1887- SIKH YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Let’s talk about the temple shooting- but first a verse from the prophet.
‘I will gather all nations and tongues and they shall come and see my glory- I will set a sign among them and send those that escape to the nations’ Isaiah 66:18-19
Over the next few weeks I will try and post some of the verses from Isaiah that I have been reading- the ones I think have special importance.
This one is a familiar one I have been praying for years- it speaks of the greater purpose of God.
He wants ALL NATIONS and cultures to come into the kingdom of God.
The purpose of the church is not to fight and be a stumbling block to the nations- but to be a sign of peace- a witness to Christ’s kingdom- and those ‘that escape’ those that come ‘out of Babylon’ and into the new kingdom- they are the ones who will ‘go tell it to the nations’.
Okay- now the shooting.
As most of you know- the day before yesterday we had a shooting at a religious temple.
The religion is Sikh [pronounced Sick- or Seek] they are not Muslim- but they look Muslim- so these past few years they have been the target of hate.
The guy who shot and killed about 7 or so people was killed by the cops at the scene.
Now- as I watched the media coverage- they used this type of language.
‘He comes from a White Supremacist group’
‘They hates Jews and Blacks’
‘Stupid and uneducated’
‘He was not nice- he was crazy’
On and on.
Now- once again- I in no way want to make light of this terrible tragedy.
This type of hate crime- if it turns out to be one- is obviously terrible.
The point I make is you would never- ever- hear the media describe a radical Muslim shooting with these terms.
As a matter of fact- the president himself refused to describe the Hassan shooting as terror [the shooting that took place here on the military base in Texas- Hassan was a radical Muslim- and also a major in the U.S. military]
They made a huge point that if Hassan acted alone- then it was not terror.
Yet- the president- and the FBI have been saying this temple shooting is indeed domestic terror.
As far as we know- this shooter at the temple also acted alone.
Why the distinction?
A few weeks ago Brian Ross from ABC- along with his ‘partner in crime’ George Stephanopolous were the ones who jumped the gun and associated the Colorado shooting [the Batman movie] with the wrong person.
Ross reported- on air- that there was a Jim Holmes from the same city who had a Tea party web page.
Could it be that maybe another person with that very strange name- you know- about as strange as John Smith- might be the web site guy?
Sure enough- they ‘outed’ the wrong guy.
So- Ross was one of the first to come out and use this language about the temple shooting.
He couldn’t seem to wait- to say ‘see- I told you these Tea party- I mean right wing groups- are the real threat’.
Yeah Ross- you tell em!
Now- as someone who holds to the theological belief that the above verse speaks about- I have made efforts to have Muslim friends.
I have Jewish friends as well.
I try not to only have associations with other Christians- because I think we all need to talk to [not at] each other- and that Gods purpose is for the church to be a blessing to all nations and cultures.
So- that’s my position.
Also- we need to be honest about the real threats that face our world today.
As a student of history and religion I have come across a few recurring things.
One of the themes I see every so often is ‘look- we all [Jews, Christians- Muslims] have radical terrorists in our ranks- and we should not condemn the other group’.
Realistically- the very real threat that exists is within the extreme elements of Islam.
Everyone knows this- it’s no secret.
Now- do I want to offend my Muslim friends?
But- the truth is- are there real- huge scale threats of radical terrorism coming from the Jewish people?
Of course not [they usually point to a single incident in the history of the Jewish people- during the restoration of their nation in the 20th century- and this one incident has become the mantra for those who say ‘see- the Jews have terrorists too!’]
What about the far right wing hate groups?
A little more of a threat- yes- but a global threat- one that has the potential to destabilize nations- no.
That’s the whole point.
During the broadcast of the temple shooting- you also had the other news of the Syrian uprising.
These are the various nations in the Arab world and North Africa [Tunisia- Egypt- Libya] that have been going thru the Arab Spring uprisings now for a couple of years.
One of the major players in the overthrowing of the leaders of these nations is Al Qaeda.
Now- there are also innocent Arabs/Muslims who are being caught up in the fire fight- but you also have a very real presence of Al Qaeda in these rebellions.
The leaders themselves- who we have demonized to no end- have been saying this.
Gadhaffi, Mubarak- Assad- they have all said that the ones ‘rebelling’ have Al Qaeda in their ranks.
We [the western world] have for the most part played that down- heaven forbid that we should go against the ‘democratic spring’ that is sweeping the world!
The fact is- during the same news broadcast that is so quick to associate a single- isolated shooter- as an act of terror.
The same news media that refuse to use this type of language when a person [Major Hassan] who did indeed identify himself with radical Islam- a worldwide movement that is responsible for many worldwide terror acts- the media refer to his shooting- at an actual military base here in the U.S. [Fort Hood].
As ‘work place violence’.
The double standard is so big- you have to be blind to not see it.
Yes- right wing hate groups are dangerous- but they pose absolutely no threat on a global level.
Do they pose a Tim McVeigh [Oklahoma city bombing of the fed building] type threat?
But not a real global threat- one that would in fact meet the criterion of being terrorism on a global scale- no.
We need to be honest about these things- the media have once again dropped the ball by associating what seems to be an isolated act- with terror.
They showed video of the hard right rock group that this shooter played in- with no disclaimer that the other members of the group do not condone the actions of the shooter.
They used quotes from bystanders who said ‘they are uneducated idiots’- referring to this movement that does indeed have racist elements in it.
But I have heard the same racist stuff from Farrakhan- many times.
Yet the media would never- ever use this language about him.
As a matter of fact- Obama attended the million man march before he was president [I think he was the senator from Illinois at the time- the march was held by Farrakhan].
So- if hate speech is wrong- then it’s wrong all the way around.
If we condemn White hate groups- which we should- then we need to condemn Black hate groups too.
The New Black Panther party are a bunch of racists.
The leader of this group was photographed behind Obama during the 2008 campaign.
He was holding up his hand- in a Black Power display- and he was walking right behind the president.
They were in Selma at the time.
The media never covered this- or showed this picture.
That’s what you call a double standard- that’s what you call ‘media bias’.
NOTE- do you think a Romney type person- who was running for president- if he attended a David Duke rally- and had Duke march behind him on the campaign trail- would have escaped Scrutiny?
Not on your life baby.
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. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1886- DIVINE LOGOS
Okay- just read Isaiah 65- one chapter left.
These past few weeks I have been going thru the last 15 or so chapters of the book.
There are lots of great themes to do- maybe I’ll take a pic of the verses I wrote down and hung up here in my study.
I also wanted to engage in a conversation on the Divine Logos.
Well yeah- maybe a little scholarly sounding- but my goal has been to ‘upgrade’ our level of teaching.
When I say ‘our’ I’m talking generally about the present day church in America- and the obsession with ‘the now’.
That is ‘what do I get out of this- monetarily?’
Yeah- that’s the rave of the day.
So- every so often I do my best to walk the other road- to give the other side of the coin.
So- a few weeks ago I was at my daughter’s house- we usually have the whole family over for the b-days and stuff.
And my kids like playing those word games.
So they bought some game- don’t remember the whole name- but part of the name had LOGOS in it.
I just quipped ‘you do know what that means’?
Now- I kid around so much- sometimes they have a hard time believing me- like ‘sure- you’re making it up’.
No- for real!
Logos means WORD.
It’s the Greek language- which the New Testament was written in- and it simply means WORD.
My 2nd oldest said ‘I should have known that’.
My oldest daughter- Bethany- just turned 27- Becky is a couple of years younger.
They both have degrees from A&M University here in Texas- top notch school for sure.
So that’s why Becky ‘should have known it’.
Anyway- this word is a favorite in the writings of the apostle John.
In both the gospel and his 3 little letters [1st, 2nd and 3rd John] he uses this term to describe Jesus.
‘In the beginning was THE WORD and the word was with God…’
That’s the Greek word- Logos.
It should be noted that the early Greek philosophers had a concept much like this.
All the way back to the time of Plato- Socrates and Aristotle [around 500 years before Christ] the Greeks were speaking about a universal principle- some type of ‘unifying theory’ that would be the basis of all knowledge.
They spoke about this principle as THE LOGOS.
So- some of the critics of Christianity did use this as a criticism of the church- they say ‘see- the disciples were just making stuff up- borrowing themes that were already there’.
Do they have a point?
A point- maybe- but that’s all.
In the letters of John we also read him refuting a cult of the day- called Gnosticism [Gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge. They believed that they had secret knowledge that the others did not have. A modern twist on this is sometimes referred to as Revelation Knowledge- it’s a form of this ‘special knowledge’ idea that existed in the early days of the church.]
An off shoot of this group were called the Docetists.
These guys were pseudo Christians- they held to some form of Christian belief- but denied the true faith of the church.
They taught that Jesus was ‘a phantom spirit’ that is- they denied what we refer to as the incarnation.
That God became man in the person of Christ.
John was one of the youngest disciples- and he also outlived the others.
His writings are probably the oldest in the N.T. [Revelation]
So- he was around long enough to refute the growing philosophical challenges to the church.
So- putting all this together- when John said Jesus was the Divine Logos- he was not ‘stealing’ that idea from the earlier Greek philosophers who were indeed looking for a Logos principle.
No- he was saying ‘look- we- the followers of Christ- have found the thing you were looking for all the time- he is the Wisdom- the Logos of God’.
Okay- I haven’t read John in a long time- nor have I ever studied Greek.
But- I do have a Greek lexicon [a book that gives you the Greek word before it was translated into English].
And back ‘in the day’ when we were young believers- seeking to learn the faith- these were the basic tools of the trade.
But today- well- the tools are motivation- success stuff.
Learning how to invest- make a buck [or 2] – how to ‘create your world’.
Yeah- we really don’t have time for all that silly stuff like the Logos.
After all- it’s all Greek to me.
Yeah- I know.
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. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1885 WHO’S THE GREATEST?
Got with the street guys yesterday- will post a few pics right after this note [p.s. every morning that I post- I post to the blog and Facebook- these are not ‘generated’ posts- I write- post- and leave. So- if you’re reading this on the blog- the pics are on Facebook].
2 guys died this past week.
John- a nice brother- carried a staff- sort of like a prayer thing.
I didn’t know him well- but just spoke to him the other day.
The other death was a good friend- Donald D.
I met Donald 20 years ago- he was one of the first street guys from the Bluff.
He was a real nice guy- sure- problems- but nice.
Donald did not hang out at the mission- so I would maybe see him once every few years- for the past 20.
He always treated me like a brother- big hug- you know- like when you see a family member.
I was sad to hear that he died.
A few years ago I met his son- Eddie.
At first I didn’t realize it was his son.
Eddie told me they were originally from the Garden state [N.J.].
I was surprised- being I’m from there as well.
He told me they lived at Lake Hapactkon [spelling?]
Wow- I went there as a kid with my dad- a small world.
Okay- let’s finish the week with something spiritual.
I have had a few things I wanted to say this last week- but haven’t really had the time to cover them all.
So- let’s pick one.
In the gospels the mother of James and John [disciples] ask Jesus for a favor ‘can my 2 sons sit at your right hand and left in your kingdom’?
Jesus tells her that it is not his place to decide that- but God [the father] will make that decision.
The other disciples hear about the request- and they get mad.
They begin a debate about who will be the greatest.
Then Jesus says- in the world you measure greatness by how far up the ladder you go- how many people are under you.
But in his kingdom it’s not like that- but the least will be the greatest- the ones who serve- not the ones being served- are ‘great’.
This simple example covers a lot of ground.
I have friends in ministry- pastors- ministry leaders- etc.
And it’s often difficult to ‘explain’ the ministry to them.
Usually- we see ministry as setting up 501c3 nonprofit- raising money [usually lots] and then becoming- well- famous.
Often times what we call ‘pastors’ are really just motivational speakers who speak weekly- or travel to an event- all well meaning men- but that’s the category many of them fall into.
So- when I’m asked ‘to preach’ or ‘how are you funded’ it comes as a surprise that I never take money- ever.
Some of my pastor friends actually think that it is wrong to not take the cash.
I remind them that the apostle Paul left that option open in the N.T.
My purpose is not to debate this whole subject right now- I’ve taught it in depth many times over the years- but just to say that we usually judge ministry by criteria that Jesus himself said was wrong.
It’s not how many people are ‘under you’ or how much money you bring in- or how famous you are.
It’s a matter or serving others- laying down your life for others- not always seeking your own welfare- but the welfare of others.
These principles are the main principles of leadership- and Christianity in general- but they are often over looked because we simply have substituted the modern corporation for ‘the local church’ and we basically run ‘the church’ along the same lines of the corporate world.
I am not one of those critics who hates going ‘to church’ [the building].
There are many who don’t go- because of the things I just shared with you.
I’m not in that camp.
But- the things I did just share- they are very important to get a grasp on- for those who see themselves in ministry- or as pastors.
On the blog- if you look to the left you’ll see a few short books I wrote years ago.
The one called Further talks on Church and Ministry deals with this subject a little more in depth.
Also- under the Feb. posts of each year- there’s a category called ‘what in the world is the church’. There are posts about this there as well.
Okay- the point today is we [leaders- believers- the whole bunch] are not to measure success in ministry as attaining some type of material success.
We should not view Christianity thru the lens of ‘what can I get out of this’.
These are usually the main themes that you see from the TV preachers of our day- and I know they mean well- but that’s simply not the heart of Christianity.
The writer to the Hebrews said ‘you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods- knowing that in heaven you have an enduring substance’.
He was talking about the persecution they went thru- they were robbed of their stuff.
In today’s world the average preacher would say ‘get back what the devil stole’.
The writer of Hebrews says ‘praise God- you have a better inheritance in heaven’.
The apostle John wrote ‘if you have this worlds goods [see- he does not call material stuff ‘true riches’] and you see your brother in need- and don’t help him- then how does Gods love dwell in you’.
The apostle Peter says ‘you were not redeemed by corruptible things- like silver and gold- but with the precious blood of Christ’.
I could go on- but just want you to see that we in the modern church really don’t focus on these themes any more.
Sure- most well meaning preachers will say ‘yeah- I believe that’.
But we often [if ever?] actually teach it.
The bible says we should listen to the WHOLE counsel of God- not just to the ‘bless me’ verses.
Okay- that’s it for now- I know some of this stuff rubs some of you the wrong way- in the past I have had friends ‘un-friend’ over stuff like this- so whatever will be will be.
If you want more about this subject- also on the blog- you will see another little book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ I wrote that years ago- at the fire house- but it gives you some verses that might help.
Okay- have a good weekend- and don’t worry- I’ll be back to politics soon- I know how much you guys love 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. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.
1882- IS GAIN GODLY?
As we close the week- lets re-cap a few things.
As an avid news watcher- once again the media over covered a very tragic event.
There were numerous days of nonstop coverage on all the news networks- of the tragic killing of 12 people in Aurora- Colorado.
While we don’t know all the motives of the sick person who did this- yet it is possible that one of the motives is attention.
And if we give a person nonstop coverage- then in a way we are playing into his distorted mind game.
The next day or 2 after the shooting [or the same day? I forget] we had 15 people killed right here in South Texas in a truck crash.
It was another case of a bunch of illegal aliens in a truck- coming into Texas.
The tire blew out- and 15 died.
Now- we also have had a string of murders going on in Chicago- it is really strange.
Ever since the former White House chief of staff- Rahm Emanuel- became mayor of the city- the death rate has sky rocketed.
I don’t know why this is- but it is a fact.
So- the real danger in the country is not the lone psycho who will walk into a theatre and open fire.
But it’s the regular gun violence taking place in Camden [N.J.] or Chicago- or any other inner city USA.
We have a terrible culture that exists in the gang lifestyle- and these are the real stories that if not dealt with will eventually kill tens of thousands more each year.
So- don’t want to lessen the horrendous act of Holmes- but just want to keep things in perspective.
The other week I caught an interview with David Brody- a reporter for CBN [Pat Robertson’s ministry].
He put out a book- Teavangelicals- and was talking about the ‘religious right’ and stuff.
The interviewer brought out some very good points- he challenged some of the ideas of the so called right.
Brody said many identify their faith with capitalism- he used a famous verse form the Old Testament ‘a good man leaves an inheritance to his kids, kids’.
I have heard [and read] this many times over my life.
So- Brody said that’s why the religious right identify with ‘right wing’ politics.
The interviewer quipped back ‘yes- but that’s one Old Testament verse- and all thru the New Testament Jesus railed against riches’.
Wow- I was surprised that the guy new his stuff.
Was he right?
This is what I talk about a lot- keeping things in context.
Avoiding what we call ‘proof texting’ which means you pick one verse out of the bible- and then build an entire belief system from that verse.
Jesus did say stuff like ‘What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?’
‘You cannot serve God and money’.
‘It is easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven’.
Now- I can go on- and in the past I have.
But the point I wanted to make was the news guy was right.
We need to see the Christian life primarily thru the ‘lens’ of the teachings of Christ- and emphasize the things he taught the most.
Now- this does not mean we should ignore a verse like ‘leave an inheritance for your kids’.
But we should absolutely avoid making stuff like that the main thing- I mean we- in the modern evangelical church have seemed to have fallen into the whole trap of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.
Years ago one of the prosperity preachers of the day put out a little book- the title was ‘righteousness is profitable’.
Of course the title told it all.
It was a short- and all consuming teaching that comes from this camp- and it basically taught that if you are a child of God- you will make lots of money [profitable].
Once again- the verse comes from the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy [1st Timothy chapter 4].
And in context it does not mean what the author said it meant.
2 chapters later Paul will actually write ‘the love of money is the root of all evil- some say gain [profit] is godliness [righteousness] avoid them’.
The point is- the author took Paul’s words- from the bible- and ‘made’ them say the opposite of what he said.
Then taught ‘see- that’s in the bible’.
Actually ‘that’ was not in the bible- at least not the way the author made it sound.
So- at the end of the day- we need to keep ‘first things first’.
Yes- there are many people who live day by day- lives without purpose or meaning.
And we- the church- don’t want to tell them that the purpose is more material stuff.
That’s not the message Jesus gave.
Sure- we can find a good verse about leaving money to your kid when you die.
But read the WHOLE bible in context.
Jesus put much more emphasis on warning people that if they ‘gain the whole world- and lose their soul- it profits nothing’.
The Kingdom of God is not about making a fortune- it’s about living your life for a higher purpose- a more noble goal- give your life away- that’s what the Master said.
1880- ZIGGY STARDUST
I’ve been catching some of the classic rock concerts on VHF 1- you know- the stuff I [we] saw back in the day.
I must admit- I have been an amateur ‘singer’ for many years.
I used to belt them out at the fire house on a regular basis- you know- sweeping the stalls- or doing a daily routine thing.
Okay- no lie- I did get some real compliments over my ‘career’.
One of the Captains asked one morning ‘were you playing the radio in there’.
I told him no- laughing- he did not believe I was singing.
My captain [Lopez] said for years that I should go on the ‘Americas got talent’ type shows.
So- after a while the guys would give a request or 2- and I tried my best.
I remember Sam- a younger guy- one day I sang Lola [the Kinks].
Sam knew the song as a remake- I guess some new group re-did it.
So- I sang the words- which Sam said he never really knew.
I told Sam ‘you do know who Lola is’.
He did not.
‘She walks like a woman and talks like a man’
‘When she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine’
‘I never ever kissed a woman before’ [nor this night!]
Yeah- you’re talking Penn State football locker rooms for the years that Sandusky was there.
So- one day I drove the girls to school- I tell them ‘you guys want breakfast- then you have to bear thru another one of dads songs- without laughing’.
They were up for it.
So- I picked one from my catalog [in my head!]
And I was off.
They managed to not laugh- or smile- that was the deal.
At the end- my daughter- per instructions of the bet- said ‘wow dad- that was really good’.
Still- no laugh.
I responded- with a dead pan serious face ‘are you serious.’
She lost the bet right there.
So- I caught the re-run of a David Bowie concert tour.
To be honest- I never really liked the guy- Changes was an all right song- but not much else.
But the stardust character that he sang the tour as [he was this androgynous type persona for the tour] reminded me of the famed Physicist – Neil Tyson.
Tyson heads up the Hayden planetarium in N.Y.
My dad took me there a bunch of times as a kid- I loved it.
Tyson has been making the rounds recently- talking about the Higgs Boson thing.
He is a nice guy- and he is trying to ‘popularize’ physics for the average guy- a noble cause.
But he- like a long line of others- stumbles very badly when he wades into the field of Apologetics/Logic.
Recently I saw a clip- he gave a very enthusiastic account of how the stars ‘made us’.
He said that we now know that the basic elements of the stars are in us.
And he then reached the unfounded conclusion that ‘we came from stars’.
Okay- a brief review.
This type of argument- which is not new- says if you find common elements in 2 different things- then one must have come from the other.
Why would this be false- at least in the star debate?
Because you cannot get intelligence- information- consciousness- from a non living thing.
As wonderful as the study of the stars can be- yet- to give the stars ‘Ontological status’ [meaning- you give a non living thing the status that only a living thing has] is wrong.
Tyson gives us no mechanism of how the stars actually created us.
I mean you can’t even appeal to biological evolution- because at least it uses living things.
No- the stars have no life.
Then how would you [I] explain the fact that stars have the same base elements that humans have?
Easy- there was one creator- a ‘first cause’ if you will- and according to the biblical argument- he made man from the base element- dirt.
So- in the Christian view- you have both how the same elements are in various things- and you have a ‘mechanism’ that explains how intelligence- consciousness- and life arrived.
They came from an infinite being- who has life in himself.
In the end- this is really the only logical explanation for the creation.
Remember- you can’t get intelligence from non intelligence.
It would be like finding a C.D. in a field- you popped it into a computer and you found information on it.
Then- you broke down [in a lab] the basic elements of the makeup of the C.D. – the actual hardware- not the info on it.
And said ‘aha- I have found the source of the info on the device’.
And you proceeded to show me the ingredients that make up the disk itself.
I would respond ‘all you have done is shown me the common elements that make up the disk- you have in no way proven that these base elements are responsible for the info on the disk’.
That’s the mistake that Tyson makes- he assumes that the common elements we find both in the stars and in humans- is proof that ‘we came from the stars’.
He’s wrong- very wrong.
About as wrong as me thinking I can make it on America’s got talent.
1879- GOAT MAN [or Fire Walkers]
I have a couple of news articles I clipped last week.
The first ‘Goat man spotted in mountains of Utah’.
The first paragraph says the authorities are worried that a man- dressed like a goat- living with a bunch of other goats- might be in danger as ‘hunting season approaches’.
I refuse to read the rest of the article- why ruin the fun?
The second- ‘21 people treated for burns at fire walk’.
The story is that Tony Robbins [success guru] did one of his ‘unleash the power within’ seminars- and 21 people received 2nd and 3rd degree burns while trying to ‘unleash the power’.
The other day I was going to mention the death of Stephen Covey.
I was a fan of Covey’s stuff- I actually pulled out his book from my shelf the other day- to make sure I spelled the name right if I did a post.
There was a notable difference between Covey’s approach and the other so called ‘motivational speakers’ of the day.
Covey took a more biblically oriented approach- he said success was not so much a technique thing [Robbins- he even taught the way you look- if you look in a certain direction while thinking- or posture yourself a certain way- that this too bread success].
Covey taught 7 basic principles [when they played the clips of his stuff- I knew it by heart- I listened to his c.d.’s many times].
They focused you on trying to work on the most important things- the things that you do have some influence on.
The things you can’t change- leave them be.
And ‘begin with the end in mind’.
Basically think ‘legacy’ don’t live for pure hedonism- but make something of your life that’s worthwhile.
I liked Covey- sad to see him go.
These few stories got me to thinking about the goal of faith.
I throw the word ‘metaphysical’ around a lot in my posts- usually talking about physics.
But there are what people refer to as ‘metaphysical cults’.
I don’t like the word cult- to be honest.
I have friends who are in groups that other Christians call cults.
I prefer to be honest and open with these friends [Mormon friends and Jehovah Witness friends].
Covey himself was Mormon.
And I have had really good- nonjudgmental talks with both of these groups many- many times.
When they come over- I talk to them as friends.
I’m not trying to continually persuade them to think my way.
I also realize that for someone that has studied church history- theology- various religious movements.
That it’s not very hard for me to throw out the standard talking points that most people use when trying to prove their side is right.
These types of ‘talking point’ debates usually lead nowhere.
So- I see the various guys who come and knock over the years- as well meaning people who wake up every day- and with a sincere heart are going out to do what they feel is God’s will.
Upfront with them?
At the same time understanding where they too are coming from.
Okay- said all that to say this.
The metaphysical ‘cults’ are groups that view the ‘real world’ as the non material realm.
‘Geez John- don’t we too walk by faith’?
Yeah- but walking by faith- and not by sight- is different from what these groups do.
Many in the Christian world have embraced lots of these ‘positive confession’ type beliefs- not realizing that they do fall into this category.
A few years ago I heard very popular preacher from this genre talking about an incident where a man ‘froze’ to death in a freezer.
The preacher said that they later found out that the freezer was unplugged- yet in his mind- what he thought ‘created’ an environment where he froze to death.
Okay- did this man freeze to death?
He more than likely died of a heart attack.
Now- the mind does play a role in things.
So- I saw the point.
But New Testament Christianity does not see the key to the Christian life as someone who masters certain principles like this.
Often times the letter to the Romans is used.
Paul says ‘we look not at the things that appear- but that do not appear’.
This is in Hebrews as well.
These examples come from the life of Abraham- when he walked by faith- not by sight.
Many times he rejected the evidence that said ‘this will never happen’.
Instead he trusted in God- and God did what seemed impossible.
Okay- that’s faith.
But Abraham lived quite the life.
He failed many times thru out the journey [too many to recount now].
He struggled with doubt too.
But in the end- faith was him believing God’s promise- not mastering some type of technique that denied physical reality.
So that’s the difference between biblical faith- and ‘positive confession- motivational’ type faith.
Be careful- if you confuse these 2- you might just get burned in the end.
1877 CHINESE FOOD- RELIGION- POLITICS [WOW!!]
Let’s try and cover a few things today.
Yesterday I went down to the mission to see the guys.
Henry showed up- I was hanging out with Dirk and Joe for a little while.
Henry heard they were serving chili – he has stomach problems- so he invited me and Joe to go to the Chinese buffet about a block away.
Henry has been working regularly at the boat dock and he had some cash.
We walked down to the Chinese place and Joe and Henry ate- I never eat lunch [or b-fast].
We had a good time- I actually took a few pictures and my daughter will try and post them [I’m bad at that].
We talked for a while- actually the guys brought up politics on their own.
Geez- Chinese buffet- homeless outreach and politics- I thought for sure the Kingdom had come.
Henry told me ‘John- did you hear- the cops cuffed me at HEB the other day’.
He told me the story.
Henry is one of the most upstanding guys you could ever meet.
He is a deacon for church without walls [a homeless church].
He is practically a scholar when it comes to the bible- and he does not do drugs or get drunk [he drinks wine. Not a lot- he thinks it helps with his stomach- that’s actually in the bible. Paul told Timothy ‘drink a little wine for you ailments’].
So- just to let you know- Henry is not a trouble maker by any means.
Why did the cops cuff him?
He went to HEB [our local grocery] and bought lunch.
He ate- then went to catch the bus.
Someone had called the cops and said a homeless guy was threatening him if he didn’t give him money.
HEB is right next to the mission so it’s possible that one of the other guys did do this.
So- when the cops got there they thought it was Henry and they cuffed him.
Henry does get mad- over the years they have arrested him- for no reason- they were just doing a sweep of the area- business people complain about all the ‘bums’- the cops pick a bunch of them up with no real charge- Henry is not loitering- he’s not drunk- he just looks bad [check out the picture on Face Book].
So- he has had to sit in jail- without doing any crime- and of course it would piss you off- it would me.
So anyway he told me the scoop- they finally uncuffed him- and let him go.
I took a few more pictures of the guys- now that I started posting pictures of the guys- I’m like the dad that keeps making his kids pose for pics on vacation [like my dad did a lot].
The guys were like ‘why are you taking pics’?
I told them I started posting them to the site.
They said ‘wow- were gonna be famous’.
One of the guys said ‘you can’t take my pic- the cops might find me’.
I mentioned that I regret the fact that some of the guys have died and I never got a picture.
I talked about Bill.
Bill was one of the first guys I met on the street- he was about 30 years older than me and I have written a few posts on Bill over the years.
Bill eventually saw me as his ‘best friend’ almost like a son/brother.
I guess I took Bill out to eat more than any other street guy.
Bill died a few years ago.
So- as I mentioned Bill- Joe told me that they have a picture of Bill hanging up inside the mission.
I couldn’t believe it- they had one of Bill- and the camp!
I took a pic- will post it.
Many of the guys live in makeshift camps- I have visited hundreds of camps over the years.
These are little ‘tent cities’ that pop up in the vacant fields all around the area where I live.
I live on a bluff- a peninsula type jetty sticking out into the bay- right off the gulf.
So- there are lots of beach spots- and areas where the homeless can camp out.
My area is nice- it’s been developed over the years and marketed because of its closeness to Padre Island [right over the bridge and you’re at the beach- the national sea shore- you could walk it].
So- after a while the locals complain about the homeless population- and every so often they do a sweep- and go thru the camps and cut the tents [cops] and stuff like that.
I have bought tents for the guys over the years- and I get mad when I hear the cops cut another tent.
I’ll try and get these photos up loaded soon.
On the way back to the marina [where Henry works].
We started talking about all the guys who have died these past few years.
I told Henry that when I do my early morning prayers- I try to ‘see’ these guys as part of the community- the little fellowship of friends I have worked with over the years.
I told Henry- that in a strange way- I still sense Bill- Shelby- etc. – as ‘hanging out’ with us [I just looked up over my head- I have a ball cap of Bill hanging on my shot gun rack- after Bill died I found it under my car seat. He must have left it there one day when going out to eat- I kept it as a memento].
I mentioned that as Protestants- we usually neglect the biblical teaching that our Catholic friends emphasize.
The Communion of the Saints.
That even though Protestants don’t practice prayers to Mary and the saints- yet in a very real way those who have died in the faith are indeed still part of the community.
I mentioned the book of Revelation- it speaks about the prayers of the martyrs [dead Christians] going up to God as incense.
I told Henry- just because our friends have died- that does not mean they can’t still pray- even for us!
Being Henry knows the bible well- he was familiar with the passage that I mentioned- he just never saw it like that [see- there are lots of things like this in the Christian journey- that’s why we should hold judgment on other Christian denominations as much as possible- we all ‘see dimly’ at times].
Okay- I guess will end there.
I was gonna do a few news items- yesterday the ‘rebels’ in Syria bombed a key headquarters of the leader- Assad.
This was a suicide bombing- by most accounts- Al Qaeda did this.
Yet- the U.S. – and the western media continue to describe these guys as innocent civilians whom Assad is killing.
This happened in Libya as well.
I am not defending Assad- but we in the West need to stop referring to all the rebel groups in the various Arab spring uprisings as ‘innocent rebels’.
Many are not- many are terrorists- they practice such things as suicide bombings.
The one yesterday killed some key Syrian men- one was the brother in-law of Assad.
Things are getting very unstable over there.
Our recent killing of an Indian fisherman [we shot the fishing boat off the U.A.E the other day].
And yesterday’s terror attack on a bunch of Israeli tourists.
These are all signs of major unrest in that region- It’s possible that this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to Israel taking out the nuclear facilities of Iran.
Obama has been trying to get Israel to hold off on the Iranian attack- you guessed it- till after the election.
But after yesterdays bus bombing- they might decide to go.
So all in all- there’s lots of stuff going on in the world- lets pray for peace- for all people.
PEACE ON EARTH- GOOD WILL TO MEN.
I wanted to cover a bunch of stuff today- but I know I won’t be able to get to it all.
I haven’t commented on the news in a while- and there are some trending narratives that we probably should do.
This last week the Obama campaign accused Romney of possibly committing a felony.
Now- most of us know why the accusation was made- and yeah- we all know politics gets dirty.
What I find ‘funny’ is- out of all the presidents- and potential presidents of the past few decades- none- zero- has had the corrupt connections like the present president.
Look- I’m not an Obama hater- nor a Romney lover.
But- the reality is- our current president has all types of current/former political connections that are presently on the verge of being convicted for committing felonies- or are serving time for just that.
But- as you listen to the news- you would never know it.
Right now- as I write- Jesse Jackson Jr. is in ‘treatment’ for a Mood disorder.
Jackson left his post a couple of months ago- and his Chicago constituents were asking where he was [he’s a congressman from Chicago].
The story finally made it into the national news.
Some thought he was in hiding- or on the run.
The latest is he is being treated for the mood disorder.
Why was there speculation that he was on the run?
Because another associate just got sent to prison for his involvement in the Chicago political corruption.
It involves illegal contacts with the Obama people when he was running for pres- yes- real felonies- not fake ones.
Enter the former governor.
Rod Blagoavich [sp?] also got sent to the pokey.
You guessed it- more illegal contacts with the actual Obama people- caught on actual FBI tapes.
Rahm Emanuel- the president’s former chief of staff- and current mayor of Chicago- he was on the tapes.
Yeah- real felonies all around.
Glad you asked.
Once again another close confidant of Obama sent to prison for corrupt real estate deals- they were committing crimes by doing illegal deals for their friends.
Obama actually bought real estate from this man- he actually was involved in one of the deals.
These are all real felonies- real crimes- that all of the people who were wheeling and dealing with the president- while he was a senator from Illinois- have gone to prison for.
Yet- the media covered these stories at a minimal rate.
Some of you never even heard of them until now.
But- the major media market has been intensely going thru all the business deals of Romney.
Not one news organization that has investigated it has said Romney has done anything even being close to illegal- yet this is the major story of the day.
This is what you call media bias.
You have one person [Obama] who was surrounded with friends/political partners who were all convicted of felonies and sent to prison.
One of the players is currently in treatment for a ‘mood disorder’ yet- the media rarely mentions that the real problem is they were all involved with illegal deals while in contact with the Obama people.
This is real- these people were all sent to prison because of this.
Rezko sits in prison right now- and he actually sold one of the homes to Obama- no joke.
To even have this ‘side’ make an accusation of a felony is unbelievable- yet- the media try to make you believe it.
‘John- how do you know Romney wasn’t really doing an under the counter deal- maybe he was lying to the govt. when he said he was still the CEO of Bain’.
This is how- if you are trying to deceive the people- and your plan is to say- on paper- that you’re the CEO of a company.
Then- as you are trying your hardest to stay ‘undetected’ you then proceed to run the U.S. Olympics for 3 years.
I mean who in their right mind would do something like that- unless the story is true.
The story that Romney says is true.
He went and took the job at the Olympics because he thought it was a good thing to do.
He refused to get paid by the way- just like when he was governor of Mass- he refused to take a check.
There are other things that the president has done that has turned some heads- even liberal ones.
Obama is the first president in the history of the nation to have executed an American citizen without a trial.
Yes- no lie.
When asked what his justification was- the ACLU sued to get the administration to release the justice dept. papers that justified the killing.
The Justice dept refused to release the memo- and instead made a statement that said ‘Due process does not mean you get a trial’.
Most observers- liberal ones- said this is outrageous.
The U.S. constitution says U.S. citizens have the right to due process- which means the courts.
Holder interprets that as saying the process ‘they do’ at the justice dept will cover it.
Even Colbert mocked it- he said ‘o- they mean it’s a process YOU DO’.
I’ll end with this.
When Obama authorized use of force in Libya- he did not go to congress to get approval.
The constitution does give the power to go to war to the congress.
When this happened- some in the media reported that Bush did it too.
That was wrong- Bush sought congressional approval twice- and got it.
Obama was the first to go it alone.
He argued that planes dropping bombs was not ‘military action’ but ‘kinetic action’.
[it was later reported that we had men on the ground in the action]
He forever changed the standard of war.
I could go on- but I think you get the hint.
So- the next time you see a media report about Romney being a felon.
Re read this post- it will help you keep things in context.
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. Don’t forget to ‘click’ the note App on my Facebook Profile- I have posted lots.
1874- THE MONEY PIT
The other day I took a few pics of my homeless friends.
I thought I better get them while I can- I have had a few of the guys die on me.
So- I checked my old cell phone and found a few from some friends who died already [Shelby] – plus a few old pics from the fire dept.
I’ll try and post them this week.
Okay- the day I took the recent pics I saw Buck.
I haven’t seen Buck in around 3 years.
[I had heard he died once- then later saw him.
Henry- who is usually real reliable- a trusted friend- told me Buck died.
He also told me Roger died in jail.
And he told me Vern died [all over a period of 3 years or so].
Then one day while sitting at the mission- with Henry- Buck showed up.
‘Hey Buck- I heard you died’.
Then Roger showed up.
‘I can’t believe it- you’re alive too’.
I realized at that point that Henry was not the most reliable source when it comes to the Obit column.
I will not be surprised if I see Vernon one day. ]
Bucks a nice guy- but a falling down drunk- you know- the type that’s so drunk he passes out on the street.
I’ll admit- I have had my problems with drinking a little more than you should over the years- no excuses.
But Buck goes real overboard.
The thing that surprised me was Buck was missing an arm- he lost a ton of weight- and he’s in a wheel chair.
He looked so bad- almost to the point where you would avoid him.
When the guys went inside the mission to eat- I sat opposite Buck at the table.
Buck recognized me and asked for a couple of dollars.
I try not to give drunks money- but I have given a few guys a few dollars.
I give away money- but I realize with Buck he will drink.
So- I had a 20 on me- and asked for change from the workers at the mission.
No one had any- after a little while I gave Buck the 20.
Was he happy?
Yeah- and no.
Being he’s in a wheel chair- and one arm- he can’t push the thing [you know- circles].
So he asked if I could push him to the restroom.
They have a bathroom for the homeless- and one for the employees.
The homeless one was occupied- so Buck had me turn him around and he ‘went’ in the workers bathroom.
I had no idea about the rule- but when he asked me to stop him at the workers bathroom- he stood up and took a leak.
The lady that runs the place screamed at me [no lie] ‘your gonna clean it up mister’.
I said- fine- if that’s what you want- no problem.
Look- I was in the Navy before- so having ‘latrine duty’ was no biggy.
When I wheeled Buck back to the table- he bummed a cigarette from Don and asked me to wheel him outside for a smoke.
I told him I was gonna sit inside for a little bit- but he would not stop asking.
Buck is a narcissist- he found someone who was willing to help- and the demands came- one after the other.
I wheeled Buck outside- and had to walk away- he would not stop seeking his own welfare- nonstop requests.
So- I sat with Andy and Huey- old friends.
Huey asked if I had a couple of dollars- I told him [and Tammy] ‘look- I had a 20- I wanted to get change- and you guys could have split the money- but Buck has the 20’.
They wanted me to get the 20 back- and they would get change.
I told them ‘I’m finished with Buck- if you want- you get the change’.
The wheels started rolling [in their head- not Bucks chair].
So- after a few requests- they conned Buck out of the 20.
He wanted cigarettes [another request] and Andy said he’d get the smokes- and then bring a 10 back- and Huey and Andy and Tammy would split the rest.
So- Andy gets back [he had someone’s truck] and as he spreads the loot- Huey grabs the 10 and Buck gets the cigs and 2 dollars.
Bucks pissed- Huey laughed- and I told them ‘I don’t care who gets what- leave me out’.
Actually- first I said ‘hey- I just remembered- I have no gas- can somebody lend me 2 Bucks’.
Yeah- a test.
Actually- they all were willing to give me a couple back.
I know to some folk- this looks bad.
In a way it is- trust me- I have lots of friends who never- not one time- ask me for money.
I had some that took me out to eat- they saved thru out the week so they could buy.
And the whole thing this day- well- it was kind of funny in a way- I know these guys well- real well.
Huey was asking Andy [his brother] to go down the block- to the motel- and go to room ?- tell the girl ‘I’m Huey’s brother’ and then get the 2 ‘things’ in the cabinet.
Now- I realize he’s giving him directions to get some type of drug.
Not sure what type- maybe Meth- it’s popular in this area [called Ice].
But Andy kept saying ‘look Huey- if you want me to go- tell me what it is’.
He didn’t want to say it with me there- I walked around the building for a sec- and came back.
Andy went on the mission.
He came back- the girl was not there.
When I was going thru my phone pics- I saw I had one of Andy and John David [all 3 are real brothers- Andy, John David and Huey].
And I thought I will post that one for sure- we were at my house and had a fellowship- we did the lords Supper right in the yard.
John David and Andy are actually seeking God.
At the time of the picture- John David was clean from drugs for a couple of months.
He had a great story- wrote about it at the time- but he really made an effort to seek the Lord.
I guess I’ll re- tell the story- it’s worth it.
Many years ago when the brothers lived in Dallas- John David shot- and killed his best friend with a shotgun.
The case gained publicity- and John’s mom did her best to get her son a good lawyer.
She was told that the best guy was the guy who actually defended the guy who shot Lee Harvey Oswald.
He told me the name- I forget it now.
But his mom went to the lawyer’s office and waited all day- he was trying to avoid her.
Finally- at the end of the day- he came out of the room and she asked if he could defend her son.
He did the job pro bono.
He got John off.
John told me a year later he went to his friend’s grave and ‘pissed on it’.
He was in no mood to repent.
The family moved to Corpus after that [early 70’s].
And John David had a thriving construction business.
He also hated the homeless people.
John became a big time addict [Coke- etc.]
He eventually lost it all and wound up on the streets- with the people he despised.
Over the years when I met the different guys on the streets- John kept his distance.
He looked bad- scary looking- like someone that would indeed shoot you to be honest.
Anyway- I met his brothers- Andy and Huey- and John kept his distance.
One day at the mission John was different.
He actually couldn’t wait to tell me the story.
A few months earlier he was all strung out down by the bay [I’ll post these pictures too- we live surrounded by water].
He was doing the usual thing- getting high.
He was tired- he lost his business- family [he had a boy get run over- the boy- and the doctor who ran him over- were both drunk at the time- the boy died].
John sat there and said to God ‘if you’re fucking real- then do something’.
A couple of days later- 2 strangers came up to him and offered to pay 5 thousand to send him to the local re-hab- called Charlie’s place.
John went- met a bunch of Christians- and got clean- and dedicated his life to God.
John came over to the house a few times- we had a few fellowships [I’ll post the pics] and he stayed clean- for a long time.
That’s been about 5 year’s now- and the other day I heard one of the guys tell Andy ‘I heard John David was not doing well’.
I dreaded to ask- but I did ‘what do you mean- he’s back on drugs’?
The guy- who did not know me from Adam- said ‘no- actually he’s be clean for years- but he needs heart surgery and back surgery’.
I was not glad to hear about the medical problems- but was glad to hear he was still clean.
So- all in all it was a good day.
Yeah- the guys fought over the 20.
I cleaned the bathroom.
But in the end- it was worth it.
Oh yeah- John David got his answer ‘I’M REAL’.
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. Don’t forget to ‘click’ the note App on my Facebook Profile- I have posted lots.
1873- DON’T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CANT DO THE TIME
Last night I was arrested for impersonating a cop.
Okay- not really [see last Facebook post- real time].
No- the title comes from one of my favorite TV shows as a kid.
How many of you saw the interview he did last night with Piers Morgan?
I rarely watch this show- but the night before I saw a quick plug for it- and decided to watch the thing.
It was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve seen.
Blake [Robert Blake played Barretta in the cop flick].
He made it into the headlines a few years back because he was suspected of shooting his wife- Bonnie Lee Blakely.
It became one of those viral type stories- you know- the whole ‘movie star’ is in trouble thing.
He was eventually acquitted- but found guilty in civil court.
I was surprised to hear Blake talk about God- a lot.
He cursed Morgan a few times- rambled about his past- and it was genuinely a wacky interview.
I started thinking about the old TV shows when I was a kid.
Okay- what one was your favorite? [Between 1970-80].
I’ll never forget this one episode of a show simply titled FAMILY.
It was one of those down to earth Walton type things.
I used to watch it with my sister.
This one episode- the star of the show- I think the actor was Gary Frank [show name- Buddy?]
Anyway- I guess he was the latest ‘cute kid’ that the girls flipped over.
I hated having to compete with these guys.
You know- how can you impress the girl in class if she’s thinking of David Cassidy all day?
So- in this episode some ex-con knocks on the door.
Buddy gets it.
The guy introduces himself and then the mom comes.
Buddy walks away- and the convict says ‘That’s one tough looking dude’.
Where in the world did the writers come up with a line like that?
I mean it was so out of the blue.
This convict just spent 10 years in the hole with murderers and all.
Yet- his first impression of Buddy was ‘he’s tough lookin’.
So- as we laughed- hard.
I told my sister ‘I know- Frank’s contract must have been up- and instead of a raise- he wanted this line in the next show’.
Ahh- vanity of vanities.
Okay- the other day I got with the homeless guys.
I was surprised- Mike [the artist] had a gift for me.
As we sat at the mission- outside on one of the benches.
Mike pulled out a new CD- still in the wrapper.
I told Mike- you wont believe this- I just asked my girls to get me the Boston CD for father’s day.
They made me about 5 cd’s from the internet. [I told my future son in law- after he informed me of where he can burn them- for free. I said ‘I do the same thing- I just Google ‘burn illegal songs without getting caught’ and a bunch of real good sites pop up- even from the FBI]
Actually- he did burn me some good tunes.
But Mike remembered that I said I liked Boston [the rock group- not the state]
And he picked me up the CD.
I also had another good long talk with Dirk.
Dirk lives in his van- has been for the past 25 years- ever since I’ve known him.
Dirk can’t stand the homeless guys- even though he is one.
One good friend Henry [written about a lot over the years] is also the ‘street Deacon’ for a church that’s called ‘Church without walls’.
Brother Ray- a street preacher- runs the ministry.
Dirk often talks bad about Ray- and the people that go to the free meals he serves [Dirk being one].
So Dirk was once again ranting about the bums and addicts and all.
He often says ‘the bible says you’re not supposed to help these people- if they don’t want to work [like Dirk] then they should not eat’!
He is blind to the fact that he is actually one of them.
He mentioned the apostle Paul’s writing to the Corinthian church.
Paul did say ‘don’t eat with the heathen’.
Dirk said ‘see’.
I spent a little time trying to put it in context.
Jesus was accused of being A FRIEND OF SINNERS.
Notice- it wasn’t just ‘I have a ministry to homeless folk’.
No- a friend.
That’s what irked the ‘heck’ out of the Pharisees.
I mean they were willing to ‘minister’ to them [by judging them].
But no- Jesus was their friend.
Actually- there’s a famous song on this very theme.
Okay- in the city of Corinth- well- you had a lot of stuff happening.
Corinth was on the way to Athens [the center of philosophy of the day].
And it would be considered one of the more ‘liberal’ cities of the day.
It was like the Amsterdam of our day.
Prostitution was legal and open on every corner.
Paul told the women in the Corinthian church to ‘wear head coverings’ when they went to church.
More than likely- a cultural thing just for the day.
The way the ‘street ladies’ put on the Red Light was to wear no veil/hat.
So Paul told the women in the city- wear your hat.
You had a few other things like this- where the context explains the meaning.
So- another big thing at Corinth was eating ‘at the table of idols’.
One of the local customs was you would buy some type of animal- use it as a sacrifice to one of the idols- and then the meat would be sold ‘at the shambles’.
A sort of market where you bought the meat at a cheap rate.
This stuff became an issue at Corinth- and they wondered whether it was okay to eat the meat.
They also had a controversy over the Lords Supper [Eucharist] and some other stuff.
So- Paul did say ‘don’t eat with the heathen’.
But- in context- he was telling them not to be a part of the custom of eating at this idol type buffet thing.
They were having their own meal [Lords Supper] and they ought not to be worshipping the idols at the other table.
Okay- that’s context.
That’s why Jesus did eat with the prostitutes and sinners- and he was not violating the law.
Okay- there are lots of things like this when you study the bible.
And I do see the point that Dirk was making.
You do want to encourage people to not become a permanent member of the welfare state.
You do want to try and help them get on their feet.
The apostle Paul did say ‘if they don’t work- they should not eat’.
Talking to the actual church members- he did not want people ‘coming to Christ’ for the free stuff.
But- we always have people in need- and we’re commanded to love/help them.
Okay- that’s it for now- maybe I can catch a re- run of Barretta tonight?
I have not seen it yet on the guide.
I try to avoid Family- Buddy scares me.
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. Don’t forget to ‘click’ the note App on my Facebook Profile- I have posted lots.
Let’s recap a few recent news events.
Yesterday Libya held their first Democratic election.
To my surprise [and glad about the thing] it seems [so far!] that they might have elected a ‘non Islamic’ guy.
Yeah- every so called Arab Spring state has gone the other way.
Yet- in Libya- maybe- just maybe they will get a good guy.
‘John- do you mean to say the Muslim Brotherhood’ are bad’?
In a way- yes.
What we have done in the Western world [especially the President] is we have sided with those who have been ‘rebelling’ in these various nations.
You might have a situation like Egypt- where we were actually good allies of the former leader- Mubarak.
Yet- he- like the other autocrats in the region- did indeed abuse his power.
His police force were brutal- and eventually the people rose up and had the historic protests in Tahrir square.
We then began calling for Mubarak to step down [the infamous words of Robert Gibbs- the former press Secy- ‘he needs to go- yesterday’]
And he did just that- he stepped down under pressure.
Now- as ‘righteous’ as the U.S. looked- we actually conspired secretly with the Egyptian military and used this inside pressure to get the guy to go.
How come we had that type of influence?
Because the top military leaders were all trained at West Point- here in the U.S.
Our generals and military guys all knew their top guys- and that’s how we did it.
Okay- the rest is history.
The Muslim Brotherhood guy just won the election in Egypt- and he is calling back the Parliament- the military dismissed them a few weeks ago- and the new guy is going up against the military.
The Parliament had a majority of Muslim Brotherhood in the ranks.
Because the Egyptian law limits the majority in parliament- one party can only hold so many seats- their high court ruled it ‘unconstitutional’ and they were ‘let go’.
So- the new Brotherhood guy wants them back.
All in all- many [most] of these countries are going the way of Islamic law.
This is not good for the rights of women- it’s not good if your gay- and it’s bad if you’re a Christian.
Yes- even though they might have been elected by the people- makes no difference- if you want to rule your country by religious law- then that’s not good- period.
Okay- then why did we just have a couple of days of worldwide media coverage about the Taliban killing the woman ‘taken in adultery’.
Look- we- the U.S.- use propaganda all the time.
We are all affected by it.
The Taliban shot a woman because she committed adultery with some military guys.
The media have been showing this ‘shocking’ tape.
We have been trying to negotiate a peace treaty with these guys.
And how have they responded?
They blew up a few buildings and killed a bunch of guy’s right after one of the recent meetings.
They are saying ‘screw you’.
So- we show how bad they are.
‘But John- isn’t it bad’.
But they do the same thing in Saudi Arabia- Bahrain- and a bunch of other places.
And we support these other leaders- even though they indeed do the same thing- based on Islamic law.
So- when we show the killing by the Taliban- make no mistake- many of ‘our friends’ do the exact same thing.
I hope Libya turns out well- but it’s too soon to tell.
Every now and then I’ll see that they’re playing that Jim Carey flick.
It’s kind of a kid’s type movie- but when I saw it years ago- it was funny.
Carey is ‘cursed’ by having to tell the truth for 24 hours.
His kid made a birthday wish and Carey becomes this saint.
So- he finds himself in these tough spots- being he is a lawyer.
He tells his secretary about the curse- but she doesn’t believe him.
He says ‘go ahead- test me- ask me something that you think I would lie about’.
So she begins questioning him about the time she asked for a raise and he said that the bosses said they couldn’t approve it because then all the other secretaries would want one.
She then recounts how he told her he offered to pay out of his own pocket- but they said no.
As she recounts the tale- Jim covers his ears and says ‘never mind- don’t ask- don’t ask’.
The next scene- she’s emptying out her desk.
His son tells him ‘dad- my teacher said that true beauty is in the heart- it’s not the outward appearance’.
Carey responds ‘that’s just something ugly people say’.
He does this all thru out the movie.
At one point the secretary answers the phone- it’s one of his regular ‘customers’.
She informs Carey that it’s him- and he’s asking for advice- he just got busted doing some drug thing- or break in.
Carey takes the phone to give him the advice- actually I hesitated on using this- I mean I did drop the F bomb in the last post- but he takes the phone and says ‘stop f$@# up- A- hole’.
What’s the solution to all these uprisings?
We are now using the same words that we used in all the other spots- we are talking the same way about Syria ‘the wrong of history- his time is short’.
I have stood on the side of the people in all these uprisings- and at first I wanted to see real democracy spring forth.
Yet- we must realize that many radicals in these countries are also using the whole ‘wrong side of history’ to see if we will come in and do the dirty work for them.
One of the militia leaders in Libya- the side we backed- is actually an Al Qaeda guy who was released from Gitmo.
Yeah- one of the prisoners we released- he‘s running a military group right now in Libya.
So- what do we do?
When various groups rise up- start an armed uprising- then say ‘look- do something- see- we are dying’.
We need to say- we support democracy- everywhere.
But- if you want our backing- then you can’t install Islamic rule- as the law of the land.
The U.S. would not permit it- so we won’t back you if you keep doing it.
Second- if your ‘rebellion’ includes the bombing of civilians- hospitals- and other ‘non military targets’ [like the Syrian rebels] then we won’t back you.
In short- we- the U.S. and the Western World- we are not responsible for all the world’s problems.
We want to help people- but not groups who are tied to Al Qaeda.
We want to support democracy- but not ‘democracies’ that elect leaders who want Islamic law.
Yeah- maybe the advice of Carey to his client is what we need to tell them- stop- well- you know.
NOTE- Let me give you one more example of ‘propaganda’.
Last year I watched a story unfold on MSNBC.
Thru out the week they did their usual Sarah Palin bashing.
Now- I have said in the past- I think she was not ready for the job of V.P.
But- that doesn’t mean open season on her- and her kids.
The story was some book writer rented the house next door to the Palin’s.
He set up all the stuff to see if he could catch them doing anything that the world might want to see.
I guess the guy had cameras and recorders rolling.
So- the response of any normal person would be to- get mad.
So they put up a bigger fence- and tried to protect their privacy.
Then- some out of town reporter showed up- he came to Alaska for the sole purpose of digging up dirt on the family.
He actually approached the younger daughter of Palin- I think it was at the school yard.
She was around 13 at the time.
When mom and dad found out- they were rightfully pissed off- like any normal parent would be.
They informed the guy- from out of state- to stay away from this minor- I mean who knows- the guy might have been some sex offender.
So- one day in town- the guy approached the daughter again.
When Sarah found out- she was fuming.
So they contacted the authorities- and they tried to press charges.
How did I find out about the story?
Well- on MSNBC- Keith Olberman’s show- before he quit.
He covered the story as ‘Sarah Palin and her nut family’.
Yeah- he had the reporter on- and they made him look like a victim.
‘Who does the daughter think she is- damn it! I mean- it’s not illegal to walk up to somebody in town!’
Yeah- you tell em Keith.
The story went on and they depicted Palin- and her minor daughter- as nut cases.
The reporter defended himself by saying after the school yard incident- he decided to leave the girl alone.
But being he flew to Alaska- he might as well not waste the ticket.
So- he went ‘sight seeing’.
As he was ‘sight seeing’ in town- low and behold- the daughter- by chance- spotted him.
He says she approached him.
Then- MSNBC made it look like the daughter was the nut ‘who does she think she is- she’s the one who was out looking for you’.
Okay- this guy is in Alaska for the sole purpose of getting dirt on Palin- yet the daughter sought him out.
It was sad that a so called news organization would do this [another reporter- Andrew Sullivan- reported a story that Sarah’s Down Syndrome son Trigg- was really the ‘bastard’child of Bristol- this story will forever live on the internet- the son- and all the family will one day read it].
It was even sadder that many believed it.
I usually have talks with my liberal friend when stuff like this happens- and they usually have swallowed the line.
‘Geez John- look how dumb Palin is- who does her daughter think she is- just because your 13 doesn’t mean adult men cant approach you’.
Say of the story were turned around- say if this happened to Sasha or Malia- the presidents girls- would we be saying the same thing?
See- that’s media bias- that’s propaganda- that’s what happens to all of us- regardless of what side of the aisle your on.
1870- THE PRAIRIE PROPHET
This week I read the book of Amos.
Amos was a prophet to the northern nation of Israel- 750-790 b.c. [though he had a few prophecies for Judah- the southern nation].
He was unlike the other Old Testament prophets- in that he was an ‘uneducated’ shepherd that came from a little village [Tekoa] about 5 miles south of Bethlehem.
Yet- Amos knew history.
He railed against the political leadership of the nation- he spoke up for the poor ‘in the gate’ and condemned the ‘church’ of his day.
He said they were spending all their time and money on religious celebration- on their own ideas of what they felt God wanted [Amos says they worshipped the ‘gods that they made’].
And yet justice was falling down in the street.
Yeah- Amos was a prophet sent from God- and the people knew it.
I watched [re watched] a documentary this week on the failed run for the presidency by George McGovern.
Now- as a news buff- I never really studied McGovern- but have heard so much about the guy [usually negative] that my view of him was formed by these little clips of his life.
McGovern is famous because his loss to Nixon in 1972 was one of the biggest landslides in presidential history.
As I watched the documentary- and read Amos- I began seeing a type of Amos in McGovern.
McGovern was from South Dakota- outside of the mainstream ‘machine’ of the Democratic Party.
He was raised in a preacher’s home- and dabbled at becoming one himself.
He would eventually enter politics- and also had a background as an historian [Amos].
They called him ‘the prairie prophet’.
He was not the favored candidate for his party’s nomination.
At first it looked like Muskie would be their man.
But old Ed didn’t seem to have the temperament for the job.
At one campaign stop he was picketed by some gay rights group.
He said- quote ‘If I have to be nice to a bunch of Soddomites to get elected- then fuck it’.
McGovern would eventually win his party’s nomination- and lose in the general election.
As I watched the rise of McGovern- the animosity- and outright hatred- from his own party.
I also saw that he indeed was a voice in the wilderness at times.
McGovern is most famous for his opposition to the Vietnam War.
It was said that just the name of McGovern being said would send Lyndon Johnson into a rage.
McGovern stood steady in his opposition- and as an historian he had read that other world watchers had predicted that there would be an uprising in Indo China and South East Asia.
They said the people groups were growing tired of colonialism- and they would eventually rebel.
So McGovern did not see the Vietnamese as a communist threat- that left unchecked would have a domino effect.
After the assassination of Bobby Kennedy he was convinced to briefly throw his hat into the ring and run for the 68 nomination.
But the 1972 nomination was his big achievement.
In the book of Amos there are some choice quotes [not like Musky].
‘Hate evil and love good- establish judgment in the land’
‘Let judgment run down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream’ [MLK’s famous line too]
‘Woe to them that are at ease in Zion’ [the present day church]
The one that caught my eye the most-
‘He strengthens the spoiled against the strong so that they come against the fortress’.
At times in history there are voices that rise- sometimes they are Prairie Prophets.
Sometimes we don’t realize the importance of what they are saying- until after they are gone.
Rulers- people in power- they are not all corrupt- but many are.
LBJ referred to Vietnam as a ‘little piss ant of a country’.
He [and Nixon] bombed the hell out of the land- not wanting to be seen as week.
A small- little ‘piss ant’ country in South East Asia.
Hundreds of thousands would die needlessly.
Men like McGovern- for all their critics- saw the writing on the wall.
At the present day- as I write- we have been at war in Afghanistan for around 11 years now.
We just reopened a key ground [truck] route thru Pakistan- it has been shut for 7 months because we killed around 30 Pakistani soldiers in a mistaken identity case.
NATO was flying over the border- we were fired upon from the ground- and we bombed them.
We thought they were Taliban- they were Pakistani.
Pakistan got pissed off- and they forbid us to use the key supply route until we apologized.
We just did.
We are now having talks with the Taliban- to come to some type of Peace Terms with them.
Our goal at the start was to remove them from power because they gave Al Qaida a place to operate from.
At the start we were warned that the Taliban [and the Afghanis in general] are a resilient people.
That to enter into a ground war- in some ‘piss ant’ part of the Arab world would be foolish.
We are now trying to find a way to untangle ourselves from this mess.
Yeah- after 11 years- our guys coming home without their body parts.
Thousands dead- many of them women and children.
Yeah- after 11 years our only response is.
Well- in the immortal words of Ed Muskie #$@^%$
1867- DID JESUS WHERE AN ARMANI SUIT?
I was debating on what to talk about this morning- I want to do a little more on Leaks and the freedom of the press.
But I think instead we’ll cover some more about the nature of the church.
I read an article yesterday- it was about a church in Singapore whose pastor was arrested because he ‘funneled’ 19 million dollars from the Charity Chest- and he used it to support his wife’s ‘international singing ministry’.
They showed the picture of the wife- she was supposedly trying to break into the ‘secular’ industry [non Christian music] and she simply looked like any other rock/pop star.
I don’t say this to be critical- and whenever I deal with these issues- people get mad.
Most of you see stuff like this and right from the start see it as wrong- and you should.
But there are many people- good people- who head up big ministries- who actually think this type of stuff is okay.
It takes a long time to explain it- but over the past 40 years the Evangelical church has developed a type of theology- usually called The Prosperity Gospel- and many good people have been inundated with all types of arguments- even from the bible- that seem to teach that fame and fortune are actually Gods plan.
Often times these people think- sincerely- that any rebuke of this type of stuff is simply a rebuke from those ‘old time traditional churches- those religious folk’.
But in reality- a proper reading of the bible- and especially the life and teachings of Jesus- show us that this type of idea- the fame and wealth thing- is not really a right biblical understanding.
Let’s do a few examples.
A few years ago I read an article in the San Antonio paper- to my surprise it was about a church in the city that was embroiled in a controversy.
I knew the pastor- used to listen to his teachings [years ago] and read a couple of his books [sitting here on my shelf right now].
The controversy was some board member from the church took the church to court- because the pastor publicly exposed him as a trouble maker from the pulpit on a Sunday morning.
This board member was a ‘trouble maker’ because he revealed to the church that at a time when the church was going thru this huge money raising campaign- encouraging people to give sacrificially- the Pastor bought a 4 thousand dollar Armani suit for another board member- as a gift [with church funds].
Yet- at the same time- there were lots of poor people who were giving there measly widows mite- to whom 4 thousand dollars is not a drop in the bucket.
So the board member exposed the thing- they went to court- and the whole thing was a mess.
Now- as I read the story- at one point the Pastor defended his buying of the suit by quoting the story of Jesus in the bible- when the lady pours expensive perfume on Jesus.
The Pastor basically said ‘see- its okay to waste lots of money’.
This story is often used to defend a lavish ‘ministry’ lifestyle- and innocent people- people who hear these types of so called ‘biblical arguments’ do become convinced over time.
Needless to say the story in no way defends wealth and fame- but simply shows us that it’s okay to worship THE LORD extravagantly- not man.
Another bible story is often used in these churches to defend wealth- wealth as being Gods primary will for his people that is [it’s okay to be successful- and have money- but I’m dealing with the abuse of it- the 19 million dollars from the Poor Fund being spent on the singing career of the pastors wife type of thing].
In the gospels we read about the Crucifixion of Jesus.
At the foot of the Cross the soldiers gambled for the robe of Jesus.
There actually is an Old Testament prophecy that said this would happen- it was written hundreds of years before.
The prophecy says ‘they will cast lots for my vesture’.
Okay- why did they gamble for it- instead of just ripping the thing in half?
Because this coat was an expensive coat- sort of like the coat that the patriarch Joseph had from his father [Genesis].
The bible says Joseph’s coat ‘of many colors’ was a source of jealousy for his other brothers.
When you have a seamless coat- in bible days- that’s a lot of work- so these types of coats are indeed the Armani’s of the day.
‘So John- the Armani thing is good- to spend 4 grand for the board member’?
Actually- no it’s not.
Some- many- have argued that Jesus was indeed rich- owned his own home- and was one of the richest men of his day.
Years ago when I was on the radio- I used to preach against this a lot.
I had an older listener- he was steeped in this doctrine- I mean he would write me very long letters- over many years- and I knew he read the bible a lot.
After years of hearing these arguments- he became one of the innocent victims of false teaching.
He really did thank me for my teachings- and every so often if he missed the program I would send him the tape- but this person was not an outright con artist- he was convinced of this belief.
He had a very long justification for why he thought Jesus was the richest man of his day.
I know it’s hard for the casual observer to understand how people can be duped like this- but trust me- this is no isolated case.
Okay- back to the coat.
Did the fact that Jesus had an expensive coat mean he was rich?
How did he get the coat then?
The bible does not say- but the first story I told you- the perfume- gives us a hint.
People did do extravagant acts of worship on/for Jesus.
And it’s quite possible that some person gave their expensive Armani to the Lord.
One day I was watching Larry King- you know some think he actually lived at the time of Christ [sorry].
He had on a very popular prosperity preacher.
King was open and honest- he always was a good interviewer.
King asked the man ‘how can you actually think Jesus was rich- I mean even the New Testament speaks about him as not being a millionaire’.
And the preacher- he sincerely believed that these types of verses I just talked about proved King wrong.
Now- this preacher- like many others- have a huge influence in the modern church.
They often have very large audiences and they do reach entire continents with this message [Africa].
Yet- at the end of the day- even though they mean well [for the most part] they teach a tragically flawed gospel.
I mean there’s no other way for me to say this- in a way it’s nothing less than ministerial mal practice- on a huge scale.
Let’s end with this- many times people will never listen to reason- even if you give them biblical arguments- they become fixed in their view- and that’s that.
I simply recommend people read 1st Timothy chapter 6.
The apostle Paul warns his young protégé to avoid this type of thing.
He says ‘we came into this world without material wealth- when we leave we can’t take it with us- so be content with what you have’.
Notice- Paul does not say ‘Timothy- you must believe for great wealth so you can reach the world with the gospel’
‘You must get rich- so you can fulfill the promise that Jesus told us- that he came to give us abundant life’.
No- the apostle does not use any of the reasoning of the many who are preaching this gospel today.
In fact- many of the modern preachers say Paul’s idea was wrong- they say ‘if your happy with the little you have- you’re in sin’.
Who you gonna believe?
I’ll go with Paul.
1866- MARY- THE MOTHER OF GOD- WHAT DID SHE SAY? [or- I am the Egg Man]
As we close the week- lets recap a few highlights.
Of course the SCOTUS ruling was the biggest news- and we also had congress vote- and pass- the contempt of congress charge against Holder.
But there were a few other ‘lesser’ stories that in a slower news week would have gotten more attention.
The enemy of all conservatives- yes- the peanut farmer from Georgia- Jimmy Carter- got some heat over his criticism of Obama.
What did he say?
He made some comments about our Drone war tactics- and said there is no doubt that the U.S. is violating human rights.
The drone planes are remote controlled unmanned planes- Bush was the first to ‘arm’ them- and Obama followed his lead.
We used to use them as surveillance planes- but when we stuck bombs on them we started using them to go after the enemy.
Being we don’t have pilots in the planes- we are basically doing our best to hit the target by remote control- and we often kill civilians in these strikes.
We are doing this in Yemen and Pakistan as I speak.
So- after years of killing lots of the wrong folk- these people are outright pissed off.
In Pakistan- there is some lawyer representing the families of the victims- and they have been saving the debris from the bombs- writing down the serial numbers and all- and using them for evidence on some future court case against the U.S.
We recently found out [thru leaks?] That the way the U.S. counts the amount of terrorists that are killed in the strikes is ‘every adult male killed in the vicinity is considered to be a terrorist’.
Yup- that’s the rule.
So if we accidently kill- let’s say 15 men- and even if the remote control operator messed up- and hit the wrong spot- we count this as ‘15 bad guys dead’.
Geez- with scoring like this- how can you lose?
So- Carter came out and said this type of killing is wrong.
Was he right?
Of course he was- we have killed a lot of women and kids- that’s wrong- in everyone’s book.
Then why don’t we stop it?
The newly elected president of Egypt- the Muslim Brotherhood guy- he has already given signs to Iran that he wants to form some sort of an alliance with them.
He has also told the U.S. that he wants us to turn over the Blind Sheik.
If you remember- years before 911- we had another attempted bombing of the World Trade Towers.
They traced the original plot to some Muslim radical who was based in New Jersey.
I remember the case because as I watched the story- the guy had his office/mosque set up right on a storefront street- and when I saw the spot- I recognized the street as one of the places I walked passed as a kid [I think one time I illegally rode my dirt bike right passed the area- you know- one of those late night street rides when the cops chase you].
So- the new Egyptian president wants the guy released and sent back to Egypt.
And we have hailed this election as a great thing- we forced a former leader out- who we were actually allies with- and we [Obama] publicly supported the Brotherhood.
This is sad.
And last but not least- I told you the other day that Holder sued Florida [man- he needs to stop suing cities/states- this guy is out of control].
He sued the Repub governor- Rick Scott- because Scott ‘purged’ the voter rolls of non citizens.
Yeah- Scott actually identified real non citizens who were on the roles- and he tried to take them off.
It is against the law to vote if you’re not a citizen.
Why the suit?
Holder believes that the states that are doing this are really trying to hurt the Dems by going after minorities.
Okay- but say if we know- for a fact- that the people he’s removing are only non citizens- would that be okay?
According to Holder- no.
Yes- Holder said the state does not have the right to remove NON CITIZENS from the rolls- because it is within 90 days of an election- and darn it- those non citizens have rights too!
So- the case went to a federal judge- and the judge said- in so many words ‘are you nuts man- it’s against the law for non citizens to vote. The state and governor can actually be held liable if they don’t purge the voter rolls- of course Scott can do this- it’s required by law’.
I mean even the judge- a Dem appointed judge- thought Holder must be delusional – because they were upholding federal law.
As a side note- Holder has also sued some Egg farm.
Because he said they were requiring too much proof- from non citizens- to prove they were not illegal’s.
Yes- he sued this private business- not because they were requiring the proof from citizens- but from non citizens.
Why did the egg company do this?
If you get caught hiring an illegal- you pay a fine or go to jail.
They just raided a pizza place here in Corpus for this.
So- if the Egg man actually got caught hiring an illegal- then off to jail he goes.
So- he simply tried to make sure that the people he was hiring were in fact citizens- Holder sued him for this.
These are the things that have really riled up some on the other side.
I mean who cares if your Black, White or Green- this guy is absolutely off his rocker.
Okay- lets end with a bible thing here.
I mentioned the other day that I read some chapters about John the Baptist this week.
One of the big [and long] chapters was Luke 1.
In the chapter we read about the angel Gabriel appearing to both Mary- the Mother of Jesus- and Elisabeth- Mary’s cousin.
Elisabeth and her husband Zacharias were older folk and were never able to have a baby.
Then one day God does a miracle and Elisabeth gets pregnant and has John the Baptist.
The miracle was not the same as when Mary gets pregnant- but the miracle was they were older now- past the normal time to have kids.
Mary is told about this and when she gets pregnant with Jesus she visits Elisabeth and when Mary- who is carrying Jesus in her womb- sees Elisabeth- who is pregnant with John- the bible says the ‘baby leaped in her womb’.
It was John the Baptists purpose in life to be the fore runner of Jesus.
And even before he was born- he still responded this way as Christ showed up in the womb of Mary.
When the angel reveals to Mary that she will bare Christ- she bursts into this prayer/proclamation of praise.
Scholars call this Mary’s Magnificat [her magnifying of God].
If you have time- read this prayer in Luke one.
It does not sound like the prayer of some humble- quiet little lady.
It’s more like a prophetic blast of Gods rule.
Mary says things like ‘He hath put down the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree’ ‘He hath filled the hungry with good things and the rich hath he sent away empty’.
I mean these are some of the same themes we see in the teachings of Christ.
As I write and blog about politics- I do try to be fair.
I know it must have been hard these last few months for my friends on the left side of the aisle.
Trust me- about a year or 2 ago my friends on the right went thru the same thing.
My ‘job’ is to not simply pick a side- and then defend that side at all costs.
I think that’s the mistake many in the church have made.
We have really lost our prophetic voice as the people of God.
The modern Evangelical church [and the televangelist world] has lost the true social justice message of the church.
They [we] have traded that message in for one of self help- how to become wealthy- how to be happier- how to have a better life.
We have lost the prophetic voice of the church- the one that speaks out against the murder of the innocents [drones] or the lying about killing terrorists- just because we count ‘all adults in the area’ as the enemy.
Yes- the ‘church’ is supposed to have a voice for the defenseless in society.
No- we are too busy having an American party.
Beware- Mary said ‘the high he will bring down- the rich he hath sent away empty- the famous/proud will be bring low’.
I can’t think of a better description of the church today- can you?
1865- HEALTH CARE RULING- AND A BED
Okay- before we get to the health care ruling- let’s do some spiritual stuff.
When I got up yesterday morning- I determined not to listen to too much news before I go to the homeless spot.
I mean I like keeping my mind free- at least until I get back from visiting with the homeless.
On my way to the mission- I put on the Christian music station [I listen to classic rock- talk radio- news- and Christian stuff at various times].
I was in such a spiritual state of mind- avoiding all the political stuff.
Then my music station broke in- yeah- one of those ‘breaking news’ type things- like CNN did one day- in the middle of real news- they broke in ‘BREAKING NEWS’- gee- what could it be that’s so important- I mean they were already covering real time important stuff- Syria shooting down a Turkish jet- you know- stuff like that.
Then the urgent story broke ‘Obama rose 2 % in a poll’.
Sad- so sad.
So my Christian station ‘broke in’ I mean I was in a good state of mind- free from Rush [on the right] and NPR [a little left].
It was short- and well- sweet ‘the Supreme Court has upheld all of the Obama care law- yes- all of it’.
Now- go back to your spiritual state of mind.
Thanks a lot.
Actually- at first I was surprised- and thought for a moment ‘am I mad’ ?
You know- I wasn’t.
Am I in shock?
I was just surprised.
Those of you who have followed my posts this last year realize that I was not a total rejecter of Obama Care.
I did feel that the main justification for the mandate- the way Obama used the Commerce Clause- was a mistake.
The administration said they had the right to make people buy insurance because the Fed. Govt. has the right to regulate commerce [under the clause].
And that health care is ‘commerce’ that takes place between the states- so they are ‘regulating’ it by telling you to buy insurance.
In short- this seemed like a stretch to me.
I also wrote that the pres does have the authority to pass a law that could tax people for health care.
But Obama- and the Solicitor General [the lawyer who argued the govts. case before the court] chose to reject the ‘we have the right to tax you’ law- and instead argued the ‘we have the commerce clause right to regulate you’.
So- that’s really why I thought the law would get rejected by the court.
But who am I- just some arm chair peon who watches the news- a lot.
When I got home from the mission- I caught the latest and realized that I was actually right.
The court did reject the Commerce Clause argument.
The 5 more conservative justices did in fact shoot down the Commerce Clause argument.
Then how did it pass constitutional muster?
John Roberts [the chief justice] then sided with the 4 more liberal justices- and said in essence ‘you [Pres and Congress] do have the right to tax [which we all agree on] therefore- Obama Care passes because it’s just a tax’.
The Solicitor General- and the President- have argued- time and again- that this is not a tax.
Yet Roberts said ‘we pass the law [mandate part] because it’s a tax’.
It seems like a contradiction to me.
Then- when I read/heard the dissenting opinion- from the 4 ‘conservative’ justices- they ripped into Roberts.
They basically said what I just told you.
They said Roberts and the 4 libs did indeed change the law- by saying in their ruling that it is a tax.
The 4 dissenters said it is the courts job to simply rule on the law- the way it was written- and the way it was argued- and that both said this was not a tax.
So- in the end- for some reason- Roberts took it upon himself to kind of be a ‘judicial activist’ and in a way re write the rule himself.
This is a little strange to be honest.
And it confuses the public.
There are now many Obama supporters who are saying ‘see- we told you it was constitutional all along’.
But actually- the way it was written- the Commerce Clause thing- was said to be unconstitutional.
Yes- the majority says the way the law was initially written was unconstitutional.
So- those who said this from the start- were proved right.
Yet- those who defend the law are skipping that [as they make the rounds on the news] and are simply saying ‘see- it was constitutional all along’.
What a mess.
I fear Roberts- in his desire to make the court look like it’s not too political- might have made one of the worst decisions- that is- a decision that seems to be political.
From the start I was [and am still] not someone who outright rejects the goal of universal care.
I never made the strong right argument that what Obama did was socialized medicine.
In actuality the law is simply a mandate for citizens to buy private insurance- without limiting what private insurance can charge.
I think in a way this is a boom for the private insurance industry.
I would have preferred a more European style thing [see- you guys who think I’m all ‘right’ have not read my blog too long].
Yes- I know both sides of the issue- and realize that true universal care- Canadian style- has its good and bad.
I just felt from the start if you are going to shoot for universal coverage [a noble goal] that the way Obama went about it was not the best way.
Okay- enough of that.
I hung out at the mission for a few hours- had a good talk with Dirk and a few other friends.
Around 1 o’clock one of the new ladies that has been coming the last few weeks- she had a free bag of goods that the mission gave her- and had to walk a few blocks in the heat.
She’s also pregnant- so I offered to give her a ride home.
Tammy also asked if I could give her a ride and I said sure.
Most of the times I will leave with Henry- and he comes back to the house and hangs out for the rest of the day.
But he was not around so I just gave the girls a ride home.
It’s been real hot in Corpus the last few weeks- we have been breaking records.
Anyway as I was dropping off Tammy she was telling Johnaa that she is sleeping on the floor of her trailer- she has no bed.
Right at that point I make the turn to get to Tammy’s street and some people look like their moving out and have about 5 beds right there on the street.
So Johnna says ‘hey look- there’s a bed’.
I asked Tammy if she wanted to turn around and see if they want to sell one.
Of course she was broke- but I told her maybe I can get a deal and I’ll buy it for her.
So I did the U turn and asked the guy- he said they were moving out and we could take one.
I’m like ‘praise God brother’.
I noticed he had on that little Elder tag that the Mormons where.
Now- I like Mormon people- and over the years I have had very open and honest discussions about their faith.
I do try to be nice when I refute some of their teachings- and have really made headway with them over the years- being open too- and willing to hear both sides.
So the guy I talked too had the badge on- plus there were about 5 more of them standing in the garage.
It must have been some missionary house that they were moving out of.
So I told them I just left the mission- I gave the Elder my ministry card [so he knew I wasn’t making stuff up].
And I kinda saw the whole thing as God working it out.
They seemed to not take it the same way.
I mean- they didn’t say anything- but it’s almost like the elder didn’t even want to touch the card.
I realize why they are like this- and if any of you guys are Mormons- I’m glad you read the site.
Yet- I felt they just were not that ‘into me’.
Anyway- far be it from me to hold a grudge- I mean that’s childish.
So we got the bed.
Oh yeah- one more thing.
If Romney thinks I’m gonna vote for him now- well he better think again.
1864- BLAME THE MESSENGER
I was tempted to post a quick note last night- but I thought it better to wait for today.
As I was watching the various news shows- I caught an interview with some lady who just wrote a piece [for some magazine] that said the Fast and Furious scandal- was not a scandal at all.
She did a 6 month investigation- and lo and behold- there was never any ‘gun walking’.
Yeah- instead she talked about the real reasons these guns were in the hands of Mexican drug lords.
Go on- I’m hearing you sister.
She explained that many of our law enforcement guys have tried to get the guns off the streets- but because of the Republican [and NRA] loose gun laws- that to their dismay- they cant stop the drug runners from purchasing the guns.
Oh- I see now.
O yeah- one last thing- she said there was ONE case where she did find a Gun walking activity.
It was the single Whistle Blower [Dodson?] who did this.
As the woman made the rounds [I saw her on CNN] the ‘new’ story was that both the Repubs- as well as their cohorts in crime- the actual whistle blowers- that these were the ones who were blaming Holder [because he is Black?] while all the while Holder and his people are really innocent- after all- they never sold guns!
Now- I was really mad when I saw this latest story.
This last year- as I actually watched some of the congressional hearings- and read lots of sources and stuff.
The REAL STORY is there were guys working for the ATF and other law enforcement agencies- and these guys complained- for a couple of years- that the Gun walking program was a very dangerous and real program- even Holder has said this.
Now- these were the actual guys doing the ground work- of course they were the ‘gun walkers’ they worked for the govt.
So- after complaining about it for a while- nothing was done.
Eventually the story made it to the news- and the govt. [Holder] denied it.
At that point- some of the guys involved risked their careers- because they knew the govt. was lying- and they went public and said ‘look- I am one of the guys who actually bought and sold the guns’.
So- instead of demonizing these guys- like the lady making the rounds on MSNBC and CNN- we should be thanking them for what they did.
Quite frankly- this is about as low as it gets- they were actually saying ‘Holder never walked guns- but these darn whistle blowers- who are making the charge- they are guilty!’
Sad- so sad.
One other charge came out- it was initially made by those on the Right- and now it’s used by those on the left [as a counter charge].
When I first heard this charge- by some on the Right- I was mad.
I was mad because I knew the charge was false- and I could not believe that some were actually falling for it.
Some have said that the Fast and Furious program was designed- on purpose- to get guns into the hands of drug lords [actually- this part is true- they wanted the top guys to get the guns- then they thought they could catch the big boys. The goal was noble- the way they went about it was stupid].
But some have said Obama purposefully wanted the gun crime to go up- so in the end he could blame the loose gun laws [NRA folk] and pass stricter gun laws.
Now- I have heard this by some radicals on the right- and this is not true.
Then why is the charge gaining ground?
Because- in the mess of this whole thing- there was indeed some memo that slipped out- by the Dems- that did say ‘if this gets out of hand- and you are asked about the program- turn the conversation into one that says ‘see- we need stricter gun laws’.
Yes- the Dems did say this- and indeed do this.
As I watched the news over the months- whenever a Dem was asked about the scandal- he/she said ‘well- it’s because we need better gun laws’.
Is the scandal about this?
Is it about some whistle blower who is guilty- while Holder is innocent?
No [Holder- and the ATF big wigs were in charge- they bare the blame for the peons at the bottom that they ordered to do this].
The whole scandal- is simply the fact that the Justice Dept. – under Holder- at first denied the program- then later admitted it.
He now will not release the other papers that probably show that they were indeed trying to cover their tracks after the story broke.
Congress will vote today on contempt charges- and Holder will probably be the first Attorney General of the U.S. to be held in contempt.
This week I have been reading the story of John the Baptist.
John was an interesting guy.
The bible says he was filled with the Holy Spirit ‘from his mother’s womb’.
The prophets Isaiah and Malachi spoke of John ‘before the great day of the Lord I will send Elijah the prophet and he will restore the fathers to the sons and the sons to the fathers’ Malachi chapter 4.
Isaiah said ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness- prepare ye the way of the Lord’.
John was the fulfillment of these prophecies.
One time the people came to Jesus and he asked them ‘what did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind- or someone dressed in expensive clothes?’
No- you went to see a prophet- and I tell you- more than a prophet.
For this is he of whom the prophets spake [above].
Then Jesus says something kinda strange- he says ‘I tell you- of all that are born of women- there has not been a greater than John the Baptist- but he that is LEAST IN THE KINGDOM is greater than he’.
Over the years I have heard various takes on this- most say that Jesus was saying that even the ‘least’ in the new church age- the Born Again Christian- is greater than the greatest of the Old age [Law].
But I like this interpretation the best.
Jesus often spoke about himself in the 3rd person ‘for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’.
Maybe Jesus was really saying ‘he that is least [himself] is greater than John’.
Jesus spoke about the smallest of seeds falling into the ground and dying- then later it becomes the greatest tree.
He said this about faith- about Gods kingdom- and also about himself.
‘Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die- it abideth alone- but if it dies it will bring forth much fruit’ [John’s gospel].
Jesus was the ‘least among men’ that is- he gave up his glory- his position with the Father and became a man and humbled himself unto the death of the Cross.
Because of this God raised him up and seated him at his own right hand in glory.
Jesus was [is] greater than John- yet John was up there on the charts.
John was- in a way- a Whistle Blower- he revealed the secrets of men.
The thing that got John killed was his preaching against corrupt leadership.
He said ‘Herod- you snake- you have your brother’s wife- and its wrong!’
One day Herod had a party [he was the puppet king that ruled the Jewish region of the Roman Empire].
And Herod’s daughter in law danced for the king.
Herod was struck ‘I’ll give you anything honey- up to the half of my kingdom’.
The mother says ‘ask him for the head of John the Baptist’.
Yeah- the wife got tired of John’s whistle blowing- and John lot his head over the thing.
Today congress votes on Holder- also the Supreme Court will rule on Obama Care.
Both sides have all the reasons why they are right- and the other guys wrong.
Lets agree on one thing- let’s not blame the messenger- the guys at the bottom who were ordered to do these things- they risked their lives and careers in revealing the program- because they were good guys not bad.
Yeah- the least- the small seeds- these are the valuable ones.
1862- LOVE THE ALIEN- FOR YOUR WERE ALIENS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT- Deuteronomy 10:19
The Supreme Court came out with a few rulings yesterday- the big one was their decision about the Arizona Immigration law.
Most of you know that the governor [Jan Brewer] has been fighting with the Justice Dept. [Holder] over their stringent immigration laws.
Arizona- like other border sates- has had a problem with illegal aliens for some time.
So- they passed new state laws that made it tougher if you were an alien in the state.
If you applied for a job- and you were an illegal- you would get arrested.
If you got stopped by the cops- they could ask you for your papers.
A couple of other things that went beyond the federal law.
So- Eric Holder [attorney General] did what he does best- he sued Arizona.
[As a side note- this is not a joke- he has sued states/cities ever since coming into office. He just threatened to sue the Fire Dept. here in Corpus Christi. They settled for hundreds of thousands of bucks- why?
We were ‘discriminating’ against women.
Some of them could not pass the physical exam- you had to do things like pull a dummy- the weight of a person- to show that if you were in a fire you would be able to rescue either your partner or a victim.
Many times women would fail this part of the test.
Okay- so some depts. changed the test.
But lots of women do- by nature- have a hard time passing this requirement.
If you ‘dumb’ down this part of the test- you are putting people’s lives at risk- both the woman as well as those she would need to rescue.
Holder threatened to sue- Corpus settled.
He also sued 2 north eastern depts. a couple of years back.
He said they were not hiring enough Blacks- he told them to change the exam.
They spent about a million bucks redoing their exam.
Some Black applicants failed.
He then ordered the dept. to lower the passing score to 60.
Finally- the BLACK firefighters union said ‘ENOUGH- YOUR GOING TO GET US ALL KILLED HERE- Blacks and Whites!’
So- Holder does have a penchant on suing cities/states when he perceives a racial issue.]
What did the court do?
They struck down some of Arizona’s law- but upheld the most controversial part- the cops can still ask for your papers at a stop.
I found it interesting that Justice Kennedy- who wrote the majority decision- seemed to side somewhat with the more liberal argument.
One thing he mentioned was when dealing with illegal immigrants- we need to keep in mind that we are dealing with people.
I know this seems obvious- but when issues become politicized- we have a tendency to forget this.
I live in an area where over the years I have seen lots of Illegal’s coming thru.
The Fire Dept. that I worked at had calls where illegal’s would accidentally start a brush fire- they maybe had a camp under a bridge and lit a fire to stay warm- stuff like that.
I had friends- Mexicans- whose families gave them food and water when they saw them in the fields.
The point is- the immigration problem is a real problem- and it is true that all countries need to be able to control their borders and have a system of legal immigration.
At the same time- we need to also look at the person issue- the above verse was a reminder to the Jewish people that they too were illegal at one time- when they were staying in Egypt.
In all these debates- we tend to forget that we are all ‘aliens’ in a sense- our country is made up of immigrants [the American Indian is the only group that can claim non immigrant status].
I personally have a problem with the amount of lawsuits that Holder has launched against the states.
He is suing Florida over their voter registration ‘purge’.
The governor- Rick Scott- has made an attempt to get non citizens off the voter rolls.
Okay- should we be letting non citizens vote?
Of course not.
Then why is Holder suing?
He sees [like others] this as a racially motivated purge.
He argues that what Florida is really trying to do is get the minorities to not vote.
Okay- the governor simply asked the justice dept. to give them a list of non citizens- those they know to be illegal.
Why does Holder- and others think that Scott is anti minority?
Because after they checked the data base- the majority of those who were non citizens were indeed minorities.
So- according to Holder- this is racist.
But who else would be on a ‘non citizen’ list?
I mean do we have a massive migration of say- polish folk who are washing up on our shores?
Not yet- unless this E.U. thing gets out of hand.
So- if you are ‘purging’ the voter list of people who are not citizens- by its very nature you are going to get more minorities on the list.
Yet Holder sees this as racist.
So- both sides need to be honest- and fair.
The Right side of the aisle needs to keep in mind the above verse- that in the end we are all aliens- yes- our grandparents came legally and it’s not the same as those who are coming illegally- I hear that- but we are still dealing with humans [Kennedy].
And the left- if Holder keeps suing fire dept’s- and thinks that his role in life is to use the justice dept to accomplish some type of political agenda- then I think the words of my fellow Black firefighter should be kept in mind.
If you keep this up- ‘your going to get us all killed’.
1861- THE 40 YEAR REUNION
Let’s recap the week’s news.
The lines are drawn- the pres has asserted Executive Privilege- for the first time.
And Pelosi has come out and accused the Repubs of outright racism.
Chris Matthews- the most dangerous man alive [sorry Ken Shamrock] has also jumped on the bandwagon.
He had on 2 Black Dems and said those who want Holder to release the documents on fast and Furious are racists.
The other week Matthews was defending the right of Asian Americans to abort their baby girls because they preferred a boy.
Yes- he took the other side when the Repubs wanted to outlaw sex selection abortions.
Now- he claimed he was not for it- but argued against the passage of the law- because he said it was only a problem in the Asian community.
So- he thought ‘why outlaw it- only Asian girls are dying’.
This is the same guy who sees racism in the Holder affair.
About a month ago I said to myself ‘let’s see how long it will be before the media begin re running the Watergate movie nonstop’.
To my surprise- not only are they running the movie- but all the major networks have come out in full regalia- ‘celebrating’ the 40th anniversary of Watergate.
I also read an article the other day- some Texas professor wrote Holder- demanding the release of the other documents from Watergate.
Holder responded in a way that sounded like ‘there is no longer any good reason to continue the cover up of Watergate- by golly- the truth must show!’
Let’s see- did we celebrate the 20th– 30th anniversary?
Do you normally celebrate the 40th anniversary- of anything?
Your normally have a big bash on the 25th– and 50th.
But the media have actual real time scandals- the cover up of the murder of 300 hundred Mexican citizens- and at least one border patrol agent.
The Solyndra scandal that revealed that the presidents own men [All the Presidents men?] actually told him- in a memo- that what he was about to do looked illegal.
This was said- in a memo- by his own men.
What he did was changed the loan to Solyndra- in order for his top fundraiser- who put money in the company- to get paid back first if the company went bust.
This loan change was not done for any other person/company- only for the loan that his top fundraiser made.
When this was first revealed- a mainline news reporter [Sharyl Atkinson] who broke the story said it looked like this might bring the presidency down.
This was all revealed on a Friday- after months of denying any involvement in the scandal.
For it to be revealed that your own people thought what you did was illegal [not just knowing about an illegal act- Wateragte- but actually doing it!] and you did it anyway.
And you did it for your friend- against the actual law that regulates the loan- which said you can’t do this.
Well- even a mainline reporter thought it as bad- or worse than Watergate.
What happened John- Nothing.
The media simply kept silent.
Now- in the current scandal- you know- the ‘race haters’
In this scandal- when congress asked the Justice Dept. if they had any knowledge about the Fast and Furious program- they sent a letter to congress denying involvement/knowledge.
This was the beginning of 2011.
Now- when you go on record like that- the investigating team usually drops the case- because you would be lying to congress at that point.
Holder left the letter out there for most of the year- claiming they had no knowledge of the program.
When congress continued digging- Holder pulled the letter back.
Because they did indeed know about the program- this in itself is enough for a resignation- this in itself is a Watergate.
Congress just tried Roger Clemens- twice- for lying to congress.
I’m glad he got off- they found him not guilty.
Did he lie John- and use steroids?
But for this crew to be trying people for lying- well that’s laughable.
So- Holder basically already admitted that he lied- whether he knew it or not at the time we don’t know- but we do know they said- for around 9 months ‘we had no knowledge of the program’.
Then he pulled the letter back.
At the least- we need to know what changed- who was lying- why?
The parents of the dead agent- Terry- went on the news this week- they too think Holder and Obama are covering up- by all accounts- it does look like they are covering up.
Are the parents racists?
According to Pelosi and MSNBC- yes.
We have very real scandals- things that rise- easily- to the level of Watergate.
Watergate was the cover up of a botched break in of a political office in a hotel- the name of the hotel was Watergate.
The cover up of fast and furious involves the murder of at least 300 Mexican citizens [the Mexican govt. by the way does not see this as a joke- they are outraged over this].
And the murder of an American law enforcement officer.
The Solyndra scandal was presidential involvement [not just knowledge!] to change a loan- illegally- even said to be illegal by the president’s own people- in writing!
He changed the law so his number one fundraiser would not loose money- and he denied it- until he was caught.
These lies- these scandals- they outrank Watergate- I said it at the time- but the media tried their hardest to make these things look like nothing.
I’ll end with one last ‘lie’.
This week I read some of the Leaks that are believed to have come from this White House.
These are the leaks of all the classified intelligence info that outed Israel- got the Pakistani doctor put in prison for 35 years- you know- no big deal.
When I looked at the leaks- I mean they were laughable in the way they were made to portray the president in a favorable light.
Most leaks are simply info coming out- lots of time from good men who see wrong things and are trying to expose the corruption.
We call these people Whistle Blowers.
But as I reread some of the recent leaks- I mean they are saying things like ‘As the president sat there in his chair- debating on which terrorist to kill next- he contemplated his recent study of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas- and he acted with righteous indignation’.
St. Thomas and Augustine.
I mean these are 2 of my favorite Catholic scholars.
Augustine- the 4/5th century Bishop of North Africa- and Thomas- the great 13th century Doctor Angelicas [Angelic Doctor].
Yes- these are some big players in Theology and Philosophy.
So why have the media reported that the pres used them in his war strategy?
They are also famous for the development of the Just war Theory.
Yeah- people for centuries have appealed to these great thinkers in their justification for war.
But Obama- how does he find the time to read these guys?
I mean- unless their names are on the golf balls [he just played his 100th round!]
I don’t see him having time to read them.
So why mention it?
Because he fumbled the ball with our Catholic friends [who just began a 2 week prayer and fast against the repression of religious liberty- because of the presidents demands that they provide birth control thru their institutions].
And he needs to make amends- so lo and behold- he loves reading the Catholic scholars!
If you put all this together- the ongoing scandals- not just one.
The actual lies- the ones they have been caught in- on paper.
I mean even a mainline reporter could not believe that the revealing of this was ‘no big deal’.
And now- the fact that the pres came out the other day and addressed the nation ‘me and my Whitehouse have not released any CLASSIFIED information’.
‘It’s an insult to think this’.
Then- one week later- on Friday- they sent a letter to congress- declassifying the drone war
They were basically saying ‘yeah- we were behind the releasing of all the info- it’s just we ‘declassified it’ first’.
He is going to say when he released the info- his office first ‘declassified it’.
But when he addressed you- and me- he was outraged- he made it sound like he was not aware of the leaks.
And 99 % of the public took it this way.
Look- when you get caught doing this- over and over and over- I mean this is not a one time affair.
Then it does make the public wonder about everything else.
And when the public asks for answers- and you respond by playing the race card- then it’s time for some people to resign.
Holder needs to go.
Whoever else has lied about their involvement also needs to go.
And if Nixon had to go because he lied about his knowledge about a 2 bit break in- then what about the possible cover up of your knowledge about the murder of a U.S. border patrol agent and at least 300 Mexican men, women and children.
But wait- I forgot- we don’t have time to cover these present scandals- no- we are covering the golden [or brass?] 40th year anniversary of Watergate.
1860- POLITICS OR RELIGION?
I wasn’t sure how to close up this week- I know how much you guys like it when I do politics! [note- every now and then I drop a joke or 2 in- I realized once that everybody does not know when it’s a joke- but if you have to say each time ‘here I kid’ it kinda ruins the thing].
I did go to the mission yesterday- and Dirk- my homeless friend that I gave a lecture to on the ‘proofs for the existence of God’ [he was kind of going off the other day on how everyone believes what they hear- that there is no real way to know who is right- so I covered the history of apologetics and the proofs for the existence of God- I kinda blasted the guys for about 15 minutes- and wasn’t sure they were following].
So when I see Dirk- the first thing he shows me is this book on Bertrand Russell- the famous British philosopher- I wrote about him when I was doing the study on philosophy.
Dirk was kind of repentant- he must of took my ‘speech’ to heart- and he told me he was going to put more of an effort into researching stuff.
Now- it was a surprise to see my homeless buddy running around with a Russell book- but I got the hint that he did get something from my talk and wanted me to know he was trying.
By the way- being he showed me the book- I encouraged him to read it- but had to let Dirk know that Russell was a very influential 20th century British philosopher- he was famous because he was a public protestor against the use of nuclear weapons.
But in the field of thought he became an Agnostic.
He was raised as a believer- but at a young age he read a book from another famous thinker- John Stuart Mill.
Mill wrote about what we have been discussing these last few days- the law of Cause and Effect- and how things came into being.
Mill said ‘if everything has to have a cause- then why not God? Who caused God?’
Now- Mill wasn’t the first thinker to pose the question- but Russell became influenced by this idea and espoused it for the rest of his life.
Though both of these men were smart- they stumbled over this misconception.
The law of Cause and Effect [also referred to as causality] does not say EVERYTHING has a cause.
It states that all EFFECTS have a cause.
In essence- it’s within the realm of logic to espouse an infinite- causeless being.
Now- some might say this is ‘illogical’ but using the laws of logic [like we covered the last few days].
In the end- the only logical explanation for all things is an infinite being.
Anyway- don’t want to re hash the whole thing again- just thought it interesting that Dirk was reading Russell’s book.
Even though there are a lot of news events that could be covered today- lets finish with a few ‘religious’ things.
I have a verse here [about 200!] hanging on my wall- it’s from Isaiah [I think? I write them down and hang them up- but I don’t write the reference].
It says ‘do these things- and when others read about them- this will be a witness to them’.
There are others along this line that I have come across these last few years.
I started working with the homeless in 1992- with guys that were on drugs- ex-cons- before that.
I never told any of these stories until a few years back.
I started the blog in 2006- Facebook a couple of years later.
I felt that it was part of the ‘next step’- that is doing ministry- that the Lord wanted me to get into.
So- even though I did not even have email until 2006- or even get online until that time- I did my best to put together the blog [amateurish as it is] and start the process.
Now- over the years- as a student of religion, philosophy, ecclesiology [church]- I have written a lot about what it means to ‘do church’ or ‘be church’.
In Christian circles this has been hotly debated in recent years.
Many in the House Church movement have written- and debated with those who are more into the Traditional type churches.
There are many Protestants who have all types of ways they see ‘church’.
In its most basic form- the best definition that I have been able to come up with- is Church is a community.
It’s a worldwide community of those who confess Christ [the universal church].
And it’s a local community of those who follow him.
If you read the gospels- Jesus and his disciples are a good picture of the church.
Now- many will say ‘No John- the church was not formed until Acts chapter 2’.
Okay- I hear that.
I see the whole thing.
But- as community- it’s a mistake- in my view- to dismiss the gospels as ‘pre church’.
I don’t want to get into a theological debate- because I’m not even sure how many are following right now.
But- the point is- if we actually read the things that Jesus told us to do [sounds simple enough].
We would end up doing a lot of the things that most of us call ‘prison ministry’ or ‘street ministry’ or ‘outreach ministry’.
In actuality- these things are a main function of being a community.
So- over the years- because many of us associate church with the meeting [or the building]. We have a tendency to shift the focus from community- to the corporate entity.
Years ago I filed the corporation papers for our ‘church’.
Instead of paying a lawyer- I got a self help book- ‘how to incorporate your church’ and filed.
It was no big deal.
But I realized how we confuse the actual corporate laws of a state- they have ways they recognize what they call ‘a local church’.
And what the bible actually teaches.
In the bible- the church is a community of people- much like Jesus and the disciples going thru the towns- preaching- healing- helping others.
Yet- much of the focus of modern ‘church’ is the corporation ‘how much do we need this month? How many members do we need each month to tithe- and cover the vision of the church’.
Much of the focus- and effort- is spent on raising money for the corporation.
People are ‘challenged’ to sacrifice for Gods work- but the challenge is often seen thru the lens of ‘give till it hurts’.
Look- I’m not against giving- I give lots of money away.
But when you have the majority of church goers- who mean well- when they begin seeing their sacrifice mainly thru a paradigm of giving more money to a corporation- then this blinds them to the majority of teaching in the New Testament that calls us into the world- in real ways- to be the ‘actors’ [ones who act- function- not just give money so others can act/function on our behalf].
That is- the primary responsibility of the believer is not simply to go to church on Sunday [though this is a good thing].
Or to tithe to the ‘church’.
But to be active in helping one another- to be giving our lives away for other people.
This is the heart of the whole New Testament.
So- my purpose in telling these stories the last few years was simply to show one example [out of many- there are many Christians who do see the stuff I just showed you] So these things could be ‘the wisdom’ that the example of people seeing what it means to ‘be church’ might lead others to a ‘more better way’ [Hebrews.]
So- I’ll end the week with the example of my homeless buddy reading the writings of a 20th century British philosopher.
The politics will have to wait- yeah- I know your sad.
1858- WHO WAS THAT MASKED WOMAN?
I want to try and cover a little more on Apologetics- but just a few notes.
Yesterday my favorite news channel [you know I’m joking?] MSNBC once again showed why they have the lowest ratings around.
Lawrence O’Donnell- he did a report on Ann Romney’s disease- she has M.S.
In the report he questioned her use of trained horses as a recommended therapy for her sickness.
By the way- a Cali news paper did the same thing a few weeks back.
For those who don’t know- some in the media mocked Ann Romney because she works with these ‘dancing horses’.
Yeah- it’s not what the average person does- and that’s exactly why they think its fine to mock the lady.
So last night O’Donnell said that he had his team investigate whether or not this is an actual treatment for M.S. He then quoted some report- that it’s not in the top 10.
Well of course you would not recommend the average M.S. person to go out and by dancing horses at the rate of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I mean this is common sense.
But if you have the money- working with horses is indeed a legitimate treatment for all types of motor skill injuries/diseases.
The shameful thing is this network deems this as a legitimate story.
When Michele Obama got caught in disguise a few weeks ago- to be honest- this was very sad.
She went shopping- against the warnings of the secret service- and against the wishes of the president himself [you can’t do stuff like this- an unplanned shopping trip into town].
But there have been lots of reliable reports that Michele Obama has had a very hard time adjusting to being the wife of a president.
She initially wanted to stay in Chicago with her 2 girls- and simply travel back and forth to D.C. every few weeks/months.
Obviously this would look bad- so the president convinced her to live with him.
Now- when I heard/saw the story that she actually put on a disguise and went shopping- against the strong recommendations of the pres and the secret service- I knew there were real problems.
I did not rejoice over it- I pray- by name- for him and his family every Monday and Friday [those are the days I use for regular prayer intercession- I pray every day- but those days I mention world leaders].
Okay- if this happened to Sarah Palin- or any other top political figure from the other side- you would have had the late night comedians dressing up in masks.
You would have had MSNBC and the shameful crew laughing nonstop.
I mean an incident like this- is fodder for the ‘press’.
Yet I never heard one story like this- I simply saw the hard news story on it- and that was it.
Now- I’m sure the White House prepared- braced themselves for the jokes- none came.
I think it’s shameful for MSNBC [and the Cali paper] to have actually investigated the recommended treatment that Ann Romney uses.
They went- in detail- on how much insurance she holds on each horse- they mocked the fact that she used a lot of money to work with the horses- I mean they investigated her more than Obama- I mean the press never even read his autobiography!
When the media celebrated that 20,000 pages of Sarah Palin’s emails were released [many emails that were between her and her daughters- things that you would not want released].
They actually tried to recruit the public to ‘go thru them and see what you can find’.
Yes- at least one news paper asked this of their on line readers.
What did they find?
It was a shame that they did this.
They released- and put on line- emails that they did not even read yet.
Say if there was one that said her daughter had some type of sexually transmitted disease- the public would have know this- and it would have been out there for the world to see.
Yet the same paper- the N.Y. Times- did not release the emails about the scam that some global warming guys perpetrated.
These emails showed that some of them [not all!] actually rigged the data to make it look worse than it really was.
The Times said they would not report- or reveal- these emails- because- quote ‘the original writer did not intend them to be made public’.
Too bad they never gave the same courtesy to Sarah and her kids.
Right now- as I speak- the attorney general of the U.S. – Eric Holder- is ‘holding’ on to around 70,000 pages of emails and other info that would show us who was responsible for the program that resulted in the death- and cover up- of a U.S. border patrol agent.
Holder has released around 20,000 pages- and he’s trying to ‘bargain’ make a deal ‘how bout I give you so many more- and then you wont ask for the rest’?
Who are you bargaining for?
Why are you even trying to make a deal?
We are asking- we- the American people- are asking ‘who in the heck is responsible for the murder of agent Terry’?
No deals- no bargains- if the media rejoiced that the American public read everything about Palin and her family- email’s that spoke about family problems- the whole thing ‘we have the right to know!’
Then what about the right to finally find out who is responsible for the dearth of Terry?
The problem with politics- and the way we side with either side- is we begin rooting for things that are wrong.
Yesterday I posted about how our action in Libya has caused the Black people of Libya to be persecuted against.
Yet there are many supporters of Obama- who will not report this story.
These people are complicit by their silence- yet they claim to be on the side of the Black people.
I had a talk a few weeks back with a liberal friend.
It was during the time of the debate over Planned Parenthood.
I explained to my friend that the founder of Planned Parenthood- Margaret Sanger- was an extreme racist.
I wrote on this a while back- and even posted the on line info on her [you can Google her name and it shows up on the first page].
Sanger observed the Black race in major cities- and came to the conclusion that the Black race were like rodents- that the more they increased- the more they would be a drain on white society.
She looked at the Blacks in N.Y. and said if they keep ‘breeding’ they will eventually overburden the welfare system.
She wrote- using this language- in many of her published papers.
She said it was obvious that the Black race were an inferior race- who could not compete with the more enlightened White race- and that we need to find ways to eliminate the Race.
Okay- the first clinic opened in N.Y. – with the intent on cutting back on this ‘breeding race of rodents’ [her language- not mine].
Today- Planned Parenthood is the number one provider of abortion in the country- and Blacks make up their biggest client base.
Now- this is simple fact.
I am not saying that all the current workers know this- I’m sure they don’t.
But when I revealed this to my liberal friend- the racist language and all- my friend tried to defend the woman by saying stuff like ‘well I’m sure she meant well- but maybe used unfortunate language’.
You see- we are so joined to either party- to either side- that when a real injustice is done- we will even defend ‘our side’ even if that means defending a true racist.
Do I think its ‘funny’ that Ann Romney does the silly dancing horse thing?
Not really- I don’t think anything she does in her private life- unless its illegal- should be a platform for some immoral reporter like O’Donnell to shamelessly broadcast to the world.
To question whether or not her horse thing is a ‘recommended treatment’ for her disease.
If the media- and the comics- were able to ‘overlook’ Michele’s shopping trip- incognito- then let’s leave Ann alone.
1857- LIBYA REDUX
I was going to post this morning on ‘secondary causes’.
That in nature- and the created world- there are what we call secondary causes.
That means God does not ‘create’ everything you see- as he did the original creation.
We see trees- plants- fish- even humans- and even though it is proper for us to refer to these as Gods creation- yet we can also examine the natural process of reproduction- seeds falling to the ground- and even ‘test tube’ babies- and this is still a creation from God [man can’t duplicate life- even in the lab] yet- these creations are not direct- as the original creation.
Anyway- maybe I’ll do this tomorrow.
What I want to do today is simply re hash some of the posts from the last year.
The other day when I checked my site [Face Book] I had a few comments about my political posts.
At the time I did not realize I knew the person.
She is a good friend who was an original church member form the church I started years ago in Kingsville.
I did feel bad a little- that I responded to the comments- not in a bad way- but without first saying hi.
Then after thinking ‘geez- this name sounds familiar’ I realized it was my friend.
Actually – she does have a good story to tell.
Janie met her husband- Emit [or Emmet? I never knew the correct spelling] at our little church.
Emit was one of the first ‘drug addicts’ that joined our church.
He was a friend of Elias [another addict I met while preaching at the jail] and our little home church was made up of these families.
Anyway- Emit- and Aunt Bee- the aunt who raised Emit- and Emits son [Emit Jr.] were all church members.
Emit Jr’s wife- Veronica- and her mom- Yolanda- all came too- I mean Kingsville is a small town- and after a while you meet the whole crew.
I was happy to see Janie and Emit meet- and later marry.
I would visit her and the boys [she has lots of boys- and a sweet daughter- Rhonda].
I knew these kids when they were young- I’m sure they look different today.
Janie and Emit and the family made a nice family.
Then one day I heard Emit died.
As far as I knew Emit was clean- not on drugs anymore.
And his son told me his dad died because his liver was bad- after all the past years of drugs.
I don’t know the whole story- but this was what his son told me.
By the way- Emit Jr still keeps in contact with me till this day.
So- before I get into the political debate- I wanted to tell the story of Janie and her family- it really is a good story to tell.
Okay- in some of the comments- it’s hard to re-tell all the posts I did last year- and the comment section on Face Book is too small to really do it justice.
One of the debates was over whether or not Gadhaffi slaughtered his people.
Did we [Obama] intervene in Libya because the leader was slaughtering his people?
I disagreed- and this is the reason why.
There was an ongoing policy debate within the administration [the president’s team].
There were some on one side- Susan Rice, Samantha Powers- and the other side was pretty much made up of the defense secretary and the military folk.
I remember reading/hearing about this particular debate- because some in the media made it sound like ‘the women’ won over the men.
Basically the debate was ‘should we- the U.S. – and the Obama presidency- should we set a new precedent that says- we will use military force- BEFORE a slaughter takes place’.
What you had in Libya was a very public ‘civil’ unrest.
90% of the population lives right off the Mediterranean coast- in the West you had the capitol city- Tripoli.
In the east the main city was Benghazi.
The rebels from the east rose up against Tripoli.
Gadhaffi and his men were attacked by the east- they made it all the way up until the western stronghold of Tripoli.
[Note- these guys raped- killed- and committed ‘crimes against humanity’ on the way- that’s a fact]
After a few weeks of fighting- Gadhaffi re grouped and began his trek east- and wound up at the gates of Benghazi.
Okay- was there a slaughter that took place?
No. It was GOING TO TAKE PLACE- at least that’s what the threat seemed to be.
Gadhaffi was saying- very publicly- that he would go in and go from house to house and get all those who are siding with the rebels.
Some think this was just a threat- that he wanted the city to abandon the rebels cause- and this was simply bravado.
Anyway- on both sides- there was killing- but no slaughter [slaughter is what took place in Rwanda- a million dead].
President Obama and his team admit this- this was their argument ‘we acted first- before the slaughter took place’.
Now- I don’t want to re hash the whole thing- nor do I think it profitable to get into debates like this- with my friends.
It’s just some of the comments said I basically was an idiot and had no idea what I was saying- and I felt like I needed to respond.
I actually am on the side of Obama right now- in his decision to not act in Syria.
There are those calling for military intervention- but we [the U.S.] have intervened too much already- very rarely does military force do the job.
In Libya- before we acted- people living in Tripoli had a good life.
I used to see actual documentaries on the open markets of the city- venders selling olives and fish and all the wonderful produce form the Mediterranean region.
You had doctors and professors- kids going to school- you went to the hospital- just like here in the U.S.
After the killing of Gadhaffi- that city is ruined.
If you take your kid to the hospital now- there are opposing militia groups [terrorists] who walk through the hospital- carrying guns.
They are all saying ‘we are in charge- no- we are’.
I heard this from an interview from a doctor- it was on NPR radio- a very reliable news source.
The non Black leaders that were from the east- the group we sided with- they have taken the Black women and children and have made them- well- slaves.
The leaders we backed- they hate Blacks- with a passion.
I explained why this is in the past- basically Gadhaffi loved the Black skinned Africans. So the ‘friend of my enemy is my enemy’.
There are many reports that these wonderful Black people- I mean some were doctors and school teachers- you need to see how bad this is.
These Black people are now actually doing slave labor- they have them cleaning up the streets and working as slaves- these are reports I heard from multiple reliable sources.
I mean how would you feel if the U.S. came to your city- and your Black kids were used like this?
Taken out of school- their future gone- their dads castrated.
This has been going after the death of Gadhaffi.
How can anyone think this is good- that we helped these people?
Libya- Egypt- and yes- Iraq- they are all worse off than before.
This debate is not about whether or not someone’s favorite president did better than the other president.
It’s about U.S. intervention- it’s about the use of force.
It’s about the plight of the Blacks in Libya.
No- Obama did not go in because Gadhaffi was slaughtering his people- he went in to prevent what he said would be a slaughter.
Either way- we ruined that country- for good.
1854- WEEKEND WARNING
Before I forget- the odds of the market selling off today are high.
If you are in- and have been for a while- no big deal.
But if you are one of those types that buy and sell every couple of days/weeks.
Then I wouldn’t buy today.
Okay- have a lot to cover and not much space.
I found it interesting to watch the narrative that I have been talking about these last few days to have been so blatant yesterday.
On MSNBC the hosts are now regular telling people that the Euro zone crisis is a direct result of austerity measures [spend less than you have].
This is an outright lie- I wrote about this lots the last few weeks and don’t want to re hash the thing.
The point is the entire network is now saying this- and if you are someone that’s invested in world events- you are being lied to- daily.
I caught the morning NPR show yesterday- I usually catch the early show [sometimes right at 5 am].
I’m an early riser- been up since 3:30 this day.
So- it was interesting- right at 7:05 the report was some bad housing numbers- foreclosures were up from last month.
They were up 16% from this time last year- 9 from last month.
Bad- but not surprising [to me].
Then- at 8:05 am- the report said ‘good news for the housing market’.
I mean- you can’t make stuff like this up.
Why are these bad numbers not a surprise?
Last year many of the banks put a hold on their foreclosures.
You had the Robo Signing scandal [people just rubber stamping foreclosures- using fake names].
And you had the president purposefully do a short moratorium on foreclosures.
Okay- so what would happen when these temporary fixes were over?
Foreclosures go up.
Then why don’t the financial guys tell you this- why do they make it sound like all is well?
I don’t think these guys are purposefully lying [most of them] but when your whole career is based on the market- then you have a natural tendency to hear [say] what you want- not what’s necessarily the truth.
Why am I so negative on the market today?
Yesterday we had a short run up- primarily because the central banks [in Europe and presumably us- the Fed] made it sound like they might help the cash strapped European states and pump ‘liquidity’ [cash] into the system.
Okay- so the Dow went up- not because we had good economic news- but bad.
That is- things look so bad- the world banks said ‘we might help’.
Okay- why does this help the market?
These last few years- our nations bank- the Federal Reserve- has pumped trillions of dollars into the system.
Some think this is bad monetary policy- others say it’s good.
Now- as a matter of simple math- if you put extra money into the system- this money has to go somewhere.
And eventually a large part goes into the market.
This in reality is a fake way to ‘stimulate’ the market.
So that’s what you saw yesterday.
Yesterday the high court disbanded the entire Parliament.
The military are still in control- and it looks like Democracy has failed.
Now- do I think this is a bad thing?
Look- the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power after the protests.
These guys just had thousands in the streets calling for the destruction of Israel.
They are indeed radicals- and if they run the country you will have another theocracy like Iran.
This is not good for the rights of women- Christians- and many other groups.
The economy of Egypt has been ruined.
For centuries people have been going to visit the pyramids- that whole thing is now dead.
Tourism was a major part of their economy.
We have not helped the cause of these people- we might have meant well by toppling Mubarak- but the aftermath is bad.
Oil prices are down 12 %- because of a global slowdown.
Asia [China] is slowing down faster than anyone thought- China just took financial action to try and counteract this.
In the beginning of the year many were projecting 3.5- 4 % growth for the U.S.
The Bulls and Bears were just about split [I was- am still a bear].
Half way thru the year- the estimates are now 1.7 % growth- terrible.
There is no way we are going to see an upturn for the rest of the year- not possible.
Now- will the markets go up?
I don’t think so- but people do crazy stuff.
I’m saying the global economic outlook is terrible- very very bad- The E.U. crisis is very bad.
Spain and Italy are in trouble- not just Greece.
Greece is on the verge of exiting the Euro- and many investors have taken their money out of Spain and Italy.
Italy is really ‘too big to fail’.
If the Italian economy crashes- the Euro\zone is over.
Now- Do I think the worst will happen?
I don’t know for sure- but for financial advisors to be telling people that the ‘fundamentals’ are strong is ridiculous.
This has been the mantra the last year.
That U.S. companies [and banks] have much more cash on hand- the price for stock- compared to ‘projected’ growth/income of the company is cheap.
And some paint this rosy picture.
If you own a McDonalds on your block- and your ‘fundamentals’ are strong- but if everyone on the block is going broke- it makes no difference how strong the fundamentals are- the customers are broke.
That’s what the E.U crisis means- they are our number one trading partner- yes- they beat China.
If they are having all these very real problems- then we are in danger of another recession.
Most of the recent numbers seem to be saying this.
The last few weeks we are seeing a rise in the weekly unemployment numbers.
Our economy is softening- and the trend is not your friend.
With all this going on- the message of the president makes no sense.
He gave a speech yesterday- he basically is saying ‘do you want what we had the last 10 years- look what Bush gave you’.
I mean he acts like he has not been in charge for the past 3.5 years.
Look- I’m starting to worry about the man.
One interesting thing to keep note of.
The markets play into what they think might happen.
If the Supreme Court shoots down Obama care this month- markets WILL LIKE THAT.
And- the truth be told- if they think Romney is going to win [the odds look much better for him now than 3 months ago] the markets will factor that in as a positive sign.
All in all- today might be a rough day for stocks.
We do need to batten down the hatches for the rest of the year and realize at midyear- we have made a turn for the worse.
Don’t worry- don’t panic- but make sure your listening to good advice.
I am not a total doomsayer when it comes to this [Beck type]- but I see the writing on the wall- the global economy is slowing down- we are on the verge of a double dip recession- and the Euro Zone looks very bad- despite the central banks action.
1853- SEX- ALL TYPES
Let’s cover the ‘other’ news story of the day- the Elephant in the room.
Yes- with all the things going on in the news this week- we also have had the start of the Jerry Sandusky sex case.
Most of you know the scoop.
Sandusky is the famous coach from Penn state that worked for years with the famed Joe Paterno.
There were rumors- and ‘chance’ encounters where people saw Sandusky with young boys- and he was caught molesting kids.
As the defendants have been testifying this week- well- we heard bad stuff.
I don’t want to ‘defend’ the Sandusky’s of the world in any way- but I want to speak openly- and in a politically incorrect way about sexual orientations of all kinds.
I have a book here in my study- about 3 feet from where I’m sitting.
It’s the story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s conversion to the Lord after he was sent to prison.
I do realize that we see lots of jail house conversions- and for some people they will never believe that a Dahmer could convert.
But as I read the book- and also have watched the re play of the interview that Dahmer did with MSNBC- I do believe he was sincere.
One very interesting- and truthful part of the interview was when Dahmers dad was asked ‘why do you think this happened to your son’.
The dad- who is a Christian man- said he felt like somewhere along the line- Jeff associated- connected- the act of sex with dead things.
That he was fixated as a boy with skulls and dead things- and in time when he went thru puberty- that he also- somehow- connected the joy of collecting skulls and stuff with the act of sex.
Now- some might dismiss this as a lame excuse- and of course the crimes Jeff committed were very serious [for those not familiar- Dahmer is the famed serial killer who cannibalized his victims].
In point of fact- people- in all societies and in every age- can- and have ‘learned’ certain types of behavior- for good or ill.
The reason this debate is hard to have in our country- is because the present debate over gay rights pits one group against another.
For anyone to say ‘we actually do have proof that certain sexual behavior can indeed be learned’ seems to be bigoted and against the civil rights of people.
The purpose of this post is not to get into a long drawn out discussion over this.
I want to simply say- there are- and have been- all types of sexual associations that people have made with certain acts.
In the Sandusky case- with minors.
In the Dahmer case- with dead things.
The list does go on.
Is it possible to ‘un learn’ associations like this?
In short- yes.
Is it easy?
A few years ago I noticed that one of the major hospitals in the U.S. – famous for doing sex change operations- very quietly quit the practice.
As I listened and read about the story- I came to find out that the hospital- that was lauded for their non judgmental attitude- their willingness to break ‘the religious bigotry of our day’ that after doing the operation for years.
Admitted that the results were horrendous.
The rate of depression and suicide among most of the patients went sky high.
After years of doing the operation- the data showed that despite all the ‘political correctness’ the facts on the ground were these operations were doing more harm than good.
Yet- year after year we see people who have had the operation- on well meaning news shows being interviewed- and the interviewer- without fail- always comes across as ‘look how accepting I am of you- look how wonderful it is for us all to celebrate your freedom and to not judge’.
Yet- many of the times I get the impression that these people are under great pressure to go with this line.
That they are cast into the limelight as a great example of acceptance- and they seem at times to not want to let the interviewer- or the world- down.
But- if the data says the rate of suicide and depression sky rockets among those who have gone thru with the procedure- then if we really love these people- or our kids- or generations to come- then we would be more careful before we jump on the ‘what a great thing you did’ bandwagon.
In the whole debate about whether or not sexual orientation [or simple associations of sexual expression with particular acts] is changeable- we need to be aware of the overall effects we are having on all sorts of people.
In the Sandusky case- we do see an attraction that many men have.
There are entire organizations supporting man/minor ‘love’.
NAMBLA- North American Man Boy Love Association- being one.
Do these men make the same argument that some have made with the gay rights issue?
Many argue that that they have had this ‘orientation’ for as long as they can remember.
They argue that they share a common orientation with thousands of other men all over the world.
They argue that its’ the ‘Victorian era morality’- that religion wants to impose on people- that tells them- and society- that they are wrong.
After all- if ‘God created me this way- why should I not express it’.
Now- I- like you- do not accept these arguments- but in truth- they are basically the same type of arguments that others have made with the gay rights debate.
[Note- I do have gay friends- and I do not want to come off as saying I equate child molesters with gay people- I don’t. The point I’m making is the NAMBLA folk are saying ‘who has the right to say that Man/Boy sex is wrong’. And to be honest- if you reject the basis of natural/moral law- then they win the point.]
The point I’m making is if we- as a society- tell people that sexual orientation is never learned behavior- then we are in ways justifying the NAMBLA argument.
I was going to delve into the entire field of what we call natural/moral law.
Where does it come from?
Does society simply make up moral law?
This is a very long debate- going on since the days of Immanuel Kant [one of the great thinkers going back a few centuries].
In short- some have argued over the years that we need to rid society of moral law- that it’s these restrictions on men [particularly sexuality] that is the cause of society’s ills.
The famous thinker Freud [and Nietzsche] advocated this.
But after hundreds of years of debate- there are no examples of any successful society that has managed to develop any type of functioning ethic- apart from what we call the Judeo/Christian ethic.
I don’t mean to come off as judgmental- nor to offend any group of people- but if we are telling entire generations of people ‘you are a slave to your sexual orientation’.
If we are saying to people ‘you can never change’ or overcome your sexual associations.
Then we might be biting off more than we can chew.
If it simply makes us [the interviewer] feel better about ourselves when we say ‘see- you have done such a great thing- if only these religious bigots would stop judging you’.
But in reality- the data show that these people suffer tremendously- for the most part- after they get the sex change.
Then maybe we need to re think what we are saying to them as a whole.
Maybe we should tell people ‘yes- associating sexual expression with a particular act- or life style is a very strong thing’.
In most cases- even in cases like Sandusky- even if there are hundreds of thousands of people with the same ‘feelings’ all over the world.
Yet- if we do love people and are honest- we would tell them it is possible to change the feeling- the association- dare say ‘orientation’.
We must realize that there are many types of sexual expression- that society- and moral/natural law say is wrong.
Those in these lifestyles- often will argue that the orientation was with them for as long as they can remember.
Others argue that there are many others like them.
All this may be true- but in the end- this does not mean the association is right [NAMBLA] or can never be broken.
I’ll end with a couple of verses ‘I hate vain thoughts- but your law do I love’ ‘commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts will be established’ ‘God will keep them in perfect peace whose minds are fixated on him’.
This entire debate is long- and even many Christians disagree on some points. There are movements within the church that seek to accept the gay lifestyle as an acceptable lifestyle.
Today’s point is- if we tell people- with all types of orientations- that you can ‘never change’ them- or overcome them- then we are not being honest.
If we think that the solution is ‘let’s just live with no moral law’.
That has been debated- and tried- and found wanting [Freud died in a mental hospital- going insane from a sexual disease].
If we love our kids- those around us- our neighbor- then we should not encourage those among us struggling with orientations to ‘go with what you feel’.
Or to be so accepting of an operation that the data shows does not solve anything- only makes it worse.
In short- if we love people- we must be truthful with them.
Yes- try not to judge- love them even if they don’t become what you think is best.
But be honest with people.
I feel sorry when I see Chaz Bono being interviewed- time and again- everyone telling her how happy they are for her.
When I know in reality the data says something different.
The statistics show that those who go as far as ‘changing’ their sex- many of them take their own lives.
And it’s not because they feel judged- it’s because many of them can’t believe what they have done.
Sad that we hide this- sad.
1851- IS THE PRIVATE SECTOR DOING FINE?
The other day I posted about the ‘new narrative’.
I talked about the argument that austerity [cutting spending] in the Euro zone- as well as the U.S. – is the new reason to blame for the globes economic woes.
I won’t re-post my rebuttal- suffice it to say I don’t agree.
So- when the president made his recent gaffe ‘the private sector is doing fine’ the right went nuts- and the left ran with the new [false] narrative.
With all the talking heads out there- you would think that they would have put these things together- after all they get paid lots of money.
I mean even though I’m a regular critic of MSNBC- I do see them as family.
When the Nielsen ratings come out- and Chris Matthews rating is 2 people- at least he knows his wife watches the show [or has it on mute?].
And I’m number 2.
So let’s weave the web here.
When Obama kicked off his campaign year- he had some very rough starts.
The Bain capital thing- well that didn’t work too well.
Then they jumped to the Massachusetts job record of Romney- when he was governor.
Okay- that’s fair game.
But the argument they were making was Romney was a failure while overseeing the state.
Yet when he left office- unemployment was under 5 %- under Obama- we have 8.2.
Yeah- they dropped that line too.
So- the new story is that the Repub led congress [house] are to blame for the unemployment rate.
That Obama put a ‘jobs bill’ on the table- and the Repubs refuse to sign the thing.
Thus ‘the private sector is doing fine’ but because the jobs bill- which is geared towards providing around 250 billion dollars to the states- and union and govt. workers- that because the Repubs won’t pass it- therefore the ‘public sector’ is dragging down the economy.
This is the same argument that says austerity measures are the cause of all the worlds woes.
Last night as I was news surfing I saw some fill in for Maddow on her show- he seems to be a nice kid- have heard him before [Ezra something?]
He did the whole show based on this argument.
He said Romney and the Repubs are hypocrites because when they are in charge they are for public sector workers [cops- firemen- teachers].
But now that Obama is in charge they are cutting them back [note- they were never for trillions of stimulus- as a regular means of providing jobs. They were for the regular fed money that would normally go to the states].
Of course- this is the attack on the dumb [it was dumb] Romney line ‘we don’t need more firefighters and teachers and cops’.
What did Romney really mean?
He is arguing the conservative view that says the jobs market really isn’t a function of spending more federal money.
That even though the fed does provide money to the states [teachers] yet in the long run it’s the local and state economies that will decide whether or not to hire more of these ‘public’ sector workers.
As a firefighter- we did not get federal money to hire new guys- but if our city was doing well financially- then we had the tax revenue to hire new guys.
That’s Romney’s point.
Last year- the govt. did distribute billions [yes- with a b] to the states to stave off the laying off of many teachers and cops and firefighters.
Basically the original 800 billion stimulus simply paid the checks for another year.
But in reality you can’t keep propping up the jobs like this.
For one thing- it’s not ‘fair’.
Look- any president can say ‘let’s spend another trillion- during my term- to simply pay people so they stay employed’.
If the majority of the money- like in this case- is going to workers who give your party lots of money [unions support Dems] then it would be like Bush giving money just to oil field workers- during his whole term
Second- we already have spent a little under 2 trillion fed dollars- propping up the economy.
We had the 900 billion dollar bail out of the banks- and the 800 billion dollar stimulus money.
Obama is blaming the Repubs for not passing his ‘jobs bill’.
Is this really a jobs bill?
It was simply another 250 billion dollars of ‘stimulus’.
We- as a nation- can’t keep doing this.
Overspending is what got the Euro zone in deep trouble- not austerity.
Our very high debt is what is getting us in trouble- as a nation.
Right now- 40 cents of every dollar the govt. spends simply goes to pay the interest on the debt.
Imagine if almost half of your household income was simply interest on your credit card.
Would the answer be ‘lets get another card’?
So- the pres- and some progressive economists [Krugman- and the MSNBC crowd] are saying ‘let’s get another card’.
The Repubs are saying ‘no- let’s start paying the card down’.
You can decide which road is better.
While the president does have some truth to the argument he made the other day- the ‘macro’ picture looks much different.
What was he right about?
When the terrible jobs number came out last month- the 69,000 new jobs- part of the bad number did have to do with govt. layoffs.
The private sector created a little over 80,000 new jobs.
The govt [public sector] lost around 20,000.
So he was trying to make the point ‘see- if the Repubs let me spend another 250 billion- then the govt. would not have laid off folk- and the economy would be fine’.
This argument is being made right now- on both sides of the pond- but it is really not the full story.
In our country we have millions of people without work- the unemployment rate is 8.2%.
And the small % of govt. jobs that are being lost is not the reason why the country is in trouble.
And the solution- long term- is not to keep getting the country in debt.
Anyone can say ‘pass this jobs bill’.
If they simply mean ‘let’s spend billions more- to keep people on the job- just until my election [or term] is over’ then it really is not a jobs bill.
It’s another 250 billion in stimulus.
I think we already spent too much.
1849- SHREK- A CITY- AND WATER FROM A ROCK
I want to end the week with at least some bible stuff- but let me share a few more homeless stories.
I have been getting with the guys the past few days and have not written about it every time.
A few notable things.
I heard that Chris- a homeless friend for many years- drove to Louisiana with another friend [a former ship captain- a Greek].
And Chris actually got a machinists job making 15 bucks an hour.
I was happy to hear the great news.
I have written about Chris before- he always told me he was a machinist- I think from the classic Youngstown area [Ohio- Springsteen’s famous song].
One day I had Chris over at the house.
My dad gave me these antique boxes of his father’s machinist tools many years ago.
As I kid I used to go thru the boxes in my garage [for any of my old friends who read the site- do you remember these tools?]
So when Chris saw them- he knew them like a carpenter knows a hammer.
So I knew he wasn’t making the whole ‘I’m a machinist’ thing up.
But I also could tell that Chris- like most of the street guys- has some type of mental problem.
So I never knew if he really was as good as he made it sound. But after hearing that he got hired- I was glad.
Dirk [another long time friend- a good friend] has been messing with the radiator on his van the last few days.
He lives in the van- I see it parked in the various parking lots on a rotating basis.
Dirk claims to be ‘a winter Texan’ sort of like he’s a retired tourist guy.
But the truth is- he is homeless- has been for years.
Anyway- he needed a ride to the other side of town to buy a new radiator- I obliged.
Henry went with us- Henry loves the fellowship- he’s the scholar friend- homeless too- but he picks my brain lots.
Dirk offered to give me 5 bucks for gas- it was about a 10 mile trek.
But I told him ‘no way’.
About half way back- he realizes he left his cell phone at the shop.
I was like ‘how did you do that- I never put my cell phone on a table at a store- when I’m done- it goes in my pocket’.
Any way- I told Dirk ‘don’t worry- we’ll get it’.
I kinda felt like taking the 5 bucks now- but let it slide [I have been giving the guys change from 20’s the last couple of weeks- I try to ‘spread the wealth around’ Obama style!]
Yesterday I helped Tammy [I do usually give Tammy a few dollars every time I see her].
Tammy is a ‘working girl’.
Her and her boyfriend [Shrek] are Meth addicts.
It’s funny- I have been giving Tammy a few dollars for years.
Someone gave her a girls bike yesterday- but she had to pick it up [a lady at the mission gave it to her for some yard work she did- Tammy was going to give it to a friend’s daughter for an upcoming birthday].
So I told Tammy ‘I’ll pick it up for you and put it in the truck’.
She was going to walk over and ride it home [home- her and Shrek are staying in some broken down trailer].
I do realize it looks like I’m a ‘customer’ I mean I give the girl dollars- and then a ride.
I don’t really care to be honest- but I do see how people could talk.
Anyway- when we dropped the bike off- I saw Shrek [he’s a big kid- around 35 years’ old- 300 lbs].
He’s really a nice kid.
I gave him and Tammy a nice tent once.
They were living in the brush at the time and the tent was a 2 person size- a nice one I bought from wal mart.
They never forgot that.
Shrek was glad to see me- it’s been a while.
Okay- let me cover Deuteronomy chapter 4.
I have been reading it this week [it was a chapter from the Mass this past Sunday].
Moses is going over the story of the Jewish people right before they enter the Promised Land.
He tells them that God did a great work by leading them out of Egypt and being with them all this time.
A few points.
Moses tells them that God was angry with him and because of this he will not ‘go in and take the land’.
This ‘anger’ moment was when God told Moses to speak to the Rock when the people were complaining of thirst.
For you ‘non bible readers’ this would be when Charlton Hesston delivered the people form Egypt and they went thru the Red sea and were in the wilderness.
At various times Moses loses his temper with the Jewish people.
This Rock incident was the one time God said ‘okay- that’s it Moses- you blew it one too many times- you can’t go in to the land’.
Moses was to speak to the Rock and water would come out.
He got mad- and struck the Rock- twice- with his famous rod.
The water came out.
Which was a type of ‘God striking the Rock’ [Jesus was punished for us on the Cross- Isaiah 53 says it pleased THE LORD to bruise him- God punished his Son on our behalf- Jesus was ‘the rock’ that the water flowed from [a symbol of the Holy Spirit]. On the Cross a soldier put a spear in the side of Jesus and water came out].
So the striking of the rock was a symbol that God would use- but striking it twice ruined the symbol.
The book of Hebrews says Jesus was struck only once for sin- not repeatedly.
So because of this Moses could not go in to the land.
Okay- to my bible scholars out there- I found a verse where Moses makes it into the land.
No trick [not really].
In the New Testament Jesus was transfigured before the disciples- the Mount of Transfiguration.
At the time the bible says Moses and Elijah appeared with him.
Of course- they were in the Promised Land at the time.
One more thing from this chapter.
It also talks about the cities of refuge.
These were cities  that God set aside- if someone accidently killed another person they could flee to the city for safety.
At the time- if you killed someone- the family of the dead person had the right to ‘avenge the blood’ of their relative.
But if it was an accident- you could run to the ‘city of refuge’ and find safety.
You had to live in the city until the death of the high priest.
After he died- you could go back home.
The ‘city of refuge’ is a type of the church- the community of God [not the building!].
We are all guilty of the innocent Blood of Jesus [he died for us].
We can ‘flee to the city of refuge’ and find safety from our guilt- as long as the high priest lives [Hebrews/Romans says we are saved by his life- he lives].
We also can ‘inherit the promise’ enter back into the land- after ‘he dies’.
Jesus died- and rose again- so we too could partake of the true inheritance- not a ‘city made with hands- but an eternal one in the heavens’ Hebrews.
1848- WISCONSIN AND THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR [OR DOCK?]
Let’s cover the recall election in Wisconsin and a few other news events.
I read an article the other day- by the AP.
It said ‘the Republicans could extend the tax cuts if they wanted to- but they don’t want to help the President so it’s unlikely to happen’.
I’m sure many unsuspecting folk believe this- even though it’s a lie.
The Republicans have actually said they want to extend the cuts- the President is threatening a veto if they do.
The Pres wants to let the Bush cuts expire at the end of the year- all of them [except for those making under 250,000 a year].
Some Dems [Pelosi, Schumer] want them to expire on millionaires and over [because they have a lot of rich folk they represent- and they don’t want to raise taxes on their people who make over 250,000 a year].
So- the lines are drawn.
Yet- the paper said ‘the Repubs don’t want to extend the tax cuts and help the Pres’.
Okay- that’s what you call ‘the main stream media’ they lie often- and could care less.
Now- Walker won his recall challenge and the media also went nuts.
Ed Shultz- the nut on MSNBC- has been a strong supporter of the unions and has followed the recall closely.
Now- for full disclosure- I am a member of the IAFF [international firefighters union].
I was involved with collective bargaining my whole life- I know the scoop.
When Walker became governor he dropped the right to bargain for some union people.
They still had their unions [something Rachael Maddow needs to learn- another MSNBC person who is misinformed. She thinks that dropping bargaining is losing the union- wrong].
The Unions in Wisconsin got mad and did a recall election.
After walker won- the exit polls showed that 38% of union households voted for walker.
Schultz was incensed- he said ‘how could you vote for him! He hates you- he wants to destroy you!! I guess Obama was right- you folk who cling to your God and guns- you never learn’.
Why liberals allow the liberal media to trash them- and keep watching- is beyond me.
What’s the MAIN reason Walker won?
Some say lots of outside money came in and swayed the vote.
Others say the people are ignorant.
In Wisconsin- like many other states and cities- one of the major expenses is the pension benefits for retired public sector workers.
In some states [Rhode Island] it’s almost half of the entire budget- they are on the verge of bankruptcy.
Yesterday San Jose and Sand Diego were in the news- they too have cut the benefits for their retired workers.
In San Jose- the union is suing the mayor- a Democrat- over this.
In these cities/states- when you look at the budget- you have no other choice but to reign in the cost of the benefits to the retirees.
Now- many in the media said ‘Walker is balancing the books on the backs of the average Joe’.
But- if this is the largest expense to the city/state- then you have no other choice but to cut there.
Some say ‘just raise the taxes on the rich/corporations’.
Actually Cali and N.Y. and other places tried it- and many businesses left the state- they lost more income then they made by doing this.
So- the people in Wisconsin saw this- and they voted for Walker.
Okay- there are other ‘side reasons’ too- but for the most part they saw the numbers- and are not stupid.
But when the media says ‘they must be stupid- that’s why they voted the wrong way’. That’s just condescending.
This same media- who thinks you are dumb- reported about a Japanese dock that landed on the shores of California yesterday.
Of course we have all the debris from the Tsunami that’s been making its way over to the U.S.
We have had lots of cases of stuff already washing up.
So the report [CNN?] said ‘mystery dock- will the mystery ever be solved’?
Yeah- they went on to show the dock- they explained that some people who have been following the aftermath of the tsunami have said things this big should not have arrived yet.
There have been reports of Japanese boats also showing up close to our shore- wrecks from the disaster.
Now- they went on for about an hour talking about this ‘mystery’ as in if it was an alien spaceship.
What’s the mystery- we have debris floating from Japan- it’s been landing on our shores- and this is debris from Japan.
After about an hour I’m sure some producer said ‘get that stupid headline down’!
Yeah- the mystery has been solved.
Now- these are the same media that think you are stupid- that you [some of you] voted for Walker because you cling to your ‘God and guns’.
I’ll end with Jack Cafferty [CNN].
I kinda like old Jack.
I grew up in the local media market where Jack got his experience.
So last night he did his rant about the debt- yes- he’s mad that we have a 16 trillion dollar debt and ‘nobody wants to fix it’.
He talked about the real threat- and he said we are in an election year- and therefore both sides wont act.
Now- I’m not a conservative nor a tea partier.
But let’s do a little history here.
When Obama came into office- for the first time in memory- we had one party controlling everything [White house- Senate and House].
You also had what’s called a Super Majority- in the senate.
They had a 60 vote majority- a filibuster proof majority.
So- after the first year being wasted on Obama care- as they ended their session a reporter asked Harry Reid ‘are you going to pass a budget being you have the majority all the way around’?
Reid’s response was- no- let the Repubs do one and they can get the blame for it.
What? The Repubs were a minority- in both houses.
It seemed ludicrous to think this way.
Then we had the midterm elections- and it was a blowout- the Repubs took the majority in the House- the Senate held.
So the next 2 years the Repubs passed budgets in the house- actual budgets that made tough choices- they did cut the growth of entitlements and made an attempt to balance the books.
The Dems simply used the budgets as political attacks- they did exactly what Reid said ‘let them get the blame for it’ and they were the chief ‘blamers’ [anybody remember the Dem ad that had Ryan throwing grandma off the cliff?]
Okay- we have had 4 years of a Democrat Presidency- 2 of which the Dems held the majority in both houses.
They never passed a budget.
The Repubs came to bat the last 2 years- even though they are still a minority- they simply have a majority in the house.
Yet- they still passed a budget- and it was shot down by the Dems. in the Senate.
Okay- to Mr. Cafferty- one side has made an attempt to fix the thing- the other has not.
As we end the first term of Obama- after 4 years of ‘kicking the ball down the field’.
He has said ‘if you elect me once more I will pass a budget- this time’.
If you had 4 years- and by law are required to pass one- and you did not do it with a super majority- how do you expect us to believe you will do it now?
The odds of losing the Senate are possible.
You will never get the house back.
And you had 2 years of a super majority to do it.
The only possible solution- in my mind- is to elect a majority of fiscal conservatives [some Democrats fit this too- look at all the Clinton ‘gaffes’ these last few days].
I mean if you made excuses- when you had one of the greatest majorities in the history of the country- then there is no way you will do it now.
So- people are not stupid- they see the debt- the writing on the wall.
They saw it in Wisconsin- they see it in San Jose- San Diego and Rhode Island.
They are making the tough decisions- even the Democrat mayors and governors [Cuomo in N.Y.]
It’s not that we hate the unions- or that we are clinging to ‘our God and guns’.
No- it’s simple common sense.
Or you can still keep listening to the main stream media- you know- the ones who can’t seem to explain that mystery dock.
1847- WE FIX FLAT
I was going to cover Exodus chapter 4- but let’s see how much time we have.
Last week I noticed a bump on my right arm- and I was familiar with the feeling.
I told my wife ‘damn- a got bit by a brown recluse- again!’
Yes- many years ago in Kingsville I had a bite on the leg.
I didn’t know what it was at first- so I ‘self treated’.
I had some leftover antibiotics and sat in Epson salt.
The bite got big- red- and really ugly [won’t give you the gory details- look on line if you want].
It eventually left a hole in the middle of the infected area.
Years Later I realized it was a brown recluse spider.
So- when I showed my wife the bite- she kinda doubted at first.
But after a couple of days she was like ‘when are you going to see the doctor’.
Of course- I self treated again [it’s in the final stage- why go now?]
That brings me to another thing- I don’t have health insurance.
When I retired from the fire dep’t we did not have a contract deal like the northern depts.
Today Wisconsin holds their recall- it looks like Walker will win.
One of the reasons for the recall was Walker ‘recalled’ bargaining rights for some public service employees.
He left the Cops and Firefighters alone.
But these guys do indeed have ‘Cadillac’ retirement plans.
They get their insurance covered- in some cases- 100%.
Not here in South Texas.
So- after I retired I got my kids on a plan [they are on their own now] and I applied for my wife to get on with the V. A.
We were both in the Navy [I did not get on- made too much money- but not enough to buy my own in the private market].
So- I self treat- or pay cash [around 120 on average] for a doc visit.
This is what some people don’t get.
I had a conversation with a liberal friend of mine.
They get free coverage for themselves and a family member.
The ‘son in law’ also got on the plan.
None of them work- the daughter and the sons are drug addicts.
And the state they live in [N.J.] considers ‘drug addiction’ a disability- they all get free coverage.
Now- I don’t judge them- or complain [too much].
But one time they were arguing with me about how everyone who was complaining about Obama care were deadbeats who didn’t want to help pay for those in need.
I told them that I not only pay for myself [when I have the cash] but I also will now pay the fine [if the Supreme Court doesn’t strike it down].
I explained to my friend that my daughters will also pay the fine- except my daughter who is a teacher.
So my household will be paying a couple of thousand extra bucks a year- a fine- because I have no insurance- and I still don’t have coverage.
So- for people who don’t work- who get the free coverage like my friend- they don’t understand why some of us are ‘miffed’.
One time at the fire dept we ‘self insured’.
Every year the city put out bids for our insurance.
And every so often our plans would change- you would go in and get briefed on the new plan and all.
So one year they decided to do the self insurance thing.
The city hires someone to administrate the plan [Entrust] but they only do the clerical work- the pool of money is simply the money the city collects from the workers.
Risky indeed- one guy with HIV and the pool is empty.
So we had a bunch of disgruntled fire fighters to say the least.
It didn’t help much that some of us veterans kinda teased them a bit.
They would ask ‘what’s self insurance’.
We told them ‘whoever is on duty that night- they will provide the health care for your family’
Yeah- at our fire dept we also ran the EMS service [ambulance].
Over the years we had various medical criteria that we had to meet.
For most of my time I was an EMT.
Some of the guys were Paramedics.
Others held something called ECA.
This was truly the bottom of the line certification.
It was basically a glorified first aid thing.
Most of the Captains held this- eventually it was done away with all together.
So- we told the new guys ‘yeah- that’s what self insurance is- we will be providing the care to ourselves- just hope you don’t get stuck with the ECA when you call for help’.
Needless to say- they were livid.
You know- kidding around breaks the ice at a job like that. LOL
One more from the fire dept. and I’ll be thru.
The town I worked in was a great little city- Kingsville.
My retirement comes from that job.
We would drive around often- whether a fire or simply doing maintenance on the fire hydrants.
So we would see all the little FIX A FLAT shade tree mechanics all over the place.
We would get a kick out of the signs that said ‘WE FIX FLAT’.
I mean we didn’t expect the guys to be geniuses- but at least put an S at the end of flat.
So one time I told one of my buddies ‘man- you’ll never guess what happened- I brought my truck to the tire guy- and had a couple of flats’.
He fixed one and said he was finished.
I told him ‘man- what about the other flat’?
He said ‘can’t you read the sign?’ Nuff said.
1846- FOOTBALL JIM
I’ll probably get with the homeless guys today- so let me pick up where I left off the last time I spoke about Mike.
Every so often- I might be friends with one of the brothers for 20 years- and as fate [God] would have it- I might spend more time with one of them at set times.
So the last few weeks this is what’s happened with my friend Mike.
For years I have seen Mike walking the streets where I live.
He sought of reminds me of the story of Cain and Able.
Cain killed his brother Able and Cain was ‘marked’.
The story is found in the bible- it is sort of strange in a way.
The curse of Cain was no man could kill him- but he would be condemned to wander the land and never settle.
When I saw Mike over the years- him being a friend- I would stop and see if he wanted to do lunch- or spend a few hours at the house- get off the streets a little.
But I wondered how Mike got into this situation.
He’s about 8 years younger than me [I’m 49] and he seems like such a nice ‘kid’.
The other day Mike was at my house and he looked up his daughter on Facebook- she’s up in Austin.
Mike told me more of his story this day.
Mike grew up in an abusive home- his dad was [is] an alcoholic.
He has 2 brothers.
One day- when Mike was 16- his dad came in the room and yelled at him for something.
He told Mike ‘you think you’re ready to take me on- go for it’.
Mike gave his dad a mean look- and that’s what his dad told him.
Mike got up- grabbed a bat by his bed- and almost killed his dad.
He told me that after he hit him the first time- his dad held Mike’s face- and you could see he felt like he was going to die.
Mike said he knew one more hit would kill him- and he stopped.
His dad went to the hospital and from that point on Mike lived in the garage.
Over time he moved to the streets.
He did marry a girl from school- had a daughter- and eventually divorced.
Mike told me his mom and dad still live here in Corpus.
I never knew that.
I thought it must be strange seeing your son living on the streets.
The last post I wrote on Mike- he was staying at a local hotel.
He’s back under the bridge where we live.
He’s working every day- and has asked the boss to save his checks until he saves up enough for a better place.
Yeah- Old ‘football’ died.
I just found out the other day- he was a friend for lots of years.
Football wasn’t really homeless- he lived with his bachelor brother for years.
They had a small apt. where they split the bills.
But football [all the guys have nicknames- Carpenter Tim- Painter bill- etc.
Tim [carpenter] told me a funny story one day. His family knew he was on the streets in Corpus.
So one year they told Tim they were going to come visit him.
Tim is a straight up guy- a good friend- and works his tail off.
But he lives in the brush- by the way- he builds the best camps out of all the guys- he is a carpenter after all.
So anyway- he tells them ‘when you get to Corpus- you can find me at this spot- all the guys know me- just ask for Tim’.
He finds out later- after he met with his mom and dad- that they asked ‘where looking for our son Tim, do you know him’.
One of the street guys said ‘oh yeah- Drunk Tim- yeah I know him’.
Obviously this is another Tim- but his folks did not know.
Tim got a real laugh out of that.]
Okay- Jim was part of the street crowd- and he would go to the buffets a lot.
One time I took the guys to the buffet- and sure enough Jim was already there.
It was funny- one of the close friends who was with me- painter Bill- also was friends with Jim [they were both in their 70’s].
So at the buffet [Sirloin Stockade] Bill goes right to the pecan pies.
He’s mad- there already all gone!
The guys like those the best- so if they get a chance- they grab them when they can.
On our way to get a seat- sure enough- there was Jim- with about 6 pecan pies slices on his table.
Yeah- the guys have no pride.
So Jim died- kinda sad.
I did speak with Jim over the years- he kept more to himself.
One time I heard Jim was in the hospital- he had some problem.
So every week or so I would ask at the mission ‘how’s Jim doing’.
They would fill me in.
When Jim got out- he came to talk to me.
I could tell he heard I was asking about him.
The guys want to know some of their friends were worried about them.
So they must have told Jim ‘yeah- John was asking about you’.
Jim- who never talked about the Lord- told me a short testimony.
He was a believer- and that being saved was accepting Jesus.
I told him ‘yes Jim- your right’.
It was funny- even though I knew Jim for years- he never told me this until he realized I was concerned about him.
Yeah- Jim was a good man- he loved keeping up with the football scores [thus the nickname] and I was sad to have heard he died.
The bible says ‘it is appointed unto men once to die- after that the judgment’.
Jim kept his appointment.
I was going to take a few days off- but yesterday’s news was big.
Actually- in the morning when I was about to post I almost gave a warning about the market [for real].
Not because of the terrible jobs numbers- I mean nobody saw that coming.
But because of the overall bad data that came in thru out the week.
Then sure enough the May jobs numbers came out- 69,000.
It was a disaster to say the least.
The Dow went down about 250- and the spin doctors were on call.
I really found it funny [amazing] to hear the spin.
Julian Epstein- an Obama guy- talked about the job loss at the end of the Bush years and the start of Obama’s term.
The loss was bad- about 800,000 a month.
Yes- it was a real recession.
So- Epstein noted that for the first couple of months of this year the jobs were positive- created a couple of hundred thousand a month on average.
So- he says ‘Obama has turned the jobs numbers on average to a positive 900,000 jobs a month’ [my paraphrase].
Yeah- according to him Obama has actually ‘created’ 900,000 jobs a month.
He said this was the most amazing job growth in our lifetimes.
This on a day when the numbers were the worst in a year.
Then I saw an interview with some Chicago big wigs.
Rahm Emanuel- another Obama fan- and a few talking heads were eating some Chicago pizza.
They said that the economy under Obama is actually great [not good- but really good!]
They gave a few numbers.
Then they said the problem is the media only play sound bites- and the public gets ‘fooled’.
I have heard this accusation before- that the insiders who surround the pres actually say this- that the true message of how well he is doing is not making it into the minds of the average person.
That the people who ‘cling to their God and guns’ are actually ‘less than intelligent’ and that’s why they don’t appreciate his presidency.
Then old Bill [Clinton] made the rounds- and he pulled a Cory Booker.
He said that Romney’s business record was ‘superb’.
Geez Bill- how bout he simply didn’t do shaky schemes? [Like the Chicago pizza crowd- Rezko- shady real estate deals. Jobs ‘created’ for the wife of a senator- making around 400 thousand a year. And after the senator leaves town and becomes president- the job never gets filled again. Or Rahm sending a dead fish to a political opponent- doing a cheap replay of the dead horse head in the God Father movie].
No- not only was Romney a good guy [according to Bill] but ‘superb’.
I bet Biden was jealous over this gaffe.
So the week was not good at all for the president.
Where do we stand?
To be honest- for the May jobs number to be that bad- was a shock.
You were hard pressed to find any market Bulls running yesterday.
I do think we are now in a major slowdown- and if we get any worse- we might see a double dip recession.
And it’s not just the U.S. economy- the far east is also slowing down.
China’s economy is not as hot as we hoped either.
‘Well John- then why are oil prices better’?
One of the reasons oil [gas] goes up- is because you think there is a demand for the stuff.
If you think the global economy is slowing down- then you think ‘maybe the demand for oil will be low’.
So that plays a role in the thing.
I found it sad to see the spin.
I watched most of the news shows during the day.
And on MSNBC- Matthews [Obama cheerleader] I did not even hear him mention the number one story of the day- the jobs numbers.
Matthews spent most of the show accusing Repubs of wanting to jail women who terminate their pregnancies because of gender bias.
Now- should women ever abort their kids because they wanted a boy instead of a girl?
But if you watched hardball- that was the story of the day- sad indeed.
The ‘real’ story is not that Obama actually has one of the ‘greatest job turn abounds in the history of the nation’.
Or that the media have tricked the gun toting God believing lemmings into thinking his presidency is not historic.
No- the real story is the hopes [on both sides] that this year we would see a real economic turnaround has now faded.
So- this year will not be a ‘superb’ year- by any means.
All the gains in the market for the year have now been lost.
The unemployment rate has ticked up to 8.2%.
And the economy is doing badly.
Yeah- the spin doctors were out in full force.
One particular dose of spin intrigued me.
It was a report on the Brewery companies.
They said this was one of the few businesses that has- for some strange reason- excelled.
I will quote you a verse- maybe it will shed some light.
‘Do not give strong drink to those who are doing well- but give it to those who have no hope- then they can forget about all the bad news and pass out’ Proverbs.
Yeah- I think that tells it all in a nutshell.
1844- POPES HOMILY
Got with the homeless brothers yesterday- found out Football Jim died a few months ago.
Sad to see him go- will write more on Jim another time.
Spent another few hours with Mike [few posts back- Scapegoat].
Mike shared more of his story with me- serious [bad] stuff- he knows I’m chronicling it on the site- he’s fine with it.
I will tell more about this also- but not today.
What I want to do today is a post for my Catholic friends.
Note- I have Protestant friends who get offended when I use examples from the church- or when I watch [or every so often attend] the Mass.
There are reasons they get upset- and it takes time to explain why I think it’s important for me to keep in touch with ‘the ancient church’.
For the most part- I have been a student of church history [and the early church fathers] for the past 25 years.
It’s impossible to read deeply into church history without having an appreciation for the older more traditional churches.
Over time you begin to view these churches [Catholic, Orthodox] as sort of older relatives- like an uncle or grandpa- maybe they don’t know all the current techniques and all [like using computers!]
But over time you realize they know more [or are right more often] then you thought when you were younger.
So this has been my experience on the journey.
Okay- this past Sunday I watched the Mass on TV.
Every so often if the church is celebrating a special memorial they will broadcast the service from Rome.
This past Sunday was Pentecost Sunday- so I watched the Pope give the homily from Rome.
Let’s cover the main verses he used.
The homily was good- but you have to pay attention to the verses/chapters to get a full understanding.
The chapters quoted from were Genesis 11, Psalms 103, Acts 2, John 16, and Galatians 5.
Because it was Pentecost Sunday the message was on the story we find in Acts chapter 2- when the Holy Spirit came to the church.
We read that the believers were gathered at Jerusalem- waiting for the ‘promise of Jesus’ that he would send them the Spirit [John 16].
When the Spirit came- all the disciples in the upper room began speaking Gods word to the multitudes that were gathered at Jerusalem for the special holiday.
They spoke ‘in tongues’ [unknown languages] and the people were amazed because they all heard the message in their own native tongue.
This was a Divine miracle that enabled the message to spread to all the different ethnic groups that were at the city.
After Peter preaches the gospel to them they repent and believe and are baptized- and the ‘Lord added 3,000 SOULS’ to the church that day.
The Pope contrasted this with the story in Genesis 11- The famous Tower of Babel.
This records the time when God divided the people by giving them different languages.
The people were building a tower and city that would reach ‘unto heaven’ [a symbol of mans efforts to reach God- or be like God- on his own- Humanism].
The bible says they ‘wanted to make a name for themselves’.
They were more interested in ‘leaving a legacy’ then in glorifying God.
God looked down and realized they were going to unite- in a wrong way- to build this city of man.
The bible says he came down and divided their languages in that day.
They were unable to communicate with each other and left off ‘building the city’.
This is where we get the term ‘babble ’ from- when you can’t understand what a person’s saying- he’s ‘babbling’.
In Galatians 5 we read about the fruit of the Spirit- and how we ‘thru the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness which comes by faith’ [a main theme of the Apostle Paul’s writings].
And in John 16 we read the promise Jesus made- that he would leave them and send ‘the comforter’- the Spirit- and he would guide them into all truth.
So we see the contrast of the biblical stories about language.
In Genesis 11 God divides the languages of men because they are rebelling against him.
In Acts 2 God ‘reverses’ this division by allowing them all to hear again in ‘one language’.
The Cross allows humanity to be united again.
The apostle Paul writes the Ephesians and says Jesus reconciled both groups [Jew and Gentile- which represented the major division of the time] by dying on the Cross for all men.
And that all men [who believe] now have ‘access to God by one Spirit’.
All in all- it was a good message.
The purpose of the gospel is to unite men- not divide them [I know Jesus said he came to bring division- families would be divided- mother- father against child. In context he was saying there was a reaction to being a follower of him. Sometimes families will even reject a child because they choose the Christian faith. We see this today among various religious groups.]
But the overall work of the Cross unities men- in Christ [2 become one- Ephesians- One New Man].
And we once again can share ‘a common language’.
The language of the Cross.
1843- BEIBER DID WHAT?
I want to try and do some spiritual stuff- but I have a few news things first.
Okay- the headline read ‘Beiber wanted for questioning’.
The story was short- and sweet.
Some paparazzi called 911 and quote ‘complained of being roughed up by the pop star’.
Is the actually possible?
Why would anybody ever admit this?
Okay- more important stuff.
A while back I wrote a post on the train debacle in Cali.
Yeah- the President wants to sink billions of dollars into High Speed rail.
This was one of his main ideas to produce jobs.
You hear the same mantra on MSNBC- day in and day out.
They keep talking about spending billions on schools [buildings] bridges- ‘shovel ready’ jobs.
And after 3 years- we have thrown billions of dollars down the drain.
So last night I caught an expose on CNN.
Cooper did a good job critiquing the latest fiasco in California.
Now- you must understand Cali is dead broke- billions in the hole- cutting everything from school funding to cops and firefighters.
Yet they are still determined to go forward with the high speed rail thing.
Cooper detailed how the state has struggled to keep the vision alive.
The guy in charge of the project- to build the fast trains- came out recently and changed the entire route.
The new route goes thru a number of different cities- the train goes much slower- and it will now make stops at more cities.
The initial idea of ‘high speed’ meant the train would not stop a lot- it would go- well- fast- and it would service this ‘need’ to transport folk who for some reason disdain cars.
But now- it’s simply a train- a regular good ole U.S. of A Amtrak vehicle.
O- I forgot- the initial cost for the whole project was around 30 billion.
Obama has already given the state 4 billion [money we don’t have for ‘stuff’ like this].
But the new price is now around 130 billion.
By all estimates- California will never finish this project.
They already passed some type of bond money- but to get the voters to approve 130 billion- to put in a regular train- which no one will really ride- this will never happen.
And to do this when you’re cutting Medicare- food stamps- schools- I mean the people will never approve the rest of the money.
So what is the state determined to do?
The guy in charge says they are going to spend the 4 billion- no matter what- on the first part of the project.
The ‘foundational’ section will cost 4 billion- it will simply be rail track going from one town to another.
It’s supposed to be ‘high speed’ so this track is expensive.
It will take around 15 years to finish.
And there will be no train- no depot- nothing- but a stretch of track sitting in the middle of nowhere- costing the taxpayer 4 billion.
Okay- this is what you call waste- inexperience- bad vision.
These are the types of things that people in the real world don’t do.
But if you mean well- have some distorted idea that you can convert the nation- in a few years- to a solar energy world.
If you think building these trains all over the country is going to be the answer to lost jobs.
Then you are a well meaning guy- but you do not have the experience for the job.
One last example.
Last year the President went to Brazil.
By the way- Brazil just passed Cali as the worlds 8th biggest economy.
While there he guaranteed U.S. taxpayer money to Brazil’s national oil company.
So they can drill all types of new oil rigs- off shore.
Why did we give them U.S. money for this?
Because the President said if they can really develop their oil production we will buy lots of oil from them- at a high rate.
There was no deal to get the oil cheap.
Okay- at the same time Texas [as well as other oil producing states] has gone thru the ringer trying to survive at a time when the federal govt. has come down hard to stop new oil production in the U.S.
Many in the oil field have lost jobs because of the very ‘environmentalist’ agenda of the President.
The guy who was in charge of our area- recently was fired [or quit] because he was caught making the famous ‘crucify them’ statement.
He was the Presidents man overseeing our region for the E.P.A.
He said their tactic was to go into areas in the south- find certain oil producing companies that have any types of violations- and ‘crucify’ them.
I recently read an article from a former commerce guy in the town I retired from [Kingsville].
He wrote a piece in the paper after the ‘crucify’ them guy was let go.
He said for the last 3 years this guy has done everything possible to kill jobs in the state.
He gave examples of how Obama used this guy to virtually attack the oil industry in Texas.
Now- at the same time we gave loan guarantees to Brazil to ‘drill baby drill’.
This was federal tax money- that many of the oil people paid into the system.
Does this make any sense to you?
About as much sense as calling 911 and saying ‘Beiber roughed me up’
Amen [I told you I would try and get something spiritual in- this was the best I could do].
1840- DAVID’S TENT
The other day I went thru the gospel of Mark.
Of course there’s a whole lot in the book- but I came across a story that I liked a lot.
In Marks gospel Jesus is with the disciples and they are going thru the fields picking the ‘ears of corn’ [note- you did not have corn- like we think- growing in the land at the time. They were picking grain. But the King James Bible- 1611- which I use- did translate the term corn].
Now- when the Pharisees saw this- it was the Sabbath day- they accused Jesus and his men of breaking Gods law.
Jesus responded by saying ‘have you never read the story of David when he was fleeing Saul- how he and his men ate the sacred bread- that is not lawful for men to eat- only the priests’.
I always liked this story because there is so much to unpack- let’s try to do a little.
Was it unlawful for the disciples to have done this?
Not really- the Pharisees were a group of religious leaders that rose up during the time of the captivity of the Jews a couple hundred years before the time of Christ.
They did serve a noble purpose at the start- they wanted to retain the culture and religious beliefs of Gods people during a time of displacement from their own land.
So this group established the synagogue system [sort of a Jewish ‘church’] and they would gather around on the Sabbath day and read the scriptures and be reminded of their heritage.
Okay- what happened to these brothers- like many other good things that meant well at the start- was after a while they became elitist.
They saw themselves as better than everyone else- they became judges of all other groups- and they developed a Tradition- called ‘The Tradition of the Elders’ which was an expansion on the law of God.
This is what Jesus often fought against in his day- the Tradition of the Elders [not all tradition in general!]
Why is this important?
It is common in our day for many well meaning believers- Born Again Christians- to disdain all Church tradition.
Many people [like myself] come from a former Catholic background- and one of the first things you normally hear is ‘look at all the bad traditions that the church taught’.
This mindset is often justified by Jesus condemnation of the ‘Traditions of men that make void the Word of God’.
Jesus was not throwing all tradition under the bus- he was rebuking THIS specific tradition.
Okay- the reason I said ‘sort of’ [at the top] was because the defense Jesus gave said ‘didn’t you read what David did- when he ate the bread that was unlawful to eat’.
So Jesus really did not mind the ‘you broke the law’ accusation- but instead placed himself in the situation of King David and said ‘I too have authority over the Sabbath’.
In the Jewish mind of the 1st century- the statements like this that Jesus made [Moses said this- but I say this] these statements meant more than meets the eye.
They meant that Jesus saw himself as being equal with God.
If you carefully read the gospels you see this.
To the first century Jew- this was indeed a violation of what they were taught.
‘The Lord our God is One’.
So- Jesus defends himself and his men by saying ‘I am Lord over the Sabbath’
Strong words indeed.
The story of David is found in the book of Samuel.
He’s running from king Saul at the time- and he goes to the ‘House of God’ and needs food.
The priest [Abiathar] tells him he only has the sacred bread- which is reserved for the priests.
David makes up a story and says he’s on a special mission from Saul and the priest gives David the bread.
He eats- and gives to his men.
Now- when Jesus uses this story in the gospel- he does mention that David and his men both ate.
I find this interesting.
Because Jesus will sit down with his men at the last supper and do the same thing.
He tells them ‘take eat- this is my Body- drink- this is my Blood’.
How could Jesus ‘eat himself’?
The Bread and Wine represent the Body and Blood of Christ.
Jesus said his meat [bread- the thing that sustained him] was to do the will of God and finish his work.
He was sustained too by the mission he was on- he lived to ‘give his Body and Blood’.
This mission was his life’s purpose- he too ‘ate the Bread’.
Jesus also came from the lineage of king David- he was a ‘son’ of David.
In the above verses- it said ‘David came to the house of God’.
We often see this as the Temple.
But remember- the temple was not built yet.
David’s son Solomon will build it in the future.
So what ‘house of God’ did David come to?
It was the tabernacle [of Moses].
This was a tent type system that God gave to the children of Israel during their wilderness journey.
It became the central place of worship and sacrifice when they entered the promised land.
Eventually the main piece of this tent system gets taken by Israel’s enemies [They stole the Ark- the box that held the 10 commandments].
And when David becomes king he gets it back.
As the Ark eventually winds up back in the hands of David- he builds another tent thing- called the Tabernacle of David- and he places the Ark under this tent.
Now- David is king at the time- the bible says he put on a Linen Ephod and worshipped God before this tent [he operated as a priest- which was unlawful for kings to do- normally!].
Understand- at the same time the Tabernacle of Moses still existed- it just did not have the Ark in it- David’s ‘new’ tent had the Ark.
This was symbolic of the New testament King/Priesthood of Jesus.
He in essence would usher the people into the presence of God- absent the Veil of the Temple- a covering that existed in the Tabernacle of Moses- which represented separation from God- but was not in the one David made.
So you see- when Jesus used David as an example- there was more than meets the eye- much more.
[Jesus is the New Testament King/Priest that died on the Cross- the Veil of the temple was ripped on that day- and he now represents us before the throne of God- absent the veil- the thing that separated man from God].
Yesterday I went down to the local mission- I usually catch up with my homeless friends there.
I didn’t see Henry- but Michael showed up.
I met Mike around 20 years ago.
[ just a note- on my blog- under the Feb. posts of each year I have a category called ‘Homeless’.
I write about my friends in these posts.
I came to Corpus in 1992- most of the guys I met the first year or 2.
So you might read a post that says ‘I knew this guy for 20 years’. Then maybe in another post ’15 years’.
I don’t keep exact numbers- just realize I have known most of these guys since 1992]
The last time I saw Mike was around 2-3 years ago.
He was living on the other side of town- actually- more in the Mexican type area.
Now- I’m ‘at home’ in the Barrio- just like in the ‘white boy’ part of town.
Over the years I have been to the Govt. housing- visiting families- wives- kids- of my buddies that were in jail.
Lots of them were members of the church I started years ago.
So to me- race means nothing.
[Like I told my daughters friend one day ‘I’m not racist- I think Whites are only a little bit better than the other races’ Joke!]
But Mike- well- he was in the ‘bad part’ of town.
So he told me he moved back to ‘the Bluff’ and has a weekly room at the Plaza hotel.
A lot of the ‘homeless’ guys do have places- non permanent- where they stay on and off- this is Mikes thing.
He is working as a cook at the Golden Corral- a famous buffet in Corpus.
We caught up on old times.
Mike asked if I was gonna be around for a while- I told him yeah.
He walked back to the hotel- about 3 blocks- to show me his latest art work.
Mike is an A-1 artist- he has painted for years.
He even painted the signs for the apartments my wife manages [about 15 years ago].
He told me he just painted the for sale signs down the street.
The owner of Floyds Christian Restaurant is selling some land- Mike did the signs.
So he comes back with about 7 paintings- I mean beautiful stuff- all originals.
He paints ‘free style’ he doesn’t look at another picture- just from his mind.
I loved the paintings.
They were different than what I saw before.
Lots of birds- flowers.
Shore line- boats- fish.
He used to do lots of gory stuff- skulls- Mega death stuff [rock group].
I asked him if I could buy one- he does not sell them- but he told me he would let me have one for the cost of the materials.
I bought a beautiful scene- some fishermen pulling in their nets by the sea- a huge pelican on the dock- and these great sunflowers peering over them.
I gave Mike a ride back to the hotel- he did carry all these pictures by hand.
We talked- for about 4 hours.
I have found the guys- who have mental challenges- like Mike- they really benefit just from having a friend to talk to.
It was funny in a way- I must have quoted 50 individual verses that fit the exact scenario that Mike was communicating.
I really don’t ‘preach’ much at all when I’m with the brothers.
They know I’m helping them out [we often go out to eat] and they know I do ministry stuff.
But all these friendships are just that- these guys are simply friends I have made over the years.
But this day was different- I really taught Mike a lot of stuff- in a way that never really happened in the past.
He was telling me how he simply does his art on his own- most people don’t even know his talent.
When he brought the paintings to the mission- everyone was shocked that he actually painted them.
They have known Mike for years- yet they never saw his work.
So Mike told me that he likes doing his work in private- and simply enjoying the satisfaction of the paintings.
I told him that Jesus taught this ‘when you do your good works- don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing- do it in secret- and God will reward you openly’.
He said ‘yeah- that’s it!’
One painting he had sitting by the sink- he did not bring this one to the mission- was Christ on the Cross.
Mike showed me the nails in Christ’s hands.
He made them crooked on purpose- he said ‘my dad always told me I couldn’t even drive a nail in straight’.
He did this on purpose- in a way it was prophetic.
The painting of Christ- and the words that hurt Mike- the words he never forgot thru out his life.
He told me that in the past when he did artwork for various people [he has done portraits for hundreds of dollars- though he does not sell his own stuff].
That sometimes people take out their faults on the artist.
If they are dealing with problems they tend to pass them off to the artist.
As we sat there- with the painting of Christ- and the crooked nails.
I told Mike ‘this also is in the bible’
I went on to tell the story in the Old Testament of the Scapegoat.
Yeah- the Scapegoat comes from the bible.
In the Jewish religion at the time- you had the priest bring 2 goats- on one he would lay his hands- symbolically saying ‘we put the sins of the people on you’.
The one goat- the Scape goat- would then run away.
But they took the other- and sacrificed it.
I told Mike- this is what the Scapegoat is- Jesus himself bares the guilt and problems that the people bring to the table.
Mike once again said ‘yeah- that’s it’.
This went on for around 4 hours- I felt it was Gods way of communicating to my old friend- in a way that I never really was able to in the past.
He showed me an art book he bought from Barnes and Noble.
He really liked the way the author drew.
It was a teaching guide for artists.
It had quotes of all the famous painters of the past.
One from DaVinci said ‘the greatest mastery of all is the mastery of one’s self’ [paraphrase].
I told Mike ‘this too is in the bible’.
I quoted from Proverbs ‘he that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls- but he that rules his spirit is better than he that takes a city’,
Once again- it clicked.
I took pictures of the paintings with my cell phone- I told Mike if they come out good I’ll try and post them on my site so my friends can see.
I looked at them later- they did not come out too good.
The one of Christ with the crooked nails- that came out good- I have that as my Wall paper on the phone.
Maybe my daughter will help me post it on the site?
I have known Mike a long time.
His dad was in the Navy and they moved to the city years ago.
Mike is from upstate N.Y.
I have written about Mike before- he seems to have burned himself out on some type of drug over the years- you can tell he has mental problems.
But he is very talented- he has always worked- as long as I have known him.
And he has been on and off the streets for years.
I think the story about the scapegoat really made an impact.
Mike is smart- he asked me lots of stuff this day.
About creation- and science- things that other Christians have told him to reject.
I told Mike it’s okay to believe in certain scientific ‘proofs’ and also be a Christian [he knew a lot about the natural world- and I have taught lots about this over the years].
So he not only ‘saw’ a lot of things from the bible that he never saw before.
But I also was able to show him how the bible does not go against science [I actually just posted a note the other day on this].
I told Mike ‘why don’t you title the Cross painting- The Scapegoat’.
Every time you walk in the room- look at the painting and realize Christ has taken all the guilt and pressure and stuff that others have put on you- he is the Scapegoat’.
Sometimes its easier to remember a story when its connected to an image.
That’s why Jesus told parables- stories that people could ‘see’ in their minds.
Yeah- the scapegoat- with the crooked nails- yeah- how can you forget that?