MUSLIM STUFF- B
1788- WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY?
There have been a few big stories since the last post.
Giants- yeah- they did a great job. The game was a great game- especially the last 5 minutes.
For my Texas friends- us N.J. guys claim the ‘NY’ Giants as our own- they practice down the road from where I grew up in Jersey.
I used to ride my dirt bike in that area [Meadowlands] as a kid- before they developed the land.
It’s basically swamp land- but they built it up and that’s where the stadium sits- in Jersey!
Yeah- we are short on space in N.J. – so we do ‘multi-purpose’ use.
We also use the stadium as a burial ground for former Teamsters presidents [Hoffa Sr. – an inside joke].
Okay- what’s the news right now?
A big story is the Syria situation. Syria is another one of these ‘Arab Spring’ nations that has had protestors rise up in the streets [Egypt- Libya- etc.]
But this time the world community [Russia- China] are not going along with the mantra from the West ‘he is a war criminal- he is on the wrong side of history’ if I hear Susan Rice or any other top U.S. official say this again- I will move to Libya [okay- maybe not].
This past week the U.S. tried to pass a motion at the U.N. that would condemn the Syrian leader- Assad- and call for him to step down and hand the govt. over to someone else.
Now- at this point- after the track record we [Western nations- U.S.] have- whenever protestors rise up- if we don’t like the leader- we begin saying ‘he is bad- he is on the wrong side of history- just step aside- that’s reasonable’.
The result of those who take our ‘advice’ is your family and you get arrested- or you get killed- and then those who survive- even your wife- will be tried and also possibly get executed.
So- that’s why none of these remaining guys are following our lead anymore. Yemen [Salah] – Syria [Assad] and all the rest.
Now- when the U.S. pushed thru the U.N. resolution on Libya- we swore up and down that this ‘no fly zone’ mission was strictly humanitarian in nature.
Russia did not vote for this agreement- but they abstained.
After NATO and the U.S- and France- who played a pretty big role- went in- the mission turned into an all out attack on the Libyan leader.
We hunted him and his family down- we bombed his kids home multiple times and even killed his grandkids- all under the guise of a ‘no fly zone’ to protect civilians.
Okay- Russia was pissed- and they swore they would never fall for another U.S. lead effort that said anything near what the Libyan resolution said.
That’s why they voted no.
Plus Russia has had their own protestors in the streets these last few months- and we started saying some of the same stuff we said when the protestors rose up in Libya- Russia told us to shut up and mind our own business.
They see the writing on the wall- the U.S. will sing this song ‘wrong side of history- free the people’ but we only sing it when its happening with nations we don’t like.
When Bahrain and Saudi Arabia abuse their people- which they do- we sing another song- one that basically says ‘citizens should be seen- and not heard!’
So the world community has caught on- and every where we have called for the former leader to step down- well those nations are now a total mess.
This week the generals- who now run the country- have detained 19 American activists and are going to try them for instigating disharmony in the country.
One of those detained is the son of our transportation secy. Ray Lahood.
The right wing media have described this as ‘the Muslim brotherhood has taken over and they are holding Americans hostage’.
Okay- I know this plays into a very real danger- one that I have written on.
But we need to be careful that we don’t ‘over’ do this fear.
In actuality the reasons these guys are being detained is because the Generals- not the Muslim Brotherhood crowd- are mad at the U.S. because we convinced them to overthrow their pharaoh- Hosni Mubarak- and after we convinced them- their nation is in total shambles.
Egypt used to be a wonderful place to go- tourism was a top business for the country- they have all the ancient sites and artifacts from thousands of years that tourists would go see.
They were the land of the Sphinx and the pyramids- but after their ‘revolution’ they are no longer a place where tourists want to go- they lost around 90 % of their business.
They are trying their former leader- and many are calling for his execution- and his wife’s too!
These are people who wined and dined with Clinton and other presidents over the years- they were seen as friends and allies- and the U.S. basically undercut Mubarak’s rule and now he’d be lucky to escape a public hanging!
So- how did we convince the Generals to overthrow the guy?
Their top military leaders all train at West Point- yes- here in the U.S.
Our top military guys had very close connections to their military- and we went behind Mubarak’s back and convinced these military guys to remove the guy.
Now- after his removal you began having more protests in the streets- some calling for ‘justice’ on the generals- and of course their families- for not doing enough.
The generals found themselves under the same criticism as Mubarak.
And yes- Obama began using the same language about them ‘we want a just transition- the military leaders will be held accountable for any abuse of their citizens’ you know- the key phrases that mean ‘heck- maybe you and your family will be next’.
The generals saw the writing on the wall- and they are gonna try these 19 American activists- they are not gonna play the game anymore with the West.
Lets end with one more example.
One of the big stories going on right now is the possibility of Iran getting a Nuke. We- as well as Israel- have been putting pressure on Iran to drop their Nuke program.
We are treating the Nuke program of Iran as the number one danger in the world today.
We often forget that many nations have nukes- many bad nations.
Iran has 2 nations on either side that have hundreds of nukes.
Israel and Pakistan.
Pakistan is a nation whose political leaders have ‘ties’ with us- but their military and their secret service are infiltrated with groups that we are at war with [Taliban].
Pakistan is a nation with many terrorist ties- and these nukes are at great risk of getting into the hands of bad folk.
So- we should treat the Iran threat as a threat- but we need to keep the thing in balance.
Ron Paul does make some sense when he talks about Iran- I don’t agree with everything he says- but some of the stuff is true.
Okay- so it would seem like any country that came out and said ‘okay U.S.- you want us to forsake our nuke program- you deem this as the worst thing in the world- so we will agree to give them up’.
You would think that any nation that did this would become our friend- right?
Libya is the only nation in recent memory that did this.
Yes- after Bush went into Iraq and we saw his sons killed and Saddam hanged- Gadhaffi’s wife told her husband lets make a deal with this nut [Bush] before he kills us all.
Yes- this is how it happened.
And Gadhaffi contacted us- and he gave up his nuke plans.
What happened next?
He became the only leader- so far- that we actually went after with planes and bombs.
What kind of message does this send?
North Korea has people starving in the streets- they are a real enemy of the world- and treat their people badly.
Why have we never [in recent history] responded militarily?
Well John- they have nukes.
So the message is ‘if you willingly give up your nukes- we might kill you and your family- but if you have nukes- well then it’s too late- we will not do anything’.
You see- the world community watches what we do- they don’t hear what we say.
Yeah- Russia- China and a few other nations are having second thoughts- they hear all our rhetoric on ‘the wrong side of history’ and they see Gadhaffi and his grandkids in the grave.
To them- that’s the wrong side of history.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John
1781- MAJORITY RULE?
I was going to finish the last post on the Protestant Reformation study we started last month- but we do have a few news items that I think we should cover.
First- for those of you who haven’t read my posts for a while- you need to know that I critique both Repubs and Dems- sometimes severely.
For instance I was [am] a very ‘anti war’ person. I felt the Iraq war- and the long land occupation in Afghanistan were bad mistakes.
I do feel we were indeed justified to ‘hit back’ after 9-11- but the massive ground wars- and all the various reasons given- well I just felt the strategy was flawed.
I also have sided with Progressives on immigration- I take a very non conservative- pro liberal view on immigration- almost to the degree of being a ‘Sanctuary City’ supporter- yeah- that bad.
So I say that to say this- when I critique the President- trust me- I have done it with both sides of the aisle.
Yesterday I read a scathing column by Maureen Dowd [NY Times] and she described the President as someone who was aloof- isolated and has surrounded himself with Chicago insider friends- who all tell him that the American people are not worthy of him.
Now- for whatever reason- just about all the articles Dowd has done this past year have been strongly criticizing Obama.
Dowd- as well as the whole N.Y. Times crew- are pretty liberal in their politics.
Then why do this?
Another NY Times reporter just put out a book on Obama- she said basically the same thing- and she covered the internal conflicts in the White House- things between Michele Obama and the staff [former chief of staff Rahm Immanuel].
The book [The Obama’s] was basically a tell all. She talked about some heated arguments that the staff had over Michele.
When Michele Obama was asked about the portrayal- she said that she’s tired of other people [White people] calling her an angry Black woman.
I heard Jodie say she did not understand why she said this- because in the book she does not bring up color- simply reported the facts.
The progressive media [liberal view] love to use the race card against those on the right [I am not on the right!] but if you dare use it against them- they become incensed [Geraldine Ferraro- Bill- Hillary Clinton- etc.]
So for various reasons- the more liberal media have decided to not back Obama the way they did at the start.
Now- the point here is not simply political gossip- but the reality of how much we see/read in the news is truly honest- and how much is spin that prevents the true story from coming out.
These past few weeks we have had some disturbing news about the so called Arab Spring countries.
Egypt held their first parliamentary elections and voted in a majority of Islamists. Now- many have said that sure- the Muslim Brotherhood has made great gains- but that’s ‘the will of the people’.
I heard former pres Jimmy Carter say this.
His team went over to monitor the elections [he has a group that does this] and they said ‘yes- the Muslims took over- but we must all respect the voice of the people- if that’s what the majority wants- then that’s a great thing’.
What’s wrong with this? The fact is the Muslim Brotherhood do want to institute Shariah law in the land.
Now- many have chosen to work with this group [Obama has] and the simple reality is they are a force and we will have to deal with them some day.
So fine- I understand.
But how many of us would be singing the praises of a right wing Christian group- who wanted to institute law based on the 10 commandments- and wherever this law is already enacted they execute gays- subjugate women- and even kill the women who commit ‘adultery’ [which in some cases means you were raped].
Now- that’s Shariah law. Would Carter be saying ‘well- if that’s what the Americans want- to vote in a bunch of right wing Christians who will do this- then we must respect that this is the voice of the people’.
Where are the voices defending those who are being oppressed and killed under these regimes.
Our ‘dear friends’ in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain- they are all guilty of these human rights abuses- yet we are silent.
It so sad that Carter- and those in the media who I have heard praising the fact that this is ‘the voice of the people’.
It makes no difference if the majority wanted it- if what they want is still oppressive- then we should not be so quick to praise it.
I read 2 stories this week about Libya- the headlines were ‘Gadhaffi’s forces take back city’.
I thought the guy was dead.
Well yes- he is. But his side have regrouped and did take back a key city in the West- Banni Walid.
Now- for them to have done this is big news- but you wouldn’t know that by the coverage- because the media are not truly covering it [the articles I read were small and hidden in the back pages].
The other Libyan article was even more surprising- protestors rose up in the Eastern city of Ben Ghazi- a city that has been under Rebel Influence for many years- this is the eastern City that sparked the original protests.
People rose up and stormed the official government headquarters and ransacked the place.
The new leader of the country was hiding in the back.
Iraq- since we pulled out a few weeks ago- that country is rapidly descending into a Civil War and it looks like they will split up between the Kurds- the Sunni’s and the Shiites.
Hate to admit this- but Biden was right.
So- after this bad track record- all the places where we have backed the Arab Spring- they are worse off now than before- that’s a fact.
They are more unstable- the Christian population is in much more danger- and none of them have been able to elect and institute a better regime than the one they kicked out.
So what are we doing about that?
Nothing- instead we are continuing with our call for ‘you bad leaders need to step down’ [Syria].
Many people in Syria do not want Assad to go- many of the Christians in the country fear that if he topples- they will face the same persecution that their brothers are facing in Egypt.
When the Islamist parties take over- that’s terrible for the Christian minorities in these countries.
So why no big media coverage of the failures over these things?
It just would not look good for Obama in an election year.
But like I said at the top- some are growing tired of what they see as an aloof president [the liberal press said this- not the right] and as they grow tired they begin reporting the stuff- both the good and the bad.
I have no appetite for how many arguments Michele Obama had with Rahm Emmanuel- or how ‘depressed’ Obama is [the Times almost ran a story on this- they decided not to run it].
But I am concerned that we report the truth about the Arab Spring- that if the toppling of these leaders has lead to great instability- and the death of many Christians- then we should not be saying ‘well- this is the will of the people’.
Whether or not the majority agree to oppress the minority- it’s still wrong- and it’s a shame that the Western media won’t report it.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John
1780- KENYAN MUSLIM- OPEN MARRIAGE- AND SAUL ALYNSKI
Last night we had another Repub debate. As the week wore on we were also treated to all the various views that divide the right from the left in our country.
Some elderly woman referred to Obama as a Kenyan Muslim during a Santorum rally.
John King ‘infamously’ began a debate by asking Newt whether or not his ex was telling the truth when she says he wanted an open marriage.
And Newt mentioned that Obama is a radical after his mentor Saul Alynski.
To those ‘in the know’ well- we have heard this name before- as a news consumer who comments on all things political- well I’ll admit I listen to all sides.
One of the biggest ‘sides’ to hear is Rush. He is the most influential radio host in the right wing world.
I also listen to the voices on the left- I watch Al Jazeera news [not left per se- but they air on Link TV- a progressive media station] as well as Gores Current TV network.
So over the last few years Alynski has come up a lot.
He is basically this guy who gave Rules- procedures to implement change on a big scale.
Many on the left used his book to try and change stuff- and Obama has been influenced by his writings before.
So when you drop the name- you’re basically playing into the narrative that Obama is a left wing radical.
Of course the left goes ballistic when ever some old white lady thinks Obama is Muslim ‘how dare anyone ever even think this!’
Why do some people [not me] think this?
This last year I have watched some on the left try to depict our President as a young Black kid who was brought up by a single mom- played basketball and hung out with his friends at the corner inner city park- and when this narrative is given- it’s contrasted with the rights ‘picture’ of Obama as a different type of person.
The left defends Obama against the rights false view of him.
Now- as someone who does not hate the Pres- and also has taken the Pres at his word on both the Muslim thing and the Birth Certificate thing- I must admit that some on the right have some ‘evidence’ to go by when they perceive Obama as a different type of person.
Now- when I say ‘different’ I mean the upbringing of Obama was not the classic ‘grew up in the inner city’ type upbringing. Now- I don’t use the ‘inner city’ story/view when I speak about our Pres- because not only is that an incorrect view- but those on the left that use it [MSNBC- Matthews] do not realize that their very use of the narrative is in itself racist.
For anyone- on the left r right- to try and defend a Black man by saying ‘look- he’s just like any other Black kid USA- hung out in the ghetto with his buddies’ geez- you call that a defense of the Black Man?
But the actual story of Obama is different- and there are certain aspects of it that do play into the Kenyan/Muslim theme.
First- the president was raised most of his life in Hawaii [not Chicago] and as a young kid he did live in Indonesia for a few years- Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world.
He did indeed go to school with Muslim boys- and spent a few years in this type of environment.
Second- Obama said on national TV ‘My Muslim Faith’.
3rd– Hillary Clinton released a picture of Obama during the campaign that showed Obama in full Muslim garb.
4th– Obama wrote a book- Dreams of my Father- in which he explained his journey as a kid who grew up without his dad in the home- and how he later came to learn his father’s struggle- a different one than the Black Civil rights struggle in our country- but yet a struggle for the Black man to be free from Colonial rule.
Kenya- as many other African countries- was ruled by European powers for many years.
These Black families were actually raised with another man’s culture as theirs- that’s why in the war in Libya- you had Gadhaffi using mercenaries that came from the Sub Saharan part of the continent- and these Black fighters spoke French!
So Obama explained- not in a bad way- that he came to grips with his father’s struggle- called anti colonialism- and how he also came to respect his culture as he grew up.
Now- his dad of course is Muslim- he named Obama with an openly Muslim type name- and Obama has made statements that he is Muslim.
One more thing- before Obama started running for pres- he told an ambassador from another country [Egypt?] that his faith too was Muslim.
This political figure has stayed by this story till this day.
Okay- after reading all this- the question might be ‘how can anybody think he is not Muslim!’
Like I said- I give the pres the benefit of the doubt- but it would not be a stretch for some elderly White woman to think this- and when the media act like ‘where in the world would anybody ever get an idea like this- or how could anyone ever think that Obama might be ‘anti- colonial’.
Well you can see where these ideas come from- and they are not as far out there as some would make you think.
Okay- these things- and the medias unwillingness to truly vet Obama during his run for pres- I mean Obama said in one of his books that he did ‘a little blow’ in college [Cocaine].
There was never one question on ‘where did you get the blow from’ or ‘how long did you use’ or ‘how much is a little’.
I mean it is illegal to do- and if you open up a pres debate by asking ‘your ex wife says’ well than you might want to ask- just once- how did you obtain the blow.
But the media steered clear of anything that might be deemed racially tinged- and they gave Obama a pass.
So that’s why the Gingrich line works so well- his attack against the medias love affair with the pres- most discerning news watchers see this.
But wait- if you only watch MSNBC- you would think that Obama grew up in the inner city- shooting hoops with his buddies at the corner park- yeah- if you watch MSNBC that’s what you might think- and you wouldn’t even know that a thought like that is racist.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John
1776- HE’S JUST WEIRD
Yesterday I caught the 15th Repub debate [too many!] and you had the questioners and pres. hopefuls try their best.
Juan Williams [the Black Fox news guy] did ask a question that has come up before on a reference Newt uses ‘Obama is the food stamp pres.’
Now- when this first came out- Newt and others defended the phrase- they said that more people have been put on food stamps under Obama than any other pres.
The other view said that Newt is playing to the racist crowd- in an underhanded way- and the term is really a race thing.
Okay- what do I think? I have no idea- nor does anybody else. So instead of insisting it’s a racist thing- just let the people judge.
Those in the Black community will be voting over 90% for Obama- is this just because he is Black?
Some say ‘no- we vote Dem historically’ okay- but in politics- if you had 97 % of Whites refusing to vote for a Black man- well you would call that racist.
This past Friday the S and P downgraded 9 European countries debt. France, Italy- Spain- a few more.
Now- this was no surprise- but some were hoping it would not come so soon.
Then why did it happen?
The ratings agency said the actions the Euro Zone countries are taking are simply not sufficient enough to deal with the problem.
The numbers also came out on our trade deficit- they showed that our sales to Europe went down a lot- more than expected. So the growing Euro recession is indeed going to have an effect on the U.S. economy.
One of the nations that got downgraded was France. France and Germany are the 2 biggest contributors to the bailout fund for the other nations.
Frances downgrade will make it more expensive for them to borrow- and will put pressure on the bailout fund. Germany was not downgraded.
As I watch the news- survey the scene for this coming year- I see a lot of denial- in politics- economics- etc.
I see both sides of the aisle justifying their skewed views in order to promote- or attack- the side they don’t like.
I saw a clip of some sick guy in a wheel chair- weighed about 80 pounds- he’s wheeled up to Romney. He’s asking him a question at some campaign rally.
You can barely hear the guy- he’s sick and weak and frail. The question ‘do you really want to put me in jail because I need to smoke weed to live’.
After a few more times repeating the question- Romney catches on.
He does tell the man- in a nice way- that he does not support medical marijuana.
So as Romney walks away- his liberal buddy shouts ‘are you going to walk away from a man who’s in a wheel chair and ignore his plight’!
Yea- you tell him Mr. righteous.
Romney says he didn’t ignore him- he answered him.
Then you had the little girl ask Bachman why she did not want her 2 mommies to love each other.
And the other night- one of the major news networks was covering the gay marriage issue- they showed 2 of the sweetest grandmas- you know- they were in love.
I mean these nice ladies looked like they were about to make homemade candy apples for the trick or treaters.
They were the example they found to show us how evil Santorum and all the other ‘anti gay marriage’ folk are.
What’s wrong with all this? These lopsided ways to showcase a story- to start with either the worst/best example of a thing [the anti gay groups also show the gay parade marchers- in drag- when they discuss the subject] this is pitting one side against another- and it does not help the conversation.
About 6 months ago I was watching MSNBC and I heard Matthews talking about the pres campaign. He said it is possible that if Romney gets nominated and some on the right [Evangelicals] don’t support him because he belongs to this ‘weird’ religion- that he might be a flawed candidate.
He then went on and said that Romney’s name is not Mitt- its Willard.
I guess its true- I really don’t care to check.
Then as the weeks went by- he kept talking about Romany as Willard- he pushed on his Mormon faith- and last night I heard him say ‘watch this response Romney gives- I mean- he’s just weird- that’s the only way to describe him’.
Ah- he waited all these months- thinking he’s secretly sending the White House messages- and if they don’t pick them up- darn- Mathews will carry the load himself.
Mathews was incensed when people used the middle name of the president- his description of ‘Willard’ and his religion as ‘weird’ would never fly if you were talking about a Muslim.
As the year progresses- I think we would all do well to try and focus on the actual positions people have- don’t read too much into the paranoid scenarios- from the right or the left.
I will end with one more example. Bob Herbert- N.Y. Time’s columnist. During the Obama campaign tried to ‘expose’ the secret racist messages that were tied into the opposing commercials [run by Bill and Hillary].
In one commercial they showed you a picture of the Washington Monument- and a few other historic sites.
Herbert went on to say that the showing of ‘this structure’ [it’s a tall structure- ‘sticking out’ into the empty sky].
Herbert said that the subliminal message was ‘watch out for the Black man- Obama- because he- like all Blacks- has one thing on his mind’.
Of course you see what he thinks the showing of the structure meant.
So as we navigate the year- thru the Willard’s and the dying wheel chair pot smokers- let’s hear both sides and try and simply choose our candidate based on these things- not on his color- or his religious views- or on any other of a number of accusations made by the opposing side.
We just celebrated Martin Luther King day- he was a great man who taught non violent protests- who said we should judge people on the content of their character and not the color of their skin- I couldn’t agree more.
 WEEK IN REVIEW
So we end the week with Haley Barbour releasing killers- the media showing- over and over again- a viral video of Marines urinating on dead Taliban soldiers- and the Repubs accusing Romney of being a ‘Vulture’ capitalist pig.
Let’s start with the most important one first- last night I saw the Marine video- after a minute or 2 of thinking about it- and hearing Hillary and others decry the ‘outrageous action’ and saying that these Marines will be upheld to the highest standard of law- I thought ‘what a bunch of hypocrites’.
Yeah- we- as a nation- send these young kids to war- some do 3 or 4 terms over there- we are telling them ‘you go kill this enemy’- they often see their buddies getting killed.
They also see kids maimed- our guys coming back without all their body parts.
And in some cases- like the present court case against the soldiers at Haditha [a possible case where our guys killed some civilians] they do get things wrong.
But the fact that one of the most dehumanizing acts a person can engage in- the taking of another’s life- the fact that we ask these guys to do this- and then become outraged that they urinated on some dead bodies- well yes- they blew it- they made it more dangerous for our other men over there- I got all that.
But the media- who keep showing the ‘darn’ video- they are not helping.
Right now you have an Egyptian Christian going to trial because he posted a picture of Mickey and Minnie- Mickey had a beard and Minnie a veil.
So in Egypt- they now see this as a crime. Have you seen the silly image on the tube? Of course not- because the media know that the showing of the image might cause ‘outrage’ in the Muslim community- and that might lead to the deaths of people.
Then why do they feel so free to keep showing the stupid stunt the Marines did- surely the showing of this video will cause outrage in Muslim lands and lead to the deaths of people.
Yes- the guys did wrong- maybe they should face some type of military discipline- but the calls for prison are wrong- they ‘pissed’ on dead bodies- wrong- bad- especially in the Muslim world- but the act of taking their lives in the first place- the act we ask our young men to engage in- that by nature lowers a person’s view of another group.
Yes- professionals should be able to distinguish between the enemy and the degrading of another person- but in practice this distinction isn’t always so easy- so let’s punish the men- in a way commensurate with the act- but jail? No way.
Okay- we were also treated to the public hysteria over killers walking the streets of Mississippi- you know- Barbour [Governor] let out all the rapists- child molesters and killers!
Are we seeing somewhat of a political overreaction? Sure. Did he pardon some people that should not have been pardoned? Probably.
But you have some of the opposing political figures in the state- saying that they are trying to track the killers down and they can’t find them.
Wow- you mean all Barbour’s gang are on the loose- stalking women and children right now?
All governors have in fact pardoned killers in the past. Now- should this act be done sparingly? Yes. Because you are indeed wiping the record clean- and in cases of sexual assault- well the public might not know who they are dealing with [like getting hired at a school or something].
But in truth- about 90 % of the guys pardoned were already free- and many of them were out of prison for years. The pardon allows them to find jobs [because many can’t get work when the rap sheet shows up] and maybe become an asset to society in some way.
So not all the pardons- are these 200 killers out on the run! They were not accurately describing the thing- and the Dem. Attorney General who keeps going on the air saying they are doing their best to get the killers- but they ‘hit the ground running’ well he’s simply playing the game.
And let’s end with ‘the Vulture’. Yes- Gingrich and Perry have gone after Romney and they pulled out the Capitalist Pig card.
They are attacking Romney over his years at Bain Capital- because he was a Corporate Raider and he cost people their jobs.
Then some on the Right have gone after those who are making this attack- they are saying that conservatives should not be making a charge like this- because all Romney [or corporate raiders] do is simply a part of Capitalism- and should not be questioned.
The movie they are using as an example is Wall St. – they are kinda saying that the picture the attackers are trying to present is one where Romney looks like Gordon Gecko.
I think a better movie would be Pretty Woman. If you remember- Richard Gere played the role of a corporate raider- and this movie really tells the story better [though the movie is about a prostitute!]
Gere comes to town to shut down a shipping business [actually builds ships!] and during the process he sees the point of view of the older owner of the business- and Gere instead says let’s try and keep this business open- yes- to make money- but also to fulfill the role of being a good corporate public servant- that does care about the workers as well as the stock holders.
This idea is noble- and I think in some ways we should bring this type of ‘just thinking’ into the Capitalist picture.
Now- not all ‘profit’ making is wrong- we know that. And if there comes a time that a business has to shut the doors because that’s the only way for other parts of the investing firm to be viable- okay- that’s fine.
But there is nothing wrong with asking ‘capitalist pigs’ to not only see the bottom line- but to also view the worker as an asset- and trying to keep their jobs should also be a goal of business- not just cash.
And there are many C.E.O.’s who do teach this- years ago I read Stephen Covey’s books- and he does talk about this.
So all in all- there is some truth to the attacks- to ask the question.
Okay- that’s it for now- lets pray for these Marines- they are taking lots of heat- and sure- maybe they screwed up big time- but they did nothing worthy of prison or court martial- and we should all know that.
 Happy new years eve to all. Let’s do a brief Year in Review.
We did have quite a busy news year- last night I caught a CSPAN clip of Newt- yeah- he was crying like a baby!
Okay- not that bad- but he did break down for a few seconds on screen. Some of the pundits debated if it were ‘planned’ or real.
I think E.J. Dionne [a liberal news guy] got it right- he said he thought it was sincere- but how much it will help a man in a Repub primary fight- well that’s another story.
Boehner said he didn’t see anything wrong with it [lol for you non savvy political folk- who knows- maybe they will both run for office in North Korea? The crying capitol of the world].
The big story of the year? Well- there were a few [Tsunami- Arab Spring- E.U. crisis] but as a geopolitical event that was big- I guess I would say the shakeup we saw in the Arab world was pretty major.
It started with a street vender in Tunisia- he refused to pay ‘the tax’ to the cops for his street profit- it’s really a form of extortion like the mob uses. So in frustration he ‘self immolated’ [lit himself on fire!] and he died a few days later from his injuries.
This led to the overthrow of the long time leader in Tunisia [Ben Ammi]- and then the Egyptians followed suit by protesting in the historic Tahrir square.
Mubarak got toppled and then Libya gave it a shot. Of course we [the U.S. and NATO] basically bombed the hell out of the place and then let the rebel’s claim they won.
Last week in Nigeria- on Christmas day- Muslim radicals bombed a Christian church and killed many worshippers. Nigeria is much like the Sudan- the country is divided North and South by Muslims and Christians [Sudan’s south also has lots of Animists].
What do all these countries have in common? They are all in Africa. Yes- the African continent probably saw the most ‘action’ though the last part of the year we have focused on Europe.
Yes- Europe had her own Western style debt crisis. It can get a little confusing- I mean I was watching one news show- the title was the Euro Zone debt crisis- and they said there were 27 nations in the Euro Zone.
That’s a common mistake some have made. The Euro Zone is made up of 17 European nations- that have entered into a treaty that allows them to all use one common currency- the Euro.
But there are a total of 27 nations that make up the European Union- the biggest Economy out of all of them is Britain- they are not part of the Euro Zone- though they are part of the E.U. – got it?
By the way- Brazil just passed Britain as the world’s 6th [or 7th?] largest economy.
And Japan faced her devastating earthquake/Tsunami [I think it was this year?] anyway there economy has been in the doldrums for around 20 years. Japan had her own recession/depression many years ago- and they have still never fully recovered.
Which brings us to the end of the year in the U.S.
We end the year with some better than expected economic numbers- but don’t be fooled- the numbers are not great- they are actually not good- they are just better than expected.
Some now predict that the last quarter will see around 3 % growth [it takes a few weeks for the data to come out] and some are predicting that 2012 we’ll see around 3 % growth.
3 % is not good- it’s actually bad- but it’s not as bad as a recession.
What we need to keep in mind is our economy has gone through some major hits- and like Japan- you don’t just pop out of it in a few years.
Many of the companies are in better shape- because they scaled back- they cut people and downsized- some for good.
So- the DOW might look good because of stuff like this- but we have now had a few years of college grads who have been unable to find work- and they missed the ‘boost’ of getting a good job- buying a car- getting a place to stay- and this group of young unemployed kids- well they might never get the jump they need to do ‘better than their parents’.
So by no means have we as a country recovered from our debt/economic problems- and the E.U. still has a lot of risk in the coming year.
In the last few weeks the Federal Reserve and a few other central banks made money available to the E.U. banks at a cheap rate.
The theory is if you pour money into the banks- that might loosen up lending- and you avoid a real problem. Just like our own TARP thing we did in 2008.
But lo and behold- some of the E.U. nations sold [tried] to sell some bonds- and the banks did not buy as many as people expected. The banks took the cash [like the U.S. banks did in 2008] and basically sat on the money.
So all this means we still have a tough year ahead- globally- and just because some numbers are looking better at the end of the year for the U.S.- this does not mean all is well.
The scripture reading for this week is Isaiah 52. The prophet speaks about Gods people- he says ‘Wake up- rise up- shake the dust from your feet and move on’.
He also says that blessed are those who preach the Good News- the good news of salvation. Those who publish peace- those who declare Gods rule.
I have a habit- every week [just about] I watch the Catholic Mass on the tube- those are the bible chapters I cover during the week.
Of course this past week I watched the Popes Mass from Rome- the Pope spoke against the commercializing of Christmas- and he reminded us that the true message of Christmas is Emmanuel- God with Us.
As we end the year- I want to encourage all my readers/friends- the reality of God being with us is what’s important. Yes- I do think many are not seeing the ‘story behind the story’ in the above news events- many want to believe there is no way they might have lost money [401 k’s] and they might never see that money again.
But that’s okay- even if you didn’t lose it this past year- you were going to ‘lose it’ someday- we all have to leave some day- and we have a tendency to put that reality off.
One year I had a friend- another firefighter- who just started investing in Real Estate. And all the guys knew I was doing that for years. I used to have renters come by and drop off the rent checks and stuff like that.
So when one of the other guys got into it- they would ask me for advice. One day I had a friend- around 50 years old- and he bought a few homes.
As he was talking- he was telling me that he would pay off these 2- sell this one- rent the other- I mean he had all the plans first time buyers/investors get into. I simply tried to give him some sound advice- and I also had to stop him at one point.
He was telling me the plans he had for the 3 homes that were on a 30 year mortgage- and I had to say ‘Mike- I know your excited about the houses- but you’re talking about paying off these homes- you do realize you might be dead before the mortgage is paid off’.
I wasn’t being funny- I actually was telling him something that many investors do not calculate in when they do the numbers- they very rarely calculate in their own mortality.
So yes- we will all do our best- we will watch the numbers this year- and well will try and publish the good news- the good news of God being with men- that God became a man- was crucified- died- and buried. He rose again the 3rd day- according to the scriptures- he will come again to judge the living and the dead. Amen and Amen.
Happy New Year to all.
 HEDGE YOUR BETS?
Caught an interesting show last night on the business/financial channel. It was the story of some private investor who was sort of a prodigy when it came to the market.
As a kid he took an unusual interest in investing and as he was studying to become a doctor he started his own independent blog and eventually he went into investing full time.
He became famous because he was one of the first investors to spot the upcoming housing bubble [the one we already had]. As he read the data- he hedged his bets and shorted the market.
All investing is a type of ‘gambling’ you make your bet- you put money on the table- and you hope for the best.
But ‘shorting’ the market the way this guy did- well it was more like gambling in the sense that you bet that a certain stock will fall- and someone else is betting it will go up.
Well in the end he did win- but he angered a lot of his customers and his investment company would fold.
Overall he got it right- but he was bad with social skills- he had a form of Autism called Aspergers syndrome- it makes you bad with social skills- but excel in other areas.
His area of excelling was the numbers thing- yet the part of the business where you work with people- that’s what doomed him in the end.
Anyway I mentioned this because some numbers have come out this week- and the economy might be getting better- so if those numbers hold- or go up- then this next year might be okay [crow doesn’t taste that bad!].
The news? I was surprised to see the state of things go bad so fast in Iraq. Just the other day [yesterday?] the capital city had 16 bombs go off- many killed.
It was one of the worst bombings in a long time- right in the capital.
Then you had the P.M. of Iraq- AlMalaki- put out a warrant on the V.P. The Prime Minister is Shia- the V.P. is Sunni.
Iraq- like all these ‘Arab Spring’ nations are divided along these religious lines- and Iraq also has a 3rd division- the Kurds in the north.
So the Vice President has fled north to the Kurdish area- and Malaki is demanding his return to face charges of terrorism.
Can you imagine a U.S. President charging the V.P. with terrorism charges? Yeah- I fear the worst is taking place in Iraq- and there is plenty of blame to go around- but these wars were doomed from the get go.
Okay- as we end the week- who read the chapters I mentioned in the last post? They deal with the promise of God to King David- that God would bless David’s house [dynasty] for ages to come.
That David’s ‘Son’ would sit on the throne for ever. I have taught this before- the New Testament shows us that this promised has been fulfilled thru Christ.
Jesus- who comes from the lineage of King David- has been raised from the dead and he sits at the right hand of God- forever.
An interesting note on the chapters- God says to David ‘even if the future children sin- and mess up- I will punish them- but will not totally forsake them’.
I think this promise is in both the Samuel chapters and Psalms 89.
It refers to the teaching in the bible that says when believers sin- make mistakes- mess up. God will ‘chastise’ them- but not completely leave them [Read Hebrews 12- the first few verses].
Hebrews says that this is proof that we are God’s kids- because he will discipline those he loves- like a parent does with a child.
The bible also says that humans discipline at times with other motives ‘Johnny- you made me look bad in the store today- you threw a fit because you couldn’t get the candy’ so at times parents punish because of wrong motives- but the bible says Gods discipline is perfect- it leads to restoration.
In the above mentioned Psalm- David says ‘Lord- why did you let the hedge [protections] fall down around me- will your anger go on forever?’
Even though King David had all these great promises from God- yet we know the whole story- David made some drastic mistakes- he even had an illegitimate kid with the wife of one of his top soldiers.
When his scheme to cover up the crime didn’t work- he had the husband killed [Uriah] and he married the wife.
Her name was Bathsheba. She had a son- he got sick. David knew he was being punished for what he did.
So he goes into his room and fast and prays for days- then the kid dies.
His servants are afraid to tell him that the kid died. David picks up on it and says ‘he’s dead’? Yeah.
Then he washes his face and gets on with life. The servants thought ‘wow- we thought he would really go downhill once he heard the kid died’.
But David said ‘when the boy was alive- I prayed and did what I could to change the situation- but after the boy died- there’s no more I can do. I will go to him some day- but he can’t come back now’.
David took the punishment- and moved on.
Bathsheba will bear him another child- a son by the name of Solomon. This is also the same son that God makes the promise to David in the above chapters- that he will build a temple for God.
So God forgave David- even used the second son from the ‘crime scene’ to do great things- but first David suffered.
Today’s word- wherever you are today on the journey- at the point of fasting and praying- or the mistakes- and the results have already played out- wherever you are- don’t let what has happened be the final word.
Hebrews also says to the person who was disciplined ‘lift up the hands that hang down- get back up- don’t let the discipline have the wrong effect- it was meant to restore you in the end’.
Yea- God allowed the hedge to come down around David- like our investor- he had talent- even special gifts- he ‘hedged’ his bets- but in the end he reaped some stuff.
Whatever has happened- its over- you can’t change it. Let’s get up and move on- there just might be a Solomon on the way.
 IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH
A few months back I caught a good movie- In the Valley of Elah [you know- one of those titles that makes no sense!]. But overall the movie was good.
It starred Tommy Lee Jones [Gore’s old roommate] and it was on Gore’s Liberal channel- Current TV.
The movie was about an Iraqi soldier who survived the war but was killed in mysterious circumstances when he came back to be stationed in the states.
I won’t blow the ending- but it took some twists and turns and the final scene is quite offensive [nothing dirty- but if you watch- you’ll see what I mean].
Anyway- don’t know why I went there.
Okay- lets finish the week with one more teaching from Jesus. The last few days I focused a little on the main idea of the New Covenant versus the Old law. Basically- we as believers are saved- accepted with God- not because we try to keep the law- [Old Covenant] but because Christ died for us and rose again [New Covenant].
In Jesus short teachings- he hits on this a lot.
In Marks gospel- chapter 2- Jesus gives us a few examples. He says no one takes ‘New Wine’ and puts it into Old Bottles [New covenant won’t fit with a legalistic mindset]. And no one takes a new piece of cloth and uses it to patch up the old.
Then we see another one of those examples where Jesus is confronted by the religious crowd [Pharisees] and once again he wins the day [he always does!].
He’s walking with the disciples and as they go thru the fields they pick some corn [grain] and eat it. Got ya! It was the Sabbath day- and the religious leaders jumped all over him ‘why are your guys breaking the rules!’
‘The rules’ were the Old laws that said you couldn’t ‘work’ on the Sabbath. Okay- could you pick some corn and eat on the Sabbath? Sure. But these guys were the type that were super picky about everything- always looking to ‘catch you’. So they ‘caught Jesus’ [they thought] and waited for the response.
Now- Jesus tells them ‘don’t you guys read your bibles! Haven’t you ever read the story in the bible when King David was on the run from King Saul and he ate the holy bread that was only for the priests’?
This story is found in 1st Samuel chapter 21. David [not king yet] is fleeing from Saul and he stops at ‘the house of God’ and tells the priest ‘I’m on a secret mission from Saul- we left fast- we have no food or even weapons- can you give a guy a hand’. Now- David- like a good Christian- is making the whole thing up!
The priest kinda thinks something’s up- but he takes the bait and tells David ‘all I have is the holy bread- but that’s only for the priests’. So he takes the bread and he and his men eat it.
Jesus says ‘see- David ‘broke the law’ [ceremonial rule] and he was still doing God’s will’. Ah- Jesus sure knew how to shut those Pharisees up.
I have taught this before- and there really is a lot of significant things to cover in this teaching- for now- understand that what David did here [and later] was indeed something only priests could do.
And in the Old Testament when kings ‘acted’ like priests- they got in trouble! But David does a lot of things that priest’s do- and gets away with it. Later in the life of David he will set up what’s called The Tabernacle of David- and he will put on a Linen Ephod [priests garment] and indeed act like a priest.
All this points to the reality that King David was a type/symbol of Christ- who too is a priest and king.
And Jesus comes from the earthly genealogy of King David.
So- in a way- when he uses this example to refute the Pharisees- he is saying ‘I’m the new David- and just like King David and his men had priestly/royal privileges- so too me and my men share the same grace’.
This teaching is pretty good to be honest- but that’s not today’s point.
Oh- one more thing. As David is leaving- he asks the priest ‘do you have any weapons for us- we left so fast on this special assignment we didn’t have time to take our weapons’. Man- the way these guys lied in the bible- they make Cain and Sandusky look like altar boys!
The priest says ‘gee Dave- all I have here is the sword you killed the giant with- remember?’ Ah- the good old days.
Sure David remembers- we all do. When David was just a kid- he went out one day and did a ‘mans’ job. The giant Goliath was challenging the children of Israel day after day ‘hey you guys- don’t you have a warrior who can take me on- what- you all chicken’?
Man- day after day he made the challenge- and no one had the guts to take him up on the offer.
So little David hears the challenge and says ‘who is this guy to talk like that- I’ll kill him like a killed the bear [or lion? I forget off hand like this!] When I was protecting the sheep’.
And King Saul says ‘what the heck- go for it kid’. Well- David goes out and you know the rest of the story- he hits Goliath in the head with a stone from his sling- and walks up to him and takes his sword and pulls a Taliban move- the head comes off.
So- this is the sword the priest still has as a famous relic- everyone knew about the exploits of David.
Oh yea- the priest says ‘David- here’s the sword- the one you used to kill the giant- in the VALLEY OF ELAH’.
Yeah- the day we sent kids out because the men were too irresponsible to act like men- yeah- the Valley of Elah- guess it had a meaning after all.
 I’M JUST NOT ONE OF THOSE ‘WORD TALKERS’
Caught the debate last night- didn’t go to well for my gov. I mean I still thought he had a fighting chance- not any more. I mean even Cain started looking good compared to Perry.
When Perry could not remember the 3rd govt. dept. that he wanted to shut down- that was it. Even Ron Paul tried to throw him a lifeline ‘the E.P.A.’ Yeah- that’s the one! I even guessed ‘maybe he means the energy dept.’ [you know- that’s always been kind of a joke- like having a ‘sky dept.’].
Sure enough- the next time Perry ‘spoke’ that was the one.
I read a Conan joke the other day- he was mocking Perry because he was going to start skipping the debates- he said Perry’s excuse was he was not a skilled debater- you know- he wasn’t one of those ‘word talkers’ yeah- guess he’s right.
I went thru a few news articles the other day- when I read the papers during the week I cut the articles out that I think are important- and then in the morning before I post I’ll look them over to see what looks relevant.
Out of the 2 I saved- one was on a possible looming crisis in Italy. Sure enough- yesterday everything hit the fan.
The reason the stocks took a big hit was out of fear that the European debt crisis might spread to Italy. Italy has a big economy- not like Greece. The main reason Greece was important- was that many observers feared that if Greece went bankrupt- that the ‘contagion’ might spread to the other Euro Zone nations- like Italy- and that would be bad- very bad.
Well- that looks like what might be happening. Greece’s Debt to GDP ratio is 144 %- not good. Italy is at around 120%- not as bad- but still not good. This coming year they have about half a trillion dollars coming to maturity [bonds they must pay out on] and they owe 2.6 trillion [not like our 14 trillion- but for the size of their nation- it’s a lot].
So the interest rate just went up for Italy- it will now cost more for them to borrow- and when you’re paying a little over 7 % on 2.6 trillion- well that hurts.
Italian bonds are not like Greek bonds- Italian bonds are in all of the big banks that we are familiar with- many of our investments are in the same banks that hold Italian debt- so if Italy goes bust- that’s a huge problem- that will indeed drag the U.S. down.
I mean Greece already seems to be a lost cause- even their own people are pulling all their money out of the Greek banks and putting it in Swiss banks. Geez- if your own citizens don’t trust you- forget the other nations bailing you out.
I find it funny [sad] that a few weeks ago- Fahreed Zakariah [a CNN guy] was mocking the Tea Party crowd- because he said that the Europeans were handling their debt crisis well- like adults- and that even the Europeans were saying ‘geez- cant you be mature like us- you stupid Tea party Repubs’!
He said it in the same mocking way that Martin Bashir [I think they are both Brits? I know they of course are both foreigners] made an on air accusation the other day. I mean- it was bad. Bashir said a certain Repub referred to injured Iraqi war vets as injured ‘dogs’.
Now- for the life of me- I could not imagine this charge to be true. Then I heard the rest of the story. Some Repub said the occupy protestors were leaving a huge mess at the camps- ‘like dogs’.
And Bashir applied this to the Iraqi war vet. who was hit with a gas canister in Oakland- so yes- this Iraq war vet was a wounded protestor. But to then go on national TV and say that Repubs are referring to wounded Iraqi war vets as wounded dogs- I think this network [MSNBC] is very dangerous for the country.
We need to hear both sides of all arguments- but this stuff is incendiary.
Being I already mentioned Italy- let me finish with some history/philosophy that might be relevant.
In the last post I mentioned saint Thomas Aquinas- and after Augustine [and Anselm- 11th century] he is the next main character I wanted to cover [in our ongoing philosophy study].
Aquinas is referred to as the Doctor Angelicas [angelic doctor] by the catholic church. Aquinas lived during the time of a cultural/philosophical reawakening that was beginning to take place in the Western world- the Renaissance.
Renaissance means ‘re-birth’. It was a rebirth of the ancient Poets and philosophers of days gone by. Men like Cicero and Aristotle were once again brought to the fore front of many thinkers and lovers of culture.
The catch phrase for the Renaissance was Ad Fontes- which meant ‘back to the sources’ [source- Fountain- Fontes]. In the 14th century a famous and influential Catholic family- the Medici’s- were a catalyst for mixing this cultural movement in with the church.
The Renaissance sort of challenged the historic view of education- up until this time most learning was done thru the prism of the church. In the universities of the day Theology [study of God] was called the Queen of the sciences- and philosophy was referred to as her Handmaiden.
Well the Renaissance thinkers said they wanted to study things for what they are- they did not want to see everything thru the lens of the church.
Eventually the theme of the movement [back to the original sources] would play a major role in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Men like Erasmus [the famous 16th century Catholic Humanist] would re discover the original Greek New testament- and it was thru the study of the Greek text that many of the Reformers made their case to get ‘back to the bible’ and eventually break from Rome.
This was also the beginning period of modern capitalism. Recently when Libya had her ‘civil war’ and the new leaders started talking about a new constitution- one of the interesting things that came up was they wanted to do away with interest on loans.
Why? Well Muslims teach that interest itself is a bad thing. ‘Gee- wonder where they get that idea from John’ Oh- from a little book- called the bible.
Yes- to the surprise of some- this is very much taught in the Old Testament. Now- it was God’s law governing the nation of Israel- but they were forbidden to charge interest.
‘So John- is it wrong for us today to make interest’? Not really- Jesus used interest [usury] as an example in some of his parables- and overall- we as believers are not under the Old Testament laws that govern natural Israel.
But- for many centuries- the world did not see interest on money as a legitimate way to earn a living. So during the Renaissance you also had the rise of exploration- and explorers like Columbus would go on their voyages with the financial backing of investors.
The normal rate for these voyages was a 75/25% cut. When the explorer returned- the investor [Spain- or whoever] got 75% of the goods- and the explorer kept 25.
So there were a lot of changes taking place in the world at the time- and the rise of modern capitalism was one of them- money of course existed way before this time- but as a commodity- this was a new way of viewing the world.
Okay- just thought I would throw in a little history along with the current events of the day. As we see the current turmoil in the Italian markets [the original renaissance started in Florence- Italy] maybe seeing money/interest as a commodity- and ‘usury’ as a major way to increase ones wealth- well maybe that’s not such a smart way to do things after all.
When Jon Corzine’s global investment firm went bust the other day- it was a direct result of taking a gamble on the ‘gullibility’ of the common man.
What his firm did was they took a huge risk by investing in European bonds- bonds from Greece that everyone knew was a terrible ‘bet’. Then why did he do it?
The risk was so high- that the interest [usury] on the bonds was also high- you would make lots of money- if you got your money back.
But how would you get the money back- if the company [or nation- or bank] is in such bad shape that they might go bust? Your basically betting that the other nations around them [and the 1% crowd] would never let this happen [too big to fail] and when the nation [or company] gets ‘bailed out’ well then you get the money back- at a huge gain- all at the expense of the ‘99’ %.
‘Gee John- that doesn’t seem right to me’. That doesn’t seem right to me either- and to the legitimate ‘occupy Wall st. guys’ that’s not right to them as well.
Basically Corzine did the exact same thing that the big banks did during our 2008 bail out crisis- the banks can’t do that anymore- we did pass regulations that forbid this. But private investment firms can- they take a risk if they do- but that’s their choice.
Corzine took the risk- and lost [besides the fact the there is also about 600 million dollars ‘missing’ from private investors money!].
Okay- that’s it for now. We will keep an eye on Italy for the next few days [Germany is already talking about bailing out of the Euro Zone] and if things keep going downhill like this- well we might all be better off if we moved our money into less interest bearing accounts- safe places to ‘park’ your money- and after the dust settles- then maybe get back into the market.
But right now- I would trust getting a bigger return from a Columbus voyage than the market- yes- maybe ‘usury’ is not all that’s it’s cracked up to be- maybe the Libyans are right [and the Old Testament]. Yeah- maybe they know something we don’t.
 TALE OF 2 CITIES [and 2 trees]
This week I read 2 stories in the paper about the aftermath of our action in Libya.
One article was about the city of Sirte- Gadhaffi’s hometown. This was the town where he made his last stand- it was his hometown.
Of course- many of the people did support Gadhaffi from here- you know- like rooting for the local hero.
And you have the same type of thing going on with the new leaders- the Rebels from the east.
Anyway- because this was his last stand- for about 2 months we [NATO and the U.S.] absolutely destroyed the entire city. I mean you’re talking Lebanon after years of bombing- it looks that bad.
I read an interview from a local professional- he was a university teacher- had a nice home- wife and kids- just like you would see in any city here in the U.S.
Shopped at the market- took the wife and kids out to eat- yes- this city was not some desert looking tribal outback- it was a nice place.
The professor was digging thru the rubble as he spoke to the reporter. He basically said his life was over- I mean the entire town is gone- it is no more!
He said he can’t go to another city [Tripoli] because everyone from his town- where Gadhaffi came from- is a target for torture and death.
As he dug thru the rubble- he found what he was looking for. Yes- the corpse of his son ‘found it’ maybe he can give what’s left of it a descent burial.
This city too was a nice place to live- a small town- population 25,ooo. About 250 miles south east of Tripoli. They too bare the stigma of being a ‘pro Gadhaffi’ town. The entire town- to the last man, woman and child- have fled. The new rulers- they have painted over all the signs going to the town- they have destroyed the homes and tore down the infrastructure- yes- the city is now a Ghost Town.
One witness said- when the rebels came in [the guys we support] if even 1 bullet was shot from a house- they would bomb the whole house to the ground. Men- Women- children- killed them all. We made this happen- under a ‘mandate’ to create a NO FLY ZONE in order to protect civilians.
The lives of these people are over. No more home town- no more university [the actual building is gone!] no more going out for a night on the town [the town is gone!] and we in the west- we report on our news- how wonderful it was that we liberated these people- yeah- tell that to the man who had to dig his son out from the rubble.
I had a drive planned for a few weeks. I had a note written on my calendar- had to go to a downtown appointment [at the Federal Courthouse] and figured I would make a sort of prayer drive right after the app.
Downtown Corpus is beautiful- if you have never seen a picture of it- just Google ‘pictures of Corpus Christi’ and you’ll see the huge harbor bridge from downtown- the courthouse is right there.
So after the meeting- I headed over the bridge and started the prayer drive.
At the top of the bridge there were a few cop cars- they had a lane on each side blocked [?]. I figured they were doing some type of work on it.
Then headed towards Portland- and drove thru a few South Texas cities.
I actually had one specific spot I wanted to drive past- that was the city of Rockport. I actually got off on the wrong back road- and drove about 30 miles out of the way. But I wanted to drive past the courthouse and police station in Rockport- that was the only spot I determined to pass.
Sure enough- I found the spot. Got out- walked to the store- filled up with gas- got some coffee- and off I went.
On the way back home- I noticed a street name- called ‘Corpus Christi St’. – I thought it was strange to see this big sign- right off the highway- showing this street.
I thought ‘for sure- people must mistake the sign- and think that’s the turn off for the city of C.C.’.
Anyway- I made a mental note of it- and headed back.
Over the Harbor bridge one more time- and back to the house.
As I watched the local news- they had 2 top stories. The night before- a man parked his car on the bridge and jumped- that’s why they blocked the lane.
And earlier in the day- a motorcyclist was killed- right at the corner of Corpus Christi Street and highway 35- the spot I had just passed.
Now- you might be thinking ‘hey John- do me a favor- don’t pray for me!’ Actually- I think I was praying for the areas where violence occurred- because there is always an aftermath- a sort of ‘bad taste’ in your mouth when deaths happen like that.
Okay- the next day [yesterday] we had a local story go viral- the national news all had it on- today it’s a big story.
It’s the case of the Texas judge who was taped beating the hell out of his daughter- she posted it to U-Tube.
The case looks bad- real bad. The girl will be on the news shows today- telling her story.
Yes- the police station- the courthouse- the area I ‘marked’ during the drive- that was the actual municipal area where this guy holds court- it was the Aransas county court district- in Rockport.
Sometimes God will show us what/who we should pray for- sometimes it’s the aftermath of bad things- a Mediterranean city in Libya- or a coastal city in Texas.
We need to be attentive- and aware- when these things ‘pop’ into our minds.
We need to be accountable in a way- when a country in the bible allowed itself to do bad things- to overlook justice- or to oppress people [even if they meant well- ‘we are here to protect you’ as you destroy the man’s life] then we as believers have a responsibility to do what we can- to at least be aware of what we are doing- and if you can- pray for these situations.
In the bible- during the trial of Jesus- there were many injustices that took place- power players making decisions- executing people- yes- innocent people- simply because of the prejudice that existed in the system.
Jesus made a strange statement about this- he said ‘if this can happen in a Green tree- what do you think will happen in a Dry one?’
This statement meant- if people in authority- judges and leaders- if during a time of some stable government- if they can still play the system where they might wind up killing innocent people- bombing entire towns- doing bad stuff- and yet the average citizen- he even thinks this is good- if the system can be played to that degree during a time of peace and some form of human govt. at work- then what do you think will happen when there is anarchy?
Last night- the Occupy protestors shut down a shipping port in Oakland- I’m not sure what overall effect it will have- but yes- it will disrupt lives to a degree.
Many of the business people- who have shops right around the protests- well many of them are suffering- because of the disruption.
I’m not sure how ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ they are- there are legitimate arguments to be made on both sides.
But I know in the mind of that university professor- who lost his entire life- and his son- I know in his mind what we did to his country is unjust- ‘if these things can happen in a Green tree- Then just wait till the Dry tree gets here’.
 YAHWEH- YAHWEH- I LOVE TO SHOUT YOUR NAME!
Want to try and cover a few current events today. Last week- when the DOW went up to around 12,300- I felt like ‘here we go again’. The news came out ‘yes- Greece is solving their debt problem- hip- hip- hooray!’ Then of course a day or 2 will go by and something bad happens- ‘oh- no- the sky is falling’.
I mean it’s not even funny anymore- if the world [global] economy learns anything from this debacle- it will be to try and put a plan in place- where the entire global market is not going from week to week- based on these long term payouts that the other E- Zone nations are making to Greece- based on how much they agree to cut every few weeks.
It’s like running our govt. on the Continuing Resolutions- having to pass these temporary deals every few months- and the markets being drawn to the brink every couple of months- this whole way of working is not acceptable.
But what I wanted to say- that the so called solution to the Greek debt crisis- well it’s really not a solution at all. Yes- I think they needed to do it [cut their bonds in half] but what they actually did- was they did default [go bankrupt] and they reorganized their debt.
When a nation [or company- or bank] does this- they are telling all their investors ‘you just lost a boatload of cash’. Okay- who are these evil investors anyway?
The ‘Occupy Wall’ street guys- well they mean well- and they have some valid points to make- but the problem is not really with the bankers- or the ‘1-%’- that is if you simply slash the bonds/investments in half [those evil bank people!]- you are not taking all the money from those ‘fat cats’.
In reality- lots of the average folk lose money too. Many retirement accounts- yes- for teachers and Firemen and Cops [you know- the 99%] are tied into these investments. Now- I hope your own 401 k was not heavily invested in European debt- but many people’s investments are.
And when the nation [or company] says ‘hey everybody- guess what- we fixed the problem- we simply told everybody- today is half price day- for us’. Well yes- they reduced their debt. But they did it by ‘reducing’ the value of everyone else that had skin in the game.
So what does this mean? It means that lots of folk took a big hit- and these same folk [made up of all the other European nations] are not going to be happy about it. Will they ever invest in Greek debt again? Hell no- I don’t blame them either.
Okay John- what does this mean? Glad you asked. It means that even though the Europeans ‘solved their debt crisis’ they solved it in a way that will have long lasting effects on the global economy. Now- Greece is really a small economy- we all know this- but don’t be fooled into thinking something was ‘solved’ no- they solved it by saying ‘hey- we aint paying the people we owe money too’ Geez- wish I could ‘solve’ my debt crisis like that.
And sure enough- before I had a chance to write the post [warning about this very thing] yesterday we saw a global investment company go Belly Up. It was some firm that former N.J. governor Jon Corzine ran- they invested in these European bonds- and yes- they lost half of their investment [billions] over night.
So- before we [U.S. investors and workers] get too happy over the Europeans ‘fixing’ their problems [like the DOW shooting up to 12,300!] lets realize that there are still lots of problems on the horizon- and we are not out of the water yet [the DOW also was responding to the 3rd quarter numbers that came out- the U.S. economy did do better than expected- I think the growth was a little over 2 %- that’s good- not great- but okay].
Okay- I also found it funny [not to demean the thing] that the Syrians were protesting in the streets- calling for- well you guessed it- a NO FLY ZONE.
What? A no fly zone? Assad [the Syrian leader] is not flying planes over the protestors- he is indeed killing and torturing them- but no planes.
So why would the Syrians [not all of them] be asking for this? Well to them- after seeing our ‘no fly zone’ in Libya- to them it means ‘please come and hunt down our leader like a dog- kill him- his kids- his grandkids- and when it’s all over- let a bunch of our ‘leaders’ take over- you know- the Al Qaeda group’.
Sad- so sad.
Look- I’m sorry for the abuse that many Arab/Persian nations have foisted upon their people- and in many ways- Assad is an S.O.B.- but we need to find another way to deal with these crisis’- and the ‘no fly zone’ thing- well that has to stop.
One last note- last week I had a strange event take place. As a true news junkie [I read the papers- watch the news- for about 6 hours a day] I stumbled across a death penalty case.
I have made it a habit to pray for the cases I read in the papers- severe crime cases- people going to prison for life- mothers who killed their kids- yes bad cases- but case’s/people I felt the Lord wanted me to pray for- well- for the rest of my life.
I have cut out the news articles- and written the names of these people here in my study- and pinned them up on my prayer wall.
The list is now in the hundreds.
Okay- when I read [last Monday] that Frank Garcia was going to be executed on Thursday- I made a mental note to simply pray for Frank for the next 4 days.
I simply prayed for him every morning- prayed that God would be glorified- that God would help Frank to ‘end right’ to seek God in his last days- make any statements that need to be made- to the victims’ families or whoever else [he killed his wife- and a cop who came to the home on the night they were fighting].
I have done this ‘prayer vigil’ for the guys for many years- writing the names of offenders and putting them on my prayer wall- that’s only a few years old- but to pray for the death row guys- well I have done that for years.
Now- for some reason- in Frank’s case- I felt the Lord saying ‘John- you just adopted him’. What?
I have so many friends- ex-cons- addicts- street guys- and many of them are like brothers- ‘sons’. Some of them have become Christians thru ‘my’ ministry. The years of helping the street guys- preaching at the jails- the whole deal.
So in franks case- it seemed like the Lord was saying ‘John- franks in the group’.
I didn’t fully understand it- but heck- I accepted the thing [you know- when God says something- its’ usually a good idea to believe it].
So on Thursday- I just happened to have the local news on at 6 P.M. – here in Texas the guys usually get the needle at around 6:20 P.M. and before the news ends- they tell you the guys dead.
So as the news rolled along- I prayed for Frank for this last 20 minutes- he wound up dying a little late- at 7.
The next day- I read 3 articles on Frank’s last words- I have never read a testimony like this- yes- from a criminal who did indeed commit horrendous crimes- crimes he needed to be punished for.
The article said that when Frank entered the ‘death room’ for the entire 20 minutes or so- he simply sang out to God- very loudly- praised Jesus- shouted ‘Yahweh- Yahweh- I love to sing your name’ and went on like this for the whole time.
He prayed for the people in the ‘stands’ watching the show- he prayed ‘God- for the prosecutor sitting here right now- may she never forget this day father- may she come under conviction someday father- may she accept Jesus some day’.
He went on and said ‘Father- for this day was I born- to glorify you- even though I committed such terrible crimes- for which I’m sorry for- yet to end my life glorifying you and your Son- to praise you as my God and king- thank you father- thank you’.
The article went on to say that as the drugs began taking effect- Frank began rattling off at the end- not able to form compete sentences- his final word was ‘Jesus’.
The Mother of the woman Frank killed [his mother in law] said she was shocked- that this former San Antonio gang member was always such a quiet kid- she has never spoken to Frank since he killed her daughter- but she saw a different person this night- someone she really did not know at all.
I’m sure the other witnesses will never forget what they heard that night either- especially the prosecutor- who had to position herself as an adversary- one who accuses the defendant in criminal cases- yes- that’s her job- but by nature- she in a way had to ‘hate’ frank- yet she heard him pray for her on the night of his death.
Yes- I never heard a ‘death row’ testimony in my life like this one- and for some reason- I never prayed as much [you know- remembering to pray thru out the week- and then praying for the man the actual hour he was dying] for one either.
These last few years I have ‘sensed’ and in a strange way- ‘received’ some of my old buddies who have died years ago. Many of them were friends I ‘lead’ to the Lord- yet they had very long histories of drug abuse and crime- and yes- some did die as a result of that.
But these last few years- while praying in my prayer ‘spot’ [a special spot in my yard] out early in the morning- under the stars- I sense all my ‘sons’ and friends being in this crowd- the image of John the Apostle- seen in revelation chapter 5- he is in this heavenly throne room before God.
He is there with the angels and saints and the great Lion of the tribe of Judah [Jesus]. It’s a picture of saints that are in heaven- and also on earth- the book of Hebrews says those who have died- and have already passed on- they are in the stands and cheering us on.
I know this sounds strange- but I really sense my ‘old group’ even my buddies who are gone- they are still ‘having church’ with me under the stars.
A few years ago- when I first started sensing this- it seemed as if one of my old friends showed up one week- I just ‘sensed’ it.
His name was Miguel. Me and Mike grew up in N.J. together- good friends as kids.
After high school- I joined the navy- Mike went into the Army.
After I earned my 4 year discharge in 1 year [got kicked out of the Navy!] I went back North and me and Mike got back together as good buddies [he got kicked out of the Army faster than I got booted from the Navy- yeah- he won that competition too!] we did commit a few crimes in those months- we were no ‘angels’ but we eventually headed back to Texas.
Why Texas? Mike wanted to go to Florida- I said Texas. We had no real plans- just two18 year old kids with no destiny.
I said ‘lets flip a coin- heads it’s Texas- tails Florida’. I told Mike that day- I still remember the moment- sitting there in front of my house- on a cold N.J. day- dreary day.
I said ‘hey- some day we can tell our kids that we chose [Tx or Fla.] based on a coin flip’.
I won the flip- we left for Texas in the morning – been here ever since.
Eventually I lead Mike to the Lord- his wife- Lu Ann- and my wife became friends. Mike had a few boys- I had 4 girls!
Mike became a member of my little home church [we also met in a rented hospital for a year or 2] and we were in a sense- living the dream.
Mike had a little harder time than me. He eventually went back North- and I got a call from Mike one day- he told me had had Aids.
I stayed in touch with Mike- he wrote me a few good letters- and one day when I came home from work- my wife said ‘John- Lu Ann called’. I knew it- I said ‘Mike died’ she said yes.
I have Miguel’s funeral card here in my office- its pinned up on a wall with my other friends names who have gone on- Mike was 32.
So a while back- when I started ‘sensing’ this ‘church thing’ this reality that my friends who are still ‘on the ground’ and my buddies who have died- well they are all here with me during those prayer mornings- yes- in that ‘upper room’ that the apostle John was in.
One day I was praying and doing a home church thing with my wife- we often do a simple home meeting- pray- bible reading- communion- it’s kind of cool.
My wife tells me ‘you know- I had a weird dream the other night. You old friend Mike showed up at the door- he rang the bell. He said he was here- looking for you’.
Yes- I felt like God said I ‘adopted’ Frank- that in a way he was now part of my ‘fellowship’ yes- made up of the worst of the worst- they did say of Jesus ‘he’s friends with hookers and killers and sinners- what kind of preacher is that!’
Yes- I like my little group. O- and this past Sunday- while doing the early prayer thing- at the part of being in ‘the room’ with the guys- I almost thought I could hear Frank singing- yes- he seemed to be singing ‘Yahweh- Yahweh- I love to shout your name’.
Yea- it was a good service- the best one in the world.
 ARAB SPRING UPDATE
Been wanting to cover the Arab Spring protests for a while now- but also want to do a few more posts on Catholic/Protestant relations.
Let’s start with the protests- and see how far we get.
To my surprise [and disappointment!] the new ‘leaders’ of Libya have already come out and said they will indeed have Shariah law as the law of the land.
They said- very boldly ‘we are a Muslim land- and Shariah law will be the law’. Did they have Shariah law under Gadhaffi? Actually no- they did have some elements of it [Polygamy] but it was not full Shariah law.
For instance- under Gadhaffi men could have more than one wife [look at him!] yet they needed the permission from the 1st wife. Under the new leaders- you won’t need that.
I saw one of the new team respond to this question- he basically said ‘don’t worry- the woman will get used to it’- no- I do worry.
We need to have some sort of ‘standard’ policy when it comes to all of these types of conflicts- a signed agreement- maybe an informal outline for a new constitution that states very clearly- that the rights of woman and Christians in these new governments will be respected.
We need to say ‘yes- Muslims- as well as all other groups- will have the freedom to be represented- but no group [or groups] will be forced to live under any religious law’.
‘But John- who are we to dictate something like that’? Look- if they ask for our help- to intervene- and in Libya’s case to basically bomb the hell out of the other side- spend a billion [probably more] and to be the air force for the Rebels- then if you want that type of backing- then that’s the new price tag- freedom for all sides- no Shariah law imposed- and freedom for all the women- no more oppressive regimes like the Taliban.
Okay- this concept is difficult for us in the West- we have managed to pretty much make a distinction in our minds between separation of Church and state.
Though you have arguments about whether one political side wants to establish ‘Christian Shariah’ [Heard Frankie Schaffer make the charge again the other day. He is the son of the late Frances Schaffer- an influential figure in the early ‘Christian right’ movement in our country. Frankie is still a Christian- but he is very anti ‘religious right’ but he goes too far- he says that Perry and others like him do want a Christian Shariah law for the U.S.- the problem with this is many of these radical Muslim nations are actually killing Christians and women and others who ‘violate’ their laws- we should not use this comparison- it dilutes the seriousness of what is happening in the ‘real world’] yet for the most part we have made the distinction between govt. and religion.
Yet when you study Islam- Islam is both a religion and a form of govt. – those who embrace Islam have not yet made this type of distinction. Now- there are some moderate Muslim voices who are calling for this type of Reformation within Islam- but they have a long way to go.
Okay- that’s why it’s easy for these ‘new’ nations to say ‘o yeah- Shariah all the way’.
This week- Tunisia- the first Arab Spring nation to fall- did indeed vote in Shariah law. Egypt- the 2nd Arab Spring nation is heading there- and the new leaders of Libya have already stated it- we do have a problem folks.
Okay- I have a few Muslims friends who read my site- and I am very grateful to have them as friends. One lives in Bahrain- and out of the 3 top ‘bad actors’ right now- Bahrain is one of them [the other 2 are Yemen and Syria].
The argument could be made that the leaders of these countries have done just as bad- or even worse- than what Gadhaffi did.
The U.S. has our 5th fleet docked right off the coast of Bahrain- we need them- that’s why our leaders have overlooked the serious oppression that the Bahrain leaders are foisting upon their people.
In the last few weeks they have handed down some very serious sentences to the medical workers who simply helped tend to the wounded protestors. Many of these nurses and doctors are going to prison- for a long time- just because they did their job.
The ruling autocracy in Bahrain is a division of Islam [I think the rulers are Sunni- the majority of the population Shiite- it’s been a while since I studied it- sometimes I forget which is which]. The ruling ‘minority’ do indeed oppress the majority population.
Now- Bahrain does get lots of money- and help- from the U.S. having our fleet there- yet their army is not a strong- huge force. So what they have done is they hired ‘soldiers’ from Saudi Arabia- a fellow country- whose leaders are of the same religious division that the Bahrain leaders embrace- and these soldiers have come in and have been the security for the unpopular rulers.
In Syria- just last night- new reports have come out- Assad [the Syrian leader] has sent his men into the hospitals- they are torturing the wounded protestors right in the hospitals. And in Yemen- the leader- Salleh- has returned from getting treatment from the burns he suffered during an assassination attempt- and he’s back in Yemen- also fighting against the protestors in his land.
In Libya- we- along with NATO [primarily French and British warplanes] decided to team up with a side- a side that did take up arms against the leader from the West [Tripoli].
As I have watched this play out- and have looked at all the angles- I have come to the conclusion that the main reason we intervened there- and not in these other places- was because you had a very pubic threat made by Gadhaffi at the start- he and his troops were right outside Benghazi [the rebels stronghold in the east] and he did publicly threaten to go in and wipe them out.
Now- at the same time- the Arab league and other Arab nations were calling for help- fine. But we should have said ‘okay- but you guys must pay for this’. All the very rich Arab nations that wanted us to intervene- we should have said ‘your oil rich nations will pick up the tab’.
Also- if the criteria for us intervening like this- if we state- over and over again- that we are just doing a no fly zone- then we need to just do that.
In Libya- we did indeed hunt the man down [if that’s what we think we should do- fine- but we must say so]. And if our public statements are saying something different- then we are doing wrong.
I do hope and pray for all of my friends in these nations- I want very much for all the people in these nations to have freedom- and I want for us in the U.S. to make it plain- we want freedom for the woman and the Christians too- even if the majority vote for Shariah- that still is not acceptable- we want no religious rule that will oppress woman and Christians.
Yes- there are some woman who choose to live under Shariah- but the majority of women in these countries want freedom- and if we are going to ‘help’ these nations like we did in Libya- then we need to have some agreements ready to sign- right at the start.
We don’t want to ‘liberate’ another Arab country- to find out that the new leaders are already calling for Shariah law- in my mind- that’s not liberation.
 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Was gonna do one last post [for now] on Libya- we will need to cover the whole development of how we began to view/and act over a 6 month period- we acted [as a nation] contrary to our public statements. We swore- over and over again- that we were not targeting the man [or his family] and he swore [before the U.N. – by his rep.] that we were lying- and did indeed already kill a few of his grandkids [which was true] and were going after him.
Then- on national T.V. – we saw him flee Sirte [his hometown] and get bombed by both NATO and American planes [ours were Drones]. We destroyed a bunch of vehicles- left a lot of dead bodies- but he made it to a tunnel.
Then he got pulled out- ended up with a bullet in the head. O- forgot- this happened a day or 2 after Hillary Clinton visited Tripoli [her first visit] and said ‘we are waiting for you to capture or kill him’ [oop’s!] She later had to ‘clarify’.
She also was caught on tape- laughing and rejoicing over his death- okay- many people did- but if your saying publicly- ‘that’s not what we want’- then it looks bad.
Of course the other Arab nations want the U.N. to investigate- they were being told- by us- that we were not going after him. He begged for a peaceful resolution [he did do this!]. But we basically said no.
There are lots of questions to still be answered on this thing.
Okay- yesterday I wrote a quick note about a conversation I had with a new friend who just joined my site. She was into some new age stuff- we talked a little- I defended historic Christian belief- then she blocked me.
Let’s talk a little about Apologetics/Theology. Apologetics is the field where Christians Defend the Faith.
In our day- it is common for believers to be ‘left in the dust’ when they bang up against an atheistic scientist [they not all are!] or someone versed in Philosophy [Sartre or Camus- atheist thinkers- or Hitchen’s and Dawkins].
Many times these various fields of study are too much for the average believer to feel like he can engage in- in an intelligent way- and ‘win’ the argument for the Christian view.
But church history has a long- and very successful- track record doing this very thing.
A few weeks back I did about 5 posts or so on Philosophy- a field I like to study. But if you do too many of those posts at one time- then it can get a little heavy [and boring!] So I try to break it up by only doing so many at a time. The same goes for Theology- Church History- etc.
But over time- if we become well versed in these various fields- it will help us defend the Christian view- in an intelligent way- without being mean about it [I try!]
But sometimes you will offend people- even if you try to be nice- because you’re engaging in a conversation that says ‘yes- as Christians we believe in ultimate truth- and that truth is in the person of Jesus Christ’ yes- that will offend some.
My approach to these types of debates is I’m what you would call Ecumenical- I believe that Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox- and all the other ‘churches’ that profess Christ- I believe they are all Christian.
Now you might say ‘well John- doesn’t everybody?’ Actually no- many of the most knowledgeable Apologists do indeed go after the other groups. Quite often you will have a strong protestant defender [usually from the Reformed faith] that will really hit the Catholic church- in my view- too hard.
While it is true that historically Catholics and Protestants have differences- I have often found that Many ‘average’ Catholics/Protestants are not really aware of the real differences- they often have very limited perspectives about the ‘other side’ and these limited ideas [often wrong] seem to stay with the people- for most of their lives.
One example- the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception- what is it?
The teaching became Official- only in the last 2 centuries of the Catholic church- though it was held by many- it finally became official in the last 2 hundred years [ 1854 for the Immaculate Conception- 1950 for the Assumption of Mary doctrine].
The doctrine teaches that the Virgin Mary- Jesus Mom- was born ‘without the taint of original sin’. Now- what does that mean?
Some Protestants think the Catholics teach that Mary was ‘sinless’ in the same way Christ was sinless.
Actually- that’s not the official doctrine [see- it’s important to know the official teaching when we engage like this]. The actual teaching- that has the churches Imprimatur on it- is that Mary WAS A SINNER- just like the rest of us- but in order for Jesus to have been born from a pure vessel- that the actual work of the Cross- Redemption- it was applied to Mary ‘ahead of time’.
Yes- the official teaching is that Mary ‘was saved’ from her sin- just like the rest of us- thru the Cross. The difference is the forgiveness that came to Mary- came to her before she was born- yes- the teaching does teach that Mary was born ‘without sin’ but not like Jesus was without sin- but she was ‘without sin’ because her salvation was applied ahead of time- way ahead of time- before she was born.
Okay- do Protestants believe in this teaching? No. But is it ‘so way out of line’ to the point where we should view our Catholic brothers and sisters as ‘non Christian’ because of it? No- not in my view.
Plus- many Catholics don’t even realize that this is what the doctrine teaches- many think it is talking about the birth of Jesus- being born without sin- by the act of the Holy Spirit descending upon the Virgin Mary and Mary conceiving.
No- this is what we call ‘The Virgin birth- conceived by the Holy Ghost’. Jesus being born from a virgin with no earthly father.
This is not the Immaculate Conception.
So right here alone [trust me- there are many more examples that I could give] Both Catholics and Protestants usually get the doctrine wrong- yet they remain divided their whole lives- over something that they are not even right about.
So I have found this type of stuff to be a problem while striving for Christian unity- and many Christians prefer to see the ‘other side’ in a negative light- and will continue to view them that way- till they die.
I always feel bad when I lose a friend from the site- sometimes you can’t help it [other times it is my fault!] but sometimes it’s because we have views about things- strongly held views- and when others hold to a different view- well we try and avoid them.
One day I received a Friends Request- to my surprise- it was from a young Catholic priest- I did not know him but he must have read a few posts of mine and liked them. He often gave me Thumbs Up comments on the posts- and at times would tell me he loved the posts.
Most were my Theology/Church history posts.
Often times Catholics and Protestants can agree and enjoy these types of studies. I love studying and teaching on the Church Fathers and early Christian history- and these sources all have a very strong Catholic flavor to them- so I see my fellow Catholics as being a part of a long tradition of Christian history.
Many famous converts to the Catholic Church [Bishop John Newman- converted from the Anglican Church] convert because they read the Church Fathers- and when you read them- it’s obvious to see the catholic nature of the early church in these men’s writings.
So anyway I was very happy to have a Catholic priest as one of my ‘on line students’ [and honored].
But one day- during one of my studies [covering one subject for a month or so] to my surprise I saw he was gone [yes- the dreaded block]. I thought- geez- wonder why?
I realized it was right in the middle of a study I did on Islam- and while I was doing the posts- I was also going thru a study on Islam- by the same guy who teaches it to the U.S. govt. – yes- it was a prof. [I think named Espinoza?] who teaches Islam to our govt. employees [sort of like a tolerance type thing].
Though the teacher was Catholic- yet he was VERY much pro Islam- I mean to the point where I had to reject some of the stuff he was saying- and finish the study from my own education on Islam.
At one point- he taught that the spread of Islam thru out the world had a wonderful- liberating effect on all the women in the lands where Islam spread. I mean it was so obvious that the man had no idea what he was talking about [in this area] that I realized he was not a good source [this happens every so often].
And it was more troubling that this was the guy Obama picked to teach Islam to our govt. employees [don’t get me wrong here- he teaches our govt. workers- not to convert them- but more of an informative type thing- just like you would teach any other course about sexual harassment- or whatever].
Anyway- in one of my posts while teaching on my site- I did refer to Mohamed as ‘the prophet’- now- I don’t receive Mohamed that way myself- but because I was teaching some Muslims who did recently join the site- well I used the title in this way.
I think that might have been the ‘last straw’ for my student/priest- he ‘went on Pilgrimage’ right after that post.
Okay- today’s point is we all should try our best to be ‘tolerant’ that is- we should give people as much grace/mercy as possible- but at the same time we also need to be honest about the Christian faith.
Yes- as Christians we believe salvation comes thru Christ- he was not just ‘one religious leader among many’ no- we believe he is the Way- the Truth- the Life/light- no man comes to the Father- but by him.
Sometimes we do our best not to offend- we might even go out of our way to receive people- other religions and systems that are not Christian- that’s okay- I have Muslim and Jewish and all types of friends- I’m glad they are my friends!
But we also have to be honest about our beliefs- and every now and then that might- just might- earn you a BLOCK.
 TOO MANY A’S ?
[By the way- my sister is still in the hospital- she is doing much better- thanks for the prayers!]
Let’s talk about what has happened these last 6 months or so. I found it interesting that the last ‘official’ post I wrote was about Libya- and how what started as a ‘no fly zone’ to protect civilians- turned into an air force for a bunch of possible Al Qaeda guys.
Then sure enough- yesterday the stuff hit the fan- I did a few short posts while watching the news- at first we thought our drones did kill him- then we saw that he survived the air attack- and was ‘accidentally shot’ in a crossfire between his supporters and the Rebels.
You know- the stray bullet theory- let’s see- 2 bullets in the neck- one in the head- 5 in the back- yeah- sounds like a stray bullet to me.
Okay- I realize these guys are no altar boys [well- maybe they are- remember Joe Kony? – few posts back] But the fact is we- along with NATO- made a conscious decision to side with one side in a civil war- the side we picked do indeed have bad guys on their team- and these bad guys have been lying to us since day one- we all know this.
Second- I just happened to write a post in ‘defense’ of Gadhaffi the other day- over the last 6 months I have written about his ‘love’ for the Black ‘skinned’ people of Africa.
Now- some question whether this guy really loved ‘the Blacks’ or not. Let me say this- when Obama was elected- Gadhaffi was really happy about it. The London papers even printed a long quote from Gadhaffi- praising Obama- after the war on Libya started.
The reason they showed the quote was they wanted to give balance to the fact that many Obama supporters were on the side of Gadhaffi for years.
You had stories about Beyonce and other famous black entertainers/leaders having many contacts with Gadhaffi over the years.
You also had very well known Black leaders come out and condemn Obama when he called for Gadhaffi to step down [Farrakhan]. The reason many Black leaders were upset with Obama’s strategy was because Gadhaffi did really see himself as a defender of Black people- and a ‘Father of the peoples Revolution’
Okay- the man came to power in 1969- it was a military coup that over threw a Royal Family. In a very real way- it had a flavor of the modern Arab Spring.
Many of the current protests taking place in the Arab/Persian world are civilians protesting against Autocratic rule- they are protesting the Royal families that rule their nations.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia- Syria- these are run by families [sons] that simply hold power because of their ‘Royalty’- so- in a sense- Gadhaffi was indeed a Father of his own Revolution- he did not have power because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth- he was a military leader who over threw a Royal family.
Now- did he run Libya like a ‘western style democracy’ of course not. And the odds on any of these ‘Arab Spring’ nations doing so are about zero.
The original uprisings began when a street vender in Tunisia [the nation directly west of Libya] killed himself as a protest for being treated badly by the Tunisian security forces [I think the guy set himself on fire].
To the surprise of many outside observers- the leader of Tunisia fell fast- and then the protests spread to Egypt [on the other side of Libya- to the east- all on the border of North Africa- right off the Mediterranean].
In Egypt- the leader- Hosni Mubarak- was a ‘bad’ man- in the sense that for years the people were abused under the security forces of the govt. So Obama went back and forth for a few days- then sided with the people and called for him to step down.
Egypt is a much larger country [population wise] than Libya- Egypt has about 80 million people- Libya 6 million.
But Libya is large geographically- lots of land. Most of the population live right off of the Mediterranean coast- the rest of the country is scattered- they are a tribal nation- the local tribal leaders run the show.
Okay- the reason Egypt fell- in sort of an orderly way- was because their military is advanced- many of their military commanders have been trained in the West- and have close ties to the U.S.
It was fairly easy for the West to tell the insiders ‘look- we think it’s time for a change- we need Mubarak out’ and that’s why he stepped down- he was forced.
In Libya- there is no military type ‘alliance’ that we can work with- Gadhaffi had a military- but the country is pretty Rag Tag.
So how did we get involved?
Like the other nations to the east and west of Libya- you did have people rise up and protest- and I’m sure they were/are sincere. But remember- these Libyan people were not protesting against a Royal family- they were protesting against a guy who did see himself as a true leader of one of the original revolutions of the area.
Last night I saw a bunch of Gadhaffi videos- you know- all the networks playing the oldies but goodies. He tells Larry King ‘I am not the leader of Libya- I am the leader of the Revolution’ King questioned that- yet Gadhaffi did indeed see himself as a liberator of sorts.
When you watch the videos of him being taken- and killed [which was shameful to show- no matter how bad the man was- it was still shameful] he says ‘Don’t shoot me- I am like your Father’- yes- he was a deluded man at the end- yet that’s how he saw himself.
So we chose to back the opposing side- who like I have said before- have Al Qaeda in their ranks. In one of the videos- as they are abusing Gadhaffi- ‘our guys’ are shouting Allah Akbar- Allah Akbar- and look like a bunch of rabid dogs as they surround the guy.
Allah Akbar? Yes- it means God is Great in Arabic- but in the west- when the nuts flew into our buildings- they shouted this.
When Radical Islamists bomb people- they shout this.
When our guys engage in military action- kill an enemy target- they don’t yell Jesus is Lord. We need to make it clear in the future- if you want western support- then you need to quit associating bombings and killings with this phrase- you want to ‘praise God’ then save it for the mosque [tough love- yeah- we need some].
Okay- the deed is done- the outcome? Have no idea.
Egypt has no- and probably will never see- a western style democracy- the odds are- all of these Arab Spring nations will either become run by the military leaders that over threw the autocrats [just like Gadhaffi did in 1969] or if they hold elections- you are gonna get the Muslim Brotherhood- and others like that- in charge.
These groups make no bones about it- if they take charge- they will set up Shariah Law.
If you are a Christian in these countries [Like the Coptic church in Egypt- who make up 10 % of the population] then you’re in big trouble.
Last week there were more protests in Egypt- the biggest since the toppling of Mubarak- many of the protestors were Christians. The ‘caretaker govt.’ in charge- the military guys we backed- they drove their armored vehicles into the square- and ran over about 25 Christians- there’s your Democracy.
Remember- many of these original protests were citizens protesting their countries being ruled by Royal families- Gadhaffi over threw a royal family in Libya.
Piers Morgan [CNN] had the gall to have on 2 sons of the Libyan ‘royal family’ that was over thrown in 1969. He spoke to them like they were victims- he even said ‘maybe now you can go back to Libya- and get justice’ [my paraphrase] What! These protests are supposed to be getting rid of these Monarchies- not support them!
There’s a funny commercial making the rounds right now- every so often there’s a commercial that I’ll catch- and if it’s funny- whenever I scan my news channels- if I see it- I’ll stop.
So you have this manager/owner of an auto repair shop- the commercial opens up with him answering the phone- he says ‘This is AAAAAAAA-‘ for about 20 times- and of course the customer hangs up.
The mechanic walks in and asks ‘hey boss- why do we have so many A’s on our name’ and the boss- standing at the counter- in front of the name of the business- yes- with about 20 A’s in front of the name- tells the mechanic ‘so we can get our name to be the first in the phone book’.
Of course- this boss is using the old strategy of AAA transmission- or whatever- you know- that old phone book strategy.
So then the mechanic goes into his deal- hawking whatever co. they are trying to plug [I think it’s Fed Ex?] And as the boss listens to this ‘new strategy’ of how to promote your business- the commercial ends with the boss saying ‘you know- you’re a smart kid- you got some future here at- AAAAAAA….’ and the commercial ends.
Sometimes in life- we embrace strategies- things that we think will help our cause- but after careful analysis- it actually hurts it [Who wants to wait on the phone for the price of a spark plug- while hearing some shop owner go through 20 million A’s?]
In all of our efforts to back the innocent people- yes- many of the people in the Arab Spring countries are victims- they have grown up in these situations- and we do want freedom for them.
But at the end of the day- if we wind up backing- militarily- a bunch of radicals who we see on U- tube yelling ‘Allah Akbar’ as they surround their former Revolutionary leader from years gone by- then we might mean well- but I fear the strategy might be fatally flawed in the end.
 ALLAH AKBAR!!
Let’s tell a tale today. You had this nation that had people in it that hated Blacks. Yes- these ‘Black haters’ had some political organization to them- they lived in the ‘southern’ part of the nation.
You also had the leader of this nation- he lived in the ‘North’. Over time these 2 sides disagreed about stuff- and it even got to the point where they took up arms against each other.
The Blacks who lived in the north- well they were hoping that the south would not win- after all- they heard reports of how the leaders in the south were treating the Blacks ‘down there’.
They were treated like slaves.
Over time- the north seemed to be winning the fight- but then lo and behold- another outside country came in and supported the south- they had modern weaponry- fast planes- and they over powered the weaker kingdom in the north.
To the dismay of the Blacks in the north- the southern leaders came in- and just like they feared- they made them do free manual labor- used them to clean up the place- do odd jobs ‘hey there black boy- go fetch me some food’.
If the Black Boys resisted- they would stick live electrical wires to their genitals- and torture them. Their wives were abused- kids treated like ‘shit’ and all this happened- thanks to the wonderful ‘liberating’ help from the outside country.
If I asked you to name this nation- would it be America a couple of hundred years ago- give or take a few minor details- a different outcome to our Civil War?
Actually this ‘tale’ is no tale at all- it is what has happened in Libya [Tripoli] these last 3 months.
Yes- the outside country is the U.S. – the Black hating ‘south’ are really the rebels from the east [Benghazi] and the leader who loved and protected the Black people- Lincoln? No- sorry- his name is Gadhaffi.
Human Rights watch- a human rights group from N.Y. – they went into Tripoli to see if the reports of human rights abuses were real. They found that the so called ‘liberators’ the guys we have backed- they took the- quote ‘Dark skinned Libyans’ [they don’t want to say Black Folk] and used them to do ‘forced labor’ [slavery].
They pulled Blacks from cars- women and children- no matter- and beat the hell out of them.
They’ll ‘string you up’ in a minute- just because they can’t stand Blacks.
Okay- after all this- these same Black hating rebels advance to the other cities in Libya- they camped outside Sirte for a few weeks- Gadhaffi’s home town. The people of Sirte are saying ‘get the hell out of here- we don’t want you- you are not liberators- your ‘southern’ political views are not the views we embrace. We have always worked with the Blacks- Gadhaffi taught us to love them as our brothers- that’s why Nelson Mandela praised him openly when he was released from prison’.
Yes- the citizens of Sirte want none of this so called ‘liberation group’ being supported by NATO and U.S. fire power- because if these ‘liberators’ make it in- yes- the ‘dark skinned’ folk- well they know the score.
I saw [read?] a news report how the rebels were surrounding Sirte [and Bani Walid] and they were calling on NATO- and the U.S. ‘where are the planes- hurry- lets bomb these bad people in these towns’.
Finally- some NATO rep said ‘uh- there are some technical reasons why we are holding off’ bull!
They realized that the damn human rights violations that we have helped make happen- that these violations are a hundred times worse than what Gadhaffi has done [minus the Lockerbie plane attack].
When we started our action in Libya- we said we were going to simply create a no fly zone in order to protect civilians from ‘bad people’. What started as a no fly zone turned into an ‘air force’ for these S.O.B.’s.
We then figured we might as well go all the way- depose the mad clown of Tripoli- and get it done with quickly. It’s been 3 months since Tripoli fell- and just last week- 80 citizens of Tripoli- you know- those who supposedly greeted the new leaders as liberators- they gathered in Green Square and raised the Green flag again- they were saying ‘we want the old leader back’.
The rebels- our guys- they pulled these people [many Blacks] from their cars- they tortured them and put them in jail.
As ‘our rebels’ did this- as they ran through the square to stop the protestors- they were yelling ‘Allah Akbar’ at the top of their lungs- geez- that sounds just like the attack that took place a few miles up the road from me- Fort Hood- Tx.
As Hassan grabbed his gun and went into the building on the base- he shouted this same ‘liberating’ slogan- as he pumped bullets into his fellow American soldiers.
The main commander who has received praise for his leading the attack that took Tripoli a couple of months back- he was detained by our forces a few years ago- he was suspected of killing our guys- he was [is?] an Al-Qaida leader who came from the eastern part of Libya [where the Rebels live] and he was sent to kill American soldiers in Iraq.
Yes- these guys- the ones who shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ the other day- as they rampaged thru the historic square- attacking and torturing Black skinned Libyans- yes- these are the ‘liberators’ we have backed.
Shame on all of us- shame.
 APOCALYPSE- NOW?
I was going to try and take the week off- from posting- but there is way too much happening- that will have to wait.
This past Friday the White House did another document dump- they released more damming evidence that looks bad- real bad.
What came out? You had a few memos/emails that showed that the career govt. workers- people who have worked for both Repubs and Dems- that these guys working for Treasury and the O.M.B. that when they saw that the president wanted to change the Solyndra loan- that they all told him ‘pass this by the justice dept. it looks like what you’re doing might be illegal’.
Okay- when you have pro’s telling you this- in emails- and you change the loan anyway- without listening to them- geez- people get Impeached for stuff like this- no joke.
So- these memos did indeed come out- and Obama has to know that this is bad- real bad.
Now- I think this is why some of the media defenders [A.P.] jumped ship about 2 weeks ago- the Dem insiders must be thinking ‘geez- why the hell did he do it- we told the guy no!’
Of course we know why he did it- his top fundraiser invested millions into the company and visited the pres. 4 times right before he changed the loan.
Now- why was it ‘illegal’ to change the loan? This program started under Bush- and it was designed to help get our economy more into clean energy- a noble goal.
When Bush implemented the thing- the law covering the loans says- flat out ‘under no circumstances shall any investors or private creditors recoup their losses before the taxpayer- if the company folds’.
Okay- then what ‘legal’ reasoning did Obama use to change the loan- for his top fundraiser- who visited him 4 times right before the loan was changed- to get paid back first?.
There was another part of the law covering the loan that said ‘the energy secretary will do everything in his power to protect the investment that the taxpayer is making’ which basically meant the same thing as saying the taxpayer will get paid first if company goes bust.
Okay- from the memos released Friday- the president ‘reasoned’ [on his own- he was a lawyer- remember?] that the clause that said ‘the energy secy will do all in his power to protect the tax payer’ Obama used that clause to justify changing the loan- by saying when he changed the loan- so his friend would get paid first- that this change allowed other private investors to also get paid first- and that would encourage fresh private money to come in- and possibly save the ship- and by saving the ship- in the long run- the taxpayers have invested in a ship that got saved [this is Chicago style lawyer- ing for sure].
Now- does this sound loony to you? Well it sounded loony to all the career govt. people who looked at it too. They said that this reasoning is nuts- and that the pres possibly broke the law by doing this.
So what happened next? The energy guy quit- and got him some lawyers. The top guy at Solyndra bailed too- got him some lawyers. And the pres? Well- he provides his own legal advice [as you can see- it has not served him well].
Now- the pres knew this info was coming out on Friday- and what else came out Friday?
For the first time [First!] the pres decided to put armed ground troops into a foreign theatre- that we were not previously at war with.
Where? Uganda. The pres notified congress [on Friday- you know- real urgent stuff!] that he was putting 100 armed troops on the ground in central Africa.
Now- when he did Libya- which was simply giving air support- no ground troops- he got heat.
What did he think would happen if he put ground troops in Uganda? Well- hopefully- stir up a hornets’ nest- and maybe no one will see those silly memos- where his own people said ‘man- he’s stretching the law’.
Why Uganda- and why now?
Africa is a big continent- there are many nations in Africa that are Muslim run- there are also many Africans who are sincere Christians- some of the politicians [especially in Uganda] sound just like the right wing folk here in the U.S.
I have watched shows [on Gores new channel- Current] where you here the Ugandan Christian politicians slam Obama and his ‘liberal’ agenda- yes- they sound just like any right wing group.
One of the big things they hate him for is his attempts to get Uganda to ease up on their anti gay laws.
Uganda made it into the headlines this last year because they tried to pass laws that would call for the death penalty in certain crimes that included homosexual behavior.
There is a dispute over whether these laws would be applied to people just because they were gay- or whether they were intended more for gay crimes- like someone molesting a youth.
But either way the rhetoric was high- and the Christian politicians- in Uganda- have really gone after Obama- and they see themselves as being used by God to raise the standard of morality in the world.
Okay- maybe some of you never knew this- most of the times we see these nations and we think ‘Radical Muslim’ but now you see- that’s not always the case.
Okay- why the troops? There has been another ‘Christian’ group that has operated out of Uganda [and Congo- and central Africa] for around 20 years- these guys are called The Lord’s Resistance Army [no joke] they are lead by a man by the name of Joseph Kony.
Kony was a former altar boy in the Catholic church- and considers himself to be a prophet sent from God. His mission? To restore Africa to a Christian nation- based on the 10 commandments [you want theocracy- forget Perry and Palin- this guy is the real deal].
Now- Kony [like the other political guys in Uganda] see Obama and the West as enemies of God- enemies of the Christian God- do you now see a little more?
Kony has a real messiah complex- and I have read about this guy in the past- and some maintain that he actually does miracles and is the real deal.
Kony has also embraced the radical view of fighting for his cause- he kills- kidnaps- and acts just like the other radical Muslim groups in the area- he fights fire with fire.
Now- it is estimated that Kony has about 200 followers- imagine Brando in Apocalypse now- and you’ll get the picture.
How much damage has this little group done? It’s estimated that they have ‘displaced’ around 300 thousand people- killed around 2400.
You have had Muslim conflicts kill millions on the continent- and we did nothing.
This one thing I do know- that Friday was the first time under this president that we have decided to deploy ground troops in a foreign theater- a theater that we were not already at war with [Afghanistan, Iraq].
Even Libya was described as Kinetic action- so they would not have to take the heat of sending in ground troops.
Yet Friday- yes the Friday where all these damming memos came out- memos from your own people basically saying you broke the law here- that’s the day we decide to send the most ground troops into Africa since the marines landed in Liberia in 2003- it stinks to ‘high heaven’ if you ask me.
I know the administration will say ‘this has been a problem for years- the world court declared Kony as committing crimes against humanity- the U.N. has tried to deal with it’ yes- all these things are true- but Friday- this past Friday- out of all the days you could have decided its time to roll- you roll on Friday?
And you ‘Roll’ against a group- crazy- violent- nuts- yes. But the group is a radical ‘Christian’ group- run by a former altar boy- in a country that is the most vocal against Obama- on this very issue- yes- that’s the guy- his team of 200 disciples- yes- he’s the one.
There’s just too much here for me to believe this decision was based purely on the concern for Uganda.
How bout you?
 THE YEAR UZZIAH DIED
After the debate last night I caught the 1st 7 minutes or so of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. As an avid news watcher- I try to catch what the most influential pundits are saying at the time.
Though Stewart is a comedian news guy- yet he usually gives you a balanced view- with a few F bombs thrown in every so often.
So his top skit was today’s vote at the U.N. [well- they won’t vote today on it] the Palestinian request for the U.N. to recognize them as a state [nation- called nation states in that part of the world].
Stewart did a pretty funny [and eye opening] skit. He had one of his reporters ‘report’ from Halifax- Nova Scotia [of course he shoots these scenes from his area- I guess?] And the skit was that the new Holy Land is actually Halifax.
That they discovered this new scroll [in his hand] and the evidence pointed to Halifax as the spot.
So as they talk the reporter also pronounces Halifax with a rolling ‘Hal’ you know- to make it sound Jewish.
So- after this new find- I guess the whole war over the ‘2 state’ solution is now resolved- right? Wrong.
On the split screen you have the Muslim reporter show up- and he makes the claim that Muhammad actually found Halifax first- he even says he has proof that ‘the prophet’ was there- they have evidence that he caught a huge fish once on a visit.
Now of course- these guys are all taking risks with this stuff- but it is funny. So the ‘Jewish’ reporter says ‘okay- show me the picture and I’ll believe it’. Of course- in Islam- it’s blasphemous to depict the prophet in a picture- so they go back and forth on the thing- The Muslim guy pronouncing Halifax with a sort of Muslim drawl [Halalafax].
The sad thing is- even though it’s a comedy show- Stewart showed us how all the religious ‘wars’ and fights- how they look to the ‘outside world’.
As I have been doing a ‘jump around’ study on the Old Testament these last few weeks- in my own study [for the posts] I am at the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah is one of the Major Prophets- he is quoted more than any other Old Testament prophet- in the N.T.
There are more famous prophecies from Isaiah- about Jesus- than any other prophet [A Virgin shall conceive and have a child].
When we read the books of the bible- we usually have pretty accurate dates on when the book was written- at what time the prophet lived.
In Isaiah’s case he gives us a specific date to his calling- in chapter 6 he says ‘in the year that king Uzziah died- I saw the Lord’.
King Uzziah [a king in Israel] died in the year 740 B.C.
If you walk down to the Mediterranean shore from Israel- you can look North West and see Italy. In the year 740 B.C. – Rome became a city. Of course it would be centuries before Rome would become the capital of the world empire- yet it was birthed as a city the same year Isaiah was called by God.
If you look west- you see Egypt, Libya and Tunisia- all places where the ‘Arab Spring’ has taken root.
It’s amazing to think- that after thousands of years- this whole area is still one of the most influential news making spots on the map.
After John the Baptist baptized Jesus- the Spirit descended on Jesus ‘like a dove’ and the bible tells us ‘the Spirit DROVE Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil’.
In Luke’s account [chapter 4] One of the first events to take place after the wilderness test- was Jesus goes into the synagogue on the Sabbath- and as ‘his custom was’ he ‘opened the book and read’.
Now that’s the way the English version reads. But it really doesn’t give you the full picture. The Jewish people [till this day] don’t have their bibles [Called Torah for Jews- Pentateuch for Christians- which are the first 5 books of the Old Testament] in book form.
They have their bibles in scroll form. It’s actually part of their worship to have these beautiful hand written scrolls- which cost thousands of dollars to make- in this form.
So when you read ‘Jesus opened the book and found the place’ it really means he unrolled the scroll- and came to the spot where the reading was marked for that day.
I have heard many preachers over the years correctly say that it was a scroll- yet they seem to think that Jesus just unrolled the thing and supernaturally came to the spot where he read from.
No- the spot was already marked out the week before- he was just reading from this predetermined spot.
Now- he reads a famous passage ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach’ and the prophecy goes on and talks about the ministry of the Messiah.
Now- for Jesus to have read this- and for the people to have heard-was nothing out of the ordinary- until what happened next.
Jesus then ‘closed the book’ and says ‘This day this prophecy has been fulfilled in your ears’ and the bible says that the eyes of everyone there were fixated on him.
Jesus read from Isaiah 61 that day- the prophet that was called 740 years earlier.
This happened right after the temptation- it was the difficulty- the tests- the very tough things he went through- it was these things that gave him the ability to speak- and for all the people to hear.
As they will present the Palestinian request today- and as this same land- where Jesus walked- Isaiah heard God- the devil tempted Jesus- as this land once again becomes the center of attention- I hope we don’t all look like the caricature that Jon Stewart showed- brilliantly- on his show.
Quite often ‘the world’ sees the church [religious fights in general] as stupid and silly. They see certain adherents willing to fight- and kill- over their beliefs.
They see a never ending feud between groups of people who are so fixated on a certain side- an issue- that it seems almost impossible to sit down and actually treat the other side as human beings- who are all indeed created in the image of God- who Jesus said ‘even if we see them as our enemy- we are to love them’.
Isaiah was a cultured man- not like most of the other prophets. He had influence in the politics of his day- and most Christians today revere his prophecies as at the top of the list- as far as prophets go.
In chapter 6- after he saw God- and heard the call- he responded ‘I am a man of unclean lips- it the middle of people who are also unclean’.
And the bible says an angel took a ‘live coal’ from the fire and put it in on the prophet’s lips. God was saying ‘Yes Isaiah- you are unclean- this whole nation is unclean- man is unclean- yet when I use people to speak to a people- it’s based on my character- not yours’.
Isaiah would fulfill the mission- and be honored by having Jesus read from his scroll on the opening day of the preaching ministry of Jesus- and for him to have said ‘today- this has been fulfilled in your ears’.
 TRUTH IN REPORTING
Last night we all watched the impending downfall of the Libyan strongman- ruled for 42 years and it looked like his time was up. The media also reported the capture of Saif- Gadhaffi’s son- I found it interesting to see the media get duped in such a public way.
We in the West want to reduce everything to a ‘hero versus villain’ scenario- it just makes us feel better to know that when our young guys shed their blood on a foreign field- well at least they died for the hero [though we did not have guys on the ground in Libya].
Yet in reality this is rarely the case. Over these last 6 months we have seen media portrayals of the Rebels. They were portrayed as doctors, lawyers and good hard working citizens who have been reduced to such primal tactics because of the madness of Gadhaffi.
Yet the reality of the situation is these 2 sides [East versus West- in Libya] have been at odds for decades. Libya has around 140 different tribes, and these tribes fight for power and influence- just like political parties.
So the tribes coming from Benghazi- the Eastern ‘capital’ have fought against the tribes from the West- Tripoli- for years.
The tribes from the East [the guys we have backed up] have had a number of Al Qaeda troops in their ranks- we don’t know how many have actually killed our guys in other theatres- but we know many Al Qaeda from Libya have fought us on foreign ground [Iraq].
But over the last 6 months this story would not have benefited the medias narrative [hero versus villain] so we have really not covered that aspect much.
So last night- all the media were reporting that Gadhaffi’s son, Saif, was taken captive. This was confirmed by the ICC [international criminal court] and the news media went with it- as being confirmed.
Often times the media will say ‘we have an unconfirmed report’ but when they say ‘confirmed’ that means the information is coming from top people who they have trusted and deemed to be honest.
So- after the reports of Gadhaffi having fled the country and his sons being captured- the media ‘confirmed’ it from the Rebels top guys- those they have given the top tier of trust to [You know- DeNiro and Stiller- the inner circle].
So the surprise was seeing Saif show up in front of the hotel where the media are staying. One reporter went up to Saif’s vehicle and knocked on the window- he said ‘if you’re in there for real- I need to see’. Sure enough the door opened- and to the shock of the reporter- there sat Saif.
Why shock? Because the rebels have played them like puppets for 6 months- denying that they have killed civilians- assuring them that these stories were all lies cooked up by the villain- and right up until the moment the car door opened- they were assured- in no uncertain terms ‘we have Saif in custody- you can trust us on this one’. Trust they did- and they looked like fools.
Then the media began running with ‘well- both sides have lied lots during this conflict- and sometimes you have to just trust your own eyes’. The problem with this is we have backed up one side- spent 1.1 billion on that side- and the media believed all the reports about ‘our side’ killing kids was simply a Gadhaffi lie- now it looks like they were used in this deadly game playing out on the Mediterranean.
I hope it ends soon- but we must remember that there are a lot of innocent civilians in the West- who never supported the Rebels- the rebels have killed many of them- burned down their homes- looted their businesses- the rebels are no angels- and it looks like the media just found that out.
Today I really wanted to post a few notes on the current media frenzy on science versus faith- the topic is becoming hot in the media- they like talking about stuff they don’t know about- and this one takes the cake.
Basically the media have been turning up the heat on why Perry and all the other stoops [that would be Christians] are denying science. I have written- and posted lots about this in the past. Most people are not aware of the overwhelming amount of science that challenges the most common ideas about evolution.
I’ll just hit on one- Abio Genesis. This is the belief that life can spontaneously generate from dead matter. This view is false- scientifically false. It is also commonly held with the false view of the spontaneous generation of all things.
Many media folk hold to a belief that the Big Bang theory shows us that all things have come from no-thing. Actually- this is a scientific impossibility. This idea- creation ‘Ex Nihilo’- is false.
Einstein’s theory did show us that matter had a beginning point- called the Point of Singularity- yet today we have absolutely no scientific proof that all things came from nothing- yet most media folk do indeed believe this.
So this topic really is one where the media have created their villain [the back water Christians] and their hero [the false idea that science has proved all types of stuff- that is has not!]. Yet they hope that if they run with the narrative long enough- then hopefully they will never be found out- you know- opening that car door and seeing their man- the man they assured the whole world was gone- yet he lives to see another day.
[note- those of you who are interested in more on Evolution- on my Blog if you go to the February posts of each year- I have studies on Evolution and one on Genesis- you might find them helpful in the coming debate].
 THIS ROCK
A few weeks ago I mentioned how I want to try and cover the Sunday Mass readings every now and then. I watch the Mass every Sunday [as well as hold a Protestant meeting- home meeting] and I wanted to hit on the verses so my Catholic friends can get a little more into bible study.
Last week one of the readings was from Isaiah 56- the week before chapter 55. These chapters sort of cover one of the main themes that I spoke about during our overview of the letters of the N.T.
If you remember- one of the ‘mysteries’ we spoke about was the truth that in Christ- all ethnic groups are now one in Christ. This was spoken about in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. In Isaiah we read about God bringing all nations to Christ ‘you will call a nation that you do not know- and nations that do not know you will come running to you’ ‘My fathers house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’- Jesus quotes this verse when he throws out the Money Changers from the temple. Another one ‘whoever is thirsty- come- drink of this water freely’ the themes of these 2 chapters is God is inviting all groups- they can come and make this Covenant with God.
God is opening the door for all groups to make it in!
On my site- a while back I made some friends from various countries- Muslim countries. I actually did a teaching on Islam- in a positive way- not to ‘trick’ Muslims to convert- but because I felt the anti Muslim feeling in the West- with the world facing so many geo political problems- that we needed to take some positions as Christians that were more gracious to people in general.
Now- I know I too ‘hit hard’ on my site- sure. But I do believe God wants us to live peaceably with ‘all men’. That friends from other religious backgrounds- if they are going through very hard times- then we need to do what we can to help them.
Every conversation with a young Muslim person- who might be struggling with the problems taking place in their nation- we need to also be able to do ‘justly’ see that many of their nations have been oppressive- and all the young people in these nations are not radical Muslims.
Many are women who have been treated badly by the leaders- because the leaders are strict Muslims. So for these people- we need to say ‘yes we see your situation- we are praying for you’ we can’t simply think all the problems will be solved if we only preach to them- without also acting justly- seeing their plight and being concerned and speaking out.
Okay- that’s the main reason I connected with some of these friends. At the same time- obviously I teach the bible- and I hope lots of these friends from various groups [Jews, Muslims, etc..] that they can see that Christianity is not based on the West- or a certain view of Christianity- but its Gods free offering to all men/women ‘come- drink- accept the free gift- it’s for you!’
So of course I want all my friends to feel free to take the benefits that God has given to us- while also respecting them if they choose to worship their own way.
So- this week we saw that in the N.T. the death and resurrection of Christ was Gods way of saying ‘whoever wants to come- come!’. Christ died for everyone- we can all get in.
The prophet Isaiah said this years ago- that God would bring all nations and ethnic groups to ‘his holy mountain’ [kingdom] he would make them joyful- he will accept their gifts [prayers and thanks] and that he is doing all these things for the benefit of all nations- not just one.
As we close the week- go and read these chapters- to my Catholic friends – see what chapters will be in the Mass this Sunday- when you get home after the Mass- read them.
The bible says Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone of the spiritual building called ‘the church’. The bible says many people stumbled over this stone- they were offended at him.
Jesus asked once ‘Who do men say that I am’- Peter said ‘You are the Christ- the Son of the blessed’. Jesus says ‘Blessed are you Peter- flesh and blood did not reveal this to you- but my Father who is in heaven’ and Jesus went on to say ‘Upon this Rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’
Later on in Peters letter’s- he says we are spiritual stones in this spiritual temple- and Jesus is the main Rock. All the bible hinges on him- we must see everything as it relates to ‘This Rock’.
God made provisions for all people thru his Son- he said ‘whoever wants to drink- drink- come freely- without charge- it’s for you too’.
 WHO’S THE DODO BIRD NOW?
Let’s try and get a few things in today.
First- the overview of the last couple of days- I think stuff like that is important. I have lots of friends from different religious backgrounds and nations. Some are Muslim, some are Jewish- others hold to eastern religions.
I want everyone to have a grasp on what the message of Christianity is- it often gets lost in the debates that rage between nations and various political stances- yet the main message of the bible is that Christ died to pay for the sins of all mankind- and God saves/receives people on the grounds of his Son having died for us.
The Old Covenant [the law] was based on man trying real hard to be good- he could never live up to the standard. Then the New Covenant was established- which was based on this free gift of eternal life- Jesus paid the price- we receive salvation as a gift- not as a matter of works.
I’ll do more on the basics the next few weeks- but I wanted to at least hit these truths for a few days.
Okay- as a Texan I stated a while ago that I’m not particularly a fan of Rick Perry. In many ways I do not fit the political mold of ‘the right’ or the left. I also realized that if Perry jumped into the fray- well the left would use that with all their might to play on the divisions of the country.
MSNBC has showed no shame in saying that the Evangelical Protestants are nuts- and the Catholics [Lawrence O’Donnell says this a lot] are the stable folk. Now- as a Christian- I see myself more and more as a composite of all the great historic faiths.
Anyone who has read my blog for a while can easily see that. I have actually had to correct Catholic news guys- quite often- when they misrepresent their own church. So I think the lefts agenda to feed into this divide- for purely political purposes- is bad.
Last night I was channel surfing and I hit Gore’s station- current T.V. They had Shuster filling in for Olbermann. He was teasing a segment on Perry- you know- saying now that he’s in the race- well damn it- we are not gonna let him get away with his lies!
So Shuster kept saying ‘Perry’s misleading you about the job growth in Texas- we’ll uncover his lies in a moment’. Okay- I’m fair-minded- not really a Perry guy- I’ll listen.
He goes on and plays a clip where Perry states- carefully- that since June of 2009- over 40 % of the new jobs created in the country came from Texas.
Now- the last few weeks I have heard various pundits use this figure- sometimes they would exaggerate and say around 50 %.
So I figured Shuster and the crew had something on the man- they did report- as news- that he lied.
Then Shuster gave the scoop- he said first of all- many new people have moved to the state of Texas [okay- listening] and that many of the new jobs created in the state were service related—restaurants- etc. [okay- still listening] and that many of these jobs are not high paying- and therefore Perry lied.
Well someone lied for sure- but it wasn’t Perry.
Then I caught a clip of the channels owner [Gore] going off the rails. This past week was bad news for the global warming crowd [I’m not an absolute denier by the way]. I saw/heard the clip a couple of times- Gore was at some meeting and he freaked out- he was saying ‘those who say the earth is not warming- bull s^%$t. Those who deny this/that- bull s—t.’ I mean it sounded like one of my posts on a bad day.
I guess the pressure got to him- lots of folk are rejecting the science behind global warming. Let me say- I have never deeply looked into it- but as a big news guy I hear both sides. The other day I read a news article- it was a small article hidden in the paper- but it said that we now have scientific proof that the pollution trapped under the ozone layer- is in fact contributing to the COOLING of the planet.
The article explained the actual pollution particles do act as a sort of sun block- and they block some of the sun’s rays from getting in- thus cooling the planet.
Now- this report was not on Fox- or Rush- it was in a plane Jane news paper. I mean even as a casual reader of the subject- I had to laugh. I mean this is the exact opposite argument that Gore has made.
Then- for the first time ever- I watched Gores global warming flick. It came on after the news show I watch on his station. Sure enough- he shows a sort of cartoon graphic that shows the sun- and the rays of the sun penetrating thru the ozone layer surrounding the planet. And then the cartoon shows the ray bouncing off the earth- but when it gets back up to the ozone layer- well the ray gets stuck inside- it can’t get out.
He then went on to explain that the pollution [co2] is causing this effect- and that’s why the globe is melting.
Now- I had just read the news article- and it was obvious to ask ‘well Mr. Gore- how come when you show the graphic- the rays have no problem getting in- the pollution does not block anything from getting in- yet when the same ray wants to bounce back out- it can’t’.
I mean it wasn’t that hard to see that there were real problems with his idea- and I guess the world is finding out a little faster than he wished.
The other day I read an article on Evolution. It showed one of the most famous ‘proofs’ for evolution. Those who have read the pros and cons on the thing- well we all know about the famous bird/dinosaur fossil that was found around 150 years ago.
This fossil has been used as proof for the theory- for 150 years. Now- this extinct looking bird does look like it came from the pre historic world. But I have heard- for 20 years at least- the creationists say that this fossil is not a bird fossil at all- that is simply a flying dinosaur.
Now- there are ways scientists can tell this stuff from fossils- it would take too long to try and explain the whole thing [plus- I don’t know the whole thing!]. But we know in our day that birds have completely different body structures than dinosaurs. Birds do not have lungs- they have hollow bones and when they fly the air goes thru their body- and that’s how they oxygenate their bodies.
That’s why you never see a bird breathing heavy- or breathing at all after it lands- they don’t breathe like animals who have lungs.
Okay- for various reasons the evolutionary community needed to show that they found a bird/dinosaur fossil- it was needed to fill in the blank between dinosaurs turning into birds- which is part of evolutionary theory.
I have heard scientists argue- time and again- that the creationists were doing fake science when they claimed this fossil was really a dinosaur- not a bird [Flying dinosaur- but a dinosaur never the less]. And these scientists would say all true science has proven- beyond a Shadow of a doubt- that this particular fossil was indeed a bird.
Okay- the article I just read said ‘surprise- Chinese scientists have just discovered that the so called bird- well it’s a dinosaur’!
You know- you hear things all the time- from sources of media- people who sware they are telling the truth ‘Perry is lying about creating 40 % of the nations jobs’ and then when you look at the numbers- well the news guy was lying.
Yet these same advocates- who it was already leaked that they were going to do a smear campaign- they want to tell us how they are so smart- and the rest of the country are a bunch of duped Tea Partiers. Yeah- that’s the smart crowd- the ones who were worshipping at the foot of a 150 year old bird for past century and a half- and Walla- they were really worshipping a dinosaur instead.
The apostle Paul said [Romans] that people loved and served the creation- rather than the creator. And as a judgment God have them up to become like the thing they worshipped. Wow- can’t get better than then- can it?
 WHAT MATTERS?
The other day I mentioned how believers have a habit of getting caught up in certain ‘religious’ views [tithing was the example I gave] and over time these views develop to a point where they take precedence over the things Jesus actually placed real value on.
In the 1st century when Jesus showed up on the scene- the religious practices of Gods people were centered around religious meetings [holy days] prayer, fasting and tithing- mainly to be seen of men- that is religion digressed to a point where what seemed to be the most important thing- was actually not important.
So how did Jesus respond? He spends the 3 very public years of ministry- healing the sick, telling the poor they are the blessed ones who will inherit Gods kingdom- and blasting the rich- and those in power- by telling them that their day was coming too.
In essence Jesus was the ultimate prophet- he followed the long line of Jewish prophets who took these same positions. The prophet Isaiah told the people ‘God is tired of all your religious activities- your church meetings- your special ‘sacrificial’ offerings- these things are a stench in his nose!’ then he would go on and say that God wanted justice for the poor and widow.
Amos also rebuked the rich and defended the poor- Ezekiel said the shepherds [religious leaders] were fleecing the sheep- they were leaders who were making a financial killing off of the people.
All of these things- in today’s world of ‘ministry’ are making a comeback- it’s just we don’t see it because they are dressed in a different way. But at the end of the day- for the most part- American style Christianity is usually measured by how much money you give [or take in] how faithful your are to attend religious meetings- and how famous your ministry is- are you a really gifted speaker? Or do you give a great ‘stage’ performance.
And in the mind of the average Christian- if you ask them ‘when was the last time you gave of your goods to your neighbor- reached out to the poor- showed your Christianity thru charity’? Often times they will answer that that is not ‘their ministry’ or that their giving to some Christian organization/church is their role- and it’s up to ‘the church’ to actually help the poor.
But these responses miss the main point- Jesus [and the prophets] were saying that’s the mistake- thinking that ‘religion’ consists in these outward religious acts- which are really for show- while the true acts of mercy and love are all too often neglected. People today have made the same mistake as the religious observers of Jesus day.
The letter of James- written by the brother [half] of Jesus- tells us that Pure religion- is to keep yourself unspotted form the world- and to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. That’s it. No mention of religious holy days? No. No mention of special tithes/offerings? No. But what does he have to say about the modern religious view of the accumulation of wealth? Let’s not even go there [believe me- it’s pretty bad- go read the letter- its short].
This week in Somalia the estimates are 11 million people are on the verge of starvation- 2 to 3 million are kids. The world at large has had a hard time getting the food/resources in- because the country [like many other African nations] is in a sort of civil war.
The militant Islamic group fighting the govt. [Al Shabbab- I think that’s the name?] are made up of children. Yes- the kids have taken up an armed resistance against the leaders- and they are killing each other. I saw a news report on Mosaic world news- and the kids were in the streets- sort of like any kids on a block- but they had guns.
One young kid [10?] was pulling on the rifle of an older boy [15?] and the older boy got mad- like some school yard thing. The older boy just pulled away- and pointed the gun at the ‘opposing kids’- at the same time- they were playing in the street- throwing rocks and waving sticks- and pointing loaded guns at each other- it was like it was a game- they were used to shooting each other if they had to.
There are many things happening in our world today- things that matter to God. Many Christians- though they mean well- seem to leave these other things up to others. They feel that if they can just make it through another week- attend religious meeting on Sunday- put in the tithe- that if they live up to these outward religious standards- that they have done well.
Jesus taught a different way- the apostles tried to follow in his way. The apostle John said ‘if you see your fellow man in need- and don’t actually help him- do what needs to be done to defend them- then how can you say Gods love is in you’ [my paraphrase].
The apostle Paul wrote the Colossians- he said ‘I’m worried about you- you are observing days and times and other outward religious rites- I’m afraid you are falling away from the true faith’.
There was always a danger that Christians would fall into this rut- this thing where they unconsciously make the least important things- the most important. When the religious leaders of Jesus day were conspiring to kill Jesus- they had a problem- if they killed him on the wrong day- it would mess up their religious festival going on at the time. If they had to deal with the dead body- on the wrong day- they would be technically unclean according to Jewish law- and it would throw off their game.
So they worked it out where they would kill Jesus- and leave the body alone on the Sabbath- and they had it all worked out. One problem- they were violating the most important commandment of all- given to them by their most important law giver [Moses] that said ‘thou shalt not kill’ but somehow- over a period of time- they saw these things as the most important- their special observances of holy days- keeping themselves ceremonially clean- not ‘unspotted from the world’ as James said- but religiously clean- so they could put on a good public show.
I just finished praying for a bunch of stuff- of course I prayed for the kids in Somalia- those dying and those killing. Yes- I also send money every month to the starving kids- but these things are not enough. I [we] need to also engage those around us- those hurting and dying and struggling in real ways. We need to make the most important things- important again.
 THEATER OF THE ABSURD
The last few days the media has inundated us with stories- so called ‘news stories’ that border on the absurd. First- we heard the reports on Michele Bachman’s husband’s clinic. He apparently has this business- where he does outpatient treatment. Okay- I guess these types of treatment clinics are a dime a dozen.
As an evangelical- he obviously gets patients who want to overcome what they feel are addictive personality traits. So he has Christians come in- who feel like they are struggling with homosexual tendencies- and because of their own choice- they are seeking ‘treatment’.
Now- this ‘reparative’ therapy has come under criticism- and there are questions over whether or not this type of therapy can hurt someone. Either way- for something like this- to have made it into the top news story- on the major networks- is ludicrous.
Then yesterday you had the media running with the migraine headache thing- yes- some insider leaked the story that Bachman has migraines. I heard Anderson Cooper [I think it was him- they all ran with it] ask ‘can a person run the country if they are incapacitated for days on end’?
Sounded like Mubarak’s lawyer- like the lady goes in and out of comas every few days. Ridiculous.
We have a real story- a story that should be covered- but gets very little coverage on the major networks- because it can hurt the president. It’s the scandal of our Justice Dept. – along with the ATF- selling guns to drug runners in Mexico- then finding these guns at the scene of murdered Border Patrol agents. Mexico actually suspected us of this in the past- and asked if we were indeed selling guns to drug cartel guys.
Our govt. – under president Obama- said no. We lied- we sold the guns- these guns killed many people- including our own law enforcement officials- and this is deemed an unworthy news story. These stories are things that bring down officials- things that rank so bad on the scale of ‘news’ worthy- that every news network should be covering it.
Yet we get migraines and ‘pray the gay away’ coverage- and no time for coverage of our justice dept being in the illegal gun running trade- and these guns actually having killed our own guys- it’s hard to believe- but believe it you can
I read a small report- hidden in the back pages of the paper. Human rights watch has been reporting that the Libyan Rebels- who we support- have been going into cities- with our air support- and killing civilians- Raiding homes- burning them down- looting businesses- of citizens who are on the side of Gadhaffi. These are not soldiers of Gadhaffi- these are actual citizens who do not support the Rebels.
How can we be supporting these Rebels- while they are doing this- and at the same time be accusing Gadhaffi of war crimes? Out of all the foreign countries that have fought the U.S. in the various fields of war we are engaged in- the number 1 country that sent Al Qaeda fighters to fight against us- came from Libya.
These fighters were not coming from Gadhaffi- he hates them- these Al Qaeda were coming from the same group of Rebels that we are supporting. The Rebels who are killing civilians- looting their shops and burning down the homes of civilians- these Rebels who we just recognized as the new ruling govt. of Libya.
Have you heard this story? No- it would take away too much time from the migraine scandal.
Why are we enamored with the absurd- the stuff that does not matter one iota- and yet the real injustices going on- many of them being perpetrated by our own govt. these things get little attention? I don’t know what the final outcome will be over the ‘gun running’ story- but someone needs to be fired- if not prosecuted over this.
If there are human rights groups- telling us that the Rebels we are supporting- are actually engaging in war crimes- then we need to stop supporting them- now.
I read a report on why the Arab league voted to remove Gadhaffi- they never liked the guy- he was a loner. So when the Arab league met- they figured they would vote for his expulsion- at no cost to them- and they would manipulate the U.S. into being ‘mercenaries’ who would go in and be the puppets of the world.
The report also said that they would not take a stand like this against other oppressive Arab rulers- because those rulers were deemed needed. They mentioned Assad of Syria as one example. Sure enough- last week the U.S. came out and took a hard stand against Assad- they attacked our embassy in Syria.
The Arab league responded by saying no country [the U.S.] has the right to say whether or not another countries leader is legitimate. The Arab league played us like puppets- got us to go to war against an Arab leader they didn’t support- and then told us ‘Hands off’ when we tried to criticize another one who is just as bad- if not worse.
These things are important- we don’t want to side against people- while supporting Rebels that are committing possible war crimes. We don’t want our guys being manipulated into being mercenaries- at no cost to the Arab League- because we got tricked into acting.
As a people- we should be informed about the important stuff- we should be aware- so we can make informed decisions- so we can know the facts on the ground. But instead we are treated to the secret recording of Michele Bachmann’s husband telling a fake gay patient that he can help him overcome what he thinks is a problem- no wonder the woman has migraines.
 TRUTH IN REPORTING
Yesterday I saw the news- I caught Mitch McConnell on cspan- floating some convoluted plan that would allow the pres. to raise the debt ceiling in 3 separate steps. As I listened- it seemed like he was saying [giving room] for the tea party guys to vote no on taxes- while giving the pres veto power to push it through.
McConnell said- in frustration- that after working with the White House for the past 2-3 years- that he wonders whether or not they will ever get a real budget with this administration. He said it in a way like ‘I don’t think he’s serious about putting out a budget’. Do you know when our govt. last worked under one?
It was April- 2009. Yes- over 2 years now. It is surprising that a majority party [Whoever it be] who held the house, senate and presidency would fail to pass one- but they did.
Then I watched the new CBS guy- Pelley- do an interview with the pres. He mentioned- over and over again- that Mitch McConnell [the minority leader in the senate- Repub] said- quote ‘we will never pass a budget as long as this man is pres.’ He kept making it sound like a threat- a promise that he would never allow the pres. to pass one. Now- I know McConnell has said in the past that he wants to make the pres. fail- but in this serious time- during talks where it actually seems like McConnell is floating a plan because he wants Obama to be able to raise the ceiling- its times like this where we don’t need ‘advocacy journalism’.
You know- like when Dan Rather saw fit to float a fake military report about Bush. The average college student realized the document was fake- and even after Rather finally got the boot- he still said ‘whether it was fake or not is irrelevant- the point is Bush probably got special treatment’.
The other night CNN spoke about Palin/Bachman as- quote- ‘MILFs’- for those of you who don’t know what this means- it’s a slang way of saying they are ‘mothers that they would love to have intercourse with’. On CNN.
I’m beginning to wonder whether or not we are really heading for a national calamity.
Okay- let me talk about Sudan a little. In feb. of this year Sudan had a referendum that passed- it officially split the nation in 2. Sudan is a nation on the continent of Africa that has had brutal civil wars- and has engaged in acts of genocide- real genocide [not like the Libya thing] for a long time.
This past week the 2 nation deal went into effect- and the majority Muslim/Arab north has in fact engaged in aggression against the south. The history of Sudan is one in which the Muslim north has slaughtered the Christian south for decades. Some estimates are over 2 million have died in these ‘civil conflicts’. Now- the southern Sudanese are primarily Christian- and Black.
That’s where the genocide charge comes in- they were killing Blacks- because they were Black.
Now- in another infamous spot- Darfur [western Sudan] the majority non Black Muslim leaders of the north- are killing once again- but this time they are killing fellow Muslims. Why?
The Muslims in Darfur are Black. There is simply a racial hatred that has existed on the continent for decades- and non blacks have killed Blacks- because of their skin color. Also in the Nuba mountain region- Blacks are being killed.
Why is this important for us to know? Right now we are engaged on the African continent- siding with the Rebels who are in a civil war with Gadhaffi. As I have written before- Gadhaffi has embraced the Black Africans for 40 years- He has chosen to help them- and they actually love the guy- for real.
Many of the mercenaries who are fighting on Gadhaffi’s side are Black fighters coming from the Sub Sahara- when reporters ask them ‘why are you doing this’ they will freely admit that Gadhaffi has helped them a lot- even though other non black Arab leaders have killed them- yet as a non Black leader- Gadhaffi has supported them. Now- I’m sure he had ulterior motives- but the point is the Blacks support the man. [Like Trump says ‘I get along with the Blacks, they love me’. Seth Meyers said ‘I can believe that- that is if ‘the Blacks’ are the last names of the white family living down the road!’]
So today we find ourselves- engaged on the African continent- supposedly doing a noble thing- preventing ‘genocide’ from taking place. Even though Gadhaffi has a history of not siding with other Arab leaders who hate and kill Blacks- others who are doing it right now in Sudan- yet he has been targeted as the genocidal risk that must be taken out.
This is why- right now- you have Black leaders in our country- who hate the pres. They have actually said he will not fire a bullet at Black haters- yet he will kill those who have helped the Blacks- these are political insiders who know the scoop.
I don’t know what role the U.S. should play in these conflicts- we obviously can’t go into Sudan in a military way- that would be a huge mistake. But we can try and at least get the accusation right- if we choose to ‘oust’ a leader- a leader who does indeed have the support of Black Africans- whose enemies are killing Black supporters of the man. Then let’s not pretend we are engaged in some type of effort to prevent ‘crimes against humanity’ crimes that were not committed- but had the ‘potential’ of being committed. Why engage in the prevention of possible future ‘crimes against humanity’ when you have another nation [Sudan] actually doing the stuff?
 THE SUNDAY MASS
I kind of wanted to talk a little more about the Casey reaction- why so many people are upset. What’s the root cause? Many people are actually mad- for a right reason. They have a moral sense of injustice- seeing the beautiful little Caylee dying like that- so there is this inner sense of justice that we have- it comes from being created in the image of God.
But instead of doing too much on that right now- let me catch up on a few things I felt I needed to do. In these past few years- as different teaching opportunities came up- I noticed that I had an open door from the Lord to teach all different types of people.
Catholics- Jews, Muslims- the whole 9 yards. Obviously my goal is to make clear the biblical account of mans redemption- to preach the Cross of Christ- and at the same time be willing to let anyone sit in on the conversation- If my Jewish friends stay Jewish- fine. If my Muslim friends don’t convert- and they still want to ‘hang out’ I’m okay with that. And if my Catholic friends stay Catholic- while at the same time learning more about the bible that’s great.
The point being I’m glad for the eclectic group- even the Atheists and GBLT friends- everyone is welcome at the table.
Now- one of the things I wanted to start doing was sharing the different ways the Lord has used the Mass to speak to me- I have found that watching the Sunday Mass- every Sunday- there is always some verse/homily that speaks to me.
Let me hit the last 3 weeks. A few weeks ago I had to block/unfriend a few people [Facebook] I always feel bad about it- even if I think it’s the right thing to do. So one of the things that made me feel a little better about cutting someone off that way- was the fact that even if I block people- they can always have access to the blog site.
So I thought ‘geez- maybe I was mad and cut people off too soon- but at least there’s the backup’. Then- I thought let’s see what the Sunday Mass verses will be. Sure enough it was Exodus 34- the story of Moses getting upset with the people [he had an anger problem] and he broke the first set of 10 commandments [denied access]. God says ‘okay- one more shot- come back up to the mountain and I’ll give you a second set’. Okay- that was exactly what I felt the Lord was saying- the backup set will work.
Then the following week- one of the hymns that was sung came from Psalms 147- the hymn said ‘I have strengthened the bars of your gates and blessed your children within’. I did a double take- this verse has been prayed- by me- at least a few thousand times over these last few years.
I don’t remember when I added it to my prayer time- but like lots of other verses- I read it one day and it became a regular part of intercession.
The only thing was- I pray it a little different- I pray ‘strengthen the bars of our gates and bless our children within- let peace be within our borders and let our garners be full [teaching tools] providing all manner of store’- I pray it as a request- so when I heard the priest/deacon singing it as an answer to the prayer- I had to go and check out the verse- Sure enough Psalms 147 is in the ‘answer mode’.
Then this past Sunday- the verse was from Zechariah chapter 9- the famous chapter where it speaks of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem- riding on the donkey. This chapter says ‘because of the blood of the covenant I have delivered your prisoners out of the pit’- I pray ‘let the sighing of the prisoners come before you- and according to the greatness of your power preserve those that are appointed to death’- it’s another verse I have prayed hundreds of times.
The chapter also says ‘your people will have the double portion’ I have a verse painted on my prayer wall [on the house!] that says ‘for your shame you will have double- and for your confusion they will possess the double portion in their land’.
I also pray a verse from Exodus 15- it comes from the Song of Moses that Israel sang after God delivered them from Egypt- the part I pray says ‘I will sing unto the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously- the horse and rider thrown into the sea’. It’s a prayer/song rejoicing over God breaking Pharaohs chariots in the Red Sea- and the bible says ‘they sank like lead’ to the bottom. In Zechariah 9 it speaks about God breaking the chariots and the devices of those who are coming against you.
Basically all these scriptures are speaking about the various groups/friends you will teach thru out your life- and that these different groups will learn ‘double’ from what they knew before.
Okay- I just caught you guys up for the last 3 weeks- but this type of thing has been going on for years- I just thought the Lord wanted me to share a little more on the actual verses- so you can see how the Lord will use these things- if you pay attention. I have found many times- I’ll ask a Catholic friend- ‘hey- did you go to Mass Sunday’ and he will say yes. But then he will not make any connection between the different verses the priest used during the Homily.
I’ll then do a quick review- and he will normally say ‘oh yeah- I didn’t see that’.
So the goal is for me to try and help people see a little more- not to make them convert to ‘my religion’ but to give them room at the table- to not pound them every week with some ‘moral rebuke’ about the way they are. Yes- at times we all need to repent- and re think the things we do. But there are too many ‘outsiders’ too many people- who come from different groups- and they never feel welcome to sit at the table and get a chance to learn- we too often give them the feeling that they are not wanted.
I thank God- even for those who I have had to block- that at least by Gods grace they can always read from the 2nd set- God is a God of mercy and grace- if he wants people to have access- to sit at the table- then he will always make a way for that to happen.