someone with such little experience before- yes he’s very smart- but never a one term senator [most held office for many years- governorships, etc.]. So we need to pray for our president and his family [I do every week- by name- specifically] and when we engage in the political arena- understand that there are sincere Christians on both sides of the aisle! You might disagree with people like Michael Moore- yet the man regularly attends Mass and believes in God- we can’t just demonize these people- it’s not right. Oh, and if you have been cursing out Andy Griffith over the last month or so- well yes ‘you might be a …’.

[1531] LENNY BRUCE- Last night I caught the movie ‘Lenny’, it’s the true story of the shock comic Lenny Bruce. Rose to fame in the 50’s for his vulgar comedy and social commentary. His story is much more than some George Carlin rebel comic- in a real sense he tapped into his Jewish Messianic roots and was fulfilling a prophetic type role; he spoke on issues that were hot [war] and he had an audience who were ready to hear. He would go thru lots of legal and personal problems- he would get hooked on heroin and die. The other day I mentioned Obama’s strain of Christianity- Liberal [reverend Wrights church is what you would call a social justice congregation]. In the late 19th, early 20th century liberation theology was in her hey-day. Men like Walter Rauschenbauch [spelling?] introduced a form of Christianity that was less focused on personal conversion- but tried to expand the churches thinking on social issues. The fundamentalist movement of the 20th century pushed back and labeled the liberals as heretics. Now, theologically speaking many were- some rejected the resurrection of Christ and the vital doctrine of reconciliation thru the Cross of Christ. But they were mostly right on the need for the church to engage in social justice issues, to deal with things like world hunger/poverty. To speak out against oppressive regimes [which the Catholic Church was doing all along]. The church should play a role in these areas- things that Bruce was talking about at the time. The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, prophesies of John the Baptist future coming- it says ‘God will raise up one like Elijah’ John would come 400 years later and challenge the corruption that he saw. He was this radical loner who seemed to be unhinged at times- I mean who tells the king ‘your sleeping with your brother’s wife- your in sin’. He told it the way he saw it, and it would eventually lead to his death. There is a verse that speaks of John, it says ‘the law and the prophets were until John, but now the kingdom of God is preached and everyone is pushing their way to hear what he has to say’. John changed the atmosphere of his day, he was a kind of Lenny Bruce- he began speaking openly about issues that no one else would touch, sure- the regular ‘church folk’ had their preachers [rabbis, synagogue] but John was different- he wasn’t out to make a name for himself [though that would happen] nor was he trying to make a living [or get rich!] from ‘my ministry’. No he was a different breed, he could spot hypocrisy a mile away- but when he saw Jesus, he knew he was seeing the real thing ‘I am not worthy to tie your shoes’ he would say. Jesus himself would have his run in’s with the religious crowd- showed up at the temple and told them ‘what are you doing, merchandizing in Gods house!’ he made a whip and beat them, he turned over their tables and thru them out. Yes, Jesus made John proud. I think we as God’s people need to be willing to speak out about the social justice issues of our day- not enough voices are speaking out against things that need to be dealt with. A heroin addicted shock comic would be used to speak out against things that he saw were wrong, sure- he was definitely an imperfect vessel, but people never heard it like that before.

-[1530] Let me just give a short intro to these end times posts [on facebook]; the reason I think these posts are important right now [10-2010] is because our country is going thru a political conversation that ‘behind the scenes’ these end times views are effecting the most prominent voices. Last week Glen Beck played a bunch of clips that showed Obama saying ‘my individual salvation is tied to your corporate salvation’ now, Beck is a sincere man who comes from a fundamentalist background- the problem is most branches of Christianity- Obama’s [liberal] and conservative view Becks religion as problematic, beck is a Mormon [I love and respect Mormons!] but theologically- they have some serious flaws. But when Beck criticizes Obama for his statement- in reality this type of statement [corporate salvation] has very strong biblical and historical roots! I remember during the campaign, Obama was asked who his favorite philosopher was [Bush said Jesus!] Obama said Reinhold Neighbor [spelling?]. I thought that was interesting- he is a very influential theologian, somewhat on the liberal side of the argument- but the fact that he picked him showed me that Obama’s Christianity is real- though liberal. Now, you have Palin, Beck and others who hold to a fundamentalist/dispensationalist perspective- they have an end time view of the world that is closely tied in with the popular ‘left behind’ series of books from fundamentalist preacher Tim Lahaye- a view I don’t hold to. So that’s why some of the presidents critics really view him as some type of secret Manchurian candidate that wants to overthrow our country and institute socialism- this paranoid belief system permeates their religious view. So anyway keep this in mind as you read this next post- that’s the background.

-[1524] WEEK [OR 2] IN REVIEW- Okay, I haven’t been commenting as much these past few weeks, basically doing a lot of posting of old stuff. But these last few weeks have been important so let’s do a little. First; the Pope made an historic visit to the U.K. – he went first to Scotland, than England. It was the first official visit- where the titular head [Queen Elisabeth] officially greeted the Pope, the first time since the official split in the 16th century! I kinda covered the history of it in the past and don’t want to do it all over again here- suffice it to say that Henry the 8th wanted his divorce, the Pope said no and England split off- the church of England [Anglican church] became the official church of England. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. is part of this communion. Now, the visit was historic for these reasons, the Pope surprised some church historians by making a speech where he invited the Anglican Church back into the Catholic fold-many thought he would not do this. Actually, it just seemed to be the right thing to do, being it’s the first official visit since the historic split [never mind all the theological issues involved]. So I was glad to see the very good reception he got. Europe in general has suffered from a severe case of rationalism/skepticism that has left many of the great church buildings either empty or they have been converted into Mosques! The Pope challenged them to have both faith and reason, a theme that Pope John Paul emphasized a lot during his pontificate. Overall I think the visit went very well, and all Christians should be happy about it. We also had Newt Gingrich write an article [or comment?] on Obama being an ‘anti colonialist Kenyan’ [Yikes!]. Basically Newt read an article from Dinesh Desouza, a fine Catholic writer/intellectual, who espoused the idea that President Obama is the first U.S. president who has a socialist mindset- that when most European nations went the way of socialism in the last few decades, that the only real holdout was the U.S. But in the economic world all the smart money fled the socialist type economies and would find its way into the U.S., leaving the socialist economies to suffer. So when Obama became president, as a believer in big govt. [a form of socialism] he would eventually bring the U.S. into alignment with the ‘enlightened’ world and that would balance out the scales. In Desouza’s mind [and Gingrich] this is why Obama is so loved in the rest of the world, while his ratings are not so great at home. Okay, it’s an interesting idea, but a little too ‘Beckish’ for me. But it shows you where the country is at right now, that some serious thinkers are making this case. I like Desouza, he is a fine Catholic Christian, he wrote ‘God is great’ in response to Christopher Hitchens [the atheist] ‘God is not great’ but I have read a few articles from Desouza and I thought he was a little ‘lacking’ in the field of theology [like he really didn’t know his stuff as well as he should have].The liberal columnist Eugene Robinson has basically said the same thing. So any way these last few weeks have had some notable events happen and we should be grateful that no bad incidents took place when the Pope was in England. I was happy to see the good response he got, though I’m not Catholic- as a fellow Christian I respect the effort that the Pope made to defend the Christian faith and to challenge a secular society to return to her Christian roots.

-[1521] DON’T FORGET, TOMORROW IS BURN THE KORAN DAY! Okay, we spent another wasted week talking about the Florida pastor [Terry Jones] who planned on burning 200 Quran’s this Saturday. He made national headlines [Why, please tell me?] and the defense secretary personally called him to put the burning off. Then yesterday he supposedly had a deal with the Imam in charge of the ‘Mosque at ground zero’ and the Pastor said he would not burn the Koran if the Imam would move the location; the Imam denies any deal. Oh, and to bring some seriousness to the matter, yes, Donald Trump offered to buy the ‘mosque site’ for 25% over what the Muslim investor paid for it- the Muslim said ‘no way’ of course he’s holding out for more! It’s times like these that make me want to change my facebook picture to what Jim Davis has. Okay, what’s wrong with this picture? First, most Christians have come out and condemned the independent church in Fla. that wants to burn the book; I don’t know of any believer that has defended the man, I certainly won’t. Second, the media freely referred to the man as a ‘nut job’ ‘idiot’ ‘jerk’ ‘extremist’ and I even heard MSNBC SAY HE WAS LIKE THE UNDREWEAR BOMBER! Please, as much as I disagree with the man, we do live in a country where people burn flags, bibles, etc. Heck, I remember burning old Rock and roll c.d.’s for heaven’s sake! [Though I own most of them today]. So to compare what this pastor was going to do with extremists who kill cartoonists who depict Mohamed in a Danish cartoon- or to radicals who threaten to blow up Comedy Central because South Park was gonna show the prophet in a bear suit [which was over a Santa suit!] is ridiculous. Radical Islam is wrong, Muslim countries that execute homosexuals and stone women taken in adultery are wrong. Most of these countries have laws that make it illegal to covert to Christianity, never mind trying to build a church or synagogue near one of their holy sites! As all the media hysteria has gone forth [yes, the great Chris Matthews even associated the Fla. Pastor with Sarah Palin and John Boehner! Please give me a break] we have to keep some type of balance. As Christians we condemn the burning of the Koran- though most believers do not accept the Koran as a sacred text, yet many Muslims do. Second, the reality is there is a world full of true nuts who use things like this to kill people- yes, not just a small minority either, but many religious adherents do stuff like this. Remember, it wasn’t just one or two demonstrators who celebrated after 911 happened; there were pictures of thousands of Muslims dancing in the streets after the attack; we should not underestimate the real truth about stuff like this. I do not blame all Muslims for this, but the reality is the radical mindset is much greater than the media portrays it. So we don’t want to put our fighting men and women at any more risk than they are already in. Those of you who know me realize that I am not anti Muslim, but we should be open and honest about the facts; for the media to have referred to this Fla. Pastor as being an extremist, equal to those who blow up innocents, was a travesty. I don’t agree with the pastor or his whole style of independent Christianity [truncated from the historic church] but to put book burning in the same category as blowing up people, well that my friends is what I call extreme.

-[1519] IS BECK A REAL LIFE LARRY DAVID? For all you ‘curb’ fans, Larry David is the type of guy who means well, but he keeps getting into these holes and the harder he tries to dig himself out the deeper the hole gets. In one episode he runs into Richard Lewis, as they are chatting Lewis’ Black dentist just happens to jog by and Lewis introduces him to Larry- Larry makes the remark ‘you let him be your dentist, despite affirmative action’. Now Larry is just kidding, but the dentist gets mad and says he does not have to put up with this stuff and takes off. Sure enough Larry winds up needing the services of the dentist later on and he goes to his house to get a prescription- as he walks in he apologizes again to the dentist who has already forgiven him; but they just happen to be in the middle of the local NAACP weekly meeting and someone says ‘you are sorry for what’? And as hard as he tries to avoid admitting what he said, he winds up telling the story all over again, but this time in front of a bunch of racially sensitive Black folk! Poor Larry. So Glen Beck held his rally at the Lincoln memorial- he had a lot of people show up; between 100 -300 thousand depending on whose estimates you go with; all in all he did fine and spoke in a humble way- sounded like an evangelical preacher! The media portrayed it as a racist rally, while Fox news covered him favorably. For those of you who are not familiar with my blog- if you read the section on race and politics you will quickly realize that I hold both liberal and conservative views on different subjects- I’m not a Fox sycophant, nor do I worship at the feet of Keith Ohberman [whom I personally like]. All in all Beck seems to be a well intentioned guy who is trying his best to do what he thinks is right. To the pure Beck fans, he seems to know his stuff- to his critics he can never do anything right. What do I think of Beck? For someone like myself who has studied political theory and theology over the years, I see in Beck a lot of ‘misinformation’ about stuff; he delves into Liberation theology, not realizing that this has been an issue for centuries. The other week he started getting into the ‘hidden’ history of the U.S., he began giving some of the very unorthodox teachings of Mormonism- the secret history of the city of Atlantis- I couldn’t believe he was doing this on air! I like Mormons and have very in depth discussions with them when they come to the house; but just about every serious historian has totally rejected the Mormon idea of a secret U.S. history- which is a vital part of Mormon teaching. So I see in Beck as a sincere person who has overcome lots of life’s obstacle’s, but needs a few more years of seasoning before he makes it to the big stage. Lots of times he seems like he is standing in the Black dentist’s living room, having to ‘re-tell’ the story all over again.

-[1515] THE CRAIGSLIST KILLER, PHILLIP MARKOFF- Yesterday the ‘craigslist killer’ committed suicide while being held in jail for the murder of a massage therapist he contacted thru craigslist. Markoff was a medical student engaged to another med student, Meghan McAllister. He was a very unlikely suspect in the case; it seems as if he was leading a double life all along, involved in things that no one was aware of, especially his fiancé. Right after the arrest his fiancé stood by him and defended him; but once she was told about some of the damning evidence [like hiding the items of some of the murdered woman in her place] she quickly began to wonder about her future husband. She broke off the engagement and told Phillip she might not ever see him again. Markoff killed himself on what would have been their first wedding anniversary. The bible teaches us that all men are capable of the most heinous crimes, why some people actually act out on them and others do not, we don’t fully know. A few years ago I read/saw a news story about a judge who was suspected of molesting young boys; as the story broke he killed himself and said it was the appropriate end for a man like himself. You also had one of these crime TV shows arrive at the house of some suspect in Texas; he knew they were coming and they were going to do a ‘gotcha’ moment for the camera- as they knocked on the door they heard the shot that killed him, he would not face the world with his sin. People’s first response to being caught is usually denial, then in some cases people do confess their guilt. But it is very hard for others to accept you and support you while truly believing you are guilty of a heinous crime. True friends will stick with you, and sometimes family members believe the accused in the face of great odds; but usually when we come face to face with the depravity of man, we choose to look the other way. I do not in any way blame the poor girl who was caught up in this mess, she will obviously be affected for the rest of her life. Markoff wrote her name in his own blood over the cell door before he took his life. I have made it a habit to pray for the people I read about in the news who have been accused or convicted of terrible crimes- I know we should also pray for the victims- but I trust others are being faithful to that end of the deal. I have recently been praying for some local guys who got sent to prison for life terms, I continually pray for a woman who was convicted of letting a foster son die while under her care [a Christian woman]. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it. He would sit at the last meal with his friends, all along knowing that one of them will betray him. Jesus will still refer to him as his friend and ‘cover’ for him right up until the end- Judas was the one who couldn’t forgive himself, he went out and hung himself. Unconditional love is loving people like Judas, people who have been marked with the stigma of very serious crimes [Markoff, Bundy, etc.] To be able to say to them ‘Friend, I know you have been charged with terrible crimes. I know your first response is to deny the sin; as a friend I am here to walk with you till the end. I do not condone your sin, nor do I base my friendship with you on some sort of self denial of the crime- but I stand here as a friend who accepts the reality that you might very well be guilty of this most heinous crime, and as a friend I am still with you’. Jesus was called the friend of sinners, not just someone who would befriend you when all was going well, but someone who would stick by you till the end, even in the face of severe odds; go find someone who needs a friend.

-[1511] Jesus said when people hear the ‘word of the kingdom’ and don’t understand it; that the devil comes and takes the word out of their hearts. Right now in our country there is a rise in anger over the Muslim versus Christian traditions; many have made a ‘cause célèbre’ over the mosque being built close to the 911 tragedy. Over the years as I have studied the various faiths and the history of Christianity, I have come to see that many sincere people of various faiths have been a victim of the ‘devil stealing the word of the kingdom’ from their hearts. That is many sincere people have never truly understood or grasped the real kingdom message of Jesus. As the Christian church progressed thru the centuries, many have come to define the faith as a strict orthodox interpretation of the Trinity, the 2 natures of Jesus, and other historic declarations of orthodox Christianity. While I fully agree and hold to these historic creedal truths, what has happened is the other 2 major world religions- Islam and Judaism- have come to define the historic faith by these statements. They have never really understood the main Christian message of God reconciling man thru Christ. They see Christianity thru the lens of ‘that religion is the religion of western civilization’ and they have never been able to grasp the ‘full world’ nature of the kingdom. A few years ago I had a chance encounter with a Muslim. As we talked I asked him if he knew the history of Abraham and the story of Isaac and Ishmael; to my surprise he was not aware of the story found in the Old Testament. I then did about a 20 minute ‘bible study’ and explained to him how God always had a purpose and destiny for the Arab world- many trace the lineage of the Arabs to Ishmael, the step brother of Isaac. It’s a little too much to do right now, but I tried to break down the cultural barrier of viewing Christianity as an ethnic/western mans religion, and presented the ‘kingdom’ in a way that he could understand and see the main message of reconciliation of all races of people thru Christ. Too many people define the Christian message as a political agenda- or they see the very technical orthodox interpretations of the various doctrines of the faith- and they never really hear what the kingdom is all about. Jesus said this was a strategy of the enemy to prevent people from coming to the faith. As we are entering into a time of increased tension over Islam, let’s be good stewards of the faith and present a non ethnic/cultural message of acceptance and reconciliation of all nations thru Christ. I am not saying all people will automatically believe in the gospel, but I fear that many of them have never really heard it.

-[1502] HAGGAI INTRO- Haggai is one of three post exilic prophets; he returned to Jerusalem around 520 B.C. and prophesied at around the same time as Zechariah. The other post exilic prophet is Malachi. Haggai spoke at a time when the Jews, who returned to their land after being held in captivity, were discouraged about rebuilding Gods temple and they needed to be reminded about their priorities. The Jews returned to their land with excitement and dreams of rebuilding what was destroyed by their enemies, yet after their return they faced opposition and accusations by their enemies. These accusations eventually stalled the work of rebuilding the temple and Haggai prophesied for them to get back to the work. He spoke to the governor, the high priest and the population at large. An oft repeated word from the prophet is ‘consider your ways’ he tells them they need to get their priorities in order if they want to see the land renewed. They were under an economic drought and their land was not producing fruit- the prophet says they need to get back to seeking first God’s kingdom and then he will take care of the rest. Much of Haggai’s message is timely for our day [2010] many feel if we just do the right economic move then we will overcome the recession, yet at the same time the country has made bad moral decisions [extending abortion funding] and we seem to think that these things are not related to each other. Haggai told the people that their economic problems were a direct result of not seeking God. As we do this short study over the next few days, go read the book- It’s only 2 chapters long. See if you can spot the 4 individual prophetic messages that make up the bulk of the book.

-[1498] ‘THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK ARE NOT MY OWN, BUT THE FATHER THAT DWELLS IN ME- HE DOES THE WORK’ Jesus Christ. In John 14 Jesus tells his men that he and the Father will manifest themselves unto them; they ask ‘how will you manifest yourself unto us and not unto the world’? Jesus responds that those who love him will keep his commandments, and to these he will come and dwell with them by the Spirit. The world [unbelievers] have no thirst for this. Of course the question would be ‘which commandments’? Most of us are familiar with the big 10; others see certain Christian practices as the most important- going to church on Sunday, tithing, etc. The writer of this gospel [John] also wrote the 3 smaller letters [1st, 2nd, 3rd John]. John seems to see the law of love as the supreme commandment, of course he gets this from Jesus own words. Jesus at one time was asked what the greatest commandment was, and he replied ‘to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and might’ and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Did Jesus just pick this out of the air? No, he was actually quoting the person that the Jews looked to as the great law giver- Moses. Moses, the man famous for receiving the 10 commandments at the hand of God, yes he was the one who had such a grasp of the character of God that he was able to sum up the 10 commandments as these 2 universal laws. When we love God and our neighbor we will be put in a ‘place’ where God will speak to us- when we live in true community we will see and experience God thru one another. A while back I had a friend who began hanging out with me and some of the homeless guys- he too was homeless. He didn’t look the part, always clean shaven, worked regularly, but yet he was homeless. My friend had some background with the Lord, he knew the bible and it was easy to see that he had been a believer for many years. At the time I had just finished reading Frank Viola’s Pagan Christianity- the book stirred up a controversy and I was careful to whom I would recommend it. But I knew Robert had expressed some of these beliefs in the past and I thought he would like it. He read it and did like it, but one day he emailed me and asked ‘do you know where I could find an ‘organic’ church to join’? He made the mistake of thinking he could find true community in some meeting, that is if he found ‘the church’ with the right answers [concerning organic church] that he would then attend these church meetings [as opposed to the institutional church] and then he would have arrived. What my friend was missing was the fact that much of the daily community things we were doing at the time- getting together as a group of friends, sharing the word at certain times, and yes, having meetings every so often- that the actual daily helping of one another and identifying as believers was in itself a true expression of community. Jesus told his men that when they loved God, and each other, that it was in that environment that God would reveal himself to them. John himself would later write ‘how can you say you love God, who you cannot see, if you don’t love your brother who you can see’? I fear we live in a day where other things have taken precedence over the value of ‘our brother’. We have our political ideas, our theological slants, our ‘better’ beliefs than the church down the bock- and these things become the main thing to us, often at the expense of truly loving our brother. Jesus was giving us the words of God, not men. He quoted the great lawgiver of the Old Testament; the main ‘philosopher’ of the Jew of his day- if Moses said it, then surely it must be so.

[1495] THE NAACP VERSUS THE TEA PARTY- The last few weeks the media has been reporting on race issues; both the liberal and conservative news organizations have been playing to their audience. Fox news has reported on the NAACP’s meeting where Benjamin Jealous [the president] called on the Tea Party to reject racist elements in their ranks. Fox has pointed out that they have never made the same plea to Farrakhan or other radical black groups. Fox has also been playing the video of the New Black Panther member who has said he ‘hates all crackers, they and their babies need to be killed’. On the other side you have MSNBC branding Rand Paul and Sue Angle [republican primary winners] as racist nuts who want to undo the civil rights laws and go back to the stone age- Sue Angle happens to be a Christian ‘soccer mom’ who got into politics years ago out of a sincere desire to change things for the better- Paul is a libertarian who has expressed views that he felt that it was wrong for the govt. to intervene in personal matters in general, and his objection to the civil rights laws were on this basis. He is not a racist who wants to undo civil rights, though I personally do not hold to his views. The point is that both sides of the political spectrum are stirring stuff up. And last night a Black women who worked for the govt. was caught on video tape saying how she discriminated against a White farmer who came to her for aid; she resigned. A few weeks back I was in a situation that I haven’t been in for a long time; I was stuck in another town without a vehicle. My truck was down and I had no ride home. So I figured I would start walking and maybe hitch a ride. I also had left my cell phone home. After a while I decided to stop in a store and call someone for a ride. I do look a little like a hippie and have been mistaken for a bum a few times. So as I approach the counter and buy the bottle of water in my hand, I ask the ladies if I could use the phone; they made all types of excuses- I wasn’t going to get to use it. Some gang type looking kids overheard my conversation and they offered me their cell phone to use. I walked another few blocks and decided to stop at another store and call a taxi. It was getting late and I was in some strange town and there were lots of gang type looking kids out and about- to be honest it didn’t bother me in the least, I felt pretty comfortable. I went into the store and asked the cashier if she had a phone book so I could call a taxi, this store had a pay phone. After looking for the book for around 10 minutes, another ‘gang’ looking kid told me he had the taxi number in his cell phone in the car- sure enough he did! He let me make the call from his phone and the taxi was on the way. As I sat outside the store, cars coming and going, I noticed a Black kid [19?] checking me out. He walked back and forth a few times and I saw him go to his car, he was getting something. As I was sitting there by the tire air pump, away from the customers- he started walking over to me. I was in a spot where people did not have to go passed me to enter the store- he was purposefully coming my way. As he got closer I saw he had something hidden in his hand; I figured ‘what the heck, I can’t do anything at this point’ so I simply gave him a ‘hi, what’s up?’ type thing. He pulled his hand out and gave me the surprise; around 2 dollars in quarters- he thought I was a homeless bum. As the ‘race wars’ heat up in the media, we need to remember the value that God gives to human beings. When Jesus said ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ he was telling us that there are times when institutions that have laws, even good laws, that if we begin exalting the law [illegal immigration laws] and pushing them to a point where we don’t see the real need anymore, instead we see the law as the important thing- then we are missing out on the value of the person. The only people that helped me in my ‘journey home’ were a few Hispanic gang looking kids and a young Black man. The ‘more noble’ store owner/workers looked for ways to get me out of their stores! In this ongoing debate over race, keep what’s important at the fore front- God values people more than laws. Yes, God gave us law and govt. as a good thing, a thing that would benefit man; but if we lose sight of the plight of people- even those who have broken the law by coming here illegally- if we lose sight of their real struggles, then we have forgotten what it means to truly love our neighbor as ourselves.

[1493] ‘children, honor your parents…fathers, raise your children in the fear of the Lord- don’t provoke them…slaves, obey your masters, and masters- treat your slaves [servants] well, knowing that you too have a master in heaven’ Ephesians 6:1-9. Let’s deal with the issue of reading the bible in its cultural context. When the church was birthed in the 1st century, she was born into a Roman society that dominated the known world- yet Rome was not stupid, they had a policy of conquering people and allowing these groups to self govern as much as possible. The Jewish nation actually lived in her own cultural world while at the same time being ruled over by ‘the oppressors’. Rome allowed for a degree of religious freedom. They had their Pantheon of various gods and also did not interfere with the ‘other gods’ of their conquered foes. The problem with the Christians arose because the believers would only acknowledge one God [like the Jews] they would not say ‘Caesar is Lord’ but only Jesus. This drew a strange accusation from Rome; the Christians would be seen as atheists! Yes, atheists in the sense that they would not accept the Roman gods. Now, into this mix the church had to deal with the problem of not being seen as insurgents who were trying to overthrow the ‘God ordained’ govt. of Rome [book of Romans]. They did their best to not be seen as a rebellious movement. This, in my opinion, is why we do not read statements in the New Testament that encourage the overthrowing of slavery. Instead you find admonitions like the one in the above passage that exhort both slaves and masters to live together as much as possible in peace and harmony. I do not see the New Testament [taken in this cultural context!] condoning slavery for all time; but what I see is an early effort by the fledging church to live in peace and order at a time when the ruling authority watched closely over her people. It is true that during the struggle to free the Black salves, many southern preachers read these verses in a way that said ‘the bible tells us not to overthrow slavery, but to treat each other as fellow believers while allowing the institution to survive’. Yet you had men like Charles Finney, well known for his role in the 2nd great awakening that took place in the 19th century, Finney was an outspoken opponent of slavery and did all he could to stop it. So the church has had people on both sides of the issue. As we read the new Testament, one of the main themes is that Christ has come to set men free from bondage [slavery] the apostle himself will teach that in Jesus ‘there is neither slave nor free- we are all one in Christ’ the overall teaching from scripture is that Christ died to set men free, so as the church would grow over time we would get to a place where God would raise up voices [in due season] that would speak out against the oppression of the slave trade. To appeal to the immediate concern of Paul in the first century as expressed thru these passages [the concern of believers not being viewed as rebels who overthrow order in society] and to read these same passages centuries later in order to justify slavery is reading the bible out of its cultural context. We should also be aware that there are other issues that the church in our day struggles with, many appeal to this line of reasoning while dealing with homosexual relationships, ordaining gay people to the pulpit and other stuff like that. It’s not my purpose to deal with everything right now, suffice it to say that I do not personally see these 2 issues as civil rights issues that fall into the same category- undoing slavery and accepting homosexual marriage are not the same thing in my book- but to be aware of the way believers have approached these issues is important for our day. There were many well meaning believers/preachers who read these passages and took them literally to mean that it was wrong for slaves to rise up against ‘their masters’ and rebel, these preachers appealed to the direct words of scripture while making their point- it’s just they were not reading the scripture in its true cultural context.

[1488] ‘I therefore…beseech you that you would walk worthy of the calling…with all lowliness and meekness, putting up with each other in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all, who is above all and thru all and in you all’ Ephesians 4:1-6. Last night I caught Tim Lahaye [famous end time’s preacher] on the fox channel, he was talking about the one world govt. system and the one world banking/economic system. He was saying how he believed that the Obama administration was a tool that would lead up to the apocalypse. The host, Mike Huckabee, was kind enough to let Tim speak but kind of gave a little more mercy to the president. I felt bad for Lahaye, you could see he is getting up in age and you could tell that that’s the way he saw the bible, the lens of end time dispensationalism and the one world order was what he saw, and that’s that. Often times in the various debates that believers have amongst one another, it’s easy to lose sight of the greater purpose of God. In the above passage the apostle talks about the necessity of seeing God’s people as one body, to avoid as much as possible any divisions that would rise up among us. In our day we have many sincere believers who see many things differently, how far down the road of practical unity we will get- I don’t know. But it is imperative that we give each other the benefit of the doubt, that we make room for the different views that other believers have- yes even those who espouse the end time scenarios that seem to be a little off base! As a student of the bible and church history, I realize that there are many doctrinal differences that are deep seated- these will not go away simply because we love one another; but at the same time there needs to be an overriding view of the desire of God for unity among his people. I need to make as much ‘room’ for you as possible when it comes to being a fellow believer in the Lord, I should not allow my beliefs in certain areas trump the unity that we all posses in Christ. This chapter speaks of the gifts that Christ gives to the church for the benefit of the whole body, if I am using my gift in a way that causes division, then no matter how gifted I am, I am working against the purpose of that gift. In the above passage the apostle speaks of the need for humility and meekness, we need to stop seeing each other thru the lens of ‘our group is better/knows more truth than your group’ even if we believe that ‘our group’ really is more doctrinally sound than the other members of Christ’s church, yet we are called to lowliness and meekness when dealing with one another- yes there will be times of honest and robust disagreement, but we must not forsake/forget the high calling to strive for unity amongst the people of God. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt- if we disagree with them, whether politically or in areas of belief, let’s not jump to the conclusion that they are going to personally play a major role in bringing in the apocalypse for heaven’s sake! If these people are believers then it is our duty to give them the benefit of the doubt, even if we disagree with them strongly in certain areas.

[1484] ‘This is why I Paul am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so called. I take it that you are familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody… none of our ancestors understood this, only in our time has it been made clear thru God’s Spirit… this is my life work, helping people understand and respond to God’s message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details’ Ephesians 3, message bible. As I said earlier in this study, the ‘mystery’ that God revealed to Paul was the reality that thru Christ all ethnic groups would be on the same footing with God. This specifically related to the religious belief of the day that the ethnic nation of Israel were the only ones with special access to God. For Paul to have been preaching this message in his day would be like us teaching that God’s plan for all people today- Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians, etc., it would be like saying Gods purpose for our day is to accept all of these ethnic groups as one group thru Christ. To be frank about it, I believe many evangelicals today are not fully seeing the reality of the Cross when they exalt the natural heritage of Israel as Gods special people. Though I realize many of these teachings mean well [end time scenarios and stuff] yet in practice they deny the equal footing that all people have in Christ. Paul was preaching the great news that your ethnic/cultural background no longer made any difference- thru Christ we are all Gods special people. This does not mean that we are all accepted whether or not we believe in Christ, a sort of religious syncretism, but it does mean that the offer of Jesus is available to all.

[1482] ‘For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of two one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby’ Ephesians 2:14-16. Over the years I have seen this portion of scripture used in a way that said God removed the animosity between man and God [true] and that this verse speaks of that. In actuality this scripture is speaking to the reality of God removing the animosity between the two major ‘races’ of the first century. In today’s pluralistic society we find it difficult to grasp the religious prejudice that existed in Jesus’ day; those who were Jewish and partook of Judaism were considered accepted by God, those who were not Jewish were considered outsiders and without ‘God in the world’. So in Paul’s theology he shows us that one of the major aspects of the Cross was the taking away of the object that caused the enmity- which was the ordinances of the law. Colossians tells us that the law of commandments was nailed to the Cross, and it is thru this action that the Jewish nation no longer had a ‘one up man ship’ thing going against the Gentiles. The work of the Cross leveled the playing field where the Jewish religion could no longer say ‘we have Gods law, you don’t’ instead the new proclamation after the Cross says ‘Jesus nailed the law to the Cross and we all stand on equal ground at the foot of the Cross’. To our 21st century minds this might not be such a great thing, but to the people of the 1st century it was. Last night I saw a story on the news about the two men who stood outside of an election place during the last presidential election; they were members of the New Black Panther Party and were dressed like thugs- they had billy clubs and the whole nine yards. Just seeing these men looked intimidating. The complaints against them were that they intimated white voters from voting; some said they used racial slurs against white people, they stood in the way and blocked the entrance, bad stuff all the way around. The reason it’s in the news is because the justice dept. just dropped the case against these thugs. One of the employees who worked on the case quit, he said they were told that they were not to bring charges against Blacks who intimated Whites, only the other way around. How much of the accusations are true, I don’t know. But the problem is by any standards this is a classic case of voter intimidation- you simply can’t get a better text book case than this. Now there are many Black leaders, both political and religious, who defend these men and their actions. Even though elderly white women obviously were scared to vote, yet these leaders accept racist actions if they come from their own race. This is wrong and totally unacceptable, especially from anyone standing in a pulpit. The message of the Cross is one of reconciliation of all people, we want mercy and truth to prevail, and we do not want any special treatment for one group while discriminating against another. I thank God that thru the Cross the enmity was removed, we can all stand on equal ground at the foot of the Cross and come thru the same Spirit to our God, Jesus took away the thing that caused the animosity.

-[1474] YE THAT LOVE THE LORD, HATE EVIL- Psalm 97:10a. The other day I had a discussion with a college student, they are studying biology/evolution and they asked a bunch of important questions. I gave the person an overview of the true things we have learned from evolutionary theory, but I also explained how science has also shown us the limits that the theory has [went into information theory and DNA and the fossil record]. The person then asked all types of questions about the bible- I went into the manuscript evidence and historical proofs of scripture. Then the person asked about a society ‘free from religion’ sort of like Lennon’s theme in the song imagine. I explained that this project has been tried before and found wanting; covered the history of the Enlightenment and how those who advocated for a society free from God could not justify law and morality; they ultimately have to borrow capital from Christianity. I also explained that these experiments ended up in failure [socialism]. After giving the student a broad overview for the reality of God they said they thought I should teach it to their fellow students because they are not hearing both sides of the argument. I believe the apologetic arguments for the proof of God and Christianity can only go so far, then you need faith to embrace Christ; but there are many sincere students who get lambasted for the faith and are being duped out of believing what is true. After explaining some of the views of Christianity the person actually began seeing some of the flaws with the arguments that they have heard on the other side. It is progressive and open minded and ‘pluralistic’ to hear both sides of these issues, but many times in the university setting the student does not hear both views. After listening to both sides, it is obvious to see that those who advocate for a Godless society ultimately go down a road that is evil, governments that destroy and devalue human life. We have tried the atheistic experiment and it has failed; you that love the Lord, hate evil.

[1473] PRESIDENTS ADDRESS- Last night the president gave his first presidential address; he spoke for around 18 minutes and tried his best to deal with the gulf oil leak. His speech came just hours after the N.Y. times did a critical story on his handling of the spill, they basically said the president has done a terrible job in the overall cleanup effort. I would note that the times have been one of the president’s strongest supporters. Also the criticism from the media has not been as bad as it could have been. I do remember hearing many times that the so called reason for Bush’s slow response after hurricane Katrina was because of his inherent racist views. Many pundits openly said that if the hurricane hit some mainly white northern state that the response would be different; I have yet to hear one person say that Obama is reacting badly because most of the fishermen and gulf residents are poor white folk. Okay, what about the speech. First, the president came out strongly for a new ‘cap and trade’ law; basically it is a tax on the oil industry designed to wean the country off oil and force industry into clean fuel use. Though this is a noble goal, to try this at a time when the oil industry is being hit hard, this does not help our fragile economy. We are going to lose around 30-50 thousand jobs because of the 6 month moratorium on new oil rigs going up. Here where I live this effects many small businesses; these rigs don’t just go away for 6 months, they go and plant themselves in some other country and on average these jobs are lost for 5 years. To continue to hammer this industry with a new tax that would raise the cost of business and the price of fuel is simply irresponsible at this time. So why do it? The president realizes that in the upcoming elections they will lose seats, so this will probably be his last chance to enact any big things on his agenda, so that’s more than likely the reason he is trying for this. The president looked a little shaky during the speech, he appealed for prayer at the end [a good thing] and he tried to make the case that they have lots of resources in place to deal with the crisis; the main problem is there seems to be no real coordinated effort to handle the clean up. Most observers are saying there is a fundamental lack of leadership in the whole situation. I believe we should pray for the president, don’t impugn bad motives to the man [like he purposely wants to drag the country down so he can enact socialism!] and realize that ideologies have good or bad effects, if you believe it’s in the overall good for the nation to tax oil at this time; then your ‘belief’ will adversely affect many people who need help right now. I don’t think it would be fair to them to make them take another big hit at a time when they are already hurting.

[1471] WEEK IN REVIEW- Yesterday I had the chance to catch up on some news paper reading; lets cover a few things. First, I read an article about a person being prosecuted by the Obama administration- he has worked for the govt. since 2001 and is an expert consultant on high tech stuff. He has tried for years to update the government’s capabilities in the area of surveillance and undercover stuff, the problem he has run into is many depts. are still run by old timers who don’t even know what Twitter means! So after years of trying he leaked the story to the N.Y. Times. Well the president launched an unprecedented investigation, 20 something F.B.I. agents were put on the case. They traced the leak to him and are currently prosecuting him to the fullest extent of the law. He is married with children, his family is devastated, he has lost his job at Harvard and other highly held positions, he is now working at a computer sales store, waiting to stand trial. The president is trying to have him found guilty of a felony and to do as much time as the law allows [many years in prison]. The article went on to say that this president has launched more investigations/prosecutions for those who have leaked info. to the press, more than any other president in history! And he has only been in office for 17 months, this is unbelievable. This has created an atmosphere among the press that gets little to no ‘open’ info of what’s going on. These types of prosecutions are usually reserved for severe cases, people leaking info about major things that could harm the govt.; you don’t do this to a man who was simply trying to upgrade our intelligence gathering. Number 2- The former head of the OMB has come out and said health care might cost an extra Trillion over the next ten years. The president told us that we would save 300 billion, how can this be? He went on to explain that many businesses looking at the options have figured out that it would be cheaper to drop the coverage of their employees and allow them to fall under the govt. subsidized program. It works like this; if an employer spends 12 thousand a year on your coverage, he can make a deal with the employee to give him an 8 thousand dollar raise and pay the 2 thousand dollar fine and make another 2 thousand dollar profit for the company, the govt. then used taxpayer money to not only cover the employee who used to get covered by his job, but your tax payer dollars also earned an extra 2 grand for the company! It was only a matter of time before stuff like this would happen. And last but not least, the promise that said ‘if you like your current coverage, you can keep it’ was a flat out lie. Many employers are now being told that if they want to offer the same EXACT coverage to their employees, then yes they can do so. But if things change at all, like the co-pay or some other expense, then that disqualifies them from opting out of the system. Any person familiar with how companies cover their people will tell you that every few years the employer usually shops the market for the best deal, and it is common knowledge that something in the plan will change. For the president to have said ‘if you like what you have you can keep it’ and to mean ONLY EXACTLY WHAT YOU HAVE is Chicago style politics to the full. When you tell the public ‘sure, we cheated on offering jobs to get Democrats out of races, but everyone does it’ [which by the way is not true] and then to go after a news leaker [even though everyone does that!] seems to be a double standard. To make statements that you know are deceptive [you can keep what you have] and to do so because you have made a political choice that you need to pass something whether or not it’s best for the people, then you have basically lost your moral compass; you simply can’t be trusted on anything. I think we should pray for our leaders, but at the same time be aware and informed on what they are doing, if the media does not hold them responsible, then they can get away with bad stuff. I don’t think our president meant to be like this, but because of pressure he has allowed stuff like this to happen. He misleads us way too much, he goes after people using the arm of the FBI in ways that former administrations would never do. And then when he gets caught himself he says ‘well, everyone does it’ this way of operating can’t go on without severe repercussions, we do reap what we sow.

[1470] PSALM 95- I find it interesting that right now the country is fixated on the underwater video of the leak in the gulf, I mean they just recently released the high def.version! It seems that for some strange reason we keep looking at ‘this work’. In Psalm 95 God exhorts the people to praise him, to sing to him, to worship him with instruments. Then there is this warning to not harden our hearts when he speaks; the warning says ‘don’t be like you fathers, who when they knew what I wanted, rebelled and SAW MY WORKS for 40 years’. Seeing Gods work in this context meant seeing Divine judgment day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. There is talk now that this oil leak might go on for a year! I am not saying the leak is ‘God’s work’ but there is truth to the idea that when we reject God we are then left with viewing things that are less than profitable. The children of Israel had a great opportunity to have seen the promised land and would have been the first generation to have dwelt in the land; yet because of their unbelief they instead saw Gods work in judgment for an entire generation. Lets worship and praise God daily, this creates an environment to hear the voice of the Lord, then when he speaks, be quick to hear [which means action] if not, we might spend the next few years staring at an underwater oil leak.

[1469] AQUINAS, THOMAS- Thomas is considered to be one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time. Born in Naples around 1225, he studied in Cologne under the Dominican order. During Thomas lifetime there was a rediscovery of the ancient writings of the philosopher Aristotle. Thomas would write commentaries on the philosophy of Aristotle and he would attempt to introduce reason into the arguments to prove the existence of God. He was a follower of that form of Christian teaching called ‘scholasticism’ this method used reason and logical debate to arrive at truth. Other scholars would reject this method [Bonaventure] they felt that using these rational methods was a contradiction to faith. Thomas would become famous for his ‘five ways’ also referred to as Natural Theology. Thomas taught that there were 5 basic ways man could examine the natural created order and come to a rational belief in the existence of God; Thomas taught that the first cause of all things had to be God, you logically needed a first ‘causer’ to start the ball rolling [prime mover]. John Duns Scotus was a contemporary of Aquinas and he disagreed with the scholastic method. Scotus would become famous among the Franciscans; Aquinas would be famous among the Dominicans. Today many Catholic scholars pride themselves in being ‘Thomistic’ in their thought. Thomas also spoke much about ‘just war’ theory, originally introduced by Augustine. He taught that the means of war had to be just in order for the war itself to be ‘justified’; in today’s wars [Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan] I believe the use of unmanned drone attacks that kill civilians can be considered an unjust method. Thomas’ great works are Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae, Thomas is called the ‘angelic doctor’ of the Catholic faith.

[1465] THE WORST ENVIRONMENTAL INCIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY! We are now in the 40 something day of the oil spill in the Gulf; it is now being called the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history. Both the critics and the supporters of the president have been giving there sides of the situation. I want to try and give a fair analysis of the incident. Could the president have done more about the situation? Some have said he has done everything possible [Douglas Brinkley] others have said no [both Democrats and Republicans]. Even though the president has little control over stopping the leak, he could have been more pro active about getting the cleanup resources in place. He has yet to mobilize the amount of resources needed to mitigate the oil coming to shore in the Gulf States; he could have had the govt. go in and contract with thousands of private haz mat workers and they could have been in place much earlier than they were. The president could have contracted with private business and had tankers going back and forth over these huge spills and skimming as much oil as possible. These are real things that were not done, and in some cases are still not being done. Number 2- the president seems to have had no initial concept of the ‘incident command system’ as a retired firefighter I have some experience with the concept. In the old days when fire depts. dealt with hazards they usually did their part at the scene, while the other entities did their own thing [Police, Highway patrol, etc.] but for many years now we use the Incident Command System; that is at each incident you have one main person designated as the go to man, he coordinates all the other heads of departments. He doesn’t do their jobs, but he is the person ON SCENE that is in charge. It took around 40 days before the administration began referring to Admiral Thad Allen as the incident commander. Many in the media began saying that they needed an incident commander, and it seems as if the administration realized they needed to say they have one. It is obvious to me that the fine admiral was not doing what incident commanders do. He has said over and over again that there were aspects of his job that did not mix with B.P. Though this is true, yet the incident commander does over see all operations. You have also had Parish Leaders telling us that the president has told them to call him directly if they have problems. In one instance the media reported that the president and the admiral were all meeting with the local leaders and the local leaders overruled admiral Allen about how to deal with a certain problem; this my friends is not an incident commander. All in all the president does seem to be learning these things as ‘on the job training’. I had a strong supporter of the president ask me why he seems to not be able to handle the situation. I reminded the person that one of the debates that went on during the campaign had to do with job experience; many argued that Obama had no executive experience- they said as a former intellectual, and his experience as a ‘community organizer’ that these things did not give a person the executive experience that was needed for the job. In some ways it does seem like they were right. I do not blame the president for the leak [though it was under his administration that B.P. and other drillers received special treatment to continue off shore drilling] but it is obvious to me that he has dropped the ball on some things. This morning oil is washing up on the beaches of Pensacola, why didn’t we have all the cleanup people out in force since last week? Instead they showed pictures of beach goers picking up oil balls with their kids! You do not have to be an oil professional to have the insight to get people in place ahead of time, but you do need some minimal ‘executive experience’.

[1461] LORD THOU HAST BEEN FAVOURABLE UNTO THY LAND, THOU HAST BROUGHT BACK THE CAPTIVITY OF JACOB- Psalms 85:1. Today we find out if the ‘top kill’ method of plugging up the oil leak in the gulf will work. We have had the ‘top hat’ ‘junk shot’ and even the ‘sombrero’ as options in the past, yes the 1979 leak in the bay of Campeche tried the sombrero! The sad thing is all the politics surrounding the whole thing; those in the media who are simply cheerleaders for the president, they can’t be trusted as news people. Those who are only critics, they can’t either. But you do have some fair reporting by some. Anderson Cooper of CNN seems to be doing the best job. Chris Matthews actually said at one point ‘I guess the republican critics are mad that this president is so ‘damn’ competent’ well what would you expect from him. And Bill OReilly had Glen Beck on to discuss ‘are some of the presidents critics going too far’ that’s like asking Hitler to comment on the Jews plight! All in all the media have treated this situation very favorably to the president; Bush would have been hammered from day one. I find it odd that the pictures of dead birds and the environmental disaster of disturbing the wetlands [a true tragedy indeed] have caused such concern; yet the same advocates seem to care less about the disruption of ‘the natural life cycle’ that is called abortion. I mean if you had pictures of babies washing up on shore by the millions, would some of these advocates have the same concern? If the babies that ‘washed up’ all were aborted one minute before birth, it would be considered legal; one minute after birth- murder. We need to re examine our values. The above psalm tells us that when things go well for a land, that is a sign of God’s blessing; when things go bad, it is a sign that we are doing things that displease him. Our country is debating gays in the military, I am not against gay people, but should this issue be coming up at this time? We came off a year of a fabricated emergency on passing health care; a good cause, yes- but to have spent an entire year on nothing else, bad move. North Korea sunk a South Korean battle ship and killed 43 men- these countries are on the verge of all out war. Iran has no respect at all for us; they will continue to pursue Nukes regardless of what we say. And John Brennan, the top guy at homeland security just gave a public speech saying ‘Jihad is an acceptable struggle for Muslims and we are not at war with terror or Islam’ Okay, I agree we are not a war with Islam per se; but to call Jihad an acceptable Muslim struggle, you got to be kidding me! If we as a people turn back to God, he will be favorable unto our land; if we continue to see our struggle as one where gays in the military, abortion on demand; appointing the first openly transsexual persons to the administration; if these things are looked upon as the ‘moral’ priorities of this administration, then yes, things will not go well for us. When the president appointed Elena Kagan as the most recent Supreme Court nominee, one of the major news stations reported that she was the first openly gay nominated for the court. Then a day or so went by and they retracted the statement, but the reporter said it is an open fact that the woman lives in an open lesbian relationship with another woman, and that the people around her know this. Then another day or so went by and the news organization dropped the story. If the woman’s gay, I don’t know. But this president seems to be pushing an agenda that the majority of the American public are not in sync with. Should we discriminate against gays, or cross dressers, or people who have had sex change operations? No. But is it possible that many of these people are struggling with deviant lifestyles? Yes. Is it possible that changing ones sex might be a disorder, and not simply a civil rights issue? Yes. Then why would this president be on such a fast track to appoint these types of people to the highest positions in the land? Our country still has lots of issues to deal with, and we should pray for the president and do our best to support him when possible, but it is obvious that he has an agenda that fundamentally undercuts many American values; if we continue to pursue this type of course, things will not go favorably for our land.

[1460] TEACH ME THY WAY O LORD; I WILLWALK IN THY TRUTH, UNITE MY HEART TO FEAR THY NAME. Psalms 86:11. In the book of Hebrews repentance is described as a free gift from God, if he does not freely give it; we can never truly repent. This Psalm tells us that the Lord teaches us to fear his name; he unites our hearts to fear him. We often think of the fear of the Lord as something that we conjure up; a task that must be done, though we find it difficult to perform. Last night I saw the latest news on the Black mayor from the north east, Kwamie Kilpatrick, who was embroiled in scandals and got kicked out of office a year or so ago. Of course there were many racial overtones to his firing; both sides claimed racial motives. Last night he was sentenced to 18 months in jail for violating his probation; part of the rules were he had to show all of the money he had or would make; he still has a million dollar fine to pay. They found out that he had some money that he did not declare. So they sent him to jail for a couple of years. As I watched the story it was easy to get caught up in the arguments on either side; those who think he was picked on because he is Black, or those who think he got what he deserved. As I heard the former mayor speak, he shared his faith in the Lord, he told the judge he has rededicated his life, become a good husband and father; that he has made efforts to reform. The judge simply said ‘that boat has sailed already’ and he gave him judgment without mercy. As I heard the mayor I felt bad for him, he has done some wrong things in the past, and hiding the money was wrong; but this was not a case of some drug addicted person who went out and stole a bunch of money and shot a cop, this was a man who gave in to temptation in the past and seemed to be trying to make things right. Maybe they should have taken the money they found and let him try and restore his life. It would be sad if after he gets out of jail that his life took a turn for the worse and he never fully recovered. In all these types of cases the Lord has to grant us repentance as a gift, it is not something we can make happen on our own. Let’s ask God to unite our hearts to fear his name- ‘turn us again O Lord and cause thy face to shine and we shall be saved’.

[1459] GROW A BRAIN YOU MORANS! Last night as I was watching the news they showed some protester sporting this large sign at some rally; I’m not sure if he was a tea partier or not. The point being that there is a danger in mounting the horse of judgmentalism, that is if you are trying to expose others faults, you usually wind up in the same ditch over time [he meant to say moron!] I also caught an apologetics show that I found interesting in the past, but recently they have been spending too much time exposing the ‘one world economy/church’ and have been dwelling on themes that I haven’t heard in years. The brother went on to explain the importance of exposing the one world banking system and how the bible speaks about a one world govt. so this is a way to show unbelievers the reality of the bible. The problem then becomes a sort of fear/unwillingness to address any global problems on a global scale. All organizations like NATO or the UN are deemed tools of the future anti Christ, this outlook usually overlooks the fact that the majority of the references found in the bible dealing with a ‘one world govt./kingdom’ are actually references that speak about the kingdom of God, so there is a danger that believers simply become stumbling blocks to any future endeavors for peace or any joint action on dealing with hunger or world poverty; these concerns are usually looked at as things that we can’t really do anything about on a global cooperative scale. In a nutshell we look like the above protestor carrying the sign; he thinks ‘boy did I show them’ and in reality, well yes he did show them! As believers we need to be bold about the truth claims of the gospel; yes it is exclusive, that is it tells people you can’t come to God any other way accept thru the Cross, but we need to be willing to work with the religious people who inhabit the earth, to not be so exclusive that we never join any cooperative efforts to deal with problems on a global scale. Just because people/leaders use the term ‘global village’ or ‘global order’ this does not mean they are all tools of some future global govt. that the anti Christ will head up! Jesus said many things that could fit into the category of a religious liberal; he advocated a passivist message for heaven’s sake! Let’s align ourselves with Jesus and his gospel, if we feel governments are doing wrong, then yes it’s our responsibility to speak up against oppressive regimes, to speak out against these types of things; but let’s also be willing to unite with other nations/govts. when they are sincerely tying to tackle world problems on a global scale, as long as we stick to the reality of the message of Jesus, we should not fear any and all efforts at global harmony.

[1453] TURN US AGAIN OH GOD AND CAUSE THY FACE TO SHINE AND WE SHALL BE SAVED- Psalms. As I was reading in the Psalms I came across a passage that said ‘why God have you allowed the wall of protection to come down’. The psalm goes on and recounts God’s work in bringing Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land; it says God took this vine from captivity and caused it to take root and its branches spread over the earth. And then God allowed her walls [protections/foundations] to fail. Last night I was watching the results of some of the elections across the nation. They showed how some politicians were rejected because of various flip flopping and stuff. They also showed a breaking scandal of some attorney general; he is running for higher office and for many years he presented himself as a Vietnam vet. He has said ‘when I served in Nam’ and stuff like that. News papers referred to his record as a Vietnam vet, and it was quite obvious that the man ran on a record of having been in Nam. Then it was found out that he never served in Vietnam; he was in the reserves stateside during the war. How did he explain this contradiction? He said he was taking full responsibility for this [sounds good] and then he said he will not let ‘a few misplaced words’ ruin his integrity. He said he meant to say things like ‘when I served [in the reserve, stateside] during the war’ and as he was questioned why he never corrected the many news stories about him being a Vietnam vet, he said he was not responsible for what the news reports. What’s the problem here? Okay, the man was caught lying, yes, like all of us he is a sinner and let a lie go on for too long. But in his apology, he said he was taking responsibility, while at the same time not admitting his sin. This is an example of what goes on over and over again in our great land. It’s not so much the fact that yes, people sin and have made mistakes; it’s just our continual unwillingness to accept the blame for our sins. Ergun Caner, the ex Muslim who is now a Christian and the president of Liberty University [Jerry Farwell’s bible college] has also been caught in a scandal where he has presented himself as a radical Muslim who was raised in Turkey and converted to Christianity in a radical way. But it has come out that though he was raised Muslim, he really grew up in Ohio [he lived in Turkey as a boy] and his conversion was not as radical as his testimony seemed to imply. He also seems to have misled people about his debating certain Muslim scholars, some people have looked into the situation and it seems as if he has not been honest about it. Okay, we have all made mistakes in life, and as a president of a bible school stuff like this can be damaging, but our response makes the difference between a successful future or one where ‘the hedge of protection is broken down’. God can, and does forgive all sins; but if we claim we are taking responsibility for our ‘misplaced words’ and then deny the fact that we lied, in essence we are not taking responsibility. God allowed the protections to come down around Israel because she accepted as normative things that were sinful, God would have continued to work with her, but she allowed sinful practices to become accepted in her midst. I do not see the hope of our nation being in the political realm, yet the continual dissembling that takes place, over and over again, can’t go on without us as a people suffering for it. As of the time of this writing [5-2010] there are still many national/economic problems that we have to face; there is still a fear that the problems in the European currency [Euro] will have worldwide effects for the worse. We should not think that we can continue to do business as usual without the walls coming down; if we want God to ‘shine his face on us once again’ we can’t keep doing stuff like this and thinking it’s acceptable, it’s not.

(1447) THE BARNES AND NOBLE JESUS? WAS B.P. A GOD CAUSED DISASTER? Yesterday I saw my recent issue of Christianity Today had arrived, I planned on reading some news papers and catching up on the weeks past events; but instead I spent about an hour going thru the mag. Found it interesting to see many of the ruffled feathers among the elites of the day. Brian McLaren finally responded to Scot McKnight’s criticism of his most recent work; Brian defended himself as not being anti evangelical. Tom Wright had a book review done by Michael Horton [that could be trouble!] but Horton was pretty fair, and pointed out how Wright pictures the Reformers as neglecting virtue and morality on the altar of faith. Horton exposes this weakness in Wright, surely many of the reformers [particularly the Puritan strain] emphasized virtue and morality. Found it interesting that some of these authors responded to recent critiques in a way that seemed to indicate that the critics served a good purpose; it caused the authors to have to defend themselves and make statements saying they were closer to the evangelical faith than their critics indicated. As I read the back and forth between these fine men, I couldn’t help but wonder what practical effect all this is having on the church at large. Are they simply hashing things out amongst the book store crowd [of which I am one] and in the end the church at large is preaching/believing in a Jesus who would probably be uncomfortable hanging out at the Barnes and Noble? Okay, this week my governor said the B.P. oil spill in the gulf was an act of God; the critics got on him and he had to defend himself. It does seem strange that a failed oil rig can be blamed on the Most High. The broader question being, how do we explain the real natural disasters of the world? In the 18th century [1755 to be exact] believers from all over the world were in church celebrating All Saints Day, just off the coast of Portugal a major earthquake struck, thousands of believers who were attending services in the capital city of Lisbon were crushed under the collapsing buildings. Many fled to the coast and were swept up in the tsunami; it was a major disaster for the time. One of Christianities critics, Voltaire, used this event to refute the popular notion that God was sovereign over all things and good as well. Voltaire, who is often accused of being an atheist [in actuality he was a theist- believed in a God but rejected Christianity] found evil in the world as proof of God being absent from the daily affairs of men, a common accusation from atheists/agnostics. How do believers explain these types of events? Did God purposely cause the earthquake to happen on that day, knowing that all the worshippers would be in church that morning? God of course knows all things, and nothing happens outside of his sovereignty. But we also live in a world that is a result of mans choice to sin and plunge the creation into a cursed situation [Genesis, Romans] so things happen in the world that are a result of the curse that came upon creation when man sinned. Things like the B.P. spill are obviously not God caused disasters, but we also can’t blame every natural disaster upon God. True, sometimes they can be a divine act of judgment [Noah’s flood] and there certainly are scriptures that speak about God revealing himself and his wrath thru these types of events, but we also should not discount the reality that some events happen as a result of mans failure to properly take care of the creation that God put under his dominion. The fact that God is not directly involved in all these types of events does not mean that he is removed from the scene, but we also need to be careful when we blame God for things that are clearly not his fault.

(1444) AND HE TOOK HIM OUTSIDE AND SHOWED HIM THE STARS AND SAID ‘LOOK AT THEM, CAN YOU NUMBER THEM’ AND THE LORD SAID ‘SO SHALL YOUR OFFSPRING BE’ AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED IN GOD AND HE CREDITED IT TO HIS ACCOUNT AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Genesis 15:5-6 [my paraphrase] As we journeyed from chapter 12, where God made the initial promise to Abraham, a few things occurred; God separated Abraham from his nephew Lot. The kings attacked Sodom and took Lot captive, Abraham took his men and went and freed Lot. The king of Sodom tries to reimburse Abraham for his good deed, Abraham turns him down. Abraham also went into Egypt and lied about Sarah his wife, out of fear he told the Egyptians she was his sister [so they wouldn’t kill him to get his wife] and the king takes her and later rebukes Abraham for lying. So he returns to the special place named Bethel [house of God] and regroups. Now in chapter 15 Abraham has some doubts, God gave Abraham this great promise of many children; but he has no kids yet! Abraham is getting up in years [around 75] and so is Sarah his wife; Abraham asks the Lord to consider counting his servant as his heir, this was done in those days. The Lord turns him down and says ‘no, one born from you will be the heir’ and this is just one stop of many along the path of Abraham’s doubts. Yes, he comes up with another winner down the road [like having a kid with the maid!] But this promise in chapter 15, and Abraham’s response by faith, is the actual text Paul uses in Galatians and Romans to show that being justified comes by faith, and not by keeping the law. I want to stress, this example from Abrahams life was real, he really was justified in Gods eyes by believing in the future promise of having a great dynasty; like I said in the last post, he was believing in Jesus when he believed in the promise. In the next few days I will try and cover some key verses in Galatians and Romans, but most of all I want you to see how God forgives people, makes them legally just in his sight, not because of what they have done- trying to do good, be a church goer, trying hard to keep the 10 commandments; all of these things are noble efforts, but they don’t earn God’s forgiveness, but God’s forgiveness is based on the grounds that Jesus died for our sins and rose again. All who believe in this promise are described as ‘the children of God, by faith in Jesus Christ’. Many of the Jewish people looked to Abraham as a great hero of the faith, Paul shows them thru these examples that all who believe, whether Jew or Gentile, become the ‘children of Abraham’ by faith, it’s not an ethnic/cultural thing anymore. If only the Muslims, Arabs and all other groups heard this message from the church; how liberating would this be! But we too often present an ethnic message based upon Old Testament verses that call certain Middle Eastern states ‘the enemies of Israel/God’. These views, not being rightfully filtered thru the message of the Cross, make it very difficult to evangelize the Arab world, after all would you want to embrace a religion whose book said ‘thus saith the Lord, all you white Europeans are a stench in my nostrils’! But because of our unwillingness to present a gospel based solely on faith, and not the ethnic backgrounds of individuals, we have reduced the message of the Cross from the wide net that the apostles used when presenting the message of Jesus- Lets declare with certainty ‘yes, we are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ’ Amen.

(1442) WHAT ABOUT THE ARIZONA LAW? This week Arizona passed one of the most restrictive immigration laws in the nation. Many have opposed the new law; there is so much speculation by the media that it’s hard to get to the truth. I personally would be against any law that made a U.S. citizen have to show his birth papers or be detained. But I also understand the major border problem that Arizona and the other Mexico/American Border States have to deal with; I live in Texas, one of these states. Last night I caught an interesting interview on the Rachel Maddow show, she had on some guy from a group that supposedly had something to do with crafting the new law. I never heard of the group before but they seem to be one of the right leaning groups that at times espouse things that can be taken as racist. The interesting thing was Rachel’s staff looked up all sorts of past statements and beliefs of people associated with the group; she then grilled the representative on the air. The problem was she found past statements that held to the belief that some races of people are more ‘evolved’ than others, statements that said some humans possibly have a better learning capacity than others. And she also brought out those who held to the belief that it would be better for humanity as a whole if we did not encourage the ‘lesser groups’ to breed! What Rachel did not realize is she was quoting to the tee many of the beliefs of social evolution. At one point she brought out a picture from a magazine associated with the group, the title of the article was ‘Homo Erectus walks among us’ it actually showed a picture of a half black/ape like being. In essence Rachel was rightfully condemning social Darwinism, a belief that she personally holds to! I have written on this before and don’t want to re teach the whole subject, suffice it to say that many have warned that these racist views of evolution are extremely dangerous, but if a person truly believes in Darwin’s theory, then the logical conclusion is yes- there are races on the planet that are less advanced than others- you can’t get around it, evolutionary theory breeds racism. I like the Rachel Maddow show, and like most North Eastern liberals they are usually able to see the faults and racist tendencies of the right, but are totally blind to their own racist views. I personally am weary of any law that puts people under suspicion because of their race; whether it be White, Hispanic, Black or any other group. If the federal govt. did not drop the ball on immigration and border security then Arizona would not have been pushed into what looks to be a bad law, I hope that we can come to a fair solution to the immigration problem. For the record I am pro immigrant, I have said this before and want to be up front about it. I take the Catholic view on immigration; I side with treating the immigrants with mercy and grace. I know there are legitimate arguments on both sides of this issue; I just wanted to be upfront about where I stand.

(1439) WHY ARE WE STILL KILLING INNOCENT AFGHAN/MUSLIM PEOPLE? The other day I read a few papers that built up over a few days at my doorstep. One day an article read ‘4 people killed in Afghan attack’ and the article went on to say that the coalition forces shot into a car and killed 4 people; the local authorities insisted these were innocent civilians- our side said we looked into the identity of the victims using high tech fingerprinting technology and that 2 of the 4 were enemy combatants. The local authorities said not only were the 4 people innocent civilians, but one was a cop, the other a 12 year old boy. The paper from the following day said ‘the 4 people were civilians- one a cop, the other a small boy’ any explanation for why we lied? Any questioning on how we were so quick to produce high tech evidence on the guilt of these people? Any major news coverage, you know pictures of the shot up vehicle? What about any media pressure at all about the presidents promises to end these atrocities? The media does not care about reporting stories that under the previous administration were considered highly important, how many main stream news stories of bombings and deaths and burning vehicles have you seen lately? The media has attached itself to the side of an administration to the point where atrocities are not being reported. Understand, the Afghan president has been under tremendous pressure over these incidents; he has made his concerns known over and over again; how have we responded? The other week we sent some top aides to the country, they publicly portrayed the Afghan leader as corrupt [as most of them are] we then made the story about the corruption of the Afghan leader. How did he respond? He threatened to join the Taliban. These last few months many big mistakes and problems have arisen in these wars, things that would have normally caused the Democrats to go on a war path, the Harry Reids of the day going on national TV and proclaiming ‘we have lost the war’. But they have been mute on the subject, portraying any criticism as either being racist, or the party of no. Right now they are attempting to pass financial reform, some think it will do the job, others think it’s problematic. The reform would create a 50 billion dollar account to ‘liquidate’ big financial institutions if they got into trouble, sort of a bailout program that would prevent another major disaster. Some feel we should not promise any bailouts at all, that to give this guarantee to the big banks, while not giving it to the smaller ones, that this would give an unfair advantage to the bigger banks- after all people will do business with the firms that have the special bail out provision, plus these banks would be able to borrow at a lower rate than the smaller banks. In essence some think this reform bill is actually unfair and favors the wall streeters in the end. But the media simply reports that those opposed are ‘in bed with wall street’. An independent study just came out and told us that passing health care will add around 350 billion to the cost over the first 10 years, not reduce the cost as promised. The reality is when you rush things thru, in the sense that every program you pass is portrayed as an emergency that can’t wait, then you get childish government; an administration that portrays things in a wrong light, and when the facts come out- there are no questions from the media about ‘who knew what when’ no questions about our continued involvement in the deaths of many, many Afghan civilians, and our lying about it, over and over again! It’s not a onetime occasion, we will not stop doing this- we keep saying ‘the evidence shows us that these people were guilty’ and time and time again the reports later say ‘no, we killed a bunch of women and kids’ how long are we going to keep doing this? This from an administration that condemned the fallout from the previous administrations actions, a man who said we must simply get our troops out of these bad situations [Iraq] because our troops presence stir up animosity. Then why does this president insist on ratcheting up the violence? That country is eventually going to go back into the hands of the Taliban, they rule the entire country right now, all the local tribal type regions have Taliban rule, or are favored by the majority of the people. The Afghans see us as the danger, not them! So why waste any more precious lives of our boys and girls over there? Why keep killing innocent civilians, cops and little boys, and then lying about it? It’s time for us to wake up and let our voices be heard, just like the nonstop opposition on national media during the Bush years, nonstop coverage over these events, questions on who knew what and when. Instead the media has an agenda, they keep reporting on how the republicans are in bed with wall street- I could care less about all the democrats and republicans who are all just as guilty as the next guy, the president himself having taken a million from the most recent wall street firm he has dubbed as the enemy [Goldman Sachs] we need to get back to what’s really important, one of them being the disaster of our current war in Afghanistan.

(1430) UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES- Okay, health care has passed and many people are surprised already with the consequences; people who advocated strongly for it, the ones who said ‘there’s nothing bad with the plan, it’s those crazy tea partiers with the false accusations of death panels’. So as I was talking to a north eastern liberal person the other day, they were shocked to find out that one of their relatives was just told that the state of New Jersey will no longer cover them for drug treatment. This person has been covered for 30 years, no longer. The person asked me why this happened. I explained that one of the things about the new law is the govt. will force the states to accept an extra 30 million people onto their insurance rolls, many of the states cannot afford the extra influx of people [the state pays a portion of the coverage and the federal govt. a portion] so that’s why the governors were against the plan. Now, the famous cornhusker kickback was a deal that was supposed to help Nebraska with the cost, eventually the administration said they will put the cost off for all the states- but someday they will pay. So of course the states are looking for ways to save costs, and those who were getting coverage by Medicare for drug treatment will no longer get covered in Jersey. My liberal friend was irate ‘how dare the state do this’! This from a person that supported the plan 100%! AT@T is the biggest private employer in the country, the plan changed the amount of money a business can deduct for the health costs of their employees; the result? AT@T lost 1 billion in the first ¼ of the year. The new health law cost them an extra 1 billion on the books. Many employees are irate ‘how dare they do this to us, threaten to cut our drug coverage’! This from the same employees that voted for the plan, they are union members who were told ‘don’t worry, it’s those racist tea partiers that are lying to you’ well maybe not. Then for the grand finale, the N.Y. times did a story on how the plan inadvertently kicked off the senators and congressman from federal insurance; there was a mistake in the plan that would forbid the politicians from keeping their coverage! The times said ‘well, if they let something like this slip in, who knows what accidental affects the plan might have on the populace at large’ to which I respond ‘DUH’. All this would be funny if it weren’t so sad. As I told my liberal friend from the north that the taxes from dividends will now go up from around 15 to 40 %, they said ‘what, do you mean to tell me that my income from my investments will go down’ yes. It amazes me that those who either supported the plan, or those who opposed it; that many of these people had no idea what they were for/against. The person whose relative lost the drug coverage told me that there is only one doctor in the area [a highly populated area right in the crowded N.Y. city area] that will accept Medicare, that this doctor has told them that it really isn’t worth the hassle to treat Medicare patients. Now, if this doctor all of a sudden gets an influx of new Medicare patients, what do you think he will do? He will drop out of the system like all the other doctors in the area, then my friend will not only lose the drug treatment coverage, but will have no doctors in the area at all. All these things are consequences that come with the new law, people should have known these things before they simply accused the opposition of being a bunch of racists. So the plan passed, let’s do what we can- hey, I will try and get insurance when I can, but for now much is still up in the air. I just finished a time of prayer, which includes praying for the president and his family by name, so we need to separate our politics from our duty to pray for those in authority. All in all let’s do our best with what we have, but be informed about the issues. Don’t be surprised if things happened that you didn’t expect, the bible says don’t answer a matter before you hear both sides of the issue. My liberal friend is distraught over their situation, they really don’t know what to do, they feel desperate, they wish that the new law never passed, yet they supported it with much vigor before it passed; they would get into heated discussions over how this plan was the best thing that ever happened to the country! Now they think it’s the worst. I feel bad for those who supported something when they had no idea how it would affect them, become informed as believers. Know the issues, don’t just listen to the right or the left, but be honest when hearing both sides and then make an informed decision. Don’t just be for or against something because it’s the trendy thing to do, that will always get you into trouble. Note- I meant Medicaid.

-(1424) AVOIDING THE ECHO CHAMBER- A week or so ago the president was asked his opinion about the cable news shows and the talk radio community; he wisely answered that he felt there was a sort of dynamic like an echo chamber with these shows, that people need to be careful that they are not simply spending all their time and effort bouncing their own ideas off of the walls of others who only think in the same framework. In Christianity this is a problem that we all regularly deal with. I remember listening to a tape by an ‘organic church’ brother one time, he was trying to explain where the idea of elders arose in the writings of the apostle Paul. Now he was speaking from/to a community of people that at the time were writing and teaching against the New Testament idea of leadership, many felt like leaders in the New Testament were forbidden based on verses like ‘the gentiles exercise lordship over each other, it will not be like this with you’ and other verses that speak of servant leadership. The well meaning brother went on to espouse his theory that when the Jewish Diaspora took place in the first century, many were sent to the Christian churches and they told the leaders of the churches ‘here are our people, who are your elders that they need to report to’ and that in response Paul and the others said ‘Oh yeah, here they are’ sort of like they were ad libbing just to appease the Jewish converts. Now, this idea is interesting, but there is no foundation for it to rest on. The New Testament had elders, leaders, etc. for this brother to have thought this deeply about the matter was simply a symptom of living in the echo chamber of others who also rejected elders/leaders as a normative role of the New Testament churches. But many of these brothers have brought out the fact that none of the churches in the New Testament had the singular office of ‘the pastor’ that functioned as the weekly speaking office that the believers would gather around and hear, week after week, month after month, year after year. The development of this office [often referred to as the pastor] took place over time; some ascribe its development to 4th century pagan sources, others see it as arising out of the synagogue to church model [it should be noted that in the synagogues you had a person overseeing the meeting, but anyone could take the scrolls and read as the lord led- that’s why Jesus could read from the scrolls, even thought the Pharisees did not think he was ‘ordained’ by God]. The point being we all have blind spots that we need to be aware of. Most bible schools, universities teach courses on ‘pastoral counseling, finances, budgets, speaking, etc.’ and to be honest they too usually are approaching things from the echo chamber of ‘church’ as the corporate model, the actual meeting place of believers, as opposed to a community of people. Many of these courses never really question the validity of this singular role that we define as pastor, they just teach around it as a given office that existed in this way. The other night I was watching the Huckabee show on Fox news, they had on the actor Jon Voight. I liked Voight in the movie The Deliverance and of course George from Seinfeld was elated when he thought he bought Jon’s used car [though Jerry doubted it was authentic, being the name was spelled differently] as Voight was being interviewed he read a prepared letter that he had brought with him. Voight expressed many of the key talking points of Beck, Rush and Hannity; he mentioned the Olinsky method, hit a few more ideas on Obama being a socialist, you know the whole deal. When he was thru Huckabee graciously defended Obama in saying that he disagreed with his policies, but felt like the president means well. Voight is a victim of the echo chamber, seeing and hearing things on a regular basis, without a regular inflow of contrary data. As believers we need to be willing to hear both sides of the issues, maybe the critics are right about one thing, and wrong about another. That’s fine, just be willing to hear. Living in the echo chamber can be deafening at times.

-(1418) IS COLSON A MODERN DAY ERASMUS? I have been re-reading volume 6 of the Story of Civilization by Will Durant; this volume covers the Reformation period. It resounds with the warnings of the Catholic humanist Erasmus to his fellow critic of the church, Martin Luther. Many good men challenged what they saw as the corruption of the church, they wrote and spoke out against her abuses, Erasmus was one of her strongest critics. He was a true renaissance man who traveled a lot during his career. At one point he settled down in Basel, Switzerland and would thoroughly enjoy the metropolitan character of the region. He loved being in a community where the classics were widely read, as well as the modern ideas on theology. Calvin himself would eventually wind up in Basel for part of his education and he too would be influenced by Erasmus’s works. One of the fears that Erasmus and others had was they felt like Luther’s protest was going too far, they feared the toppling of order in society if the nation states would throw off all ecclesiastical control. They were afraid of anarchy [the same fears that the Ultramontanists in France would feel a couple of centuries later]. In my recent Christianity Today magazine I read an interesting column by Chuck Colson [the famous brother of water gate fame- he went to prison and converted to Christ] Colson seemed to strike a tone much like Erasmus, he was speaking about the current Tea Party movement. Colson warned that a popular uprising in and of itself can be dangerous, that Christians have every right to be upset and protest against what they feel is unjust, but believers need to heed the teachings of the new testament in being good citizens who submit to earthly authorities [a theme found thru out the New testament, especially in Paul’s letter to the Romans]. Colson warned that believers need to counter what they see as bad government with positive ideas and other options; we should not simply be a party of rebels! I sensed a sort of fear in Colson, sort of like he sees a danger in the country which can lead to bad things. Luther would eventually reject the warnings of his less rebellious contemporaries and follow thru with his rebellion; Germany would divide as a nation state between catholic and protestant churches, other nations would soon follow. The actual term Protestant speaks of a technical protest over a proposed rule that would allow the catholic churches/regions to remain catholic without any interference from the protestants; this was protested by the ‘protestants’ and thus the name stuck. The point being the reformation moved forward with a viable alternative to what they saw as a corrupt system, Luther himself rejected others who did advocate for what he saw as leading to anarchy. The famous Munster prophets believed they were to cast off all control of human government and establish their own New Jerusalem as an earthly city that would be governed directly by God. Luther eventually would sound like Erasmus in warning against a total rejection of human government and would appeal to Paul’s writings as well, showing us that good Christians submit to human authorities as much as possible, this warning fell on deaf ears- they read some of the caustic language that Luther himself used against the church and they saw him as a hypocrite. All in all we as believers should voice our protests and displeasure with human government when we see its failings, but we also need to understand that the changes that we want to be made will be done thru prayer and the ballot box, not thru any actions that can lead to the things that former ‘reformers’ warned against. Let our voices be heard, but let our non violent action be a witness to the kingdom from which we derive our beliefs.

(1417) THOU HAST GIVEN A BANNER TO THEM THAT FEAR THEE, THAT IT MAY BE DISPLAYED BECAUSE OF THE TRUTH- Psalms 60:4. I wasn’t sure which way to go today; either discus the media hyped charges against the Pope or overview the Scot McKnight article in the current issue of Christianity Today magazine. First, I have the news article right in front of me over the so called comparison that the Vatican made of its current troubles with the Holocaust. The article gives the quote of the personal preacher of the Pope during a service he gave during this holy week. The Priest is quoting a Jewish friend who said he felt like the accusations against the church reminded him of anti Semitism; in that people who are anti Semitic usually stereotype whole groups of people in inaccurate ways. This simple letter, read by a Priest has been portrayed by the media [New York Times] as saying the Vatican has compared their recent struggles against accusations that the Pope knew more than he admits about covering up for Priests who abused children, the media said the Pope has compared himself to the persecuted Jews during the holocaust. This is an outright lie that the media has chosen to engage in. The Vatican did not compare themselves to Jews who were gassed during the holocaust; a Priest read a letter from a Jewish friend who said he saw the same stereotyping and group accusations against the church that he himself has seen by those who also attack Jews. That’s it. But what do you expect from a paper that reported as a front page story, weeks before a presidential election, that one of the candidates [John McCain] had disgruntled staff who were fired and also said there were rumors going around that McCain was too friendly with a female staffer. Now, there were no reports of any indiscretions, just that there were rumors that others felt he was ‘too friendly’ this ran as a front page news story! And another candidate who was known by the insiders in the media to have actually fathered a child with another woman, they deemed this story unworthy as news. The media are upset that the Catholic Church inserted influence in the health debate and they have been fabricating a scandal against the Pope when there is no scandal. When the Pope was Bishop in Munich there was a priest transferred to another diocese that was involved in a child sex scandal. The truth is the Pope did not personally oversee or know about the details of the transfer, this job was the responsibility of another administrative person under the Bishop. The Pope at the time was already involved in universal doctrinal issues that the church was engaging in, he would soon become the main person in charge of doctrine for the church. So in reality the story is the Pope did not personally involve himself with these types of decisions, yet the media is saying he was involved in a cover up, that’s just not true, they have ‘a banner’ but they don’t use it for displaying truth. Okay, I guess I won’t do the McKnight article. Today as I write it is Easter morning, God bless all our readers today, Jesus truly is alive!

(1413) O THOU AFFLICTED AND NOT COMFORTED, I WILL LAY THY STONES WITH FAIR COLORS, AND THY FOUNDATIONS WITH SAPPHIRES- Isaiah 54. A few weeks ago I read a story in the paper about the problems Europe is having with their new common currency, called the Euro. A few years ago Europe had a bunch of countries join together and share a common money system, the purpose was to give them more influence in the global market place. But Greece is going thru their own economic catastrophe and it’s affecting the other countries in the group. So they are debating whether or not to bail out Greece, their own TARP thing. Some of the countries are mad and are wanting out of the whole deal; Germany has criticized Greece by saying ‘well if you guys need cash, why don’t you sell one of your islands’ not a very brotherly thing to say. Greece responds ‘well if you gave us back the money the Nazis stole from us during the war, maybe we wouldn’t be in such a bind’. Like Jesus said ‘nation rising up against nation’ to be honest it’s quite funny. Okay, let’s talk the concept of reparations. I know some of you are saying ‘that’s it, this guy has just gone too far for me! I’m gonna shut this blog and go watch Beck’. Just a warning to all my readers; you will read sections on this site where you will think I’m a stark raving conservative, other posts might sound like I’m a socialist, just to be clear- I consider myself an independent and believe that Christians should not be bound to any one party or group, except the kingdom of God. Now, what does the bible say about reparations? [The idea that the sins of White America against the Blacks should be atoned for in a monetary way] Most Americans cringe at the thought, though the idea itself is not totally foreign to scripture. The bible teaches us that when people [or people groups] wrong and sin against other groups, that the groups who committed the sin should try and make things right thru a process called restitution, which includes paying back what was stolen. Now I am not saying that the current ideas on reparations fall into this category, but the concept is there. Some people feel the years of the slave trade that produced a financial harvest for the nation overall, that the generations of Black kids that never had the opportunity to have grown up in families with wealth, they missed out on building wealthy dynasties for their kids, that we as a govt. should try and make up for this sin, not by punishing whites today for the sins of their forefathers, but by seeing this reality and making things right generationally- so to speak. I do not fully hold to the idea myself, but wanted to give you an honest view from scripture. I believe that we as a people [we being all Americans] should strive for equality and a color blind society as much as possible, we should advocate for all our brothers and sisters regardless of race or creed. We should avoid seeing our positions of influence thru a lens that says ‘I am White, Hispanic, Black, etc. and my job is to advance my ethnic group at the expense of other ethnic groups’. This mindset, which I see all the time, is frankly racist at its core. Now I am not saying that an ethnic person can never try and improve the plight of his own ethnic group, he just needs to make sure that he is not doing it at the expense of the other groups he represents. Years ago while working at the fire dept we had a new group of rookies get hired, one of them was a Black brother. When a promotional test was coming up I had a Mexican friend tell me ‘well, why even take the test, so and so will get pushed to the top no matter what we score’. One day while on shift I went upstairs to the dorm area and noticed my Black friend mopping the floors, it was ‘floor day’ and it just so happened that he was the only one mopping the floor [often times the other guys might be on a run, or doing another chore]. Though I was in a supervisory type job at the time [which means I did not really have to help!] I immediately grabbed a mop and helped. I am not telling you guys this to make it sound like I am more noble, I am saying that we all need to be aware of both the things that look racist, or actually are racist. My Mexican friend was not a racist, he simply has been brought up with the reality of seeing how affirmative action [hiring quotas] has caused what he saw as an injustice to exist. The fine Black friend might have gotten the top score regardless of affirmative action, and yet he would be seen as getting the promotion because of an unfair policy. When we as Americans try and do the right thing now, to make up for the sins of the past, we need to make sure that we don’t create a new environment that discriminates against other races as well, because in the end it only makes things worse.

(1412) IN DEFENSE OF JEREMIAH WRIGHT- Last night an interesting thing happened; as I was channel surfing the news shows I saw that Larry King had on a few ‘ex’ conservatives who are now under fire for their left wing leanings. These are traditional white guys basking in their new found social justice beliefs. I could only watch for a minute or so, it just came off as inauthentic. Then as I scrolled thru Fox, MSNBC, and a few of the CSPAN channels I came across a Tavis Smiley forum that was being held in Chicago. I was fixated for 2 hours [or more!] The panel included many of the famous Black progressives- Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Michael Eric Dyson, just to name a few [Rev. Wright was not there by the way] and in the center of the roundtable discussion there was a simple sign that said ‘love’. The amazing thing was though these men were espousing many of the same ideas as the white liberals on the Larry King show, yet I was not offended in the least. I listened intently to Farrakhan freely quoting scripture along with the Quran, he actually only quoted from the Quran one time, and he quoted the bible more than all the others. But the bible was also quoted freely thru out the discussion; many of the questioners from the audience also were pastors and Christians. Now, I have written on the Nation of Islam before [under the cults section] and I do not accept that religion as even a legitimate expression of Islam, so don’t take me wrong on this. It was the simple reality that these Black leaders would freely see their cause for racial justice tied in with scripture. Some did express the belief that the older Black church did hinder the Black people because of their ‘wait on the Lord’ attitude; but all in all they were up front and willing to speak what they felt was the truth in an open way. Tavis Smiley also brought out the fact that many Black leaders felt like doing a public forum discussing the short comings of the president would be wrong; many on the panel challenged the presidents ‘bi-racial’ stance in political matters. Many in the Black community feel like the president has let them down because he does not hold to the more radical ideas of Black justice. Overall it was an excellent discussion that I was glued to, and to repeat, there was absolutely no feeling of offense or animosity with any of the speakers. I found it odd that I couldn’t stomach a few minutes of the white guys on Larry King, but was enthralled for 2 hours with this forum. When Reverend Wright came under fire during the Obama campaign, he obviously was demonized by the media and the repeated showing of his statements that were wrong and offensive to many people [including Blacks]. Yet Wright comes from a Black liberation theological background, it’s in his DNA to challenge the current system of government and to see strains of the gospel in communistic type systems; he isn’t the first to embrace these beliefs. Many Catholic theologians in Latin American countries hold to the same ideas; the Catholic Church officially rejects this idea. One of the tragedies of the Black people is the fact that so many young Black kids make bad choices that land them in prison, many of these young men become effected with the Black Muslim leanings in the prison system; they are sold a bill of goods that simply is not true; if we really believe as Christians that Jesus is the only way, then how can we sit idly by and not be concerned over the Black exodus into Islam? Though I disagree with many of Rev. Wright’s ideas and beliefs, yet if I had the choice between sending my Black brother to the Nation of Islam or to Rev Wright’s church, I would choose Wright 7 days out of the week.

(1411) DON’T MOURN FOR ME, BUT FOR YOURSELVES- In Isaiah 54 the prophet says ‘more are the children of the desolate than of the married wife’. In Galatians the apostle Paul uses this reference to speak about spiritual Israel [the church] and shows us how the spiritual people [those who did not come from natural reproduction- any children by natural means, those born not of the will of the flesh, but of God- John 1] will have much more offspring than natural Israel. Truly the church today has fulfilled this prophecy. In Isaiah 44 the prophet says God will pour water on the thirsty, floods upon the dry ground- and these will spring up like wildflowers along the water courses. Notice it’s the ‘dry ground’ the ‘desolate ones’ that have the promise of bearing much fruit. The title of this post comes from the words of Jesus when the people were broken over the fact of his being framed as an innocent man; his followers and the women were upset about the railroading of Jesus by the political manipulation of the day. Jesus warned that if they could get away with this ‘in a green tree’ just wait and see what will happen when the tree is dry! The analogy meaning if the govt. could get away with this when there still was a semblance of rule, wait until anarchy gets in the air. Many in our country are upset about many things, some feel that the recent health care law will permit federal funding for abortions [it’s really a technical argument to be honest] but the point is, would you feel better about the fact that the govt. didn’t fund your illegal execution? The fact is that we permit the brutal dismembering of children in their mother’s womb, hundreds of thousands of times over and over again, for the simple reason of convenience. This act is practiced as a means of birth control the majority of the time, and we as a people allow it. If we permit these acts to take place ‘when the tree is green’ what will happen when anarchy hits? The promises of God to those who are without children are wonderful, but he warned the women who were broken over his execution ‘don’t worry about this illegal act, because a day is coming when the women who never nursed children will be the blessed ones’ because the children themselves will experience horrendous acts against them; I think that day has arrived.

(1409) ‘THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT @$#@!’ How did you just feel when you read this title? What if I were to tell you that an anti Obama demonstrator held up a sign that said this at a tea party rally. Actually the full title is called ‘the assassination of George W. Bush’. It’s the title of a movie that came out during the Bush presidency. Many liberal moviegoers bought popcorn and took the kids for an evening of enjoyment as they watched a fictional portrayal of Bush getting his head blown off. Oh yes you would see the title in your local papers movie section; you would see it on movie marquis all across the country- you can go rent it today at your local movie rental spot. What was the media reaction to this? Zero. As a matter of fact it went over so well with the liberal media that Ron Howard just released another one ‘the assassination of Richard Nixon’ I just saw it the other day while channel surfing. Who said this ‘I could go to the White House and KILL one bird with one stone’? It was John Kerry, U.S. senator, on national TV talking about Bush. He basically said he could kill Bush, the same man he publicly accused of murdering your children because he was a liar. The lie? Bush believed the same faulty intel that Kerry believed about weapons in Iraq, the same intel that led to the war that Kerry voted for. But in Bush’s case Kerry portrayed him as a liar who killed your kids. What was the media response to a US senator saying he would like to go to the White house and kill the president? Zero. What would the media response be if a movie came out titled ‘the assassination of Barack Obama’? Congressman Bart Stupak received death threats from pro abortion candidates while opposing the health care bill, these threats were not played over national TV for the world to see. After voting for the bill he received the same kind of threats from anti abortion conservatives- the national media played the audio and showed you the transcript night after night. The media has chosen to become outraged over things that they never were outraged over before. They reported on vandalism at Democratic offices, but when a Republican had a bullet hole put thru his window, they investigated and came to the conclusion that it was a ‘random bullet’ HUH? They were able to detect the motive of a bullet- wow. The media’s acceptance of not only the language ‘assassination of Bush’ but even the defending of a movie that you could go and enjoy while viewing the fictional killing of a sitting president, to the point where they allow for another fictional portrayal of another Republican president being killed, for the media to say this is acceptable free speech, and then to be outraged that someone would simply say ‘you lie’ to the president, is the absolute height of hypocrisy. I believe all this language is wrong and should not be used, but the conscious choice the media has made in finding every use of a word that can be deemed offensive, and then to hunt down the offenders, is total hypocrisy. Especially when John Kerry got away with saying ‘I could kill one bird with one stone’ while actually talking about a sitting U.S. president.

(1408) IN THE CROSSHAIRS? Last night I watched the CNN show hosted by John King, he had on a Democrat and Republican and they were talking about the rhetoric used primarily by the Republicans and how there is absolutely no excuse for the imagery of targets and battleground and other words that imply violence. As they were incensed over the face book page of Sarah Palin, she has little ‘targets’ placed over the states that they are ‘targeting’ for the upcoming election, I found it ironic that the Democrat on the panel used to host a show called CROSSFIRE; it was actually on CNN for many years. The logo of the show was the crosshairs of a rifle; week after week after week- for years, they would invite politicians on and say ‘today we have ‘so and so’ under the crosshair’s’, I mean these media people gotta be kidding me. I have written [last post] on the need for all sides to tone down the rhetoric, but the media are the ones purposely raising this to a level never seen before. How many violent acts have we seen this past year by protesters? A Black man was knocked down and beaten at a rally, he was called ‘n-gger’ by the assailants. Have you heard of an uproar by the media about this? The Black man was a Republican who was against Obama and the men who beat him were union members from the SEIU. It took months to even charge the men with public disorder, where’s the hate crime? Another protester had his finger bitten off [yes, he lost his finger] have you seen a media uproar over this- Nancy Pelosi saying she fears for the country? The man who lost his finger, well you guessed it- Republican, the ‘biter’ yes, a Democrat. The point being the media could have taken these incidents and blown them up out of proportion if they wanted to, they chose not to. Now they ‘choose’ to, they are irresponsible in their coverage of these things. Many people are upset with the health care law because it contains things that the president was against and said he would never do. During the campaign he was asked why he was against Hillary Clinton’s ‘mandate’ [to force people to buy insurance] he rightfully answered that to solve a problem by telling people ‘you must buy a product’ is ridiculous; he said it would be like saying we are going to solve the problem of homelessness by mandating people to buy homes- he said it was wrong, really wrong. When asked why John McCain’s plan to tax high cost insurance plans that currently have tax exemptions was wrong; once again he said it was wrong to penalize people who have insurance to pay for people who don’t have it. Then when asked how in the world his plan will ever accomplish universal coverage without these tools; he simply said by making insurance affordable this would draw people into the plan. He was challenged that this would never work, he insisted it would. Well the plan just passed contains all the things that he said were wrong, unfair and unjust. Where’s the media? Instead they are accusing many of those who are upset with the plan as racists; they are actually saying that is why many people are upset, not because he did what he swore he would never do, but because white people can’t accept the fact that a black man won. Many of the people who are upset voted for the president, and did not vote for the other candidates because of what he said he would not do [force people by law to buy insurance]- he has done it. But yet the people have no right to dissent based on principle. No- they are racists. When the media claims to be ‘fair and balanced’ they need to think twice before they schedule a show to critique crosshair’s on Palin’s face book page, and the main Democratic critic being the host of the longest running show in the history of the world that used the imagery of rifle crosshairs, called CROSSFIRE.

(1407) THESE THINGS DOES THE LORD HATE…HE THAT SOWS DISCORD AMONG BRETHREN. HE DEVISETH MISCHIEF CONTINUALLY, HE SOWETH DISCORD. Proverbs 6. Okay, the health care package passed, many are upset and some have crossed the line in their language. Even though statements like ‘reload’ [Palin] ‘he’ll be a dead man’ [Boehner] and others are talking political speech, yet in this atmosphere we all need to avoid using words that can be taken the wrong way by unstable people. Recently here in Texas we had the famous school board controversy over what to include in the schoolbooks, I have written about it a few posts ago. One of the school board people is from my home town of Corpus; she is a Hispanic woman who is involved in politics a lot. Now, I’m sure she means well, but our paper had a picture of her sitting at her office desk with a bunch of anti white slogans all over her desk. I’m sure she does not mean to be racist, I’m sure she views her opinion thru the light of standing up for minorities, but the fact is you can’t have any ethnic representative openly advocate for their own race, and to use wording that publicly says things that imply ‘whitey is the enemy’ [she has regularly used the term ‘white wash’ in describing the white board members resistance to including more Hispanic people into the history books]. Now I’m going to be honest about South Texas politics, I have been living here for 30 years, many of the prejudices against minorities have been expressed by the majority Hispanic democratic leaders [I am not saying all Hispanics are racist!] The reality is the Black minorities have been discriminated against in the political system. Some have actually said ‘when they were in power they didn’t help us, now it’s their turn’ [a prominent Hispanic politician about not supporting president Obama]. So the facts on the ground are different than what many people think. I believe we should include prominent Hispanic and Black leaders into the history books, men like Cesar Chavez are truly great examples, but when any representative publicly says her goal is to advance her ethnic groups cause, and that the ‘white washers’ are the enemy- this is unacceptable speech too. Who has opened the door for this type of stuff? Gods people. One of the most prominent themes of American preaching is a theme that is shot thru with racist overtones. The popular prophecy preaching of the day teaches that Gods end time events are triggered by a special role that ethnic Israel plays in God’s plan. This system [dispensationalism] teaches that God most certainly prefers one ethnic race over another. It is in contradiction to the ethos of the New Testament which teaches that in Christ there is ‘neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave or free- we are all one in Christ Jesus’. The people of God are the plumb line of society, the world around us will never display a higher level of morality than the church- when we as Gods people rise above these ethnic divisions, we will be like leaven in society that effects the whole lump. When we continually sow discord we displease God.

(1401) GLENN BECK- Okay, this past week Beck stirred up a controversy by telling people that if their churches use language like ‘social justice’ that you should leave the church. Beck showed how many of the liberal movements of the past, both inside and outside the church, used this language and also were socialist. Is Beck right to warn people about this? 50-50. In reality most Christian churches [if not all] have some belief about social justice, that is doing good, being charitable, etc. You also have strains of theology that touch on these issues [liberation theology, Rev. Wrights church, etc.] these see the role of the church in setting up systems that would mediate ‘social justice’ programs thru the state- not all Christians accept this premise. Overall we as believers should value social justice very highly on the scale of Christian service and belief. Beck seems to mean well, but the poor brother seems to be a little unhinged at times [like between 4 pm and 5pm every day or so]. In John 16 Jesus tells his men ‘a time is coming when those who kill you will think they are serving God’. Here in is a strange thing; out of all the commands of God, one of the most important ones is not to kill. But Jesus says that men are so susceptible to the influence of the world that they can even be convinced that killing other people is ‘doing God’s will’. Now, if I were to tell you at a young age ‘little Johnny, you will walk the planet for a few short years [70-80?] one of the most important things you need to avoid, more than anything else, is don’t kill other people’ got it- I mean how hard can this be? Yet Jesus says there will come a time when people think killing other people is ‘doing God’s will’ Huh? Okay as the year’s role by people all over the world are born and have been taught some version of this natural law, often given by their own belief system in God. So you have those in Islamic countries who eventually are shaped by their nations political causes and a time comes when they blowup other adherents to their own religion and shout ‘God is great’ as they kill themselves and others with them, they think they are doing ‘God service’. But you also have little Johnny growing up in the western world, he attends church as a boy, is taught lessons from the bible, and thru process of time joins the military. He is a good man, means well, and is taught that God and country go together. He even remembers attending some patriotic religious rallies over the years. He gets sent off to Afghanistan and winds up killing a woman with child. He either mistook her for an enemy combatant, or maybe she violated a safe zone. Either way, the one main command above all other commands, the thing that you were always told was the main thing to never do, you wind up doing. You even think that it is your patriotic duty to do this, yes you think the doing of this act is not only acceptable, but in a way it is ‘doing God service’. Now, as an ex Navy person, I support and believe in our military men and women, and in no way equate the act of a terrorist with that of our people; but what I am trying to show you is that as we go through life we can become effected by ideologies that are in conflict to our base principles, we can even do things that violate our most fundamental ideals, and be convinced that doing it is from God. When dealing with all types of social justice issues, we need to put Gods will first and foremost, above all other things. The message of Gods kingdom often runs contrary to the nations and governmental systems we espouse. When we confuse the two [whether the Christian patriot who chooses a career that may involve killing people] or the radical Muslim who confuses Gods will with the advancing of his political ideas, we need to re-evaluate our motives and think things thru before we embrace any world kingdom over Gods kingdom. Beck obviously had a point about the radical liberation theologians and their mixing of liberal politics with ‘church’, but Gods kingdom is all about social justice. Isaiah prophesied of the Spirit coming upon Jesus- to carry out social justice!

(1397) IN MY FATHERS HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS- Yesterday I read an article by an Arab believer who grew up in a Muslim country. He shared how over the years he has learned how to dialogue respectively with Muslims and how important it was to share the Christian faith with respect, I really liked the tone. Jesus said ‘I have other sheep which are not of this fold, I must gather them too’. In context he is telling Israel that he too will gather Gentiles into the kingdom. I also read a verse [?] the other day that spoke to me about leaving the door open when dialoging with various groups. One of things that has surprised me since I started blogging is the Arab brothers [Christians] who have contacted me over the years and have been excited about our site. Many of them are pastors and are really laying their lives on the line to bring the gospel to Muslims. I do realize that my stance on natural Israel as well as how the western world should treat Muslims/Arabs is part of the reason why fellow Arab believers have been drawn to our site. For the most part I believe the church should put the gospel of Jesus above all ethnic/political concerns- when preaching the gospel we need to avoid getting into geopolitical wars or wars in general! Many believers in Palestine who are Arab face persecution from fellow countrymen who are Muslim, as well as persecution from Israel. These believers generally do not get support from believers from the U.S., instead when American believers go over there to interact, we usually are there to support natural Israel and to see how well the future ‘temple’ plans are going, and stuff like that. The Arab believers feel neglected by this attitude, some have actually said ‘why don’t you care for us, don’t you understand that we have been persecuted at times by Israel’? They feel confused and rejected when they read in the bible how Christians should love and care for one another, and then they see western believers taking sides in natural conflicts. Jesus said his house had many rooms, the people of God [Gods house] are diverse and come from many varied backgrounds. I do not hold to the thinking that says ‘all religions are Gods children’ in a pluralistic sense of all monotheistic faiths have the same faith. But when dealing with other fellow believers in the world [whether Arab, Jewish, etc.] we should defend our brothers and sisters and side with them in times of conflict, by ‘siding with them’ I mean we need to speak out in support of them and call for justice and help when they are in trouble. I do not advocate ‘siding with people’ when talking about actual warfare- believers should not be in the business of siding with any conflict when it includes killing other people [the sides you take as a citizen of a country are a different matter, I am speaking here as a citizen of Gods kingdom]. I am grateful for all my Arab friends and pastors who have been in touch with me over these past few years, I pray for them regularly and have embraced them as sort of part of the fellowship of brothers that I regularly reach out to. I do realize that they also enjoy the level of teaching we do [not that we are that great, but we do share from a broad range of teaching that many individual pastors might not be able to access on their own]. I thank God that ‘his house’ has many mansions, that Jesus calls sheep from ‘other folds’ that we might not be familiar with, let’s be open to those from other ethnic backgrounds that share the same faith in Jesus Christ- they are all our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

(1394) THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY? In John 12 the Greeks come to Jesus disciples and want a meeting with Jesus, the Greeks are those who prided themselves in their wisdom. Jesus basically brushes them off and refuses to cow tow to the elites. He responds ‘unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone’ in essence- you guys ‘abide alone’ [no meeting with me] until you take up the Cross and follow me. This week [yesterday] the news has been reporting the Texas school book story. Basically every few years Texas school board members go thru the process of what the books for the state should include; basic guidelines and stuff. Texas is the nation’s number one purchaser of textbooks, so the theory is if Texas ‘conservatives’ get their way, then the rest of the nation gets stuck having to buy books that are tainted with backwoods idiots who imposed their views on the rest of the ‘Greek’ [intellectual world]. Do our schoolbooks in general steer away from the religious history and statements of many of the founding fathers? Yes. Do our schoolbooks in general avoid/edit out religious statements from their coverage of the founding documents. Yes. Why? There is a basic mistake made by many of the publishers of schoolbooks that say ‘if we show religious content, then we are violating the separation of church and state idea’. The problem with this approach is they have left out a large portion of history while trying to produce a product that will be accepted in both ‘liberal’ and conservative states. If you read the founding documents in their entirety [Mayflower Compact, etc.] they read like a ‘church covenant’ that any Christian community could adopt. Yet when the history books show quotes and portions of the documents, they never quote these sections, why? Because of what I just showed you. This has happened time and time again over many years until we have gotten to the point where many public school children are really not learning an accurate history of the country. The well meaning [but grossly misinformed] opponents simply do not know this. They see the struggle as one between ‘those darn Christian ignoramuses’ versus the enlightened crowd, they are really the ones who have no idea what they are talking about. Now, are we- quote ‘a Christian nation’? Not really. At least not in the way that some Protestant preachers claim. During the founding of our country you had the mindset of the European enlightenment affecting much of western society. Lines were being drawn that pitted a humanist form of belief in God [Deism] against the classical Christian view. Some of our founding fathers did adhere to a Deistic view. Deism said ‘we do not need tradition or religion to inform us of human value and dignity, we can hold to these principles by virtue of our human nobility and intelligence’ that is they believed these truths to be self evident, sort of like the current theme from some of the more popular atheists ‘do good for goodness sake’ [which by the way, fails in the long run- too much to explain right now]. Now, with this background, when our founding documents say ‘we hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT’ this term smacks of the fact that some of our fathers did indeed reject the classical Christian view. So what does this show us? That some of the founders purposefully included language that would veer away from the Christian view. But you will never understand or learn this simple thing that I just showed you, if we continue to expunge from the record all the religious statements and views of the fathers! So the point is, when these so called enlightened ones try and approach teaching from a biased view, a view that they often don’t realize is biased, they do more harm than good to their cause. The Greeks said ‘we are willing to hear Jesus, let’s set up an appointment’ they went further than most of the liberals on the Texas school board.

(1393) POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY- in John chapter 11 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. The news gets back to the religious leaders and they say ‘If this keeps going on, we will lose our influence with the people and the Roman authorities will come and take away our position’ and one of their own, the high priest Caiaphas, says ‘Don’t you guys understand that it is expedient that one should die for the nation, instead of the whole nation suffering’ and John says ‘this spake he by the Spirit, being he was the high priest he was prophesying of Jesus death’. Okay, did the brother realize what he was saying? I doubt it. But he was stating a political reality of the time, that this railroading of Jesus would play a cathartic role for the political times that they were in. I finally watched the interview with the disgraced congressman, Eric Massa. He went on Beck and the whole thing is really a fiasco. Beck was hoping to expose the hidden conspiracies of the administration, instead Massa confessed to tickling his navy bunkmates! The sad thing is, as I listened to Beck, he really believes in many of the conspiracy theories he espouses. It doesn’t help that the president, as well meaning and pluralistic as he is, puts people to work for him that have held fringe beliefs. This allows the Becks of the world to find these hidden treasures [UTUBE] and lo and behold, we have one of his people praising Mau Se Tung, or signing a 911 petition that claims Bush was in on it. What purpose do the Becks of the world [or to be fair, the MSNBC crowd] play? I see them as sort of a cathartic for the people who also hold to their views, it seems to be a necessary evil that allows people to vent, a sort of political necessity if you will. I saw Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Ted Kennedy, rebuking the media for their coverage of Massa, while at the same time they have forgotten about the seriousness of the war in Afghanistan and the money and cost of lives on both sides, he was mad and raging on the floor. Though I am not a fan of Kennedy, yet I believe he spoke much truth. I thinks its appalling that the media has dropped the ball on this, every so often a story or so will leak out, a bunch of accidental deaths that our govt. denies being involved with, then a month or so passes and a small report comes out ‘yes, we did accidently kill 40 people’ what? The media seems to not hold the current president accountable in these things. They play sides to the point where real atrocities are glossed over. How many more stories on Sarah Palin’s daughter will they do? They trodded out the ex boyfriend onto the main media outlets to share their dirty laundry. They gave a forum to a disgruntled kid who posed for playgirl, and they keep on doing this stuff. I mean this is the daughter of a ‘private’ citizen for heaven’s sake. How much coverage did they give to the ‘partner’ of Joe Biden’s daughter who made a sex tape with her? How often have you heard the story? How many stories on Chelsea Clintons sex life? MSNBC is just as bad as Beck when they do these things to a girl dealing with all the situations that life can throw at you, and yet from letterman to Chris Matthews to the major news outlets, they have all been guilty of this double standard. Caiaphas saw the writing on the wall, he wasn’t worried about the fact that what he was prophesying was that a corrupt system was going to railroad someone thru a kangaroo court and execute an innocent man, he was simply calculating the political balances of the day ‘will this help or hurt our cause’ type of a thing. They should have been more worried about losing their souls, then their seats in congress.

(1391) NO MAS [SA]! Back in the 70’s us boxing fans were treated to one of those so called ‘super fights’ you know, a matchup between greats. Roberto Duran faced Sugar Ray Leonard. A few rounds into the fight Duran got so frustrated that he walked out of the ring while chanting ‘NO MAS’. Yesterday a Democratic congressman from N.Y. – by the name of Massa- resigned his seat and went on the war path against his own party. It seems like he has a history of making racy comments to other men, but his excuse for being rail roaded is that he voted against Obama Care. It’s quite sad, he is making the rounds [today he’ll be on Beck] and he’s describing all these encounters with the administrations men, he says they approached him in the showers at the gym, wearing nothing, and he describes Rahm Emanuel’s ‘tush’. He seems like he can’t escape language that pits him up against other men, while nude! All of this wouldn’t be so tragic if it weren’t happening to the most ethical congress in U.S. history! Plus, it really stains N.Y. politics, I bet Spitzer and Patterson can’t even sleep at night. Okay, in John chapter 9 Jesus heals a man that was blind from birth, the disciples ask him ‘who did sin, this man or his parents, that caused this man’s plight’? Jesus said neither, but this happened so the works of God could be manifested in him. This might be the most important verse in the chapter. This man and his family lived many years with the insinuation that they must have been children of a lesser God, sure their neighbors didn’t come right out and say it, but you could sure feel the underlying accusation. Now, the news makes it to the religious crowd and they find out he was healed on the Sabbath, a big no no, a real ‘No Mas’ moment. They question the man and his family, they can’t escape the fact that this is a real miracle, so they try and convince the man that he should thank God for the miracle, but this Jesus is not authentic. The more they question him, the more he becomes a vocal advocate for Jesus. Finally at one point the religious leaders get fed up and they say ‘who are you to teach us anything, YOU WERE ALL TOGETHER BORIN IN SIN!’ There it is, that underlying accusation that he always felt from the religious crowd- you know, the group who always had their act together, they prided themselves in their upper class status ‘thank God that I am not like this beggar’ type of thing. But now, at the moment of truth, they blurt it out ‘Look at you, your whole life has been a testimony of your utter worthlessness, sure we never said it openly, but we always felt that way’ so the truth came out. I had a good friend a few years ago, New York Tony, he was a homeless brother that came from my home turf, never knew him from the north, but ran into him while making the rounds. Tony was a good friend, hooked on Coke and Crack, but a hard worker and Army vet. Tony used to always question why he was like the way he was, he was adopted and he thought maybe his real mom passed something off to him- was he like this because of what he did, or what his parents did? In the religious world we often create mindsets that say to people ‘surely if you were right with God, these things wouldn’t have happened to you’ we often violate the mandate from James ‘Don’t despise the poor’. At the end of the chapter Jesus tells the man that he came into the world to make the blind see, and the ‘seers’ blind. The religious leaders would find no help until they got to the end of their rope, the point where they could say ‘No Mas’ to the road they were on, but instead they said to Jesus ‘No Mas’.

(1379) HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO UNJUST GOVERNMENTS? One of the most famous dissidents of the soviet era was Alexander Solzhenitsyn; Alexander was a simple school teacher who would serve in the military when Stalin was in power. He had written some critical things about Stalin in a letter to a friend and was put in the communist prison camps. While doing time he met believers and returned to his early faith as a Christian. In the year I was born [1962] he wrote the famous ‘A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich’ it was a fictional account of a man in the prison camps and how he dealt with his captors. The main character would meet a Baptist believer while doing time and sort of represented Alexander’s own plight. Alexander came to fame when Khrushchev would permit him to publish his book, Khrushchev was advancing his own program of Destalinization and he underestimated Alexander’s criticism of all communist type systems, not just Stalin. He would also expose the evils of the prison camps in his other work titled ‘The Gulag Archipelago’. Eventually he was exiled to the U.S. [Vermont was his home] and received much notoriety as a prophetic voice who spoke out for justice. He gave a controversial speech at Harvard [1978?] and the western media came to dislike him; he was critical of loose morality and the evils of western society as well, he was not the sort of liberal crusader that they mistook him to be. Eventually he would return home to Russia and live to see the fall of the system he despised. History is filled with people who stood for what was right against all odds and impacted society for the better, Alexander was a school teacher whose life took a turn of events that he simply followed; he was not ashamed of the gospel and did not tailor his message to please the audience. I like that style; it reminds me of another revolutionary who gave his life to save the world.

(1375) SOCIAL EVOLUTION- As I have been doing some blogging on other sites over the science of evolution, I thought it would be good to do a little on the philosophical ideas that spawned from it. Many sincere people do not realize the bias that comes along with a full embrace of a purely materialistic approach to life. There once was a woman named Margaret Sanger, she was a strong believer in Evolution and its sister science, Eugenics. Eugenics was an idea espoused by a relative of Darwin that taught that if you ‘quickened’ evolution by eliminating the so called ‘inferior races’ by human action, that this would advance the purer races faster and man would arrive at his Utopian state quicker. Darwin himself used the Black Aborigines tribes as an example of the inferiority of the ‘lesser races’. He looked at them as an in between race of people who were not fully human [like the white race] but were sort of a mix between man and ape. Anyway Sanger developed this idea to the point we she set up an organization that would assist the inferior races in the rush to eliminating their offspring; less child bearing, the quicker the more noble whites would advance. She received praise from another man who believed in the same principle, Adolph Hitler. After WW2 it became quite unpopular to continue to associate her organization with a megalomaniac who also carried out the same plan with the Jews, so she renamed her organization- today we know it as Planned Parenthood. Now as hard as this is to believe, the facts on this have been out there for many years. This is also why many advocates for minorities are upset that the planned parenthood clinics are located in poor minority areas, they see this as an attempt to get rid of minorities. The point today is the social construct of evolutionary theory has had disastrous effects; from biblical theology [documentary theory advanced by Wellhausen- he taught that the bible followed the ‘evolutionary model’ of mans advance from primitive religions to Monotheism, an idea espoused by the philosopher Hegel] to the public school systems embrace of evolution as the answer to all things from biology to cosmology. When Christians advocate a progressive-theistic evolutionary model, and when they do a worldwide ‘Darwin week’ [like we just did!] we need to also recognize the social effects of Darwinism as well as the scientific advances that some believe have been made thru the theory.

(1366) IT’S NOT A CHARGER! I was reading the account of Jesus on the Cross. One of the accusations that his enemies hurled at him was ‘he said that the temple would be destroyed and he would rebuild it in 3 days, wow, what happened to your big expectations’? Actually they misunderstood him, Jesus was speaking of his own death and resurrection when he said this, but the misunderstanding remained. Of course Jesus could have said ‘you fools! I am presently in the process of doing it’ but he decided earlier not to waste his time refuting all the accusations against him. Many years ago I had some neighbors who were good friends, but they kinda gave the impression ‘O no, these guys are one of those bible Christians’. Though they never expressed the thought, you could sense it. Anyway one time the wife rang the bell and asked if I could jump start her car, she was late for an appointment and had no time for a battery charge. So she expressly tells me ‘I need a jump, not a charger’. Well I have one of those ‘chargers’ that also ‘jumps’ the car [booster]. So as I was walking to her driveway she managed to start it, but not before expressing her attitude of ‘I told you I don’t need a charger [you idiot!] but never mind I got it started’. Now it would have taken around 8 words to explain why I’m not an idiot, but why waste the time. Till this day she still thinks I brought the charger. Some times in life it’s worth the time to correct and even at times defend your position, but you can also become consumed with trying to correct the record, in the long run its really a waste of time. This week the president shot back at his critics over the handling of the Christmas day bomber. He sent out one of his intelligence men [John Brennan] to defend their actions. The problem is that Brennan wrote an op-ed in the USA today that made it sound like they briefed the top intelligence officials along with the Republicans and that they had enough info to know that they were going to read the Miranda rights to the guy. But during the recent public hearings on the case, both Democrats and Republicans revealed that the top officials were not consulted, they were simply ‘informed’ of the decision that Attorney general Holder had made. Why did the FBI read the rights to the man? In their defense the administration has brought up the fact that Bush also did this with Richard Reid [shoe bomber]. Bush did this around 9 years ago, shortly after 911. Our govt. admittedly did not have the procedures in place to deal effectively with detaining terrorists. Bush and Cheney spent a few years retooling our govt. to fit the job. That’s why we built the jail and military court system at Gitmo, the ‘enhanced’ interrogation unit [water boarding] and various other tools to handle the new threat. The tapping of suspected phone calls leaving the country was a new procedure that also came under fierce criticism from the Democrats. One of the main tools Bush implemented was a team of top interrogators from the CIA who mastered the art of apprehending the suspects and interrogating them before reading them their rights. The whole system at Gitmo was Bush’s way of trying to bypass the entire American court system and have a way that these guys would be first dealt with as possible outlets of info. Of course the Democrats spent many years condemning all these new procedures, from accusing the administration as being torturers to saying we threw out the constitution in our efforts to deal with the problem. So Obama made a very conscious choice to say he would close Gitmo in a year [still not done] he ‘un-did’ the governments wire tapping program for suspects calling from inside the country- and he straight out dismantled the interrogation unit from the CIA. At the time there actually were military trials under way, Obama stopped them, read all the detainees their Miranda rights and started over. Okay, many felt that all these things seriously set back the country in its fight against terror, that’s why Cheney was so vocal. So why did we treat the Christmas bomber like a criminal? Obama never replaced the dismantled CIA interrogation unit with a new unit from the FBI [like he said he would do]. In essence they did drop the ball. But they are sending out their guys to make it sound like ‘look, we are doing the same stuff as Bush, look at Richard Reid’ but that was a few months after 911, grant it Bush did treat him like a common criminal ,because it took them a few years to develop all these other tools. But if you dismantle the tools, then yes, you are willingly going back to square 1 with the whole thing. The whole point is Obama certainly did ‘un-do’ many of the procedures put in place by Bush- fine. But don’t now defend yourself by saying ‘we are doing all that Bush did’. This new administration has made some very serious mistakes and dropped the ball on some stuff; both Democrats and Republicans agree. Lets rethink some stuff and if need be re institute the interrogation team from the CIA [absent the water boarding]. Don’t simply spend all your time trying to say ‘we did nothing wrong’ it’s about as futile as telling my neighbor ‘it’s not a charger’!

(1363) THE BAPTIST MISSIONARIES IN HAITI- Okay, thought it was time to do this. As most of you know there have been 10 American missionaries in Haiti that have been arrested for child trafficking. They took a bus load of children from a devastated area and were trying to take them into the Dominican Republic to an ‘orphanage’ that their church was starting. Actually they rented a motel to house the kids until the orphanage could be built. The story seems to be that although these people did violate laws and lie along the way, that they were not stealing or trafficking with these kids. Some of the kids did have relatives that willingly gave the kids over because the Haitian govt. is such an abysmal failure thru the decades of corruption that these kids had no food or housing or anything; their relatives said ‘please, please take them- if not they will die’. Since the devastating earthquake many children have been sold as sex slaves and illegally taken from the country. The Haiti govt. has been corrupt for many years, many of the kids and adults who have just died would have survived if the leaders did not steal billions of dollars of aid over the years, money that could have been used to fix their infrastructure and developed better programs to deal with natural disasters. But their own corruption has led to the deaths and trafficking of many of their children. Haiti’s main response to the disaster has been to ask for the U.S. and other nations to come in and do the job for them, a job that they cannot do in part because of their own corruption. If your country is depending on the free will of Americans to come in, to pay with their tax dollars to help- and at the same time your own governments history of corruption has caused the expense and efforts to fall on to Americans, the last thing you should do is charge these same Americans, who were basically asked to please take these kids, with child trafficking. Why? Because the country has real traffickers that they let slip by, if you are going to do a high profile case with people who did wrong, but by all accounts were not in any way stealing kids- these same Americans who you have dumped the responsibility of your own people on, then you are acting as an ungrateful ‘friend’. The missionaries did wrong, but in no way should a govt., who has actually done much more ‘wrong’ over many years, now take the same Americans and use them as some type of test case. The reason they need to ‘forgive’ is because they have dumped all the expense and responsibility on us, you can’t then tell the same people who you are begging to come into your country that if you mess up you will be held to higher legal standards, standards that real traffickers and our own leaders have never abided by.

(1361) EUTOPIA OR BUST- Thomas More, the Catholic churchman who was martyred for his faith by Henry the 8th because he would not assent to the newly formed doctrine of the king of England being the head of the church, wrote the Latin book ‘Utopia’ in the year 1516. Utopia was this fictional island, ruled by ‘king Utopas’ and was the ideal society where wealth and power were not the characteristics of success. They lived a communal life where each person would take yearly turns of working on the farms where the people’s needs were met. No private ownership of property- just everybody living in this ideal world. Marxists would later lay claim to this idea and prove the futility of man in attempting to create this world. Scholars disagree over what More was trying to say; but for sure he was challenging materialistic worldviews and longing for some type of communal society as seen in the book of Acts [everyone sharing in the common purse type of thing]. Yesterday I watched Judd Greg rip thru Peter Orzag. Greg is the top Republican for finances and Orzag was defending the president’s new budget. The budget includes 30 billion for ‘jobs stimulus’ basically another tarp thing for business. The reason Greg was furious is because the tarp law said that any money eventually paid back, by law would have to go to reducing the debt. Instead the president wants to use this money as an open account that could be spent on a regular basis. Why? There are various ways any president can try and boost jobs/economy, you can implement serious fiscal discipline and make it easier for small business to operate [part of the 30 billion for small business] or you could say ‘lets spend tons of federal money on all types of things- 1st time home buyers, cash for clunkers, new billions every year for the next few years until my term runs out’ you can engage in simply digging the country deeper into debt for the next few years and this would initially make things look better. Walla, Utopia is here! When the administration makes the defense ‘we inherited these problems from Bush’ it is usually presented in a way that says the failed economic policies of the past president caused us to be dealt a hand that was bad. Okay, got it. But every president has been dealt some type of hand. Bush did inherit a recession from Clinton, grant it, it wasn’t near as bad as what Obama got, but it was real. Then 911 happened and this tragic event froze the global economy in just as dangerous a way as the banking crisis. And of course we had 2 wars. The point is all these things [except the wars] were also things out of the control of the former president; he inherited things that Obama too would ‘inherit’. But the administration does not include this when they make their case; they simply say it was the failed Bush presidency that led to where we are today. That’s why the blame game doesn’t work too well. We all want Utopia [in a sense] but we live in the real world and we can’t resort to tricks and schemes to make things look better, just for now. These policies often cause the disease to linger on longer than if we let it run its course. Many real estate experts are fearing another big drop [10 %] in home prices for this year. Why? They believe that the delaying of foreclosures and giving low % money and an extra 8 thousand dollar tax credit to buyers, that all these things prevented the market from reaching a real floor in prices, and so the market will still have to balance out and finally reach its low. It would have been better to have swallowed the medicine the first time around. For any president to have a ‘slush fund’ of billions of dollars that the govt. can dole out on a rotating basis is really not playing by the rules. Politically it can make it look like ‘see, we have improved things’ but not only is this fund limited by law from being used in this way, it often delays the real pain for another year- say in a non election one.

(1352) ARE YOU A POLITICAL ‘DONATIST’ [what?] – In an effort to mix in a little ‘religion’ with politics, let’s do some church history. In the 4th century you had a debate raging in the church that was called ‘the Donatist controversy’ some taught that the efficacy of the sacraments were dependent on the ‘holiness’ of the Bishops/Priests, that is if your church leaders were really not regenerated then you also suffered spiritually as a result of their lack of integrity. The very influential bishop of Hippo, a city in north Africa, would refute this doctrine and argue that the sacraments and rites of the church did not depend on the spirituality of the leaders, that if you were baptized and believed in the Lord that the sacrament counted even if the Priest was an unbeliever. The famous bishop who argued against the heresy was Saint Augustine. In today’s world we often practice a form of political Donatism, we label our leaders as either liberal or conservative [or any other number of things] and we believe that depending on the tag, that they can either do no wrong or nothing good. I believe good [and bad] can come from all groups whether or not they hold to my political slant. Now, ideas do have consequences and if you are unwilling to change course and run against your own biases, then yes you will get into trouble. But like the argument Augustine made, everything does not depend on the holiness [political bent] of the leader, he might be wrong/hold different views than you and still be able to ‘carry out an effective baptism’ if you will. We need to have enough ‘faith’ in the institution of Democracy and free govt. that we can still believe it to work, even if a less than perfect bishop is running the show.

(1351) EVERYONE LOVES A POPULIST! [well not everyone] I was reading the story of Jesus and his men, how they picked the corn [grain] on the Sabbath and the religious leaders [those darn conservatives!] found fault. Jesus defends himself and his men by telling them ‘have you never read what David did in the days when he was fleeing from Saul- the days of Abiathar the priest’? The story is found in 1st Samuel and it shows David going into ‘the house of God’ and eating the hallowed bread with his men. Jesus says ‘see, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’. The moral of the story is David [and Jesus ‘the son of David’] had the right as Priests of God in this new Divine Davidic line [of Judah] to eat and to give to those who follow them as well. John wrote ‘he has made us kings and priests to God and his father’ [Revelation]. David and Jesus were populists in a sense, fighting the current of the big institutions [religion/Saul and the kingdom] and the common people were behind them. This week the president made a shift in this direction, he’s been on the stump and preaching against the big banks and wall street fat cats. When campaigning with Coaxley he was railing against these enemies, even though Brown was riding a pickup! Okay, what’s up with this? The president also just released his plan to limit the banks from getting too big ‘to fail’. The reason we bailed out the banks [not very populist] was because there was this general fear that if the banks failed [and wall street] that there could be a global economic crisis like the great depression. Maybe so? But by bailing the big banks and companies out we also tried to regulate them and put limits on what they can pay out in bonuses and compensation. The banks caught on and quickly paid the money back with interest, the companies that were unable to pay the govt. off simply lost their CEO’S [A.I.G.]. So that got the monkey off their back and they made record profits and payments to their people. Obama really had no control over them anymore, or did he? He then began to go after them with a special tax that would only apply to them, and to try and prevent them from passing the cost off to consumers [too much micro management for sure]. And then he put a limit on their size, how big they could get. Warren Buffet, a strong supporter of the president, and also one of the richest men in the world loved Obama, after all Obama bailed out the banks and wall street. One of the big banks bailed out was Goldman Sachs, a bank that Buffet sunk 5 BILLION dollars into as an investment. One of the main banks that Obama is targeting is Goldman Sachs; Buffet seems to be having second thoughts. The stock of these banks will suffer, and no one in their right mind will buy these stocks for a while. Should the govt. be doing this? Tim Geithner [treasury secretary] and Ben Bernanke [fed. Chairman] think not, but Paul Volcker [another former fed. Chairman] thinks we should. So for the past year Obama listened to Geithner, and now he’s shifted to Volcker. The govt. does have the right, in my view, to tell big banks ‘if you expect us to insure your deposits- FDIC- then we have the right to prevent you from getting too big and risking people’s money in hedge funds’. The govt. could also tell them ‘no more bailouts, get as big as you want but let the buyer beware’ [the stock investors]. It would be like telling McDonalds ‘sell as many burgers as you want, but if you get into trouble we won’t help’. So it’s really a matter of opinion between how much ‘free market’ or regulation you want. The problem is the president has chosen to demonize these big banks and wall street companies in a way that’s simply a political populist message. It gives him an enemy to target while getting the message off of failed health care. He’s trying to tap into the same populist anger that led to the victory of the Republicans in Mass. But it affects the average person too- the stock market went down 500 hundred points in a couple of days because of this, many 401ks are held by average people. Then when giving an interview to ABC he explained the reason why the Republicans won in Mass, he said ‘the people are upset with Washington, not just the last year, but the last 8 years’ I knew the Bush card would be played in some way. But to say ‘the people are so mad at Bush that they replaced one of the longest held Democratic senate seats with a Republican’ is quite delusional. Okay, we all like an underdog, the David’s who are on the run and fleeing from Saul, but if you aren’t careful it can do more harm than good, it can adversely affect the ‘average Joe’ in a way that you never counted on.

(1349) THE SAGA CONTINUES- Okay, I know you guys are getting tired of my ranting, but I’m in between studies right now and you can jump to the other parts of the site if you’re not into politics. Right after the Massachusetts miracle the Dems got together and were desperately trying to figure out a way to pass health care reform before the new Republican was certified. John Kerry, the other Mass. senator was saying ‘well, it might take 10 days or more to certify’ and they really wanted to ‘fight the opposition’ to the end! They were mistaking the popular voice of the people, in one of the most liberal states in the country, as ‘the opposition’. Finally Jim Webb, the Democrat from Virginia had enough and sent word out to the networks that ‘we should not try and cast any votes until the New senator is seated’ then of course Obama came out and said ‘lets not rush anything thru’ after he realized they couldn’t. These guys can’t hear the voices of the people, it’s sad. Why did Mass. have an interim senator? After Kennedy died the state Democratic lawmakers changed the law and said ‘the Governor can appoint an interim’ the governor is a Democrat, so he appointed one of his own. Why did they have to change the law? For years Mass. had a law that said the governor has the right to appoint an interim in cases like this. Then when Mitt Romney, a Republican, became governor ‘oh no, lets change the law’ and they did. The new law said ‘no longer will the governor appoint, let the people decide in a special election’ sounds noble. The voice of the people and all. Then when Ted Kennedy announced he was dying of cancer, low and behold they changed the law back again. I mean talk about political games, this is ridiculous. So they were rushing to pass something with the vote of the interim, who was really no longer the senator, but they felt like ‘what the heck, with the cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase and the special deal with the unions, this is nothing’. And finally the Democrats themselves [Webb] said ‘enough, the president and his agenda has harmed us enough, now we are trying to do crooked deals to get around the peoples voice’. I mean these guys are bad, really bad. I hope and pray that the new situation [59 Dems- 41 Republicans] will cause them to really work together and try and actually govern, the liberal agenda of ‘tax and trade’ and these other things are not going to make it, maybe we can still pass individual parts of health care reform one by one, but for the most part the idea of doing ‘huge, major things’ in the sense that Rahm Emmanuel said ‘never waste an emergency’ those days are over. The media needs to get back to doing its job, why are they not reporting more on the innocent deaths of civilians in these wars? They made that the major issue during Bush’s presidency, that is the casualty count. We have killed many more civilians in the last year thru our drones than in all the years of Bush [Bush did not regularly use drones for bombing people]. Where are the media on this? The Haitian situation is turning into a major disaster, that is the humanitarian response, there are estimates that 20 thousand people a day are dying simply because of a lack of getting medical supplies and treatment to the people, where’s the media uproar? They are silent [to a degree- Anderson Cooper from CNN is doing good reporting] because they have already decided to play along with the initial political line of ‘look how good Obama is doing, not like Bush’s Katrina’ so they are now reluctant to report on the failures because Obama made the political calculation to wed himself to the response. We need statesman, not politicians, the media needs to report, or the blogs and on line sources will take up the slack. I do not want the defeat of our president, he has made some mistakes and he has the chance to make a course correction like Clinton did, he can still do well. But he needs to do things the right way, the Chicago style deals that he is doing will not fly with the American people, you can’t promise openness and no ‘behind the door backroom deals’ and then actually be the worst administration in memory for ‘behind the door backroom deals’ stuff like this must stop, hopefully he got the message from Mass.

(1348) HE’S FOR WATERBOARDING! Well I was up late last night and the upset of the year gave the Massachusetts senate seat to Scott Brown. Okay, the liberal media are in denial. Chris Matthews was coming up with all sort of reasons why this happened; was it because the woman candidate, Martha Coakley [or like Kennedy likes to say ‘Marsha’] brought with her a stern prosecutors personality and Scott was a more down to earth guy? Some surmised that the state really wasn’t ready for a woman senator, and the analyses went on and on. It was quite comical to see Matthews trying to figure out what happened, while on the split screen the Brown supporters are holding up signs that said ‘Was that loud enough’- ‘can you hear us now Washington’! and things to that effect. But the liberal media [by the way, in some ways I’m liberal, others conservative- I prefer to not go by party names] could not accept the reality of a popular groundswell at the grass roots level that is going on in the country. They have tried so hard to demean the ‘tea partiers’ and even label Brown as a ‘truck drivin’ hick’ but they simply can’t come to grips with the fact that many Americans are fed up with all the schemes and secret meetings and messages from Washington elites that simply treat the popular groundswell as ignoramuses. And Norah O’Donnell [MSNBC] says that Brown even supports water-boarding, she said it in a way that made it sound like he’s a nut! Okay, now let’s do some serious stuff. First of all most Americans are not up in arms over pouring water on the faces of terrorists to obtain information, but the liberal media seems to think that this is such a hot topic. Is it fundamentally wrong to do this? Possibly, but what is one million times more wrong is flying these remote control planes [drones] over civilian neighborhoods and regularly blowing away innocent women and children. Now, like I said before I do not fault our heroic service men for this, but the president should stop doing this. I do realize we are targeting terrorists, but we are also killing many innocent women and children when we do this. Why is Obama stepping up these attacks in a much greater way than Bush? Could it be that he needs some good news politically and the death of Bin Laden would surely be an easy comparison of how Bush couldn’t get him in 8 years and we got him in one? I don’t know what the true reason is, but it is much more unjust to ‘accidently’ kill many Muslim/Arab innocent people than to water board a terrorist. I would like to ask Nora O’Donnell and all the talking heads if their families and children were taken by some group, and the group contacted them and said ‘you have 2 options, we water board your kids or drop a drone bomb on them’ how many would opt for the bomb? One night while watching a debate over this issue the ‘supporter’ of water boarding was going back and forth with the anti water boarder, who was a liberal legal scholar. The liberal was asked ‘do you think it was more unjust for us to drop the bombs on Japan and kill a few hundred thousand innocent people, to have caused years and years of slow radiation deaths on the generations of many Japanese people- was that more unjust than water boarding’? And the liberal had the nerve to say water boarding a terrorist was more ‘unjust’. Our problem is we seem to think its okay to actually kill, yes that’s part of war. If you argued with the liberals about how the actual act of killing in war is also a ‘tool’ that the other side uses to recruit, they will readily admit that yes, killing other people groups is a tool-but that’s the price to pay for freedom. But the same people who justify actual killing, also say that Gitmo needs to shut down and we need to stop the horrible practice of water boarding. Even though these tools might have actually helped in some way, yet the tool of water boarding [or Gitmo] is deemed a horrendous thing. Yet these drone attacks are not even questioned by these people. I think we should stop doing these drone attacks if we can’t direct the ‘darn’ things out of the way of innocent people, period.

(1347) IF WE KILL THE SON, THEN THE INHERITANCE WILL BE OURS! Many years ago while working at the fire dept. we had a new chief come in and the city commissioners let it be known that they weren’t happy with the way the last chief kept them informed, they wanted a more detailed update of the emergencies we had. Sure enough we had a train derailment and this was the chance for the ‘new boss’ to prove himself. The problem was the incident itself was not a major thing, we had to wait for the company’s private haz-mat crew to get there, but it was more of a stand- by situation. But most of the night was spent detailing every single thing; times, who you called, what step you did next- it was overkill of the emergency for the purpose of proving to the commissioners that ‘the new boss was better than the old one’. This week the White House put out a very detailed play by play accounting of the president’s response to Haiti, I mean it covered 4 days of intense detail. Many of the president’s people have made the rounds on the talk shows and have emphasized the fact that ‘this president is not like the last one, he acts fast to help’ type of a thing. If you listen to the ‘noise’ from these politicos there is no doubt that ‘all the president’s men’ got together and made a political decision to play this incident for all its worth. Now I am not saying they truly don’t want to help [just like my train emergency] but you can tell that they also are making the argument that ‘Obama acts fast, not like Bush’. If they simply did their job and didn’t say anything about Bush, then I would feel differently. Why would they be so crass? Many people voted for the president because they had such high hopes of change, hopes beyond all reason. Because the president did not have a long past record, and the fact that the media did not vet the man, this created an atmosphere where you could project your own image onto the man, and this then created a ‘candidate’ that was all things to all people. The first year has gone so bad that they are looking for anything to turn things around. Now the opposing side are like the care-takers in the parable of the vineyard. Jesus said the owner of the vineyard leased out the land to some guys and when he sent his workers to get the harvest they abused them. Finally the landowner sent the son, and they said ‘if we take this premier one down, surely the inheritance will be ours’. So the Republicans have decided to ‘take down the heir’. Now, I am sure there are good people on both sides of the aisle that have good motives, but this seems to be the game right now. I remember during the campaign that ‘news’ got out that Obama voted to push the gay agenda for young school children in the schools of Illinois, the gay and lesbian groups were part of his constituency [fine] and he represented their cause. The problem was when this leaked out he said he was only supporting the awareness of young children being molested by older people, that he did not support legislation that promoted the gay agenda to kids. The media backed him up and played this story line. They lied over and over again about this. The fact was Obama did back up much more than he admitted, and those he accused of being liars were telling the truth. Okay, he’s not the first to lie, I got ya. But he recently appointed the first ‘transgender’ person to his administration; the wonderful looking picture of ‘the woman’ with her hair all made up and the makeup and all looked like a woman, but it was a man. Okay, I am not here to make fun, these people are obviously struggling with some emotional/psychological problems, but to appoint them to open positions means you do support the ‘gay’ agenda much more than you previously admitted. Fine, if that’s your position then say so, don’t tell everyone you simply were trying to warn underage kids about molestation. Last but not least the president has advised people to go to the white house web site to support the Haiti situation; are there any comparisons between Bush and Obama that might be deemed political on this site? Yes, there is wording that says Obama will act fast on disasters, not like the mistakes of the previous administration. If your gonna play non stop politics, then don’t use the tragedy in Haiti IN ANY WAY to do it. You should not tell people to go to a web site, purely as a matter of helping with a tragedy, and have anything on the site like this- you are playing politics with people’s lives when you do this type of stuff, period [he should send them to the Red Cross or the many other good groups for this, or make sure you are not making political statements on the site].

(1346) In Luke’s gospel the parable of the pounds [money] has the master giving 1 pound to each servant and when he returns he takes the 1 pound from the brother who hid it and gives it to the other guy who made 10 more pounds with the first pound. Moral of the story, don’t squander your capital! One of the most influential works on human government was Plato’s ‘Republic’ Plato lived 4 centuries before Christ and in the famous work he has Socrates [his mentor] having a dialogue and discussing the elements needed for ordering a just society. The leaders must be educated and put the good of the people/community above their own personal desires. Leaders should be statesman and not politicians. As I was watching the news over the weekend they are still debating health care and both sides have stooped so low as to use the Haiti tragedy for political gain. On one of the Sunday shows, the person representing Bush was trying to be non partisan and praised Obama for his actions. Then the Democrat had the gall to contrast the quick response of Obama with the poor response of Bush to Katrina, these guys are never going to learn. Why are the Democrats willing to be the first party in history to push thru major legislation in secret meetings against the majority public opinion? They have calculated the cost, politically, of not passing something and have come to the conclusion that it would be better politically to pass something and take the heat, than to not pass something. Bill Clinton and others have openly said this, they have been found out on more than one occasion to have made this crass political choice. So in the minds of many of them it’s not a matter of telling many American workers ‘you are going to pay an extra 40 % tax on your health ins.’ and then tell the other worker, doing the same job ‘you do not have to pay the tax because you are a union member and we need your votes’ this is not statesmanship, this is political expediency- do whatever it takes to get your side to win, even at the expense of the public. President Obama [who I just finished praying for, and his family!] had lots of political capital at the beginning of the year, much more than any other president in recent history; but he took the ‘1 pound’ and squandered it, he blew it by making these terrible political calculations. As this new year begins it seems as if he really hasn’t made much out the ‘pound’ that was given him at the start. It looks like the voting public is about to say ‘take from him the pound and give it to someone else’.

(1344) THE WEEK IN REVIEW- Okay, we had lots happening this past week; the tragic earthquake in Haiti, estimates are that there might be around 100,000 deaths, tragic indeed. The firestorm from MSNBC over the comments made by Pat Robertson, he said Haiti made a deal with the devil to get free from French rule and that all has gone bad since, not to smart of a statement. And there is a possible upset for the democratically held seat of former senator Ted Kennedy, the Republican [Scott] might beat the Democrat [Coakley] this would be a major disaster for the Democrats. First, Haiti is a real tragedy and we need to pray and send help and support and get behind the presidents efforts to help. Now, the statement from Pat Robertson, did it deserve the apoplectic response of the MSNBC talking heads? Not really. There is a story that Haiti did ‘sign a pact with the devil’ and that because of Haiti’s majority religion of choice, Voodoo, this has affected the country. Do we know for sure about ‘the pact’? No, but the demonism practiced by many does have a negative effect on Haiti. The nonsensical argument made by the critics of Robertson goes like this ‘Robertson, and all other adherents to right wing conservative Christianity suffer from a collective arrogance/ignorance because of the choice of their religion- their religion has effected them for the worse in a corporate way- i.e. made them ignoramuses’ and then they say it is reprehensible to even think about the possibility that the religion of Voodoo could have a corporate negative impact on Haiti. Am I missing something here? Now to the Massachusetts race, why is the Democrat having so much trouble [besides the fact that she ran a terrible campaign]? The Republican candidate has made health care the number one issue in the race, the state is 3 to 1 Democratic, with a large group of Independents. Like I said before, many well meaning, elderly north eastern liberals/moderates voted for the president, these voters have for the most part turned against the health care debacle, they have been told ‘you will lose 500 billion from your main insurance provider [Medicare] you will pay higher taxes in general for these reforms, many of your current premiums will go up, you might have to deal with adding 30 million people into a hospital system that can’t handle the overflow- and we are asking you to make all these sacrifices at the ending stages of your life so we can insure 30 million or so people, the majority of whom are lower wage workers’. These efforts are not even providing universal care, you will still have around 20-25 million uninsured when all is said and done, and the ‘political incentive’ for all these scared elderly citizens is ‘you need to sacrifice because it’s right’. Now, realistically these voters are not saying publicly ‘you got to be kidding me’ but they are saying it with their vote. Yesterday the unions- of which I was a member for 25 years [AFLCIO- firefighter] made another ‘special deal’ with the president, they will get a special 5 year exemption on the extra taxes being added to the expensive insurance policies that are held by many union workers. Now, I believe we should not tax any health care policies at all; after all we are trying to make it more affordable for people to obtain insurance! But the fact is this is another way the president wants to raise the money needed for the program. But you have many other working Americans who are not part of the union constituency who Obama needs, these people will simply foot the bill for the president’s ‘friends’. This whole thing from the Nebraska deal right down to the final secret deals being made right now is a totally corrupt process that the majority of American people are against. As an advocate of a single payer system myself [yes- call me a liberal if you will] this white house and congress are a total disaster when it comes to health care, sorry, that’s just telling the truth. And let’s end with the outrageous article that the New York Times did on congressman Bart Stupak, the congressman from Michigan [Democrat] who has been heroic in his stand against the funding for abortion that is in the bill. The times did a story on how his son killed himself a few years back with the congressman’s own gun, and how Stupak still achieved a high rating from the NRA by his ‘pro-gun’ votes. This is absolutely despicable, the congressman gets high ratings because he believes in the rights of Americans to own firearms, in no way is it right to connect blame, or cast dispersion on the man because of what happened to his son. All in all it’s been a bad week for the media, and a tragic week for the innocent victims in Haiti, pray for our country and the world, we all need it.

(1341) MEDIA BIAS- This week the big story is the statement from Harry Reid, when discussing Obama’s chances at becoming president he said ‘he’s light skinned, and doesn’t speak with a Negro dialect, unless he wants to’ OUCH! Okay, the Black leadership has for the most part forgiven him and he admitted he was wrong. Everyone knows that if a Republican said it he’d be run out on a rail, but that’s politics. The media bias I want to talk about is more serious than this. A few weeks back I watched a news show that profiled a business woman who owned a bike store and they showed how she had customers with all this money to buy, but she couldn’t get a loan from ‘the evil banks’ and because of this she had no money for inventory or expansion. And then they showed a guy who owned a scooter store and he faced the same problem. The media has been trying to portray the economies problems on the fact that some businesses are unable to obtain loans and that this is why the recession is lingering. This is fundamentally not true, then why are they saying it? It’s because they are such strong advocates for the president that this story line sort of gets him off the hook. The majority of small businesses are not in trouble because they can’t secure loans, many of them are feeling the heat of customers who are not purchasing because of loss of jobs and an overall sluggish economy. Many businesses are facing a very anti business environment from this president, that’s just a fact. Businesses will not hire new employees in an unstable atmosphere where they don’t know what their costs are going to be. They are facing the huge cost of having to provide health care to their workers, or pay steep fines if they don’t. Cap and trade [the president’s way to appease his environmentalist constituency] will be a disaster for an ailing economy; it will raise the cost of business all around and even raise the cost of energy for every homeowner in the country. You simply can’t follow these types of policies in an economy that is weak like ours. So the problem is not that businesses can’t get loans, it is the other major factors that are anti business that play a bigger role. A few years ago the well meaning political lobbying groups who advocate for the rights of minorities put pressure on the politicians to force the banks to make more loans to minorities, though they meant well, the banks said if you force us to not use the simple credit standards that we have always used, regardless of race, then we will have problems. Nevertheless the pressure on the banks was ‘you guys must be racists because you are not lending enough money to minorities’. So men like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd oversaw the policies that forced the banks to lend money to many innocent blacks who were in over the heads. These are not the scams that were done by crooked lenders, these were simple home loans to people who normally would not qualify, but because of politics they ‘qualified’. During the Bush administration there were a few people who raised the red flag and began saying ‘we are going to face a huge problem if we don’t fix the problems with Fannie and Freddie’ [the governments insurance for home loans] Barney Frank and other democrats actually said that these Republicans who raised the red flag were trying to create a crisis environment where there was none. In essence Frank and Dodd ignored all the real warnings and this led to the financial disaster the country faced. Now you would think that after this almost criminal negligence [Dodd did get a sweetheart deal from these same banks that he was working with] these guys would be removed from these positions and never have their influence felt again. But instead they led the charge in blaming everything on Bush and the evil bankers who were always out to get you. So now we are demonizing the banks, after all it’s their so called unwillingness to lend that’s behind all the problems. The media tells this story over and over again until we believe it. Sure, the banks were part of the problem, and the fact that AIG operated like a bank, but without the regulations of a bank, these things added to the problem. But today the overall policies of the govt. can either be realistic or ideological; you can say your plan is to pour tons of money into ‘green jobs’ but this is a joke, to be honest about it. The govt. just admitted that all the billions that were poured into ‘road ready’ projects did not create any jobs, most of the other bailout money that was sent to the states was simply used to pay bills and payroll for the states, and it too did not create jobs. If the president does not seriously see the problem, then no matter how much more ‘stimulus’ you put into the economy, it will fail, it is simply creating a bigger debt which in itself is a drag on business. While the Harry Reid stories are fodder for the media, the media does a greater disservice to the country when they advocate so strongly for a president to the point where they play along with the skewed story line, they need to stop blaming everything on the evil bankers and the fat cats on wall street, they need to seriously get back to reporting news.

(1337) IS THERE MORE GOING ON WITH THE CHRISTMAS DAY PLOT? While not a conspiracy theorist myself, if you pay close attention to the last few statements from the white house, there seems to be a bigger problem than the president is willing to admit. There have been some insiders who have floated the belief that the president believes that the CIA and other intelligence people might have purposefully allowed this tragedy to happen. In one of the last speeches the president made on the plot, the lead up to the speech was the president was going to drop a bombshell, his people said this. Yet during the speech there was no bombshell, yet he really rebuked the intelligence agencies and said he would not tolerate such incompetence. Then Richard Wolf, a regular on MSNBC who has inside access to the president [he has written a book on the president and is writing another one now] said on MSNBC that the president and his people believe that it’s possible that the intelligence agencies purposefully withheld information as some type of political vendetta. In the second hour he came back and ‘corrected’ his statement, he then said ‘well it’s a theory that is still 10 steps down the road’. It’s obvious that someone from the white house contacted him and told him to shut up. How could something like this be possible? When the president appointed Leon Panetta to head the CIA, as a democrat Panetta was furious over the way the democratic liberal agenda was going as it related to his agency. Nancy Pelosi would accuse them of regularly lying all the time to congress, other democrats/liberal politicians also went so far as to say it was possible that those who carried out the interrogations using the accepted practices that they were told to use, that these employees might now have committed war crimes! And last but not least the attorney general, Eric Holder, opened up investigations into the employees that might lead to convictions and imprisonment. What exactly were the crimes these govt. employees engaged in? They simply followed the orders of the previous administration, orders that were approved by the previous attorney general [Alberto Gonzales]. Do you know what this does to the morale of these agencies? You now have govt. employees going home to their wives and kids, and not just worrying about their jobs, but real fears that our govt. might do some outrageous thing and who knows, maybe turn them over to the world court in the Hague to face a war crime tribunal. This stuff is not funny, this is why Leon Panetta and other democrats who know how these communities work were outraged over our politicians regularly accusing them as being lying criminals. Now, as someone who worked as a firefighter for 25 years, the truth is if you feel your superiors are going behind your back and accusing you of dereliction of duty, if they told you to do things and later said that these orders you carried out are now making you liable to do prison time, this would affect the inner working of the community in a terrible way, no one would want to go out of his way and speak up and say ‘sure, I’ll be the one to go out on a limb and turn this possible bomber in’ no, you clam up because you have created a political environment that has people walking on eggshells, this is the real world my friends. Now with all this as the background, you can see how it ‘slipped out’ that the president and his people believe its possible that these agencies didn’t act on purpose, this might very well be an in house war that is affecting the nation in ways people don’t know. I do not know what the ‘bombshell’ was that the president was supposed to say, but he changed his mind and did not say it. But it’s very likely that he was going to say something along the lines of ‘I will not tolerate the purposeful holding back of information because of political vendettas’ or something like that. I in no way blame this incident on the president or our people, but when you play politics with people’s lives, like going after your own employees as criminals, by publicly accusing them of always lying to congress, it’s inevitable that this creates a non cooperative work place environment, everyone with real world experience knows this.

(1333) THE CHRISTMAS DAY PLOT [12-09] The talk of the town this past week has been the failed bombing attempt of an airplane over Detroit. The Nigerian man [looks like a young boy!] came from a well to do family and was radicalized while attending an upper class school in London. He made contact with Al Qaeda in Yemen and did some training there before boarding an American bound plane from the Netherlands to Detroit. The mans father had previously contacted our U.S. embassy and informed them that he felt his son was a danger, that he had embraced radical Islam. When the man boarded the plane he paid cash [around 3 thousand dollars] he had no luggage and bought a one way ticket. He was on a terrorist watch list [with some half a million names] and never made it to the smaller ‘no fly’ list. The plot failed because the man was unable to light the explosive, just like Richard Reid, another terrorist. The initial response from the white house has come under lots of criticism; it took the president 3 days before responding to the public from his Hawaiian vacation. The head of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, made the statement ‘our system worked’ and also has been criticized. Okay, the administration’s response has been lacking and defensive. They still dragged out ‘the Bush card’ in their defense. The president said the security policies that have been in place for years [Bush] failed and he would do all in his power to fix it. Why did it have to wait till now? The president ran on a platform that accused the previous administration as utter failures in all areas and that if elected he would go in and fix the failures. The fact that he now says these failures were Bush’s policies is simply an immature excuse from someone who is in over his head. If you thought there were problems to begin with, and stated this ‘thought’ publicly many times, then you can’t now say we didn’t fix it, and it was Bush’s fault! It’s been a year since the inauguration and they need to stop doing this. One of the president’s top security guys, John Brennan, made the Sunday rounds on the talk shows. He said ‘there was no smoking gun that we missed’. What! You have to be kidding me. The Republicans are not without fault, some have used this event as a political tool, that’s wrong. One of the main problems as I see it is the president did run on a platform that said over and over that he would take a different ideological approach than the previous administration. The approach would be less of a ‘war on terror’ idea, and more of a war against individual groups who are trying to harm us, this is a real difference, if he is now coming under criticism for his approach, he can’t keep saying ‘we’re doing everything Bush did’. If that’s true then he lied when he said he would not operate like Bush. The fact is we just bombed the actual camps that this young man was trained in, in Yemen. A few weeks later he was bound for the U.S. with explosives. The reason we gave this man a lawyer and allowed him all the rights of a U.S. citizen, is because the president believes this approach is more noble and would bring better results in our image with the world. Some have brought out the fact that Richard Reid was also prosecuted in U.S. courts under Bush [there goes that card again!]. The fact is Reid was not given a lawyer until many months after being interrogated. So the president has chosen to not interrogate, but to treat him like a criminal. The problem with this approach is this man might have easily been killed by our predator drone attack a few weeks earlier, attacks that our country regularly engages in, in Muslim countries. Many of these bombings have killed innocent Muslim/Arab women and children. Yet he could have been killed on the spot by the current administration without judge or jury. Why, well because we are ‘at war’. Yet this same person, who was at the risk of being bombed for simply training in a camp that wants to attack us, this same person- if he makes it on to a plane with actual explosives and actually attempts to detonate the thing, he is protected by the U.S. constitution, will get to ‘plea bargain’ and will have his day in court where he can espouse his radical beliefs. Gee, it seems to me that we are simply encouraging these guys to make it to the U.S.

(1331) GALATIANS 4- Paul says there was a time period before the promise would be fulfilled thru Christ; that time has come to an end [the law] and we are now in ‘the fullness of times’. When we were under the law we were no different than servants, but now in grace we are mature sons, people able to inherit the promise. Paul says why do you desire to go back under the ‘restraint’ phase, the time of discipline and legalism, we are now in a fullness stage thru the New Covenant and we don’t need the old mentality anymore. Once again Paul really ‘spiritualizes’ the Old Testament in his teaching, he says that the law [Old Testament] taught this difference between law and grace. He uses the story of Abraham having 2 sons [Ishmael, Isaac] and he says ‘cant you hear what the law is saying’? One son was born by promise [Isaac] the other thru the works of the flesh [law]. And just like it was back then, the one born after the flesh persecuted the one born after the Spirit, so today [1st century] those after the flesh/law are persecuting those born after the Spirit. It’s important to see that Paul DOES NOT use this analogy to describe Jewish/Muslim [Arab] relations; he actually refers to natural Israel as ‘Ishmael’! He says the Judaisers [Jews zealous of the law] were fulfilling the type/symbol by persecuting Gentile believers. We need to keep these distinctions in our minds, because when we don’t rightfully discern the truth we do damage to the non ethnic testimony of the gospel. Paul says the law relates to natural Israel/Jerusalem who is under bondage with her children, but the ‘New Jerusalem’ which is above is the mother of us all, and this Jerusalem relates to the church. The New Jerusalem is not referring to a physical city that will ‘hover over the earth during the millennium rule’ [EEK!] But it refers to the new community people of God, the church. I have written on this before and these references in the New Testament [Revelation, Hebrews- us being the new Zion, etc.] are speaking of the church, the people of God. Paul once again speaks of ‘natural Jerusalem’ in a negative light, in the sense that he teaches those who are under the law are not walking in the fullness of the promises of God as come in the Messiah. The New Testament spends no time engaging in the glorying of any ethnic group [whether it be Israel, Gentile, etc.] It’s not that the apostles were being anti Semitic, it’s just the emphasis is on the new kingdom of God and the new people of God [the church made up of both Jew and Gentile]. Its striking to compare the writings of the first Jewish believers to the current trends amongst many evangelical preachers, the two don’t mesh well.

(1326) FOR AS THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH, WHICH I WILL MAKE, SHALL REMAIN, SO SHALL YOUR SEED AND NAME REMAIN- Isaiah 66:22 Well the senate finally passed health care reform; they still have some hurdles ahead, but they got the 60 votes needed to move forward. I do find it utterly corrupt that any single party would actually pass something that took away benefits from Republican states and not take them away from Democratic ones. And then have the audacity to make the ‘losing states’ underwrite the ‘winning states’. I can’t imagine the uproar in the country if Bush did this. Nebraska [Ben Nelson] cut a deal where they will never pay for the extended costs of Medicaid, ever. The ‘Federal govt.’ will forever cover their new costs. They are the only state that gets this deal. The Federal govt. pays stuff by taxing other states; in essence the rest of the country will be underwriting Nebraska, simply because they needed the Democratic vote. Florida, under Bill Nelson, another Democrat, will be the only state that will not lose Medicare Advance. This is a very popular program with senior citizens and every other state will lose this program. Why not Florida? Florida has lots of retired seniors, they need to keep the senate seat Democratic, so to get the seniors votes they did this deal. These deals are fundamentally corrupt, we are doing this at a time in the nation where we will be forcing families to pay a yearly 750 dollar fine if they don’t get insurance [or a 2% fine of their income, whichever is higher!] and many average income earners are really going to be in a bind. Much of the money will pay the profits and salaries of multi millionaires; this is wrong. In the 1960’s Harvey Cox [professor at Harvard] penned the book ‘the secular city’ it was a play on words from saint Augustine’s ‘city of God’. Augustine, as a true Amillennialist, wrote about the influence of the church/kingdom of God on the nations of the world, and how you could not separate virtue from public/political life. Cox would challenge this idea and teach that you could have a separation; you could run a nation apart from the morality of the church. Harvard would also produce the philosophy of ‘Pragmatism’ you govern by what is expedient, do what it takes to get the job done- don’t worry about what’s right or wrong type of a thing. God says his word/standards don’t go away, the things he states/creates are there for good. The Democratic Party ran rough shod over some very basic principles of right and wrong, when Harry Reid was asked about these insider deals, he said that’s the way they do business. In essence he said if your state didn’t get to do some under the table deal, then that’s your senator’s fault. The senate leader was being very pragmatic, doing what he needed to do to get the votes. I think they might have traded for a few votes today, at the expense of a bunch of them tomorrow.

(1323) WHERE IS THE HOUSE THAT YOU ARE BUILDING FOR ME? Isaiah 66:1, leaders- think on this for a moment; what is it exactly that you are building for God? What are the main themes of scripture that you are communicating? Verse 2 says ‘all these things hath [past tense] my hand made and all these things HAVE BEEN, says the Lord’. In Ephesians 2 Paul says that we are ‘his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that he chose for us before the world began’. We are simply fulfilling the pre-ordained destiny of God. That is if we are proclaiming and doing what’s right. Yesterday I read a news article on a mega church out of Ohio, they broadcast a plea that they immediately needed 3 million in donations or they were in trouble. The plea was looked into and it seems like they ‘fudged’ on the seriousness of the appeal- basically they used ‘disaster’ language for a problem that was not as urgent as you might think; sort of like what our country did with TARP and what we are doing today [12-19-09] with saying we urgently need to pass health reform before Christmas, a false deadline that is being used as a political tool. Why do well meaning ministries/preachers often focus so much on money? Why is it common for many sermons and messages to be centered on this? In the first century when the Apostle Paul was circulating his letters, he would write about 95 % on real theological truth, maybe a few % of the letters would deal with giving, most of that small percent was in the context of giving to the poor. Then you had an even smaller % of that deal with giving to help Paul on his way to the next town, or giving to meet the needs of laboring leaders in their midst. So if you were a first century church receiving the letter you would not see Paul’s main message being one of always appealing for funds. But over the first few centuries of Christianity the church collected these letters and put them in a book [our New Testament]. This has enabled people to scour thru the corpus of Paul’s writings and to pick this small percentage of appeals for funds and to basically present them in a way that says ‘look how important it is to always speak about money, after all the bible is full of it!’ Which is really a distortion of the actual themes of the letters; much of Paul’s writings taken in context actually reprove what the modern preachers have done with this proof texting tool [read 1st timothy 6]. So you find many well meaning brothers seeing the need for more and more money, for a never ending series of good projects, and this causes there to be a general focusing on a very small percentage of actual New Testament teaching and presenting it in a way that causes the average believer to think that this is the main thrust of scripture. So what are you building? Have you never really seen this before? If not then ask the lord to help you re-focus on the important stuff. Pastors, leaders- most of you brothers mean well, just allow the Lord to bring forth out of you the things that he has fore ordained for you. One of those things might have been stumbling along and reading this blog.

Week in review. The president passed a bunch of stuff in the lame duck congress [good for the man] and the Repubs seemed to be upset. But wait- there’s still hope! The Repubs can make a comeback you know- just be careful, play your cards right and all’s well that ends well- right? O, by the way- did you hear what Haley Barbour said? He’s one of the presidential hopefuls for the Republican Party in the next election. He said when he was growing up in the south- he doesn’t remember things being that bad during the years preceding the civil rights movement. Well I guess if you were white things weren’t that bad! Okay- just a post on my thoughts on race- it’s sad, we all [Blacks and Whites] seem to have a hard time dealing with it.

-(1322) RACISM- As I was reading my hometown news paper over the last year [Jersey Journal] I followed a story about a racist right wing radio/web guy who finally got thrown into jail. The guys name is Hal Turner and the thing that caught my interest was he was from my hometown of North Bergen. Why do people like this attract an audience? A while back I was watching MSNBC and the host that day was Lawrence O’Donnell, he was talking to someone about the Sonya Sotomayor nomination to the Supreme Court. He mentioned how the fact that the judge was accepted at Princeton under the affirmative action program, that even though she scored lower than some of the other applicants, she eventually had high grades down the road. He then said that this is proof that we shouldn’t accept kids based on their score or achievements, but that this proves that the institutions should be able to pick people because they prefer their race. The point of course is this is blatant racism; everyone knows this. But yet those who espouse this view in public forums also accuse those who disagree with them as being racists. Now, the average White person sees right thru this, they know that if O’Donnell’s kid was rejected in her life based on race that he would be fuming, yet he publicly accuses others who would have the same response as racist. These double standards are seen for what they are. They just recently promoted the fire fighters who took their case to the Supreme Court because the city threw out their test scores because no Blacks passed the test. They won their case and finally got promoted. When the firefighters who passed [not all Whites, there were some Hispanics] sued for what was right and just, those representing the Black firefighters went to the Hispanic candidate and tried to talk him out of suing, so they could portray the White guys as being racists. The Hispanic guy said he was agreeing with the White guys because they were simply right. As I listened to the tortured defense of those representing the Black guys, it was absolutely nonsensical. I mean you can argue forever why the Whites and Hispanics passed and the Blacks didn’t, but to actually accuse the ones who passed as being racists is racist itself. These things are what causes there to be an audience for the Hal Turner’s, the liberal minded elite media feel good about themselves when they side with obviously racist views. They think it good to say ‘if a university rejects you because your White, that’s good’ they feed into the hate mongers and allow themselves to be fuel for the Hal Turners of the world.

(1321) WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL COPENHAGEN! Today the president jets off to Copenhagen for the closing of the world summit on global warming. He originally was going to go at the start but the politicos figured if he went at the end he might be able to undo the last failed Copenhagen venture- getting turned down for the next Olympic Games at Chicago. But what has happened instead is the summit has been a disaster. Why? First you of course had the nuts in the streets destroying stuff, but more importantly you had some major disagreements between the nations attending. The poorer nations actually walked out at one point because they want the industrialized world to fund them at 100 billion dollars for their part in cutting greenhouse gases, the rich countries are pledging 10 billion. China and India, 2 of the greatest polluters on the planet [they make up a total of 80 % of all the pollutants] are not willing to sign a binding agreement which can be verified. Why? These countries are at the beginning of their own industrial revolutions, they still have many years of rapid growth ahead before their overall population benefits from their growth. India has many people still in the extreme poverty class and for all practical purposes you are asking them to trade much of the future of their country for a possible fraction of a degree of global warming over hundred a year period. I mean it’s really a cost/benefit scenario. Now, am I a global warming denier? No. the science seems pretty clear, the nations of the world have gone thru an industrial age and the effects of burning coal and other dirty energy have produced lots of green house gasses that get trapped in the atmosphere and cause the heat to stay in. Not too hard to understand. So what’s the problem, well we don’t really know for sure how much of an overall effect we can have over the long haul. For instance our planet has gone thru at least one ice age and we have only been keeping global heat records for a short time. We don’t know if the earth goes thru thousand year cycles of cooling and heating that we could have little effect on. For instance if we are on a warming trend, and say the planet is going to warm so many degrees over the next thousand years, well maybe our efforts at cooling it less than one degree in the overall scheme really doesn’t count for much. Then there is the real cost/benefits analysis- I’m not talking profits for industry, but real questions on whether or not the global community should sink trillions of dollars over many years into this project, which might not save too many lives; or sink the money into these 3rd world countries who have hundreds of thousands of kids dying because they simply don’t have the money to feed them or provide them with cheap vaccines. This same money today can save so many lives. A serious global warming believer has done the analysis and believes it simply is not feasible to spend the money on the global warming efforts. If we had the extra billions to spend, sure let’s do it. But if we are doing it at the expense of real time lives, then it’s simply foolish. Last night I watched a documentary on the logging business in the Amazon, how so many poorer areas have learned the trade of tree chopping and have lifted themselves out of poverty by cutting down the trees. Now lots of the Amazon has been destroyed and it is an environmental disaster to some degree. So they started this fund that pays the tree choppers more money to not cut the trees. As they interviewed this brother who seemed to be on the lower income scale of society, they showed you him with his used chain saw and his truck and all the ‘blessings’ he has reaped from his new found job; they asked him why he won’t stop chopping thee trees. He said they don’t want to get paid for doing nothing. Ouch! They rather cut the trees and feel industrious than take the free welfare money that the west wants to appease them with. What a lesson for the victim hood mentality of the west. The reporter drove down the road to an Indian tribal area that never cut the trees; they always respected the land and lived off of fishing and hunting. What did their chief say? That they are not getting money because they have always preserved the trees, therefore they will start chopping the trees so the west will pay them to stop. What’s going on here? We have many well meaning people on both sides of all these issues, overall we have to be realistic about this stuff. Poor countries are not going to sacrifice their people on the altar of global warming science when they are not sure their efforts will really pay off in the long run, many of them attended the summit because they were simply hoping the rich countries would give them money. Rich western nations can’t expect to impose these types of restrictions on developing nations, it’s just unrealistic. And last of all the president just told us the country will go bankrupt if we don’t pass the latest version of health reform; you know, the version with no public option, no Medicare buy in, no real control over what the insurance companies will charge us. This bill has now become a bad bill as far as I can tell, then what in the heck are we doing making the second trip to Copenhagen in the last few months? The president used to say he was not like the last administration, he could walk and chew gum at the same time- I’m beginning to wonder about that.

(1317) A DIFFERENT LAKE OF FIRE- Isaiah says ‘Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens and come down…like when a fire makes the water to boil, that you would come down’ [Isaiah 64] the imagery of fire and water are both used as pictures of the Spirit. On the day of Pentecost God ‘ripped open the heavens and came down’. Jesus said he came to set the earth on fire and how he wished it was already burning! Since the day the Spirit of God has been poured out on ‘all flesh’ these ‘fleshed out ones’ have been stirring the waters and making it boil. Psalms says why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Why do the kings of the earth try to rise up and resist Gods anointed ones? In John’s gospel Jesus said the religious leaders were going around trying to kill him. Why? Because when he came and did the works that no one else was doing, it took away their cloak of an excuse. In essence the reason the ‘waters’ [nations/peoples] are boiling [tribulatin’] is because we as the people of God are a natural thorn in the side of society who wants us to just go away. I watched a news show this week interview an ex-gay man who started a ministry and who is now married and lives a good life. I know for a fact that the women interviewer is a lesbian [she says so on her on line profile] and of course she was upset that any person would claim that they were once gay and now have left the life and are happy. The man’s ministry was not ‘anti gay’ he said his ministry simply works with those who want to leave the lifestyle, but that still offends the mind of modern man. The presidents ‘school czar’ [Jennings] is an open advocate for the gay agenda in the public school system. He has praised men who were affiliated with ‘NAMBLA’ [the North American man/boy love association] and he does advocate for the public schools to teach the gay lifestyle as a perfectly legitimate way of life. Now I’m sure there are many gay/lesbian people who sincerely have seen and experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation. I’m sure many of them feel that teaching this agenda to kids would be helpful in combating future discrimination against kids. But those who have this agenda can’t stand any group who simply says ‘being [acting out!] homosexual is a sin’ this simple reality causes them to be upset and in a way ‘have no cloak for their sin’. If ex-gays have left the life and are now happy, then their life is a rebuke to homosexual acts. Yes, it’s like starting a fire that causes the water to boil. We are liquid Napalm for heaven’s sake! Christians should avoid stereotyping gays/lesbians; there are many sincere people who struggle with various things. Many people out of a good motive feel like pushing the gay agenda would be helpful; but at the end of the day homosexual acts are physically more harmful than heterosexual/monogamous relationships, even if you put aside the religious convictions of many people, it is still dangerous to push this agenda in the public school system. Obama needs to fire his ‘school czar’.

(1315) NATIONAL HEALTH CARE- As of today [12-11-09] it looks like health reform might pass, but it’s not certain. The CBO [congressional budget office] is ‘scoring’ the bill and they need to see how much it will cost. I can’t imagine it being deficit neutral, it is going to extend Medicare to millions of more people between the ages of 55-64, I personally need it but I don’t know if it will fly [I’m 47 now]. Let’s talk honestly about the country and the president. As of today the country is more polarized than it has been in a long time. How is the president doing? The president is a good man that has absolutely no experience in the business world. Many democrats [Bill Clinton] felt that the nomination of a first term Illinois senator with as little experience as Obama was- quote ‘a joke’. When he said this he was not demeaning his race [I hope!] but was speaking political reality. Most of the people who the president has surrounded himself with are academics and well meaning ideologues who also have no real world business experience. I am not saying they are wicked people, it’s just they come from this background. So the fact is the president has not done a ‘good job’ up to this point- sure the republican obstructionism doesn’t help, but the man is really learning on the job. Then why did the nation elect the man? Much of it had to do with a national guilty conscience of racist sins of the past, many felt it was time for the nation to do ‘penance’ and this was how it would be accomplished. Those who expressed real concerns about nominating [and electing] the most inexperienced person in the history of the country were tagged as racists, yes this is a fact. So today we have to pray for the man and his family, we recognize that he did inherit many fiscal problems when elected, but it does absolutely no good for the democrats to continually harp on this. I mean some news shows [MSNBC] act like the campaign is still on, they can’t get enough of Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney- please give it a break for heaven’s sake! Palin wrote her book and the AP [associated press] had 11 reporters assigned to the book to go thru it with a fine tooth comb looking for discrepancies. The president has written 2 books, the AP had no reporters looking for discrepancies. The media [both right and left] does an extreme disservice to the country when they play these types of games. So the reality is we need to support as much as possible our president, when we have real disagreements then we need to speak out [like abortion funding in the health bill] but also understand that the basic premise of insuring all Americans is a noble, yes even Christian principle. That is to try and help as many people as you can. There are many Americans who have lost their jobs and have no insurance and yes they can still access the health system but many of them have gone into bankruptcy and lost their homes and been left on the street, so to do nothing about this is wrong. So there are real problems that need to be dealt with and there are sincere differences of opinion on how to accomplish these goals. Republicans have some ideas as well as democrats, we should try and pull together and come up with a solution, to simply want the thing to fail for political purposes is wrong, and to brand the opposing side as racists is wrong too.

(1308) I caught an interview last night of an Indian author who wrote a book, the title is ‘truth and transformation’ it deals with how India and much of the Eastern world has a great degree of economic dishonesty and hiding of money from the govt. and so forth. But that the Western world has less of this dishonesty going on in a large scale. It was interesting to hear the point of view that because the west still had a degree of Christian morality that this had a lasting effect on society. You rarely hear this view from Easterners. But the brother warned how we are fast approaching the rest of the world in the area of economic/corporate corruption. Any way he mentioned how in the book of Revelation the church is described as ‘a city’- the city that comes down from God out of heaven. I always liked this imagery, in Isaiah we read how this city of God has it gates open ‘day and night’ that there is never a moment where life and transactions are not happening. How can this be? Recently as I have been praying over stuff, and also have posted various requests on the blog I realized that we have people praying and reading and ‘partaking’ of the stuff we are doing, this happens on a 24 hour basis because we have friends from around the world who are connected to us. So Gods ‘city’ is one that consists of believers the world over. There are Christians ‘in church’ 24-7, you don’t have to start a 24 hour prayer service to accomplish this, God has done it by having a worldwide community of people who he describes as ‘my House of Prayer’. This house/temple is open all the time, Isaiah also says that the city will have ‘no walls’ because of its great size, the multitude of men and cattle within is so large that it doesn’t need to wall herself off from society! As a matter of fact a river flows from this temple to the nations and all the kings of the earth will bring their glory and riches into her. I like the city imagery a lot, Revelation says this city has no need for a sun or moon, because the Lamb is the light of the city. No need for a temple either, we are the temple! [as well as Jesus, we as his Body join with him in the temple imagery] When reading scripture it’s important to see things thru a correct lens. I am half way thru the book by Carl Olson ‘will Catholics be left behind’. Carl is an ex Fundamentalist who converted to Catholicism and he gives an excellent overview of the history of Eschatology [end time stuff] much of my teaching agrees with Carl’s view. But reading thru it reminds me of some of the silly views that people hold about end time things, how some see the city ‘coming down from God out of heaven’ as an actual physical city that will be suspended above the earth during the Millennium and that believers will be living in ‘the sky’ while having access to the planet and interacting with Millennium citizens. Silly stuff, the city is called ‘the bride, the Lambs wife’ it’s quite obvious that John is using prophetic imagery to describe the church. But this is a problem among certain Fundamentalists and this view is quite popular in our day. When we grasp the ‘better’ view of these things then we can apply them in practical ways that effect society in a positive way- Gods people/city being open/available for light and help and mercy to all the ‘kings/nations of the earth’ Jesus who is our light can also enlighten the nations who are willing to hear. Stuff like this is helpful, while also recognizing that there are real/literal things that Revelation deals with, like the 2nd coming and resurrection and final judgment. Well anyway we are all part of this 24-7 community that has things happening all the time, we belong to a great worldwide church, the city of God, let’s let our light shine to the nations as much as possible.

(1306) DARKNESS SHALL COVER THE EARTH AND GROSS DARKNESS THE PEOPLE… BUT GODS GLORY SHALL BE UPON US AND THE GENTILES SHALL SEE THIS LIGHT/HOPE AND BE DRAWN TO US- Isaiah 60:1-3 Tonight the president will give a speech at West Point and tell the nation that we will be sending another 30 thousand troops to Afghanistan, pretty serious stuff. But the news media has been stuck on another story, the couple who crashed the White House party the other night. Oh how they have mused about the fact that even though they passed thru metal detectors, they still could have hurt the president. Some have espoused that they could have picked up a fork and gouged his eyes out- others said they could have spiked his drink with Anthrax; the theory I found the most amusing was they might have been trained in Martial Arts and could have had the purely human ability to kill or mame the leader of the free world. Sort of like if the woman with the red dress was a black belt that somehow this would have enabled her to decapitate the president with her bare hands! Like what Will Farrell did in the highly acclaimed movie ‘Glory Blades’ the plot was Farrell was banned from the Olympics but they found a glitch in the system- he could get in as this top ice skater if he registered under the couples rule. So he and his partner [Napoleon Dynamite] get on the team. One problem, the famous move that they need to perform has been tried in the past by their coach- as they show the clip of what happened in slow motion, the skater does this move where as he jumps in the air and flips he accidently decapitates his partner! So you can see the serious dilemma that the movie engages in. I just thought it too funny for the media to have spent so much time on this story. Isaiah said ‘gross darkness’ shall cover the people, they would be consumed with stuff that has absolutely no value [like watching Glory Blades] but that the people of God would be this worldwide community of people who had purpose and hope in the midst of a fallen world. Yes the world system will get worse, but the kingdom of God and its witness in the nations will grow brighter. As the world obsesses about whether or not the woman in the red dress might have been some secret mixed martial arts expert [Royce Gracy in drag?] we have true things of value to share, hope and light and peace; as the Christmas season is upon us let’s do our best to share it.

(1303) A few hours ago I caught a prophetic conference on TV, I wasn’t too sure if I was going to watch it but the brother opened up with talking about ‘high ways’ from Isaiah. This past week that has been a theme I have been focusing on. ‘Prepare a high way in the desert for our God’ ‘my ways are higher than yours’ ‘I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth’ Isaiah. Here in my office I have old model battleships and WW2 planes and stuff; in my yard I have signs that say ‘N.Y. C.C. port’ ports, waterways and highways are all familiar themes. The brother was also sharing about battleships, so the themes seemed to fit. So I get up to pour a cup of coffee, as I turn the light on there is this book sitting on my kitchen table, never saw it before- don’t know who brought it home. As I read the title it’s simply a dictionary on interpreting dreams, I was thinking ‘who brought this new age book into my home’ I open it up and the first word I see is ‘Port Authority’ the definition is having authority in new places/highways/ports, you can’t make stuff up like this [there are Christian books on dreams and also non Christian ones, sometimes the definitions are the same- I do not advocate looking for signs in non Christian books]. Well anyway in Isaiah 59 the Lord rebukes his people for believing and trusting in lies, things they know are not true. Sometimes people convince themselves of their own lies. I hate to harp on this but I want to be clear that as of today [11-09] I believe that many people simply do not fully grasp the major economic troubles that face us. The government is talking about another stimulus and I read the statement from a Ca. Democrat, she was incensed ‘we need to do something about jobs’! Well we all know that, and you agreed with others that you would not spend the trillion dollar stimulus on real jobs growth, sure it was an honest difference of opinion between a conservative versus liberal economic model- but you chose the liberal model [spend most of it on federal spending and programs] and you got the result. How you can now be mad about not having jobs is beyond me! But people believe ‘in lies’ that is they make choices that have certain real effects and they still believe their choices were right- even in the face of the truth on the ground. As we close 2009 I foresee a bad year for 2010, as well as the next 5-10 years. Now I’m not saying the world will collapse, but there are long term decisions our country has made and we are not going to escape by trying to manipulate the value of the dollar or by the fed acting in cooperation with the White House. We have run up very unrealistic debt, we are trying to pass some stuff that all honest economists know will cost lots of money, and the global markets are very worried about the possible collapse of our dollar. Some serious people are seeing this. But as a nation we have a tendency to ‘believe in lies’ not mean people who are partisans, just we reject the reality of the fiscal situation, we think we can simply survive by doing ‘jobs summits’ and extending unemployment insurance. This is not going to work, never has- never will. Now, the Christians who have ‘built upon a solid foundation’ will survive and even thrive thru these times, but many churches/ministries who depend upon million dollar budgets and high income will suffer. When underground churches in China function without owning property, paying salaries and having no ‘corporate identity’ these churches thrive during times like this, they are not dependant on needing lots of money to operate, they simply function like the churches in the bible. So we need to be clear about how we are building our churches/ministries, we need to be able to have a witness to society that we as Gods people survive because we don’t put our trust in the economies of men. And this does not always mean that our bank accounts won’t suffer, just ask any Christian 401 k holder! But it means that God’s people value their membership in Christ’s body and they will help one another out when in need. I don’t want to be an alarmist but I believe we are in denial, I read an article on ‘the jobs are coming back’ [something to that effect] the article said the number of those filing for unemployment was ONLY 400 thousand, a drop from the previous week of 450,000. Are we kidding ourselves or what? I have never seen the media speak about growing jobs and how many thousands were saved by the stimulus, if since January we have lost 3.5 million jobs, that means we have not ‘created/saved’ jobs, it’s that simple. But we want to ‘believe in lies’ we want to tell ourselves we can build an economy on free handouts without helping private business. Sure taxing millionaires sounds great, but most of these ‘evil millionaires’ are small businesses who file as individuals, you can’t consistently do the actual things that kill jobs and then say ‘lets have a jobs summit’ okay I don’t want to rant too much, we as the people of God live by different standards then the world [I try!] and we will not be immune to the economic difficulties that lie ahead, but our response and trust in the Lord will be a witness to those in need. Our willingness to help our neighbor, free of charge, will be a sign of the gospel to them. All in all we are going to have some great opportunities in the next few years, lets just stop believing in lies.

(1301) THEY CRASHED THE PARTY FOR HEAVENS SAKE! Last night on the news the big story was how some couple managed to crash the president’s party at the White House. They showed this reality couple posing with Biden for pictures and all, the good looking woman dressed in a flashy red dress, hugging Biden and all- to be honest Biden looked a little too happy about posing with the woman. As I am watching all the speculation on how they snuck in, and they keep showing all the shots of them with various officials [Rahm Emanuel] I wanted to give this poor team the benefit of the doubt, thinking ‘hey, they know what they are doing’ but then this image in my mind of the Keystone Cops kept creeping up. I don’t totally blame the president for these types of things, but can you imagine the outrage that would have been expressed if Bush and his team allowed such a stunt to happen? SNL just spoofed the president on his Asian tour, they did a skit that had Biden sitting in the Oval office and musing [or gaffing!] about stuff, they spoofed how Obama would sign any stack of papers that simply had the words ‘health care’ written on top. And most observers believe that China ‘managed’ the president in a way that no other foreign leader would have allowed, they managed to get their points across while making the president look weak. All in all it’s been a rough few weeks. Jesus said the kingdom was like a big wedding feast where all these people were invited, but someone snuck in without an invitation [the proper wedding garment] and they were confronted and tossed out! In our pluralistic society we don’t want to allow for the fact that some ‘get tossed out’ or that there is a requirement to gain entry, his name is Jesus. Hey, don’t get caught at the party without the proper credentials, it could get you [and Biden] in trouble.

(1298) THEY ARE GREEDY DOGS WHICH CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH AND THEY ARE SHEPHERDS THAT CANNOT UNDERSTAND: THEY ALL LOOK TO THEIR OWN WAY, EVERY ONE FOR HIS GAIN… THEY SAY TOMORROW SHALL BE MUCH MORE ABUNDANT- Isaiah 56:11-12 In the mid 18th century we had what is commonly called ‘the industrial revolution’. In Europe there arose a new class of people that never existed before, these were the capitalists that were making lots of wealth and the laborer was drawn from an agrarian type lifestyle [country/hamlet living] into the strong industrial cities like London. These poor workers were thrust into a system of profit that consumed their days and surrounded them with a new atmosphere of industry/factory. The invention of the steam engine by James Watt was one of the catalysts of this new era. Men like William Booth [founder of the Salvation Army] would see the hopelessness of these Londoners and start a ministry to help them. Even in our day the effects of the industrial revolution still impact us, as a boy growing up I listened to Black Sabbath, Ozzy came from an area like this. Contrast his songs with Kiss and you can see the difference! There was an observer of this scene who would write a document and launch a revolution as a result of what he saw as the encroachment of capitalism on the common person- His name was Karl Marx, his document was called ‘the communist manifesto’. Many people resent the western mindset because of its seeming inability to never be satisfied with finally having enough, we are a consumerist nation. I caught a quick few minutes of religious channel surfing the other day and of course I heard the normal preaching on ‘this year is the year of more abundance than any other year’. Have we ever asked ourselves when we will have enough? Seriously Isaiah is pronouncing a judgment on ‘greedy dogs- those who are never satisfied’ one of the condemnations in Revelation is to believers who say ‘I am rich and increased with goods’ yet they were spiritually poor. Jesus challenged his followers on many occasions to forsake all to follow him. Now I am not advocating irresponsibility, but I am challenging our western mindset and our inability to say ‘that’s enough’. We preach a message that never seems to leave this option open; we create an insatiable desire within the church to live each day with an obsession to gain more. The bible condemns this attitude over and over again, yet we as westerners never seem to get it, if we ever want to truly have peaceful relationships with the rest of the world, then we will have to change our mindset in these areas. Many Muslim countries see our materialist arrogance and use this as an excuse to reject ‘the Jesus of the west’ [though he was technically from the east!] We as the people of God need to return to our own ‘manifesto’ [the gospels] and live them out in reality, if not there will always be a Marx waiting in the wings with his own.

(1296) 2ND KINGS 25- The ultimate fall of the city takes place around 587-86 BC, the king of Babylon sets up a governor [Gedaliah] and this is how one nation would rule over another and bring her into submission. The governor tells the leaders who came back to settle in the land to not be afraid of serving under the new empire [Babylon]. But they will kill the governor and this act brings on the final destruction of the city of Jerusalem. Okay let’s do a few things, the other night I caught the Rachel Maddow show, they did a story on how some Christian company is selling ‘anti Obama’ stuff. Teddy Bears with words that say ‘pray for Obama’ and then the verse given is from Psalms ‘let another take his office’. This is a famous verse that the apostle Peter quotes in Acts when discussing the replacement for Judas. The show pointed out that the following verse says ‘let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow’. As I close our study in Kings I want to stress that all the teaching and ‘tongue and cheek’ stuff I do, that we need to clearly point out that talk about ‘assassination’ and one king killing another, we need to reject any real time scenarios that use this language when speaking of the president. I realize that the company that is using the verse obviously does not want to suggest the killing or death of the president. But there are unstable people in the world, both from Muslim and Christian extremes, as believers we need to discern between honest ideological differences and a flat out conspiracy type mindset. Now, has the president opened himself up to guys like Glenn Beck? Yes, when you have people working for you that say they respect General Mao, then yes the right wingers will play into this mindset and present you as some type of Manchurian candidate that has secretly risen to power to undermine the govt. These right wing ideas are obviously loony, yet there are a percentage of people that believe in them. The governor told the men ‘don’t fear serving under the new administration’ Judah was in trouble, they lost their freedom and the nation was in a bind, but to disagree with your president on real issues is different than instilling real fear in people, telling them that the president is a dangerous man. I disagree with the president on some political issues, I wrote an entry a while ago that said how the cash for clunkers program and the free 8 thousand dollars given to first time home buyers, how these things don’t really help the economy, they give an inflated view of the economy. Then yesterday I read how the economic numbers for October were worse than expected. Both home prices [actually new home starts] and used and new car prices actually went up and the sale of these items went down. Why? They blamed it on the free money programs and the fact that destroying all the used vehicles under the clunker program reduced the inventory of used vehicles and the prices went up. The new car prices rose because so many people took advantage of the programs that this created a shortage. The point is I have real disagreements with the president on some things, but don’t take these real differences and stoke the fires of conspiracy, people should not ‘be afraid’ to serve under the ‘new king’.

(1295) FOR AS THE HEAVENS ARE HIGHER THAN THE EARTH, SO ARE MY THOUGHTS HIGHER THAN YOUR THOUGHTS; AND MY WAYS HIGHER THAN YOURS Isaiah 55:9 the other night I caught an interview of Frances Schaffer on the Rachel Maddow show. Frances is the son of the famous Frances Schaffer senior, the prolific author/speaker of the 20th century who dealt with Christian worldviews. He wrote Christian Manifesto and How shall we then live, among other titles. Frankie and his dad were key leaders in the rise of the religious right and the moral agenda type groups. Frankie eventually converted to Eastern Orthodoxy and is now a vehement opponent of the religious right. First I want to commend him on his conviction of not being willing to abandon Christianity all together; some children of famous Christian leaders have taken that route, but Frankie [he calls himself Frances now, but for this entry I’m using the old title] has chosen a great Christian tradition to place himself in and for this he should be commended. But he is so vehement against the religious right that he equates it with the Muslim extremists. Now I believe that there are dangerous ideas that the religious right holds to, and that there are extreme elements that shoot abortion doctors and stuff like that. But to lump all the religious right with the radical Muslims is going too far in my view. Just like it would be wrong to lump all Muslims with the few who commit acts of terror. There have been Muslim Americans who have died on the battlefield defending the American side, we should not forget this. But Frankie just tore into all the religious right in a way that does more harm than good in my view. One of the reasons his father was so popular was because he dealt with Christian worldview issues, he was filling a void in the Evangelical world. After the Fundamentalist movement of the 20th century many Protestant believers were lacking a stable diet of ‘higher learning’ [to be nice about it]. There was this religious angst against many types of higher learning. The history of Protestantism in America shows a period where many of the great Protestant theologians [Edwards, etc.] accepted the idea that the mind and faith went hand in hand, but Protestantism for the most part would walk away from this heritage and begin seeing higher forms of learning as bad. The one bright light in the migration from Europe to the Americas was the teaching of the Dutch Reformed theologian Abraham Kyper; he wrote extensively on the Christian worldview and gave Protestants a good foundation to build upon. Well anyway Frances Schaffer also labored in this field. Isaiah said Gods ways are on a higher plane than ours, we often think and function for years at a certain level, and then God comes in and causes us to rethink the whole platform. It’s not so much more information at the current level, but it’s an overall paradigm shift from a previous way of seeing things to a whole new view of things. The philosopher William James describes it like this- He has a study much like my own, with maps and globes and books all over the place. He says when his dog comes into his study the dog sees everything that James sees, but the dog has no ability to understand what these things mean. Even though he ‘sees’ the stuff, he really doesn’t ‘see it’. Sometimes God opens our eyes to the things we have been staring at for years, when this happens we then see more fully what it means when Isaiah says ‘Gods ways/thoughts are higher than hours’ it’s like seeing stuff again for the first time.

(1293) 2ND KINGS 24- Babylon finally takes Judah captive, there is a specific sin mentioned in this chapter that said ‘God would not pardon’. It was the sin of King Manasseh and his introduction of the pagan rite of sacrificing babies at pagan altars. As I mentioned before, all sins can be forgiven by God, but there seems to be an inescapable national judgment on the sin of abortion. When nations willfully shed innocent blood on such a large scale, these nations cannot escape judgment. Around the year 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, began taking people from Judah to Babylon. It was in this early group that the prophet Daniel and his 3 companions went. Then around 597 BC Jerusalem fell. All the nobles and influential people were taken captive, only the poor remained in the land. In a strange way ‘the meek would inherit the earth’. God’s principles are inescapable, often times we think that strength and influence come from wealth and nobility- we feel if we can attain some level of outward success then we can change the world. In Jesus’ kingdom the poor in spirit, the downtrodden, those who suffer ridicule and difficulty- these are the ones that ultimately inherit the promises. This week the president in on an Asian tour, he is trying hard to present a good picture to Japan and China; they are having doubts about lending us any more money. The political line that is given to the American citizen doesn’t cut it with these countries. They know full well that the money our nation is spending is way over the limit of being considered a low risk borrower. They basically don’t swallow the line that a country can initiate all these new programs and have them deficit neutral. So they are checking us out very closely, and if they don’t buy our debt like in the past, we really don’t have many choices. We can just print money, but that would make the problem worse. Israel’s final collapse was due to her national sin of shedding innocent blood, and her pride and arrogance. The ones who suffered the most were the well to do, the poor actually got blessed! They would inherit more under the judgment of God than they did when the nation was running well. I believe there is hope for our country, but I fear that the average American really does not see some of the major hurdles that we are facing, both on an economic and global scale. If we ignore the voice of those who are defending the rights of the unborn, we will suffer. If we continue to worship at the altar of wealth and success, God will ‘remove the wealthy’ from the land and exalt the humble [remove= slashing that 401 K!]. Right now some of the wealthy think all will go well- after all the Dow Jones just went up to 10,400! This indicator is not always what it seems. Sometimes stocks go up because they believe the fed will keep interest rates low, the reason the fed keeps them low is because all is not well yet. So sometimes these signs are not what people think. All in all there are some bright spots, I’m not saying all the signs are bad, but many are. God allowed his people to be judged by his Divine decree. Even in captivity there were still some noble stories to tell [Daniel and his friends]. But Psalms says as a nation the people hung up their harps, how could they sing the songs of Zion in a strange land?

(1289) 2ND KINGS 23:1-28 Josiah institutes the reforms that he learned when ‘re-reading’ the lost law of God. He tore down all remaining vestiges of the idolatrous high places. He reinstituted the Passover celebration and he dug up the bones of the false prophets and burned them on their own altars [ouch!]. A few things; in the New Covenant the Passover represents the new community life that we all share in Christ. In Corinthians Paul says ‘Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us’ and when he teaches the Lord’s supper he does it in a communal way, it’s not just a liturgical Mass type of a thing [or a Protestant time for grape juice servings!] but the Lords meal was more of a buffet type atmosphere and the idea was based on a community model. So I think one of the lessons we learn from the reforms of Josiah is God wants to restore ‘the communal Passover- meal’ or that God is challenging many current concepts of church and as we ‘re-read’ our New Testaments we are seeing the church [ecclesia] again ‘for the first time’. Number 2- it sure seemed a little drastic to have dug up the bones of the false priests and to have burned them on their altars! As we went thru this Kings study we covered the fact that Israel permitted certain wrong things to exist for various reasons. Many people eventually associated their worship of God with these idolatrous practices. These were good people who received these wrong ideas from previous ‘leaders’. Josiah fulfilled a prophecy given 300 years earlier that someday the bones of the false priests would be burned on their altars. To me this represents the need for believers in our day to be willing to look at some of the erroneous doctrines of past movements [remember, idolatry in the new Testament is covetousness, people who love and seek wealth!] and to realize that many of these un balanced teachings came from wrong things that were taught and accepted in the past. Things taught by good people, people who meant well, but wrong never the less. The ‘digging up of the bones’ represents the process of going back and doing a little history on some of these things and finally once and for all setting the record straight. All in all Josiah instituted more reform than any other king before him, he was the only king to restore the Passover, he had the courage to see things for the first time and to act in a righteous way before God. His reforms were great, but they came too late in Judah’s history to prevent final judgment, as a nation they dug themselves too deep of a hole and they were going to suffer for it whether they liked it or not. God is merciful, his mercies are new every morning, but when nations go down long paths of disrespecting human life; of mocking God and Christian principles [not right wing stuff!] then we can’t keep thinking that all will go well, that the recession will turn out just fine. No, there are many things not ‘just fine’, as an economy it is foolish to think that we can have 10.2 % unemployment and still have a jobless recovery. When the jobless rate is that high, and going up, then who are all the people that will be buying and spending and working and doing all the things that are part of a recovery? We are kidding ourselves when we think like this. Josiah did some good stuff, but the people needed to change course a long time ago, it was too late to avoid some national consequences.

(1287) 2nd KINGS 21:18-26 Amon takes the throne and has a short 2 year rule, he does wicked stuff. Verses 23, 24 say that the kings own servants conspired against him and ‘killed the king in his own house’ and that the people rose up and executed those who killed the king. This week/month the big political story is the health care debate, though there have been other major world events; the political story is health care. The ‘kings own party’ are divided over a few major points; abortion funding is one of them. Basically the Democrats seem to be doing themselves in and ‘killing’ the political hopes of their own ‘king’. Now, the recent elections in N.J. and Va. were a tell tale sign of things to come, both states went Republican with their governorships. The independents voted 2 to 1 for the Republicans, not good at all for the Democrats. The current health plan, after hearing the pros and cons, looks like it probably should be scrapped and start over again with real reforms that both sides agree on. The goal is noble, it’s just this plan seems to be a bad deal. Why? There are lots of reasons, let me just hit one or two. This plan will mandate by law that all people must buy insurance; this group will include many young single college kids who honestly can’t afford insurance. The plan includes language about doing PRISON TIME [up to 5 years] if you don’t buy the insurance and don’t pay the fine to the IRS if you don’t purchase insurance. It is probable that some Americans will do prison time as a result of this bill. Many Americans do go to prison every single year due to IRS violations, this is no joke. The president stated during the campaign that his plan would not do this; he contrasted his plan with Hillary’s plan and emphatically said he would not have any punishment for those who did not participate. He also criticized McCain’s plan because he said he might tax current health plans to fund it. Both of these options are now on the table under the current plan and it seems as if the media are treating the president like a ‘child king’. They do not hold him responsible for any of his actions. If you said you would not do these things and are now trying to do these things then you should be held responsible. The current plan will not control costs, they estimate that the public option would only be used by around 2 % of the uninsured and that the govt. option would cost more than private coverage. It is wrong to thrust 30-40 million people into a federally mandated plan, to threaten these people with possible prison time, and at the same time not lower the cost of insurance. After the kings ‘own house’ did him in, the people then rose up and kicked the whole house out of office, I think the country might be looking to do some house cleaning in around a year from now.

(1283) TRAGEDY AT FORT HOOD- A few days ago as I was praying the regular routine of praying over areas of Texas I sensed a really strong leading from God to extend my prayer region to include highway 35 from San Antonio up thru the Dallas Fort Worth area. For years I have prayed over the area of 35 that extends from San Antonio to Austin, but I always stop at Austin. But the leading of the Lord to ‘pray further north’ was so strong, that I added some changes to my prayer maps in my office and even ‘staked out’ a new spot in my yard while praying in the early mornings. Yesterday we had the worst mass killing in US history that took place on a military base, it was FORT HOOD. Fort Hood is located directly off of highway 35 between San Antonio and Dallas, just a little past Austin. The tragedy is the reality that both Muslim Americans and military people will be hurt thru this event. That there are certain elements in radical Islam [not all Muslims!] that see the present situation thru ethnic/religious eyes. It’s also tragic that there are Fundamentalist Christians that see it the same way. I do not see this Army Major as an evil man who set out in life to hurt Americans, he is an American himself. Born and raised in the U.S. But the various ideologies of the wars and the disagreements between Islam and Christianity play a role in the way people’s ideas are formed, then these ideas can lead to violence on either side. The other day I received another email from some Pastors in Pakistan, they read the site and appreciate our teachings. If you look under the sections ‘Trinity, Christian, Muslim stuff’ and ‘Gentile, Jewish, Christian’ you will read many entries that stand against the popular American preachers ideas about Muslims and Christians. In a way I defend Muslims/Arabs to a degree. I also totally reject all acts of violence on either side, I do not support our current war in Afghanistan and want our troops out. I guess it’s because of this progressive/liberal stance that I have both Arab Christians and Muslims who read our site, great! I simply want to exhort all Muslims, Christians and other faiths; no matter how sincere we are in our beliefs, no matter how much we think certain views are right and others are wrong, we need to outright reject violence as a means of winning our points. We need to have the freedom of our beliefs and there expressions, the freedom to say ‘I believe Jesus is the way’ while at the same time respecting other cultures and religious beliefs. This entire incident is so tragic, it will drive a wedge between Muslim Americans and right wing radicals. It will play into the stereotypes that the radical Muslim fundamentalists want for recruiting purposes. It will justify the un Christian mentality of ‘let’s just blow them away’ that has been expressed by the religious right. A tragedy indeed. To all my Muslim readers, please reject these extreme views, they do no good for honest and peace loving Muslims. To all my Christian readers, do not view these events thru a ‘Christian lens’ that sees these events as justification for the killing of Muslims in other countries. We all need to pray for our country at this time and we need leaders from all religions to take public stands against this type of violence. May God help us all.

(1282) 2ND KINGS 21:1-17 Manasseh rules and rebels against the reforms that his father Hezekiah instituted; he rebuilds the pagan altars and even brings pagan altars into the temple and court. He sheds innocent blood by sacrificing his children to Moloch and ‘making them pass thru the fire’. Moloch was an idol statue that the pagans heated up until the arms were bright red; they then laid the babies in the arms. God pronounces judgment on Judah and they will eventually go into Babylonian captivity. Manasseh was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Manasseh’s father was a great king, yet the turn around from one ruler to another was astounding, many years of reforms and respect for human life were undone under this wicked king. Often time’s society embraces ideas that seem open and liberal, yet when they disrespect human life these ideas lead to captivity. I know our country faces many real problems right now in our history. The average citizen who watches the news hears about them to a degree, but the behind the scenes dangers are much greater than we see. Other countries are seriously looking at our economic problems and making moves to shield themselves from a future collapse of our economy. Many banks are still failing and the economic numbers that seemed good in the last quarter are really inflated math; in essence the cash for clunkers program and the free money given to first time home buyers [that was just extended today- as well as another extension for unemployment] these well meaning programs give a false sense of economic improvement. If I told you I was going to help your son get on his feet, and after 6 months of ‘my help’ you visited him and he seemed to be doing well, he had a car and place to live, food and a check. Wow, I kept my word. Then you found out that I gave him the car and house and was simply giving him free money every month, then in essence I falsely stimulated ‘his economy’, to a great degree this is what we are doing. Whenever you pump billions of dollars into the system, sure it will have some effect, but unless you give little Johnny the real tools for success, a pro small business environment, means to get real funding to become successful, unless you do the real stuff that makes a difference you are not truly going to change things. Manasseh was a progressive type person, he was open to all sorts of religious beliefs, tried implementing them in with the worship of the true God, he disrespected that old silly belief that you shouldn’t sacrifice babies on an altar of convenience, and he made some real changes from the previous king. His actions had some very serious consequences, the nation suffered for it.

(1278) 2ND KINGS 19- The king [Hezekiah] sends a messenger to Isaiah the prophet and goes into the house of God to seek the Lord. Isaiah informs Hezekiah that God will defend Judah. Isaiah also gives a rebuke to the king of Assyria. God used this pagan king to judge many nations, in essence he was fulfilling a type of ‘manifest destiny’ [American exceptionalism] and yet he grew proud over his victories. To be honest about it I see some of this going on in our nation at this time. While I do not subscribe to the ultra conservative critics of the president, these past few weeks have convinced me that he has lied to the American public on a huge scale over his willful misrepresentation of the abortion issue [read my recent posts under the abortion section]. I feel there was a disdain towards the Christian community and that the Chicago style politics simply ruled the day ‘hey, if we lie about this, what’s the big deal? We are fighting fire with fire- they lie about us [Fox news, the presidents critics, etc.] so this is simply part of the game’. I feel the president bought into this and at the same time underestimated the role that lying about abortion so it could be federally funded will play in any economic recovery. In essence our country will not recover if we disregard the heritage of Christian morality in this way. So God rebukes the Assyrian king for thinking he could do whatever he wanted and the Lord sends an angel and kills 185 thousand Assyrian troops. The Assyrian king goes home and dies while worshipping at his pagan gods altar. Okay, his arrogance led to a massive troop defeat as well as his own personal demise. One of the other major problems that out country is facing is the military situation in Afghanistan, those of you who have read my site for any length of time know that I do not support this war, I want our troops out. I find it unbelievable that this week the media exposed the fact that our CIA was paying off the brother of Hamid Karzia [the president] who is a drug lord. Some of our troops have died fighting the drug lords, yet our own govt. has them on the payroll. How did the media cover this? If we found this out under Bush/Cheney what would the outrage be? One of CNN’s most able commentators on the Afghanistan war [Michael Ware] said he would be shocked to find out that we weren’t doing this, sort of like it was the right thing to do. Unbelievable. The now famous tour of America by Alexis De Tocqueville in the 19th century has been cited by many historians. He praised our country for many things, but he also warned of ‘the tyranny of the majority’ that is he said that any society that measured right or wrong solely on what the majority wants is doomed to fail. Hezekiah sought the Lord and this made the difference, the nations that ‘forgot God’ and at the same time prided themselves in their military arrogance were judged [I honor our men and women who serve, but for our govt. to be paying those who have killed our men is a travesty!] I think the Old Testament is still relevant today.

(1276) 2ND KINGS 18- Hezekiah rules in Judah and is the first king to tear down the high places of idolatry that Jeroboam instituted and he destroyed the calf’s and rid the nation of other idols [the bronze snake image that Moses had made was being used as an idol]. When I first read this chapter I of course wanted to credit this king as being one of the best, after all the chapter tells us this. But don’t underestimate the importance of surrounding events that aided in Hezekiah’s purging the nation of its idols. The northern tribes are in captivity, this gave the king of Judah room to function. It’s probable that most of the kings of Judah would have preferred ridding the nation of these calves, because their existence was for the purpose of preventing the children of Israel from reuniting with Judah, but Hezekiah had the opportunity to finally do it. Also the king of Assyria will come up against Hezekiah and threaten him ‘what makes you think that your God can do any better than all the other gods of the nations that our king has defeated’. These messengers are treading on dangerous ground, they are having a public discourse right outside the wall of Jerusalem, they are speaking the language that all the people know [probably Aramaic] and the leaders of Jerusalem say ‘don’t talk to us in the common language, after all we don’t want all the citizens to know our problems’ and the Assyrian messengers say ‘no, we want the people to hear- so they can know that they will be [quote] drinking their own piss and eating their own dung’. These brothers must have been the political ancestors of Alan Grayson! [the Democratic congressman from Fla. who calls women whores and stuff like that]. So anyway the Assyrians leave the threat and Hezekiah and his men do some soul searching. We’ll read the results tomorrow. Okay, there was a conscious effort on the part of leadership to ‘hide the discussion from the public’ Hezekiah did not want to post these things on the internet for 72 hours- or put it on C-span like the president initially said he would do. Also, don’t underestimate the role that our moral decisions have to do with whether or not things turn out good. Hezekiah will get some help from God because he really did seek to do the right moral thing in ridding the nation of idols. Right now [like today] there are many efforts going on in the congress to include abortion in the current health care funding. This would be a major national change in policy for our country. In the past the president is on record as saying he wants abortion covered in national health care [he said this in 2007]. So there is a debate going on in the Democratic party over this, there are around 40 Democrat congressmen who are opposing this bill over this issue. I applaud these men. I still believe that our nation can overcome some major problems that are facing us, but we can’t overcome them if we disregard Gods word. I am not advocating a theocracy, but to extend the coverage of abortion to a degree that has never happened before would be a big mistake. I realize the president has misled us on this, the facts are out there. I think he did it out of fear of not getting something passed, which would be a major political defeat for his agenda. But to purposefully mislead people, no matter how well intentioned you feel the end result is, this is still unjust. The king of Judah has a dilemma, he will find some help in seeking God, I think this strategy can work for all of us.

(1275) IS THE PRESIDENT KNOWINGLY LYING TO US? As of today- 10-28-09, the current health care plan still does not have language in it that would forbid your tax money from paying for abortions. There are various views on this issue, some liberal politicians feel you don’t need to have special language put into the bill, they feel the current law on the books banning federal funding for abortions would cover this [the Hyde amendment]. Others insist that the Hyde amendment would not cover the new law that would fund changes in health care, these pro life politicians [led by Bart Stupak, a Democrat] are calling for specific language in the bill that would prevent tax money paying for abortions. Now, I just read a very disturbing article where this Democratic house member- Bart Stupak, was told by the President himself that when he said ‘under my plan no federal money will pay for abortions’ that he was not referring to the actual plan that congress is voting on, that the words ‘under my plan’ referred to a theoretical plan that Obama had ‘in his own mind’. Stupak was grilled on this by the news reporter who interviewed him; Stupak said he actually called the President to make sure he was not misunderstanding him. Stupak told the president that he himself [the president] did not have a plan, that the only real plan was what congress was working on. In essence Stupak said to the president that he was misleading the public by saying ‘my plan will not cover abortions’. Obama knew good and well that ‘his plan’ was not the plan that the congress was working on, or that they would ever work on. The president was referring to ‘a plan in his mind’ that he could use to defend his language. If this story is accurate, I have no other option than to believe that the president has purposefully lied and misled the public on an issue that is crucial to many Americans. If this type of semantic talk is being used by the president, while calling those who were disagreeing with him as ‘misleading you’ he simply can’t be trusted. He seems to be allowing the pressure of the job to get to him to such a degree that he feels doing these types of things are justifiable, after all it’s for ‘our own good’. Lets continue to pray for the president, if he lied to us [which it sure looks like he did] it wouldn’t be the first lie a president told, but the manner in which it was done- telling the nation ‘under my plan abortions won’t be covered- and those who are telling you different are misleading you’ and then to tell Stupak that he was referring to a ‘plan in his own mind’ this is really bad, it accuses those who were actually telling the truth as being liars, many Democrats who have been honest and open about the issue have been tagged liars by the president himself. This is not good.

(1273) 2ND KINGS 17 in some ways this is a transitional chapter; up until now foreign countries attacked and suppressed Israel, but in this chapter we see the first real captivity of the people as a whole. Hoshea the king over the northern tribes [Israel] rebels against the king of Assyria who had them under tribute. So the king of Assyria puts Hoshea in jail and besieges Israel for 3 years, they take the city [Samaria] and they remove the majority of the people out of the land. He also places foreigners in the land to repopulate it. These foreign nations eventually mix in with the remnant that remained and these descendants are what we read about in John’s gospel, they were considered ‘half breed’ Samaritans. Now after the new inhabitants settle in the ‘Lord sent lions among them’. The people see this as judgment from God and request the Assyrian king to send them a priest so they could learn the ways of the God of the land and not die. This priest arrives and to some degree teaches these pagans the true worship of God, they of course kept their pagan beliefs as well, but it is interesting to see how the Lord even used a judgment scenario to redeem people. Okay, last night I was reading some of the history of the 18th-19th centuries and how after the French Revolution and the era of Napoleon many Europeans began to fear the idea of total and free Democracy, there was a sort of romantic musing upon the good old days of the Monarch. Many Frenchmen longed for the stability of the old Catholic church, these were called ‘Ultramontanists’ which meant ‘beyond the mountains- Alps’ and stood for their desire to re attach with the old Roman church in a way that allowed the church to reassert a global oversight over France as it used to have before the Revolution and Reformation. Part of the fear had to do with the nation states being their own sovereign, that whatever the nations wanted to now do they could do without any outside oversight; in essence part of the role of the Roman church was to provide a type of ‘united nations’ oversight over the individual states. Ultimately Democracy would eventually prevail and the new world of the Americas would be the first nation to adopt Democratic principles right from the start. When reading the history of the world, often time’s revisionists put their own spin on stuff. For instance we often read the history of Darwin in the latter half of the 19th century and see him as some enlightened figure who stood up against the bigotry of the church. But a generation or 2 before Darwin you had many ‘enlightened’ Evangelicals who fought for human rights and the dignity of man. William Wilberforce and the ‘Clapham community’ were men who used their political and social status as a means of freeing the Black man from the horrendous slave trade in Britain. Clapham was a small town around 3 miles outside of London; the town was sort of an elite place for the higher ups of society. Sort of like the Hamptons. Yet it was from this area in the late 18th century that many of the modern programs of the Evangelical movement were launched. The wealth and influence of these men launched the first bible societies, they started mission organizations for the poor; and even tried to instill a schema of social justice in their business dealings [the head of the East India trading company was part of the group]. These men wrought good social change and fought for the rights of the Black man, for him to be treated as a human and not some type of lower class chattel property. Darwin’s ideas would put into print the racist ideas of those who opposed the outlawing of slavery as a legitimate trade. Those who resisted freeing the slaves [both in Britain and the colonies] believed that the Black man was an inferior race to the White man. Darwin taught these beliefs openly in his books; he believed the Black race was proof of Evolutionary theory, that the Blacks proved to us that there were intellectually inferior races of men that did not advance along the more educated road of White men. The point being that a full 70 years before Darwin you had very influential Christian men who fought for the rights and freedom of Black men, and yet history normally portrays Darwin as the person who fought the bigotry of the church in his noble journey for truth. Okay, God allowed his people to be taken captive, they rebelled against him and they lost their freedom as a people, yet they still had a history of great and noble deeds, they accepted proselytes into their nation and treated the poor in their land with respect. It would be wrong to view the entire history of Gods people [both now and then] from the lens of the sins and wrongs that occurred, yes the church has made her mistakes and it sounds noble to say ‘lets cast off all the restraints of religion’ but in the end you might wind up looking past the Alps for some help.

(1271) 2ND KINGS 16- Ahaz the king of Judah is attacked by Israel and Syria; he takes the treasures from the temple and buys the help of the Assyrian king. The king in return attacks Syria’s capitol city of Damascus and Ahaz is off the hook. Now Ahaz goes to check out Damascus and the job that he paid to have done; as he is there he sees the pagan altar of the Syrians and likes it so much that he sends the design back to his ‘arch bishop’ [priest] and tells him to make one for them. He also takes the brass/bronze altar from Gods tabernacle and mixes it in with this pagan contraption. Okay, first we see that once you open the financial door it’s hard to shut it. What made the king think about buying the services of Assyria with the temple goods? Well they did this before and once it became a viable option it was easy to just go back to the same source. That’s why we need to be careful as a country as we establish ‘new sources’ of income for various projects; these sources tend to get raided when needed [S.S. trust fund!]. Also Ahaz desecrated the holy things by his willingness to mix pagan worship along with God’s true worship. He basically liked the artistic value of the pagan altar at Damascus and wanted one. Last night I watched the documentary of the Monte Python guys. Back in the 70’s they were popular where I grew up in Jersey and they hit the TV about the same time as SNL. I never really saw how ‘anti Christian’ these guys were. I know they spoofed the Holy Grail stuff and all, but as they were talking on the documentary you could tell that they were truly ‘enlightenment’ babies. British mockers of the faith. Now, right after the documentary they showed their film ‘Life of Brian’ which I never really saw before [just parts] and it was a total mockery of the faith. The actor who spoofed Christ died not long after, he got cancer and died young, in his 40’s [I’m not saying God killed him!]. They showed his funeral during the documentary and it was sad, in keeping with their style the comics cursed at the Eulogy, dropped the ‘f’ bomb and said ‘we now know that Graham is gone, he no longer exists, all we have is memories’. They did the best they could, but as you saw the kids in the audience and the faces of friends and family, this end of dissolving into nothingness seemed so hopeless. The kids were taught you live, do what you want in life without purpose or meaning, and then evaporate into the cosmos! No real hope at all. I appreciate art, I don’t really get too offended when Christians are spoofed and all, I think our skin is too thin at times. But the constant mocking of Christ and the faith at the ‘altar of art’ seems to parallel Ahaz and his willingness to allow the beauty of the pagan altar to become part of his worship. Much of the so called ‘religious art’ is simply a mockery of the faith. Crosses in urine, the Virgin Mary depicted with porno- stuff that simply is not art. I read an article a few years back, the picture showed a 70 year old Black janitor standing next to a bunch of trash; it was dog poop, an old coke can and a bunch of trash just sitting in some building, it was actually one of the art displays. The poor janitor saw it while he was cleaning the museum at night and like any good worker, he threw the ‘dung’ out. Oh was he excoriated for this senseless act of disrespect and his inability to appreciate true art! In the article he said ‘it just looked like trash to me’ amen brother.

(1269) 2ND KINGS 15- This chapter has lots of various kings, instead of covering them all let me just hit a few verses. One of the kings is being challenged by Assyria, so he ‘exacts money from the wealthy’ to pay the guy off. Another verse speaks of a king with a long 52 year rule who also had leprosy. Let’s start with the ‘taxing the wealthy’ brother. Right now [10-09] the congress is about to vote on health care reform [actually today is 10-22, they vote today] and to be sure there are challenges on both sides. I was talking to a north eastern ultra liberal the other day; this person defended the president and accused all those who were against him as being racists. I explained to the person that there were many White independent voters who sincerely voted for the president, many of whom do oppose him on actual policy disagreements; these voters who have been publicly accused of being racists will never vote Democrat again. The statements of President Carter, though taken out of context somewhat, were the worst thing that could happen to a political party. A few months ago Chris Matthews [MSNBC] interviewed a woman columnist who wrote a piece for the Times that was called ‘the southern strategy’ she explained how the real reason for McCain putting Palin on the ticket was to contrast the ‘sexual aggression of the Black man against the southern white woman’. Now, it was obvious to me that McCain chose Palin as a counterbalance to the historic nature of the Obama candidacy, they waited until Obama picked his running mate and when they saw he didn’t pick Clinton, McCain figured let’s put a conservative woman on our ticket who could help with the base [which McCain had trouble with] and also could appeal to a historic candidacy [the first woman V.P.]. So any way it was obvious that this was more than likely the reason. But for a national show to accuse the entire McCain candidacy as being racist in this way simply alienates many sincere White voters who will simply reject the entire Democratic ticket the next time around. Okay, if we pass health care and mandate every American to purchase it, it is wrong not to have the so called ‘public option’ [Medicare for everybody]. Why? Because you are thrusting the populace into buying from private industry, without any checks and balances on that industry. I know states do this with car liability, but nevertheless to do this on a federal level without offering some type of govt. plan would be a mistake. How to pay for it? Some say ‘exact money from the millionaires’ others want to tax the high end insurance policies that are out there [the Cadillac plans]. However this is done we need to avoid strapping the middle income worker with too high a price. Some estimates, from Democrats, say that an average 4 family household who brings in 60 k a year would have to pony up an extra 700 a month under the plan. That if this family presently cannot pay for the coverage, they would be fined. This takes into consideration the govt. offset. The average insurance plan costs around 13 thousand a year, the govt. would pay for around 7 thousand in the above example and this family would be mandated to pay the rest. So some of these plans are not good. My view is, let’s do the thing and have the public option with it. If you can’t have the public option than this would simply be a regressive tax on middle income families. When the president was asked this question by George Stephanopoulos he denied this being a tax, but George told him if you mandate a fine on these people and then require them to pay by law, then it is a tax. The whole point today is we need to realize that simply ‘taxing the rich’ does not solve the problem. We should make sure that companies and rich folk pay their fair share, but they are not some type of secret answer to all the problems. This week a boy asked the president ‘why do people hate you’? and Conan Obrien said the boy then looked at Biden and said ‘I know why people hate you’. Ouch! There is plenty of room in this debate to hear both sides, not demonize the opposing side, and try and work out a compromise that everyone can live with. We certainly don’t need to hate either side.

(1268) 2nd KINGS 14:21-28 Jeroboam [the 2nd] had a fairly long reign, he captured lost territories and extended Israel’s borders. Jonah the prophet lived and prophesied during his realm [Jonah the son of Amittai] and yet the scriptures say he was an evil king. Sometimes God allows people to come to rule during prophetic seasons, prophetic in the sense that the times themselves are significant. The church might be called to speak in a special way to society, you might have the rise of prophetic men [Martin Luther King jr.] and because of the significance of the time, even an ‘evil ruler’ [pro abortion, pro gay agenda, well you get the picture] can be used for good. Jeroboam accomplished much, not by his own laurels, but because he had ‘come to the kingdom for such a time as this’. The prophetic word of Jonah was going forth at this season and God was going to restore Israel’s borders whether or not the king was righteous. I was reading an article the other day, it showed how many of the Christian leaders in Africa had very high hopes for president Obama, they were seeing great significance out of the historic election of one who descended from a race who were formerly enslaved by White men. These leaders took a very different stand than the American believers, many of whom view the president as a threat to civilization! When I pray for the president, I also pray for the leaders of the world, my prayer goes like this; I pray first for those who are believers, I ask the Lord to guide them in right paths and to give them the courage to rule justly. I pray for those who are unbelievers, that the Lord would reveal the truth of the gospel to them and that they would rule justly thru ‘common grace’ that they would be like the ‘unjust judge’ in scripture who did what was right out of political expediency. And then I pray for the 3rd group, all those who are actively fighting against the people of God and are openly wicked; I pray that these would be removed from office and replaced with righteous authority, but then I add ‘until they are removed, may God be glorified even thru their rebellion as happened with Pharaoh king in Egypt’. I basically acknowledge that the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord and he can turn it any way he wants. So in Jeroboams case it would have been counterproductive to have fought against the man all thru his reign, he was chosen by God [and the people] to be there, he ruled during a prophetic season in the church [prophetic in the sense of justice] and God did use him to restore much land that was lost under ‘previous administrations’ all in all God used a king that ‘did evil’ but ruled during a crucial time in national history.

(1267) 2ND KINGS 14:1-20 Amaziah becomes king over Judah and avenges the assassination of his father. Yet he does not kill the sons of those who murdered his father, why? Because the law of God said the children should not be put to death for the sins of their fathers, Amaziah did justice, but also melded it with mercy. He then sends a message to the king of Israel to come and meet in a challenge. The king of Israel gives him a little parable that basically says ‘look, you had a victory over Edom, don’t let that go to your head, just because you won in one nation doesn’t mean you can repeat the strategy everywhere [ouch! That is ouch to our present situation in the world]. But Amaziah won’t listen and they come out to battle, sure enough Judah suffers a loss and Israel breaks down the wall of Jerusalem and takes the precious riches from the temple. Okay, sometimes wisdom says slow down and don’t start too many wars at once; in this case Amaziah did a few good things but then allowed inexperience to rule the day. He also acted justly in the execution of those who killed his father by not taking it out on the kids. We seem to have 2 extremes in the modern church; 1- we really don’t like to deal with past mistakes and errors that have caused damage to Gods people, we feel like dealing with issues in a just way is wrong. 2- When we do decide to deal with them, we usually ‘kill the kids’, that is we go too far and mount a personal campaign against those who were really not responsible for the ‘parent’s sins’. We as believers need to be careful when embracing ideologies that say ‘let’s kill those damn terrorists, along with the families and kids and every one of their offspring’ these ways of thinking are not in keeping with even the Old Testament ethics of war, never mind the actual pacifist teachings of Jesus! I was watching a conservative news program the other day [you can guess the network- it’s the same name that Jesus called Herod] and the commentator said he wanted our military to go out and kill as many of these radical Muslims as we could find. Will that strategy ever really work? You will have no end to the killing because the mindset has not changed. Now I do realize that as a country we do have the right to intercept and go after those who are planning and strategizing against us, but the point is to simply think if we try and kill all ‘the offspring’ of those who harmed us will work, we are fooling ourselves. Amaziah dealt with the parents and stopped short when it came to the next generation. He also overstepped his resources by assuming a victory over one nation [Edom-Iraq] could easily be repeated in another [Israel-Afghanistan] as believers we need to have more of a plan than just ‘lets kill them all’ we need both progressive [liberal] and conservative voices to be heard, don’t just swallow the party line [on either side!].

(1266) 2ND KINGS 13- Israel is under oppression from Syria, they cry out to God and he delivers them. But they have a diminished army when all is said and done. In the New Testament Jesus said wise kings take inventory of their forces; when one army comes up against another, wise kings look at the match up and if they think they can’t win they make arrangements for some type of peace. Strength isn’t always about how much force you have or can display, sometimes it’s realizing your limits and having the wisdom of not letting a bunch of your soldiers die for a lost cause. In this chapter we also see the death of Elisha, it’s been over 40 years since his last true public appearance, here at the end of his life the king comes and feels overwhelmed. Elisha was a true stabilizing force for the nation; the king knew he had an experienced prophet who could lend support when the time called for it. But now he realizes he will have to go it on his own, sure he had other prophets around; but they were young guys, still dealing with inexperience and stuff. It’s not that they were of no value, but you could tell that they were going to go thru some learning curves in the years ahead and Elisha had already been thru all that. So Elisha encourages the king and says ‘take your bow and shoot thru the east window’ so he does this prophetic act and Elisha tells him he will overcome the enemy from the east [Syria]. Then he tells him to stomp the ground with the arrows, so he does it 3 times. Elisha says he should have done it 5 or 6 times! But because you were a little lackluster you will only have a partial victory over your enemy. And last but not least Elisha dies and is buried and some brothers bury one of their dead in the same grave and as soon as the body touches Elisha the guy comes back to life. Elisha was raising brothers from the dead after he died! What do we make from this? Various Christian churches put different emphasis on what the dead can do; relics, praying to those who have passed on. I want only to stress the biblical importance of the body. In scripture the body is a holy thing, God himself dwells inside the bodies of believers. The New Testament doctrine of the resurrection speaks to the importance of the body. In Greek thought the body was seen as evil, a temporary ‘prison’ that the soul/mind was captive in until death. Some of these beliefs [Greek Dualism] did affect the thinking of the church over the centuries. Many good theologians have corrected these mistakes over the years [Augustine, Reformers, Etc.] They showed us that the body itself is not evil, but that when the bible speaks about ‘the flesh having no good thing in it’ it is speaking about ‘the fleshly/carnal nature’ not the physical body. But some who embraced Greek Dualism interpreted these verses as saying the actual body is evil. In Romans Paul says to give our bodies up to God as living sacrifices, HOLY AND ACCEPTABLE to God, which is our reasonable service [worship]. So the body is actually referred to as holy in this passage. Elisha obviously had some ‘residual’ anointing going on, as soon as death touched his body there was enough of Gods Spirit present to raise a guy from the dead, how much more so for those of us who are still alive.

(1265) Almost finished Brian McLaren’s ‘everything must change’ as is my habit let me close my comments before I read the last chapter or 2. First, I really agree with Brian’s stance on challenging western capitalism; he does it in a way that simply holds true to the biblical ethos of ‘beware of covetousness, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’ [Jesus]. Yesterday I went thru around 5 news papers that built up at my doorstep this past week, if I don’t read them the day they come I try and go thru them on Saturday in one lump sum. I read some articles on the world’s poor, that every 6 seconds a child starves to death somewhere in the world; how there are a little over 1 billion people on the planet today who are malnourished. How many of the countries who can’t feed their people are paying back interest payments to the rich countries who lent them money. These kids starve because the country must pay the interest! In Isaiah God tells us often that one of the main functions of the church is to do justice; to speak out and also act in society as a plumb line. Too many times the American church has been aligned with a political ideology and has defended that view at the expense of doing what is just. As I close my comments on McLaren, I agree 100 % with him on these issues and appreciate his willingness to be branded as some ‘loony liberal’ for speaking out. I also would disagree on Brian’s seemingly ‘low church view’ when it comes to the classic doctrines of Christianity [Atonement, Original sin, etc.] There is a tendency among believers to either reject everything a person says, or accept everything he says; In Brian’s case I think we should take what is good and leave the bad alone.

(1260) 2ND KINGS 10:11-36 Jehu heads to Samaria to clean house, he already wiped out the sons of Ahab and will now deal with the false prophets that Jezebel installed. He tells the people in Samaria ‘Let’s worship Baal’ and he sends his men out to gather all the priests and prophets of Baal, he says ‘make sure you get all the Baal worshipers, this is going to be a really big sacrifice to Baal’ ouch! So they get all those who were worshiping at the altar of a false god and they pack Baal’s temple out. Jehu tells his men ‘make sure we got them all- go in and give all the Baal worshipers these special robes- and make sure no one who worships the true God is in there’. So the men carry out the task and Jehu and his men ‘sacrifice’ the whole denomination in one shot. This chapter tells us that Jehu had ‘zeal for God’ and he purged Israel from false Baal worship, but it also says that Jehu did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam who made Israel sin. Jeroboam was the first king of the northern tribes when Israel broke up under the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam. At the time Jeroboam made these 2 golden calves and placed one in the city of Dan and the other at Bethel. The purpose was strategic, Jeroboam feared that if the northern tribes went to Jerusalem every year to keep the religious feasts that eventually they would ‘long for the good old days’ and return to the leadership of the kings of Judah. Now Jehu is a noble warrior, he understood the idolatrous nature of Baal worship, why did he not deal with these 2 calves? Jehu was also a practical ‘patriot’ he wanted to maintain Israel’s identity as a separated people, he thought Jeroboams idea actually worked, so at the ‘altar of national unity’ he permitted a degree of idolatry to exist. Now we get into the tuff stuff; Jesus kingdom message calls people to a higher patriotism; he tells his followers that they are to be ‘patriots’ in a new way. Though their national alliances [the countries we live in] are to be respected and honored, yet when the rubber meets the road we owe our allegiance to ‘the Cross’. Jehu was willing to sacrifice total dedication to God for the sake of national cohesion, ouch again! Karl Marx [the 19th century socialist] once said ‘the economists are like the theologians, they believe every one else’s religion is a man made distortion, but that their own is an emanation from God’ it is obvious that religious divisions effected the way he thought, he saw the futility of manmade religion but made the mistake of rejecting God. He saw religion as a threat to true national pride and cohesion and tried to eject God from the national psyche, he failed. When believers of any nation hold the ideals of the nation higher than the ideals of Christ’s kingdom, then they have in a sense ‘left the calves of Jeroboam in place’.

(1259) 2nd KINGS 10:1-10 Jehu just wiped out 2 kings and a wicked queen, he sends a letter to Samaria and says ‘okay, here’s the deal, I just took out your kings; you have 70 sons of the king [Ahab] who are still alive. Go ahead and set one of them up as your new king and I’ll be there soon to fight’. Now Jehu has no intent on fighting, but as a strategic leader he is ‘working smarter, not harder’ [not more troops, but strategic thinking]. So the leaders who have raised up Ahab’s kids say ‘geez, the guy took out 2 kings like they were nothing, what chance do we have?’ and they send a message saying ‘we will be your servants’. Okay, so far so good. Jehu says ‘one more thing, if you mean this then take the 70 sons of your master and cut their heads off and send them to me at Jezreel’. The dirty deed is done and Jehu is told ‘the heads have arrived’. Jehu says ‘now, go and make 2 piles of heads at the city gate and let everyone in Israel see what happened’. They do it and Jehu tells the town ‘I know you guys are righteous, you decide what to do- yes I killed my master and it might have been unjust in your eyes; but your elders have taken the heads off of 70 sons of their king, so who do you think is worse’. Remember Jezebel said to Jehu ‘remember Zimri, he rose up against his master and was punished’ so this whole scenario needed to play out so Jehu would have the support of the local population [Afghanistan?]. He knew that just having the military might was not enough; he needed the support of the people. Jehu was a wise man, he could have easily taken the 70 sons out himself, without warning. But instead he let the city elders think he was giving them an option, he knew all along what needed to be done. Right now our country is on the verge of deciding about more troops going into Afghanistan, whatever your belief on this is; know for sure that if the people begin to view us in a bad way, then no matter how many troops are sent the mission will be a failure. My personal belief is I would not want my kids to die on the wasteland that is called Afghanistan, we have been there for 8 years and to try and establish some type of central govt. like we did in Iraq is much harder. The former ruling govt. was not a central ruling authority like Iraq had, the place has had a history of low rule and scattered tribal type living. In order for us to do what we did in Iraq, we basically have to create a nation out of nothing- in my view this is too much to ask at the price of our young men and women. Either way we need the wisdom of a Jehu, a real military commander who used wisdom and strategy to accomplish the mission, sure more firepower could have taken out the enemy, but to have the people themselves do it created an environment where he would be accepted after the action ceased. He was a smart brother indeed.

(1257) 2ND KINGS 9:7-37 Jehu receives the charge from Elisha and heads to Jezreel, the city where Jezebel resides. Her son Joram is the present king of Israel and Ahazia is king of Judah. By Divine appointment all three of them [Jezebel, and the 2 kings] are at the same location. As Jehu approaches the city, Joram sends a messenger to see what’s up ‘are you for peace’? What peace! Get behind me. A second messenger goes and gets the same response. Joram says ‘okay, let’s get the chariot ready and see what in the heck is going on’. He goes out to meet Jehu and it just so happens that they meet in the area where Jezebel illegally stole the land from Naboth and had him killed. Joram says ‘Jehu, is this a peaceful visit’ ‘peace, how can there be peace when your mother the witch is still throwing her weight around, and your fathers wicked deeds are still not avenged’. Jehu was on a prophetic rampage and would not stop until the house was purged. Joram sees the writing on the wall and turns to run; Jehu pulls the bow full length and drives an arrow thru his chest. Ahazia, king of Judah flees; he gets wounded and will die. Jehu is off to meet the queen, he approaches the city wall and Jezebel ‘painted her face’ and fixed her hair to meet Jehu. Why? Well we really don’t know, but Jezebel was a master manipulator, she did what she needed to do to survive. She was the power behind her husband Ahab’s wicked rule and she was doing the same thru her son. She very well might have been trying to look her best for the new king! Who knows, maybe she thought he would take her. She looks out a window on the wall and warns Jehu ‘remember Zimri, he rebelled against his king and God judged him’ she is trying to bide some time. Jehu is of noble blood, his father was a former king. He is also a trained fighter, a President Dwight Eisenhower type figure; someone who would rule as president but had a former military background. Basically Jehu doesn’t play games, he yells out ‘who in the city is on my side’? A few eunuchs look out over the wall; he says ‘throw her down to me’. He quickly accomplished his mission with virtually no civilian causalities. Jehu took out two kings and the ‘queen mother’ in one day. Jezebel’s body is quickly eaten by the dogs, a fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah, and all this took place in the area that was well known as a place where injustice took place [the field of Naboth]. Okay, yesterday the country woke up to some surprising news, our president received the Noble Peace Prize, it was a surprise to everybody, even him! He actually made a tactful acceptance speech and acknowledged that he really didn’t deserve it, but would accept it in the spirit of good will and as a symbol of his role in the future, he did the best he could do. The reason? Because the conservatives tore him up over it, the London Times even said he did not deserve it. So he really was put on the spot, some even said ‘are you for peace’- translated, he is a bloody man who is bombing people every day in Afghanistan/Iraq, how come he gets it! First, as believers we should support the president as much as possible, it’s okay to be happy about the world honoring our president [or at least Norway!] Second, the criticisms against him not really deserving it, well he basically said the same thing. It’s really not the man’s fault that he got the prize. I do think that our president is ‘a man of peace’ and he has some real challenges down the road. Jehu was used of God to correct some long standing grievances that were in the nation, Jezebel operated for too long, the people knew her history. Jehu was charged by God to ‘wipe out the house of Ahab’ or to put an end to family lines that were destructive to the people of God. I’m talking spiritually now, not real war. There are times in the history of the church where things creep in and get a foothold; many times these teachings become accepted fair. We become comfortable with them, even though most of the nation/church realizes that it’s a manipulative thing, they learn to live with it. Prophetic voices are often raised up to say ‘enough, the whole house of Ahab will be wiped out’ in essence there are times when Gods people say ‘we understand that these doctrines have been around for a while; we also know the people who introduced these things on a large scale. We now reject the basic foundation upon which these things were built’ there comes a time when the ‘ministry’ of Jehu cleans house. We just need a few eunuchs [those who are separated for the purpose of serving the king. Because they were eunuchs, they could be trusted with the kings Bride, they would/could not take advantage of her for personal procreation/image building] who are willing to rise up and ‘throw her off the wall’.

(1253) NOTE ON THE CURRENT HEALTH CARE DEBATE- 10-09 let me do a quick update on abortion, as of today, 10-6-09, all the bills under consideration for health care reform most definitely include funding for abortion. These bills have been gone over by lawyers and every word was read and looked at. Technically speaking they allow for abortion. Now, as much as I pray for our president, he has misled the public on this issue. In his speech before the congress he did deny this, and he has stated on other forums that those who say that these bills would cover abortion are misleading you. I don’t know if he truly believes this or not, and I take very seriously my responsibility about not misleading people about the president, but he is wrong on this and he has accused those who are telling the truth as misleading people. We need to pray and be informed; we need to let our voices be heard on this important issue. We don’t need to go down the radical path of the right wingers who are accusing the president of trying to undermine our country and create a socialist state [Beck, Limbaugh, etc.] but we very much need to speak the truth when the president himself is either unaware or purposefully misinforming people. The Catholic bishops have gone over these bills with a fine tooth comb, their legal experts have concluded that abortion will be covered in some way thru these bills; these men are not listening to the radical right. We as the people of God need to tell the truth on these issues, pray for our president, but vocally disagree when you need to.

(1251) 2ND KINGS 7- Elisha is before the elders and the city is in trouble, the king of Israel is blaming the recession on the Christian conservatives and Elisha is being targeted. Now comes the true test of a prophet; Elisha says ‘by this time tomorrow the price of goods will be next to nothing, inflation will be gone and the recession over’. How can this happen? One of the men says ‘even if God opened the windows of heaven things cannot turn around this fast’. Wrong response, Elisha tells him ‘because you doubt, you will see it with your eyes but not experience it’. Okay, that night there are these 4 outcasts of society living at the city gate, they are lepers. You know, the type of people that nobody wants to be around. O sure the religious institutions have started all types of leper helping ministries, and the local religious folk give to these ministries, but nobody really wants to personally get involved. So these outcasts are at the city gate and they say ‘look at our plight, we are sitting here at the gate and will surely die, if we go into town the famine will kill us. If we go to the Syrians, sure they might kill us too, but maybe they will feed us and spare us, heck if we die we die!’ I like their outlook, even in the midst of great personal turmoil and sickness; they make one last ditch effort to turn things around. We need more brothers like this. So they go to the enemy camp and lo and behold [yes it’s corny] they find all the wealth and goods of the Syrian army, but no one’s there! God supernaturally caused the sound of the heavenly chariots to be heard by the army and they fled out of fear, casting away all their goods on the way out. So these lepers cant believe their eyes, they hit the jackpot. So they start going from tent to tent and take the stuff and go and hide it. After a few hours of hording and building wealth, they realize they are not doing right. They decide to go back to the city and tell their people what happened. They go to town and tell the king, he can’t believe it, he thinks ‘sure, this is a trap set up by my enemies’. Notice how both sides were battling paranoia, the Syrians fled thinking the armies were at the door, and the king of Israel thinks it’s a trap too. So they send some men to check it out and sure enough it’s true, the famine is over and the commodities are selling at a ridiculously cheap price. The brother who said ‘God could not do this even if he opened up heavenly windows’, he gets trampled at the gate by the gold rush and sees it with his eyes but never benefits from it, he dies. Okay, God is able to turn things around on a dime, though the economy was in shambles, the king/president thinks all is lost, no chance of a second term. Yet at the moment of great desperation God comes thru, the prophet [believers] was willing to use his gift to turn things around, and that’s exactly what happened. We as a people need to check our hearts and see if we really want the success ‘of the king’. Are we willing to do what Elisha did and pool our gifts for the success of the nation? Or have we become so cynical that we secretly desire the failure of the nation so we can feel vindicated? The lepers were tempted to horde the wealth and use it for their own benefit; after all they were God fearing capitalists! Why should they have to share their stuff with everybody else? Yet they chose to not ‘store up for themselves treasures on earth’ [Jesus] and did the right thing. Geez, I just wish we could find some contemporary comparisons for this stuff.

(1250) 2ND KINGS 6:24-33 The ling of Syria comes up against Israel and shuts her in. No one comes in or goes out [embargo]. Israel as a nation experiences a recession and the price of their goods rise exponentially [inflation]. Once again we see the conflict with Arab nations costing too much! As the king walks thru town a woman cries for help, he says ‘who am I, God? If the Lord does not intervene what can I do? Can I go to the storehouse and fix all these problems’? Many Americans are truly unaware of the economic danger that our country is in. Private business thinks that the govt. can bail out anybody, we can’t. The insurance money that the govt. provides for banks that fail is running out, the stimulus money will not have the desired effect because it simply filled the hole that was created by the recession and tremendous job losses. The king can’t do miracles by continually going to the barn floor! So the woman tells the king ‘I made a deal with another lady that we would cook and eat my son today, and the next day we would cook her son. Now she won’t live up to the deal’ the king can’t believe his ears. In the midst of all their economic and military turmoil, they are killing their children in a vain attempt to extend their own lives. This last year more official attempts have been made to increase spending and have the federal govt. provide funding for the development and killing of unborn children than ever before. Many appeal to the cause of helping others who suffer from incurable diseases ‘look how much good it can do for those who are sick’. The nation of Israel was so lost that she couldn’t see the connection between her economic and military problems, and how that related to the destruction of their own children. Gee, I wonder if the bible is relevant anymore?

(1249) 2ND KINGS 6:8-23 The king of Syria wars against Israel, but every time he tries to set up an ambush someone keeps informing the king of Israel about it. So the Syrian king calls in his men and accuses them of leaking the info. They inform the king that this is the prophetic work of Elisha. So they go get him. As the Syrian army encamps around Elisha’s place, his servant wakes and up sees the troops and panics, Elisha prays and asks God to ‘open his eyes’ and he gets a sneak peek into the supernatural realm and sees all these chariots of angelic hosts around him ‘there are more with us than with them’ a famous verse indeed. So Elisha prays to the Lord to ‘blind’ the Syrians from his true identity [sort of like when Jesus was with the disciples on the Emmaus road] and he goes to the troops and tells them ‘the man you’re looking for is not here, follow me, I’ll show you where he is’. So he leads them into the midst of Samaria and right into the hands of the king of Israel. Then he prays ‘Lord open their eyes’ and they are in ‘shock and awe’ [to quote Rummie]. The king of Israel asks Elisha ‘should I slay them’? Elisha says no, but feed them and treat them well. He asks the king ‘would you slay those whom you captured thru military means’? Obviously the answer is no, so likewise they should be treated like captives and not harmed. Okay, how should we read the biblical narratives on war? One of the most known atheists in the country today is Sam Harris; he is a sincere writer and speaks against what he sees as the flaws of war based religion. He echoes the words of Thomas Paine in his book ‘the age of reason’ [18th century]. Harris sees the danger of world religions embracing a war mentality and believing that terror and warfare are on their side. He cites realities like the Muslim radicals who shout ‘God is great’ as they blow themselves and innocents up. He points out the stories in the bible where God commands his people to wipe out other ethnic groups [genocide] and he berates the Christians for their militaristic end time views and how their beliefs in a violent return of Jesus hinder world peace. Many thinkers have raised these questions and the church shouldn’t simply shrug these men off as pagans. In the story we just read it should be noted that God himself, thru his prophet, commanded the fair treatment of captives. That Jesus and the New Testament revelation are a radical revolution of peaceful demonstration ‘if your enemy hits you, don’t retaliate and return evil for evil. Instead bless them’. In general believers need to reorient their world view around the gospels and the actual message and life of Christ. When using the Old Testament we are to look for the hidden nuggets of wisdom that can apply to our lives today, but we need to avoid a direct application of wiping out our enemies with today’s military conflicts. The church in our day really needs an overhaul in our thinking in these areas, just the other day the U.S. military accidently killed an Afghan family of 6, kids and parents. A few months back we bombed an area and accidently killed around 140 civilians. The military at first said it was possible that the Taliban killed these people. After a few months review we came out and admitted that we did not properly screen these homes for civilians. We messed up and killed a bunch of people. I know all the reasons behind the things we are doing [I think!] but if your wife and kids were just bombed right now, by accident, would it make you feel better to know they really didn’t intend on killing them? Our country was/is up in arms over the sprinkling of water on the face of a few terrorists, one of the reasons is said to be that when we ‘torture’ terrorists we give fuel to the Muslim world by not playing by the rules. Or when we detain enemy combatants at Gitmo that this becomes a selling point to Muslim radicals that they can use to recruit people to their cause. I can see no greater ‘recruiting tool’ than the accidental killing of innocent Muslim women and children, yes I do realize that we do not mean to ‘kill them’ but this still does not change the reality on the ground.

(1247) 2ND KINGS 5- A Syrian army commander has leprosy, he hears about Elisha the prophet and goes to get healed. He is carrying a letter from the king of Syria that requests that the king of Israel heal him. The king of Israel is distraught ‘who does he think I am? Am I God?’ Elisha hears about the matter and says ‘send him to me, after I get thru with him he will know that there is a prophet in the land’. As Naaman arrives at the door of Elisha, Elisha sends out a servant to give him a message ‘go, dip yourself 7 times in the Jordan and you will get healed’. Naaman is upset, he says ‘I thought he would at least come out and make a big show and do some great healing! Are not the waters of Syria better than this stinking Jordan!’ He storms off. His men tell him ‘look, if he told you to do some great act, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not give it a shot and go get wet’. He dips in the Jordan and gets healed. He is elated! He goes back to the prophet and wants to give him an offering, Elisha refuses to take it. On his way back home Elisha’s servant stops him and says ‘my master changed his mind, 2 prophets just stopped by and he now will accept the money/gift’. He lied. As the servant arrives back at Elisha’s house, Elisha confronts him ‘hey Gehazi, where did you go’ he tells him nowhere. Elisha tells him ‘did not my heart go with you when the chariot turned’ he knew he was caught. Elisha rebukes him strongly over wanting to make material gain at this time ‘is this a time to build wealth! To gain land and servants and stuff’ he curses him and puts the leprosy of Naaman on him. Okay, let’s do a little stuff; first, the king of Israel felt like the expectations of the other ‘middle eastern’ Arab countries were too high. The king of Syria flat out treated him like he was God! Oh I don’t know, have there been any leaders recently that have been given the title ‘messiah’ [they gave it mockingly, but the expectations were very high]. And we must not overlook the strong rebuke of Gehazi, and Elisha’s unwillingness to take an offering. We often read all of these stories and only see the parts where God provided for someone, or reduced their debt [the woman with the oil]. We read and preach on the ‘wealth verses’ to the degree where we don’t even see the ‘rebuking of wealth’ verses. Then after many years we develop a wealth mentality in the people of God to the point where they never see the warnings. Without going too far down this road, remember Jesus told his men ‘freely you have received, freely give’. In context he was speaking of the divine gifts of the Spirit that they were given. He was sending them out to heal and cast out demons, he was telling them don’t turn this thing into a money making enterprise! And let’s end with some practical stuff- as I continue to read thru Brian McLaren’s ‘everything must change’ I appreciate his emphasis on helping the poor and reaching out to the outcasts of the world. I also understand his view of changing the way we see things, the language used is ‘framing story- narrative’. But I see a problem with overdoing the concept of ‘framing stories’. For instance some Emergent’s believe that the classic expressions of the gospel are no longer valid. That Jesus really didn’t come to call people to repent and believe in the way we think [Brian quotes N.T. Wright and supposes that the term ‘repent and believe’ was more of a popular saying that military commanders used to simply tell people to surrender over to the new empire. He uses an example from Josephus. I get the point, but believe that this association is rather week. Jesus very much did call people to repent and believe in the classic way we understand it]. Anyway to ‘re-frame’ the gospel in a way that says the real message/purpose of Jesus was to simply change the pictures we use in ‘our story’ is too simple. The best example I can think of would be Jesus conversation with Nicodemus in John’s gospel. Jesus is speaking from the ‘narrative’ of Gods kingdom, Nicodemus is hearing from his own religious frame work. No matter how hard Jesus uses the new framework, or how hard Nicodemus tries to see this new story, he can’t. Jesus tells him it’s impossible to change his ‘framing story’ without changing him! ‘Unless a man is born again, HE CAN NOT SEE THIS KINGDOM’ so I think we can go too far in restating the classic gospel. Yes, believers should be challenged to see things from new/fresh perspectives. But these new perspectives can only be truly seen when we experience personal conversion. Jesus very much wants us to see the story from his perspective, but realistically he knows unless we are born again, we will never truly see it.

(1243) 2ND KINGS 3- Jehoram, king of Israel, goes after the king of Moab because he stopped paying him the taxes/extortion fees after his father died. Ahab, Jehoram’s father was feared [because of his wife Jezebel] and the king of Moab figured ‘heck, we were scared of the other president, but this new young buck doesn’t instill the same fear’ [sound familiar?]. Never the less the ‘young buck’ forms an alliance with two other kings [France, Germany? Or Britain, you pick] and he goes after Moab. They go on this 7 day journey to attack Moab, and lo and behold they realize that they don’t have the resources to finish the job [Afghanistan?]. They never took into account the actual problems they would run into with the terrain; they found no water sources for their troops or the animals. Now, Moab probably knew about the land situation, he knew it would turn to their benefit [Taliban]. So the 3 kings- Jehoram king of Israel, Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and the king of Edom are facing a dilemma. They have all their troops already in the field [their committed] and yet they don’t have the proper resources to finish [oh let’s say they need 40 thousand more]. So the King of Judah asks Jehoram if there is a prophet in the land who can help. Enter Elisha. They go to the prophet and he rebukes them, but for the sake of the king of Judah he seeks God and gives them a word from the Lord. He tells them to dig holes thru out the area and God will supernaturally fill them. I don’t know how God did it, but the chapter says he brought the water over the land, possibly some regional flood? The point is that what they saw as a major obstacle, lack of resources, turned out to be a key element of their victory. The fact that the king of Moab knew there was no water in the land, this led him to believe that what he saw in the morning was blood from the slain army. He looked out over the land and the reflection of the water looked like blood to him. So he mounts an attack and gets defeated. God often times allows our perceived weaknesses to become the key to our victory. Paul said he gloried in his faults and weaknesses, because it was thru these things that God’s power rested upon him. At the end of the battle the king of Moab realizes that he is in over his head and makes one valiant attempt to at least take the king of Edom down with him. He must be thinking ‘geez, I’m fixin to get wiped out, might as well make one last ditch effort to take out this punk’ he takes 700 men and makes a charge, he can’t break thru. So he offers his son on the wall as a sacrifice to his god. Moab would have been better off if they simply kept paying the taxes. Okay, I really don’t want to draw too much of a comparison with president Obama and the present situation, but there are some common themes. He does seem to have less ‘fear/respect’ in the area of military might than his predecessor. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it could turn out to be bad. Our situation in Afghanistan is not good; we do not presently have the troops in there to do whatever the heck we are trying to do. It looks like we are going to change strategy and downsize. And last but not least, we need to be more careful when making decisions that adversely affect our allies. The decision to drop plans to place a ground based missile defense system on the border of Poland and Russia was probably a good strategic move. But politically it did hurt some allies. The day Obama made the decision not to go ahead with the Bush agenda was the anniversary of a previous invasion of Poland by Russia, not a smart decision to say the least. All in all the king of Israel made some decisions, he got in over his head but thanks to some allies and a word from the Lord, things turned out for the better. I think we can all learn some lessons from this chapter.

(1240) 2nd KINGS 1- The king of Israel is on his roof in Samaria and falls thru. He sends his men to inquire from a pagan god whether or not he will get healed. On the way Elijah meets them and tells them because he sought information from a forbidden source, he will die. They go back and the king realizes it was Elijah. So he sends 50 men to tell Elijah to come and see the king; Elijah calls down fire from heaven and they get ‘sacrificed’. This happens with the second group of 50 as well. The third group comes and says ‘please, we don’t want to die like the rest, just come and see the king for heavens sake’. Elijah goes. He tells the king that he will die because he sought foreign gods and rejected the true God. In Luke 9 the disciples ask Jesus ‘do you want us to call down fire from heaven and burn them up, like Elijah did’? They treated the story as literal. Why did the disciples ask this? Jesus was going to Jerusalem and he sent two men to Samaria, the same city where the king of Israel was associating himself with. The people did not welcome him because he had his mind already set on Jerusalem. The whole history of Israel and Judah [northern and southern tribes] involved a debate over where true worship occurred. Samaria was considered a low class place; the people had little respect in the eyes of the pure Jew. Jesus disciples saw nothing wrong with the death of these Samaritans. Jesus told them that his kingdom was not about getting rid of the ‘heretics’ but redeeming them. It seems strange that the disciples would even contemplate the death of these ‘illegals’, after all Jesus is going around healing and helping people who are considered low class. He is trying to instill this mindset into his men, but yet somehow on the road to the Kingdom they see no contradiction in thinking that part of the process would include the destruction of a whole society of people. Many sincere Christians/preachers seem to make this same mistake in their treatment of Muslims/Arabs. No matter how theologically wrong a certain class of people are, yet their destruction is not part of the plan. Let me also mention the error that many well meaning Catholics have fallen into in my part of the world. Over the years I have had the privilege of working with lots of brothers who have come from strong Mexican/Catholic backgrounds. Often times they would see nothing wrong with going to a ‘Catholic fortune teller’ or hiring someone to place a curse on an enemy. The Catholic Church expressly teaches against this. There are many differences between Catholics and Protestants; one of them is the teaching of asking the saints who have died to intercede for us. The Catholic Church does not teach ‘praying to the saints’ in the sense of praying to God for prayer to be answered. Many Catholics and Protestants are confused about this, many do think that praying to the saints is like asking God to answer a prayer. The official Catholic doctrine is you can ‘pray’ in the sense that you are asking a believer who has died to ‘pray for you’. In essence the doctrine teaches you can ask a believer who has died to pray for you, because in reality they are still alive. Okay, I personally don’t go for this, but I get the difference. Here close to Mexico there is a superstitious mixing of saints with actual occult practices [Santeria]. Many Catholics have a misguided understanding of seeking these practices and thinking they are Catholic in nature. They are not. So in this chapter we see that seeking wisdom from a pagan/occult source brought death upon the king. I want to warn all of our readers [both Catholic and Protestant] that the official teaching of both churches condemns doing this, don’t do it!

(1238) PSLAMS 37- I have been meditating on this Psalm for the past few days, it speaks to our day ‘fret not thyself because of evildoers, for those who seem to prosper in what they are doing’. Recently we have had the political storm over ACORN, the community group who has it’s hands in all types of things. They actually have done some good in helping the poor, but the conservatives finally got them! What do you expect when your people offer help to a fake pimp and prostitute when they are looking for ‘housing’? Oh my, how have we fretted over the wicked. Or ‘a little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked’ last night I was reading the bio’s of John Wycliffe and John Hus, the two great ‘pre-reformers’. Wycliffe preached/taught out of Oxford England and would contrast the riches and wealth of the Pope with the poverty of Jesus and his men. He taught the ‘true church’ were those who knew God and were part of the spiritual community of believers, not limited to any earthly institution. He would send his poor preachers out 2 by 2 and they would infiltrate England [they were called Lollards]. Hus would read the writings of Wycliffe and lead Bohemia down the same road. Hus preached at the influential Bethlehem church in Prague and also had influence at the university. These men believed that ‘the poverty of the righteous would go further than the riches of many wicked’. They truly turned their world upside down while rejecting the idea that we all need to become rich in order to have real influence. This Psalm says the meek will inherit the earth and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked might seem like he’s spreading out like a huge tree, but his efforts are temporary. Jesus said the kingdom of God was like planting a small seed and it becoming a huge tree, are you looking to plant ‘a huge tree’? We often view the kingdom thru God using us to gather great wealth and resources, organizing some corporation, and then this ‘huge tree’ will get the job done. Jesus approach was to gather these outcasts of society, invest his life into them, and his life, death, resurrection and example would become the ‘seed bed’ that would start a worldwide revolution. Don’t fret over what it seems like the ‘wicked’ are getting away with, just simply follow Jesus, your little bit can accomplish much more than the riches of many wicked [geez, ACORN was getting millions, but the church of Jesus has been helping the poor for 2 thousand years. I don’t know why we fret over this stuff!]

(1230) YOU LIE!- I was going to do chapter 8 of our 2nd Corinthians study, but I just finished a regular Monday morning prayer time and felt I should go another way. On Mondays I do a regular prayer thing that includes praying for the president as well as world leaders. I have prayed for President Obama, by name, every Monday [and sometimes a few more times a week] ever since he’s been in office. I did the same with Bush. This week Obama gave a speech to congress in an effort to salvage his health care reform. During the speech you had a Republican, Joe Wilson, shout out ‘you lie’ at the place where Obama said that those who were saying illegal aliens would be covered under the bill were lying. First, Wilson was wrong to do what he did and he apologized. Second, did the president lie? A little bit, probably not on purpose, but he wasn’t totally accurate. Joe Wilson is one of the key Republicans dealing with a part of the bill that would either exclude or include illegal aliens under the plan. The fact is every time Wilson tried to add language specifically excluding illegals, he was shot down by the Democrats. This has happened a number of times and it is quite obvious that the Democrats were signaling that they did not want to exclude illegal aliens from the plan. One part of the bill said ‘no illegal aliens will benefit from tax benefits proposed under the bill’. This language does not say no illegals will benefit from the plan itself. Now, when it comes to illegals, I am more liberal than many of my friends, who are Mexican. When I was working at the fire dept. I was one of the few [if only] guys that sided with the illegal immigrants when it came to showing them sympathy after they got into the country. Many of my Mexican buddies said ‘hell no, my parents did it right, these illegals should have to do it the legal way’. I didn’t side with doing illegal things; I just sided with their plight and felt we should avoid the strong racial stuff that usually comes up in these scenarios. So anyway why did Wilson say ‘you lie’? As an insider, who knew for a fact that the Democrats were purposefully opposing language in the bill that would exclude illegals, in his view the president did lie. He is sitting there and being accused of misleading the American people, that is Wilson is being told by the president in front of the world that those who are saying illegals might get covered are lying to you. Wilson knew Obama was in fact wrong, in his view Obama very well lied. Now, like I said at the beginning, did Obama know all these inner workings of every group writing stuff in all these comities? Obviously not, but he did not tell the whole truth about this specific issue. I do not hold to the view that our president is a secret socialist trying to undermine our economy for the purpose of a communist overthrow of the country. Do all the media persons who are espousing this view really believe it? I think Beck is a sincere guy, but really not ready for ‘prime time’. He might very well believe his views, and at times does show the other side of the story, but his overall framework is dangerous. I think Rush is too smart to really believe this stuff, but he is an entertainer. Hannity? I think he believes some of his own rhetoric. But I know for a fact that the president has said, on record, that he wanted to initiate a single payer health system that would eventually lead to universal health care for all Americans. He said this in 2007 when he advocated for the govt. to run the entire system. Okay, Barney Frank said the same thing a few months back; they caught him on tape saying it. So for the president, or Democrats in general, to say that the Republicans are lying to the American people when they warn about this, then they are actually not telling the whole story. Today’s point is we need to hear and listen to all side’s of these issues, we need to avoid the mindset that demonizes the president, or those who honestly disagree with him. We need to pray for our leaders and the president on a regular basis. We need to act right in this whole mess.

(1224) 2nd CORINTHIANS 2- Paul instructs the church to forgive the brother who was excommunicated earlier on [1st Corinthians] he tells them just as they were zealous to carry out the previous judgment, so now they should be willing to forgive. He says it’s possible for people to be overcome with too much sorrow. The other day I wrote a post on Obama’s green jobs czar, I felt [and still feel!] that he needed to resign, he resigned 2 days after I wrote the post. I have also seen some conservatives say good things about the man [Van Jones] that in essence he has also done some good things. But they feared that he will be tagged as this nut case who signed the 911 ‘truthers’ petition [well, he really should not have signed the thing]. The point was it’s possible to over do an attack on an individual like this, to not stop until all the czars fall type of a thing. Paul reminds us that there are times of being hard with people, but the purpose for it is too bring them to their senses. Here Paul warns against being unforgiving. He also says that when he shared Gods word with them he did not do it like others; he said they were ‘peddling/corrupting’ Gods word. This carries with it the idea that certain people/ministers were preaching for profit. Paul is not saying ‘too much profit’ he is simply saying those who were sharing the word and taking money in return. We already know that Paul’s mode of operation was to support himself when with the churches [see Acts 20] and at times he even paid the way for his fellow workers. Paul carried out the greatest apostolic ministry known to man [apart from Christ] and he did it free of charge at his own expense. Paul tells them that when he wrote to them he did it thru much affliction and difficulty. He previously spoke about God opening up great opportunities for him, but along with the gift came a great price. Let me share a little personal stuff with you guys. My wife went to the E.R. the other day with some serious problems; she has been admitted into the hospital. We do not have health care insurance. When I retired I couldn’t afford to keep it. I managed to get my kids insurance, but me and my wife are on our own. Out of the 2 of us I have a few more serious health problems than she does. Some have been self inflicted [past mistakes] others just happened. The way I ‘self-treat’ is I go on line and do ‘home cures’- this my friends is not good. Some have helped, others I am not sure of. But this past year I had some things that needed to be checked [like bleeding from places where you shouldn’t be] and frankly, I haven’t done it. But I needed my wife to stay healthy, so this has been pretty awful for me. At the same time we had some serious problems with one of our daughters, and we were/are in a real bind over this. During this whole time I started this new bible study [2nd Corinthians] and whenever I start a study I just do a chapter a day and it doesn’t take long at all to finish. But I wonder how many I’ll be able to do over the course of my life. I would like to do the whole bible, but I realize that it’s thru ‘much affliction and suffering’ that I have written to many of you. Paul said he had the ‘sentence of death within himself’ so he would learn not to trust in himself, but in God who raises the dead. As we read thru these letters, see the real problems and difficulties they were facing; hear Paul when he says ‘I am not peddling Gods word’ he was not taking offerings or collecting money for his own well being. He collected only for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Watch the give and take, the beliefs of the early church. We need an overhaul in our thinking and acting, ‘ministry/preaching/church’ all need to be re looked at, we need to teach/train the upcoming ‘crop’ of pastors in a new way. Don’t see these things as jobs, or opportunities for self advancement, see these things as opportunities to lay your life down for others, to cling to the death experiences and not run from them. Paul said we are the sweet fragrance of Christ to the nations; in both them who are dieing and those who are being saved. God reveals his knowledge thru us to all people groups, we die daily so this fragrance can go forth.

(1220) VAN JONES- This week the news media have been dealing with one of Obama’s ‘czars’, he is in charge of ‘green jobs’. What’s the problem? Well he seems like a nice fella, until Glen Beck researches all the history of the man, and it turns out he is as bad as any white racist. Now that’s a problem. Why is Beck doing this? Van Jones also leads a group that started an advertising boycott against Beck, he went and personally tried to put Beck out of business. So Beck found all these past things, stuff like ‘the whites are purposefully poisoning the blacks thru polluting the environment’ or he signed his name on one of the ‘9-11’ truther petitions. These people claim that Bush purposefully allowed the attacks to happen. Quite frankly you’re a nut case if you believe this. Now, are people allowed to be nut cases? Sure. But not if you work for the White House. Any white man who would espouse that blacks are purposefully killing whites through pollution would be run out on a rail [rightfully so!]. The reality now is that this man must go, you got into a fight with a conservative broadcaster and alls fair in love and war. To keep a guy on the team that has espoused racist beliefs and comments won’t fly. I am writing this post on Friday, 9-4-09- 5 a.m., it wouldn’t surprise me if he resigns today. Why do I even get into stuff like this? When the media allows one group get away with stuff like this [liberal!] then the poor older white senior citizens, who have been scared out of their wits by both real and false accusations. When these older folk see stuff like this, they think they have a true radical in the white house. During the last election you had a couple of black panthers manning a polling place. The pictures have been all over the media. Quite frankly, they looked quite intimidating. There is no doubt that some elderly white folks kept on driving when they saw these guys at the polling place. If you never saw the pictures they looked just like radical black panthers, the contrast would be having a bunch of skinheads with bats at a black voting location. The uproar would be tremendous. So when we allow for any group to get away with stuff like this, then it breeds fear and racist thoughts on the other side. I don’t know Van Jones, but when you’re on record espousing the stuff that he espoused, you need to leave now! No if, ands or buts. Get out, get out quick- go join some ministry and leave the public eye. These rules should apply to both sides. Martin Luther King led a movement that would not allow for these types of thoughts or beliefs. He gave his life at the hands of white racists, but he refused to lower himself to the level of those who killed him. Luther is a man worth admiring and honoring.

(1217) THE VOICE OF THE LORD IS UPON THE WATERS: THE GOD OF GLORY THUNDERETH: THE LORD IS UPON MANY WATERS Psalms 29:3 Last night I was watching the news, I was doing something at the time [reading?] but for whatever reason I was listening and not looking at the screen. I heard a reporter asking one of the ‘tea party’ protesters about his views. As I listened to him speak against the socializing of the country, his disgust over the free hand outs and all, I thought I recognized the voice. As I looked up, it was Larry! One of the first homeless buddies I met in Corpus. He went West quite a few years ago, haven’t heard from him in a while. Larry was really smart, he had a couple of old boats, an old ice cream truck and an old school bus scattered all over the Bluff [where I live]. One of the boats was a small 10 footer, he had it at some boat dock, the thing was probably worth around 20 dollars. Every day he went and pumped the water out, it was funny. I had this old Datsun 280 zx that I bought during an early mid life crisis; I blew the darn motor in it. I was gonna junk it. Larry saw that I had an extra junk car sitting in my yard, I bought it for the wheels for around 100 bucks. He said lets put the engine from the junker into the good car. Sure enough we did it in a couple of days; pushing the cars under my garage doorway, using a bumper jack and chain as a lift. Pulling engines out and dropping the good one in, I could have never accomplished it by myself, he was a talented brother. He looked a little like Ted Kaczynski [unibomber] scruffy hair and beard. He looked exactly the same on the news show, I think Larry worked about five days the whole time I knew him, yet he was protesting Obama’s socializing of the country and the free handouts, stuff like this is too funny to not write on. Okay I read more from Wrights book [surprised by hope] he brings out the biblical basis of the believer’s hope, which is the resurrection, not heaven. He is correct on this. He traces the roots of Western thinking all the way back to the ancient philosophers [Plato]and shows how the Greek belief in the ‘immortal soul’ did effect the thinking of Western Christianity and eventually made it’s way into the church thru the medieval influence of men like Dante [his inferno] and other beliefs on purgatory and so forth, Wright is an excellent scholar and historian. He does quote the verse I used when first defending against the concept of ‘soul sleep’, the famous verse from Paul ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’ he rejects soul sleep and teaches the correct doctrine of a believer being in Gods presence at death. Wright, like myself, does not see the future hope of the believer as ‘going to heaven when you die’ but correctly teaches the hope of a resurrected body and a new heavens and earth. He also correctly shows how immortality of ‘the soul’ is really not a biblical doctrine. For as long as I can remember, I have always believed that immortality referred to the resurrected body of believers and not to the soul/spirit. I have heard/read many good men speak of it as pertaining to the soul, Wright correctly shows us the biblical view. When I first read his defense a while ago, I was a little confused when he used an argument from scripture that immortality belongs ‘only to God’ and his argument that the ‘immortal soul’ was a Greek doctrine not founded in scripture. The reason I was a little hesitant when I first heard him make this argument [reading on line a few years back] was because I heard the same exact argument made by the 7th day Adventist church in their defense of soul sleep [the view that the soul is unconscious at death until the resurrection] but Wright has clarified that he does not accept this view. He also rightfully shows us that in scripture the divisions of ‘soul/spirit/body’ are not as clear cut as many modern Protestants teach. Over the years I have often heard the famous verses on the soul ‘receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls’ ‘he that corrects a sinner from the error of his way saves a soul from death’ [James] and in Hebrews ‘the word of God dividing asunder soul and spirit’ there is a very popular teaching that relates the three ‘parts’ of man with the Triune nature of God [Father, Son and Spirit] and tries to say that when the New Testament speaks of ‘soul’ it is speaking of mans emotions/will, and that the spirit and body are two other things. This really is not biblical, the two verses I quoted from James are speaking of the whole man, not his emotions/will only. This is a wrong teaching that many have embraced because of a low level of education in the pulpit [to be frank about it]. Which gets me to my final point, to all my Pastor/leader readers, try and read/listen to university level scholarship as much as possible. Avoid leaving the radio-TV on and hearing hours and hours of teaching that is really not high quality, it will affect you in a bad way. I called a ministry a few weeks back to order a special offer from the scholar/theologian who is the teacher. The cd’s were lectures given in a university classroom from a real theologian [not the guys running around with honorary doctorates!] I did have the chance to do something I have been wanting to do for a while. The offer was whatever gift you want to give to the ministry [money] you can give and get the cd’s. The poor sister asks me ‘and how much will you be donating today for the cd’s’ I of course tell her ‘I will be donating one penny’ she is silent for a few seconds until I tell her I’m just kidding. The point is try and read/listen to scholarly stuff as much as possible ‘the Lords voice is upon many waters, it thunders’ when God speaks to you thru the collective voice of the church triumphant [in heaven- I mean read the works of the saints who have died!] and the church militant [on earth] then you are hearing his voice over the ‘many waters’ the various communions that make up the corporate people of God, Gods wisdom resides in her.

(1216) lets try and do a few things; first, I read a few more chapters in Wrights book [N.T. Wright] and as much as I really like his writing, I do have a few problems with some of the ways he states stuff. He kinda tries to walk the middle road in the area of the second coming and the physical nature of it. He does say he believes in the real second coming and that it did not happen yet. He does teach that Jesus is ‘in heaven’ [Gods realm] physically- good. But he also says stuff like ‘when Jesus ascended you don’t believe he lifted off vertically from the planet’ [actually I do!] or when Jesus comes back it wont be like some spaceman descending out of space [well I know he’s not a ‘spaceman’ but I do believe he will come from ‘out there’]. It was statements like this that caused me a little concern in the past. He also states that he is not a full Preterist, and distances himself from those who tried to claim him as one. But you can hardly blame them, he really does at times sound like he is one [Preterists believe the second coming happened in a.d. 70- it’s a long story] Wright empathically says he does not believe that. Yet he says all the statements from Jesus on ‘his coming’ do not refer to an actual second coming in the future. But he believes Paul and other New Testament passages do teach a real, literal second coming, but that Jesus never spoke of it. To be frank, I think brother Wright opens up the door to all the accusations and confusion that some people have about his position. I still like Wright, he is an excellent N.T. scholar and 1st century historian, but I think there are some problems with his views on the second coming. He definitely states he believes in a real, physical second coming. But instead of it being ‘Jesus coming down from somewhere’ it will be more like ‘Gods realm [heaven] joining our realm’ and at that time he will physically be with us. Well I do believe that at the second coming ‘both realms unite’ that at that moment we will have a ‘new heavens and earth’ I just don’t see the point in Wright’s language when he seems to make light of the physical aspects of Christ’s return. I also agree with him 100% about the New Testament not teaching a ‘rapture’ he rightfully shows us that the ‘rapture chapter’ [1st Thessalonians 4] is the same as 1st Corinthians 15. There simply is no ‘secret coming’ taught in the New Testament [some will be caught by surprise, but it will be no secret!] All in all I like Wright, will continue to read him, just thought I needed to mention these points. Okay, let’s turn to politics. The climate in the country continues to be really bad at this time [9-09] I watched MSNBC show over and over again a picture of a man toting a sub machine gun on his back at some Obama town hall. Of course this is dangerous and nuts! The problem is Chris Matthews portrayed it along with the mindset of ‘see these white skinhead radicals, these racists who are against change’ his whole rant against the people opposing Obama is done in this vain. Sure enough, another news organization showed you the full picture of the man with the gun on his back; he was a black man. Why mention this? Stuff like this, purposefully not telling the whole story, or taking an incident and being dishonest about it to prove your point, this stuff creates racial tensions all on its own. There is no need to try and fabricate a scenario in order to make it fit your story. There are enough real nuts in the country for the news media to not have to fabricate stuff like this, to make the audience think that the ‘gun man’ was an anti Obama ‘right winger’, he obviously was not. Those who oppose the president should do so on purely political grounds, those who support him should take the same view. To be against or for a person because of their race is wrong, very wrong. But people should not feel intimidated if they want to oppose him for the right reasons. When the country sees this type of race card being played, this breeds a type of racism all on its own. Did the bill being floated on Capitol Hill fund abortions- you bet it did! I know the denials have gone forth vehemently, Obama himself publicly said that his position in national health care would include provisions for women’s reproductive rights; he was point blank asked this question. In no uncertain terms he said it would. But after the heat hit the fan they of course would not say it like this. In essence the proposed bill would have included language for ‘women’s reproductive rights’ but because the term ‘abortion’ was not specifically stated, the politicians said ‘oh no, those who think abortion is in there are misleading you’ they lied to you. So let’s try and pass what both sides agree on; pass laws on making it illegal for an insurance company to drop you if you get sick. Provide funding for those who can’t buy insurance and try and get everyone insured. Do tort reform. Get the stuff done that can get done, don’t create all types of problems by bringing up ‘reproductive rights’ there are too many people [Democrats and Republicans] who are truly opposed to abortion in a fundamental way, leave that language out. And for heavens sake, if the media has a picture of a man with a gun strapped to his back, don’t portray him as some white skinhead, especially if the guys black!

(1207) Jesus said ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours be done’. David said in Psalms ‘the troubles of my heart are enlarged, bring me out of my distresses’. Yesterday [Friday evening, the time Presidents release bad news for the least possible effect] the govt. released an updated deficit number. It went up an extra 2 TRILLION for the next ten years, it’s estimated now to be 9 trillion. This is totally unbelievable and absolutely irresponsible. Even Warren Buffet, who publicly endorsed Obama, recently wrote an op-ed warning of the global economic danger that this type of deficit can cause. I was reading in the paper how many of the normal 30 year mortgages are beginning to go into default, these are not the shady ones that already went under. These are the homes of unemployed people who can’t find jobs. Okay, what could we [the country] do? First, if you use the 800 billion dollars of stimulus to actually lift the burden on small businesses [tax breaks] that would do wonders. Second, if you simply stop using a national credit card [increased deficit spending] it would help bring down the debt. And for heavens sake, don’t implement any new laws that will actually hurt the economy [cap and trade]. Then why are we not doing these things? Because certain political leaders believe that the American people want all these things, Nancy Pelosi lives in a very liberal part of the country, she perceives these things as what everyone wants, even though California has an entire immigrant population going under because in their efforts to save a certain species they have stopped the water flow to these farmers. Unbelievable. I was talking to someone the other day and explained to them that many businesses would fire employees if the govt. mandated them to either cover the health ins. of their people or pay an 8 percent charge per person [of their salary], the effect; cut their pay or fire them. We don’t need to be geniuses to figure this stuff out. I believe our nation is going to ‘drink from a cup’ whether we like it or not, we are going to seek God and ask him to ‘bring us out of all these distresses’. I do not believe the overall economic picture is as good as the media seems to be portraying it, and we still are losing 200-250 thousand jobs a month, and the media says that’s good news! The responsible thing for the president to do is realize that he came in with many good intentions, people did want to hope and believe in change. After he got the job he saw the numbers were a lot worse than he thought, in this type of environment the responsible thing to do is spend the next 3.5 years dealing responsibly with our books. Sure, this will not create a great legacy, and it is easier to simply start a new program [Social Security, Medicaid,- universal insurance] because the programs will be remembered, whether or not they get funded. So it is a matter of having a fiscally responsible leadership, or leaders that are willing to cut off the water supply to thousands of farmers in order to save some rat.

(1206) CASH FOR KLUNKERS AND KLUCK- Okay, I mentioned a few weeks back about the cash for klunkers program, I thought it was a bad idea. A day ago the govt. officially scrapped the plan. Dealers all over the country were decrying the red tape and bureaucratic hoops that they needed to jump thru to get their money, they started dropping out. I also read a story in the paper how many used car dealers were losing their normal used vehicle flow; some actually went out of business. One guy said ‘what about all my customers that needed the $3,ooo dollar cars? Where can they go for the cars, the govt. is crushing them at their expense’ in essence the people who were smart enough to trade in their $1,ooo dollar cars for $4,500 were not the ones who were really struggling financially, these folks had enough to finance new cars at the publics expense, the public tax payers were footing the bill, and losing the used cars that they needed to meet their needs. Wow, and you want the govt. to run your healthcare. Okay, I read a few more chapters of ‘why we love the church’ Deyoung [Pastor] and Kluck [sheep- he attends Deyoung’s church] take turns writing their own chapters, just like their first book. Kluck shares a story about being at a Pastors convention, all the good preaching and a few top notch evangelicals. He shares from a sincere perspective how all these men are sincere, how they were encouraged to get back to expository preaching in ‘their churches’ and he gives a few examples how ‘at his church’ they have a time when everyone gets a chance to talk every few months, you know a service of testimonies. And how it usually is not the most edifying thing in the world, but he appreciates it when his Pastor [Deyoung] is prepared and teaches a good old expository message. Okay, I think I too would appreciate attending a theologically reformed church [I don’t] and probably would like hearing good in depth stuff, but these examples show me that Kluck and Deyoung are dealing with a different type of thing than the organic church movement is trying to address. They are basically saying the ‘churches’ on every corner are a good thing, the stable preaching from the heritage of fine pastors over the years has served a noble purpose, but they don’t seem to realize that the New Testament concept of church [Ecclesia] is much different than this. Now, I too think lots of good men have pastored noble ‘churches’ and have served the Lord well. I too think many emergents have stepped over the line and have fallen into the category of heresy, questions on the Atonement and stuff like that. I just get the feel that these brothers [Kluck and Deyoung] are addressing certain issues, while probably not fully seeing the other side. The whole idea of ‘churches on every corner’ [a critique that the authors made of another author] and defending that mindset is really not biblical. While the example used, that the ‘churches on every corner have done a good job’ was understood, yet this idea of buildings on every corner, as separate ‘local churches’ where the main form of community is sitting in a room every Sunday and listening to a sermon, as noble and well meaning these expressions are and have been, yet this very concept is being challenged by the organic church movement. It simply is not biblical to see all these fine church buildings, with fine Pastors and parishioners as ‘local churches’ in the biblical sense. So, without re-teaching everything I have already taught over the years, I appreciate these authors’ skill and honesty in their writings, but I think they are not fully seeing the other side.

(1200) MICHAEL VICK, THE LIBERAL MEDIA AND OTHER MUSINGS- Yesterday Michael Vick, the football player who did 18 months in prison for running an illegal dog fighting operation, was reinstated by the N.F.L and signed on with the eagles. I heard 2 conservative pundits debate it. One said lets forgive, the other wanted Vick to serve the whole term [I think 10 years]. Michael is a black man and racial tensions are high right now in the country. I am an animal lover; own many cats and 2 dogs. You have had other pro athletes accused/involved in actual cases where people were murdered. Some were involved in shooting crimes and all sorts of stuff. These guys played the game right thru the legal wrangling and some never paid any penalty at all. I think Vick should have been suspended for 18 months [no prison time] and paid a fine. I am not excusing what he did, but in comparison to the way others have been dealt with, I think this would have been a better deal. Of course he should play again, it’s the mans livelihood for heavens sake! Now, the disaster that is taking place with health care and the town hall meetings. First, President Obama is very inexperienced at actually running things. I like and pray for the man regularly, but he has made some major mistakes. The strategy he used to try and pass health care reform was to not personally shape the plan, but let congress do it. They went into the current recess with 5 plans floating on Capitol Hill. This created an environment where the representatives had to defend 5 different things, and the media lying about it. Okay, MSNBC has said those against the plan are racists [yes, this was said] they mocked the peoples concerns. They tried to portray ALL the opponents as idiots. Some real concerns are on ‘end of life’ issues, [not death panels] rationing and other real things that are being mentioned in the plans. MSNBC implies that the people raising these concerns are uninformed idiots ‘no plan is going to kill grandma’ ‘no plan is going to fire doctors or prevent students from becoming doctors’. But these are not what the serious opponents are saying; end of life issues were part of one of the plans, fine. Not killing grandma, but a serious discussion went on over the fact that most health care money is spent on a person during the last 6 months of life; therefore any serious reform will have to deal with this issue. But some in the media made it sound like the people who brought up these concerns were totally misinformed, not so, these are real concerns that serious people look at. Senator Grassley has since dropped the wording from the plan on end of life issues [the wording in the plan simply said the insurance would pay for the consultations over living wills and stuff like that, the point is a real discussion does go on over how to voluntarily, or in some countries its forced upon people, that at the end of life people should consider how much should be spent on the patient]. Rationing, is this also a question that only idiots have been asking? When you take a system, any system, and inject another 40-50 million people into the system, rationing will occur to some degree. If you took your high school and doubled the students in a year, you get less one on one time between teacher and student. This is a simple reality that many older folks are asking about; the media portrays them as ignorant. The political strategy of some Democrats was to push back and portray all of the town hall opponents as misinformed insurance lobbyist plants. Big mistake, more than half of the American people are now against the present reforms being floated, and the independent voters have turned 2 to 1 against it. When you portray more than half of the country as ‘the enemy’ you are making a major political miscalculation. I believe those in the media who have said the current behind the opposition is racism; these pundits are the most dangerous. Of course you have those on Fox news who have made just as outrageous comments on the other side, but the media usually does not cover the liberal slant, they don’t see their own biases. I still believe universal health care is a noble goal that our country should strive for, but if our representatives portray the voices of their own constituents as ‘un-American’ [yes, Pelosi and Hoyer did say that those who were shouting down the other side were acting un-American. Yet every year you have liberal voices who shout down [and tear down] stuff at the world summit meetings, and they are not portrayed as un-American] then the odds of something passing looks worse each day.

(1191) THANK GOD I’M NOT LIKE YOU! – Jesus said 2 men went up to the church house [temple] to pray; one was a tax collector [a despised class in the 1st century, they collected taxes for the Roman govt. from their own people [Jews] they were seen as sell outs] the other man was a Pharisee, those who were deemed more holy than everyone else. You know, the whole aura of the room would change when these guys showed up [the preacher/pastor is here, watch what you say type of a thing] the Pharisee prayed ‘I thank you God that I am not like other men, adulterers, liars and even like this low class neighbor of mine, this tax collector’ he saw his religious life as a means to self betterment. Something that made him a cut above the rest. He tithed, fasted and attended the temple meetings. Now the tax collector was struggling with guilt, the weight of all the years of being hated and despised, sure he pretended it was just part of the job, but it affected him. He even feels unwanted at the temple, I mean this Pharisee is using him in his sermon illustration for heavens sake! He does not even feel worthy enough to look into the eyes of other people, fearing he might see someone that he has had shady dealings with in his extortion type job. He simply says ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner’ Jesus said this man went back home accepted in Gods eyes, the religious leader did not. This week [8-09] the congress went on break, they are back home in their districts and getting an earful, angry constituents chewing them out. The conservative media says these folks are mom and pop types, just innocent citizens expressing themselves. The liberal media say they are republican plants who are part of the K street lobbying conspiracy to thwart health care by the corrupt insurance profiteers! Probably a little truth to both views. The problem is our country has about 20-25 % who are uninsured [around 40-50 million people] the rest of the population has insurance, when the liberal media portrays the country as being willing to sacrifice their present system [whether it’s broken or not] and to have a possible increase in taxes, when the media says the 80 % of the insured really do want to do this for the 20 %, they are not being realistic. I want universal health care, I don’t have insurance right now and I need it! But the reality is most Americans are not willing to make more sacrifices for a group of uninsured people who for whatever reason have not been able to get insurance. Many seniors are worried that their Medicare will be affected, it surely will. Right now about half the country wants it, about half say leave the thing alone. Our society measures ‘winners’ by the success that they have attained, one of the scoreboards is how well you are doing compared to the next guy ‘I thank thee that I am insured, been responsible, done what I was supposed to do. I give tithes/taxes of all that I possess, fasted [been frugal] but look at this other 20 %, they are reaping what they sowed, sure they don’t have health care, but why couldn’t they have done the responsible thing and gotten it like me? Now you’re asking me to sacrifice for them’ the main reason why people are against it is not because the conservative lobbyists have tricked grandma to go to the town hall meeting and scream, the reason is people will only go so far to ‘help the other guy’ when you tell people that they should be willing to make all types of sacrifices for the betterment of the whole, this usually does not work. Some people are saying ‘hey, I don’t even have a job and you’re asking me to agree to support one of the biggest expenditures in U.S. history’. There are many reasons why people are disgruntled, as of today I think the president is not going to pass reform. Maybe some type of a private co-op thing, but not reform with a public option [like Medicare]. When society digresses to a point where one group is pitted against the other, ugly things happen. Both sides [liberal/conservative] have misrepresented stuff, have used racial/class distinctions to fight the other side, no group has clean hands in this stuff. The church/people of God should function with a higher morality, speak with a clear voice and not misrepresent issues or people. I believe that overall, we should have true health care reform. I realize there are many pros and cons to the debate, but as a principle, we should strive to provide care for all Americans whether or no they can afford it. This principle is noble, it doesn’t help when both sides brand the other as the real enemy, look at the issue, take a principled stand and let the chips fall where they may.

(1187) CASH FOR CLUNKERS- In Luke 16 we have the parable of the steward who wasted his master’s money. Jesus says there was this employee who was reported to have swindled his boss. The boss calls him on the carpet and the employee gets busted. He thinks ‘geez, I am going to lose my job [you know, the recession and all] what will I do for cash?’ [Oh, I don’t know. What about taking whatever you can find?] He says ‘I can’t dig [why not?] to beg I am ashamed [now we are running out of options] I know, I’ll contact all my bosses debtors and reduce their bills’. He takes option number 3 and gets in good with the guys who owed his boss money. Notice, this option really didn’t produce wealth, it simply lost it. Right now our country is doing the ‘cash for clunkers’ program, you can take your old gas guzzler in and the govt. pays the dealer $4,500 dollars for the car. The dealer then destroys it. The idea is the govt. is getting the polluters off the road while the dealers are doing business. You know how many of these clunkers could put my buddies to work? Guys trying to buy clunkers for a few hundred, these so called clunkers that are being traded in are pretty good vehicles. If you simply gave them to unemployed people who really needed them this would help them and the economy. How many junk yards could have done business with the parts? I realize the reason for destroying them is for environmental concerns, but we are having major unemployment right now, this deal doesn’t help them. So the steward wrote off some value. Then at the end the Lord commends the guy for being wise, doing what he had to do. The parable ends with the famous verse ‘you cannot serve God and money, if you try and do both you will wind up hating one and loving the other’ note to you readers, if this verse just offended you, in a small sense you are ‘hating one of them’ right now. I like Jesus forward preaching, you never left the sermon wondering what his point was. In life we all do what we need to at times, this employee cut off two viable options right at the start [work, beg] make sure the reason you seem to have no options isn’t because your standards are too high. I get a kick out of some of my buddies who wont work for a ‘measly 7 dollars an hour’ but have no problem dumpster diving for a left over pizza! Sometimes we are the problem. And sometimes we are ‘unprofitable’ because we are too caught up in the material pursuits of life. Jesus does say those who were not faithful in temporary riches [money] would be unfaithful in the true riches [spiritual wealth]. I know there are many ideas on what this means, but one way we become faithful in natural wealth is by not letting it consume us, by not being too preoccupied with the obtaining of the stuff. These are the main points of Jesus in these stories; we seem to miss the main points a little too much.

(1186) PARABLE FROM A PARABLE- I woke up this morning and was praying for ‘my sons’ [this refers to all the people we are reaching out to] I had a dream and after thinking about it I felt the Lord wanted me to pray this. Then I opened Luke 15 and read ‘a certain man had 2 sons’ and figured I’d better do it. In Luke 15 we have the parable of the prodigal son, a younger son [inexperience] approaches his dad and requests too much money to soon [economic stimulus- 800 billion, possible health care cost- 1 trillion. You get the point] and the son goes into a far country and wastes the money [it could have had a better effect if spent properly, i.e.; I like Nancy Pelosi, but I heard her defend the Democratic plan for the economy as green jobs, energy reform and insurance reform, while these are noble things, they are not things that drive our economy] so after the son wastes his money, he repents and says ‘I will go back to my dad and admit I blew it, I will tell him I am no longer worthy to be called his son [doubting his legitimacy, citizenship!] and will work as a hired servant’. The father receives the son back, makes a huge feast [media adulation] and all is well. Oh wait, the older brother [more experienced conservative type, he knew all along that this younger inexperienced person would blow it, he’s just waiting for others to see it too] the older brother comes close to the house and hears all the ruckus ‘what’s going on’ he asks. They tell him your younger brother is home and your dad thru him this big bash. He gets mad, he says he has been doing right all these years, faithfully serving in a conservative way, he never wasted the people’s money! And now, after all this waste, this younger guy is getting all the credit for things. He’s being treated in a way that I have never been! Being appreciated and all. The older brother refuses to rejoice as well, he really doesn’t want the young brother to succeed. I believe many people who voted for ‘the young son’ thought he would be more main stream than he actually turned out. Some fiscal conservatives thought he would be a pragmatic type, who could talk to both sides and come down in the middle. The truth is he has turned out much more liberal than expected by the moderate group who voted for him. I am not saying this is bad in itself, but this is political reality. Now, there are some major things that can go either way right now, and I fear that some of the more conservative ‘brothers’ really don’t want the younger brother to make it. Just like they did to the last president [the Dem’s to Bush]. The point is we do need to root for the success of the younger brother, even if his wasteful spending lead to ‘a famine in the land’ we need to allow room for rejoicing once again, and the possibility of things going well for all parties involved. It’s only natural for the older group to feel animosity towards the younger brother, he was treated with great bias by the media, they truly did a disservice to the country by not fairly presenting both sides. Too much adulation, I heard a recording of two reporters at one of the appearances of Obama during his campaign. On the air they were having a conversation about Obama’s I.Q. it went like this ‘What do you think his I.Q. is? I don’t know, but it must be one of the highest I.Q.’s of any president ever. Do you have any idea what the number is? No, but I have a feeling it’s really high’ now, lets be honest, when the opponents hear this stuff, they develop a natural animosity to the man. The older brother heard the tremendous noise from the party, a party he really didn’t deserve. And this caused him to not want to side with the younger man. The father finally says ‘look, you are all in this together, you could have partaken of the inheritance all along, just like your brother is doing now’ the father turned the conversation from ‘us versus them’ to one of ‘we are all the same family’ I think we need to heed this parable.

(1185) THE SHEEP AND THE COIN- Once again Jesus stirs up the crowd, as his teaching ministry flourishes he gains a listening audience of tax collectors and sinners. Basically he’s speaking the language of the people. It’s interesting to note that around 70 % of the Old Testament quotes of Jesus found in the New Testament are taken from the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. This translation was a collaboration of 70 scholars [so the tradition goes] and was the Greek cultural version of the Old Testament that was popular in the Greek speaking world, it was also seen as an ‘impure’ version among the religious leaders of Judaism, it was not the most pure Hebrew text that the orthodox used. But Jesus was attempting to speak to the common people as much as possible and he wasn’t the type of preacher to engage in these long debates over the most pure text of scripture! So anyway he gives the stories of a man who lost 1 sheep out of 99 and goes and finds it; also the woman who lost 1 coin out of 10 and she too seeks for it. Jesus says that’s what he’s doing when he receives these so called low class people; he’s seeking the ones who are lost. He says when they find the lost sheep/coin they bring it home and call their neighbors and friends and rejoice with them. Jesus did put a priority on spiritual riches versus natural stuff, to seek the lost and save them was valuable in his eyes, to live your life based on class issues was not valuable. The religious leaders despised these down and out folk, they wouldn’t stoop so low as to actually befriend them. That was the real accusation they made against Jesus, he was ‘their friend’ this just irked the religious leadership terribly! It’s too easy for well meaning Christian leaders to live their lives in an environment where most of your time and thought is spent in public speaking, running the 501 c3 operation of ‘ the church’ and mingling with the elite crowd as much as possible. The lifestyle of Jesus was a total repudiation of this professional ministerial class, they were building their careers while Jesus was out looking for sheep.

(1184) LETS TONE DOWN THE RHETORIC As of this month [7-09] the president has been in office for 7 months, and we need to talk. First, the present media atmosphere [radio, TV, blog] is really bad. The racial accusations are too high, you have both ‘right’ and ‘left’ wing voices that are way over the top. The president also suffers from inexperience, though he is a smart man, he is very inexperienced in executive stuff. I remember how during the campaign this was an issue, many Obama supporters actually appealed to his experience at running his campaign as the actual experience that he had. Are we kidding ourselves or what? I mean serious voices said this, then if you asked these same media persons ‘what about the experience of Palin’ they would ridicule her experience as governor of Alaska and mayor. If you then asked ‘why aren’t you counting her campaign as experience’ the answer was not given. I like our president, he was asked how he wanted to fund health care reform, how would he pay for it. He said it wasn’t his idea to tax current health care benefits. Okay, got it. What about any specific ideas at all? The problem is he is asking his fellow Democrats to make the tuff choices, Max Baucus [top financial guy for the Dem’s] is taking heat for trying to foster an agreement, his idea is you do need to take away the tax free benefit for other health care policies, this is a way he feels you can accomplish reform. But if the president is saying publicly ‘hey, that’s not my idea’ and at the same time asking them to pass something, hey, this doesn’t cut it. People don’t work like that. This is what you call ‘executive inexperience’ ah, maybe some of the critics were right after all. Fine, we are here now and we should support the president as much as possible. The media types who are playing the race issue are in dangerous territory. Frankly, some of them seem to really believe in the conspiratorial idea of the president being involved in some type of purposeful destruction of our economy for the sole purpose of instituting socialism. These guys really believe this! This is bad. But some of the liberal voices constantly accuse the critics of Obama as being racist, geez, can’t you disagree with a Black person without being tagged a racist. So both sides are going way overboard. Those who doubt the legitimacy of the presidents citizenship, okay, I think there a bit nuts. But why in the world does the president not release the actual birth certificate from Hawaii? By not doing this he feeds into the hysteria of the nuts. I heard Bernie Goldberg espouse the idea that Obama’s insiders [Rham Immanuel] are purposefully withholding the actual documents so they can associate the Republicans with the right wing nuts. That is the more the right wingers accuse Obama of not being a citizen, this feeds the ‘Limbaugh/Beck’ stereotypes and will help Obama in the end. I don’t know if Goldberg is right, but if he is this ‘Chicago’ style stuff is just as bad as Beck’s rants. And then Chris Matthews accuses the ‘birthers’ [those who question Obama’s citizenship] as trying to brand Obama as an illegal alien so they can deport him out of the country! As he interviewed Gordon Liddy he said ‘the papers reported Obama’s birth when he was born, this would mean his mother knew he would run for president someday and pre planned all the right moves’ Liddy tells him no, he says it’s perfectly possible for a good mother to want her son to have U.S. citizenship, and it’s possible that Obama was born in Kenya and quickly flew back into the states and the mom did her best to establish U.S. citizenship. Okay, stuff like this does happen, many Mexican moms have their kids on this side of the border for that very purpose. Do I think this happened with Obama? No. But those who do think this would benefit if the president released the real birth certificate, but once again he won’t do it, ah the politics of the whole thing. But Matthews is publicly stating that those who have doubts about this are claiming Obama was born ‘in the slums of Kenya’ and they are trying to get him deported because of his race, this is just as bad as what Beck does. Our president is not a socialist, he is not purposefully trying to destroy our economy for this purpose. But he is inexperienced, he very much underestimates the reality of spending way too much money at a time in our economy when we are still very shaky. We need to be able to disagree with people over real issues, without accusing each other of racism. We need to tone down the rhetoric on both sides. We need to pray for our president and the country.

(1179) OFFICER CROWLEY VERSUS THE PROFESSOR- Okay, this week there was an incident that happened that has riled up the racial tensions in the country. In Cambridge Mass. a Black Professor was locked out of his house without his keys, a neighbor sees him trying to get into his house with a Black cab driver who drove him home. The neighbor calls the police thinking it’s a possible break in. The cop gets there and sees the Black guys in the house, he questions them. The Black owner [Gates] is mad, he is in his own home and a cop is there questioning him. Sure, I could see how I would be mad if this happened to me. Now, the White officer is simply doing his job, he was called to the scene by a concerned neighbor and he is being treated disrespectfully by the Professor, as was the Professor feeling disrespected too. So during the incident the Professor gets mad, it seems as if he was out of line in the way he spoke to the cop [can you really blame him?] but the cop is doing his job and is being labeled as a racist by the Professor. Now, Professor Gates is a Harvard Professor who teaches African /American studies, his whole life is dedicated to examining the class/culture realities of Black Americans. He is up on all the latest statistics on racial profiling, he has studied past incidents of Blacks being targeted by White cops, and he for the most part has spent more time than the average person looking at these things. Now the cop just happens to be the local officer who was chosen by the Black police commissioner to teach other cops how not to racially profile. Good enough so far. As things seem to get out of hand at the scene, the cop tells Gates to go outside and talk, obviously Gates knows he will be more susceptible to arrest if he leaves the house, so he musters up all the intellectual resources he can find, he draws upon his years of experience on how not to fall into the stereotypical Black mans response, and he says- quote ‘I’ll meet your mamma outside’. Probably not a good thing. So he gets arrested and the nation is up in arms, oh one more thing. As President Obama is giving a very lack luster speech on his effort to save his health insurance policy, he struggled thru a difficult time in trying to present his case. The last question of the night is ‘what do you think about the Professor Gates incident’ and he does his best to be measured, he says he wants to be careful because he doesn’t know all the facts, and then he ads ‘The police acted stupidly’ ah, just the thing we needed to tone down the tensions. The President is a personal friend of Gates and he knows he is an upstanding man, he of course assumes that something went wrong. Most of us would, but still he jumped the gun. And of course the conservative talk shows can’t get enough of reminding the world that Obama called the cops stupid. What happened here? Innocent people were drawn into a drama by innocent events and both sides are being demonized. It’s a shame that the cop does seem to be an outstanding cop when it comes to racial profiling. There are truly rogue cops in the world, who do treat minorities bad, this guy isn’t one of them. Gates has every right to be mad, of course he thinks the cop is a racist, he is in his home and being targeted. Does he know that a neighbor called about a possible break in? Not at first. Did race play any role in this, probably. We would be ignorant to think race played no role. Did the neighbor feel like there was a break in because there were 2 Black guys there? Possibly so, now that doesn’t mean the neighbor was racist, but I’m sure it played a role. But it seems wrong for Gates to have called the cop a racist, just as it was wrong for a Black man to be questioned in his own home as in if he was a criminal. It was not wrong for the cop [Crowley] to question him, but for Gates to feel like he was being treated like a stereotypical Black man by being treated like this in his home. We as Christians need to tone down the rhetoric, I have been strong on my disagreements on racial things [like affirmative action] and I have disagreed with the president on lots of stuff, but we need to be careful when choosing sides in these types of situations. Both Crowley and Gates have real legitimate complaints in defending their points of view. The national voices who are defending both sides also have real legitimate issues they are bringing up, but to only see one side of this issue would be a mistake. The President has since said he overreacted in his initial statement, the poor guy is trying his best at a very difficult time in the world, North Korea refers to Hillary Clinton [secretary of state] as a schoolgirl, or a pensioner shopping at the mall! I do find it ironic that Hillary was one of the vocal critics of Bush’s ‘Cowboy Diplomacy’ and used to criticize him for losing respect in international affairs. But Obama has since invited Gates and Crowley to the White House for a beer, I think we should try and see both sides to these types of issues and forgive those who we seem to disagree with.

(1176) In Luke 13 the people ask Jesus about a current event, there were these people who Pilate executed and mingled their blood with their sacrifices. Jesus says ‘do you think these sinners were the worst? No, but unless you repent you too will perish’ and then Jesus volunteers another news story ‘and what about the 18 people that died when the tower of Siloam fell, do you think they were worse than the common man? No, but you all need to repent’. Recently there was a story in the news about a nurse who worked for an abortion doctor, she testified to the fact that there were times when the babies were born alive, and you simply left them to die. She explained that on one occasion the doctor placed the tiny baby in a disposal basin and put it in a closet. She went back into the room and heard the poor mutilated baby crying its brains out. She finally took the baby out and held it until it passed away, the baby lived for 45 minutes. We as a society have a tendency to look back at the past injustices of man; we see the horror of slavery or the holocaust. We often think ‘how could people have been so blind to have allowed these atrocities to happen’ and yet we allow for things that are worse. Jesus rebuked the people of his day for thinking that other people must have been worse because of their fate, he said not so, you too allow for evil things. Picture a white doctor dismembering a baby, the arm is cut off. But by some accident the baby comes out alive and screaming. Let’s say the baby is Black, then let’s say he stuck it in a disposal box and left it to die while screaming in a closet. Can you honestly tell me that this act is not as horrendous as the poor Black slaves that were killed on the ships from Africa to America? Or the innocent Jews who were gassed under Hitler? One of the things that disturbs me about our current president is when he was in the Illinois senate he was one of the few [if only?] senators who voted against a bill that would have protected the live birth abortions. They tried to make it illegal to not administer treatment to a child that came out alive. I know the politicians lie and say ‘well, we voted against it because it would have opened the door to the pro life groups’. I don’t care what your reasoning is, if you cant protect the life of an innocent living baby, you have no right to be in office. We are talking about the babies who popped out alive for heavens sake! Jesus told us to beware of the tendency to look at the abuses of others while not seeing that we are just as bad. I can think of no greater application than this.

(1172) Yesterday was my birthday, I turned 47 [7-17-09] I don’t do stuff for my birthday anymore, but last night I caught the trilogy of the Gatti/Ward fights, watched all three back to back on HBO. It was a true present for me. The only sport I have ever really followed thru out my life has been boxing. Last week I saw a news brief on the death of Gatti, it effected me more than Michael Jackson to be sure. It’s sad for any one to die, but for boxing fans Gatti was a real hero. I grew up in the same area as Gatti [Jersey City, N.J.] Actually I run the blog ad in the Jersey Journal. Both Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward [Lowell, Mass.] were not world champions, but their fights were considered world class. It was interesting to hear Emanuel Stewart, one of the all time great trainers, really enjoy the fights. Plus the fact that these fights allowed the fighters to make more money [especially Ward] than ever before was a good story. They deserved it. Gatti and Ward became good friends during this time, Ward retired after these fights and Gatti fought seven more fights. Ward trained Gatti for the last fight. One of the things I like about the sport is you have Blacks/Whites rooting for their guy whether he’s Black or White. Gatti and Ward are White, yet Gatti’s corner man was Buddy McGirt, a great Black fighter in his own right. When Gatti broke his hand early in the second fight, he tells Buddy when he goes back to the corner, Buddy asks ‘what do you want me to do’ meaning you want to stop the fight, Arturo says lets go on. Only a good trainer is willing to stop a fight if his man is hurt. At the end of the Atlantic City fight you see a Black brother wearing a suit in the ring, you know when they are announcing the decision and all, he is happy about the results, the fight went all 10 rounds [as did all of them] and the Black guy tells Mickey ‘I am proud of you’ you could tell he meant it. He seemed to have been one of the promoters. Mickey was hurt at various times [as was Gatti] and it would have been easy to have not fought on, but he did. The promoter of course wanted to put on a good show, and he was proud that Mickey didn’t take an easy paycheck and quit. I liked the whole environment of these various ethnic guys all in it together, to accomplish a common goal. Sure you have bad guys that have been in the sport, but the Whites/Blacks [Hispanics] all working together, rooting for their guy regardless of race, the whole trilogy of fights was a real treat. True champions at heart who became good friends during their fights, guys who had many chances to stop their fights for valid reasons [Gatti’s broken hand!] but chose to fight on, I enjoyed re-watching the fights last night, it was one of the best birthday presents I could have gotten.

(1168) Jesus told the Jews that they were seeking a sign and they would get no sign except the sign of the prophet Jonah. He was speaking of his death and resurrection [I explained this in the ‘Messianic, Jewish, Gentile’ section under the John Hagee comments]. Jesus also warned us about the things we see, accept as models for the way we live as individuals and as a society. He talked about the eye being the gateway to the body, what we ‘look at’ informs the way we live. Whenever I hear of these reports of a 5 year old accidentally shooting someone, I think to myself how in the world do these kids know what to do with a gun? They obviously were informed to some degree by ‘what they saw’ whether it be a cartoon or whatever. The point being what we see gives us information that can be acted upon. Now I am not saying that every person who sees a shooting will commit murder! But you get the point. What ‘we see’ as a society also effects the way we live. Right now the senate is grilling Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Sonja Sotomayor. She is the first Hispanic women to be nominated to the court. I really have nothing against her to be honest, but she has made statements saying she believed that the fact that she is Hispanic and a woman, that that would help her to come to better conclusions that white men. Maybe so? The main point is if you had a white women say that her ‘whiteness’ would help her make a better decision that a Black/Hispanic woman, she would be thrown out as a racist. But we allow minorities to make statements that are at their heart racist in nature, because it’s cool to be on the side of the minority. So we ‘see’ how this is wrong, basically a double standard, yet we allow it because it’s trendy. Now, I know I lose readers when I talk about this stuff, but frankly I could care less. I do not believe this woman is a racist, and I think she should get on the court. But we need to stop allowing double standards like this to slip by. Of course she just got overturned by the Supreme Court for her ruling in the Boston firefighter’s case. The fire dept. gave a promotional test, around 16 White firefighters passed and 1 Hispanic, no Blacks passed. So the city simply thru out the test. This stuff is blatantly racist at its very core, every body knows this! Things like this fuel these white skinhead groups; this makes other ethnic groups mad at Blacks. When you allow certain racial prejudices to exist in society, it affects the ‘whole body’. Jesus said we function according to the models that we are given, according to the things we see others do. When young kids see the blatant acceptance of racist actions as acceptable, they will grow up with the same frame of mind. I realize that many people who use this lens for their worldview are good people, I also realize that because of past sins against minorities that we do need to try and make up for these sins as best as we can. If institutional racism has kept minorities out of the colleges and other professions, then lets do our best to right these wrongs, but you cant right them by discriminating against the white grandchildren of those who might have been part of this institutional racism, it simply breeds future generations of racist thoughts and ideas. If the ‘light’ [the things that inform us as a people] that be in us is dark, then the whole body [society] will be affected in a negative way.

(1167) Last night I had a rough night, I thought I would skip the Monday morning intercession time, I do pray regularly during the week and figured it would be no big deal. But when I got up [a few hours ago] I felt the Lord wanted me to pray, so I did the normal intercession thing [3:30-5-5:30]. I read earlier in Luke 11 where Jesus is accused of casting out demons by the devil, he then corrects the accusers and says when a strong man is in control of his house, his goods are at peace, but when a stronger man comes upon him and overcomes him, he robs him of his goods. During my prayer time I quote lots of stuff, one of the regular quotes is ‘strengthen the bars of our gates, bless our children within, let peace be within our borders and let out garners be filled, providing all manner of store’. I felt like the Lord was telling me that when we pray we are ‘binding the strongman’ and ‘our goods’ [the people/communities we are working with] experience peace. Jesus said when the leader is leading his ‘goods are at peace’ I thought this was interesting. I at first felt like I was the one who was being overcome by the strongman, having a tough day and all, but then I felt like the lord was saying ‘no, when you persevere in prayer, you are overcoming his goods!’ [The people he holds in bondage]. Jesus also gives the famous quote ‘a house divided against itself can not stand’ I think Lincoln quoted this during the Civil war. As of today [7-09] I feel this is a sad description of the political environment of our country. I am not a conservative per se, or a liberal! But as a Christian I think we should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. I want national heal care! I don’t have any medical coverage for myself right now, so yeah, I want it. Our country is in pretty bad financial shape right now, don’t let the media fool you. We have sent representatives to China and other nations that lend us money, we have asked them to please not cut us off as borrowers, this my friends is not a good thing. California has the eight biggest economy, in the world! They are giving out i.o.u’s for heavens sake! I am not an alarmist, but you would have to be blind to think that things are all right, and yet the politicians are making decisions based on their political interests. I know our president means well, but it is simply irresponsible to try and initiate a trillion dollar national health plan at this time, he realizes this, but they still talk about it as a possible option. Or to be the only country that passes ‘cap and trade’ laws [cutting back pollution- or simply new laws to make more money for the govt.] as of now the bill has passed in the house, but is having problems with the conservatives in the senate [Democrats and Republicans]. Obama just went to the G-8 [meetings with the top industrial nations] and not a single nation would bind itself to any pollution control mandates. But they agreed to ‘try not let the world temperature rise by more than a few degrees over the next 50 years’ wow, what a deal! The whole point being these other industrial nations laugh at us for doing what we do. In a time of national economic crisis, you cant pass laws that would put an extra burden on any type of business in the U.S. Now, I believe the environment is important, but we our not ‘the globe’! Global warming is warming effecting ‘the globe’ if the other nations on the globe don’t give a rip, we are fooling ourselves by strapping our nation with restrictions, we cant change the global environment by ourselves. Now to be doing all this at a time where the world markets are thinking of raising our debt risk is truly irresponsible. Then why are we doing it? Because the political wars are on and each side wants to score points with it’s base, truly sad. Lincoln quoted Jesus and realized that a nation divided against itself would not stand, I fear we are looking like that nation more and more each day.

(1151) Just finished reading ‘Coming to Grips With Genesis’ by Terry Mortenson and Thane Ury, probably the best argument for a young earth view put out in the last few years. Though I am still an ‘old earther’ it’s a good read. I am in the middle of ‘Last days Madness’ by Gary Demar [Preterism] and yesterday the book I ordered last ‘Why we’re not Emergent’, by Kevin Deyoung and Ted Kluck, showed up at my door. I am about 1/3 rd thru it. I recently read a quote from one of the famous philosophers that said ‘it is the mark of a mature intellect to be able to read and grasp another persons view, to understand what they are saying and where they are coming from, without fully embracing their view’ [paraphrase] I am applying this wisdom to all three of the above books. Not because they are not good, or because I disagree with everything in them, but because all people share from a limited view of the things they are seeing from their perspective [yes, me too!] that’s why God tells us there is safety in a multitude of counselors [not all counselors from your limited group either!] Okay, in Luke 3 John the Baptist is baptizing and calling people to repent [obviously not an emergent brother, or post modern or neo orthodox- yes, this can go on for ever- he told them what was right and wrong!] Look at the three groups coming to him; he tells the regular people ‘sell what you have, give it to the poor, share your stuff with those who are in need’. He tells the tax collectors ‘stop taking more money than you’re supposed too! It’s okay to collect a normal amount, but don’t go overboard’ and he tells the military ‘don’t use your power in an unjust way, when things go wrong, don’t bear false witness. Don’t cover it up’. I think all of these areas can apply to our lives today. There is somewhat of a resurgence of liberal social justice issues emerging in the church. It’s not out of the mainstream to talk about ecology, or ‘the military industrial complex’ and things of that sort. But we also must realize that in order to have these types of discussions there are times where we say to people ‘yes, we are not perfect, we have our faults. But it is still wrong to kill babies, or to discriminate against minorities, and to neglect our neighbor’. Would you tell a backslidden Christian who was hiding Jews in Nazi Germany ‘who do you think you are hiding these Jews, you are just as bad as Hitler’! Though the church has made mistakes, and Christians have been hypocrites, yet the reality of the ‘wrongness’ of killing Jews is not effected in any way by the perceived hypocrisy of the religious right. It’s still wrong to kill Jews whether or not Jimmy Swaggart messed up! The point being as the church tries to cast off the image of moral superiority that offends the world, we at the same time need to tell the world ‘yes, these things are still wrong, and these other things are still right’. When society came to John in the wilderness, he told them ‘what they must do’ he did not engage them in a long discussion on whether or not we can even determine what they need to do! He simply called them to repentance and back to the original intent of the law, he was preparing the way for Messiah.

(1137) Not sure which way to go, either the danger we are in right now as a country; that both sides [right and left] seem to be going to extremes, some wanting failure for the purpose of feeling vindicated. Or the liberal side that seems to always overlook the devastation of late term abortions. Never able to actually see and realize that we are actually dismembering real babies, babies that cry and squirm and wince on screen as they actually have taken pictures of this horrible act! Of course the murder of the man who engaged in this act for 5 thousand dollars a shot was wrong, very wrong. But the act itself is still horrendous! Both sides [right and left] are truly wanting the failure of the other side, even if it means national disaster! Bad stuff indeed. Okay, recently I have been reading up on the various views of Genesis and the recording of creation. Some scholars see the reality of other ancient near east [A.N.E] stories about a flood and creation, that have similar things to the biblical account, they see this as a key to understanding the Genesis account [I don’t fully hold to this myself]. While it’s interesting to note that some of these other stories have similarities [7 days are used frequently, the story of a man building a boat and saving his family as the world floods] and some of these stories existed before the Genesis account was written [around 1500 years B.C.] this in and of itself does not cast doubt on the biblical version. So what was the reaction to those who found out that these other stories had similarities to Genesis, and were written before Genesis? Some saw this as a clue to understanding the Genesis account; for instance they would say that when Moses recorded the Genesis account, he was a man influenced by his time and culture, so he obviously wrote in a sort of symbolic way, a style that he knew would be understood by the culture of his day. These scholars don’t reject the belief that creation did happen by God, they are simply trying to resolve some of the seeming problems [like God creating light on day 1, while the sun wasn’t created until day 4!] and feel there are some answers by using this paradigm. How else could you resolve the fact that other cultures [Babylonian, Egyptian] actually had their own stories of creation and a flood, before Genesis was written? Well the other possibility is that if Genesis is telling us the literal truth, that all people came from Adam [and later Noah] and that a great flood occurred, and that God really did make everything in 7 days, if these things really happened [by the way, I believe they did!] then why would you think it strange that the Babylonians and Egyptians had their own telling of these events, the other explanation for these other cultures having their own stories about these things is that these things really did happen to them! If all people really did come from Adam, then every culture would eventually have some type of telling of these stories passed along thru their culture. The possibility that some of these stories would be recorded before Genesis, does not diminish at all from the biblical account. No where in scripture does it tell us that the bible is the only book that would ever record the events of creation or a worldwide flood. The way people view these various truths depends a lot on their pre conceived mindsets. If you lean towards skepticism, then you tend towards seeing these things as ‘aha, I knew the bible was fake all along’ but if you lean towards a real belief in scripture, you could see it like the way I just showed you. In the future I will tackle some more of these issues [like light being created before the sun] and will try and give you both sides of the debate. But for now I wanted to just drop this in, to give your mind some things to chew on. The over spiritualizing of the creation account can be dangerous, Paul and Jesus both use the creation account in their teachings as historical narrative! In Romans Paul even says ‘like death entered into the world by one mans disobedience [Adam] we receive eternal life thru one mans obedience [Jesus]’ so to over spiritualize the creation account can be problematic. But even the literalists have some hurdles to overcome when reading the account. Most of all we know we can trust God’s word, and if there are portions of it that are Prose, Narrative, History or Phenomenological in language, this does not mean the Word of Gods is not true.

(1133) Nehemiah 10- Because of the reading of the law, the people reform. They were ignorant of many of Gods commands, after they had their minds renewed to the Word, they made adjustments. The scripture says they separated themselves and walked according to God’s wisdom. Let’s talk a little. What does it mean to be ‘separated’ from the world? I have mentioned in the past that right after becoming a believer I attended a Fundamental Baptist Church for a few years. The church and the Pastor/people were and are great people. After leaving the church [and while attending as well] I came to see that certain groups practice a form of ‘separation’ that can be legalistic. This view sees current dress standards, watching movies [or TV] and other cultural trends as being worldly. Now, there is no doubt that movies and the media bombard the Christian with images and ideas that are contrary to Gods Word! But my view is these things [forms of media themselves, or changing dress codes] are not the heart of the matter. But there is a ‘worldly’ mentality that people can embrace. The current debate on abortion has the pro abortion groups lobbying for changes to the law on who has to provide abortions. President Obama is changing the standards that have been in place for years. There is currently a loophole for Christian doctors to abstain from this procedure because of conscience sake. Obama is trying to change that. They want to make it where if there are no other providers around, that the Christian doctor must ‘kill your kid’. Think of this for a moment; some people are so influenced by the culture of death that they would see it as a great victory to make a Christian doctor dismember their baby! The world’s mindset can be deadly. Now as the people in Nehemiah’s day repent, they restore the practice of the Sabbath year forgiving of debts. Israel had both a 7 year ‘bankruptcy’ type thing, where after 7 years the books are cleared. They also had a 50 year Jubilee, at the end of 50 years the title deeds to properties went back to the original owner. Once again, lets examine our mindsets; what would you say if Obama tried something like this? Would you rant and rave about socialism? Would Rush and Hannity fall over dead? Yet Gods ways are not ours, he is neither a Republican, Democrat, Socialist or any thing else. His kingdom is a Divine monarchy for heavens sake! He is the King and what he says goes, that’s it. By the way, this principle of letting things go back in the 50th year engrained in the community that they really didn’t own stuff. They were just stewards of Gods stuff. The biblical picture of land and homes and farms was that people simply were taking care of these things, God was the true land owner. That’s why Jesus and his men ‘picked the corn [grain]’ and ate it. God had already instilled this command in the law. Though the farms and fields were ‘owned’ by the land owner, yet ultimately everything belonged to God. How do we live our lives? Have we become affected by the culture to such a degree that the U.S. constitution takes precedence over Gods Word? Do you get upset [or enraged!] when some politician questions your right to own a gun? Jesus said someday the guns will be beaten into farming tools! I don’t want to debate the whole gun thing, I just wanted to give you a little test to see whose standard you are being effected by, we all need to re-tool our thinking to a biblical worldview, it is often mistaken with human world views.

(1127) let’s see, I wanted to do Nehemiah, talk a little about the recent abortion debate, and also discuss modern philosophy! Let’s see what we can do. In Nehemiah the workers are scattered all along the wall, they are responsible for their section. Nehemiah tells them that because they are so far apart, they need the ability to be able to hear the warning from the main overseer of the work [namely him!] so he has this trumpet guy next to him, if danger shows up he will blow the trumpet and they will be forewarned, hey in a day without electronic communication, this is a good idea! Recently [5-09] there have been some debates over the abortion issue and some high profile cases as well. Just 2 days ago one of the most notorious abortion doctors in our country was shot down in cold blood, his name was George Tiller. His abortion clinic was only one out of three places in the U.S. that performed late term abortions. This is the procedure where you insert a forceps into the womb, pull apart the legs and arms of the baby. Then you position the forceps over the head and squeeze till the brains come out [I know this is graphic, if you want to learn more about it, go to the Priests for life icon on my blog roll]. While we in no way shape or form condone the murder of doctor Tiller, it should be noted that he took part in the most wicked act that can ever take place, the murder of unborn children. Now in this debate some Christians [Catholics] have brought up the recent speech by president Obama at Notre Dame, some boycotted the speech. The problem was that Notre Dame actually honored the president with an honorary law degree. It is one thing to allow both voices to be heard, quite another to honor the most anti life president in the history of the untied states! He has made more pro death decisions than any other president in history. The U.S. Catholic Bishops had passed a resolution a few years back that stated no Catholic institution should give honorary degrees to those who are in violation of the churches teaching on major issues, obviously Notre Dame violated this rule. Now, some Catholic media persons were defending Obama, they even criticized their own church for hypocrisy! They were saying that honoring Obama was no different than honoring any other leader who might be pro capital punishment. These Catholic media persons were equating the churches stand on abortion with her stand on capital punishment; these two are not in the same league! The Catholic church teaches a sort of hierarchy of offenses [as a boy I still remember being taught mortal and venial sins] the church sees abortion as an intrinsically evil act, the outright murder of innocent defenseless persons. The church also teaches against the death penalty, but the execution of a criminal is not to be equated with the murder of unborn innocent children [some 4 thousand per day!] so these Catholic believers were wrong on the stance of their own church. Today’s ‘post-modern’ philosophy will argue that truth and morals are relative [subjective] they see truth thru the lens of ‘that might be wrong for you, but not for me’ or ‘I personally am against abortion, but I don’t want to push my views on others’. In the world of postmodern thinking, this is considered acceptable. This view of right and wrong is based on the view that there really is no objective truth, that is truth does not correspond to any outside reality. Truth, in their view, is simply the way various cultures perceive and understand things at different times in human history, but it’s possible for other societies to interpret the data coming into their senses and arrive at another view of truth, and who am I to say that ‘my truth is real and yours is false’. Obviously in the field of theology this would be [and is!] disastrous. Paul himself would say ‘if Christ be not risen [a real fact!] then we are of all men the most miserable’. The biblical worldview of truth is objective; truth is something that corresponds to something else that is real. This does not always mean material, but real never the less. For instance mathematical equations are real truth, or feelings of love are real, but not material. This would be the foundation for saying ‘the murder of babies is wrong, always has been, always will be’ whether my view is contrary to your view is meaningless, the act itself is wrong! Your view of that oak tree might be different than mine, but if you run into it with your car, the only view that counts is what reality is. It really was a tree that was there, it was not simply my perception of ‘a tree’ my perception corresponded with reality and the truth was that the tree really was a tree, whether you like it or not! The modern philosophers would say ‘the only real question left for philosophy to answer is the viability of suicide’ [either Sartre or Camou said this] When philosophy severs itself from true moral reason and foundational ethics, it has no leg to stand on. When society can accept that murder might be wrong for you, but not for me, then the basic fabric of civilization is no more. Well I think I covered all three of the things I set out to do at the start, hope it helped.

(1106) been reading some of the parables, I have already covered them in the past and don’t really want to do them again. But do want to share a few thoughts; recently I have struggled with regretting certain words and things that I have said; the book of James says ‘in many ways we all offend others, if we learn not to offend with our words we are mature’ so anyway mistakes were made. But as I read the parables of the sower [planter of seeds] and the man who planted seed in the ground [2 separate parables n Matthew 13] I liked the idea that only 1/4th of what you ever say makes it! I know I’m taking it out of context, but it spoke to me. The birds eat some seeds [words we plant] thorns and weeds kill others, and the cares of the world creep in and people forget/forgive the past. In the parable of the guy who planted good seed, while he slept an enemy came and planted tares [weeds]. His men come and say ‘do you want us to go and root up the weeds’? And the owner says no, let them grow together until the harvest; because if you try and undo the mistakes you might affect some of the good stuff as well! Sort of like some of the people we offend have also learned some good things as well, and if you try too hard to make things right the end result could be worse. So I felt the lord spoke to me thru these things. Of course Jesus explains the parable to the guys, he tells them the field is the world [not the church!] and in the world you have good seeds/plants [Gods people] and bad seed [unbelievers]. I find it interesting that the servants wanted to tear out the weeds so they wouldn’t effect the good plants [they were members of the Moral Majority- you know the whole culture war thing!] But the owner [God-Jesus] says ‘leave them alone!’ let them both grow together until the harvest. Leave them alone! Don’t you understand if we allow gay marriage it will be the ruin of society!! Jesus says ‘leave them be’. At the end of the world [age] he will send forth his messengers [angels- or some translate ‘messengers’ as us! Christians] and they will separate the good stuff from the bad, he says the angels will ‘remove the bad weeds from my Fathers kingdom’ and the good stuff gets to say. What, a reverse Rapture? Yup. We see a redemptive purpose for the planet in these teachings, Jesus doesn’t take away the church and let the world [earth] go to hell in a hand basket, he takes away the bad stuff and calls the world his father’s kingdom! I guess he was one of those progressive types, always worrying about the environment and stuff? All kidding aside, God has a plan and purpose for society and the world, it is redemptive in nature [Romans 8] we need to avoid the ‘culture warrior’ mindset that is always looking to pull the weeds out of society, they wont hurt you! Jesus said so. And as we ‘re-think’ our purpose and place in the world, lets also hope that the bad seeds we have planted will soon be forgotten.

(1103) A few posts back I discussed John the Baptist, just read Matthew 11 and this is the chapter where Jesus says much about John. Now John was in jail and he sends the messengers to Jesus asking if he is the Messiah or not. I explained this a few days back and won’t do it again here. But Jesus begins telling the people that John was the one the prophet Malachi spoke of ‘God will send the messenger Elijah before the Messiah; he will prepare things for me’ John was also called ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness’. Jesus says to the people ‘what did you go to see? When you went to hear John in the desert, were you finding a reed shaken with the wind [a wishy washy pleaser of men] or did you expect someone in a three piece suit?’ John basically ran rough shod over the entire image of sophistication and affluence, yes he was rough and looked a little scraggly [leather loin cloth and eating locusts!] didn’t dress the part, that’s for sure! Then Jesus gave a description of the day, he said they were like kids in the market place saying ‘we sang for you and you didn’t dance, we mourned for you and you didn’t cry’ he was telling them that they expected performance, they wanted to illicit a response from those who were supposed to be teachers of the law. He said they were never satisfied, they complained that John didn’t eat regularly and must be demon possessed. Then they accused Jesus of eating too much! Ah, there was just no pleasing this bunch. Reminds me of the political world of our day. A few things; these last few weeks I have tried to share the story of Jesus and his disciples. The feelings they were experiencing and the things they had to deal with. In the case of John the Baptist Jesus said he was the specific person spoken about in the Old Testament, as we identify and see ourselves in these stories, we should NEVER begin viewing ourselves as the actual persons spoken about in the stories! For instance, many have read revelation chapter 11 and began seeing themselves as the actual witnesses spoken about, the ‘two witnesses’ thing. Many have become cult leaders by doing this! From my part of the world David Koresh did this in Waco. But the Muenster prophets did this 500 year ago during the Reformation, so the tendency to begin seeing yourself as actual biblical characters ought to be rejected! But you say ‘well brother, how do you know I’m not one of the two witnesses spoken about in revelation’. The reason I know is because I’m the other one and your not one of them! ONLY A JOKE!! Take my word for it, none of us are the two witnesses in Revelation 11. Just needed to make sure everyone stays on track here. Now back to John [the Baptist!] he challenged the people to ‘repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ in the message bible it says ‘change the way you think and act, because Gods kingdom is here now’. Yes, this does include turning away from sin, but it also means we need to look at things from a different view. Much of what I have written on the nature of the church would fit in here. As people see the church for what she really is [community of people] they will act differently, their priorities will change. I took a few homeless brothers to a park/lake area in my town and we had a good fellowship. These guys are smart! One was a realtor in San Antonio for many years, the other is like a scholar of sorts. I mean I mentioned the philosopher Immanuel Kant and my friend read and was aware of his system of belief! As we talked we shared a little about the wrong priorities of much of modern day church. My one friend [the realtor] said if the church was really doing it’s job in reaching out to the poor and oppressed, then there would be no need for the mission out post that we meet at. He understood how so much of modern church spends millions on facilities and salaries and stuff, yet the lost world is really not being touched in a real way. The overall discussion was good, these guys knew their stuff. The lake area we were at is off the beaten path, hidden inside some nice subdivision. We were surrounded by nice expensive homes, I’m sure many sincere believers were in them at the time, others at work trying to make a future for themselves. The collective offerings given by all the residents on any given Sunday is probably in the thousands, yet right outside their windows were a few homeless Christian brothers. If I weren’t with them they probably would have had the cops come and harass them. John was preaching in the wilderness telling the people ‘change the way you think and act, God’s kingdom is here right now’ I think John knew what he was talking about.

(1072) 1ST KINGS 21- Ahab wants the field of Naboth, he owns a field next to Ahab’s palace and Ahab wants to make a deal for it. Naboth says ‘no way, this is a part of my family inheritance’. So Ahab goes home, falls on his bed and refuses to eat, in the Greek this is called ‘being a big baby’. So Jezebel asks him ‘what’s wrong’? He gives her the scoop and she says ‘what’s wrong with you, you are the king! Your word/name has great power, use it to get what you want!’ So she manipulates the situation and sends letters to the elders of Naboth’s city, she signs the kings name and says ‘set up 2 false witnesses against Naboth, hold a public mock trial and kill the man’. The accusation against him is blasphemy. This sure looks like a prophetic sign of the Cross. So the plan is carried out, the guy is killed and Ahab gets the land. Now, the Lord speaks to Elijah about the whole thing and he confronts Ahab, he pronounces judgment on him and his wife. Ahab repents somewhat and God delays the judgment. In the book of Revelation God warns the church of Thyatira ‘you have permitted that woman, Jezebel, to teach and seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols’. John the Baptists head was taken off by a Jezebel [the wife of a king who used her husband’s authority to get what she wanted- manipulation]. What/who is Jezebel? A few years back it was common to hear teachings on her, whole books have been written on the subject. It was one of those fads where the church thought we were really doing ‘spiritual warfare’ by exposing her, but in reality we were being duped by focusing too much on the enemy. So what about the rebukes? How do we ‘spot her’? In the cases mentioned above, it is speaking of a form of manipulation that gets the ‘authorities’ to commit wickedness. When the govt. can stamp its approval on an act, like abortion, then the wicked act can be carried out because the ‘law’ permits it. In Naboth’s mock trial, he was murdered, but it was under pretense of law. Of course Jesus trial was the same. And John the Baptist was beheaded because the ‘kings word is law’. Oliver Cromwell, the 17th century parliamentarian reformer, would face his Jezebel in the king’s wife, she was the Catholic wife of King Charles [Stuart the 1st] and the puritan reformer saw her as a threat. He would eventually lead parliament to execute the king and himself hold the title ‘The Lord Protector’ his epitaph would read ‘Christ, not man, is King’. So every age has had to deal with Jezebel. One thing for sure, when the people of God permit, and at times agree, with the unjust manipulation of human govt. [like Supreme Court decisions that give voice to the murder of children] then we are to a degree ‘suffering that woman Jezebel’. The reason John the Baptists head was removed was because he spoke up loudly against a public sin. The king married his brother’s wife, they were committing adultery. Now, everyone knew it, it was the sort of thing that you learned to live with, but John felt it his duty to publicly speak out against it. So today, when we as believers become desensitized to the sins that take place with the governmental stamp of approval, then we too are allowing the unjust manipulation of human govt. [Jezebel] to have her way.

(1069) 1ST KINGS 18- After three years in hiding the Lord tells Elijah to show himself to Ahab, rain is on the way! He appears once again on the scene and Ahab says ‘here he is, the one causing all the trouble’. Elijah says ‘you got it wrong buddy, it’s your wickedness and turning away from proper paths that has caused this trouble’. Elijah sets up a contest ‘go, get all the false prophets of Baal and let them come and set up an altar. Let them place a bull on it and pray and see if Baal will come and show himself alive’. So Elijah has them crying and cutting themselves [pagan ritual] and pleading all day for Baal to come and consume [by fire] the sacrifice. He even mocks them ‘where is Baal? Maybe he went on a trip? Maybe he’s sleeping’? One translation says ‘maybe he’s on the pot’ [toilet] Elijah was not above scathing sarcasm! So after Baal doesn’t ‘act’ Elijah sets up his own altar, puts a bull on it, soaks the whole thing with water and prays for God to reveal himself. Sure enough fire falls from heaven, burns the bull, stones and everything else! Elijah takes the false prophets and puts them out of their misery. These brothers had a bad day, the same day they find out that their religion is false, they meet Jehovah face to face! And then Elijah tells Ahab ‘get ready, the rain is coming’. God ‘showed’ himself thru a great act; he let it be known that the true God made a real difference. I recently read a story about an atheist. He is an intellectual and lives in Africa. Over the years he observed these ‘silly Christians’ coming to his nation and spreading their ‘ignorant beliefs’. He also noticed something else, they were the only real ongoing group of people who regularly gave their time and lives for the betterment of his fellow Africans. Sure, his intellectually arrogant friends would look at the whole thing as a charade, watching these missions groups spending time trying to teach silly stuff like the Trinity, declaring that this Jesus was ‘Gods son, God in the flesh’ but the atheists never organized a community that would actually help his fellow Africans, there was almost a built in bigotry that said ‘why even help these poor blobs of flesh, after all, we all came from nothing. When we die we simply cease to have feelings and pleasure, our lives basically consist of enjoying pleasures and being happy, what eternal significance is there in caring for the poor ignorant masses’. The observant atheist realized that thru out his life, his closet friends, the people who shared his own beliefs. They were the ones who didn’t ‘give a damn’ about his fellow black countrymen, but the Christians whom he and his friends spent their who lives mocking and resisting and verbally abusing, these Christians were the ones who gave of their lives for the betterment of his fellow man. God revealed himself thru Elijah’s ministry on this day, he showed the people that the God [system] you believe in really does matter. In all of our talking and debating between various religions and belief/unbelief systems, at the end of the day look at the results, Christianity has had her faults to be sure, but she has done a lot better than the prophets of Baal!

(1067) 1st KINGS 16- Jehu, a prophet, receives Gods word and rebukes Baasha, king of Israel. What is God upset about? That Baasha not only sinned himself [bad enough] but that he chose to cause Gods people to sin. Last night I watched an excellent program on P.B.S. about Jerusalem and its history. They covered the story of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I still can’t bring myself to view Islam as a faith that is legitimate. Now I know and love Muslim people, as a matter of fact I recently had some emails from a Muslim friend who defends his faith, he found our site a few years ago and has corresponded with me. But the problem I have with Islam is it has introduced religious beliefs and ideas that are totally contrary to the revelation of God thru Christ. What do I make of a faith that calls God ‘Allah’ and Jesus ‘Isa’, that denies the deity and incarnation of Jesus. That basically decimates the truth of God as seen in the gospel. I think believers should be fair and balanced and NON RACIAL when dealing with stuff like this, but we cant take lightly a ‘world religion’ that has introduced error on such a large scale. Now Jehu will be mentioned again, he was a prophet with a ‘violent streak’! He will be recognized by those who know him as ‘one who rides furiously’ that is he tended to ride outside of the perceived parameters of prophetic/pastoral leadership. When he was coming to town, everybody knew about it. Also at the end of this chapter we are introduced to king Ahab, one of Israel’s worst kings. He also will lead Gods people astray, Elijah the prophet will become his nemesis. Jesus said of the religious leaders of his day ‘you compass land and sea to make one convert, and when he is made you make him twice as much the child of hell than yourselves’. It’s interesting, you would think people who are zealous to make converts would always be doing it out of a right motive, but Jesus told us this isn’t always the case. Sometimes people are power hungry, or they simply want a following for the sake of being in charge. I admire the dedication of the Mormons and the Jehovah’s witnesses, their founders sacrificed much in the pioneering of their movements. But just because leaders/movements manage to gain a following, that in itself does not mean the outcome will be good. There are many adjectives used in scripture, to be a ‘child of hell, twice as much as your founder’ is one description we ought to avoid.

(1065) 1ST KINGS 15- In this chapter we see the various kings of Israel and Judah. Some good, some bad. Scripture says even though some did evil, yet for the sake of David, and the promises of God to him, the Lord still worked thru their reigns. I find it interesting how we are all part of a divine/dynastic rule. In essence we are inheriting the promises that God made to others who came before us. One of the previous verses we looked at [I think?] said ‘I have heard your prayers concerning this place [Solomon praying about the temple] and my eyes and heart will always be there, walk in my statutes and do my judgments and I will keep the promises that I made to David your father’ God is looking to fulfill his word to the previous generations, we are simply parts of the puzzle! It’s important for us to keep this in mind, it keeps us humble. Over the years I have lived in ‘two worlds’. As a firefighter I had friends/co-workers that took the road of responsibility in life, some invested in real estate [like myself] and did the whole rental thing. I sold everything and got out of the business years ago. Then I lived in the ‘homeless/drug-addict/ex-con’ world. These were/are my buddies who I have spent most of my ‘other life’ with. Not ‘a ministry’ per se, but real friends helping one another out. Many of these friends were/are talented and gifted, many actually work! Yes, I have had many homeless friends who worked on a regular basis- carpentry, yard work, painting. Now, many times the ‘normal world’ would simply see the plight of the ‘other world’ [of those who never seemed to make it in life] and think/say ‘look at our lives [normal world] we have pulled ourselves up by our own boot straps, and now the government wants to penalize me so I have to help those who were not responsible like me!’ while there is some degree of truth to this complaint, yet it misses something. Many who ‘have made it’ were not much different than those who didn’t. Many ‘normal’ people have, to a degree, been the recipients of the promises that God made to their fathers, simply a result of having stable lives as youngsters, or living at a time where immigrants were welcomed. That is their heritage is one of immigrant [like me being an Italian] and our forefathers made it in for us. We now say ‘geez, my parents did it legally! What’s up with these modern immigrants?’ [usually speaking of Mexicans] the whole point being much of your success in life really had little to do with you pulling yourself up by your own boot straps! Now, I am not saying responsibility and diligence don’t count, they do count for something, but I am saying we at times have been blessed because of previous promises of God [and blessings] upon others who came before us. Paul taught ‘some watered, some planted but only God can make it grow’ and he said others have entered into the labors of those who worked hard before them. Do the best with the deck that was dealt to you; be humble about all the good you might accomplish thru out your life. And when you see others who have not been as blessed as you, be kind and patient, maybe God blessed you so you could someway be a blessing to them. It just might be your [mine too!] job to help them get a leg up in life.

(1049) 1st KINGS 2-The best way to describe this chapter would be ‘Solomon practices shock and awe’. The young king is given the charge by his father David to settle some old scores. Was David being vindictive? No, he realized that there were experienced ‘politicos’ who knew how to manipulate things to their own advantage, and they would do it at the expense of ethics [note- after all I have seen and learned these last few months, I believe president Obama, though a good man himself, is surrounded by men like this. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a political insider from Chicago, he has already been involved with all types of insider political intrigue that is corrupt at heart]. So David advises Solomon to eliminate these threats and Solomon surprises the opposing team by acting decisively. He even kills Joab while clinging to the ‘horns of the altar’. His brother, Adonijah, who tried to claim the kingdom first, Solomon kills him because he requested to have King David’s maid servant after his death. Basically Solomon cleaned house and knew he would make some enemies in the process. Leadership can be tough at times, you might deal with people who are problematic, everyone knows they need to be dealt with! Yet after you deal with them, you become the bad guy! I get a kick out of people who absolutely hate and oppose me, they sincerely believe our challenges in certain areas are wrong. Then a few years go by, they read and listen to our stuff, and walla! They now think we are on the cutting edge, maybe [to them] even at the top of the list of teaching and understanding. Why do I not get excited about stuff like this? If someone can go from thinking we are a cult to thinking we are one of the best teaching ministries around, who in the heck knows where they will be in another year or two? Now don’t get me wrong, I am glad they came around, but I can’t put a whole lotta stock in this. Now, I have had friends who have been with us for years. To be honest, some of the stuff I teach is over their heads. But they were fruit from the basic years of outreach and evangelism. They identify me with the time in their lives where they were reached with the gospel. Times when I spent many hours helping them on their journey. These brothers are faithful and stick with us out of brotherhood. Solomon knew the difference, he was willing to sacrifice talent [Joab] and stick with those who would be loyal. [Note- sometimes you choose talent over loyalty. That is people do need to be able to handle the job, the point is if you can’t trust people, it doesn’t matter how talented they are, things won’t go well for you or the team that is depending on them]

(1042)‘Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber’ Ecclesiastes 10:20a- These past few weeks there has been much ‘silliness’ in the media. They have been going back and forth on the debate over whether or not Rush Limbaugh is the titular head of the Republican Party. To my dismay, the Obama administration has added fuel to the fire. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has enlisted the media to do his bidding, truly sad stuff. We have a national crisis and these guys are ‘cursing’ each other! Now, what do I think of Rush? He is an entertainer that captures a large audience. When he runs ads on his radio show that sing ‘Barack the magic negro’ then it’s time to shut him off. Both ‘cursing the king’ [open mocking] and ‘speaking badly about the rich’ [class warfare] are detrimental to our country. There is a proper way to disagree with the president, without demonizing the man. The same goes for the other side. Do I want Obama to succeed? You bet I do! Do I want him to succeed at stuff that I disagree with, like the expanding of funding for abortion? No. I want bad policies to ‘not succeed’. Now the media says ‘how dare you’! Yet all the while they wanted Bush ‘to fail’ in their view of what he was doing to our constitutional rights. They believed Bush was undermining our rights in his war on ‘terror’. So both sides want the other side ‘to fail’ in the things they perceive to be wrong. I am surprised [well, not really] on how the media is so willing to play this silly game. The market has been crashing, there are major world events going on, and Chris Matthews opens his ‘news’ show with ‘is Rush Limbaugh running the Republican Party’ you gotta be kidding me! Solomon said it was wrong to demonize people, even if you think their demons! I believe it’s all right to be critical of the administration when you have real disagreements with them, but to call our president ‘a magic negro’ is going way over the line.

(1040)Ecclesiastes 10:16-18 [Just a note, I wrote the last entry yesterday morning. That same day the stock market dropped below 7,000 for the first time since 1997 [it dropped to 6,700]. I guess you could say it was prophetic.]
‘Woe to thee, oh land, when thy king is a child [immature/inexperienced] and thy princes eat in the morning [spend and consume before earning it- deficit spending]. Blessed are you when your king is the son of nobles [doing right for ‘rights’ sake] and your princes eat in due season [they withhold consuming/spending until the proper time]…by much slothfulness the building decayeth, and thru idleness of the hands [a nation on welfare] the house drops thru’. During the end of the Bush presidency our nation passed ‘tarp’ a 700 billion emergency spending bill that was supposed to bail out the credit system. President Obama then passed another 800 billion dollar ‘stimulus plan’ that economists on both sides of the aisle disagreed with. Last week the president came up with another 450 million dollar ‘omnibus bill’, this one is filled with ‘ear-marks’ something the president spent much time condemning! Some of the forecasts I heard yesterday were telling, it is now becoming common to hear that we might experience a ‘mild depression’ this is something that people normally don’t say! Our president has not been a ‘radical liberal’ who seeks to socialize our govt. His choice to increase taxes on business, to expand ‘free’ govt. aid to the populace at large, to spend so much money that our nation does not have [we either borrow it from China-they buy our debt, or we simply print the stuff like monopoly money!] these choices can be devastating to our economy. So why try and do all of these things at once? The president believes that during times of economic crisis, you can ‘take advantage’ of the situation and make major transitional changes, thus the conservatives accusation of ‘socialism’. I believe the wise, adult thing to do right now [3-09] is to drop the whole ‘big bang theory’ of radical economic change and to deal head on with some major crisis. We still have not fixed the credit problem with the banking system. This is thee number one ‘adult’ problem that needs to be worked on. When you by-pass the serious issues, and hand out tons of ‘free money’ in essence you are ‘eating in the morning’, you are saying to people ‘you can have your cake and eat it too’. As noble and sincere as many of these democratic principles are, you must first deal with the real problems. When people say ‘let’s tax the rich’ [a class I do not belong to] they need to understand that during times of recession this can be devastating, your ‘great new agenda’ can turn into a disaster! Solomon saw the danger in ‘child princes’ [immature leaders] he warned against ‘eating before you put in a full day of work’. Though the theme of responsibility and a good work ethic do not always fit in to a liberal agenda, yet maturity faces reality head on and does not make decisions based on popular opinion. And don’t support the ‘united nations population fund’ a fund that provides money to China’s ‘one child policy’, a tragic human rights violation that forces women to have abortions! Our new president wants our nation to start supporting it, this is something that we presently don’t do.

(1039)Ecclesiastes 10:7-9 ‘there is an evil I have seen under the sun, AS AN ERROR WHICH PROCEEDETH FROM THE RULER: folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth’. In the last few weeks [3-2009] we have had an interesting dynamic at work. Our new president [ruler] has engaged in a type of class warfare; it goes like this ‘the rich and successful have been riding high on the hog for too long, the poor can not afford the same privileges as the rich. So we are going to tax the rich more and provide for the rest of the people who can’t provide it for themselves’. Now, I am not a staunch republican free market capitalist who believes that the free market solves all things. I have said in the past that the mandate for fair wages is actually found in scripture! That’s why many of the historic churches [Catholic] have sided on the side of labor. But in the current scenario we have dragged the corporate ‘big wigs’ before congress [which is always a joke, these guys are like the kettle calling the pot black!] and we have fostered a sort of attitude that says ‘lets make the rulers walk, while the servants ride the horses’. Even though I have been hard on the rich and famous in many of my writings, yet the reason many of them are successful is because they worked hard at it. I have been retired for over a year now, I retired with 25 years in as a firefighter. The main reason was because over the years my back started killing me. You get various injuries that come with my type of job, that’s just the way the ball bounces. Now, my retirement is solely the money that went into my account over the years, I get no type of injury pay at all! I always found it sad that there were many days when I would be at the homeless mission and many of these guys are in much better shape than me, yet many of them have been receiving govt. aid for years. I mean young guys who spend their whole check on crack! When the ‘ruler’ decides to put in place policies that simply say ‘even though you didn’t earn it, we will give it to you’ this undermines society as a whole. At the same time when the rulers call the business heads together and berate them, this is a game the servants love. It’s sort of like a dignified execution type thing. Third world countries kill the authorities they don’t like, we mock them. ‘Folly is set in great dignity, the rich sit in a low place’. I believe there is a time and place for our country to seriously look at corporate abuse, I myself have been a defender of the poor. But when you treat the poor in a way that says ‘nothing is your fault, we will solve your problems by taking from the rich and giving it to you’ you dignify folly. Many of my friends are poor because of very bad decisions they have made. Many of the ‘well to do’ have made wise decisions, when you simply transfer wealth from one group to another, without dealing with the underlying issues, you really haven’t addressed the issue at all.

(1035)‘Who ever keeps the commandment shall feel no evil thing… because judgment against evil is not swift, therefore men feel confident in their sin… though a sinner sin a hundred times, and get away with it, yet judgment is sure to come’ [various verses/ paraphrase’s from chapter 8- Ecclesiastes] as I continue to watch the political scene it’s sad how various media outlets [both pro and anti Obama] simply tell you what you want to hear. I found it interesting that during the campaign they managed to make Palin look like an idiot. She supposedly questioned her campaign handlers on South Africa. The rumor was she thought South Africa referred to the southern tip of the continent, as opposed to actually being a state/country itself. Hey, it’s a simple mistake if your main job is not world affairs. Oh did the media blast her as an idiot. Yet Biden was at some event, he spoke to the crowd about his ‘good friend’ who was there [the politician from the state]. He even told his good friend ‘Chuck, stand up for the people, go ahead don’t be modest, you deserve it’. Well, as he was telling his ‘good friend’ to stand up, some stage hand had to tell Biden ‘he has been crippled in a wheel chair for years, he can’t stand’! You see, the media chooses to brand certain people as idiots. Now, as we progress into the first year of the president’s administration, a few things bother me. First, don’t keep saying ‘the problems we inherited’ every president inherits stuff, that’s why you run for the office. It is immature to keep saying ‘I inherited the problem’ just deal with as best as you can and let the chips fall. Also, the Obama justice dept. just sided with the Bush administration in not granting constitutional rights to the detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are a few hundred that we are holding captive in Afghanistan and a few thousand in Iraq. Liberal civil rights groups have taken the case to court and are trying to obtain rights for the detainees. These prisoners are in the exact same situation as the guys in Cuba [Gitmo]. Yet Obama just argued for them to not receive constitutional rights. The exact opposite of what many of his supporters argued over Cuba. Even Obama has indicated that our country does not have to violate the rights of these prisoners [at Gitmo] in order to carry out our war on terror. Yet the guys in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t get these same rights? The problem is we need to get back to ‘obeying the commandments’ that is we can’t lie and deceive and speak out of both sides of our mouth and expect things to turn around. We can’t expand the murder of innocent children and think ‘well, let’s get over our love affair with the Fetus’. Just because a crime is committed ‘a hundred times’ [over and over again] and just because it seems like ‘we have been getting away with it’ [judgment is delayed] this does not give us the right to keep doing it. If we truly love our fellow man we won’t KILL HIM. If we truly are concerned about the rights of certain prisoners, then we can’t argue the opposite when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan. Leadership is tuff, especially when the media and opposing party call you a murderous war criminal [Bush/Cheney] when it’s your turn up at bat you better know what you are doing.

(1030)ECCLESIASTES 6:1-3 ‘There is a COMMON evil under the sun. Men who have much wealth and labor, they live long and have many kids, yet they have no ability to enjoy anything. They die and don’t even have a proper burial’ [paraphrase]. I was asked what I thought about a recent popular movie about a gay rights activist who was killed. I haven’t seen the movie but it’s up for awards. I told the person that even though I am not ‘anti-gay’ to the degree that many preachers are, yet the problem with media portrayals of the gay lifestyle is that usually [always?] they portray it as some type of civil rights struggle on par with the civil rights movement. I think it is an insult to compare the black mans struggle for equality with a person’s sexual preference. Now, the last word in the last sentence [preference] is what I want to discuss. Over the years I have been clear about my beliefs on homosexuality, I do believe the practice is sin. Now, are there many sinful practices of all types of people? Sure. But there is a political [and religious] trend going on that is trying to equate this action [not feelings!] to be compatible with heterosexual marriage. To show the person who asked me if I saw the movie, to give them an example of media bias towards homosexuality, I asked them when was the last time they saw on the news any story about homosexuals raping children. ‘Oh brother, are you saying all gays do this?’ Of course not, but there have been many THOUSANDS of cases on a yearly basis where gays have sinned sexually towards others, just like heterosexuals, yet you would be hard pressed to see it in the media. I remember a story where some gay men raped, sodomized and killed another person. This was not widely reported at the time. Also stories of people who have been harassed by the more militant branch of ‘the movement’. Do we see stories about the wonderful Christian civil rights people who have had their rights abused by homosexuals? Now, I believe Christians have been inconsistent in their arguments at times. Does it really make a difference if someone was ‘born that way’ or acquired the lifestyle later on? No. The scripture teaches all men were born in sin, if the ‘sin’ that you practice has been with you from birth, that does not justify the sin. I don’t know why we fight over this stuff. Even in the pro-life cause, to which I subscribe, we have made inconsistent arguments. The idea that no person has the right to take another persons life is of course true, but when we debate euthanasia we sometimes seem to be saying that elderly people should be kept alive at extreme costs. That if someone is 90 and has cancer and does not want treatment, but wants to die in peace without all types of procedures, then that’s wrong. Of course we should never force this on someone, but to tell them they have ‘no right’ to deny treatment is wrong. Why are believers inconsistent when they make this argument? Because the founding person of our religion, Jesus Christ, actually said that no man had the right to take his life [speaking of himself], but he himself chose to lay it down. The founder of our ‘movement’ said this! So it does seem a little inconsistent to make the extreme argument on the other side. Well anyway, the point is ‘there are common evils that happen to many people’. Just because a whole group of people [whether gay people or any one else] struggle with a certain type of temptation from their youth, this still in no way excuses the sin. Remember, you want to finish life well. Don’t be like the man in the above scripture who accomplished much, but didn’t finish well [bad burial-remembrance]. Don’t think ‘Gee, every one else in society divorces, or lives their desires out, why not me?’ Because the media portrayal of these choices tends to be rosy, they do not show you the other side.

(1027)ELIJAH PRAYED THAT IT WOULD NOT RAIN- I woke up this morning with this verse in my head ‘Elijah was a man subject to the same weaknesses as us, yet he prayed that it WOULD NOT RAIN FOR 3.5 YEARS and it didn’t’ [James]. As the first few weeks of president Obama’s presidency gets into action, I can’t but help notice the dilemma we are in. First, I like Obama and Biden. It is obvious that the president is a little ‘green’ [immature] at this. The problem with Biden is he has made a career at being ‘antiauthority’. A true lawyer/politician at heart. All the years in the senate he learned how to argue the opposite case whether he believed it or not. During the Bush years he came out and floated a very bad plan on the war. He said ‘let’s divide Iraq into 3 separate states and let each ethnic/religious group run their own province’. Quite frankly, this would have been a disaster. But he became an arguer in opposition to whatever Bush was doing. Now, in his first few weeks in office he still had some of this opposition/critical spirit going on. Even Obama became visibly upset with him when he dissed John Roberts in public, or when he blabbed ‘there is a 30 % failure rate in what we are doing’. Basically, he has spent a career at pointing out the flaws of others while not really accomplishing anything. So what’s the problem? Well, when you do this stuff, and then find yourself in the same position of those you criticized, you reap much more than if you just kept your mouth shut. This week the U.S. struck the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan and killed many civilians. The president wants to make good on his campaign promise to step it up in Afghanistan and route the Taliban [opposition govt. in Afghanistan]. Where are all the liberal Democrats who said Bush was a liar who killed innocent kids? “Bush lied and people died” was on Kerry’s lips as he ran for president, though the ‘lie’ was believing the bad intelligence of the C.I.A. and acting on it. Kerry himself voted for the war based on the same intelligence! But lo and behold, yesterday Pakistan began talks with THE TALIBAN to strengthen their rule in the area. What was the result of the bombings in Pakistan? They are no longer going to cooperate with the U.S.. Secretary Clinton goes to North Korea, another person who spent much time blasting Bush on his incompetence and stupidly in world affairs. They said they would regain respect in the world, they openly mocked bush and Cheney as imbeciles. Well Clinton announced what wonderful progress she made while in North Korea. The next day North Korea announced its intention on testing a long range missile that could reach parts of the U.S. Now, am I rejoicing over the obvious failures of this team? No, I do pray for them. But if you spent much time openly denigrating the former office holders, you will reap it when you yourself are up at bat. Now, Elijah prayed for no rain because the leadership of Israel was wicked, they oppressed God’s people and worshipped false gods [ideals-idols]. Ahab [king at the time] was more concerned about the environment than the welfare of the people, he sent one of his men out to find water to save THE ANIMALS! Our country can not blatantly disregard the lives of unborn children and at the same time try and look tough while killing innocent civilians. We cannot tell one ‘ruling party’ “the fact that our soldiers are even there is the reason for all the problems” and then send an extra 10,000 of them into Afghanistan. We speak with a double tongue. It is obvious to me that our country is going into a time of ‘famine’, we have some very tough times ahead. The present ruling authority needs to quickly drop the criticism of those who are no longer relevant [Bush, Cheney, Palin] and realize that they have a serious job to do. I believe God can cause it to ‘rain again’ in our land, but we need to be mature in our understanding as well.

(1026)YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL! I was watching King of Queens [TV show] the other day, and Arthur [Jerry Stiller] who is Doug’s [Kevin James] father in law tells Doug ‘I don’t want to die’ as the plane their on gets shaky. Doug tells Arthur ‘don’t worry, it’s not that bad’ and Arthur replies ‘you don’t understand, I don’t want to die, EVER!’ hey, we all gonna die! Then Arthur asks Doug ‘do you think I will be going up or down when I die’ and Doug reassures him that even though he’s been a real pain, he thinks he will go up. Arthur says ‘Good, cause thru out my life I have had a number of people look me straight in the face and tell me “Spooner, you’re going straight to hell someday”. So much for comedy/theology. Solomon tells us there is a time/season for everything; a time to cast away and a time to gather, a time to be born and a time to die. God has ordained that certain things happen at certain seasons. One of the pitfalls of modern ministry is we often seek God with ambition and determination. We come up with goals and plans [often good] and then we get in situations where we feel if people would just support us [with money] or ‘pastor so and so’ would just recognize my gift, then the plan would work! Most times these types of plans are simply results of well intended ambitious people. But God does things in seasons, when he ‘opens a door’ no man can shut it. When he ‘closes a door’ no man can open it. I like Sarah Palin [former republican vice presidential nominee] I don’t hold to many of her Christian beliefs [basically Assembly of God, end times stuff] but she seems to be a good lady who the media treated badly. I told one person who was all up in arms about her daughter’s pregnancy, the person told me how the sex lives of her kids were ‘fair game’. I asked the person if they knew about the sex lives of Joe Biden’s kids. If they think his boys ever ‘slept with someone out of wedlock’. I asked if they even thought a question like this was relevant. They then realized that they were using a measuring rod for one political party, but would not use it on their preferred party. Nevertheless I heard Palin say ‘hey, if God opens a door I will run thru it. Or even if I see a little crack in the door, I will plunge right thru’. I sensed a kind of ambition in this statement that many believers have. I think it’s better to be less ambitious, and more sensitive to the seasons. Yes, seasons and ‘open doors’ are alike, but God works with us in process. He shows us stuff to mold us, shape us. After we ‘are shaped’ then we fit into the next part of the puzzle. We too often are looking for plans and schemes to follow; God is walking with us on a journey. I am sure all the people who told Spooner to ‘go to hell’ were sincere, but you cant live your life by what other people think about you!

(1018)JAMES AND THE RICH- as James encourages the saints he also rebukes the ‘well to do’. He tells them they have heaped treasure together for the last days and the rust of it will testify against them. He tells the poor believers that the rich blaspheme Gods name and oppress the poor. He tells the poor that God has chosen them to be heirs of the kingdom. One of the main themes of James is that God is on the side of the oppressed person, the down and out. God defends those who have ‘no voice’. They lack the finances and influence to speak up for themselves. Martin Luther King said the New Jerusalem is both a present reality breaking into our current lives ‘New York’ ‘New Chicago’ etc. He spoke of it as the beloved community. He understood that God was not only concerned with the after life, but with society here and now as well. One of the main purposes of prophetic ministry is to bring Gods people back into alignment and to speak out against injustice and materialism. I find it interesting that one of the main themes of James is defending the poor while rebuking the rich. Like we said before James was the half brother of Jesus, he grew up in the same home with the Lord. He experienced the tremendous ministry of Jesus for three years. He heard him speak the parables on rich men in hell and Lazarus in ‘Abraham’s bosom’. He saw the young rich man go away sad because he had lots of stuff and was not willing to give it up for a higher purpose. He heard the parable of the rich guy who wanted to build more storage for his stuff and feel secure by thinking he had abundance for years to come, but then Jesus said he would die that night. James picked up some themes from Jesus, one of them was that those who focused on material wealth were not focused on spiritual things. They seemed to spend most of their time thinking about their stuff. James was one of the lead apostles at the Jerusalem church, their were many poor saints living there. He was not preaching a prosperity gospel to them, he told them their present suffering was only for a short time. They would be rewarded by God for the difficulties they faced, the comfortable would have some stuff to answer for as well.

(1012)JAMES AND REVELATION- I have been reading James along with some stuff on Revelation. James says ‘though the ships are driven with fierce winds, yet they turn by the steering of the captain. He sets the course with a small helm/rudder’. Also that the tongue is a ‘world of sin, it sets the course of nature on fire’. In revelation Jesus is depicted as a warrior LAMB. He is also called the Lion of Judah. He ‘slays the wicked’ with the sword [word!] from his mouth. The word for conquer/victory in Revelation is the Greek word NIKAN-NIKE. Yes, the famous sneaker comes from this word! Nikan was a Roman conqueror god. Rome was a conquering nation who used force and brutality to win. John depicts her as Babylon in his apocalypse. When we read of the victorious Lamb and his followers [believers] overcoming and conquering the beast, we are seeing the nature of Jesus kingdom at work. We too are lambs sent out into the world. We turn the other cheek, we forgive and love our enemies. We reject violence as a means of victory. We conquer too by the sword that comes out of our mouth! [The blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony]. What we say, as the corporate church of God, matters! We can turn entire ‘ships’ [nations and governments] by the things we proclaim as Gods people. We can also release the nature of man and cause a huge ‘firestorm’ without realizing it. When we present Jesus and his kingdom thru a view of ‘conquering’ [Nike] that is done thru violence, nuclear war, Jesus literally treading people’s blood until it drips from his garments, when we give this imagery as actual killing, then we thru our lips are releasing the violent course of man in the earth. We have believers reading the popular end times books and fantasizing about end time scenarios of survivalism and warfare. These images are actually things the ‘beast’ uses to obtain authority and rule. To the contrary Jesus and his followers are conquering thru a different means. We are followers of the Lamb who ‘kills with the sword of his mouth’. When the citizens of ‘Rome’ [unbelievers] are confronted with the testimony of Jesus from our lips, then they ‘die to their old lives’ and are raised to walk in newness of life [Romans 6]. The blood imagery of Jesus being drenched in it, can be saying that Jesus identified so much with man in his bloody death, that as he ‘treads the enemy’ he becomes identified with the human condition so man can become identified with him. In essence Jesus ‘co-mingled’ with us thru death, so we could be united with him in life. The point I am making is we as Gods people need to be careful when we run headlong into violent war scenarios when presenting the word of God. It is obvious that Jesus is not literally killing people with a real sword [made out of metal] from his mouth. He conquers thru love and death and resurrection, the world conquers thru violence and oppression. When we ‘paint’ an inaccurate picture of these things thru our teaching/preaching, then we are releasing thru our tongues a ‘world of iniquity that sets on fire the course of nature’. This is not the testimony that we should be speaking that truly causes us to overcome.

(1009)A PALESTINIAN PASTOR- Let me share a little about our Christian brothers who live in Palestine. The purpose of sharing this is so we as American believers could have a different way of viewing the Middle East situation. Not for defending terrorism or embracing anti Semitism, but a whole ‘other worldly’ view. I recently read a story from a Lutheran Palestinian pastor. He is part of a small percentage of Christians living in the land. Around 3% of the population are believers. Some of these groups date back to the early centuries of the Christian church, others to the Reformation period. The point being a historic church actually exists amongst the Palestinian people. The Pastor was looking forward to his son’s graduation day, they were going to travel to the ‘Holy city’ for the special occasion and it was considered the big graduation day for the whole family. The Pastor made sure he had all the paperwork together for the trip. The big night of the graduation celebration they were stopped at a border checkpoint by an Israeli soldier and were denied entry. The Pastor humbled himself and showed the soldier that his paperwork was in order, that he was a Christian minister who meant no harm. He went out of his way this night to show the soldier that he and his family were really no threat at all. After much pleading the fine Pastor and his family turned around and had their celebration back at home. Now, I do not know what the situation was on the ground that night, maybe there was a threat in the area. The point is too many American believers view the whole situation in the middle east from some type of ancient old testament story in which the Israelis are possessing their promised land while driving out the ‘Canaanites’. This ‘lens’ is not in keeping with the Christian gospel. The Palestinian Christians were asked how they felt about having true fellowship with Christians from the outside. They said they were often viewed as ‘cultural Christians’ only. Sort of like in name only, they were not seen as truly being ‘born again’. They were excited at times when Christian groups did interact with them as fellow believers in the faith. But the majority of contact from the outside Christian world were the various ‘prophetic/evangelical’ type Christians who were visiting the holy land as tourists. For the most part these American believers were there to see ‘the holy sites’ to view the restored Jewish state. To see how work was going among the various orthodox groups who were re making the utensils that were to be used in a future rebuilt temple. But for the most part the American believers viewed these brothers in the faith as something less valuable than the actual land that they were visiting. These mindsets show us that we have a long way to go to regain a pure biblical view of the gospel and how it relates to society today. The gospel puts tremendous value on the people for whom Christ died [both Jews and non Jews]. When Jesus spoke of ‘the restoration of the temple’ he was speaking about his own Body, not Herod’s building. When American evangelicals place a greater emphasis on the natural land and the hope of a restored temple with renewed animal sacrifices, than on the actual living Body of Christ on earth [believers of every ethnic background] then we have shown a tremendous lack of discernment equal to those who mistook Jesus words as applying to the natural temple of his day.

(1006)CORINTHIANS 14:1-20 Lets deal a little with ‘Tongues’. I have written before on the various ways believers view this gift. Much has been taught over the years that can be seen as extreme from both camps [the Pentecostals and the non charismatics]. Is Paul speaking about the same gift as seen in Acts 2? If not, then does that mean the only legitimate ‘tongues’ are the Acts 2 expression? If a distinction is made, then Paul obviously put his stamp of approval on the second type of tongues by actually writing about it here! Ecstatic utterance was not exclusive to the early church. Paul earlier taught that the pagans engaged in this type of speech when worshipping false idols. This does not mean that true spiritual worship has no ecstatic type elements to it. The gifts themselves are seen as divinely inspired speech [the speaking ones]. Isaiah 8:1 says ‘TAKE A LARGE SCROLL AND WRITE ON IT WITH THE PEN OF A MAN’. God was telling Isaiah that he would use his actual writings as inspired instruments from him. Scripture also speaks of ‘the tongue of a ready writer’ we are called ‘living letters’ by Paul himself. Paul doesn’t challenge the legitimacy of this type of gift, but he does stress the importance of approaching all the gifts from a standpoint of unselfishness. If when the believers are gathered, they are all functioning in self edifying gifts, then they are making the same mistake that Paul rebuked earlier with the Lords table. The purpose of the gathering and gifts are for the building up of others and not for self gain. So Paul warns them of the selfish use of the gifts. He says it’s better to use Prophecy or Teaching because others can learn and grow. Some Pentecostal groups make a distinction between the prayer time and the ministry time. They practice tongues during corporate prayer and then treat ‘a tongue uttered’ during the service as something that needs interpretation. I see some merit to his, but it should be noted that here Paul does say ‘when you bless with the Spirit’ [prayer over a meal or something like it] that your prayer is fine, but still the other person doesn’t benefit. So Paul actually includes both ‘prayer tongues’ and ‘a word in tongues’ as needing to be tamped down during the public gathering. Of course we will see the teaching on private tongues as being fine, the point I am making is Paul includes ‘prayer tongues’ along with the other type. The main thrust of Paul’s teaching on Tongues is that the gift itself is legitimate [definitions of the gift vary!] but that all the gifts of the Spirit should be used unselfishly. ‘Well brother, Paul himself says it’s fine to pray in tongues to build yourself up! Got you now!’ well actually you don’t! ‘Building ones self up’ in a private setting can be considered beneficial to the overall corporate group. I just prayed/mediated for around an hour before writing, this was personal ‘self building’ for the purpose of corporate teaching. No matter where you personally come down on the various gifts of the Spirit, it is important to do all things with the benefit of others in mind. I hate to stick this example in here, but heck I just came up with it! Last night I was watching the news. I channel surf from CNN, MSNBC, FOX and even hit the PBS station every now and again [plus the big 3 networks]. Its still the first week of President Obama’s presidency and I couldn’t help but notice the unbelievable amount of ‘slobbering’ [yes, I borrowed it from Bernie Goldberg] that was taking place. I actually clicked the channel from Hannity to CNN. Hannity just finished talking about the embarrassing amount of gushing that the media were doing over Obama. As I clicked to Anderson Cooper, they were showing clips from the first media interview that Obama has given since being in office. It was a very good interview to an Arab language station. As Cooper was asking the reporters on their first thoughts of the interview, one actually said ‘it is so unbelievably outstanding that I am actually ‘giddy’. Now, I don’t subscribe to the Hannity/Limbaugh stuff 100%, but this really was too much. The media are putting such a high expectation on the poor man that no human being could possibly fulfill their image of the man. It was also reported that George [Stephanopoulos-?] actually cried during the inauguration. Of course Chris Matthews will go down in history for describing a ‘feeling going up his leg’ during coverage of an Obama speech. What’s wrong with this picture? I understand that the average white man feels self affirmed when he engages in public displays of support for Black advancement. I too like our President and do pray regularly for him. Not too long ago I met a black homeless friend, he actually has a little apartment but he was at the free mission so I sometimes refer to all these brothers as homeless. He was under the impression that I ran some type of ministry that took in money [I never take any offerings, for radio or anything else] so as I offered to by him some groceries and stuff, he kinda went a little overboard. I really didn’t have any ‘extra money’ but I bought it any way. I didn’t get mad or feel bad about it. I still see the brother every now and then and am still willing to help him. Now, is it better to show your love for the black man by publicly crying and gushing and describing sexual type feelings when listening to the new president speak, or to actually go out and find some black person in need and meet the need? I don’t want to get into the whole political scene at all, sometimes it gets me mad. I have actually ‘cussed’ [yes, I admit it] at the screen at times. [Little curse words, not the big ones!] The point being we all need to heed the admonition in scripture to show our love by our deeds and actions. To simply put on a public display for the world means very little.

(1001)DAY 2- Today the president will overturn the ‘Mexico city agreement’ [that’s the word in the media] this agreement was created under Reagan and forbid federal tax money to support pro abortion organizations in foreign lands. Say if I visited your family and you had 5 new borns. Now I want to like you, you are a Christian who believes the dismembering of human babies in the womb is murder. I am also a Christian but I have convinced you that my goal is to also protect your 5 baby’s lives. I convince you that the way to go about it is to not outlaw the actual murder of your kids. Okay, it sounds strange; would you be into outlawing the murder of innocent Jews during the holocaust? Or outlawing the enslavement of the Black race? If it were fundamentally wrong, which it is, then I want it outlawed. ‘You mean to tell me you would OUTLAW the murder of babies’ you bet ya! Just as much as outlawing Hitler’s gas chambers. Now, even though the parent with the 5 kids wants to ‘reduce the number of murdering his kids’ somehow he has been duped into believing that the way to protect his kids is by not outlawing, or fighting against the murder of kids! So the parent agrees to support the ‘pro abortion’ candidate, he has convinced you that his progressive thinking is the way to reduce the murder of your kids. Then the next thing you know people are knocking at your door wanting to kill your kids. These people have been hired and funded by the well meaning man who convinced you that he cares for your kids just as much as you. Don’t ‘kid’ yourselves, he is dangerous to the life of your kids. I realize that in today’s environment even describing this hideous act as murder is ‘old fashioned’. Have you seen the pictures of aborted kids? I have. They look exactly like the preemies in your local hospital nursery. The only difference is some of them are burned, others chopped up. Some look like they were killed by less traumatic means. All perfect little babies, simply dead. I am not a ‘fundamentalist, evangelical, bible toting, sin hating’ stereotypical Christian. But we need to realize that the expansion of our tax dollars to pay for and fund organizations in foreign lands that engage in this act can have no other effect that bring a curse on ‘our tax money’. If we believe that we can engage in this type of monetary genocide and at the same time turn our economy around, then we are fooling ourselves. Our nation will reap a financial disaster like a hurricane. [1-22-09]

(1000) ABORTION- Today is the first official day of President Obama as being our new president. I did not plan on writing this entry, but as I was praying earlier for him I felt the Lord release me to do this. I have prayed, by name specifically, many times for our new president [a few times per week over the past few months] I believe when we respect and honor those in office, that God allows us to speak to certain issues. A few years ago Senator Barbara Boxer [Ca.] was at some floor debate on an issue over abortion. Another senator [Sam Brownback?] put up a picture of an aborted child. The picture was clear and plain to see. There was no doubt that the carcass was that of an innocent child. Brownback simply asked her ‘is this a human being or not’. Her answer was that making a judgment like that was not her right or responsibility. If a person can not discern what makes up a human baby, then how in the world can they make any judgment issues over any thing? Yesterday, the inauguration day of our new president [1-20-09] the stock market dropped more than on any other inauguration of any other president. Now, do I think that there is a connection between one of the underlying defenses of abortion [financial gain, convenience] and stuff like this? To a degree, yes. When a society chooses to overlook the actual dismemberment of thousands of little children at the altar of convenience [i.e.; I can’t afford the child. What responsible person would bring a child into the world? Etc.] When we make these types of judgments, then we reap judgment. I know the progressive Christians say ‘I wish the church would get over her love affair with the fetus’ [would you say I wish the church could get over her love affair with the slave during the civil war?] but the fact remains, there is no other single social justice issue of our time equal to the tragedy of abortion. The fact that a sitting U.S. senator could not say that the picture of a beautiful little baby was ‘a human being’ shows you the deception that we have succumbed to in our efforts to be ‘progressive’.

(999)1ST CORINTHIANS 13:1 ‘THOUGH I SPEAK WITH THE TONGUES OF MEN AND OF ANGELS, AND HAVE NOT LOVE, I AM BECOME AS SOUNDING BRASS OR A TINKLING SYMBOL’ Over the years I have seen how the church can ‘have a voice-make noise’ without actually effecting change. Last night I watched some Martin Luther King stuff. Without ‘sucking up for political purposes’ I must admit that Martin is at the top of my list of personal heroes. Martin spoke with a revolutionary purpose in mind, he was not ‘delivering sermons’. One time I spoke at a friends church, I only spoke for around 15 minutes [much like my radio show] and the pastor said ‘no wonder John doesn’t have a church/ preach regularly, you have to at least speak for 45 minutes’ [something like that]. Though after the message I had good comments from the people, the sincere pastor felt like we didn’t ‘put the time in’ in order to fulfill the Sunday morning practice of ‘church’. Were did we get our modern sermon from? [The actual format]. If you go to Bible College you can take a course called ‘homiletics’ this course will teach you the structure of speaking and putting a message together. If you study Greek rhetoric you will find that this science existed in the Greek intellectual world before Christians embraced it [the actual format and structure taught in homiletics comes right out of the Greek system of rhetoric, to the tee!]. I find it funny how many modern pastors seem to measure a persons degree of ‘being scriptural’ by this measuring rod. ‘Well brother, didn’t they preach in scripture’ you bet they did. We see Jesus reading from the scroll in the synagogue. Paul and Peter were master ‘preachers’ if you will [though Paul himself was no ‘golden tongue’] basically the biblical concept of preaching/teaching was more of a spontaneous thing. It’s certainly not wrong to borrow the sermon from the Greeks [which we did do] but we don’t want to fall into some mindset that sees modern ministry [pastoral] as being a professional speaker. Here Paul says there is a danger of believers becoming like ‘sounding brass and tinkling symbols’ we can lose the reality of simple communication. We also can lose the prophetic edge of speaking into society over issues of justice. If we become too mundane and ‘professional’ then the world simply views as another program to simply pass over when clicking the remote. Both Martin Luther King and Charles Finney were known for their social activism. One of the charges [actually true] made against them was that they held to liberal theological positions. Finney was effected by the higher criticism of his day [the trend in the universities to deny the supernatural elements of scripture] he embraced certain doctrines that could be viewed as heretical [things on the atonement and mans sinful nature]. King’s critics make note of the fact that he also accepted certain types of bible interpretation that viewed some of the miraculous stories as ‘myth’ [not fake, but simple allegorical stories that were not literal but simply meant to convey a spiritual theme]. Things like Jonah and the whale, or Ballams talking donkey [or the talking snake in the garden!] Some intellectual brothers view these stories this way. Is there any validity to these views? Actually yes. I personally hold the ‘literal’ view with stuff like this, but ‘literal’ does not mean the bible does not contain different styles of writing. You do have poetry, allegory, symbol and other types or forms of grammar in scripture. Even the strong literal brothers will contradict themselves when they fully accept the ‘Lamb on the throne’ as not being a literal Lamb! [or when they interpret the scorpion like demons in Revelation as Black Hawk helicopters] So scripture does use allegory and symbol. But why did Luther and Finney associate with the more liberal trends in theology? I feel it was because of the strong anti social gospel that the fundamentalists embraced. The more conservative thinkers who rejected the liberal trends in teaching, would also reject social activism. Luther and Finney simply gravitated towards those who were like minded in their concern to speak into society. Basically they didn’t just want to be theologically correct [though they might have been in some of there views] but they wanted to be able to effect change in society. They wanted to be more than just a tinkling symbol that could tickle your ears.

(995)IS MODERN ISRAEL THE SAME AS ANCIENT ISRAEL? Why bring this up now? At the time of this entry [1-09] we have another one of those endless wars in the Middle East. Israel has been bombed over the past few years on a regular basis from Hamas. Hamas are the rogue ruling authority in the Gaza strip. Israel made a deal with the Palestinians to give them the strip of land, in return Palestine promised not to use the land against Israel. What happened? After the Palestinians took the land, they elected Hamas to be their ruling authority! Hamas are terrorists, make no mistake about it. So after a few years of regular bombings from the Gaza strip into Israel, Israel said ‘that’s enough’ and started a military campaign to up root Hamas. To be honest, they are using the exact same justification as the U.S. action against terrorism. Now, Israel as a modern state is quite a miracle. Or are they? After the destruction of their temple and the loss of their national identity in A.D. 70 they have been without a homeland for 2 thousand years. In the 20th century [1949] Israel once again became a state with a homeland for the first time in nearly 2 thousand years. Most evangelical Christians in the U.S. equate modern Israel with the promises made to Abraham by God in the Old Testament. God promised Abraham that he would give the land to him and his seed. In Deuteronomy 28 we see that the promise of Israel keeping the land was contingent on their obedience to his covenant. The history of Israel in the Old Testament shows them violating Gods laws at various times and God allowing them to be taken captive and losing their land. So the promise of inheritance was based in part on their obedience to God. Now, after W.W.1 the League of Nations made an agreement with modern Israel to give them a homeland. This promise was not carried out until after W.W.2. The United Nations agreed to give them the land and the British carved out a portion of the land and Israel became a nation once again. Let me make myself clear, as a nation Israel has a right to exist. After the initial taking of the land, the neighbors had various wars with Israel and in every case Israel won and took some more land. How Christians view the present status of the modern nation state is important. Most believers look at every modern conflict thru the promise of God made to Abraham thousands of years ago. The normal reaction by the fundamentalist/evangelical preacher is ‘God promised them the land, and by golly if Israel has to kill some poor Arabs to keep it, then that’s Gods will’! This is where we need to be careful. As an ally of the U.S. Israel is a small lone Democracy in a tough region of the world [there are other democracies, but they don’t border Israel]. Our country does have a responsibility to back up our allies. Israel does rule herself in a modern way with a rule of law and a humane judicial system that are rare for the region. So all in all they are a good ally who has a right to exist. But should believers equate this right with some biblical promise made to Abraham by God? Remember, God himself said that the promise of them dwelling in the land had to do with their obedience to him. Modern Israel is a religious nation. But they are also cultural. Many Jews presently living in the land do not practice Judaism, they simply see themselves as ethnic Jews. Those who do practice their faith practice a form of Judaism that can be called ‘Rabbinic Judaism’. This form of Judaism is what the Pharisees practiced during Jesus day. They elevate the traditions of the elders to a degree equal to [or greater than] the Old Testament law. If you remember Jesus rebuked this religious mindset when he told the Pharisees ‘by your tradition [the tradition of the elders] you make void the commandments of God’. So first of all, modern Israel is not in good standing with Jesus! [At least on covenantal grounds]. Second, did you ever wonder if the modern religious defense of Israel coincides with the actual Promised Land mentioned in scripture? If you go back and read the actual borders that God promised Abraham, you have a region extending to parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and a few other spots. In essence, many of the defenders of Israel’s right to the land, are not even talking about the actual borders mentioned in the bible! What does this mean? If God conditioned the obtaining of the land on the obedience of natural Israel to his law, is modern Rabbinic Judaism fulfilling it? If the promise of the land by God to Israel are what most evangelicals are fighting over, are they using scriptural borders to define ‘the land’ or are they using a 20th century land agreement made by human nations after the world wars? I believe Christians should stand for the right and freedom of all people [including modern Israel!] to exist and practice their religion freely. I believe modern Israel has as much right to the land they inhabit as any other nation who dwells on territory that used to belong to other people groups. That is if any nation engages with other nations in an aggression, if the nation who attacked you loses, you bet your gonna lose some land. That’s the way the ball bounces. The point of this entry is to simply call the American church to rethink the attachment she places on Gods promises to Abraham when making these arguments. A case could be made that modern Rabbinic Judaism is in fact still rejecting the law of God and does not fulfill the requirement, given by God himself, to ‘dwell in the land’. We as believers need to be careful when we simply jump headlong into these world affairs in a way that says to the world ‘God is on this nation’s side, and anyone who challenges their borders is in the wrong’. Understand, the ‘borders’ in these scenarios were carved out by human nations coming to certain land agreements. Be careful when you equate modern borders with Gods covenantal promise to Israel. We all need to pray for peace, we need to act justly in the world. We need to be against all racism, even anti Semitism! But we also need to stand true to the New Testament Ethos of all ethnic barriers being destroyed in Christ. We don’t want the world to think that King Jesus is going to return and physically war to protect a border made-up by the United Nations! This type of end times teaching can get us into real trouble.

(962)1ST CORINTHIANS 7:16-24 ‘Were you circumcised when you were called into the Christina life? Then don’t become uncircumcised’ [that would be quite a feat!] ‘Were you uncircumcised when called? Don’t get circumcised’. What’s Paul saying? Basically he is keeping the decrees that were made at the Jerusalem council [Acts 15]. He is stressing the importance of Christ’s spiritual kingdom. To the Jew, he is not saying ‘keep trying to become justified by the law and sacrifices’ but he is saying ‘I am not trying to wipe out your culture and heritage, I am trying to bring you into the fullness of what the Prophets have foretold’. This is Paul’s ongoing defense in the book of Acts ‘I stand condemned because I believe that what the prophets said would happen, did!’. Paul says the thing that matters is ‘the doing of Gods commandments’. When we studied Romans I showed how Paul did say ‘the hearers of the law are not justified, but the doers shall be’. Here again Paul stresses the importance of the Christian life being one of true conversion. Those who believe are changed and become doers of Gods law by nature. The mechanism of conversion is Faith, the outworking of that conversion is obedience. So even though Paul is not putting the law on the gentile converts, yet he does teach that they will by nature keep the law [Romans again]. Now he says ‘were you a slave when called? Seek not to become free. Were you free? Don’t become a slave’ and ‘be not the servants/slaves of men’. We actually have hit on this a few times in recent months. Once again Paul says ‘don’t see this new faith as an opportunity to mount a civil disobedience campaign’ but at the same time he makes it clear ‘don’t put yourself under servitude either!’ The New Testament does not justify the institution of slavery or racism! The basic ethos of this new kingdom is freedom from bondage, it was only a matter of time before this new movement would shake the foundations of society and uproot this evil. Make no mistake about it, the anti-slavery movement was instigated by the people of God [William Wilberforce, Charles Finney and many others].

(938)2ND SAMUEL 21- After David gains back his kingdom, there is a 3 year famine in the land. David seeks the Lord about it. God tells him it is a result of the violence that Saul committed against the innocent blood of the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites were the people who tricked Joshua [Joshua 9] into staying in the Promised Land. After Joshua gave his word, they later found out that they were tricked. Well Saul obviously went back on this promise of protection and came against them. When ever there is a nation wide judgment, we need to see what the possible causes might be. We just elected a new president of the U.S. [11-08]. While there are obviously great historic realities to our new president being the first Black man to attain this honor, yet we also need to seek God over the way we treat the ‘innocent blood’ in our land. Barack Obama has already floated the idea that he will overturn the executive decision of President Bush on our foreign aid being used for abortions in other countries. To be honest it surprised me that he even floated this idea so soon. This is a direct contradiction to the statement he made at the forum at Rick Warrens church earlier in the year. He said he would work to reduce abortion and that the goal of reducing them would be part of his governing philosophy. He simply mislead us on this issue. Also the Gibeonites were ‘illegal aliens’ in the sense that they were the only people group allowed to remain in the Promised Land along with Israel. Our country has had open borders for many years. True, we do have procedures to go by if you want to come to our country. But we have previously promised ‘protection and safety’ to those who wanted to come. Much like the Gibeonites we began to resent the aliens in our midst. We now treat them with less respect and honor than was originally promised. We told the tired masses at one time ‘to come’ but now we want to build fences to keep them out. On both of these issues our country needs to seek God, we are just beginning a few years of very bad national economic times. For those who think this president [or any other!] has the ability to turn this economic disaster around, you are only kidding yourself. The next 4 years will not be good. We need to pray for our president and honor him, but in reality our economy is very bad. Also in this chapter we see David and his men fight the sons of Goliath, the giant who David defeated earlier in his life. Old enemies are resurfacing. David is in a battle with one of them and is almost killed. To the rescue comes Abishai, the brother of Joab. These were the brothers who gave David ‘hell’ all thru out his reign. Self willed, violent. This time David was grateful for the violent ability of these brothers. Sometimes we have to put up with people in our cities, areas. We might not always agree with their style. But when things get rough, we can count on them to get the job done. David and his men wipe out the rest of the giants sons and they tell David ‘you can’t war with us any more, it’s too dangerous’. David recognizes it’s time for a personal transition, he likes being in the battle front, but he is risking too much to think that time has not affected his ability. God leads us thru various stages of growth and development thru out our lives, the bible says ‘there is a time and season for everything’. We need to be able to follow the course as God directs. David was a true warrior, he did not want to adjust his procedure. Wisdom allows us to do what’s best for the overall community and not to please ourselves.

(936)2ND SAMUEL 19- David sends word to the elders of Judah ‘why are you guys so late in receiving me back to Jerusalem as your king? I am your own kin for heavens sake!’ After the death of the rogue king Absalom, Israel came to her senses and began saying ‘you know, when David was our king things weren’t all that bad, now that Absalom is dead, what are we waiting for, lets call David back’. So David sends word back that he is reuniting with the people again. He also makes some strategic moves; he tells Amasa ‘when I get back, you get Joab’s job’ Ouch! David finally dealt with the talented, yet self willed commander of his men. On the way back one of the first guys that greets him is the same brother that cursed him and threw stones at him earlier. David lived to see the day of Gods vindication. The brother repents and David forgives him. Also the son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, greets David with great joy. The first thing David says is ‘why didn’t you leave with me at the beginning?’ The earlier slander of Ziba stuck in David’s mind. Mephibosheth swares that Ziba tricked him. David forgives him and says ‘enough! You split the inheritance with Ziba’. Mephibosheth replies ‘Let him keep it, I don’t need the material wealth. I am just glad to be with you again’. The church does not see the reality of this test contained in scripture. There are times where ‘David’ does offer opportunities of self advancement that are simply a test to see what our motives are. In this case David rightfully gave material stuff to Mephibosheth, it was the maturity and character of Mephibosheth to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. The scripture contains many examples of Christ followers forsaking things for his cause. Just because the bible ‘offers opportunities for wealth’ does not mean Gods best is for you to ‘go for the wealth’. Now that David’s back in Jerusalem, the divided tribes [Israel-10 tribes, and Judah] have a squabble. Israel says ‘Judah, who do you think you are in being the first ones to escort the king back, he is our king too’! And Judah replies ‘yeah, but he is our blood kin, David is from our tribe. We hold a ‘special’ relationship with him because of natural heritage’. It’s funny, these guys were on Absalom’s side a few days ago, now they are fighting over him! I kinda see Jesus and natural Israel in this story. The nation of Israel became offended over the fact that they were ‘blood heirs’ of the Jewish Messiah. They held to this ethnic pride that would be destroyed thru the Cross. It offended the natural mind to see this ethnic figure [in the historic mind of Judaism] to be accepted by ‘all the tribes’. They wanted him solely for their own purposes. So here we see Judah and Israel fighting over David, he will unite them both under his rule [Ephesians ‘the 2 are made one, Jew and Gentile, and God hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us] and Jerusalem will once again be called ‘the city of the great king’ [we are the ‘city that comes down from God out of heaven’ the bride, the Lambs wife!]

(932)2ND SAMUEL 16- As David flees Jerusalem, Ziba, the servant that was under Mephibosheth joins with him. David asks ‘what are you doing here? You should be home with your master’. Ziba says ‘as soon as Mephibosheth heard about the take over, he said “I will stay in Israel and become the new king, God will restore to me Saul’s throne”’. Now David believes it and says ‘I now put you in charge of all the household of your former master, it belongs to you’. Later on Mephibosheth will deny all of this. Its possible Ziba made this up for his own benefit. Leaders, be careful of advice from people with a personal agenda. They often make themselves look better than others. Now as David flees another enemy comes out and curses and throws stones at him along the way. This guy says ‘look at you now, you rebelled against the old king [Saul] and now you are receiving the just reward’. Now David responds with a Christ like attitude and says ‘let the guy curse me, I will not retaliate. Maybe God will look on this persecution and reward me’. One of David’s men wanted to ‘take his head off’. Gee, David has all types in his leadership circle! Did this guy who was cursing David misread the whole situation? Yes, but don’t forget we are reading this story from the real perspective, some people living at the time of David and Saul saw this new king [David] as a threat to the old ways. It’s only a few days after the 2008 presidential election. Barack Obama won. Though there were many reasons for and against him, now that he won we ALL need to pray for him. But some of the supporters of McCain sincerely saw this ‘new kind of person’ as a rebellious threat to the ‘old order’. Sincere people who saw things from a different angle. So David’s accuser sees the story from a wrong lens. David was being judged by God, but not because he toppled the old order of King Saul. Back at Jerusalem Absalom listens to the advice of Ahithophel and sleeps with his fathers concubines. The advice was that when all Israel heard about it, they would realize that this rebellion was a real rebellion and the people would unite under his illegal rule. Scripture says Ahithophels counsel was like ‘hearing from God’ in those days. Leaders, be open to the counsel that is coming forth from particular streams at certain times. It is not only important for believers to ‘learn the bible’, but also to be able to discern the signs of the times. Specific things God is saying and doing in our day. If you were living in the 16th century the issue of the reformation was vital for every one who was a believer. Whether you were Catholic or Protestant, you needed to be up on the issues. Erasmus, the great Catholic scholar and humanist [not ‘secular humanist’] wrote insightful criticisms against his own church, yet remained within her fold. So matter what Christian tradition you align yourself with, you need to be aware of the seasons and purposes of God for your generation. In Absalom’s day, Ahithophel was the go to man.

(924)2ND SAMUEL 8- As David extends his rule he allows the defeated territories to maintain a level of self governing. The military principle is defeat [demoralize] your enemy, but don’t totally wipe him out. Either put a puppet king over them [Israel’s enemies will do this to her down the road!] or allow the ruling leaders to stay under tribute. Why do this? Some feel our country violated this principle in the present war with Iraq [2008]. The pundits say ‘why did Bush dismantle the Iraqi army, they should have simply allowed them to remain under U.S. rule’. First, the talking heads would have never been satisfied. I could hear Chris Matthews now ‘why in the world did Bush leave the army in place! Doesn’t he know that they were infiltrated with terrorists?’ But David allowed the defeated areas to exist under his rule. He wiped out some of their men, but not all. I think the modern concept of ‘extending Christ’s rule’ thru church planting can learn some lessons here. In the first century ‘church planting’ was the simple process of preaching the gospel to regions of people. Those who believed were baptized and continued in the apostle’s doctrine and the ways of Jesus. The first century ‘church planters’ were not trying to provide buildings and weekly ‘preaching services’ and long term dependence upon the Pastoral ministry. For the most part these new converts were to ‘self maintain’ under the direction of more grounded brothers in the Lord [elders]. This allowed for the ‘conquered territories’ [conquered by the sword of the Spirit, not the sword of man!] to function relatively easily on their own with out a lot of heavy financing and building programs and all sorts of stuff that the modern concept of ‘church planting’ has brought along for the ride. David simply put troops in these conquered cities [Jesus sent them out 2 by 2] and these areas of people understood that they were servants to the king! They paid tribute [I would associate this with the New Testament doctrine of giving as a community, not the Levitical tithe] and the Davidic kingdom [gospel] could spread rapidly in a short period of time. David had men working along side him; priests and scribes and stuff. He did ‘justly’ and ruled with integrity. He exemplified the character of a true leader, but did not back down from his God given authority. God established him as a leader in Israel. The boy did his job!

(921)2ND SAMUEL 5- David consolidates the northern and southern tribes and they find unity thru his reign [in Christ 2 are made one- Ephesians]. Israel says ‘we are part of your bone and flesh’. Wow, what a picture of the New Testament church. Jesus actually uses these exact words when speaking of himself after his resurrection ‘bone and flesh’. David takes the capital city of Jerusalem. He defeats the Jebusites who are mocking his ability. Scripture says ‘David dwelt in the fort and called it the city of David. And he built round about from the surrounding areas and inward’. I have been quoting this for 15 years now. I saw it as a personal word to me when moving to Corpus Christi. The principle is God will give you a home base of operation, and from that base you establish and branch out to the surrounding areas. Sort of an apostolic calling, Paul did this in the book of Acts. David ‘perceived that the Lord had established him for the sake of his people Israel’. David understood that the Lord gave him special favor, not for his own benefit but for Gods people. Other scriptures speak of God telling his people ‘remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you. The Lord hath given you rest and this land. Your wives and little ones and cattle shall remain in the land that the Lord gave you, but you shall go before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valor, and help then until the Lord establishes them like he did for you’ [The word to the children of Israel who received the territories before crossing the Jordan]. God establishes leaders [and saints!] so they can branch out and have the security to move forward. All of us live in areas of the world where a mission field is right outside our door. If people simply reorganized their lives around the priorities of Jesus as seen in the gospels, we would have a great impact in society. But instead we are inundated with this political class warfare message that estranges us from the ones Jesus died for. God blessed David with wealth and affluence. He was to use this great influence for ‘the least of these my brethren’.

(852)EVOLUTION AND RACISM- Jesus said if you call someone a fool ‘without a cause’ that you would be in danger of ‘hell fire’. One of the most famous ‘Evolution versus Christian’ cases in the 20th century was known as ‘The Scopes Trial’ [monkey trial]. I remember as a boy watching the made for T.V. movie ‘Inherit the Wind’. The movie portrayed the Christians as ‘ignoramuses’ while showing the defense side as ‘enlightened’. The key figures were Clarence Darrow [1857-1938] and William Jennings Bryan [1860-1925]. John Scopes was the teacher accused of teaching evolution from the book ‘Civic Biology’ by George Hunter. Tennessee had recently passed a law forbidding the teaching of evolution in their schools [Butler act]. Scopes was found guilty and fined 100 dollars, but the intent of trying to show the Christian fundamentalist as ‘backwoods idiots’ was achieved. Darrow managed to get Bryan to admit that the creation account of Genesis might be speaking of ‘ages’ when it says ‘days’ [the very popular gap theory was accepted by many fundamentalists at the time. C. I. Scofield’s bible popularized this belief in the notes]. After the trial the fact that the A.C.L.U. lost the case was insignificant, they won in the media. Till this day many people see this event as a victory for freedom and human rights. What is not commonly known is that the book Scopes taught from was one of the most racist books of the age. It freely taught Eugenics [the stronger more ‘nobler’ races winning out over the less valuable inferior races!] it even had a scale showing the 5 races of humans from the most valuable and intelligent, to the least valuable and ignorant. The book had whites at the top and blacks at the bottom. Bryan was a defender of civil rights for all humans, he stood on the side of blacks and minorities being equal. The so called ‘advanced’ bunch [the evolutionists] were on the side of the K.K.K., they espoused the doctrine of white supremacy as taught in the book Scopes used. Bryan felt the danger of this so called ‘scientific theory’ was that it would lead to disaster and the degrading of human dignity. It is an historical fact that Hitler read and believed in Eugenics and Evolution, he felt his atrocities against the Jews were simply mans way of ‘wiping out the inferior races’. His demonic attack would occur a few years after Bryan’s warnings. Now, for those who view the famous ‘Monkey Trial’ as a great victory for humanity, I have one response ‘the men who wrote and espoused such racist beliefs were quite obviously FOOLS!

(725) GENESIS 39- Joseph goes into Egypt and is bought by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. The guy puts Joseph in charge of his entire household. Joseph truly excels in everything he does. The scripture says he prospered in everything he put his hand to! Just keep this truth balanced with all the undeserved suffering and afflictions he experienced. Now Joseph is so good at everything he does, that even Potiphars wife wants to ‘try him out’. She bugs him day after day to sleep with her! Joseph refuses. She gets him alone in the house, grabs his clothes and says ‘sleep with me’. He flees the house naked as she ripped his clothes from him. She then tells her husband ‘this Hebrew mocks you, he tried to rape me’. She lied and the husband puts him in prison. Notice something here, the wife’s accusation included racial stuff. Sort of like the racist movies from the 50s-60s. They played to mans inherent racism and would show the black man as wanting the white woman. These accusations were playing to the heart of racism. Some churches today still teach separation of the races, Christians look askance at mixed marriages. My position is in Jesus Christ these divisions do not exist and we should accept all races without prejudice. Now Joseph goes to prison and he excels again. The jailer makes him trustee of the whole place! You can’t stop this guy. In the next chapter we will see how it was part of Gods plan for this to happen to him. He did not go around rebuking the devil or claiming verses to get out of unjust persecution. He responded like Peter taught in his letter to the Christians ‘if any man suffers as a believer, let him praise God’. Peter makes a distinction between suffering persecution for wrongdoing and suffering as a believer. Peter experienced both. Even though he suffered shame by denying Jesus, God still turned it around and used it for his glory. Joseph understood the simple reality of a just man suffering unjustly. Now I want to emphasize the fact that Joseph was just! Peter also teaches us that we are partakers of the divine nature. John the apostle writes in his 1st epistle ‘whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin [habitually]’ ‘I write these things unto you that ye sin not, but if any man sins we have an advocate with the father’. Though I have shown you the many failings of the great heroes of the faith, I also want to show you the great walk that some of them had. You don’t have to have had a testimony of being a drug addict or ex con or some other terrible past in order to glorify God. It’s like my first Pastor used to say, his favorite song was ‘years I spent in vanity and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified’. But his testimony was getting saved at a young age. I would kid one of my buddies and say ‘Brother Skinners favorite song is about the years he spent in vanity and pride. I guess he meant all the times he acted out in recess!’ I know this is wrong, but it was too funny to leave out. So Joseph shows us the ideal can be achieved thru the wonderful grace of God. But if any man sin, you still have the advocate.

(702) GENESIS 16- Abraham is around 85 years old. He’s been waiting around 10 years for God to fulfill the promise and give him a child. In the last chapter he suggested for the Lord to count his servant from his household as the heir. Now Sarah says ‘take my maid Hagar and have a son with her’. Of course the sons name is Ishmael. For all you preachers who read this site, well you know the story. But for all my buddies let me explain. Ishmael is usually looked upon as ‘the flesh’. That is Abraham went out in his own strength and tries to make Gods promise happen. True. But Paul will use this story in Galatians 4 and teach the difference between law and grace. Though Ishmael is the father of the Arab nations [Muslim people for the most part]. Yet Paul does not compare Ishmael to ‘natural Arab descent’. He compares Ishmael to JEWISH PEOPLE WHO ARE LAW KEEPERS AND WHO PERSECUTE TRUE BELIEVERS! Now, I don’t want to go anti Semitic. I want you to see this very important distinction. Today we should see this whole story thru the eyes of law versus grace. Not thru the eyes of Jew versus Muslim! When you preach it the ethnic way [Jew versus Muslim] you do harm to the purpose of God. Paul will use the illustration to show how all those who are under grace are free and don’t have to be under a legalistic mindset. He will compare Ishmael to those who are NATURAL JERUSALEM [not Arab people!] and say ‘you must be free from trying to please God thru the law, and come to the Cross!’ [Hebrews, Romans, Galatians, etc.] Preaching it like this is consistent with the New Testament. Preaching it like the American Fundamentalists causes strife in the world! So read this chapter along with Galatians 3 and 4. Think about what I just told you as you read, and see if it falls down on the side of grace versus ethnic division. God loves all people. He is calling all nations to himself thru Christ. Let’s keep this in mind as we ‘preach the bible’. Many times we do damage to the purpose of God because we think ‘preach the bible’ means spewing out hatred to Muslim people. Here we have shown you that this is not the will of God!

(690) SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER THAT YE WOULD THAT MEN SHOULD DO TO YOU, DO YE EVEN SO TO THEM: FOR THIS IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS’ this might be the most important single verse in these 3 chapters. Was Jesus opening up a Pandora’s Box here? How did he know people would choose right? He didn’t say ‘treat others according to the ten commandments’. He said ‘treat them the way you want to be treated’. Jesus taught the concept of natural law here. If you remember a few years back when Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court. One of the main questions he was asked was whether or not he believed in ‘natural law’. Natural law is the idea that there exists in man this ‘moral compass’ of right and wrong. Paul teaches this in Romans. The fact that all men have a basic idea on how they want to be treated shows you that there is more to man than simple flesh! He has within him this God-given conscience that deep down inside knows what’s right or wrong. The reason senator Joe Biden made such an issue out of it when questioning Thomas, was because those who believe in natural law do see an inherent right to life. The abortion issue. When the Supreme Court legalized abortion, the court found a ‘constitutional right to a woman’s privacy’. Many lawyers, even liberal pro abortion ones, believe this decision is wrong based on faulty law. It would be like saying slavery is acceptable because there is an inherent ‘right to private property’. While there is a right to private property, the problem with this reasoning is OTHER PEOPLE ARE NOT PRIVATE PROPERTY! So even if you believed in a so called ‘right to privacy’ how in the world do you extend that right to include the murder of another human being! All human rights derive from the basic right to life. If human govt. deprives people of the inherent right to life, then you might as well forget about any other so called rights. Some say ‘well, abortion is established law’. So was the racist law of not allowing Blacks to vote! I don’t care ‘how established’ a law is, if it allows for the destruction of biological human life, it’s flawed. Frances Beckwith just released a book on this [1-08] and he shows the legal justification for overturning Roe V Wade. So Jesus was confident enough in ‘natural law’, the basic belief that inherent in man is the concept of right and wrong, that he said ‘do unto others as you want done to you’. He knew men had a basic idea of fairness and justice. Even kids on the playground will shout ‘that’s not fair’. No matter how hard man tries to deny the reality of natural law, its there!

(673) [this entry really doesn’t fit in here, but I mentioned Clinton so thought you might like it!] JOHN 21 (radio # 604) wow, I have been putting this off for a while! If you go back a few months you will see that I never finished this study. Jesus finds the disciples went back to fishing. As they near the shore he yells ‘did you guys catch anything’? No! They reply. ‘Cast your net on the other side’. Sure enough they fill the net! Notice something, there is another account where Jesus says ‘cast the nets’ and in that story they only cast ‘one net’. Why? Fishing was a tough business. After pulling in and cleaning all the commercial nets it is not easy to ‘cast them all back out for one last try’. So in that story Peter sort of says ‘Oh fine Jesus, will humor you’ and he cast ONE net. What happened? The net broke! [I think I am remembering right? If not this story will still have some meaning]. Here Jesus says ‘cast it’ they do and he fills it. The point is prepare for the capacity that he wants to give you! If he says ‘nets’ [multiple] do ‘nets’. Don’t think ‘fill the building’ here. Think in terms of harvest. The ‘fill the building’ could be part of it, but I think there’s more. Let the Lord direct your ‘casting’. Don’t focus on ‘my church in my city’ only. You often see these appeals on church web sites. It is not uncommon to find a web site on the other side of the world saying ‘come visit our Sunday meeting’. For heavens sake, if you have a web site [interNET] use it to cast to a broad region. Actually teach and interact with the thing! All the ‘virtual community’ are a real community of people. Don’t take a possible few million potential readers and say ‘come visit my building’. Geez! Get the word out! As the disciples get to shore they realize its Jesus and Peter jumps out and leaves the brothers to bring in the nets. Thanks a lot! But oh wait, then Jesus says ‘bring the fish’ and Peter runs down and grabs the net right at the end! Sort of like what Saturday night live used to say about Bill Clinton. He was a nice guy, the type who would offer to help you move the furniture, but when you let your side down you realize he wasn’t really lifting! Peter was a little ‘showboat’ here. Leaders, be careful about arranging your ‘ministries’ around your personas. Are the majority of the funds being spent on broadcasting your gift and image to people? This is not primarily New Testament ministry! Peter tells Jesus 3 time ‘you know I love you’. Most of you are familiar with this story. Jesus says ‘do you love me’ 3 times to Peter. In the Greek Jesus used the 3 different words for love. But don’t loose the context. Scripture does say Peter was grieved that Jesus asked him this 3 TIMES. Peter understood that Jesus wasn’t asking him 3 different things one time each! Maybe Jesus was allowing Peter to work in his own mind for the 3 times he publicly denied him? Maybe we need to say out loud ‘I LOVE JESUS’ to reaffirm to ourselves that if we really weren’t sincere why in the world would we even be doing these things! It’s easy to question all your motives, especially after reading this site! For the most part all you Pastors and leaders I relate to, you guys are real ‘players’. If you didn’t really love the Lord most of you wouldn’t be doing the stuff you are doing, I commend you! In verse 18 Jesus basically tells Peter ‘I am going to give you one more chance. You feel terrible about not dieing for the cause. Your denials of me were done out of fear of loosing your life. The church is going to enter a period of great persecution, many will die for the faith. When you get old Peter you will stretch forth your hands and be martyred’. It’s almost like Jesus said to him ‘don’t worry, I am giving you another chance at it’. I think this scenario is very possible, he doesn’t tell the others they will die like this. As we conclude John’s gospel, let’s recap some stuff. I said earlier that Johns gospel could be called the ‘gospel of sovereignty’. I believe Jesus taught Predestination in this gospel. At least he hits on this doctrine more in this gospel than the others. I think you could also call it ‘the gospel of belief’. There are more statements on those who believe having eternal life than in any other gospel. I think we should not take this lightly. It is common in Christian circles to add a bunch of stuff to the gospel. Many evangelicals preach a type of altar call that says ‘if you think simple belief in Jesus is going to save you, well you got another thing coming’. But simple belief in Jesus does ‘save you’ [Actually Jesus saves you!]. There is a recent resurgence in Reformed theology going on in the Evangelical church. Good stuff on Orthodoxy and Eastern roots also. Studying Patristics. We need to be careful that we don’t stray from the simple offer of eternal life to those who believe! It is all too easy to ‘fall in love’ with a sort of romanticism with all things Orthodox and mix sacerdotalism in with justification by faith! This gospel falls down heavily on the justification by faith side! [I know my Catholic friends will say ‘hey, chapter 6 says this is my Body!’ I don’t want to re teach it here. Go back and read chapter 6 on this study]. So thank God that he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have Everlasting life!

(665) THE STUPIDITY OF THE NEWS MEDIA! I can’t help it! Today is the 2008 Democratic primary vote in South Carolina. By all accounts Barrak Obama will win. The only problem is he will probably get 60% of the black vote [great for me, I think he should get all the black vote!]. But only 10 % of the white vote. Why? Because the racist plays of the DEMOCRATS over the last few weeks, that’s why! All the wonderful surrogates and friends of the Clintons [I am tired of the same old dynasty of Bush/Clinton. Do we really need 4[or 8] more years of these same 2 families, please!] He made innuendos about black stereotypes and steered the campaign towards race. I know they will deny it, but when the Republicans deny being racist, the Clintons and all the other liberals [Kennedy] don’t care. They still brand you as playing the race card. So in my view the fact that the Clintons injected certain statements into the media, like ‘cocaine’ should be taken as a political move to turn Obama into the ‘Black candidate’. They know if Obama gets 90% of the Black vote today, they will win. Because the pushback by the White vote [thanks Bill] will see this and vote ‘Hillary’. Now, did Bill Clinton know this? You bet he did! Are you tired yet of seeing him on TV in a mad rage every time the reporter asks the guy a question? I am. Bill says ‘the media is giving Obama a free ride’. What about when his wife had a subpoena to turn over the law records for Whitewater? She denied she had them, and one day out of the blue they showed up on her dinner table at the white House. The maid found them. What did the liberal media say about this? Nothing. They thought ‘we are the media, she didn’t break the law by putting them there. No one can prove she is lying, or for that matter Bill.’ So Bill thinks the media are too easy on Obama! Then yesterday the New York Times [which I read] endorsed Hillary. Their reasoning? They stated ‘we know our paper is adamantly against the war. We see the war as the biggest injustice of our time! Yet we know Hillary voted for the biggest injustice of our time [according to them] and Obama didn’t. But we endorse Hillary because she seems to have a better plan to undo this injustice.’ What a crock! I guess the times would say ‘we know Hitler killed 6 million Jews. And Churchill tried to stop it. But we will endorse Hitler because he seems to have a better handle on managing the war than Churchill’. The Times are part of the elite North eastern mindset that says ‘we are very open minded. Not like those racists in the South’ but yet they play into the elitist liberal racism that says ‘if we think Obama cant win [racist in itself] then lets do what we have to do in order to get Hillary nominated’. So you hear stuff from former Senator Bob Kerry ‘Barrak Hussein Obama did Cocaine as a youth’. Now, are we idiots? You think he doesn’t know what he’s doing? I am sure him and the surrogates of the Clintons thought ‘well, we know this is being somewhat racist, but heck. It’s for the benefit of the party and we know if Barrak wins the nomination he will loose the general [because in their twisted minds they are saying behind closed doors that a Black can’t win. This ‘secret’ judgment from them is actually racist!]. So they think ‘let’s do what we have to do to stop the Black man at all costs. After all were doing this for their [Black people] own good!’ You see, racism exists even in the minds of those who are always accusing the other side of being racist. Plus if Hillary gets the job, I will have to change my view of the rapture. Because 3.5 years into her rule we get raptured out! [You guys need to lighten up!]

(663) I am really frustrated over the current presidential election. Too much racial stuff! I also just woke up at around 1:30 am and the TV was on a documentary about prisons. They told the story of this white kid who went to prison and got into this skinhead stuff. He and another kid killed a Black man in prison. They showed the way this white kid was influenced by all the racist propaganda from these groups. Some of it is the same stuff I have heard taught amongst Baptist groups down here in the Deep South. I remember hearing over the years the doctrine of how Noah’s son, Ham, was the father of all ‘dark skinned’ people and how the Blacks are cursed with being subservient to Whites. Pretty ‘damn’ racist, wouldn’t you agree? Well this is the way it was taught. After the flood in Genesis Noah and his family repopulated the earth. There was an incident when Noah got drunk [like Doug Heffernan says on King of Queens ‘I like my Whiskey’] and one of his 3 sons found Noah uncovered in his tent [all this is true by the way!] and instead of covering him up, he makes fun of his father and tells the others. Some think the wording of this story even means the son might have done some type of incest thing with Noah. Either way the boy was then ‘cursed’ for this. He was told his descendants would be slaves to his brother’s descendants. Those who teach this will show you that one of the interpretations [possible?] for Ham [the boy’s name] is dark skin. Thus all blacks are to be slaves. Does this story teach this? I think not! Hams descendants would become the Canaanites. These tribes were part of the ‘ites’ that the children of Israel kicked out of the Promised Land. These descendants of Ham would eventually ‘serve’ the descendants of the other brothers. Thus the ‘serving other nations’ curse has nothing to do with our African American brothers. It’s sad that the kid in prison believed stuff like this, even sadder that some ‘southern preachers’ actually teach it!

(661) DREAM- MARTIN LUTHER KING; Just had a dream. It is the day after Martin Luther King Day. A few weeks ago as I was channel surfing I stopped at a local preacher’s message. A good man who has Pastored for many years in our city. I visited his church [though I use ‘church’ you know what I mean!] a few times over the years. I listened to him on TV and it was a good testimony of his coming to know the Lord and his calling. Though I knew this brother for years, yet this day was different. Sure enough I watched him again the following week. To catch him twice in a row seemed strange, I very rarely do this. Then a few weeks later I opened the paper and read that he died. I prayed for his wife and church family for a few days, prayed that they would make the transition well. Prayed for the new leadership to actually experience a new resurgence of life and growth. Sort of like what has happened with Jerry falwells son. After Jerry died his son took over the pastorate and they are really growing and on fire for the Lord! The dream I just had [an hour ago] was me going back in time before this pastor’s death and spending the day with him. I knew he was to die soon, and realized he was living his last few days not knowing this [in the dream at least, I know he in ‘real life’ was sick and knew he had cancer]. So as I observed and fellowshipped with him he had to run some errands and I didn’t have time to drive him. But I knew his time was short and made the sacrifice. I was also talking to someone else in the dream and we both knew he had already died [in the future] but wasn’t aware how short his time was. I heard Martin Luther’s speech yesterday, they played a part of the ‘I have a dream’ [notice, Kings dream wasn’t to become ‘all he could be’ it was giving his life for a greater purpose than self fulfillment]. They played the part you normally don’t see. It was a few minutes before the famous part. At one point you could see a very brief moment of fear/anxiety. Sort of a glimpse into the thin veneer of mans flesh and weakness when he is at the crossroads of destiny. A hidden reality of the cost that was to be paid for his cause. I also heard a speech [and read it a few years back] that King made right before his death. He said ‘longevity would be a good thing. But I have been to the mountain and have seen the promised land’ he prophesied of his death. In so many words he knew he would pay for his cause with his death. I just thought the Lord wanted to remind us today that we are like ‘smoke’ that appears for a little time and vanishes away [James]. Or like grass, we grow in the morning and are ‘cut down’ at night. Why are we wasting our lives? We seem to be living for temporary things. Our dreams are all about ourselves. We are not applying our hearts to wisdom. We are not numbering our days. NOTE; During Kings time you saw a dynamic taking place that would become a major cause of strife in our time. The Nation of Islam was founded in the 1930’s in Detroit under Wallace Fard. After his death in 1935 Elijah Muhammad would lead the group until 1975. Malcolm x and Louis Farrakhan would follow. The ‘Nation of Islam’ is not a legitimate Muslim group! Their founding had ideas about ‘UFO’S’ and other very weird doctrines that you would find in the black ‘Jewish’ groups of the time. Groups that tried to trace their ancestry to being ‘the true Israel’. And they would couch the black mans struggle for freedom thru an ‘historic’ mindset. The only problem was the whole ‘history’ of ‘Black Jews’ is just as much fantasy as ‘White Jews’ or British Israelism. The doctrine that the white Europeans are the lost tribes of Israel. These ideas were prevalent at the time. This is also why you hear strange stuff from Farrakhan on UFO’S and stuff. King was a prophetic Christian who was carrying the cause of Civil rights along with the banner of Jesus Christ. The Nation would be a demonic force [copy cat] of the true mantle of King. You would hear ‘white devils’ thru the racist lips of the Nation, while King would include the white man in his struggle for freedom. Today you see Islam continue to counterfeit what the Spirit of God is doing in the earth. The black ‘church’ [I don’t like this term, there is only one church!] needs to understand that in her continued struggle for justice that she does not align herself with the truly demonic Nation of Islam.

(651) UPDATE ON RACE AND POLITICS As I am following the current Presidential campaign, a ‘funny thing happened on the way to the White House’. The White woman candidate [Hillary] has had some surrogates who have made racial innuendos. Not blatant stuff, but hints that would be considered ‘death’ to any Republican candidate. But being Clinton is a Democrat it took a little longer for it to come to a head. So today [I think it is Martin Luther King Day today? It’s early and I haven’t looked at the calendar yet] the Political world is reeling over race. The black supporters are accusing the white Democrats of being racist. A few years ago President Bush nominated a white judge to the Supreme Court [Thomas Pickering?] he was a conservative. The Democrats played the race card against him. The only problem was he put his life [and his families] on the line in the South by ruling against the KKK and for publicly going against this racist group at a time where it was unpopular to do it. He had a real history of defending blacks. The race card that was used was the fact that in a certain Cross burning case he let the kids off without jail time. The reason he did this was because during the trial he realized that the other kids who were the real instigators made a plea deal and sort of blamed these other kids for the whole thing. Basically the kids he went easy on were guilty, but the main instigators sort of framed them to get a better deal. So Pickering made a just decision. Well this was played in the media as Bush nominating a racist. Though the man went out of his way to defend blacks! This in itself is really racist. For the democrats to have done this for their own political purpose is actually racist. I know they don’t see this, but what do you expect? The republicans can be just as bad. The point is the democrats were all for the railroading of this innocent judge, even Hillary! Now she seems to be at the receiving end and her and Bill Clinton are incensed! ‘How dare the Obamma campaign even bring up any racial accusations, we were at the forefront of Civil Rights’ they weren’t singing this tune when Pickering was being blasted. The point is using race in this whole scenario is wrong. But if some of Hillary’s people said the stuff, then they should be just as accountable as any one else. About a month ago I mentioned I liked McCain and Obamma the most. I said this when McCain seemed to have no chance and Obamma was way behind in the polls. As of today McCain is leading on the Republican side and Obamma is about equal with Clinton! I would support Obamma if it weren’t for the abortion thing. I still see this crime as the worst atrocity of our time. I don’t blame Obamma or any single person for their view, I just believe no matter how good we feel about a candidate we can’t allow these feelings to override the greatest social injustice issue of our time. The murder of untold little Black and Hispanic and White babies. These 6 month developed kids feel safe in the womb, we allow for a doctor to stick an instrument in the Mom and dismember the child. The child cries and feels the pain. The little kid must think ‘O my God, they are really killing me’! Don’t allow your liberal tendencies to forget this atrocity!

(644) OVERVIEW OF NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY AND THE CHURCH. Pretty tall order! As I finish our study on John’s gospel, I am debating on how much New Testament study to plunge into. I know we will cover the letters and all, but don’t want to finish the whole New Testament in a year or two. I heard a few ideas these last few weeks that I want to cover. One was that we are called to be the ‘21st century church, not the 1st century one!’ Good point, needs to be clarified. People will say this to counteract the strong ‘organic church movement’ to which I am a part of. The best way to understand the ‘21st century church’ is to understand ‘church’. If you have the biblical view of church, as found in the ‘1st century bible’ you see church as a community of people. As she grows thru the centuries she will form and interact with each generation as a real ‘person’ changes with the times. She shouldn’t lose her fundamental message [reconciliation of God and man thru Christ] nor her fundamental nature! She is and always will be the people of God! So any development or ‘seeing her in the 21st century’ has to keep in mind the basic nature of community. If you loose this idea of her, and begin to define her as ‘mega church’ or huge Christian corporation, then you are not really sticking with the actual ‘person’ [Ecclesia] that she is. So any growth has to stick with this basic idea of the church as the corporate people of God. The expressions of mega church or ‘Sunday church’ are fine, just don’t loose the fundamental 1st century idea. It’ not so much a following of a model in as much as it is sticking to the organic person we see as defined by community, got it? Now as we proceed from the Gospel into the book of acts and the letters we do find the basic nature of church. Some have made it harder than it needs to be. For example, the whole area of giving. By now you guys should know my position on ‘tithing’. I believe it’ fine to give 10% of your money, it’s just the whole New Testament is filled with direct instruction on giving. It is always seen in the community context. The later ‘idea’ of tithing into ‘the church basket on Sunday’ as being ‘the local church storehouse’ is really a silly development and digressing away from the idea of community. Not so much ‘those wicked Sunday churches’ an idea seen in George Foxe’s preaching. He was the founder of the Quakers, he would call the ‘churches’ ‘steeple houses’ as he was challenging the mindset of ‘church’ as the building. You would also see the ‘Church of Christ’ emphasize ‘the church of Christ meets here’ as opposed to the word ‘church’ on their buildings. All good people seeing real truth. So as you read into Acts and the epistles you will see Gods people adapting to society around them while not loosing the fundamental nature of being the corporate people of God. We must keep this ‘1st century revelation of Christ’s body’ just as much as keeping the ‘1st century revelation of Christ’. The ways we present the message can change, we don’t have to avoid modern technology or using corporate innovation as a means to advance the gospel. But we cant begin defining ‘church’ as the actual corporation itself! This seems to be the mistake of some who espouse ‘the 21st century church as opposed to the first century one’. So as we begin our way into the New Testament lets keep this in mind. We are going to learn about the great story of redemption, how God chose us and saved us by his grace. Being called the ‘people of God’ and partaking of all the blessings that were once limited to the commonwealth of Israel. Christ destroying racial barriers and ‘making in himself one new man’ from all races of men. Jesus himself being the preeminent ‘stone’ of this building. The singular ‘test’ of whether or not you are ‘one of the stones’ in this building will be defined by Jesus himself who said to Peter ‘upon this rock [your confession of me as Christ] I will build my church’. Jesus himself will be seen as the criterion of whether you are a believer or not. Yes, the message can be seen as ‘narrow minded’, some will challenge this idea ‘who do you think you are telling us we all need Jesus’? But the fact will remain that we all do! You will see thru out history that some will emphasize the teachings of Jesus more than the letters of Paul [Catholics and more orthodox churches] and the Protestants will become focused on Paul’s revelation as seen in justification by faith. While some see these as opposing views, I see them as 2 strains of truth that are destined to merge as Christ becomes more preeminent at the close of the present age. He will truly ‘bring all things together in him’ in ways that we don’t fully understand yet. So as we move ahead, lets fix our eyes on the ‘Captain of our Salvation’ and let him steer this ship the way he wants.

(668) I am really going to jump around today. Those of you who read this section in order have realized that I still have to finish our study on John’s gospel! I sidetracked and read Proverbs and wound up teaching highlights as an ‘aside’. So yesterday I woke up and felt the Lord wanted me to read Revelation 11. I have been praying for a few years now with a ‘rod’ [stick] in my hand as I walk in many yard [it’s dark so I don’t look too insane]. Let’s read Revelation 11 [by the way it IS NOT SPEAKING ABOUT ME!] ‘And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that worship therein’. This last week I once again had a discussion with a brother who assumed all the language in the New Testament about the Temple was speaking of a future rebuilt one. Some language MIGHT possibly refer to one. But some referred to the ones in the past; some refer to the people of God as the holy Temple [Ephesians]. So God might be telling John that he will wield authority in ‘judging’ the church. That thru John’s prophetic ministry [the actual writing of this vision called ‘the book of Revelation’] he will wield a rod of purging and chastening. ‘But the court that is without the temple leave out’ John’s prophetic vision is specifically designed to ‘line up’ the people of God. The ‘court’ can represent all the gentile nations whom represent those outside of the church. In essence ‘prophesy into the church John, don’t judge the world! I have not come to condemn them; I have come to save them’. The church has gone thru this ‘moral outrage’ stage and has railed against lost man. People who feel they have no hope, who have tried to overcome their addictions and have failed. They then tried to justify them. Why? Because they want to be accepted, they want society to say ‘we affirm you’. Am I saying we should affirm them? No. But we have used the ‘rod’ to condemn them and God is saying ‘leave those in the courtyard alone’. ‘These will tread the holy city [people of God] 42 months’ God was revealing to John that there would be a set time where the world would ‘tread’ on the church. John is actually living at the beginning of the rule of a bunch of demonic Roman rulers who will ‘destroy the people of God’ for a season. We have also seen a season of mocking and outright laughter at the American church. Some of it was deserved. We have allowed our ‘immature’ spokesman to broadcast their images to society as a whole [thru Christian TV] and some of them truly don’t realize how silly they look. I know they don’t mean to look silly, but they have grasped hold of a temptation that Jesus warned against. He told us leadership in the church was not designed to function like ‘gentile leadership’ seeking fame and position. So the American church fell into it and the ‘gentile’s tread us under foot 42 months’. ‘And I will give power unto my 2 witnesses and they will prophesy’ many cults and well meaning believers have erred terribly in thinking their Pastor/Prophet was one of these guys! I have taken this 2 ways in the past. I have seen it as either Israel and the church [2 witnesses in society] or the 2 offices of Apostle and Prophet. The point is after the humiliation and defeat [both in Johns day under the emperors and in every other day] God restores a prophetic voice back into the church. Be assured this voice will not be seen or heard thru many of the mediums being used today to broadcast Christian stuff. ‘Clothed in sackcloth’ part of the price of prophetic ministry includes ‘being clothed in sackcloth’. There just seems to be a principle you find in the Prophets of scripture that at the same time they are prophesying, they are going thru hell! ‘If any man hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours them’ there is this funny dynamic wit prophetic ministry. There critics wind up getting ‘corrected’ by the words of the prophets! ‘And when they finish their testimony the beast makes war against them and kills them’ the reality is/was that there was a real price to pay for their prophetic ministry. I recently wrote on Martin Luther King, there is a real question on whether or not his ‘ministry’ would have took hold in the minds of the public if he were not killed for the cause. John will write thru out this book on the power of the blood of the saints being spilled! Their prayers are like incense to God! ‘And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of THE GREAT CITY WHICH SPIRITUALY IS CALLED SODOM AND EGYPT, WHERE ALSO OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED’ Wow, I wonder how well this would have gone over if John preached this at one of those ‘Christians defending Israel’ conventions! All kidding aside, John refused to exalt natural heritage at the expense of the Cross. It is important to see this language in a book that many American preachers use to exalt natural Israel. They will confuse all the imagery of the Ark and the Temple and stuff like this with natural Israel. They truly don’t see what I just showed you! The imagery in a prophetic book like Revelation is IMAGERY! Don’t accuse people of ‘not literally believing the book’ because they interpret this book the way it was meant to be seen. Even the ‘literalists’ will concede that the ‘sword proceeding out of Jesus mouth’ is the word of God. That the ‘lamb on the throne’ is not a real lamb. The one I like is ‘God puts his mark/name on his servants’ and you never see movies being made about Christians getting computer implants in their heads! [Or hands]. ‘And all the nations SAW their dead bodies and refused to bury them [public humiliation] and were so excited over the fall of the believers that they sent gifts to each other’ cant you just see this mindset in the church today. How the late night comedians mock us. They are overjoyed when the church falls openly. They don’t want to ‘bury the mistakes’. They still use Jimmy Swaggart as an example. Even though many of them have secretly been just as guilty as swaggart! ‘After 3 and a half days the Spirit of God entered into them and THEY STOOD ON THEIR FEET and fear fell on them who dwelt on the earth’. God will recover his testimony in the earth. An interesting thing is happening right now with our American political scene. The New York Times announced how the ‘religious right is dieing in influence’. But they don’t seem to realize that Christ’s testimony is not limited to the ‘religious right’. You see the Tony Campolo’s and the Jim Wallis’s are just as much ‘filled with Christ’s Spirit’ as the Chuck Colson’s. The secret to Jesus kingdom is it starts like leaven. It eventually invades all areas of society. Wont the Times be surprised when they see ‘the Spirit of life enter into them’ from both sides of the aisle! ‘And a great voice said to the 2 witnesses, come up hither’. Funny thing here. This is the exact wording that the rapture guys use in chapter 4 to say ‘Jesus took all the believers off the planet’. Well here God says to 2 prophets ‘come up hither’. According to this reasoning more believers left on this flight! ‘The Kingdoms of the world are become the Kingdom of our God and his Christ’ John is preparing the church for a few centuries of real persecution. He is reassuring them that they will ultimately win! ‘And the nations were angry, and the time of the dead to be judged. And rewards given to the prophets and to those who fear your name’ you have multiple times in Johns Revelation where he sums things up. One of the problems with popular interpretations of this book is they try to teach everything in a ‘Line’. Here John is simply summing up the judgment and nature of all that is to come. Man has been and will continue to be angry at God. The more proof rebellious man sees of the reality of God causes him to hate even more. The church is here to do her best to glorify God and bring people into his Kingdom. But make no mistake about it, the world and her rulers have at times done all they could do to fight against God. John is reminding the early church that the rulers who are setting them on fire and hanging their bodies like lamps along the road have their day coming! ‘And the temple of God was opened in heaven [not a man made Temple! God’s people are ‘the Temple/dwelling place of God’. Heaven is also called ‘the sanctuary’ in Hebrews!] And there was seen in his temple the Ark of his testament [The box with the commandments in them. Not Noah’s Ark- this is for the critics of my theory in entry # 662. Those who say ‘get the boat off the planet’! You will have to read the entry!] and there were lightnings and thunder and earthquakes and hail’. Johns Revelation is a great prophetic encouragement for the church in every generation. When John describes a ruler called ‘the beast’ and the number ‘666’. It is only natural for the early church to have seen this figure as Nero. His nickname was actually ‘the beast’. And one of the numerical spellings of his name and title came to ‘666’. Is it heresy to apply modern interpretations to these figures? No. But it is also ‘immature’ to read a prophetic vision like revelation without a basic understanding of how the church read it for 1900 years! This book has tremendous spiritual significance for all believers. To see it as an exact literal translation of geopolitical events of our time is not being ‘mature in our thinking’.

(515) I want to talk a little on politics. I am not a Republican or a Democrat. This week the House of Representatives took a vote on certain pending legislation that would have given illegal aliens Social Security, it was added to a bill as one of the ‘add ons’ that politicians do to ‘slip’ things thru. Both sides play this game. Now during the floor vote the little machine that actually tallies the vote said ‘215-213’ in favor of the minority party [Republicans]. But being the Majority party is Democrat, they actually have the right to ‘say’ what the vote is. So they simply announced ‘the vote is 214 to 214’ and the tie always goes to the majority party. I am sure they figured ahead of time ‘this is what we are going to do, we believe that we are helping people, so what if we do this ‘little lie’. I admit it is no real big thing in the scheme of things, I do find it funny that this same group will state that one of its greatest achievements in this congressional year is ‘ethics reform’. I guess it means the ethics of the opposing side? The whole point is our country is really in serious trouble. This type of major childish division fuels our political parties. It goes on endlessly. I will try and explain the ‘Valerie Plame’ outing. Before we invaded Iraq [which I personally was against from the get go!] you had political people that were for it and against it. A book was just written that shows how the C.I.A. has been in open opposition to the Bush administration from day one. It goes into detail how for various reasons the C.I.A. had things against Bush. So before we invaded Iraq, you had a few people [in the CIA] that were actively trying to come up with evidence of why we shouldn’t invade. During this time a person named Joe Wilson went overseas to see if he could find proof that Iraq wasn’t trying to buy ‘yellow cake’ from the country of Niger. If he could show that there was no evidence, then this would undermine one of the reasons for invasion. He comes back after his trip and writes an open article in the New York Times that says ‘The Bush administration sent me to see if there was evidence, I went and came back and told them there was none. They obviously are ignoring their own people that they sent’. Now when the Bush administration read this, they went ‘huh’ [or some other cuss word]. In essence they had no idea who this guy was, and who sent him. Joe Wilson claimed that the Vice President sent him. Cheney calls the C.I.A. [the group that is overjoyed about this by the way] and finds out after digging into it that some lady named Valerie Plame sent him. She suggested he go, because he speaks French and would be able to handle the people better [I think it was French?] O, I left out one little detail. Valerie Plame is the wife of Joe Wilson. So after a few weeks of the press saying ‘look, Bush ignored his own guy who brought back evidence’ Cheney does something that is natural. It is a real part of politics. He tells his staff [Lewis Libby] get the word out that we didn’t send this guy, his wife did. Why would you do this? So people wouldn’t think that Cheney’s office sent him, like he was saying. During all of this, there was a little ‘oversight’ that nobody took into account. Valerie Wilson had what was called ‘undercover status’ she had previously done some undercover work for the C.I.A. and held this status. This made it illegal to ‘out her name’ in public. Now most reporters in town knew who she was. She had even appeared on the cover of a magazine, using her name! If you are really undercover you don’t do this. Even Andrea Mitchell [a well respected reporter] said ‘everyone knew she worked for the C.I.A.’ Now, of course the other side [Democrats] demanded ‘who outed her on purpose’ they do a special investigation and find out it was Dick Armitage [someone who the Democrats like!] who inadvertently told her name to Robert Novak [who at the time worked for C.N.N.] So what was really a story about ‘get the truth out, we didn’t send Joe Wilson, his wife did’ became a national joke. A huge game of ‘I got you now’ played out on a national scale by politicians who are acting like children while the world is facing real problems. This is why the Democrats will say one of their greatest achievements this year is ‘ethics reform’ they see ‘getting the other side’ as achievement. Today I don’t defend either side. The fact is if these childish games are played on such a large scale. The public thinking ‘wow, Scooter Libby got off Scott free’ for a horrible crime [he did lie during the investigation, and they got him on perjury- Bush commuted his sentence]. While the politicians are playing a game of ‘gottcha’ it is hurting this country. Most of you didn’t even realize all the stuff I just showed you in context, because we are victims of the news medias ‘sound bites’. Pray for our country. No side [Republican/Democrat] are perfect. Scripture says a house divided against itself can not stand. Sad to say, we are looking like that house more and more as the years go by. NOTE; Joe Wilson sued the White House saying they purposely caused harm to him and his family by outing his wife. A Federal judge just recently ruled on their case. The judge said ‘when you plunge yourself into the fray of political action to the degree that you say openly ‘Cheney sent me’. That in this environment it is perfectly acceptable for the other side to ‘get the facts out’. The judge saw it the way I just explained it to you. Also during this whole time, congress did a special investigation concerning Joe Wilson’s open claims that ‘Cheney sent me’ they found him to have been lying. Another interesting thing, the book that just came out exposing the tremendous political rift between the C.I.A. and the Bush administration, shows that there were a few people in the C.I.A. that actually held to the conspiracy theory that the Bush administration knew the planes were heading towards the towers, and let them hit so we would have an excuse to invade Iraq. Sort of like the ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ or how some believe that F.D.R. knew of the Pearl Harbor attack, but let it happen anyway. You will find these ideas on the internet from all types of people. It is alarming to think that people in the C.I.A. actually held to this. I believe Joe Wilson is a good man at heart, his wife also. He sincerely believes that there was more to the ‘outing of his wife’. He felt like Karl Rove was secretly behind it to get him. While there is no doubt that the White House ‘pushed back’ against him and his wife, the evidence seems to show that it was for the purpose that I revealed above. During this time many Democrats knew this to be true, they just played the man to their advantage. It’s like going along with someone’s miss conceptions, because after all ‘he might just take down this President, or at Least Cheney’. So people become tools in the hands of the parties to get what they want. The fact is poor Wilson really had this conspiracy thing going ‘they got my wife’. The judge ruled ‘yes they got her, but it was to show that your story wasn’t true’. It’s like lying on the vote ‘215-213’ into ‘214-214’ you sincerely believe what you are doing is right for the country, so if it means you have to lie to achieve it, you do. Despite the fact that you just passed ‘ethics reform’. All people have ways to justify their own sin, while finding the other sides to be deplorable. NOTE; Let me give you a few known facts in this case. Before the war, Colin Powel gave a speech at the U.N. that included a reference to Iraq trying to purchase ‘yellow cake’ [an ingredient needed to build a Nuclear bomb] from Niger. The C.I.A. had said ‘we are not sure about this piece of intelligence, it is possible to be not true’. The fact that Powel used it is seen to be the Bush administrations ‘selective use’ of intelligence for their own purpose. There was a lot of ‘fabricated’ intelligence that the opposing side in Iraq actually made up so the U.S. would invade. Saddam’s enemies weren’t idiots! Now after all was said and done in this affair, some today still believe that Iraq really was trying to obtain this stuff from Niger, others don’t. Great Britain has stated they believe other intelligence to be true, despite the possibility that some was made up. They insist that they have other reasons to believe it. So the Joe Wilson premise, that Iraq wasn’t proved to be trying to get this stuff has some truth to it. After Powell left the administration he also felt like the Bush administration might have taken advantage of his standing by allowing this in the speech. What was also true is the open fact, that many countries intelligence agencies all pointed to the fact that Iraq was wanting a Nuclear Weapon. So to many people this point is moot. My point is both sides play into the game of ‘gotcha on this one’. Most politicians who were fueling the ‘go get em Wilson’ had to have known the basic premise of all I just showed you in this entry. They will ‘blow it out of proportion’ on purpose. After all the Republicans did it to Clinton! [they did!] So the game is non stop. Joe Wilson lied, an investigation showed this. Not about the major stuff, but about the fact that Bush didn’t send him. Clinton lied, not about ‘major stuff’ but about, well you know! Libby lied, not about outing Wilson’s wife, but about who first told him Wilson’s wife was Valerie Plame. He did lie about this, even though he wasn’t the main ‘leaker’. They caught him in a lie. The Judge gave him over 2 years in prison and a huge financial fine. Bush commuted the prison term. Of course the Democrats were outraged. The game never stops! NOTE; Jesus said a strange thing in the gospel. He said ‘if these injustices can happen when the tree is green, what will happen when anarchy is here’ [my paraphrase]. Scripture says ‘where envying and strife are, this is confusion and EVERY EVIL WORK’ The strategy of the enemy is to cause there to be this type of environment. The crucifixion of Jesus took place in the heated political posturing of the day. The Jews saying ‘he claims to be our king, we have no king but Caesar’ [even though they despised Caesar!] the inference was ‘Pilate, if you don’t kill this guy, well you must not think too highly of Caesar’. Pilate writes ‘the King of the Jews’ over the Cross. The Jews say ‘don’t put that! Put ‘he said I was the king of The Jews’ [because this would make it look like the Jews had him killed because of their so called ‘love for Caesar’] Pilate says ‘I have written it and it will stay’. All this happened according to Jesus ‘in a green tree’ which meant during a time of true govt. and law existing. Though Rome was not Christian, they actually had a system of courts and justice that allowed appeals to me made and all. Jesus is saying ‘if they can do this type of injustice during true govt. just wait till anarchy gets here’. When you have this type of political posturing take place, the enemy can ‘slip in’ abortion and all types of stuff. The actual fact that there are occasions in this country where babies ‘slipped out’ during an abortion and made it. And the Doctors cant ‘kill it’ because it’s too late [these things have happened] makes you think ‘what in the world are we doing’ but in the midst of all this strife, there is confusion and ‘every evil work’. The answer is not to be found in politics. Its found in ‘if my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray and turn from their sins. Then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land’. Our land desperately needs to be healed! NOTE; I do find it ironic that politicians try to pass ‘ethics reform’ while at the same time openly say ‘it is not a politicians job to legislate morality’ ethics [moral standards] reform [repentance] is ‘imposing morality’ by definition! Yet if you were to ask them ‘why do you support the murder of babies in the womb’ they will say ‘I am personally against it, but it is not my job to impose morality’ this my friends is hypocrisy in it’s highest form. NOTE; Jesus one time told the Jews ‘I come to you in truth, I come in the name of my Father. I present myself to you in truth as his Son. I have told you truth. Yet you will not believe me. Yet when another comes to you in his name, you believe him’ Scholars have related this to the anti Christ. It’s possible. But if you put this in context of all I just showed you, it’s also possible that Jesus is foreseeing their future accusation against him by their so called allegiance to Caesar. In essence he might be saying ‘not too long from now you guys will be appealing to Caesar as your king, though you will be doing it at the rejection of your true king’. They were more than willing to acknowledge Rome’s authority over them when it seemed convenient to their cause. Yet the King they have been waiting for, for thousands of years shows up and they wont take his word for it!

(575) There is a trend going on among evangelicals that I like. Many of the up and coming believers are getting away from the spooky looking presentations of the TV preachers that you and I are familiar with. Many are becoming environmentally minded, they are holding to more liberal views in politics and describe themselves openly as liberal minded. I too see many of the things they see. I purposefully avoid the whole persona of the religious right. Some on the religious right mean well, some seem to be in it for the glory of the crusade. I believe we all should stand for life, that is abortion is wrong, very wrong. We should have compassion on the abused women who have been victims of the whole mindset of ‘the right to choose’. They are guinea pigs in the system. I recently heard a testimony from a person who worked at an abortion clinic. The girl getting the abortion wanted to see ‘it’ after it was over. The nurse brought the ‘it’ to her. She broke down crying and screaming, she begged God to forgive her for what she had just done. The damage done this poor girl will be with her for the rest of her life. The nurse telling the story said ‘I guess she didn’t realize what she was going to see’. This girl was a victim of the system. She was under the impression that doing this was the ‘progressive’ thing to do. It was ‘open minded’. Though I disagree with the whole persona of the moral crusaders, don’t forget what’s truly important. The death of these little babies is neither a ‘right’ or ‘left’ issue, it is one of truth. Have mercy on all those involved, but do all you can in love to defend the defenseless. NOTE; Let me give you an example on how both sides [right and left] can be ‘married’ to their cause more than truth. I personally was against the war in Iraq from the start. It was not for many of the reasons you hear the liberals give today. Many of their arguments are false. Some of them say ‘I voted for the war, but it didn’t work because Bush mishandled it, he is incompetent!’ the same group will say ‘what idiot thought you could get these warring factions in Iraq to work together, they have been fighting for thousands of years and have never been at harmony’. First, if you thought it could have worked, but bush messed it up, fine. Then don’t come back a year later and give the other argument, both cant be true! Second, these ‘tribes’ have lived together for years in a measure of ‘harmony’. They did it Under Saddam Hussein. This is the very argument that they make, that all was ‘well’ before we went in. These guys are all over the map with their reasoning. Now, when Bush got in office, he was told by the outgoing Clinton administration that the single greatest threat was militant Islam and terrorism. At the same time Saddam just stepped up his shooting at our pilots who were regularly flying the no fly zone [remember Bush 1, he signed a surrender agreement with the guy!] so Bush 2 gets in office, is told the number one threat is militant Islam, Saddam is regularly firing at our planes, also kicking out the weapons inspectors. All the intelligence from ALL the countries said ‘Saddam is massing or developing weapons of mass destruction’. Then 9-11 happens. It was a judgment decision to go in and invade. Many of Bush’s advisors had the ideology [neo con’s] that the only way to truly change the region and deal with this ongoing threat was to go in and establish a democracy in this area. They sincerely believed this, they felt Clintons strategy was not working, just ‘smart bombing’ every now and then to try and kill Osama bin Laden [or ‘bin hiding’!] So the critics today would have you believe that all was well in the world before Bush started his crusade against Islam, not true. Can you imagine what Chris Matthews and all the other talking heads would have said if Bush didn’t go in? Saddam just might have succeeded in downing our planes, then what? He would have had no weapons inspectors. Over time things just might have gotten pretty bad. The fact that we did tie up much of Al Qaeda has had an affect on us not getting hit again since 9-11. It is very possible that the invasion has caused the terrorists to focus on Iraq and not have the time or resource’s to hit us at home. The critics of the war never even seem to give this a second thought. Now, why was I against this war? I felt we were spreading ourselves to thin. To go and occupy another country on the other side of the world was just doing too much. If we had to eliminate the guy, then do it like Israel does. Just send a commando force in and do it. I know this also would have had tremendous reverberations, the critics would have decried the instability of Iraq as all the tribes would be fighting for control of the country, and sure enough all the talking heads would have said ‘what in the world is Bush doing, doesn’t he know that you have to occupy a country to change it, you cant just assassinate the leader’ you will never please these news guys [note; It is the policy of our country to not assassinate leaders of other countries, some think we should re think this policy]. So anyway I just thought I would throw this in being we are talking about Christians being both liberal and conservative on various issues. NOTE; recently we have had terrible wild fires in California. Chris Matthews had the Lt. Governor of California on his show [he interviewed him on the screen, he is a Democrat] Bush was going to fly in and see the damage and support the people. Matthews asks the question ‘by Bush flying in, will it hurt or help’ he asks this in a loaded way, expecting the anti Bush answer. The politician says ‘ it will hurt us, he will be taking security resources and be a big distraction’. Matthews espouses the thought that Bush is going for purely political reasons and is actually causing great damage to the state. In essence ‘he shouldn’t go’. This is the same guy who couldn’t stop accusing Bush of insensitivity because he waited too long before he went to Louisiana after hurricane Katrina. No matter what Bush does, Matthews will find something wrong. This is not news reporting, this is simply division for the sake of ratings. I am an avid news watcher, I watch all the stations, both liberal and conservative. Matthews [hardball on MSNBC] is doing a disservice to this country. He also accused Bush of racism and neglecting the poor, he interviewed Peter King [congressman from New York] after Katrina and wanted to know why more money was cut from Louisiana’s budget than any other state in the years before Katrina. He was leading the whole audience to believe Bush was a racist, didn’t care about the poor blacks. He went on for days about this. Finally Peter King informs him on the air, that the same year Matthews is asking about, that Louisiana received more federal money than any other state [not the year of the disaster]. Obviously this is why their budget was cut the most, they still received the most out of all the other states. They cut to a commercial and you never hear Matthews recant of his racist accusations. He just drops the whole matter. So all the viewers of his show who were led to believe that Bush is a racist, they heard it for weeks from this guy, they then never were told the truth. Matthews just stopped talking about it. This guy is dangerous to this country, whether you are to the right or the left of the political spectrum, consistent lying is of no value whatsoever. NOTE; to be honest I have since come to the conclusion that the massive effort, expense and loss of life has caused me to think that the war has not been worth the cost. Hopefully things will work out better than they look right now [11-07] but the fact remains that eventually whoever runs the country in the future, we have no guarantee they will be better than Saddam. As it looks now, the group who holds the most seats in their govt. are the same religious sect that Iran’s madman holds to. Not very comforting! Also the other thing is Christians should question how the teachings of Jesus should mold our thinking in the area of war. I am not a pacifist, I do hold to the classic Christian doctrine of just war, but there are many believers who are pacifists. I remember reading somewhere how a leading Christian pacifist was debating someone who believed in war, the ‘war guy’ said ‘look at how dangerous your doctrine can be, say if everybody embraced it, what would happen?’ The pacifist answered ‘no more war’. I understand it is naïve to believe that sinful man could ever embrace it on a global scale. James tells us all wars come from mans sin and strife, so as believers we should be very ‘slow’ to go to war, a very last resort. Overall I do think the cost of the Iraq war was too much in life and money to have been justified. Do I advocate pulling out before we give the current govt. a chance to stabilize? No, that would be totally irresponsible on our part. We need to do our best to help them stabilize, but we also want to get our guys out as fast as we can. Some believe the problem is the lack of ‘financial well being’ that these Muslim countries have that cause’s the problem. They espouse the view that if the rich nations helped the poor ones [even though many of these nations have wealth, the standard of living for the average Muslim is low] that this would solve the problem of radical Islam. They don’t seem to realize that Osama was very wealthy and affluent. The problem is much deeper than money, seeing money as the answer is symptomatic of the problem with western thought in the world and church. We seem to think that money is the answer to everything, we see our God thru the lens of how he can increase our portfolio. The problem with all mankind is sin, the only solution to the sin dilemma is Christ. This is why I have said before the answer is not killing the radical Muslim, but bringing the truth of the gospel to him. Muhammad saw the idolatry in the Christian church and how far she fell from the standards of God, he saw the inconsistencies of western Christianity [really western, Rome] in the way she allowed the setting up of statues, which Muhammad saw as a violation of the commandment not to make any graven images. He saw the expressions of the Trinity, some that actually said ‘we have 3 separate Gods who are all equal’ this expression violated the teaching in scripture of ‘the Lord our God is one’. Now I am a Trinitarian, but it is not hard to see how even Muhammad could have disagreed with the above language, it is not easy to explain the Trinity! So there were some real problems that Islam saw with Christianity and went down a wrong road. Any road that doesn’t accept the full deity of Christ leads to destruction. So the answer isn’t to kill these guys, or to lift up their standard of living. But to bring the true freedom of Christ to them. Now I realize that our country wasn’t in the business of preaching the gospel of pacifism after we got hit at 9-11, but the overall answer to mans problem [all mankind, Jew, Muslim [Arab], nominal Christians] is Jesus Christ. He said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No man can come to the Father but by me’. NOTE; strife is in mans nature. I have a friend up north who was telling me how one of their friends was looking for a place to live, the place he is now living at is not good. The landlords are his sister and her husband. The husband has a bad temper, he has been in prison for murder! So my friend says ‘you can rent from me, I have a room where you can stay’. So they go over to get his stuff, and as their walking up to the house my friend notices they have a nice pool in the yard of this 2 story home [in Jersey where I grew up]. As they keep walking my friend sees all types of stuff in the pool, furniture and stuff. The pool is full of water. My fiend asks ‘what’s all the furniture doing in the pool’ the other guy says ‘o, it’s my landlord, he fights with his wife and throws the stuff out the window and they land in the pool’!

(617) Let me do one on Politics. At the time of this writing the current presidential field has both a Baptist minister and a Mormon running. Being I leave these entries on for ever, I don’t want to simply comment on the current race, but want to overview some concepts. Some political pundits, as well as leading Christians have brought up the idea that to choose to vote for the Baptist Pastor based on his religious views would be a direct violation of the constitutions article on ‘no religious test’. These same commentators will accuse Christians of religious bigotry if they won’t vote for the Mormon because of his faith. I wonder if these pundits would tell a Muslim that if he voted for a Muslim because he agreed with the basic moral underpinnings of the Muslim candidate, that he would be violating the constitution? The fact is the article of the constitution that speaks of ‘no religious test’ is not telling individual voters that they can’t use their own personal views of religion while deciding who to vote for! You might personally be against this sort of idea, but if any religious person wants to vote for someone of the same religion, that is totally their own free choice. The constitution in no way forbids the individual voters conscience on religion! You would think that these political pundits [Chris Matthews] would be smart enough to figure this out. Now, the constitution does forbid the govt. from having a religious test on who can run for office. This is in keeping with the idea of freedom of religion that was in the founding of our country. My personal view is I don’t believe in picking a candidate on these grounds at all. I like the Baptist Pastor who is running, he sounds fine. My choice out of the Republicans would be the Senator who was a P.O.W. during Vietnam. I doubt he will get the nomination, but I like him the most. I also understand that many Christians do not like him, he has made some bad comments in the past about ‘conservative right wingers’, but I still like him the most. What about the Democrats? If I were ever going to vote for a Pro Choice candidate [which I will never do] the Black candidate would without a doubt get my vote. It actually offends me that other Black leaders are really not rallying behind him. Also that the Woman candidate and her ‘henchman’ make it sound like the Blacks should vote for her, because her husband [Clinton] really deserves the Black support. Frankly, I like the Black guy better than all the other Democrats. I think the lack of support from other Black civil rights leaders shows that they are stuck in a victim mentality that they can’t break out of. Well anyway I am sure I got a few people mad with this entry, the main point is you have the right to vote for whoever you want, even if you choose to pick someone based on your affinity for his religion. Don’t let the pundits tell you otherwise!

(471) I just woke up from a dream a few minutes ago. There was a black man who was experiencing disillusionment from religion and the various streams and divisions in the church. He reminded me of Forrest Whittaker [the actor, I just saw him in the ‘last King of Scotland’ this is a great movie!] This brother was going from town to town in search of answers. He winds up riding along this deserted country road to a little church on the ‘prairie’. He walks in and I see him only sitting in the back row of this empty church. I can hear clearly the voice of the preacher but I do not see him. I only see the black brother. I recognize the preacher’s voice, I haven’t heard him in years, but I am very familiar with the voice. It is Kenneth Hagin. He is preaching on the legitimacy of the gifts of the Spirit, an area where I have credited brother Hagin for doing good. This black brother goes from sitting in the pew and getting up and kneeling and praying. It seems he is still disillusioned and is going thru difficulty. I am not sure what this dream means. Some of it deals with the church in general. Many believers [and many of our blog readers] have questioned things that have been difficult. Areas that you wish you never ‘ran’ into. Some have gone back and looked at the ‘fathers of their faith’ and have had to come to hard decisions. You have gone between sitting and listening and receiving the good things from your past, but you have also had to ‘get out of the pew’ [a place of passive receiving] and PRAY! God will honor your ‘royal courage’ in this and bless you. I also have had some of the most difficult weeks in my life recently. I felt like the Lord was saying to me ‘blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’. This one area of credit that I have given to brother Hagin has allowed God to be merciful to me. Too often in prophetic correction it is easy to denigrate the people you are reproving. It is too common to attack them personally and be mean. I feel the lord wants us to be merciful as we come out of past errors. God will be merciful to you if you plant ‘seeds of mercy’ along the way.

(561) I heard a brother speak the other day. He shared a good message. He confessed that most of his background and study came from a certain type of Christianity. He shared from A.A. Allen, John G lake, Kathryn Kuhlman and others who were part of the ‘latter rain’ or healing movements from the middle of the last century. He also said how after he became a Christian he called Rhema Bible college and ordered ‘one of everything’ they had. He had quite a big load of books and tapes! The message the brother shared was good, he seems to be a very humble man. I remember studying many of these movements myself, I realized the danger that comes from seeing only one particular aspect of the church. Like studying year’s worth of teachings that all have the same fundamental error. You might think you are learning year’s worth of knowledge, but in reality you are feeding from a very skewed idea of Christianity. The people the lord used in the latter rain movement were good people [with many flaws] that for the most part were gifted in great ways. I feel the problem with this movement was the whole concept of fame and ‘platform performance’. They didn’t see the wrong paradigm that they were operating from. They didn’t realize that these gifts should be used in a limited way from such a platform. They fell into the mindset of the day that created an organization around them and their personas. So you had tremendously gifted people, like William Branham, who operated in tremendous giftings, but who also had some serious doctrinal flaws. He taught racist ideas about blacks, the ‘seed of the serpent’ and things like this. I do not view all of these people as false prophets, the danger was the individualistic style and performance mentality that went along with the gifts. Real gifts, less than ideal ways of expressing them. [I recently read some stuff from Branham, his idea on the ‘seed of the serpent’ did not seem to be racist. Others have taught it in a racist way].

(42) I just saw an interview with Mel Gibson that reminded me to share some stuff. This past year Mel has been in the news because of an incident of being stopped by the cops while driving drunk and making anti Semitic remarks. In the recent interview on CNN Wolf Blitzer asked Mel about the fact that a highly influential Jewish leader refuses to forgive Gibson no matter how many times he confesses [I think Jesus told Peter if your offended 70 times 7 to forgive!]. Well this particular Jewish leader also believes it is his responsibility to destroy Gibson’s career and boycott him into ruin. All of this is being done under the banner of ‘Jewish ancestry’ and a feeling of wanting to destroy those who would in any way denigrate their race. Well its obvious that Mel was wrong in what he said, but the reaction from this Jewish leader shows the danger of seeing any natural heritage as ‘the ethnic group’ that must be defended at all costs. The New Testament teaches a balance in dealing with natural Israel outside of the Church. Paul says as far as the Gospel is concerned they are ‘enemies’ [strong words!] but as far as Gods purpose for them in history God still has great plans for Israel. The mistake the evangelical Church is making is they are not ‘rightly dividing’ these two lines. I recently heard a preacher in Israel teach a message [on TV] that spent a whole hour going back to the Old Testament promises to Abraham and arguing the fact that the New Covenant does not ‘supercede’ the Abrahamic one. This was all taught under the guise of exposing the false view of ‘replacement theology’. The underlying mistake that this minister was making was he left the impression to the Jewish people who were there that God is still dealing with them apart from the Christian gospel. While there is some element of truth to this [as God deals with all nations, even those that are not Christian] the basic flaw to this type of thinking is we give the impression that God still favors people based on natural ethnicity, which is fundamentally wrong. Gods favor today rests on the ‘new man’ made up of both Jew and Gentile [and any other race who believes!]. God said the day was coming when he would institute a ‘new covenant’ not according to the old ways. I know some are teaching that this is Moses Law [the old ways] and therefore the abrahamic covenant still exists, but the fundamental shift from law to grace is a ‘new thing’. God deals with all mankind based on there answer to the question ‘what will you do with this man’ [Christ]. Those who do not believe remain under wrath and judgment, and those who believe enter into peace. The fine line between anti Semitism and the wrongful exalting of Israel’s natural heritage must be understood. I read an article from a protestant minister who named all his kids after Israel [Abraham, Isaac, etc.] and during the interview referred to himself and other Christians as simply being saved sinners, whereas Israel were truly Gods special people. What do you think this view does for evangelism? How does natural Israel see herself when we do this? They must think that if all these Christians view her in this way, then why even think about accepting Messiah! Another view I recently heard was because all the apostles and Jesus were Jewish, therefore ‘Jewish ness’ is just as important as faith in Christ. This view doesn’t seem to understand that these Jewish apostles made statements like calling natural Jerusalem ‘Sodom and Egypt’ [referring to Israel’s rejection of Christ]. The New Testament speaks of ‘the synagogues of satan’, was this some 1st century satanic cult? This was speaking of religions emptiness apart from Christ [all the synagogues that tried to carry on religion without Christ!]. I know that this type of language is strong for the Church today. My intent is not to be anti Semitic! It is simply to be Christian. All peoples and nations will be judged on what they do with Christ. God said the days were coming when he would deal with Israel under a ‘new’ covenant, not some ‘re-vamped’ old one. Those days are fast approaching [theologically there already here!] when all Israel will ‘see him’. Israel [the holy land] has become the ‘Disney world’ for much of modern evangelicalism. We need to see her as Jesus did, when he wept over her and said ‘if you only knew the things that belong to your peace, but they are hid from your eyes’. May God open the eyes of all races so the prophecies of all nations flowing into Gods nation may be fulfilled. For we [The Church] are truly one nation under God.

C- One day while shopping at Wal Mart I picked up a rose bush for the yard. Later on I read the tag and found out the name of this bush is ‘Coat of many colors’ after the story of Joseph. I can’t remember exactly but within a day or so the Lord spoke to me about Josephs coat. Josephs ‘coat’ [made from skins] represents ‘flesh’ or ‘body’. The diversity of colors represents Gods house [body] being comprised from every ethnos. God favored Joseph above every other ‘ethnic’ tribe that comprised natural Israel. This showing Gods favor resting on the Church [comprised of both Jew and Gentile] as opposed to any natural ethnicity. All the colors of this coat were worn by one man that had great favor with both man and God. In Jesus all ethnic groups are brought together as his ‘flesh’ [skin/ covering] and the fathers favor rests on us as ‘one new man’!

(89) I just had a dream around 30 minutes ago. It’s 2:30 am right now. It was one of those dreams that after you have, you know it’s ‘more than a dream’. I was sitting on some balcony in a ‘lower class’ neighborhood. It was Martin Luther King Jr. day. There was a march going on down the street, and we were all waiting for the people to go by [and the band played on!]. As the parade approached I was sitting there with anticipation. I had some sort of a branch on my lap. I didn’t realize that people started standing in respect. It was just an innocent oversight. There were 2 preachers [who I know] that were passing by. One white, the other black. The white brother looked up at me and said something to the effect of ‘you’re to good to stand’ sort of like in a self righteous way. ‘Hey, look at me, I am concerned about black people, cant you see’! The black preacher saw that I didn’t stand right away, but that it was a simple mistake. He actually defended me by saying ‘It’s all right, he doesn’t have to stand, we are in a lower class area, and its OK’. He didn’t come off as condescending; he just meant it’s a ‘real people’ area. Well I of course stood in respect as soon as I realized my fault. As I stood the branch on my lap fell to the ground. I then saw Martin Luther King. He was part of the procession. He looked at me intently and quoted some words from Jesus. I can’t recall the exact words. Then Martin Luther said ‘satan is going to try to change your image one way or another, don’t concern yourself about your own reputation’. The feeling I got from the words from this was the realization of extreme persecution and criticism that will come as a price to pay for all revolutionaries. The ‘falling of the branch’ could represent this process. Scripture calls Jesus and other key prophetic figures ‘branches’ or trees. ‘The man whose name is the branch’ Jesus and other prophetic people were ‘cut off’ in their prime. [Martin Luther, John the Baptist, etc.] This ‘casting to the ground’ was an inevitable price to be paid for the revolution. Martin Luther King day just passed. I remember hearing how Martin Luther was a communist. He was looked at in a bad way in some of the fundamental Baptist circles that I used to associate with. I held a wrong view of him until I read and heard him speak over the years. Many of his faults [he did have them!] seemed to be a result of the tremendous prophetic mantle that he carried. He truly ‘came to the Kingdom for such a time as this’. I make it a point every year on Martin Luther King Day, to catch a glimpse or broadcast of a part of his great ‘I have a dream’ speech. God took Martin and allowed satan to defame his name, chose him for present day martyrdom, and gave him an indelible voice to society today. Truly Martin is a man who ‘though dead, yet speaketh’ [Hebrews]. I am adding this a few weeks later: I just realized that I have been quoting a verse in prayer for the last few weeks. Its in Psalms ‘Visit this vine, this vineyard and this branch’. Every now and than while reading I just see a verse and naturally incorporate it into intercession. I didn’t realize I was praying for ‘this branch’ and had this dream about a branch during the same few weeks.

(280) Scripture actually speaks of ‘speaking out on behalf of the poor and oppressed’. There is a fundamental principle of speaking up for social justice issues and defending the innocent. This is why it was a prophetic ministry when Martin Luther King led the civil rights movement. There were many ‘southern denominations’ that did not grasp this reality. The church doesn’t just exist to ‘get people saved’ she exists also as a voice for justice in the earth. Today one of the ‘unseen’ forms of institutional racism is economic oppression. For various reasons you have entire groups of people that have been ‘left behind’ as society around them progressed. This is also why you have certain black preachers who honestly preach the prosperity message, thinking they are ‘speaking’ economic justice into the black community. They mean well, but preaching materialism isn’t the answer, preaching biblical responsibility and racial equality is. Today you have some black leaders, like Bill Cosby, who are taking a real stand by coming against the ‘victim mentality’ that certain leaders embrace. Cosby says it’s time to teach responsibility and ethics to the young generation of black kids coming up. I do agree. I believe it fundamentally hurts racial reconciliation to teach affirmative action. To simply look at 2 black kids, and one white. And to flat out say ‘these 2 get 5 points on their application for their gene pool, and you, the white kid do not get the points because you are white’ is racist at it’s core. I do understand the tortured reasoning that leads people to do this. They feel this is the answer to undoing the years of institutional racism that has locked the door to many blacks in the past. Some feel that the opportunities were closed for so long, that to be neutral now still doesn’t open the door. The main problem is to give anyone ‘extra points based on genes’ is racist. Even if you think it is for a good cause. Racism is racism no matter what. Doing ‘reverse racism’ leads to the growth of white supremacists and others. They see the obvious racism of what I just told you. They see the politicians unwilling to admit it, and this leads to an extreme response. You have ‘the black congressional caucus’ in congress. You would never get away with a white one. All representatives should represent all people. If a white guy said I am elected to look out for the rights of white people, this would be wrong. In the fire service you have the ‘Hispanic firefighters union’ of course you couldn’t have a white one. These things are unequal. Some believe we should be ‘unequal’ in order to even the playing field, but this simply discriminates against one race for the benefit of another, which my friend is what I call ‘racism’. NOTE: I also am aware of the black leaders who teach it is impossible for a black person to be racist because he doesn’t have the institutional superiority to affect it. All you have to do is listen to a Farrakhan or many of the past comments of Al Sharpton to see that racism isn’t a sin evident only in the white community.

(350) There were certain prophetic people whom God raised up at specific times. The history of Gods Old Testament people showed that they time and again were not recognizing the significance of what God was saying thru them at the time. This is what scripture means when it speaks of Israel saying ‘they rejected the chief corner stone’. Lets be real. I am not saying ‘our voice’ is the singular fulfillment to these things. Many prophetic people have gone really off course by viewing themselves as the 2 witnesses of the book of Revelation. I fall on the side that sees these types of verses as speaking of ‘companies of people’ the restoration of offices ‘Apostles/Prophets’ more so than specific people. In saying this I also see that God has real destiny for each of us. There are ‘prophetic’ voices that he does use to speak at set times. Martin Luther King and others. What I felt the Lord saying is ‘don’t despise the people that I set in your midst’. We are often looking for ‘prophets’ and prophetic words from ‘far away’ ‘I went to this Prophets meeting and he said this’. That’s fine, but the scripture shows us that we have a tendency to ‘reject’ the prophetic voices from our home turf. Jesus said a prophet has honor except in his hometown. Now I don’t want to be too self-serving to all my ‘hometown brothers’, just wanted to say in general that we miss important things because of the ‘familiarity’ of prophetic people. ‘Oh I know him, he said or did this. Can you believe it’. Jesus ‘offended’ people by his familiarity. ‘This is the carpenters son. I had that kid fix my back porch 15 years ago. I brought him iced tea for [his name!] sake! If I want a prophetic word, it wont be from him’. Know no man after the flesh. Look at what God is saying. John the Baptist ‘knew’ Jesus as a cousin his whole life. Yet when it came time to officially recognize him and present him to Israel at his baptism, scripture says that John ‘knew’ him by the Spirits testimony. He did not act out of familiarity, he knew he had a destiny to fulfill, and true humility enabled him to do this.

(284) I remember being at work one day and a friend of mine was on the phone with his bank. I could hear him arguing about the fact that they messed up his account balance. He was supposed to have around $20.00 dollars, instead it was showing his normal balance of $1.oo. After he hung up I told him I also had problems with this bank before. I threatened to take my money and do business with another bank. I told him I would have advised you to make the same threat, but I don’t know if it would have much clout, considering the average balance you run in your account! Yesterday they fired the radio guy [Don Imus] that I mentioned the other day. One of the reasons is Al Sharpton and others convinced the sponsors to pull the ads from the show. I said earlier [before others were saying it!] that I thought he should be fired because of his racist remarks. Well now you have both sides [black and white] arguing over race. I do believe Sharpton is a major hypocrite as trying to be the voice in this. He, till this day, oppresses innocent people publicly over the Tawanna Brawley case. Not only did a grand jury clear these white men who he accused of raping a black girl, but the jury said it was all made up. There’s a big difference between being found not guilty, and a jury saying the charges are proved to be false. Not only does Sharpton not apologize for ruining these white guys lives who he racially accused, he still says he believes one of the guys is guilty. This isn’t an O.J. Simpson ‘not guilty’ verdict. This is a real obvious persecution of this white guy. Jesse Jackson refused to get involved in this case at the beginning because all the local ‘in the know’ leaders, even the black ones, knew this was a fake charge made by a scared girl who spent the night out with a boyfriend and made the story up. I really don’t blame the girl; I blame Sharpton for building a civil rights persona at the expense of falsely accusing a white guy. He is obviously a racist. Now, to admit that there are racists on both sides allows there to be reconciliation. To deny it perpetuates the problem. The money story about my friend shows how if you can effect an organization, because you have the money to do it, then they will listen. If you don’t, then they will not [most times]. These organizations [C.B.S. and N.B.C.] who only fired someone because of the money are certainly not moral authorities, don’t fool yourself.

(32) The other day I was watching fox news [another confession- I am a political junkie] and our current U.N. ambassador resigned his post. This guy reminds me of a prophetic/pastor friend I met years ago in C.C. The U.N. ambassadors name is ‘John Bolt’on. [John Bolton]. The reason he resigned is because when Bush first appointed him he did it as a recess appointment [that’s when you appoint a position while congress is out of session]. Bush appointed him this way because he had a lot of opposition from the opposing party to his nomination. To be fair the guy was doing the job for about a year at the time of his resignation and many of his critics changed their mind about him. But because of petty politics [which both sides practice!] the recent midterm elections gave a majority to the Democrats in the house and Senate and the writing was on the wall. The new incoming senior Democrat stated his opposition to the ambassador and he knew his time was up. The name ‘John Bolt’on is significant, I have said a lot in this paper about these images [John the Baptist as ‘thunder out of the desert. a ‘bolt’ of lightning accompanies thunder]. The fact that he initially was rejected before he even had a chance of ‘proving himself’ speaks to the churches position at large during the ‘restoration’ of the gifts of apostles/prophets. Many didn’t care if people had the ‘ability’ to function or not. They simply did not want these ‘ambassadors’ of the Kingdom to function! After a few years now of these ministries operating and representing the Fathers Kingdom you think it would be time for the church at large to recognize and receive them, but this hasn’t necessarily been the case. While these gifts are being accepted and received to a greater degree than before, they are still not being received in a complete way by the church at large. Jesus said if we receive a prophet ‘in the name’ of a prophet we receive a prophets reward. There is a sense of certain giftings being refused, despite the fact that they have actually functioned well in the office! The ‘majority’ will not entrust to them the legitimacy of their office because of petty things. Jesus also told his gifted ones to shake the dust off of their feet if not well received. John Bolton simply resigned and would not let Bush give him another ‘side title’ that would allow him to still be around without the full legitimacy of his office. I feel there are good and bad things that have happened in the prophetic/apostolic movements. One of the mistakes was seeing a rise in ‘apostolic covering’ type ministries. It was not uncommon to find well meaning ‘apostles’ going around convincing well meaning ‘pastors’ to come under their covering. You can go to some of these web-sites and see all the ‘churches’ that some of these brothers have under their ‘covering’. In many of these scenarios you find too many man made ideas and people/ministries struggling for ways to fit into some misguided idea of ‘covering’. To be simple about this, Jesus is our covering and all of us [apostles, prophets, evangelists, and yes even plain old Christians] should work in unity to build each other up in love. This trying to get people under my covering thing is missing the mark in my opinion. Paul’s apostolic ministry freed people from authoritarian leaders [judiazers] and released believers into the great reality of our universal priesthood that we all equally share under Christ. We derive our legitimacy from the fact that we are the actual house of God. God literally dwells inside the people of God by his Spirit. This causes all of us to be properly related to God and one another on an equal plain. This was one of the great truths of the reformation ‘the priesthood of all believers’. No believer needs to find a ‘spiritual father’ or ‘apostolic covering’ to be in proper order. Paul told the Corinthians that he was their ‘spiritual father’. This simply meant that he ‘birthed’ them into the Kingdom by the gospel. To go around trying to make people submit to your authority is contrary to what Paul was doing here. He actually told the Corinthians that they were allowing other quasi leaders to become their authority and he was invoking his original relationship with them in order to bring them back into the liberty of Christ.

(277) In scripture there are 2 recorded ‘mass killings’ of babies. The first is the story of Moses in Egypt. The children of Israel were multiplying so rapidly that Pharaoh decided to wipe out all the little baby boys in order to slow down the rate of Israel’s growth. It was a demonically inspired attack, legitimized through law, to kill a whole generation of people. God knew that there was a Moses in this group, a great man of destiny who would come forth and be a great deliverer of Gods people. The enemy knew this as well. Also in the New Testament during the time of Christ you had the mass killing of young children, once again ordained by law [King] in order to wipe out the Messiah. In this instance as well it was a demonically inspired political expediency that allowed it to happen. The King was feeling his position and authority were threatened by this ‘King of the Jews’ so he simply decided to wipe them all out. Our generation has seen the ‘blood lust’ attack to go out and destroy with abandon a whole generation of youth. God has a tremendous destiny for this generation, the enemy knows this and he’s trying to wipe them out, it’s a shame that once again political expediency is giving cover to one of the greatest ‘genocides’ on the history of the planet! NOTE: Scripture speaks of the blood of innocent murdered people ‘crying out from the ground’ [Cain and Abel] God ‘hears’ the cries of innocent people who were wrongfully killed. God judges nations and societies based on their treatment of the widows and children. The present state of ‘politics’ today [2007] is unbelievably childish and irresponsible. You have national leaders of one party going to do their own diplomacy, with terrorist nations like Syria, over the objections of the President in order to show their own political weight, even at the expense of national policy. Sorry, I don’t care if it’s a Democrat or Republican. When you get to the point of your party leaders deciding they will have their own shadow presidency, that’s bad. Now I say this for a reason, the BLOOD of innocent children cries out from the ground. A society will not continue to exist as it ‘builds a foundation’ upon the blood of innocents. The political division that is leading to real trouble for this nation is a judgment of God upon the same political system that time and again gave it’s voice to allow for the murder of innocent babies. This system cannot continue to stand with all the ‘blood’ that it has spilled on the ground! NOTE; you must see that we are not simply speaking about a woman’s right to choose or some medical procedure. We are dealing with an entire generation of little children that we are wiping out at a tremendous rate. More minorities than whites. What more of a racist act can occur than the systematic destruction of your culture and heritage by the wholesale murder of your babies? Whenever you had a time in history where a whole group of people were being killed or enslaved by another group, you eventually had enough voices ‘from the other groups’ of society that would hear the atrocities from the victims themselves. The Holocaust survivors and the slave trade of this nation. The ‘voices’ of desperate pleas for help would eventually leak out into society and humanity would come to the defense of the oppressed. In the case of abortion it is the inability of the child to speak that has allowed this genocide to continue for so long. It is incumbent upon humanity [not just the church!] to see this atrocity and to speak for those who have no voice. We speak out on the murder of seals and animals, we even show the endangered eggs and embryos of animals, but yet the actual ‘embryos’ of humans are treated like trash. Atrocious acts of violence need explicit language to fully show the horror of it all. NOTE: during the debate on the floor of congress a few years ago, they were debating the ban on partial birth abortion. During the debate someone had a baby in the building. In the midst of the debate you could hear the baby crying. The floor went silent for a second. This was the one time where the ‘voice’ of a potential victim was heard!

[chapter 6 of ‘Great Building of God’ booklet on this blog]


When God made man he put him in a garden atmosphere with the mandate to care for it. He put man over all of his creation and allowed him to rule it [steward it]. The only thing that God did not put under mans rule, was man himself! God instead put Adam as a husband, and later a father, in a family environment. Eve and the future children that they would have were not originally designed to be ruled by each other. The concept of submission and respect for authority were only to be seen in this type of family relationship. As the family of man would grow and eventually inhabit and have dominion over the earth [not each other!] they would then be fulfilling Gods desire for man, corporately, to rule together. Well as you know Adam blew it and basically everything got thrown out of whack, including the original design for man to rule together as Gods creation. This one area of perverting Gods original design is the root cause of all future problems including false authority and slavery. This one area of sin was the major issue of the most harmful war that America has ever fought, a war amongst ourselves [the civil war]! This false submission that Americans called slavery continues to exist in society in subtle, and at times not so subtle ways.

Even as I pen this chapter I am in San Antonio for a soccer tournament for one of my kids. We went out last night to a favorite buffet, while going up for my plate I was served by a young black man. It seemed as if he was in the minority of this mostly white business. Whether he has ever been mistreated or abused as an employee I don’t know. But I do know that when he served me my steak [I like to get my moneys worth at the buffets!] I simply said thank-you. You could tell how much he appreciated being recognized in a voluntary way like this. Every time I got up again to fill the plate [with fruits and salads of course] this young brother wanted to go out of his way to give me another steak! When people are not forced to serve, but feel appreciated for the service they do, they will serve and submit with joy most of the time. True servant leadership is what Jesus taught the future leaders of His church [John 13]. Jesus rebuked false authority when he said the Pharisees were blind leaders of the blind. He stated that they were leading all right, but it had nothing to do with kingdom leadership. True authority in Gods kingdom does not work like the worlds system. Jesus told us that his kingdom operated along different lines [Luke 22:26].

The garden of God was a natural environment that God placed man into in which man and God would commune together, man would love and honor God willfully while submitting to each other in love. The fall affected all of this and plunged man into a sinful state that would cause him to rule over other people instead of creation only. This tragic sequence of events has affected man since the beginning and still exists in man today. Through the great redemptive work of Christ it is being removed, but often at a slow pace. Man doesn’t see all the ways that false authority affects him, especially in the ‘church’ world. Because he yet doesn’t fully see how even our modern mindsets of leadership in the church are at times a product of this false authority, he therefore cannot repent of a sin that he feels is actually a service to God! When church leaders rule with the mindset that the people are simply tools who need to be motivated in order to fulfill the great vision of the leader, and when the people don’t respond properly that they are all rebels who if they were right with God would submit and help bring the vision to pass, this mindset is often a product of false authority.

There are times when leaders will inspire people to act and do great things for the kingdom, but it must be free from manipulation and hypocrisy. The Pharisees saw themselves as a ruling class in the religious community of their day. Jesus said they were hypocrites because they used guilt and manipulation to accomplish religious goals. They laid burdens on people instead of freeing them [an act of slavery]. True kingdom leadership is not the mindset or vocabulary of submission and authority. Though these concepts are taught in the New Testament they were intended to function in a family/garden environment. When we put them into the building of man they will have devastating results!

(292) Let s go thru some stuff. I woke up yesterday at 3:00 am, felt like I needed to do some specific prayer. Some times I include about an hour and a half of specific intercession while doing ‘all night’ prayer. This ‘list’ of things has grown and evolved over the last 20 years, but it has kept the basic structure for the most part, Family, Nations, Fellow believers and even old friends from Jersey. I have actually been praying specifically for you guys, often by name, for over 20 years! Well I didn’t get to do the ‘specific set’ yesterday, so I am now up at 2:45 am, been up since 1, and will make a second attempt soon. First lets do some stuff. I recently read an overview of the first book the Pope put out since becoming Pope. I will get it when it comes out in English. He wrote exactly what I have been speaking on the last month or so. He speaks on the dangers of Marxism [communism] as a form of govt. that pushed out God, though it had noble designs in its attempt to have all people ‘equal’ in society. He spoke on the dangers of capitalism as a type of govt. that can fall to the temptation of materialism. He spoke on materialism as an enemy of the church and how western society has fallen into this sin without realizing it. These themes are almost exactly what I have taught! It’s humbling to see God speak the same thing to an insignificant hippie preacher on the gulf coast, as he is speaking to the Pope in Rome! During the time of slavery in this country there were many southern preachers who defended slavery from scripture. Many of these men were sincere, some were not. The sincere ones even had reputations as Christians that their own slaves vouched for. Some slave holders were cruel and abusive, some were actually good to their slaves [as good as you can be considering you have a slave!] The Christian slave holders read the actual verses in the New Testament where Paul writes to slaves and says SLAVES BE OBEDIENT TO YOUR MASTERS IN EVERY WAY, SO YOU DON’T GIVE THE GOSPEL A BAD REPUTATION the slave holders who were truly Christian read the other part that said MASTERS, TREAT YOUR SLAVES WITH LOVE AND RESPECT, KNOWING THAT YOU ALL ARE FELLOW BELIEVERS OF GODS GRACE. Now to read these real verses during the Civil war caused many sincere preachers to say that slavery should not be ‘undone’ because God addressed both the slaves and the masters this way. To be real honest, many of you who hold to a literalist view of scripture [I hold to a literalist view to a great extent] would see these verses the same way. It is the overriding purpose of the Gospel that causes one to fight for freedom despite the ‘verses’. Jesus primary goal in redemption was to set slaves free [spiritually] for this spiritual redemption to follow thru to a ‘physical’ one was only logical. To form your views at the time based on the overriding ACT OF REDEMPTION would trump any specific direction given, even in scripture, to a 1st century slave holder. Context tells us that Paul was addressing slaves under a different time and economy of societal rule. These 1st century slaves were governed by many Old Testament decrees that God allowed, for a multiple of reasons, to exist. It was easy for the ‘literalist’ preachers to say THE BIBLE SAYS SO in defense of keeping slaves; it was proper and just to free them as an extension of Gods purpose in Redemption! It takes courage and boldness to stand against a particular reading of scripture, that is popular at the time, in order to see and move down the bigger road of Gods overall purpose. Many today can’t follow this theme. Its possible to go to Old Testament scripture and find verses on putting to death kids who curse their parents, women who have cheated on their husbands and even those who live the Gay lifestyle. While none of these practices are considered good, even amongst most Christians today, yet to kill them is not an option! [Except maybe for that Westboro Baptist Church bunch of nuts who are going around picketing dead servicemen at their funerals!]. Christian’s today practice tithing under the same reading of scripture, many of them don’t know this, but its true. You can read the verse on robbing God in Malachi and scare people, just like if you read the verses on putting Gays to death. If you read that verse over and over every Sunday you could be persuaded of it. If you read Malachi and tithing as you read other Old Testament verses [with a spiritual truth behind the verse] then you would err on the side of grace. The old testament teaching on tithing shows us that God not only wants the ‘10 %’ of a persons income, but he wants the whole firstfruit. Spiritually we ARE the first fruits unto God. He wants ALL of us, we are his tithe! Simple, isn’t it. Now if you give 10% to your church on Sunday, fine! You shouldn’t read Malachi and tell New Testament Christians their under a curse if they don’t put 10 % in the bucket. The way people ‘rob God’ according to Jesus is by not meeting the actual needs of society WHEN I WAS HUNGRY YOU DIDN’T FEED ME, NAKED AND YOU DIDN’T CLOTHE ME, etc. Robbing God is not done by ‘not tithing’ it is done by not obeying the New Testament mandate given over our treatment of ‘our neighbor’. Now this is supposed to ‘leak’ over into society at large. That’s also why you see certain elements of catholic teaching that harbor illegal aliens [the sanctuary movement] they are responding out of this basic concept of ‘treating your neighbor well’. Neighbor in the 1st century context also meant ‘alien’ those who were living ‘in the land’ but were not really part of Gods covenant. God had specific instructions on how to treat ‘illegals’ and it was WITH GRACE. Sorry Sean Hannity! Well any way I felt the Lord had this word for you guys, hopefully I will get thru this prayer thing without coming back to write, many times I will write in spurts while right in the middle of prayer. Could it be that this is why the Lord allows these ‘words’ to have a big impact? Prayer is more important than ‘pulpit performance’ seek to speak what God is saying and the Lord will give you ‘an audience’. NOTE: When Paul was addressing the early believers and basically telling the slaves to ‘submit’ this was a practical reality that Paul was trying to instill in the new revolutionary movement called ‘church’. There were other messianic groups in the first century, some of these were called ‘zealots’ these people practiced a radical type of reform. A type of civil disobedience that Paul didn’t want the new believers to be associated with. Paul wanted the early believers to be seen as good citizens in society, not zealots. This explains the practical instruction on slaves being obedient. Paul wasn’t justifying slavery for all time!

(625) JOHN 17 [radio # 600] Jesus prays to the Father and asks God to ‘glorify him’ with the glory they had in the beginning. In verse 22 he says he gave this glory to the church. That’s strange. Scripture says God will not share his glory with another, yet here he gives it to the disciples. How can that be? Well, as the Body of Christ we are not ‘another’ we are one with him! He also says ‘I have given life to those who you gave to me, you have given me power over all flesh. I have given life to the ones you have chosen’. Here you see the ‘reformed’ part of me. Jesus is not simply offering life to those who want it [though he does this at other times!] but here he is giving life to those whom the father chose. You find both of these themes in scripture. Don’t fight it, we can’t explain it, but praise God, he chose you! [and me]. ‘I have finished the work which you gave me to do’. What work? He hasn’t gone to the Cross yet. I guess you can say in a way that the work was finished from the foundation of the world, and Jesus is saying ‘the course has been determined, I will go!’ But I also see some truth to ‘the work’ being him revealing the Father to the ‘men which you gave me out of the world’ the work of the 3 year mission to disciple and train the 12. God has determined for people to cross paths with you thru out your life. These are ‘the men’ that God has given you out of the world. It is your destiny to reveal THE FATHERS NAME unto them! In present models of church leadership we fail miserably at this. We see ‘the men’ that God has given us as supporters of our ministries. People whom we try to instill ‘faithfulness into’. ‘Be faithful to the vision of this house’ and stuff like that. When these men go their way, we look for ‘new men’ to come and fill the gap. We basically reveal ‘our name’ to them! Keep in mind that you have a destiny to cross paths with people thru out your life. You will have ‘finished the fathers work’ if by the time you part ways, they have seen and come to know HIM. ‘I have given them the words which thou gavest me’ Give people the words that God is speaking. Don’t fall into the trap of communicating only that which benefits the ‘vision’ of your ministry. We often communicate that which brings the crowds in. If we teach something and the offerings go down, we have a tendency to not teach it again! There is so much pressure in modern ministry to tailor the message to the hearer. Speak the things God is saying. Talk on social justice issues. Not only on the popular ones, it’s ‘in’ to be against racial profiling, but how about the truth on quotas and affirmative action? Speak truth in all areas. Speak the words that God wants communicated. You have a destiny to cross paths with people, avoid the temptation to speak with the goal of being accepted. You know, saying things that you know are popular. Speak truth to power! ‘Father, I will that they be with me where I am. That they may behold my glory’ Is he talking heaven only? Remember how Jesus said the Comforter will come and manifest and dwell in those who believe and keep his words? Jesus is speaking in terms of community here. Organic ‘local church’. Where 2 or more are, there is he ‘in the midst’. Jesus wants us to be where he is, Jesus told the Greeks earlier in this gospel ‘If they want to see me, they can meet me at the Cross’ [a grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying]. I think Jesus is speaking of meeting him in true discipleship and union with him and the father. The reality of the New birth and Jesus dwelling in us by the Spirit. Let’s end with Jesus desire for oneness and unity. In the beginning of this chapter Jesus said all who know the father thru the son have life [a big group of believers!] he also wants all of us to be one. This ‘oneness’ is actually a present reality in Spirit, though it is not fully functional and ‘seen’ yet in the world. Jesus wants it to be ‘seen’. This is how the world will know that he was sent by God! Let’s strive for this unity in Christ. I know there are so many divisions in the Body of Christ it isn’t funny. Some people miss read my own belief on this when they see how we reprove lots of stuff in the church. I don’t reprove from the standpoint of ‘we are right and you are wrong’ more from the standpoint of ‘we are all striving to be what the father wants, lets be honest and open with one another. Let’s reprove because we care for each other and don’t want the other to ‘fall off the cliff’. Lets do all we do with the purpose of true unity in mind. I don’t care how afraid you are of ‘the one world church’, but whether you like it or not, you are part of Gods ‘one world church’.

(536) Isaiah 64 ‘Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou would come down, that the mountains might flow at thy presence’ There are pivotal times in our lives where we have done all the planning we could imagine. We have prayed, read the Word and done all the things that we thought were necessary to see God move. It is often at the end of all of our efforts that we get to a place where we see the futility of it all, apart from God! In the end, like Paul said, some water, some plant, but only God can cause it to grow! Have you seen the need for God to come down and move on your behalf? You’ve done everything else, might as well call on God and believe that he alone can do it. ‘As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causes the waters to boil’ WOW! Jesus said ‘I am come to set fire to the earth, how I wish it were already burning’ [my translation]. We will read in this chapter ‘God is a consuming fire’. Jesus understood the role he was to play. He knew it would end in violence and resurrection. He knew it would be revolutionary in nature. How can you expect to come to a group of people who truly believe in God, and then show them that they have fallen away from the true intent of God and then say ‘God sent me to tell you this’. The role of a Prophet is revolutionary by its very nature. It will ‘burn’ things, things that need to be burnt. Jesus knew the course he was on, he knew he was going to start a fire that would consume everything in its path, he said he wished it were already burning. ‘For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what you have prepared for those who wait for you’ Paul quotes this to the Corinthians. This is not really talking about the great ministries and things that we think, it can include that. But this is speaking of the unbelievable mystery of redemption thru Christ. The things that Angels desire to look into. The story of mans redemption and how God preplanned it before the world began is a tremendous mystery that no man can see unless God reveals it to him. Paul says ‘no man can say Jesus is Lord but by Gods Spirit’ Paul was not saying no one could ‘mouth’ it, he was saying no human understanding can grasp it apart from the revelation of God. ‘Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways’ God instituted things so his people would ‘remember him’. The Passover, the Lords Supper. Often time’s people remember him in these rituals, but forget him in ‘their ways’. This is the main rebuke Isaiah gives to Israel in this book. When religion digresses to a point of ritual, apart from righteous action [justice] then we are not remembering God in his ways. Because his ways are justice and mercy and caring for the downtrodden and oppressed. It is too easy today to associate Christianity with ‘conservatism’. I am neither liberal or conservative, but you will find I hold to beliefs in both of these camps. The danger of aligning Christiantiy with a political cause is then you begin to think the ‘cause’ is Christian. You can fight against the illegal alien, or be against ‘welfare’ and the people on it, and if taken to the extreme you begin to see Christianity thru a lens that says ‘we are moral preachers to a fallen society’ to a point where we no longer practice charity or justice for the oppressed. God says he wants us to remember him in ‘ritual’ as long as we also remember him in deed. ‘But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our good deeds are as filthy rags’ This verse has been a key verse in many of the revivalist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. They focused on mans inability to please God and be good. Later on the ‘Word of Faith/Prosperity movement’ brought out good points when they emphasized that we are now made the righteousness of God in Christ. The balance here is apart from God, we are absolutely unrighteous and unable to please God. In Christ we are ‘acceptable to God’. God sees us as totally righteous. The caveat is Paul will still refer to himself at times as ‘the worst of sinners’ even after his conversion. I see the balance like this; In God we are accepted and God sees his Sons righteousness as being imputed to us by faith. During our journey we are progressively being made actually righteous. We are being sanctified. There are obvious times in this walk where we totally fail God. We then confess and repent and continue the journey. The closer we get to God, the further we see how far we really are. So Paul [and us] can at times see how ‘we are the worst of sinners’ and at the same time thank God that he doesn’t view us that way! ‘Our iniquities like the wind have taken us away’ Jesus says in John 3 ‘those that are born of the Spirit are like the wind’ Paul also teaches that as we once were controlled by sin, now we are to be controlled by righteousness. The ‘wind’ can describe how either we are led by sin or by God. It is an unseen force that cause’s things to turn in a certain direction. You can look at the wind blowing a tree and say ‘wow, that tree is being bent severely’ and yet you know it is a result of the wind. Often times I have seen [and experienced!] the lifestyle of going down paths that you seem to have no control over, friends who are at the stage of being in the street, robbing everything they can get their hands on for the next fix, and then going off to prison. At these stages they are allowing sin to bend them like the wind. I have also seen these same guys later be controlled by the Spirit and serving God. Paul said the way to ‘not walk in the flesh’ is to ‘walk in the Spirit’. Religion tells people ‘don’t do this or that’ while Gods recovery program is ‘do what the Spirit is saying’. The secret to deliverance is for a person to actively give them selves over to God and to do his works. If you ‘walk in the Spirit, then you will not do the works of the flesh’. ‘Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts will be established’ we need a breakthrough in obedience, in getting out and fulfilling Gods will. Most Christians who are running around from deliverance conference to deliverance conference are not yet ‘delivered’ because they haven’t yet fully given themselves into the active service of the Lord! ‘There is none that calls upon thy name, that stirs himself up to take hold of thee’ Why? Because our sins have separated us from God! In Hebrews it says ‘let us come boldly before the throne with a clear conscience’ it says this in context of the work of Christ in redemption. Because legally God refuses to hold our sins against us, therefore we have confidence. One of the most devastating things about sin is it separates us from God. It keeps us from coming to him. We feel guilty and unworthy and we can’t seem to get thru in prayer. God says ‘come’ and he will heal and forgive and restore. ‘But you are our father, we are the clay, you are the potter, we are the work of your hand. Don’t be really mad, don’t remember our sins, we are your people’ Isaiah uses the same ‘strategy’ as Moses ‘we are yours, we bare your name. For this reason please come and help us. It won’t look good on your record if your people don’t make it!’ We are asking God to help us because all we are is from him. He chose us and fashioned us with a specific destiny in mind. Tell God ‘you made me to do your will, move on my behalf Father, help me at this time. I have come to do thy will O God’ he often will ‘take away the first that he might establish the second’ [Hebrews]. Look for God to allow the first works of ministry to ‘dissolve’ as he transitions you into new things. Sometimes we hold onto our Ishmael’s because we truly have an affinity for them, yet God says ‘let go of Ishmael, I will still bless him, but the promise will be fulfilled in Isaac’. ‘Our holy and our beautiful house is burned up with fire’ interesting, we just read how ‘God is a consuming fire’ and how Jesus said ‘I have come to start a fire’. In the New Testament God transitioned his ‘holy place’ from the natural temple to the spiritual temple [the church/Body of Christ]. Thru out Israel’s history the destruction of the temple always represented Gods judgment. That was the significance of Jesus saying ‘destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up’ this was offensive to the Jewish mind. It was like desecrating the flag [even though Jesus was speaking of his body, the Jews were offended because they took it to mean their temple]. The fact that Israel, as a nation, would not make the full transition into the New Covenant left them with their temple and sacrifices that God already said were an abomination to him [Hebrews]. Ultimately this would lead to the temples final destruction in A.D. 70 under Titus. The destruction of the temple again was Gods way of saying ‘I no longer dwell in temples made with hands, I no longer will accept animal sacrifices. I will dwell in those who accept the sacrifice of my son, and I will receive their sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, this is the temple I will build, the temple of the Body of Christ’.

(575) There is a trend going on among evangelicals that I like. Many of the up and coming believers are getting away from the spooky looking presentations of the TV preachers that you and I are familiar with. Many are becoming environmentally minded, they are holding to more liberal views in politics and describe themselves openly as liberal minded. I too see many of the things they see. I purposefully avoid the whole persona of the religious right. Some on the religious right mean well, some seem to be in it for the glory of the crusade. I believe we all should stand for life, that is abortion is wrong, very wrong. We should have compassion on the abused women who have been victims of the whole mindset of ‘the right to choose’. They are guinea pigs in the system. I recently heard a testimony from a person who worked at an abortion clinic. The girl getting the abortion wanted to see ‘it’ after it was over. The nurse brought the ‘it’ to her. She broke down crying and screaming, she begged God to forgive her for what she had just done. The damage done this poor girl will be with her for the rest of her life. The nurse telling the story said ‘I guess she didn’t realize what she was going to see’. This girl was a victim of the system. She was under the impression that doing this was the ‘progressive’ thing to do. It was ‘open minded’. Though I disagree with the whole persona of the moral crusaders, don’t forget what’s truly important. The death of these little babies is neither a ‘right’ or ‘left’ issue, it is one of truth. Have mercy on all those involved, but do all you can in love to defend the defenseless. NOTE; Let me give you an example on how both sides [right and left] can be ‘married’ to their cause more than truth. I personally was against the war in Iraq from the start. It was not for many of the reasons you hear the liberals give today. Many of their arguments are false. Some of them say ‘I voted for the war, but it didn’t work because Bush mishandled it, he is incompetent!’ the same group will say ‘what idiot thought you could get these warring factions in Iraq to work together, they have been fighting for thousands of years and have never been at harmony’. First, if you thought it could have worked, but bush messed it up, fine. Then don’t come back a year later and give the other argument, both cant be true! Second, these ‘tribes’ have lived together for years in a measure of ‘harmony’. They did it Under Saddam Hussein. This is the very argument that they make, that all was ‘well’ before we went in. These guys are all over the map with their reasoning. Now, when Bush got in office, he was told by the outgoing Clinton administration that the single greatest threat was militant Islam and terrorism. At the same time Saddam just stepped up his shooting at our pilots who were regularly flying the no fly zone [remember Bush 1, he signed a surrender agreement with the guy!] so Bush 2 gets in office, is told the number one threat is militant Islam, Saddam is regularly firing at our planes, also kicking out the weapons inspectors. All the intelligence from ALL the countries said ‘Saddam is massing or developing weapons of mass destruction’. Then 9-11 happens. It was a judgment decision to go in and invade. Many of Bush’s advisors had the ideology [neo con’s] that the only way to truly change the region and deal with this ongoing threat was to go in and establish a democracy in this area. They sincerely believed this, they felt Clintons strategy was not working, just ‘smart bombing’ every now and then to try and kill Osama bin Laden [or ‘bin hiding’!] So the critics today would have you believe that all was well in the world before Bush started his crusade against Islam, not true. Can you imagine what Chris Matthews and all the other talking heads would have said if Bush didn’t go in? Saddam just might have succeeded in downing our planes, then what? He would have had no weapons inspectors. Over time things just might have gotten pretty bad. The fact that we did tie up much of Al Qaeda has had an affect on us not getting hit again since 9-11. It is very possible that the invasion has caused the terrorists to focus on Iraq and not have the time or resource’s to hit us at home. The critics of the war never even seem to give this a second thought. Now, why was I against this war? I felt we were spreading ourselves to thin. To go and occupy another country on the other side of the world was just doing too much. If we had to eliminate the guy, then do it like Israel does. Just send a commando force in and do it. I know this also would have had tremendous reverberations, the critics would have decried the instability of Iraq as all the tribes would be fighting for control of the country, and sure enough all the talking heads would have said ‘what in the world is Bush doing, doesn’t he know that you have to occupy a country to change it, you cant just assassinate the leader’ you will never please these news guys [note; It is the policy of our country to not assassinate leaders of other countries, some think we should re think this policy]. So anyway I just thought I would throw this in being we are talking about Christians being both liberal and conservative on various issues. NOTE; recently we have had terrible wild fires in California. Chris Matthews had the Lt. Governor of California on his show [he interviewed him on the screen, he is a Democrat] Bush was going to fly in and see the damage and support the people. Matthews asks the question ‘by Bush flying in, will it hurt or help’ he asks this in a loaded way, expecting the anti Bush answer. The politician says ‘ it will hurt us, he will be taking security resources and be a big distraction’. Matthews espouses the thought that Bush is going for purely political reasons and is actually causing great damage to the state. In essence ‘he shouldn’t go’. This is the same guy who couldn’t stop accusing Bush of insensitivity because he waited too long before he went to Louisiana after hurricane Katrina. No matter what Bush does, Matthews will find something wrong. This is not news reporting, this is simply division for the sake of ratings. I am an avid news watcher, I watch all the stations, both liberal and conservative. Matthews [hardball on MSNBC] is doing a disservice to this country. He also accused Bush of racism and neglecting the poor, he interviewed Peter King [congressman from New York] after Katrina and wanted to know why more money was cut from Louisiana’s budget than any other state in the years before Katrina. He was leading the whole audience to believe Bush was a racist, didn’t care about the poor blacks. He went on for days about this. Finally Peter King informs him on the air, that the same year Matthews is asking about, that Louisiana received more federal money than any other state [not the year of the disaster]. Obviously this is why their budget was cut the most, they still received the most out of all the other states. They cut to a commercial and you never hear Matthews recant of his racist accusations. He just drops the whole matter. So all the viewers of his show who were led to believe that Bush is a racist, they heard it for weeks from this guy, they then never were told the truth. Matthews just stopped talking about it. This guy is dangerous to this country, whether you are to the right or the left of the political spectrum, consistent lying is of no value whatsoever. NOTE; to be honest I have since come to the conclusion that the massive effort, expense and loss of life has caused me to think that the war has not been worth the cost. Hopefully things will work out better than they look right now [11-07] but the fact remains that eventually whoever runs the country in the future, we have no guarantee they will be better than Saddam. As it looks now, the group who holds the most seats in their govt. are the same religious sect that Iran’s madman holds to. Not very comforting! Also the other thing is Christians should question how the teachings of Jesus should mold our thinking in the area of war. I am not a pacifist, I do hold to the classic Christian doctrine of just war, but there are many believers who are pacifists. I remember reading somewhere how a leading Christian pacifist was debating someone who believed in war, the ‘war guy’ said ‘look at how dangerous your doctrine can be, say if everybody embraced it, what would happen?’ The pacifist answered ‘no more war’. I understand it is naïve to believe that sinful man could ever embrace it on a global scale. James tells us all wars come from mans sin and strife, so as believers we should be very ‘slow’ to go to war, a very last resort. Overall I do think the cost of the Iraq war was too much in life and money to have been justified. Do I advocate pulling out before we give the current govt. a chance to stabilize? No, that would be totally irresponsible on our part. We need to do our best to help them stabilize, but we also want to get our guys out as fast as we can. Some believe the problem is the lack of ‘financial well being’ that these Muslim countries have that cause’s the problem. They espouse the view that if the rich nations helped the poor ones [even though many of these nations have wealth, the standard of living for the average Muslim is low] that this would solve the problem of radical Islam. They don’t seem to realize that Osama was very wealthy and affluent. The problem is much deeper than money, seeing money as the answer is symptomatic of the problem with western thought in the world and church. We seem to think that money is the answer to everything, we see our God thru the lens of how he can increase our portfolio. The problem with all mankind is sin, the only solution to the sin dilemma is Christ. This is why I have said before the answer is not killing the radical Muslim, but bringing the truth of the gospel to him. Muhammad saw the idolatry in the Christian church and how far she fell from the standards of God, he saw the inconsistencies of western Christianity [really western, Rome] in the way she allowed the setting up of statues, which Muhammad saw as a violation of the commandment not to make any graven images. He saw the expressions of the Trinity, some that actually said ‘we have 3 separate Gods who are all equal’ this expression violated the teaching in scripture of ‘the Lord our God is one’. Now I am a Trinitarian, but it is not hard to see how even Muhammad could have disagreed with the above language, it is not easy to explain the Trinity! So there were some real problems that Islam saw with Christianity and went down a wrong road. Any road that doesn’t accept the full deity of Christ leads to destruction. So the answer isn’t to kill these guys, or to lift up their standard of living. But to bring the true freedom of Christ to them. Now I realize that our country wasn’t in the business of preaching the gospel of pacifism after we got hit at 9-11, but the overall answer to mans problem [all mankind, Jew, Muslim [Arab], nominal Christians] is Jesus Christ. He said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No man can come to the Father but by me’. NOTE; strife is in mans nature. I have a friend up north who was telling me how one of their friends was looking for a place to live, the place he is now living at is not good. The landlords are his sister and her husband. The husband has a bad temper, he has been in prison for murder! So my friend says ‘you can rent from me, I have a room where you can stay’. So they go over to get his stuff, and as their walking up to the house my friend notices they have a nice pool in the yard of this 2 story home [in Jersey where I grew up]. As they keep walking my friend sees all types of stuff in the pool, furniture and stuff. The pool is full of water. My fiend asks ‘what’s all the furniture doing in the pool’ the other guy says ‘o, it’s my landlord, he fights with his wife and throws the stuff out the window and they land in the pool’!

(579) I feel the Lord wants me to speak out on a subject that is controversial. The death penalty. I have never been against it as far as I can tell. I usually answered any questions about it in this way ‘In the bible [Genesis] God says if a man takes another persons life, by man [govt.] his life will be taken’ so this is the justification for the death penalty. Some Christians believe that the teaching of Jesus on the New Covenant being one of turning the other cheek should mean that we should be against the death penalty. I still believe that the govt. has the right to take a life if it is proven beyond any doubt that the person is guilty of murder, and I see the teaching of Jesus as applying to the believer on not personally taking action or revenge. If you apply the teachings of Jesus to all human govts. then you would have a hard time with the teachings of Paul who taught that human govt. has with in it the ability to punish evil doers [Romans]. Now, there have been cases these last few years where people who were in prison with the death penalty have been found to be innocent, I just feel the possibility of executing an innocent person has to override the reality that there are also guilty people on death row. The problem is not with the punishment itself, it is with the weakness of a system that has actually overturned verdicts of people who were on death row. I personally think it’s time for us as a country to put a hold on the death penalty until we can fix the system, or possibly outlaw the death penalty all together. I have felt the Lord wanting me to speak out on this for a while, so here it is. NOTE; I have had friends over the years who came from big families [lots of brothers] who were all robbing, doing drugs and going to prison. One of these guys told me how he got picked up for a robbery that he actually didn’t do. During court the lady pointed him out and swore it was him, he couldn’t believe it. He went and did the time. While in prison his brother, who looked like him, confessed that he did it. My friend did the time, he told me he had done so many other robberies without ever getting caught that he just looked at it as doing time for the other stuff. Well, I just read a story about a guy who was put to death on eyewitness testimony. Someone swore he shot a cop in Texas, after his death years later they found a letter written by his nephew that said his dad [the brother of the man executed] really shot the cop. I do not know all of the details, but I know from personal experience with my friend that it is possible to be found guilty of a crime that your brother committed, the problem is if you already put the guy to death it’s too late to undo it. Also the racial disparity in the amount of blacks that are populating the prison system causes concern. Now, I know whites and Hispanics and other races are also in prison, but the percentage of blacks is not good. Many black kids do not have the same ability to hire lawyers like others due to a lack of finances. So the odds on a black person being executed innocently are higher. The racial disparity should cause us to rethink this policy in our country.

(212) Recently Pope Benedict [formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, defender of the ‘doctrine of the faith’ for the Catholic church] moved against an influential Priest for his teaching in the area of Liberation Theology. This is a popular view with certain south/central American countries. Many political leaders [Daniel Ortega] embraced this view as a part of their Socialist revolution. This view focuses on the radical aspect of Jesus ministry in the area of social justice and his identification with the poor. Most Christians feel that Liberation Theology is too closely aligned with Marxist views and therefore reject it. I simply want to note the New Testament teaching in the area of social justice and how many ‘white conservative Protestants’ dismiss out of hand certain aspects of the gospel. No form of human government is ‘inherently just’. Capitalism, in and of itself is not ‘just’. As a form of government it provides freedom in the marketplace for the free flow of ideas. It works better than most other govts. on the planet, but it in and of itself is not ‘just’. Justice is only found in any earthly govt. to the degree that that govt. is being influenced and ‘infected’ by the ‘just one’ [God] and his ‘justified ones’ [the church]. As human govts. ‘make room’ for the people of God and godly institutions, then there is a degree of justice released into that society thru the church. The book of James talks about ‘just wages’. A doctrine that capitalists don’t fully embrace. Most capitalists argue ‘whatever the market place pays is right’. They feel that the idea of free competition in and of itself is just. If you can get someone to do a days work for $5.00 and that’s the going rate, well they feel that’s OK. The New and Old Testaments don’t agree! God has lots of instruction on fair wages and the treatment of the poor that govt. should comply with. Now I am not advocating socialism, which robs people of hope and independent thought. But I want to show you how no earthly govt., even the best forms of them, are equal to the Kingdom [govt.] of God. I for the most part agree with Pope Benedict and his statement on liberation theology, but I must admit there is a part of the radical revolutionary in me that finds aspects of it to be exciting! NOTE: I would like to note that the Catholic Church has been great in the area of social justice through out the entire history of the church. During the ‘dark ages’ the church actually became the institution that nations appealed to as the highest authority in the land. Our Catholic brothers were speaking out in defense of the unborn long before the Protestants. I just wanted the critics of the Catholics to give credit where credit is due!

(275) Let me speak on abortion. I mentioned earlier on this blog about the Catholic and Protestant divide in the 16th century. One of the fears the Catholic Church had was the fear of the divine right of Kings. That if nation states ‘broke away’ from Rome that eventually the states would do whatever they wanted. Some look at the atrocities of Hitler and point to this as a proof. I personally don’t hold to this view, but I do find it interesting that Hitler came along after Darwin and Eugenics. Eugenics is the science that teaches certain races are more ‘pure’ and others are less pure. It taught a type of ethics that said if you get rid of the weaker ones in society that eventually you would have a healthier, purer race. You saw this mindset in Hitler’s attempt to have an ‘Aryan race’. The man who came up with this ‘science’ was a relative of Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin was the ‘popularizer’ of Evolution. If someone truly believes that all Humans are simply an accident of evolution; there is really no moral grounds to value life. If we are all simply blobs on this experimental earth, then why not eliminate the weaker ones for the benefit of the whole race? After all we know this to be true, science teaches it! There you have it, a slippery slope down a course that ultimately leads to a time in our country where we actually allow, by law, a woman to come to a clinic/hospital. Walk in at 7 months of pregnancy, get an appointment with a Doctor and get a ‘partial birth’ abortion. This procedure allows for the actual baby, living and feeling safe in the mother’s womb to be ‘partially’ delivered, leaving ‘part’ of the baby inside the mother. The other ‘part’ sticking out and the Doctor kills the baby. By law it’s not murder, the baby still has a ‘part’ in the mom. The only difference between this child, and others who are born and live a wonderful life, is a few inches. The procedure is defended by politicians who say ‘I personally am against abortion, but I am for a woman’s right’ What about the right of that beautiful little baby girl who you just destroyed in a manner equal to Hitler’s holocaust? This little girl has rights too. Some of our Politicians couldn’t care less about the ‘right’ of the woman; they allow murder for the political expediency of their constituents! Thank you Pontius Pilate. I recently saw on the news a state that is trying to pass a law that would require the mother to see a sonogram of her baby before she gets the abortion, they are persuaded that if a woman ‘looks at the baby’ that she will of her own free will decide to not kill it. They then had the opponents/proponents give both sides. Those against it said things like ‘ we don’t require a person to look at a tumor before its removed’ babies are not ‘tumors’ or any other type of ‘matter’ that you dispose of at will. I once had actual pictures of ‘buckets full of babies’ that were taken outside of some abortion clinic back in the 70’s. These buckets were filled to overflow with burned, chopped up, mutilated little babies. Just sitting there waiting for some dump truck to haul them to the local incinerator. Now we have cleaned up our act, we ‘burn’ them before they get a chance to be spotted by the public eye. God forbid that we would force society to look at ‘these tumors’. May God help us all. NOTE; a few years back there was an abortion doctor who took an actual sonogram of an abortion procedure. They later made a video. The picture was front page on one of the national magazines of our country. It was called ‘silent scream’ it showed the baby actually grasping hold of the instrument that was inserted into the mother’s womb, and the baby was trying to keep it from stabbing it. The babies face could clearly be seen screaming bloody murder. This doctor, who was not a Christian, could not continue performing this procedure no matter how many politicians call this ‘a woman’s right to choose’! UPDATE ON PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION # 305

(292) Let s go thru some stuff. I woke up yesterday at 3:00 am, felt like I needed to do some specific prayer. Some times I include about an hour and a half of specific intercession while doing ‘all night’ prayer. This ‘list’ of things has grown and evolved over the last 20 years, but it has kept the basic structure for the most part, Family, Nations, Fellow believers and even old friends from Jersey. I have actually been praying specifically for you guys, often by name, for over 20 years! Well I didn’t get to do the ‘specific set’ yesterday, so I am now up at 2:45 am, been up since 1, and will make a second attempt soon. First lets do some stuff. I recently read an overview of the first book the Pope put out since becoming Pope. I will get it when it comes out in English. He wrote exactly what I have been speaking on the last month or so. He speaks on the dangers of Marxism [communism] as a form of govt. that pushed out God, though it had noble designs in its attempt to have all people ‘equal’ in society. He spoke on the dangers of capitalism as a type of govt. that can fall to the temptation of materialism. He spoke on materialism as an enemy of the church and how western society has fallen into this sin without realizing it. These themes are almost exactly what I have taught! It’s humbling to see God speak the same thing to an insignificant hippie preacher on the gulf coast, as he is speaking to the Pope in Rome! During the time of slavery in this country there were many southern preachers who defended slavery from scripture. Many of these men were sincere, some were not. The sincere ones even had reputations as Christians that their own slaves vouched for. Some slave holders were cruel and abusive, some were actually good to their slaves [as good as you can be considering you have a slave!] The Christian slave holders read the actual verses in the New Testament where Paul writes to slaves and says SLAVES BE OBEDIENT TO YOUR MASTERS IN EVERY WAY, SO YOU DON’T GIVE THE GOSPEL A BAD REPUTATION the slave holders who were truly Christian read the other part that said MASTERS, TREAT YOUR SLAVES WITH LOVE AND RESPECT, KNOWING THAT YOU ALL ARE FELLOW BELIEVERS OF GODS GRACE. Now to read these real verses during the Civil war caused many sincere preachers to say that slavery should not be ‘undone’ because God addressed both the slaves and the masters this way. To be real honest, many of you who hold to a literalist view of scripture [I hold to a literalist view to a great extent] would see these verses the same way. It is the overriding purpose of the Gospel that causes one to fight for freedom despite the ‘verses’. Jesus primary goal in redemption was to set slaves free [spiritually] for this spiritual redemption to follow thru to a ‘physical’ one was only logical. To form your views at the time based on the overriding ACT OF REDEMPTION would trump any specific direction given, even in scripture, to a 1st century slave holder. Context tells us that Paul was addressing slaves under a different time and economy of societal rule. These 1st century slaves were governed by many Old Testament decrees that God allowed, for a multiple of reasons, to exist. It was easy for the ‘literalist’ preachers to say THE BIBLE SAYS SO in defense of keeping slaves; it was proper and just to free them as an extension of Gods purpose in Redemption! It takes courage and boldness to stand against a particular reading of scripture, that is popular at the time, in order to see and move down the bigger road of Gods overall purpose. Many today can’t follow this theme. Its possible to go to Old Testament scripture and find verses on putting to death kids who curse their parents, women who have cheated on their husbands and even those who live the Gay lifestyle. While none of these practices are considered good, even amongst most Christians today, yet to kill them is not an option! [Except maybe for that Westboro Baptist Church bunch of nuts who are going around picketing dead servicemen at their funerals!]. Christian’s today practice tithing under the same reading of scripture, many of them don’t know this, but its true. You can read the verse on robbing God in Malachi and scare people, just like if you read the verses on putting Gays to death. If you read that verse over and over every Sunday you could be persuaded of it. If you read Malachi and tithing as you read other Old Testament verses [with a spiritual truth behind the verse] then you would err on the side of grace. The old testament teaching on tithing shows us that God not only wants the ‘10 %’ of a persons income, but he wants the whole firstfruit. Spiritually we ARE the first fruits unto God. He wants ALL of us, we are his tithe! Simple, isn’t it. Now if you give 10% to your church on Sunday, fine! You shouldn’t read Malachi and tell New Testament Christians their under a curse if they don’t put 10 % in the bucket. The way people ‘rob God’ according to Jesus is by not meeting the actual needs of society WHEN I WAS HUNGRY YOU DIDN’T FEED ME, NAKED AND YOU DIDN’T CLOTHE ME, etc. Robbing God is not done by ‘not tithing’ it is done by not obeying the New Testament mandate given over our treatment of ‘our neighbor’. Now this is supposed to ‘leak’ over into society at large. That’s also why you see certain elements of catholic teaching that harbor illegal aliens [the sanctuary movement] they are responding out of this basic concept of ‘treating your neighbor well’. Neighbor in the 1st century context also meant ‘alien’ those who were living ‘in the land’ but were not really part of Gods covenant. God had specific instructions on how to treat ‘illegals’ and it was WITH GRACE. Sorry Sean Hannity! Well any way I felt the Lord had this word for you guys, hopefully I will get thru this prayer thing without coming back to write, many times I will write in spurts while right in the middle of prayer. Could it be that this is why the Lord allows these ‘words’ to have a big impact? Prayer is more important than ‘pulpit performance’ seek to speak what God is saying and the Lord will give you ‘an audience’. NOTE: When Paul was addressing the early believers and basically telling the slaves to ‘submit’ this was a practical reality that Paul was trying to instill in the new revolutionary movement called ‘church’. There were other messianic groups in the first century, some of these were called ‘zealots’ these people practiced a radical type of reform. A type of civil disobedience that Paul didn’t want the new believers to be associated with. Paul wanted the early believers to be seen as good citizens in society, not zealots. This explains the practical instruction on slaves being obedient. Paul wasn’t justifying slavery for all time!

(297) I have a captain friend at the firehouse who is a liberal Democrat. One day we were talking and the secretary pages the Captain to pick up the phone. I forget how she said it, but it was in a way that we knew it was Dick Cheney’s office calling to set up our ambulance service to provide for a local hunting trip that Cheney makes every year. He kinda said ‘damn, what’s Cheney want now!’ I thought it was funny. This Captain was rooting for Kerry to win the election against Bush a few years back. There were a bunch of guys hanging out and he was challenging the ‘non Kerry’ guys. I stuck my hand out and bet him $50 bucks that Bush would win. He went for it. Sure enough I won the 50 and he paid up. He was mad that Kerry lost, and he was taking it out verbally on the union guys who voted for Bush. He said ‘I cant understand how you labor guys could vote for a Republican, there out for the rich, what money has Bush ever gotten you?’ I answered ‘Well, he just made me 50 bucks’ this didn’t improve my Captains mood too much! NOTE: I am not a Republican or Democrat. I initially was against the Iraq war. I voiced my fear that we were trying to do too much and we were going to spread ourselves too thin. I said this from the start. Just thought I would mention this. Also many people don’t realize that Saddam was ‘friendly’ to Christians. Being he was a ‘secular’ Muslim, and not a radical one like Iran’s Ayatollahs, Christian evangelism and other aspects of Christianity had more of an open door than in Iran. I am not defending Saddam, he was a tyrant! Just thought you should know this.

(731) GENESIS 43- Jacob and the boys have not acted yet. They came back home and told their dad the situation and it seems as if Jacob is frozen with fear. Being in a place of stagnation. Proverbs says the righteous are as bold as a lion [Judah has lion imagery in the blessing that Jacob will give him!] but the wicked fleeth when no man pursueth. One of the strategies of the enemy is if he can’t out right stop you, then he will try to cause you to simply maintain. Don’t do anything to advance. So the food supply is low and Jacob must decide! He says ‘go back to the governor of Egypt [their brother Joseph] and just buy a little food’. His plan is no plan. He seems to think that if he limits the vision it will be all right! What good is getting a little food? He will be starving again soon. Judah basically says this ‘Dad, the man told us plainly not to return unless we bring Benjamin. If we hadn’t dilly dallied this long we would have already made the second trip and been back by now’! They flatly tell their dad ‘we aint going back without the boy!’ now Jacob agrees to send the boy. He once again falls into the worst case scenario in his thinking. Judah does something important here. He tells his dad ‘I will be surety for the boy. If anything happens to him let the blame be on me’. Why is this important? I mentioned earlier in this study that Judah is the special tribe from which ‘the lion of Judah’ [Jesus] will come. Hebrews says ‘it is evident that our Lord sprang from a tribe which was not represented at the altar’. Basically Jesus had to be born from another tribe that wasn’t a priestly tribe [Levi] in order to fulfill his new covenant priestly image. But why Judah? He doesn’t seem to be super holy, as a matter of fact we already discussed his playboy lifestyle! Judah is the only one in this scenario who sees ‘substitution’ as a viable answer to the problem. He basically says ‘I will be in the boys place’. Now we will see later that Judah will make this offer out right when Joseph attempts to keep Benjamin. But most of all I see Judah and his offer as a forerunner for the future act of Penal Substitution that will be carried out by Jesus, the lion who will spring from his loins. Now the boys pack up some stuff, bring extra money and head back to Egypt. They show up at Joseph’s house and are worried. They tell Joseph’s servant ‘we didn’t steal the stuff last time. When we opened the bags someone put the money back in our bags’. This was a trick that Joseph pulled on them earlier. So the servant says ‘don’t worry, the God of Joseph has shown you favor’. Interesting, though the Egyptians never converted en mass to Joseph’s religion, yet he was showing the reality of his God being the true God. He was a man of great influence who had attained a position of unbelievable authority and he was accepted by the government of his day. I think this is important for believers in our day to grasp. I feel we do damage to our testimony when we do ‘marches on Washington’ and stuff like this. While there might be times for things like this, the overall testimony of the church should be one of ‘the God of the Christians has shown you favor’. We should impact society thru our deeds and social justice concerns, not by our marching in the streets! Well Joseph sees Benjamin [his only other brother born from the same mom, Rachel] and has to leave the room because he almost cried right in front of his brothers. They still don’t recognize him yet. So as we end this chapter he makes all the brothers sit down at the table for a meal. He places them in order of their birth. The boys are thinking ‘how does he know the order of our birth’? They will find out soon enough.

(409)I watched the second Republican debate for 2007 last night. It was interesting. One of the questions [from Wolf Blitzer] was to Rudy Giuliani. Wolf asked him to respond to the recent comment from A Catholic Bishop that compared his abortion stance to what Pilate did in betraying Christ. Basically Pilate allowed Christ to be crucified, even tough he was ‘personally against it’ Pilate knew Christ was innocent but permitted his execution to appease a political constituency. As Rudy responded it began to lightning, this caused his mic to go out and you couldn’t hear a word thru the TV. Rudy joked about it. Sort of like ‘I guess God is trying to tell me something’. A few other candidates kidded also. As Rudy talked the lightning kept cutting out his remarks. Everyone just took it as a joke. The ‘funny’ thing was as the other 9 candidates spoke [all pro life!] this ‘interruption’ didn’t happen. As soon as the mic went back to Rudy it started again. You could almost see in everyone’s faces that this wasn’t a joke! Rudy is the only ‘pro choice’ candidate in the Republican field. Also this debate took place in Hew Hampshire at a Catholic University ‘Saint Anselm’. the moderator harped on asking a few of the Christian candidates their view on evolution [which should have nothing to do with whether or not you make a good President!] It was asked in a way to make these guys look like idiots. One of the candidates answered wisely. He basically said he doesn’t know if God created the world in a literal 6-day period or longer, he affirmed the scientific reality that all creation could not have simply come by mere chance. He gave an intelligent response to the question. He also challenged the question. He believed it really shouldn’t be in a Presidential discussion. Though he defended himself well. Wolf Blitzer wanted to make these guys look like idiots. So after the answer he says ‘you were asked whether or not you believed in a literal 6 day creation, you dodged the question, answer it’. The candidate told Wolf ‘I did not dodge the question, I told you that I don’t know if the literal account in Genesis is speaking about periods of time or 24 hr days’. Wolf looked like the idiot! The point is they were so obsessed with getting a certain response that Wolf didn’t ‘hear’ the answer. When it’s your main job [moderator] to ‘hear’ the answer, and you don’t hear it, you look stupid. The ‘after’ show that discussed the debate brought up ‘why are all these candidates injecting God into it’ and then ridiculing them for various reasons. Even though it was obvious that these candidates were not bringing the ‘God issue’ up on their own, they were annoyed to be getting these questions. The Democrats actually are bringing it up more on their own because they are trying to appeal to the Christian vote in a greater way [which is fine]. I think Rudy is a good man, I like him. I am an Italian that grew up where he was mayor. I don’t think God was necessarily ‘judging him’ by the lightning. I felt it more to be a prophetic sign that said ‘If you refuse to speak up for those who have no voice in society [the unborn] I in turn will remove your voice from society’. NOTE: The obvious bias of the media is seen clearly in these types of things. It would be like me asking you ‘do you believe in Hitler and the oppression of Jews’. And you would respond by saying no, and then begin to explain the atrocities of Nazi Germany. Then later I had a discussion with a panel and said ‘can you believe they were even discussing Hitler? I know, what a bunch of racist bigots!’ For the media to do this is an insult to the average American. These elitists truly think that Christians are ignorant idiots. They then show their blatant bias by doing this. NOTE: God takes men and turns them into fools when they willingly reject him. These people who look at creationists as ‘back water’ idiots, believe that at one point in time there was nothing. From nothing gases ‘showed up’ one day [this is a scientific impossibility!] these unexplainable gases had an unexplainable explosion. From this all creation came into existence. Now science does show us that there was a point in history where all the worlds ‘mass’ or matter was at a beginning point. And that from this point thru an unbelievable event all creation came. This is scientifically accurate. But for this to have occurred from nothing is scientifically impossible. There had to be something from outside of the material realm that had the ability to act upon the material realm in order to make this happen. Whether you believe this something is God or not is irrelevant to this argument. The FACT is all created things could not have come from nothing! For the unbeliever to hold to this obviously childlike explanation of all things is absolutely foolish. But they see their belief in this as being intellectual. God has truly changed their wisdom into total foolishness. If you had a point in time where nothing existed, it is scientifically impossible to have matter now. The only scientific explanation is something else had to act upon this ‘void’ in order to bring about matter. This is not religious belief, this is scientific fact!


About ccoutreach87

my sites- www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- facebook.com/john.chiarello.5


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