RECENT STUFF 2013- C
1897 WHITE’S CREATED AIDS TO KILL BLACKS
Okay- we spent the last few days talking about the Todd Akin comment.
Akin is running for senator in Mo.
He said that ‘legitimate rape RARELY produces a pregnancy- because a woman’s body has ways of shutting that stuff down’.
So- the national media has spent days on this.
Last night I caught a short clip of ABC world news with Dianne Sawyer.
It teased an upcoming special 2 DAY coverage of Mormonism.
So- I figured instead of my usual channel surfing- I would watch the entire 30 minutes of ABC news at 5:30.
It was revealing.
For their political coverage- they showed a few negative ads about Ryan/Romney [none of Obama].
They covered the abortion views of Ryan.
Then they said ‘okay- that’s it for political coverage’.
Was that political coverage?
It was free ad time for the President.
Many of the web ad’s that are produced- by both sides- only produce them for the purpose of various media outlets picking them up and showing them on their shows.
Yes- nothing wrong with the strategy.
But- when the so called unbiased media only plays the ads of one side- they are spending hundreds of thousands giving free ad time to one side.
What about the Mormon coverage?
ABC began a 2 night ‘world coverage’ of Mormonism.
Like I said before- I am very aware of their teaching- I have Mormon friends- but quite frankly- the media realize that if they high light the religious beliefs of Romney- it will hurt him.
So- during the coverage they used words like-
‘strange- peculiar’ [fits in with MSNBC’S mantra of referring to Romney as weird- member of a cult]
‘all male leaders’
Now- you might ask ‘so John- if these things are true- then what’s wrong with the media exposing it’.
That’s the point.
When President Obama was running in 2008- his church background had almost no coverage at all.
The little coverage it did get was by Fox- or those in the media saying his religion is off grounds.
Matthews [MSNBC] kept accusing the conservatives of imposing a ‘religious test’ on Obama.
So- the church Obama belonged to was a Black Liberation church.
Now- for the record- much of what you read on my site has a very strong strain of liberation theology in it.
Yes- my defense of the poor- the illegal alien- many of my themes are indeed found in liberation theology movements.
In the past I covered this teaching- how it rose from the Catholic bishops in Latin America- how the Catholic church had debates within their church over it.
All in all- in some ways I actually defended Liberation Theology- and even Rev Wright [to a degree].
So- having said that- what were some of the beliefs of Obama’s church?
Rev Wright [Obama’s pastor for 20 years] believed that AIDS was created by the White man [the govt.] for the purpose of infecting Blacks to kill them.
Wright worked closely with Farrakhan in Chicago- and they often espoused hatred for the White race.
How much of this did you ever see on the news?
Did ABC do a 2 night ‘world coverage’ of the ‘strange beliefs’ of Obama’s church?
Now- how much of this affected the President?
Obama’s defense was he never heard Wright say any stuff like this- though he said Wright was one of the most influential men in his life.
He was married by Wright.
Wright baptized his kids.
And Obama titled one of his books after a phrase from the pastor [The Audacity of Hope].
Now- as a listener of both the right and left- I also get to hear [radio] stuff that you don’t hear on the news.
These are actual quotes from President Obama
‘White man’s greed rules a world in need’ [he was quoting from his own book- he did an audio version of it]
‘White’s move into the suburbs because they don’t want to pay for the education of inner city kids’
Does he really believe this?
If you are White- and you move out of the city- he says you did this because you are racist.
Not because you want to escape the crime- pollution- have a better school for your kids.
No- according to the Presidents own words- it’s because you don’t want your money going to educate inner city kids [mostly Black kids].
Why are these actual quotes important?
They show you that the beliefs of rev. Wright did indeed affect the President.
Yet- you never heard any of this from the media- they would not dare cover the religious beliefs of Obama.
They said it was outrageous that anyone would ask.
As I watched last night- I was reminded of all the comments I heard these past few weeks by the media.
Bashir [MSNBC] said outright that Christians should not vote for Romney because he denies the Trinity.
A major Democrat funder said Romney does not give to charity- but to ‘his cult’.
On and on.
I personally do not believe we should pick a candidate because of his faith.
Other Christians do indeed differ- I have friends who will not vote for Romney because he is Mormon.
The point I’m making is this is what you call media bias.
You would never see a so called news man say ‘you should not vote for Obama because he is a Black Liberation Christian’.
Now- you will hear that from others- but never from the news itself.
Yet- we have heard all of the above from so called main stream news sources.
If we- as Citizens- are expected to make informed votes- then we either need to know all of the above- about both sides- or none of the above- about both sides.
I assure you- if the world news covered the statements- of the president himself- and the beliefs of the church he attended for 20 years.
That the 2008 election would have been much different.
But the media had their man- and they did all they could to cover him in a favorable light.
Now- they are covering his challenger in an unfavorable one.
They are outright saying he is a cult member- that he denies the Trinity- that his church is strange- weird.
They are covering Romney’s religion nonstop.
Yet- the church belief that the White man created AIDS to kill Blacks- well that’s a personal religious belief.
We have no right to know that.
I got with the street guys the other day.
Every so often one of the guys gets in the mood to ask me stuff- things about the bible- things they have questions about.
Hugh sat down next to me and asked me a few things.
It was funny- because I was just posting about Greek gods and all- and he asked me if there was a goddess that’s mentioned in the bible.
I told him there was- in the book of Acts it talks about ‘the great goddess Diana’.
It was a reference to the idol that was set up in the city of Ephesus.
The reason I mentioned this was Hugh told me ‘John- I like talking to you about this stuff- you know the answers [most of the time] but you don’t try and make us believe everything your way’.
Hugh and Andy and John David- all brothers that I have written about over the years- they grew up in a preachers home.
They had experiences with many preachers over the years- and they are familiar with men- good men- but men who see things a certain way- and they often demand that others see it to.
When Hugh made the above statement- I didn’t tell him this- but his brother Andy- who is a very able bible person- had told me the same exact thing a few years ago.
Before I write in the morning- I quote a verse from the book of James.
‘let every man be swift to hear- slow to speak- slow to wrath- for the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God’.
Last night I caught about 5 minutes of MSNBC- and I need this verse because of them.
Rachel Maddow was ‘covering’ the campaign of Romney- and she went on to say that who would ever believe that in this day and age- a candidate for president would run his whole campaign on being anti black.
She went on and said Romney is targeting the racist white vote- that this is blatant and open.
As I watch these race cards being played- another MSNBC host said Romney was calling the president a Nigger.
Yes- Toure’- a regular on the network- said when Romney used the word ‘angry’ twice in a row- that he ‘niggerized’ Obama.
I heard a few actual quotes this past week- actual recordings from the 2008 campaign.
‘He knew he was going to play the race card- we now have the proof that he did this on purpose’.
Who said this?
He was referring to some memo that leaked our – Clinton said it proved that this was calculated.
‘Obama- you say you want to run a clean campaign- but your actions are not in line with your words- Shame on you- shame on you’.
When you see the person saying it- she’s outraged.
Who said it?
I think it’s sad that any side would resort to stuff like this.
This is not new [unless you believe that Bill and Hillary were lying].
Okay- the other day when I posted the pic of the Jesus head carving [Facebook] I wasn’t sure if I should tell this or not.
But I got up at midnight again- and when I was just praying before I post- I felt it was time.
The reason I went down the road that the Re sale shop was on- was because that part of town is a very bad place to be.
Normally- White folk don’t go there.
Many years ago [18?] I had a bad year.
I hung out with drug addicts- and partied in the bars that were right off the street where I bought the carving.
As I was standing on the street that day- waiting for the owner to get to the shop- I had about 20 minutes or so of just being there.
As I looked east- I saw a club called Ceilo- where a shooting just happened a few nights before.
I thought about the nights when I was in another club just like it- on the same block.
I was the only English speaking person in the place- including the bar tender.
One night as the guys were ‘shooting up’- somehow the conversation got into God.
When I told one of the guys I used to preach- he said he felt God sent me- that in a way he thought even though drugs were all over the room- yet he thought God sent me.
Many nights I would be up all night- and drive home at around 6 in the morning [an hour drive to Kingsville].
I would get home just in time to put on my uniform and go to work.
There’s a song that’s been playing on the Christian station these last few days- it says we are all on borrowed time.
As I stood on the corner that day- right across the street there was this Mexican guy.
So- being I’m waiting for the owner of the shop to show up- I figured I might as well do some outreach.
So- I yelled ‘hey brother- you need a few dollars’.
I just wanted to spread the wealth round.
He looked at me for a second- and I wasn’t sure he understood English.
So I started walking towards him- and I was taking my wallet out- you know- to say ‘look- do you need a couple of bucks’.
I guess he saw me reaching for the wallet- and maybe thought I had a gun.
He turned the other way and started walking- real fast.
At this point I was laughing- yeah- out loud.
I grabbed my trusty cell phone camera and took a couple of pics- was gonna post them but they came out bad.
Over the years I have had Mexican friends- Black friends- all races.
God’s kingdom is color blind- we are here for a very short while.
It gets me mad to see the race card played- I know racism exists- it inside White people- Black people- it’s comes in every color.
When we as a society play the card so freely- we damage each other.
We give people excuses to hate other people.
Yes- some people hate Obama because of his color- but most of those who disagree with him do so because of his politics.
If people don’t like Romney- then ‘don’t like him’ because of his too.
But when you say he ‘niggerized’ the campaign because he used the word ‘angry’ twice- then you are not contributing to the overall healing of our land.
Remember- short time- let’s not waste it on stuff like this.
This week I met John at the mission.
Maybe the last 2 weeks?
Anyway- when he first showed up he just looked like one of the new guys that shows up every so often.
You have people from all over that gravitate to the shore regions of the country- and we are one of those spots.
John was a little different- he had this cute Chewowa [sp?] dog- named Gizmo- and he is a ‘jolly’ type fella.
So- to some- they might paint John as gay- you know- loving on this little dog- jolly.
Now- if he were- I wouldn’t care- I mean I still be-friend people from all backgrounds- and I forgot to mention this in the post I did about race.
That a couple years back there was a nice Black kid- he came from a ministry background [family started churches and stuff all over the area].
One day I took him shopping- to the grocery store- we had a couple of other street guys.
Sometimes I’ll take the guys to the store and let them buy some stuff they need [on my debit card].
But Tracy basically food shopped.
Tracy is also gay.
It was quite expensive.
The other guys got mad ‘hey- John pays for this out of his pocket’.
Sometimes people think I have some type of ‘ministry fund’ and they might spend more than they need.
I just went with it- I was broke for the rest of the month- but what the heck.
So- just wanted to defend myself a little- being I do write on race issues- yet I believe in helping all types- even gay friends.
So- even if this new guy was gay- I don’t judge him.
But- as I talked with ‘jolly John’ I came to find out he’s not gay- but a widower.
John was a plumber for 35 years- lived in Arlington [Texas- the city where the Texas rangers come out of].
A few years ago his wife got real sick- and in October of last year she took her own life.
John always wanted to live near the ocean- he sold everything he had and spent the money coming to Corpus.
He got a job right away- working right by the mission for a mechanic shop.
Yesterday I took my van for an inspection- sure enough he was there.
So right off the bat I know John is different- lots of the guys have stories- but to put it bluntly- they don’t want to work.
This is a real problem for sure- and when you read all my posts defending the poor- don’t confuse that with thinking I’m defending able bodied people- who are not working.
No- I try to spend my money helping people who are not on the free programs- or who are really in need.
Yeah- I have given to those who I probably shouldn’t have- but all in all I am against guys just living off the free dole- when they need to work.
So- John has a good job- and he’s saving up for a cheap apartment.
He told me he’s living in the broken down car wash that’s attached to the mechanic shop.
For you local friends- he works at Fast Trax- in the Bluff- right by the HEB parking lot.
John sleeps there with his little dog- Gizmo [I’ll try and post some pics this morning?]
Yeah- John has an interesting story- a hard working man- who came upon hard times- and wound up ‘on the street’ at least for a little while.
It would be easy to look at John and judge him- I mean he is eating at the free mission [I never eat the free food by the way].
And he is a big boy- overweight- and admits it.
So- at first glance you could peg him as a freeloader who refuses to work.
When John told me about his wife taking her life- John cried.
I felt bad for him- he seems like a very nice guy.
As I sat in the shop waiting for my inspection- sure enough- his little dog Gizmo is chained up to a chair in the waiting area.
The poor baby is shaking- you know how those little pups shake- and I guess he sits by himself all day.
He’s just staring at the door where his ‘daddy’ walked thru- hoping he comes back.
Kinda sad story to be honest.
Yet John has this happy go lucky way about him- he laughs and jokes at the mission.
He lets his little puppy lay on him- he’s really an interesting guy.
John is one story- one friend- out of hundreds- maybe thousands of friends I have made over the years.
Yeah- there have been times where some of ‘my friends’ were people that others would not be around.
Dangerous type people.
Others are like John- just a good person who fell on bad times.
I have a verse posted here right behind me.
It says ‘she that tarried at home divided the spoils’.
It’s in the book of Psalms.
I posted it a few years ago- right behind the chair I’m sitting on right now while I blog.
To me it says there will be friends who read these posts- and maybe they will never see the John’s of the world.
Maybe they will live their lives as most people do.
Good lives- working- raising kids- things that are noble and good.
But to these friends- the verse I just quoted is very important.
It tells me that God intended for some of our ‘community’ to ‘stay at home and have a part’.
To you- most of you are women- don’t underestimate the need to pray for me and my friends.
I have gone thru the Gospel of Matthew- Acts- Romans and am in Corinthians right now.
Yes- I am a big bible reader- as well as a writer on all the other things.
The Apostle Paul was used by God- and in most [if not all?] of his writings- he says ‘please don’t forget to pray for me’.
For those who can- those who tarry at home- try and pray the ‘Our Father’ every day for me and my friends.
It might not seem much to you- but to be honest- I think it at times it has saved my life.
Thanks- from John- John- and oh yeah- little Gizmo.
1900 A LITTLE CROW?
I caught part of the Repub convention last night.
I haven’t been following it- but I found the coverage very interesting last night.
I have been a critic of MSNBC and Chris Matthews over the years.
But- to his credit- I thought he did a great job last night.
Why? Because he made the conservative points?
But he did indeed differ with the others and defended Jeb Bush who made the conservative argument about school vouchers.
Vouchers are funds that you could use to send your kid to the school of your choice.
The way it is supposed to work is if you’re a poor mom- maybe a single Black mother living in a tough inner city area.
You could apply for the voucher and send your son/daughter to a better school then she would normally have access to.
Now- there are those against this and for it- and like most things- if your hear one side only- well you begin to say ‘o- I see your point’.
Then you might hear the other side and say the same thing.
My point is Matthews did take the voucher side- and to the obvious dismay of his liberal panel [Sharpton, Maddow, etc.] he knew he was in the minority.
I also liked the view that Matthews and Sharpton took about Romney’s Mormonism.
They were consistent and said it is wrong to go after him on that.
I caught CNN and Fox- all in all- I was happy to see that their coverage- even though they all play sides at times- was pretty fair.
Why was I glad to see this?
Because whoever wins this election- the next president will have to try his best to govern a very divided nation.
And it will be hard- for either side- to do this if the losing side [whoever it be] simply spends the next 4 years trying to make the winner fail.
This last year I have criticized the president lots- and I have done the same with Bush in the past [mainly over the wars].
But there have been things that I credit Obama for.
As a big news buff- one of the geopolitical issues that came up was this Pakistani road that we used to get supplies to our troops fighting in the border region of Afghanistan/Pakistan.
We had an incident where we accidently bombed the wrongs guys- we killed a bunch of Pakistani troops- thinking they were Taliban.
Now- Pakistan has not been the best ally in this whole war in Afghanistan.
And make no mistakes about it- we buy their support with tons of money.
But- when we killed their troops- they had it.
They shut down this vital road for our supplies and refused to re open it unless that got an official apology.
They wanted the U.S. [Obama] to apologize during a campaign year- when the opposing side were accusing him of being weak in the world- and making apologies to other nations.
So- instead of apologizing- the U.S. spent millions of more dollars- every week [day?] flying and using other ways to get the support to our troops.
Now- the Pakistanis did indeed charge us lots for the use of the road- but these other options were much more expensive.
So what happened?
One week- after months of the stalemate- Hilary Clinton made the apology with the approval of Obama.
Yeah- he did the right thing- and that was that.
Now- he could have just spent the extra millions and not apologized.
But I’m sure he consulted with the military brass- and they gave him the frank advice that it would be better to get the road back.
He did the right thing- not the most expedient thing- not the thing that would help his election the most.
No- he did the right thing.
If Romney wins- or Obama gets re-elected- they will need the support of the people to do ‘the right thing’.
They will need to have some consensus- some middle ground- to fix the things that are really broken in this country.
And we won’t be able to do that if we continue to simply hate the other side.
I was very impressed with the cordial coverage that the networks gave to Romney.
And I trust they will do the same with the president’s convention.
Yeah- I must admit that Chris Matthews was a real news man last night.
Kudos’ to him and MSNBC [geez- I hate the taste of crow!]
1901 SURROUNDED BY CRIMINALS?
A few years ago [well- 1992] when we moved to Corpus we really never shopped around for the neighborhood we would live in.
We simply needed a 4 bedroom [preferably with a study] and there was only one on the market- we bought it.
But after moving in- I told my wife ‘wow- can you believe the luck- all the bums and criminals live right around here!’
Now- to me this was music to my ears- to my wife it was ‘here we go again’.
When we first started our ‘church’ in Kingsville we rented an old hospital building.
Eventually I fixed up my 2 garage and we used that.
But- the ‘members’ of the church were made up- 99%- of crooks- thieves- and stuff much worse.
I met these guys thru a bible study I did at the jail- and many would get sent off to prison and when they got out they came to the church [their wives too].
So- this was our cool little church- many of the guys knew each other from the streets.
They often ‘reminisced’ about the old days [not good].
Elias [long dead now] was my song leader- and filled in for me when I had to work- but he was one of the ‘gang leaders’ if you will- that is they all were drug addicts- all knew the places to rob- and sell the stuff.
Now- because these guys were my friends- they would often offer their ‘services’ to me.
‘Hey John- you need a very cheap flat screen- it’s a steal’ [literally].
I would tell them ‘no way brother- I don’t want you guys to keep doing this @$#’
They would tell me that it’s no big deal- they sell the stuff to their family- and even to one of the local city commissioners [who I knew].
I was mad- I told them if I buy the stuff- even if it’s a good deal- it will simply encourage them to go out and steal more.
And I was really mad that one of their moms was buying the stuff from her son.
So- that’s the way our little church was.
I remember one time one of the guys pawned my weed eater.
I lent it to him- but he never brought it back.
So one day when I needed to cut the grass I went over.
‘C-mon Johhny- I know you pawned it- lets go get it- I’m not mad- I forgive you bro- but I need to cut the damn grass’.
Yeah- we went and got it.
So- I have had my buddies- all used to living life like this- offer me their services at various times- thinking they were helping me out.
If I walk out of my study right now- I could throw a rock and probably hit one of the guys right now- sleeping under the overpass [right by Floyd’s restaurant].
A few blocks over- they are in the streets- brush- broken down trailers- they ‘reside’ all around me.
I have a good friend- Dave- who lives right across the street.
He has lived his entire life in ’the bluff’.
After he moved across the street- we became good friends.
But he realized that the guys who were coming over to visit me- well- they were all criminals- people he knew for years- and he was shocked.
Dave has a jewelry business that he runs out of his house.
He started putting in all this extra security- he would come over and keep showing me all the stuff he was putting in.
Electric shock stuff- showing me the new gun he bought for protection.
I finally caught on- Dave was afraid that my buddies might ply their trade- at his house!
See- they actually think that they are helping when they do stuff like this- but they are not.
I was glad when I found out that all these guys hang out all thru out these streets.
If I go out right now [just was outside by the way] and walk 15 blocks- they are all over the place.
Maybe a few are up right now at Floyds- or down at Whataburger.
They fill the streets.
When they offer me their services I say ‘no- there’s a better way’.
Paul told the Corinthians ‘some of you were thieves and killers’ all types of stuff- but then he said ‘you are now washed- clean- thru the Blood of Christ’.
It’s easy for these guys to resort to tactics they used their whole lives- but by grace they [we] can learn better ways.
Yes- at the end of the day- that’s what we want- all of us.
1902 ARNOLD AND TERRI
Yesterday morning I took one of my early drives.
I kinda ride the main roads in our area- Cross-town- 37- these are the overpasses that let you drive the whole region without having to stop at a ton of red lights.
On the way back- around 6-7 am- I got off by the area where I bought the Jesus carving last week [remember the pic?]
I have been wanting to kind of start an outreach to the guys in that area for a while [remember the dollar I offered to the Mexican brother- who thought I had a gun?]
Yeah- that’s how it works- you just walk up to the guys- say hi- and over time you make new friends.
Isn’t that risky John?
To be honest- yes.
But I determined a long time ago that we [I] would take the risk.
Have there been times where you thought- for real- that this might be the big one?
Yes- a couple of times.
A friend- freaking out over some stuff- walking around with his loaded gun- I did think he might have killed us both that day- for real.
Another friend- who actually attempted to murder a couple of cops- one day I was at his house.
He knew that everyone knew him to be crazy- and that everyone feared him.
One day at the Fire House- the guys were talking about one of the local gang type guys.
His name was Campos.
They come from a big drug family in Kingsville.
Anyway- they had some ambulance run the night before- a shooting or something- and this Campos guy was involved.
The guys who knew Campos- some of the younger Mexican firefighters who grew up in the area knew all the war stories about him- he was the local ‘infamous hero’ to them.
They were talking about all the stuff Campos has done- shootings and stuff.
I got tired of hearing it- I told them ‘heck- my buddy beat the crap out of him one night’.
They shut up.
Yeah- this is my friend with the reputation of being nuts.
So anyway- as I was at his house- he just got out of prison.
He is talking to me- and he pulls out a very large hunting knife.
I could see it’s a test- he wants to see my face.
I sat there- knew it was a test- and gave him the look like- ‘I have been here before my friend’.
I guess I passed the test.
Both of these friends [the gun guy and knife] are long dead.
My ‘knife’ friend- well I mentioned him the other day and didn’t want to say too much- his brother and nephew are friends on my Face Book page.
But I’m sure they know- one night at the firehouse we had a call that some guy was attempting to kill a cop [again? I don’t know the whole story- but that’s how we heard it].
Something of that nature.
He possibly swallowed a bag of coke and went into a coma.
It was my friend.
I visited with him and his family at the hospital for about a week- they finally took him off life support.
He’s the one that’s buried at the ranch picture I posted the other day- in Bishop- Texas.
Okay- enough of this.
The reason I bring this up is I always felt I would take the risk- that I was supposed to.
So- Sunday morning when I got off on Morgan street- I really wasn’t intending on meeting any new ‘friends’.
We were going to go to church and all- and I try not to do outreach on Sunday.
But to my surprise there were a couple of street guys sleeping right on the bus benches.
In the ‘olden days’ you couldn’t do that.
This road [Morgan and Cross-town] is a high crime spot.
A kid- Jacob- committed a triple murder right at the intersection not too long ago.
But as I saw the guys on the benches- I thought ‘damn- let me stop and get them breakfast’.
There’s a McDonalds right there.
I got a laugh- when I ordered the breakfasts- the girl asks ‘is this a senior discount’.
Hell- I just turned 50- but I told her ‘if you want it to be’.
Yeah- the Lord blessed me.
So I got the meals- and headed out to the street.
It’s funny- all the people driving by- you know- one of those spots where you make sure the doors are locked.
I took a few pics- hope to post this morn.
But I walked across the street and simply told the kid on the bench- ‘hey bro- you want breakfast’.
I woke him up- he said ‘yeah man- thanks’.
I talked to Arnold for a while- nice Hispanic kid.
I gave him a few bucks- and he ran across the street to get some coffee- on the way back I told him I was gonna go offer the other meal to the guy on the other bench.
Arnold grabbed a car rag out of his pocket- he was going to the car lot right off the main street- the guy pays him 10 bucks to simply wipe the dew off the cars in the morning.
I walked over to the other guy- sleeping too.
‘Hey man- you want a breakfast’.
‘Oh yes- thank you so much’.
Terri has been homeless for a while.
He’s around 57- used to print the Ad Sack- our local paper where you list the stuff you want to sell [you know- the caveman Craigslist]
I sat with Terri for a couple of hours.
He enjoyed the meal- told me how breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
We walked across the street- I offered to buy Terri some smokes- not beer.
We walked in the store [Stripes] and the girl kicked him out fast.
I guess they know him.
I told Terri ‘I’ll get the smokes- what do you want’?
He wanted Kite- they are the roll your own type- lots of the guys buy these when they are broke.
‘C-mon Terri- my treat- get what you want’.
No- he said the Kite were fine.
Sure enough- they don’t carry Kite- he got the classic- Marlboro Red.
I sat there- right on the street- having a good time talking to Terri.
It was obvious Terri was an alcoholic- I did tell him I’m trying to get clean myself.
I told Terri that I passed this road many times over the years.
When I was a firefighter in Kingsville we used to take the badly inured to the hospital that’s right across the street.
It used to be called Memorial- it was the highest rated Trauma hospital in the region- it was also the free public hospital for those who had no coverage.
So lots of the addicts and stuff use it.
I noticed Terri had a medical band on his wrist- and he was wearing the hospital type pants.
Yeah- he was probably what we call an MHMR patient.
Mental health pt.
Terri seemed like a nice guy- down on his luck- living on a bus bench- right across from Arnold- living on the other one.
Yeah- I finally made 2 new friends- I will go back at least once a week- maybe take the guys to the buffet.
This is how it’s done- I have been doing this for years- ever since the day my buddy pulled out the knife- or the other one with the gun.
Sure- you do take risks- but most of the guys are like Teri and Arnold- harmless people down on their luck.
It’s not a race thing- Black- White- Mexican- they all have had their hard times.
I will try and chronicle their stories as time moves on- I want you to see these people.
Even though Terri was obviously not all there- he still had his senses.
As I sat with him- a pack of dogs walks right by us- you know- those little dog gangs.
A few cute pups were in ‘this gang’.
I asked Terri ‘are these regular’s’
He said no- he has never seen them before.
I told him ‘I guess they just heard some guys giving out free food’.
Yeah- I made some new friends- living on bus benches.
I told them ‘hey- can I take your pics for the site’?
They loved it.
Enjoy the pics [if they post?]
NOTE- As I sat with the guys on this Sunday morning- I noticed not all of the cars driving by ignored us- some stopped and gave a few dollars- or a taco- to the guys.
They were wearing rosary beads and stuff- the people who also helped.
I felt like they were good Catholic people on their way to Mass- living out the teachings of their church- helping the poor.
May God bless them.
1903 JEWS AND THE END TIMES?
I want to delve into a hard issue for the church.
The last few weeks I have been watching the documentaries from net flix.
I mentioned that most [if not all?] are done from the liberal perspective- which I’m okay with.
But it is important on all issues to see both sides.
One of the things they dealt with was the history of the church and anti Semitism.
Yes- the Christian church has had a long history of treating the Jewish people badly.
As a Protestant- those of you who have been reading my posts for a while- well you realize that I’m not in the ‘normal’ category of Protestantism.
Many of the subjects I hit on are going against the strain of what we normally view as American Evangelicalism.
I often reference the Pope- in a good way- or talk about our Catholic brothers and sisters- well- as brothers and sisters!
So- I realize I have rubbed many the wrong way.
So- this subject of the treatment of the Jewish people has seen extremes- and in the American Evangelical church- much too much of the ‘end times’ stuff- in my view- is missing the boat.
As we read the New Testament we see Jesus and the disciples [all Jewish by the way] living at a time when the Roman govt. ruled over the Jewish people- and the Jewish people were waiting for their ‘salvation’ by means of a Jewish Messiah who would come and deliver them from their oppressors.
Much of their understanding of salvation was tied in to a national deliverance.
When you read the prayers/praises of both John the Baptists dad- and also Mary’s praise [called the Magnificat] you see a strong sense of national deliverance.
They speak about God sending the Messiah to deliver the people form their oppressors.
Okay- in this milieu we have Jesus and his guys living and believing that the ‘salvation’ of God is near.
It was only natural for the disciples- especially those who we call Zealots [Simon- not Peter] to think that this whole salvation story was about God restoring natural Israel back to a place of prominence once again- no more Roman rule type of thing.
But we see an interesting thing with Jesus- he keeps making statements that seem to lead the disciples away from seeing things this way.
‘My kingdom is not of this world- or my men would fight’
‘Put up the sword- those who live by it will die by it’
And the verse I quoted the other day ‘see all these buildings- temple- there will not be one stone left upon another’.
He basically is rejecting the nationalistic idea of him being the Messiah who would redeem Israel in a nationalist way.
He’s showing them that his purpose is different- it’s salvific for sure- but not in the way they perceive.
Okay- I’m beginning to realize I won’t be able to cover the whole thing in this post.
Maybe I’ll do a few more like this in the next few days.
The point is- I want you to see that God’s purpose for our Jewish friends- our Muslim friends- for all races and ethnic groups.
His purpose is not to pit one side against the other.
It’s not about Jesus defending one side- at his second coming- and actually leading that side in a real war- where he shoots people- or kills them with a sword!
No- these scenarios- which prevail in the End Times books you see at Wal mart.
These ‘narratives’ if you will- go against the entire grain of the teachings of Jesus.
This is why you see me so negative at times- against the Evangelical church.
Many Protestants- well meaning people- have such a negative view of the historic church- that they reject the ancient church’s position on these things.
For the most part- the historic church took a position called A-Millennialism.
Basically it’s a kind of spiritual way of seeing all these things.
God’s kingdom is not seen thru the eyes of natural war- but thru the eyes of a heavenly kingdom.
I think that’s the correct position- for the most part.
But most American protestants believe that this position is just one of the many ‘doctrines of the Whore of Babylon’ see what I mean?
Okay- lets end there- think on some of this stuff- read the New Testament with this in your mind.
Why does the Apostle John refer to natural Jerusalem as ‘spiritual Sodom and Egypt’? [Revelation]
Was his intent to be anti Semitic?
No- he was showing us that God’s concern was for all people groups- no longer was it about a nationalistic thing- a type of salvation that the disciples at first were thinking of.
As I end this post- I want to make sure that all my friends- Jews- Muslims- all- understand that my position is that God loves us all- and he’s not in the business of backing any side- militarily.
I hope to show you this in the coming days.
1904 JERUSALEM DIVIDED?
I want to pick up a little from the last post- but I also got with the street guys yesterday and maybe will make a few comments.
Yesterday we talked about the first century context of the Jewish people- as it relates to the Messiah.
That is the Jewish nation was waiting for centuries for the promised one who would come and deliver them.
Jesus showed up on the scene and claimed to be the One.
The early followers of Jesus- all Jews- did not fully grasp the spiritual nature of Gods kingdom.
He would teach them principles about the kingdom that seemed to go against the flow of normal life.
‘The last shall be first’
‘He that dies shall live’
‘You have heard an eye for an eye- but I say love your enemies…’
All these principles were showing them that the Kingdom that Jesus was talking about was a spiritual kingdom- that would also affect the world as we know it- but at its heart it was not about material stuff.
Okay- now- the Jewish people at the time of Christ were wanting a national deliverance- they were pre-occupied with getting free from the rule of Rome- and their hopes- like many people today- were tied up in the advance of their nation- their people.
But you have the writings of the early apostles talking about this new kingdom- where Jesus died for all people [Jews and Gentiles] and he ‘reconciled both [groups] unto God in One Body on the Cross’. [Ephesians]
So- your getting a different picture here- Paul the Apostle is saying that we are all now part of this new community of God- he says ‘we are now partakers with the Jewish people- we are this new commonwealth’.
The actual teaching- from the bible- is very advanced for its time.
I mean if you think about it- these words were written 2 thousand years ago- and they speak about relations between groups that the modern church seems to miss.
When we- in our day- appeal to the Old Testament verses about God giving land to Israel- and we couch all of our ‘end times’ preaching in scenarios that have one side killing the other- or when Western Christians visit the ‘Holy Land’- talking about the staging of the final ‘assault’ [Armageddon] and how many Arabs [Muslims] will be slaughtered by a Jewish army- lead by Christ- I mean do we really realize what we are saying?
I just read Revelation chapter 4- and it had nothing to do with this post- but as a side note it said there was thing angel flying in heaven- preaching the ‘everlasting gospel’ to all nations that dwell on the earth.
The gospel means ‘good news’- we often read the book of Revelation- and use it to back up the scenarios I just spoke about.
But this verse says the intent of God is to tell the good news to ALL ETHNIC GROUPS.
No one is left out- do you hear this?
Arabs- Jews- everyone- the good news is Christ brought us all back to God by his death for us.
That’s good news.
Would it be good news if I said ‘hey Arab- guess what- Christ is coming back- oh- he will lead a war against you and your kids- if you get lucky you might be killed by Christ’.
Now- I know this sounds absurd- but that’s the majority teaching in the American Protestant church today.
Just last night I caught a little of the coverage of the Democrat convention.
They were reporting on a ‘big’ news event.
What was it?
That the Dem’s took the wording out of their platform that said they believed Jerusalem should be the undivided capitol of Israel.
Why would this big a big deal?
It dates back to the 19th century- and the rise of what we call Dispensational theology.
Basically the development of this whole teaching that I just covered.
Eventually the teaching would influence large swaths of American Protestantism.
And it would seep in to the political world.
Yes- the actual statement that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel- found in the political parties of our day- stem straight from the influence of the Dispensationalists of the 19th century.
Okay- what am I saying?
Do I advocate for the Palestinians getting half of Jerusalem?
[See- now I’m getting into politics]
Practically speaking- I don’t see how that could ever be workable.
You have Hamas- a recognized terror group by the U.S. – holding elected positions in Palestine.
So- I don’t see how this same group can share Jerusalem- practically speaking.
But- when you begin basing your political agenda on your view of the bible which might very well be wrong- then that’s when we get into trouble.
The New Testament apostles saw Jesus as the Messiah that they were waiting for.
All Jewish people do not see it that way- that’s their right- they have the freedom to believe the way they want.
Arab people have the freedom to believe the way they want.
Christians have the freedom to believe the way they want.
We as believers should share the Good News with all people groups.
That’s our mandate.
I just fear that much of what we are preaching is not good news.
1905 DID THE JEWS KILL CHRIST?
Kinda want to try and wrap up for the week- maybe one more post in the morning?
I posted some pics of the street guys yesterday- want to make a few comments.
I like taking the pics and posting them right when I’m with the guys- I’ll tell them ‘hey- right now your pics are going to the site’- they love it.
I also want to wrap up a few final points about the church- and the 2 extremes that she strayed into over the centuries.
In the last few posts we have been discussing the over emphasis on natural Israel- the promises of God- found in the Old Testament- concerning the restoration of the land- the re-building of the temple- stuff like that.
The church also has a sad history of anti Semitism- racism against Jewish people.
To our Catholic friends- the church has tried to deal with it in the last 30 years or so.
The present Pope- Benedict- who I do like [I have read his books] got into some trouble a couple of years ago.
It was a noble attempt to try and heal some long time divisions within the church.
It has been said when the Protestants disagree with something- they go out and start their own church.
When Catholics disagree- they start their own order.
I like that- funny- and true.
So- part of the Catholic divisions is the older type churches- the ones who rebelled against the noble reforms of Vatican 2 [The last church council- held between 1962-65].
Within the Catholic Church there are disagreements over what the council was trying to do.
Liberal Catholics believe the church was trying to trend into a more liberal institution.
Conservatives say that’s a misreading- that the church still held to her conservative roots- and was simply trying to be more Ecumenical.
Either way- one of the results was the more traditional type churches- sometimes called Tridentine [the ones who prefer the old Latin Mass].
These churches kind of split off from Rome and have been worshipping using the Latin mass [which was originally a violation of Vatican 2].
Vatican 2 said the Mass should now be done in the vernacular- the language of the people.
So- Benedict made a noble attempt to bridge this division- and he allowed for the Tridentine churches to do the Mass in Latin- and he also restored an old prayer- about the Jewish people- which simply said we pray for the conversion of Jews.
Okay- was this a big thing?
To simply say Christians are praying for the conversion of Jews- is that real bad?
In my mind- not a big thing.
Might it offend some of our Jewish friends?
But that’s the tradition of the church- to want people to come to belief in Christ.
But- because of the history of anti Semitism- this became a big thing.
‘How dare you pray for our conversion’ type thing.
So the church has had to grapple with how she looks at the Jewish people.
Historically- there were times of persecution of the Jews.
Most of us are familiar with the inquisitions.
The ones in Spain did ‘force’ the Jews to convert- and there were ‘inquiries’ made to see if the Jewish people really converted.
Some were put to death during this time.
During the protestant Reformation of the 16th century- out of Germany- which was Martin Luther’s home country.
There were anti Semitic writings penned by Luther.
Some of these writings were later used- in Germany- under Hitler- to justify anti Semitism.
Very sad history.
Now we have the ‘over emphasis’ [in my view] of the role of natural Israel- and the End Times [last couple of posts].
So- as you see- we have been to both sides of the aisle on this.
Why did anti Semitism play a role in the church?
Understand- we have bibles- that as Christians we accept as the Word of God.
There are also statements in our bibles- well- to be honest- might not have been written the same way- the same style- if we ‘re-wrote’ them today.
Bare with me a moment.
When the Mel Gibson’s movie came out- the Passion of the Christ- the criticism was he stuck very closely to the bible text- and it was indeed a violent crucifixion.
The writings of the apostle John specifically talk about the ‘Jews killing Jesus’.
There are other themes like this in our New Testament.
It’s not hard to see how these statements could lead to anti Semitism.
One of the things that the Pope recently clarified- which I absolutely agree with- is that when we read these things in our bibles.
We should not read them as saying ‘all Jews- of all times- are responsible for the death of Christ’.
In the bible story- the Jewish leaders conspired with the Roman govt. to ‘kill Christ’.
Many [all] of the original believers in the Messiah were indeed Jewish.
And the ‘anti Semitic’ statements in the New Testament were written by Jews- who were simply saying that they believed that some of their Jewish brothers were missing the boat by not accepting Jesus as the Messiah who was to come.
Okay- as you can see- we- the church- have a long history with this.
I would like to make one last comment before we close our talks on this.
For many years- as a bible teacher- writing- doing radio- etc.
It never dawned on me how these statements can indeed be offensive to our Jewish friends.
I mean say if you read ‘the Italians killed Christ’ or the Germans- etc.
That would indeed be problematic if you were trying to get your kids to read the bible.
The same thing with our references to the Arab world.
There are verses- in the Old Testament- that talk about Syria- Iraq [Babylon] and other Arab/Persian nations as the ‘enemies of God’.
So- when we use our bibles- in the modern day- it’s vital to understand that today- the kingdom of God is not about natural borders- or ethnic backgrounds.
It’s about Christ’s new kingdom- the kingdom of God.
All nations and races are welcome- we do not discriminate.
And we- as the church- do confess our sins against our Jewish friends- against our Arab friends- yes- we confess.
In the heated political environment of our day- the post 9-11 world- it’s hard to avoid animosity- and at times- hatred- towards others.
But we- as the people of God- should strive for forgiveness and unity- at least unity as people who live in a global society.
Yes- maybe we- as preachers especially- should re-think how we phrase things.
Yes- there are out and out statements in the bible about the ‘Jews killing Jesus’.
But in context- it would be wrong to put this on all Jews of all times- and if we ‘adjust’ the way we say these things- I think God would be well pleased.
I watched another documentary this weekend.
It was the story of Che Guevara.
Che is well known today as a sort of symbol of the revolutionary youth movement.
He embodies the persona of those who defy ‘Imperialism/Colonialism’.
Che was an Argentinean doctor- who at a young age took a motorcycle journey thru Latin America [South- Central America] and he saw the extreme poverty of the people.
He would see one of the main factors of this poverty being the influence that the U.S. held over these nations thru corporate agreements with the ‘puppet’ leaders of these nations.
For instance- many of the poor of these nations were peasant farmers- they worked the land for rich land owners- and they subsisted on a few dollars a day wages.
Yet the owners of the land- they were rich.
Likewise- Che believed that the leaders of the nations were ‘in bed’ with the U.S. – and they allowed U.S. corporations to rake their countries of wealth- at the expense of the people.
Now- I am not saying I totally agree with Che.
He has many critics- as well as supporters [he’s dead of course].
Jean Paul Sartre [remember our philosophy posts?] supported him- others did not.
The point being- Che saw a system- the U.S. govt and American corporations- as an all powerful system that polluted the nations to her south.
He felt the influence of greed and corruption were the main causes of the plight of the Latin American people.
His revolution- Che literally left his duties as a doctor and led an armed rebellion against the U.S. – would eventually lead to his execution by Bolivian forces [Bolivia is just north of Argentina- Che’s homeland] backed by the CIA.
Che was a key factor in the Cuban revolution that deposed Batista- the U.S. backed leader of Cuba- and installed Castro.
Che’s influence lives on today in many of the leaders of south/central America.
If you ever hear Hugo Chavez [Venezuela] speak- you hear the words and thoughts of Che.
This last week I have been reading Revelation- the last 5 chapters or so.
The apostle John writes about the Mystery- the ‘Whore of Babylon’- this great city- that pollutes all the nations of the world with her lust for wealth.
This city [nation] lures the other nations of the world by her wealth and power.
She has all types of merchandise- even the Souls of men.
As you read the account- it’s easy to see a type of what Che saw when rebelling against U.S. interests in his homeland.
I had a talk with my street friend Dirk the other day.
Somehow we got into a discussion about the U.S. prison system.
I mentioned to Dirk how over the last 5 years or so I started cutting out of the news paper all the cases of people from this region who got sent to prison.
I regularly pray for them- now hundreds of them- every week [just did this morning].
I try and pick the cases that I think are really tough.
There was one lady- in her 60’s.
Sandra Briggs [I remember her name- and her face].
She was sent to prison for a DWI that killed a person.
Mrs. Briggs was a widow- she owned a jewelry store for many years with her husband.
He was shot and killed a couple of years ago by a burglar.
One night she went to a bar- I guess a place where she would stop in and have a few drinks before going home.
She had a couple of drinks- and on the way home [I think at night?] there was a wreck- and one car was in the middle of the road- and she hit it.
Now- as I read the case and followed the story in the San Antonio paper.
The person who was killed was a young off duty cop.
The other car that hit him cut him in half.
Yeah- a very bad accident.
His body was lying over the barrier- it looked like someone was bending over- to pick something up.
During the testimony- they said how when she was standing there- after the wreck- she was kind of laughing.
I guess it was a nervous laughter type thing- she did not know she killed a person.
The prosecutor made it sound like she was laughing- right over the severed body.
Now- I’m sure the lady had no idea that this guy was dead- and cut in half.
But they gave Mrs. Briggs 45 years in prison for it.
Now- I make no excuses for what she did- she messed up- she should not have been drinking and driving- we all agree.
But I have seen cases where a gang kid shoots another kid in the head- on purpose- and gets less time.
So these are the tough cases.
As I talked with Dirk I told him I was surprised about the large amount of cases where guys get sent up for solicitation of minors.
I never remember hearing about it- years ago.
But the development of the internet- and the availability of everyone on line- well the cases must be up a million %.
Now- here’s the rub.
In the U.S. – you have legal porn all over the net.
It’s legal for 18 year olds to be in porn.
The U.S. says this is freedom- this is what we are all about- if you don’t like it- you don’t have to view it- but the U.S. has made it available all over the world- even to countries that outlaw it [Iran- and many Muslim nations].
But- many of the cases I have read- are cases where men tried to contact under age girls for sex.
Yes- wrong- we all agree.
Legally- if you view- or try to contact an 18 year old- this is deemed okay.
A 17 year old- 364 days- and 1 minute form her 18th birthday- this is a crime.
Okay- yes- this should be a crime.
But why does the U.S protect this [the viewing of the 18 yr old]?
Our country calls the exploitation of the 18 year old- ‘free speech’.
You mean viewing or contacting an 18 year old is considered a right- a part of our freedom- yet the 17 year old is a crime.
There are many nations who outlaw it all- now- there are ways people in those nations get around it- but the nation itself does not actually encourage it- like we do.
In some of these nations- we are militarily involved- on the basis of some type of moral judgment.
Yes- all of our wars- in some way- come down to the fact that we deemed some act- like 9-11, as immoral.
Of course most of us would agree that 9-11 deserved a response.
But what about a situation like Libya.
After the rebels rose up- we eventually had an air campaign under the guise of NATO- and it led to the killing of Gadhaffi.
Most people could care less.
His grandkids were bombed and killed in a civilian home- we said it was a legitimate target.
His daughter- pregnant- was on the run to a neighboring nation for safety.
If the rebels caught her- who knows- they might have ripped her baby out right there.
Yes- the rebels we backed have done stuff like this- and much worse.
Okay- the point?
When we- as a powerful nation- make moral judgments and intervene in the affairs of other nations- we justify our actions.
Even though some of these nations abhor our values [the above 18 year old example].
We- in our nation have in a way ‘increased the sins among men’ [a description of Babylon in the book of Revelation].
Because we simply deem the distribution of porno- to all the nations of the world- as ‘freedom of speech’.
Yet- as we ‘protect’ this right- at the same time hundreds of thousands of cases of on line crimes have increased over the last few years.
Are our values in any way contributing to this?
And then we at the same time interfere in other nations- at times militarily- because of a value judgment.
Do you now see why the Che’s of the world have such a following?
Don’t misread this post.
Che is a popular figure among many socialist groups- I am not one of them.
I simply want you to see the ancient war that has been going on since the days of the apostle John.
John described Babylon [any human govt. that becomes corrupt] as a system that increases the sins of men- that pollutes other nations based on her own skewed value system- and that uses it’s extreme wealth to bribe the other ‘kings of the earth who have drunk from the cup of her fornication’.
Yes- as I read the many cases of people being trod off to prison- because they viewed a 17 year old girl- who is being exploited by some money hungry corporate interest- and this is all protected- vigorously- by the U.S. govt. if the girl is 18.
I wonder if our values have contributed to the ‘sins among men’.
A quote from Che ‘man truly achieves his full human condition when he produces without being compelled by the physical necessity of selling himself as a commodity’
A quote from the apostle John ‘in her were the souls of men- she made all nations drink of the wine of her uncleanness’.
Yeah- some things never change.
1907 IS THE GOSPEL REALLY THE ANSWER?
Of course today we remember those who died 11 years ago.
We pray for the families and friends.
I find it strange that I recently stumbled into some of the verses in Revelation- that deal with nations and systems that war against each other.
It’s almost unbelievable to realize that in the last presidential campaign- you had someone on the Repub platform- talking about the ‘real reason’ 9-11 happened.
I mean comedians got raked over the coals for this- and others fumbled and fell into a great trap by even wading on the water’s edge.
Ron Paul often spoke about the mindset of radical Islam
Paul was the libertarian candidate who ran on the Repub ticket.
He spoke about the mindset that led to the terror attack on 9-11.
Now- in no way do I justify anything like what happened.
But it is important to see the underlying grievance that the radical wing of Islam harbors.
We often hear that the reason for the attack was ‘they hate our freedom’.
Was that the reason?
If you actually read the writings of the radicals- they believe they are indeed in a ‘holy war’.
They see the encroachment of the West- our ‘values’ [last post] and our ‘occupation’ of their holy lands as the grievance.
If you think back- the first real attack against the west was the bombing of the Kobar towers in Saudi Arabia.
This was the first one [that I recall] that was a direct act of what we call Al Qaeda.
The movement started by Osama Bin laden.
They saw Saudi Arabia as their holy land- and the towers were the U.S. base in the land.
Okay- am I justifying the attack?
No- just want you to see the mindset.
Then- the attack on the World Trade center.
The radical mind believes that to hit the ‘occupier’ in her homeland is a justifiable response because we have been engaged- many times- in Arab/Muslim lands- militarily.
I had a talk with a friend the other day- we were discussing these issues.
I told my friend that Christianity- and Judaism- have had their own ‘reformation’ of sorts.
Both religions have come to a place where they see the separation of church and state- that is- they are able to distinguish between religious belief and acts of war.
Now- there are critics of Christianity who still accuse the church of wanting to have a theocracy [church ruled state].
But for the most part- those who believe this [reconstructionist’s] are far and few in between.
But- Islam has not yet had her ‘reformation’ moment.
Now- as a blogger who has Muslim, Jewish and Christian readers- my goal is not to offend anyone- nor to skirt the real issues.
There are many fine Muslim people- who do indeed reject the entire mindset of radical Islam.
But- in the actual debates that go in within the religion- there are many who still believe that force- along with reliogus expression- is acceptable.
Islam is not only a ‘religion’ per se- but it is also a way of government.
Now- like I said- during the history of the church- obviously the same thing happened.
I mean any person who studies the rise of Western civilization- the arts- science- history- I mean the church is the major player on the board- hands down.
But- today most Christians see their role as more of a spiritual one- yes- being active in politics- voting- yes- we do have a voice at the table.
But we don’t- for the most part- want to take up an armed resistance against the world.
So- those who adhere to radical Islam- they see their struggle- well much like the last post- a Che type of thing.
I think the future depends- not on us killing all the radicals- no- this can never be fully done.
The mindset lives on in the flowing generations.
No- the answer is in learning mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and cultures.
Now- I’m’ not saying ‘let’s try and understand the poor terrorist’.
But I am saying that we in the West do need to see the root cause of why terrorism happens.
In a little while I will be going to visit John David in the ICU.
John is the friend I have written about over the years.
He was a coke addict for many years- got clean about 2 years ago.
I have pictures of him and his brother on my face book site.
We were having a fellowship at the house and did the Lords Supper.
John had heart surgery yesterday- and I will be taking his brothers Hugh and Andy to see him.
The other day I found a few packets of seeds at the house- the type you plant in the vegetable garden.
Don- the street guy who maintains the garden at the mission- he asked me one day if I could get him some.
I mean he plants that garden from scratch [see the pics on face book].
I gave them to him- he was elated- over seeds!
One day- about 10 years ago now- I was sitting at the fire house- actually it was soon after 9-11.
The fire depts. were on high alert- we had things we were to watch out for- stuff that we never worried about before.
So one day- sitting at the station- may Captain says ‘hey John- go see what the Muslim wants’.
Sure enough- some guy- dressed for the part- was walking around the fire trucks.
This station was right by A&I university [now A&M].
So- we used to keep the doors open all day [not any more] and people could walk in if they wanted.
So I went outside- the guy was just checking all the emergency vehicles out.
He told me ‘I’m doing research for a school project’.
As I talked with him- we got into ‘religion’ and I covered the history Of Christians and Arabs.
I traced back to Abraham- went into the story of his sons [Arabs trace their roots to Abraham’s son Ishmael]
And when I was done- I told him the true purpose of God- to redeem all nations of the earth.
That God loves the Arab- the Persian [we often mistake Persians for Arabs].
That he loves all people- and he sent his Son to die for all of humanity.
To my surprise- he told me he has never- not once- heard this story.
His view of Christianity- the west- the entire mindset- was shaped by world events.
He did not distinguish between Christianity and the actual Govt. of the U.S.
He- like many others- view the entire ‘struggle’ as a struggle for who will ‘rule the world’.
In my time with him- I tried to show him a better way.
No- I am not advocating passivism.
I’m not saying if we simply try to understand the terrorist- the he will go away.
But I am saying- in some cases- these people have never really heard the message.
In some cases- like the Apostle Paul said ‘satan has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe’.
In some cases- the Good News [gospel] is really the answer.
1908 ATTACKS IN LIBYA AND EGYPT
Last night we cooked late- so I let a couple of the street guys spend the night.
I have done this every so often in the past- not really a big deal.
But the reason I usually avoid it is because I have a ‘million’ homeless buddies- and once you go down this road- well you got the picture.
But I felt the lord wanted this.
The pics I posted last night [by the way- whenever I post pics during the day- I never check Facebook form my phone. So- if I take a trip to N.J. – I’ll probably post pics- but will not get on line until I get back- so for those who leave comments- I won’t see them till much later].
So- the pics from the day [or month!] before will get descriptions when I’m back at the lap top.
Okay- Andy and Huey spent the night- they watched the Green Mile [twice].
I asked them what channel they liked- to leave on all night.
They wanted the classics.
We never got a chance to see their brother yesterday- David.
He had triple bypass heart surgery- and we were gonna see him.
His nephew [Andy’s and Huey’s too] hitched all the way from Louisiana- just to see John David in the hosp.
That’s the son of an older brother who died.
I told Andy ‘bring Leon over in the morning’ they are sleeping on the streets- geez.
But Huey got a call as I was cooking- he left last night [hitching a ride].
We will go see John David later- Andy told me David even asked if I was still around.
Me and David became good friends after he quit the Ice [he was a huge meth addict].
When he got clean- and got right with God- he just wanted to get together all the time.
Like a new Christian- wanting to learn everything he can.
As the guys were crashed out on the floor last night- I of course caught my news fix.
I was surprised to see the very serious story about the Islamic protests in Egypt and Libya.
Just a note- this should have been the top story on every news network- it met the criteria of serious breaking news [which the networks now say about everything].
But the one station- at least at 7 pm- that did the right coverage- was Cooper from CNN.
Now- Fox of course covered it- and I guess MSNBC- but Cooper treated it with the coverage it deserved.
At first it was reported in a deceptive way.
The coverage said that these protests- which killed 2 Americans in the American consulate in Libya- were a reaction to a negative movie put out by the now infamous pastor from Fla.
You remember him- the guy who started trouble a while back.
So the way the news reported it- it made it sound like he just put out another negative Muslim thing- and that’s why the angry response happened.
But then they reported that this video was out for weeks [or months].
And that some of the radical Islamic sights were already calling for protests on 9-11.
So- for there to have been these types of very serious uprisings- in 2 countries that we had a major role in removing [or killing] the leaders- this is bad- real bad.
Fox showed a speech by the president- a famous speech he gave in 2009- called the ‘Cairo speech’.
It’s famous because critics of the president have used it to say he kind of sucked up to the Muslims.
As I heard the speech- in context of last night’s news- I agreed with everything the president said.
He did offer somewhat of an olive branch to the Muslim world- but he was very careful to say this branch was to those who reject violence.
He spoke about living peaceably in a world with other faiths.
I listened carefully- I agreed with everything he said.
But it is important not to miss the fact that we have never had our embassies assaulted like this in the past- and that these attacks took place under regimes that we backed.
This is not good.
I found it interesting that I ‘accidently’ spoke about these issues the last few days.
And here we are- it’s the big story of the day [week- month?]
The killing of 2 Americans at a consulate is very serious indeed.
The fact that it happened on 9-11 is very serious.
Today we do need to pray for peace- we need to of course respond in a proper way- either shut down our embassy- or whatever needs to be done.
But we live in a world where we have both freedom of speech- and responsibility.
When this Fla. Pastor first made waves- it was easy for the media to brand him as a nut- a crazy guy.
And I of course do not hold to this guys views at all- the way he ‘exposes’ Islam.
But- to react with violence- to kill people who even show a drawing of Muhammad [which has happened] this is not civilized.
If we [Christians, Jews- Muslims- etc.] are going to try and live in the world together- then we need to condemn these things.
Actually- if you want the right response- the way we need to move forward- just listen to Obama’s Cairo speech- that pretty much sums it up.
1909 FROM THE STREETS OF CORPUS TO THE WORLD
We got up early yesterday- had a couple of the street guys spend the night.
I cooked breakfast and we went to pick up Andy’s daughter.
For some reason this past week she had some kind of mental breakdown.
Her name is Rocelle [yeah- not Rochelle] she is around 38 years old and Andy [her dad] told me she tried to commit suicide the other day- she has been acting different- a type of mental breakdown.
So her husband is afraid to leave her alone when he goes to work- and we went and got her.
She spent most of the day with us- we drove over to the hospital to see John David.
He would be her uncle- Andy’s brother.
He just had open heart surgery.
Rocelle liked my yard/study.
It’s funny- I have verses and stuff all over the place- lots of people think it looks overdone- sort of ‘trailer trash’.
I do joke about it at times.
But Rocelle told Andy- as they were walking back into the house- that she wanted to just walk around and read all the verses- she was ‘fascinated’ by it.
I also had another friend- who just happens to suffer from mental problems- he too loved the yard- just ‘being there’.
In a way I do think it’s a sort of prayer garden type experience- these friends sense the presence of God- I walk the yard early in the mornings and pray- many of the verses are written out of this prayer time.
So- in a spiritual way- they are entering into this time.
We went and seen John David- I posted the pic last night [with Huey his brother by his side].
I haven’t seen David in a few years- I have written a bunch of posts about him- he was the one who killed his best buddy years ago in Dallas.
Got off by his mom hiring the lawyer who represented the guy who killed Lee Harvey Oswald [remember the post?].
Anyway David was an addict for many years- got clean a few years ago and has been wanting to start a halfway house.
David and his brothers have told me that he was a very successful business man years ago- made lots of money [millions?].
You know- he had a construction business- a big one.
He eventually blew the money on drugs and became a street guy.
As we were waiting at the hosp to see him- we walked passed some guy- dressed nice in a suit and all- and later he came up to us.
He told Huey ‘do you remember me’?
Huey said no.
He told Huey he was John John.
Huey told me that John John was a young boy who used to work for David years ago.
They all hauled concrete and stuff together.
Huey told me that John John is a ‘big wig’ now in the area- runs a big furniture store- lives in Kings Crossing [a rich area].
He came to see David.
He said David was his neighbor years ago.
David lived in the rich section too.
So we talked with David- I prayed for him- and I told him I’m gonna try and help him set up the half way house.
I drove by the house he’s looking at- right in the drug area- perfect spot.
I had Andy drive me by John David’s apt.
We got out to talk to his girlfriend- Andy tells me ‘be careful round here- it’s a big drug dealer spot- don’t look at anyone’.
I laughed- I told him I have been ‘hanging out’ on the corners the last few weeks [remember the posts on Terri and Arnold- and the guy I tried to give a dollar to- he ran away!].
Yeah- it was funny.
We had a good day- Rocelle asked if we could do this again.
I told her sure- she can come with us when we get together.
Now- I know that driving around- we did pray- shared scripture- stopped for snacks- I know from years of experience- that in a way this can be true fellowship [I have actually written a few books about this- on the blog].
So- Rocelle was simply enjoying the fellowship time- she is having a hard time- and instead of being out hooking up for drugs [I think the reason she has been having this difficult time- in her mind- is her dad and uncle think she might have done some type of new drug- maybe Bath Salts- the drug that has caused people to go nuts].
All in all- it was a good day.
I do want to mention the current situation in the Arab/Persian nations right now.
Yesterday I posted about the killing at our embassy in Libya- and the protests at our embassy in Egypt.
Over the night they have now spread to Yemen and Sudan- and maybe more.
The news talk now is about the politics of the whole thing.
Did Romney criticize too soon?
Did the state dept. [our embassy in Egypt] jump the gun in a kind of apologetic statement they put out- sort of ‘siding’ with the protestors.
This last year [even this last week- before this broke out].
I have been saying that the media have not been truly covering the aftermath of the things we have dome in Libya and Egypt.
I told a friend that Libya is highly unstable.
I told him that various militia groups still roam around- fully armed- and no one is really in control.
My criticisms have been that we sided with the people in the east [Benghazi] and ‘took out’ the leader in the west [Gadhaffi- Tripoli].
The people of the east- many of them- are/were anti American- and some of them are indeed Al Qaeda [do you remember Gadhaffi saying this- over and over again?]
Now- without re-posting everything.
One of the reasons some in the eastern part of Libya wanted to remove Gadhaffi- was because he was seen as a ‘puppet’ of the west.
Yes- he decided to work with the U.S. and this angered some of the radicals in the east.
Okay- what happened yesterday?
These same radical groups- who are walking around with heavy artillery- Rocket Propelled Grenades- they basically attacked our embassy- in Benghazi- in the eastern ‘capital’ and killed 4 Americans.
The newly installed govt. in Libya has said that they have no control over the country.
They said this a few months ago.
Why does the average person not know this?
Why have we not been doing more to protect our embassies- we know [I hope] that Libya cannot provide the security needed- they have said this publicly for heaven’s sake.
I do think we need to pray- I do think the initial statement from the state dept. was bad.
And I do think Romney should have waited- at least a day- before commenting.
But the bigger story is when the U.S. involves itself militarily- to depose a leader- any leader- we need to also be aware of the aftermath- the instability that will result when the job is ‘finished’ [even in Iraq- and right now in Syria- we need to stop saying that these leaders- any/all of them- are committing ‘crimes against humanity’- geez- both sides are. We need to stop making it into a soundbite ‘you are on the wrong side of history’. No- the answer- moving forward- is for all sides to sit down and talk- Russia is right in what they are saying about Syria].
The statement [or lack thereof] from the new Egyptian president- Morsi- was dismal.
Last I heard- he still has not condemned the attacks- and he basically sided with the protestors.
We have no ally in Egypt- the people we backed in Libya [not all of them] just killed 4 Americans- and it seems like the violence is spreading.
Pray for world peace- I know it sounds ‘liberal’ but it is the will of God.
1910 PROTESTS CONTINUE
I normally don’t post on the weekends- but it’s been a big news week.
First- let me talk a little about the street fellowship.
I saw Henry yesterday- he heard we had an ‘overnight’ fellowship the other day [had a few street guys stay over- a chance to get off the streets].
So- I did tell Hugh ‘when you see Henry- tell him he missed out on a great time!’
Sure enough- as I sat with Henry at the mission- Hugh showed up.
He told me that he let Henry know- and that Henry was kinda mad.
Henry said ‘John knows where to get me- he could have come got me!’
Henry works at the marina.
So you could tell that the gig was up- Hugh ‘outed’ Henry.
Henry tried to brush it off.
I told Henry ‘I would have come to get you- but Huey told me when he’s getting free food he prefers the ambience of a small crowd’.
Yeah- I know.
Okay- the news.
First- the current uprisings in the Arab world are very dangerous indeed.
The right and the left are sacrificing true news coverage to gain political points.
You say ‘John- I see how the right- and Romney are doing it- but the left’?
The way the left [some Democrats] are doing it is by making most of the news of the past 3 days about some stupid statement Romney made about Obama not handling the thing well.
Look- I have said I think Romney jumped the gun by criticizing Obama on the first day of the uproar- but come on- it’s been 3-4 days- okay- there’s real news to cover.
Both Obama and others said Bush was actually responsible for the deaths of Americans ‘Bush lied- people died’ was the campaign mantra of John Kerry.
He said Bush was directly responsible for the deaths of Americans- because he lied.
He said this over and over and over- while the guys were dying.
So please- some of Romney’s criticism is accurate- Obama is responsible for not beefing up the security at the embassies.
Last night I heard a report that Libya actually warned the U.S. that they can’t secure the embassy in Benghazi- geez- they told us this.
So- the real story- the important story- is the ‘Arab Spring’ is now an Arab winter- but they are protesting the U.S.
What do we do?
Hopefully these protests will peter out- but if not- then we have problems.
The other big news thing.
The Federal Reserve came out and said they will start buying Govt. bonds- and they will continue to buy them until things turn around in the economy.
Once again- those on the left [Dems] are happy.
The right- not so happy.
This action will cause the stock market to go up [though it is dangerous to make it go up this way].
And we are about 50 days to the election- and it can only help the president.
Now- what exactly does QE-3 mean?
What the fed is doing is called ‘Quantitative easing’ which simply means what I said above.
This is the 3rd time they did it- that’s where you get the 3.
They feel that buying U.S. bonds will have an economic impact that will help the overall economy because it will keep interest rates real low- that will prod investors/business people to ‘get off the sidelines’ and use some of the money that is being saved.
The Federal Reserve is the nation’s own bank.
They are not run by elected officials- they have minimal oversight- and they can basically do what they want.
If they decide to print money [by buying bonds] they simply do it.
Now- when they buy U.S. debt- it’s like if you needed money.
And you wrote I.O.U.’s to people all over the world [China, Japan, etc.]
After a while- you wrote so many [16 trillion debt] you turned to your spouse and said ‘honey- I can’t write any more to the people down the block- will you buy my IOU’s?’
That’s what the fed is doing- they are buying the debt- but they are our own bank- we are selling bonds to ourselves for heaven’s sake!
Now- this will keep interest rates low- but they are already at all time lows.
You can get a mortgage at under 3%- that’s low.
This tells me that the Fed sees real problems down the road.
The world economies are in trouble- the jobs creation in the U.S. is very bad [last numbers were under 100,000].
So- the action of the fed- in my view- is one of desperation.
It’s artificially inflating the market.
In the short term- yes- you can make money.
But in a way it’s like building a house of cards- in my view.
Okay- that’s it for now- continue to pray for our country- and yes- for the president.
We are seeing a very serious situation develop around the world.
People have lost their lives.
I do commend the Libyan govt. – they tried to stop the attack that killed our ambassador- and by all accounts- they liked him- and appreciated the U.S.
The attack in Benghazi was by radicals.
Egypt is another story.
There newly elected leader- Morsi- responded like he was still the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood- not the elected president of Egypt.
He later backtracked and made a better statement.
All in all- this thing has spread to many Arab nations as of today- and we hope and pray it will only last for a few days- without loss of life.
If it grows- then we have real problems.
1911 A SEA OF FIRE
I had a talk with John the other day.
I was at the mission- by the way- there are now about 4 Johns that I’m friends with- so this John is the guy who used to work at the Navy base right around here.
I have known John for many years- he seems to be a real nice guy.
Different form some of the other guys- you can tell that John was not a ‘bum’.
That is there are lots of guys who simply spent their whole lives around the missions- they have mastered the art of getting free stuff- many- many of them are able bodied people [actually healthier than me!].
Yet- by the thousands- they are all on SSI.
Just the other day one of them was telling me how his lawyer was getting him on disability- because he takes medication for his depression.
So- that’s the scoop.
But John worked for the base for 17 years- at 20 bucks an hour.
He was buying his own home- had a nice Harley- was living the dream in a way.
He got laid off- he lost his home- and he also did a lot of drugs.
He now lives in a broken down RV- a dump.
If he can’t come up with the 200 a month rent- he mows the grass for the owner- she owns about 8 rental houses.
As I talked with John- somehow I told him I was reading the book of Revelation- and I knew that some of it applied to him.
I told John that Revelation speaks about those who have overcome the mark of the beast- his image- and his number.
The apostle John [who wrote the book] said he saw these people ‘standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire’.
These were those who overcame the image that the beast wanted to brand them with.
I explained to John that in life- we all have good and bad times.
Often times- much of the battle is how others perceive us- that is we allow the ‘image’ that the accuser [the beast- satan] puts on us to affect us in a negative way.
I told John that when Jesus was baptized [the sea of glass imagery- get it?] that as he came up out of the water there was the voice of God saying ‘this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’.
I told John that we- as children of God- are also seen the same way.
That God too is pleased with us- not on the basis of how we perform- but because God accepts us because his Son died for us.
I told John that this is much of the battle in life- overcoming the image of the beast- and accepting the image of God- our father.
In the New Testament it speaks about a baptism of water- and fire.
One time when the disciples were arguing over who would be ‘the greatest’ [image- see?]
Jesus asked them ‘can you be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with’?
They said yes.
He told them they would.
What baptism was Jesus referring to?
Probably the suffering he was going to go thru- the Cross.
Suffering is in a way a baptism ‘of fire’.
The baptism of the Spirit can also be called a baptism of fire.
Now- when John the apostle said he saw these people standing on a ‘sea of glass mingled with fire’.
It’s possible that he was speaking about the church- the community of people who would ‘arise’ from the baptism of water and fire.
Peter said ‘it is not only appointed unto us believe on him- but also to suffer for his name’
Yeah- as I spoke with John- as I told him about the battle to overcome the image of the beast- to accept the ‘mark of God on our fore heads’.
He understood this.
He kinda of invited me to preach at the street church for brother Rey.
I told John that Rey has asked me in the past- but I don’t do that anymore [I have many radio shows that people can still hear on line- I have preached for many years- I think I should leave that to others now].
I think John understood what I was saying.
Someone who had in a way lived part of the American dream- and then lost it all.
I encouraged him to receive the image that God has for him- the one that says ‘you are my Son in whom I am well pleased’.
Yes- there is a company of people who ‘stand on the sea’.
Don’t forget- this sea also has fire.
1912 A RIVER RUNS THRU IT
Been going down to the mission the last few days.
Haven’t seen Dirks van- was asking around- ‘has anyone seen him’?
As I was standing there- my cell rang- it was Dirk!
He wanted to let me know that he and Julie- his girl- were at the state park in the Angelina forest.
It’s in Texas- he has told me about this spot many times over the years.
It’s one of his favorites- another place where he ‘lives’ for a part of the year.
He has collected arrow heads from the lake- Sam Rayburn [?]- He gave me a nice one many years ago- still have it.
I was glad to have gotten the call- I have maybe gotten 4 calls from Dirk in 25 years.
It was strange- I had just prayed for him in the morning- I thought maybe he got arrested- you know the guys park the vans all over- maybe it was one of those towing deals.
But he was happy- he had wanted to do this trip with Julie for months- to show her this part of his life- where he feels he’s not simply a ‘homeless guy’.
To be honest- I was surprised she took the trip [in her R.V.]
They were arguing a lot recently- and Julie really is a strong believer.
It’s funny- when I’m with Dirk- he shows me all the text messages she sends- verses and all- he ‘uses’ me to find ‘counter verses’ –you know- she’ll be fighting with him- send him a verse- and he wants one to send back- in retaliation.
For a few days he was asking me ‘hey John- where’s that verse about not eating the communion meal when you’re a sinner’?
Now- I told him it was in 1st Corinthians- chapter 11.
He asked me a bunch of times.
He wanted to quote it to her- because she took communion at the church- and he was telling her- well- that she’s a ‘sinner’.
So- I see him one day and he asks again- he remembered I told him Corinthians- so he read- right up to chapter 9 or so- just looking for it.
I looked in chapter 11- sure enough it’s in there.
So- that’s the extent of Dirks bible reading [to be honest- you would not think the guys even read the bible- some are regular readers- and are actually good Christians. Henry is just one example].
Yesterday I posted a couple of pics.
One of the guys was standing in the rain one day- he got up under the sign- and crawled in!
Yea- it has a lot of room- I thought you would like to see it.
The other picture is John- who I posted about last.
The little dog- a new girl who had the pup- thought the pup was cute.
And the guy in the hat- William.
William is a new comer- nice guy- we became friends over the last few weeks.
He was a welder for 35 years- has kids- is married- and when he retired he told his wife he wanted to travel- not just sit home and be a grandpa.
So he bought a van and has been seeing ‘the world’ [the U.S. – maybe Mexico].
He spent a few months on the beaches of Key West [Fla.]
Hemmingway’s land [the author].
He showed me a bunch of pics form Arkansas- where he lived for many years.
Great shots of catching trout in a river that ran right thru his back yard.
Kinda reminded me of the movie ‘A River runs thru it’.
Yeah- William is a nice guy.
He noticed a staff I have been using- writing on it and stuff.
He asked what I was carving- I told him just some bible verses.
Yeah- he knows this is ministry for me.
William is the type that seems like he would not listen- or usually talk- to someone who was talking about the Lord.
But we have become friends- and just in simple conversation- it does come up.
I want to ask you guys to pray for a few friends of mine.
Please pray for Brother Rey- he’s a street preacher who has had lots of physical problems the last few months.
Also pray for John David.
He’s my friend who had open heart surgery- he’s still recovering- and its tuff.
I told David that I will help him set up the half way house.
When he first told me about it- a couple of years ago now- I felt the Lord wanted me to help him.
I kinda dropped the ball to be honest.
But I took a look at the 2 story house he’s interested in- and God willing- in the next year you will be seeing pictures of us fixing it up and all.
David believes it’s his calling- I think it just might be.
See you later.
God bless you all.
1913 FATHER JOHN
We did another ‘all nighter’ last night.
Now- to my old partying buddies- not that.
I got with Henry yesterday- a street bro. – and we hit the Half Price book store [his and my favorite spot] bought a bunch of books- and came back to the Casa.
I BBQ’ed a bunch of stuff [will post the pics- on Face Book- for those who read these from the Blog].
And we had a good fellowship.
I gave Henry the choice of what channel he wanted on all night [the guy’s crash in the living room- so whatever they want to leave on the tube- I set it for them. I would let them choose themselves- but I have a bunch of remotes- and I don’t want them waking me up ‘John- the TV wont work’ type of thing].
So Henry picked the classic country- geez- I had no idea?
Okay- at the bookstore we spent at least an hour- I can spend 2 hours just going thru the books- I have before.
In one of the isles- Catholic cubby type thing- I met a nice Christian brother.
Sometimes I’ll give my card with the web site on it- most people at the bookstore are readers [ya think?]
As I offered him my card- he told me – ‘yes- I am a reader of Christian stuff- I’m a Catholic priest’.
I told father John that’s great- I have many Catholic readers- and even a few priests/pastors who read my stuff.
We had a really good conversation- I do dialogue well with priests.
I have studied Catholic theology- history- the whole 9 yards.
And I told John- if anything- I get more complaints that I’m ‘too catholic’ than the other way around.
I will try and visit John- he runs a Catholic retreat here in C.C.- I know the exact spot- it’s a huge building right off the highway.
It’s a big ‘dome’ type structure- with a Gold top.
He told me ‘no- it’s not a mosque’.
For years that’s exactly what I thought it was.
I will make a visit to father John’s place- he invited me to do lunch.
Anyway- Henry is still crashed out on the couch- we will hit the mission a little later- and maybe check up on John David- my friend in the hospital.
I’m looking forward to him getting out [he had open heart surgery last week].
I’m going to partner with David in setting up a halfway house- that’s his dream/calling.
All in all we had a good day- I will post the pics right after this post.
There are some news stories that I could cover- but maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.
Enjoy the day- pray for the brothers I mentioned yesterday- and for all my friends- they do [we all do] need prayer- thanks.
1914 TOP STORY- OF THE WORLD?
Posted a few pics from our visit with John David yesterday.
He’s doing better- but they wanted to re open him up- and do another procedure [heart].
He prayed about it- and wants to avoid going under the knife again.
I was at the mission during the day- and I saw David’s brothers- Huey and Andy.
They wanted a ride to the hospital to see their brother- I was more than happy to take them.
I do want to stay in touch with David- and do the halfway house thing with him.
But- as we were at the mission- sure enough someone called the cops.
We didn’t know.
So a couple of cars came down- and they were looking for some guys.
Huey just took off- told us to pick him up around the block.
Then we [I] put 2 and 2 together- it seems like he was going to sell some drugs to another guy- and somehow they must have been heard by the mission people.
That’s what is seemed like to us.
So I told Andy ‘look- I told your brother the other day [Huey] not to be carrying stuff with him when he’s in my vehicle’.
I was mad that he ruined his chance to visit his brother- he did get prepared to see him [he was cleaned up this day].
So- we saw Huey a few blocks away- he tried to get in my van- I told him forget it- you got the cops chasing you- your in all types of trouble- we don’t need that.
We left him there.
So- we went and visited David.
I met Jackie there for the second time.
That’s John David’s girl.
They told me the story how they met.
Jackie was living in another state and she saw John David being interviewed on CNN.
Yeah- he told me about this a couple of years ago.
He started his first half way house at his sons apt- and somehow the word got out- and CNN did a nice story about it.
So- Jackie- a drug addict [who still struggles] saw it and said ‘If I can get to this home- he can help me’.
So- she made it to Texas and knocked on the door.
John David had no home for girls- but he took her in.
They became a couple- and that’s how they met.
His son eventually lost the apartment they were using [it actually was a facility that was already set up like a halfway house- what a ‘coincidence’.]
And since then John David has been looking for another house.
But- he needed the heart surgery for a while- and he figured he’d finally get it out of the way.
All in all we had a good day- I had John [my new friend with the little dog] – Henry- Andy with me for the day.
We came back to the house and had a good fellowship time.
Let me mention a little news as we end the week.
The other day I caught the world ‘news’ on all 3 stations [abc- nbc- cbs].
The top story on all 3 staions was the Romney ‘hidden’ video.
Okay- I saw the stupid thing when it first came out.
I guess it should have been a one day thing- I mean you have these silly things pop up on both sides.
You had the Obama thing a couple of years back ‘clinging to their God and guns’.
So- they all do this.
But- it was maybe 4-5 days later- and the world news- all 3 stations- had this as the top news story- well- of ‘the world’.
I couldn’t believe it.
So- I channel surfed some cable shows- and came back to the main news.
They still had the video of Romney- parsing each word he said- showing the video with the captions- 9 to 10 minutes into the top news story.
I mean this is so bad- it is not even funny anymore.
‘John- what’s wrong with this?
Well- a story like this should be a one- maybe 2 day thing.
And it should have never been top coverage- on a very busy news week.
What should the top story have been?
Regardless of who you back [Romney- Obama].
The top story should have been the fact that the Libyan govt. has come out and publicly said they warned the U.S. that they can’t provide security for the embassy in Benghazi.
You basically have [had] a public disagreement between the White House and the Libyan president.
And by all accounts- it looks like the Libyan guy was telling the truth.
Now- politics aside- this is very important.
Did the U.S. [whether Obama- Bush- Clinton- anyone in charge] drop the ball on the protecting of our ambassador in Libya?
And- the top story of the protests breaking out in the Arab world- against the U.S.
Okay- the news did of course cover this- but when you have real hard news like this- then you don’t run a 10 minute top story about a stupid hidden gaff from anyone- Romney- Obama- anyone.
And of course the other ‘top story’ was the topless pics of Kate Middleton- I mean on the world news?
This is not world news- maybe Enquirer type stuff- but not world news- that deserved coverage on all the news channels- as a top news story.
These examples shows you how bankrupt our media has become.
I do watch/listen to both sides [right/left] and frankly both sides of the aisle do this.
I told my friend the other day- I hear the radio guys every week- and because I comment about stuff like this I try and hear as many as I can [Rush- Hannity- etc.]
Sometimes I catch the whole show- 3 hours.
But there are times where for 3 hours- all you get is a constant drumbeat of anti Obama.
Okay- I have criticized the guy- lots.
But if you have no constructive thing to say- for 3 hours- then what are you accomplishing?
So- that’s the scoop.
I’ll try and add a few notes to last night’s pics- and hope you guys have a good weekend.
Please continue to for John David- he looked much better yesterday- but he needs prayer- thanks so much.
1915 DIARY OF A MAD MAN?
Read a news article yesterday morning.
It was the State Dept. blasting CNN for an ‘unconscionable’ [yikes!] report on the ‘private journal’ of the dead U.S. ambassador who was killed in the Benghazi attack.
If you just read the headline- it seems as if CNN were the bad boys [and girls] and the U.S. govt. were most holy.
But- as you read- you realize- once again- that what should have been one of the biggest news stories of the year- has become a non issue because of political propaganda- by the media networks themselves [minus CNN].
Okay- the story.
The last few days you have read more than one post by me- about the reality that the Libyan govt. – and our ambassador himself- have told our govt that they were in danger- that the security of the embassy in Benghazi was not good.
Then- you had the U.S. kill a top Al Qaeda guy- with a drone- and Al Qaeda said they would seek revenge.
Now- the last year- because of the political campaign- you have had the Obama team talk much about the death of Bin laden- and a sort of ‘boasting’ about how many Al Qaeda guys we are killing.
In a few weeks a movie is coming out- probably timed in co-ordination with the Obama campaign [though they deny it] that is going to glorify the killing of Bin Laden.
Why all the glorying?
The reality of politics is you focus on what you think the candidates strength is- and one of the strengths of the president is seen to be his policy on killing Al Qaeda guys.
Okay- now- if you simply put 2 and 2 together- is it possible that the killing of Stevens [our ambassador in Libya] was a direct retaliation- by Al Qaeda- for all this darn bragging we are doing about killing their guys?
Of course it’s possible- and more than likely a reason why they killed him.
Then why would the media- and the Obama administration push the initial story line that this killing was nothing more than outrage about a movie ad- on line?
Because if the fact is- that we were warned- over and over again- that our security was bad.
And- that Al Qaeda were growing tired of our bragging about all the drone killings.
If this were [is] the case- then not only did you just lose one of the main strengths of your campaign [if you’re a Dem].
But you also might have ‘provoked’ the killing- by all the bragging.
Okay- why the feigned outrage by the state dept?
CNN found the journal of the slain ambassador- and in the journal he wrote that he- as well as the Libyan govt. – all feared an attack.
They warned the state dept. – over and over again- that this might happen.
And it did.
The State dept. was basically outed for their failure.
And in response- they said that CNN ‘broke its pledge’ to the family by releasing this info.
The state dept said CNN took evidence form a ‘crime scene’ [the journal] and shamelessly spread it around.
The State dept. called this ‘disgusting’.
The truth is- CNN- who in my view have done the best reporting on this story- read what the ambassador himself feared- and they backed it up with interviews from other people who knew Steven’s.
They then reported- only on-line [not like the top news story of the other night- the Romney gaff].
That the ambassador feared that the security that the state dept. was providing was inadequate.
This story should have been reported- much more in my view- because it shows that the U.S. govt. dropped the ball- after many warnings.
It would be like finding a journal in the World Trade towers that said – ‘we have been warning Bush that this would happen!’
This is a big news story- yet the response of the state dept is that CNN shamelessly revealed the secrets of a dead man- and also ruined a ‘crime scene’.
These are stories I see all the time- both in the print media- and on the tube.
Many have debated whether or not the news media actually coordinate with the Obama people [actually a report just showed that a govt. person emailed a group- Media matters- and this ‘non profit’ group contacted the major networks- and they ran the story on the news that night].
I don’t know how ‘planned’ this type of bias is.
But- you can see it exists.
The point I want to make is when you have an important story like this- one in which it’s quite possible that the ongoing bragging about killing Bin Laden might be actually leading to counter killings of our people.
Then we need to ask ‘should we keep bragging’.
When the Muslim ‘world’ rose up in anger- according to the Obama people- because of a video that might have antagonized them.
The Obama people condemned the video- and did all they could to discourage the release or making of any other movies that might incite violence.
Then if this is so- should the American movie makers release the Bin Laden movie [that portrays the President in a favorable light]?
When I read the above article about CNN’s ‘reprehensible act’- at first I thought they really did a terrible thing [just by reading the headline].
But as I read- they simply reported- what should have been a big story- in a minor way [on-line].
Don’t be fooled- this happens all the time- we live in a day where the blogging community- and the free on line news sources can now ‘correct’ it- but there are many who will never read the correction.
1916 WHO IS JOHN GALT?
Over the weekend- my habit is now to watch a couple of documentaries from Netflix.
I always got into them- but with the Rocu thing- I can start a few at a time- and then pick up right where I left off.
I’m watching the Cosmos- Carl Sagan [excellent by the way].
Just started Greek Civilization- narrated by one of my favorite actors- Liam Nessen.
And I caught a short one on Ayn Rand- the now famous author of Atlas Shrugged.
I have never read any of Rand’s stuff- she is a novelist- and I don’t read them.
But- she is also a philosopher- the founder of the system called Objectivism.
And her works and thought are more known right now because a movie was made about the book- Atlas Shrugged.
Rand taught a system that said mans main purpose in life is the pursuit of his/her own happiness.
Now- she was not a strict Hedonist- she also taught that man should be productive- should be a contributing member of society- and should be free to excel- to ‘make it’ without the state making the rich guy feel bad about it.
Yes- back to the 99 versus the 1.
As you can see- that’s why her work has made it back into the collective consciousness at this point in time.
The other day we went to see my friend John at the hospital- I took Henry [John Henry], John from Arlington- Andy- and of course myself.
The day before we went to the bookstore- and I met father John- a nice Catholic Priest.
The guys were calling John [from Arlington] Joe.
I told Henry ‘no- his name is John’.
Henry quipped ‘too many John’s’
In Rand’s work- she tells the fictional story of John Galt [who is John Galt? This sign pops up every so often]
Galt is the leader of the ‘productive’ class in society- the thinkers- producers- etc.
These noble ones rebel against what they see as an all encroaching Entitlement society- a ‘world’ that keeps blaming them for the ills of man.
Eventually these productive people have had enough- and they withdraw from the world and start their own world- based on the principles of Objectivism.
‘Every man for himself’ type of thing.
There is one line in the book- where you have this image of Atlas [the man who has the world on his shoulders].
He is bowing and bending and struggling under this Entitlement world.
The ‘have nots’ keep seeing the ‘haves’ as the cause for their problems.
The more pressure put on Atlas- does not seem to appease the Entitlement class.
So- he shrugs- and walks away.
A couple of years ago when we did a short history of Philosophy- I never covered Rand.
She never came up in any of the stuff I was reading at the time.
Rand was a Russian American who came to the states in the early 20th century.
She saw the rise of Communism in her homeland- and she believed that the U.S. was in danger of going down the same road.
She lived to see the presidency of FDR- and his creating of what we call the Entitlement society.
But Rand- like other thinkers of her day- also rejected Faith and Religion [Marx].
She believed that Reason was enough to establish morality- and build an adequate Ethical society.
To be honest- Ayn was wrong about this.
But- because she angered the Left with her capitalist thought- and the Right with her anti God ideas- well she would alienate not just the 47% [Romney’s gaff] but both ‘47’s’.
Thus- Rand never came up on the radar when I was studying philosophy.
I have not read the book- but from what I picked up on line- I can see how Christians would indeed have a hard time with Objectivism.
In scripture- we don’t see ‘statism’ per se- but we do see a sort of collective ideal.
In the books of Acts we see the early believers selling their goods and giving to those in need.
We read many-many portions of the bible that speak about helping the less fortunate.
Yet- the argument is ‘should the state force man to do this’.
The state- govt. – according to scripture- has the right to tax.
Rand’s argument [and others] is ‘fine- but don’t demean me because I am one of the producers- don’t demonize those in society who are holding the system up’.
Rand did not teach that you should never help another- but she rejected the govt. forcing you to do it.
In Ayn’s Utopia- the John Galt’s of the world withdraw- they take their toys and go home.
From a biblical perspective- we are indeed our brother’s keeper.
That does not mean we encourage people to be non productive- to live off the wealth of others.
But we see the goal of our lives as more than seeking happiness- more than pursuing the Dream.
No- we often give things up- material things- in order to pursue a more just society.
In our World- Atlas doesn’t shrug.
Went down to the mission yesterday.
I saw Julie- Dirk’s girlfriend.
I usually don’t see her at the mission- and when I do- she’s always with Dirk.
At first I wasn’t sure it was her- but as she walked by I asked ‘aren’t you Julie’.
Yeah- it was her.
If you remember- I wrote a post about them both going to one of the national parks here in Texas.
It’s called the Angelina national forest.
Over the years Dirk has told me lots about how much he loves being there.
It’s kind of a ‘second’ [or 3rd?] home away from home.
Dirk spends most of the year living here in his van.
Every so often he goes home to Michigan to see family.
And sometimes he stops at the national forest for a few weeks- he knows the locals- older retired guys who he plays cards with and stuff.
He has told me how he loves to hunt for arrow heads along the banks of the river.
Okay- I asked Julie where Dirk was.
She told me ‘I left him there’.
They got in a fight- over the arrow heads!
Yeah- every morning Dirk would get up and take Julie arrow head hunting.
So she told me she bought a few books in town and one morning wanted to read.
Dirk went hunting for the heads.
He came back- found something and was all excited- he tried to show it to her or something and she was into the book.
One thing led to the next- they got in a fight- and she drove back to Corpus [about a 600 mile drive by the way].
He has no ride back.
I knew from the start that they were going to get into a fight- I just didn’t think she would leave the guy.
I think that’s why she was down at the mission- sort of waiting to see if he makes it back.
I mean I did have to laugh- as I talked with Julie I told her I thought something like this would happen.
I do want to mention something that will sound self serving- buts it’s the second or 3rd time Julie has told me this- and to be honest it surprised me.
Julie tells me that Dirk is always talking about me- that he sees me as his ‘mentor’ and that he has nonstop praise for me.
I find it ‘funny’ because Dirk usually has nothing good to say about anyone- to be honest.
Many times he has put down the other ‘street’ preachers who work in the area.
I have had to defend Brother Rey- a street preacher- many times.
But being she brought it up again- I want to simply say a few words.
I have known Dirk for many years- and he realizes that me getting with the guys- often taking them out to eat- just being friends with the homeless.
He knows that this is ‘ministry’ to me.
Now- when you become friends with people- of course- over time- they will learn stuff- you will talk about God- and many times the guys have questions- things they might have heard as kids.
Misconceptions about God- things that have hindered them from believing- and often times it’s a simple explanation that clears it up.
So- I guess after knowing Dirk all these years- he has come to see me as a sort of mentor.
I have Henry sleeping in the living room right now- we hung out most of the day- I cooked some simple stuff last night and let him crash on the couch.
I have started doing this at least once a week- I see it as a way to contribute a little more- without it costing a lot of money.
Henry is a football nut- he knows the sport like I used to follow boxing.
Over the years at the fire house the guys realized I was a boxing fanatic.
I would usually know who would win the fight- and when they had a question about some rule- they would ask.
I had a laugh one day- I was upstairs watching the fights- they were down in the main room- I guess they put it on as well.
James- one of the guys- came up to ask ‘what’s it mean when they say- no 3 knockdown rule’.
I told him ‘that means you can’t knock the other guy down- more than 3 times’.
Actually- it means you don’t stop the fight if the other guy goes down 3 times in 1 round.
Some states have this rule- they think it prevents a fighter from getting hurt too much.
But in some cases maybe one of the knockdowns is a fluke- then a guy might lose a fight when he really wasn’t hurt.
So- being Henry is a football nut- you guessed it- we watched the bad call in the game the other night.
I think it was Green Bay and Seattle.
It made the news because the NFL has the replacement ref’s in the game- the regular guys are locked out over a dispute about their contract.
Henry could not get over the amount of coverage- I mean I had ESPN on for 4-5 hours at the house.
I finally told Henry ‘man- I’m gonna catch some news’.
Yeah- it was on the world news too!
Obama and Romney and all the politicians had to have their say.
I’m just waiting for the Al-Qaeda statement.
So- we watched the play- around a hundred times thru out the day.
In a little while Henry will get up- we will head out to some area- maybe go visit my friends in Bishop/Kingsville- it’s been a while and I probably should see them.
It really doesn’t take much to do this- I read John chapter 15 earlier.
Jesus says the most important thing is to love your brother.
That he showed us that to lay our lives down for another- to sacrifice your time- money- etc.
That this is the heart of the matter.
It doesn’t take much- and your friends will never forget.
1918- MALE GAY PROSTITUTE?
Let’s pick up a little from the last post or 2.
The other day at the mission I had an old friend- who I haven’t talked to in a while- just show up.
We hung out for a little while- and he told me how ‘so and so’ burned him real bad.
Burned- he ‘screwed him over’ type of thing.
I heard the story- and of course I was mad at the other friend.
Yet- my other friend was not around- so I tried to let it drop.
But- to be honest- it bothered me for a couple of days.
Then I saw his girlfriend- and she did the same thing.
Now- at one point I actually laughed- because my friend- who I have known for 20 years- is what you would call a classic case of being Homophobic.
That is- whenever he has a problem with someone- he most of the time accuses them of either being gay- or- a homosexual/lesbian prostitute [as in if the simple accusation of prostitute isn’t enough].
Now- because I know this friend well- I take it with a grain of salt.
But- I did tell my wife a few days ago ‘you know my friend ‘so and so’ I mean he has the classic case of Homophobia.’
He just had an argument with his girlfriend- and sure enough- he tells me he thinks she’s hiding something- he thinks she might be a secret lesbian prostitute.
So- as I’m talking to his girlfriend- without revealing the accusation- she tells me ‘you know John- he is totally gay- he is a repressed homosexual- he does not know how to please a woman…’
On and on- about him being a closet homosexual.
Now- first off- I have gay friends- I help gay friends- so this post is not about being gay.
But I laughed because my 2 friends- who both have issues- also resort to this accusation- about one another.
I told my friend one day that years ago- as kids [maybe 16?] me and a friend were going to do a stupid thing.
We went to the local park late at night [Hudson County Park to my friends from N.J.]
And we were going to rob and beat up a gay person.
We recruited a local drunk from the area- he was about 30 years old.
We told him the plan- and we went.
We never carried it out- though my other friend did just get out of prison in N.J. – for another very serious crime.
Yet I told it to my friend because he was bringing up past attitudes about gay people and for some reason this came up.
He tells me years later ‘John- you might be a repressed homosexual- because you told me you guys tried to mug a gay guy’.
So- that’s my friend.
In reality some of the street guys are indeed male prostitutes.
Many are addicted to drugs- and they do make money this way.
I don’t see them in that light- one of the guys has been with us these past few weeks- and we have had discussions about the Lord and he was with us when we prayed for my friend in the hospital- so he was around us the whole time.
Which I felt was good for him- to spend the day doing things that were positive.
Even though I had to laugh when my friend’s girlfriend dropped the accusation- during the talk she also shared about her experiences.
How she was not looking for a relationship- she is an older lady- and a Christian.
But she met my friend- she thought he was a good looking guy- and one thing lead to the next.
I told her ‘gee- I would like to agree with you that so and so is a good looking guy- but the way you guys throw around the ‘gay male prostitute’ thing- I better not say anything.’
I was tempted to ‘disown’ my buddy for a few days- you know- having various people all volunteer to tell me bad stuff about him.
But instead I chose to brush it off- maybe some accusations are true- maybe not.
I don’t know all the facts about each person’s situation.
But I’m glad I shrugged it off- because it was the same week that I was told that this friend sees me as his mentor- that he can’t stop saying good things about me- which I had no idea he looked up to me that much.
He is about 5 years older than me- and he often speaks bad about brother Rey- a street preacher who helps the poor.
So- all in all- I’m glad I stuck with him.
Hopefully I’ll see him today- he was stranded last week- and I’m not sure if he made it back to town.
Pray for people- I know a few of the guys do resort to bad stuff when they need cash.
Some of the girls are indeed prostitutes- they don’t hide it- many of them are real friends- they are nice people- who are involved with lifestyles that are not good- lifestyles they do need to change- I make no excuses about that.
But do your best to not let what others might say effect you- it would have been bad if I ‘dumped’ my buddy because of what I heard- and later found out that he held me in high esteem.
It would have hurt him.
1919 PARKIN’ IN PARKIN
Maybe I will do a little update tonight.
About a week ago I embarked on an unplanned road trip.
For a while now I have seen lots of my street friends live in their vans and stuff- and I always wanted to give it a shot.
Now- I’m cheating a bit- by staying at my mom’s house for a few nights- but on the road- I lived in the van.
It’s not that hard to be honest- the rest stops on the interstates are great- clean- and safe.
I was kidding my buddy earlier- I told him that the drive [from TX. To N.J.] was great- cheap.
But as soon as I hit Jersey- the toll system cost me more cash [around 30] and time [geez- having to stop multiple times- before getting off!] than the entire trip combined!
But all in all it was an okay drive.
I was detoured just outside of Little Rock- Ark.
I blew a fan belt- it was so loud I thought the transmission fell out!
I realized it was the belt- and had to drive to the closest exit and get off.
I wound up in a small rural town named Parkin.
To my surprise the town shop was able to get the parts and install them- at half the cost that pep- boys charged in the past![this water pump has a history].
As I spent half the day in Parkin- I walked around- took some pics- and made the best of it.
As I ‘interviewed’ my mechanic- I asked him what the town was like.
He was a young- White kid.
He said ‘It’s nice here- but the NIGGERS ARE NIGGERS.’
I then walked around- and talked to the Black people in the area.
They were real nice.
I picked up the Arkansas paper.
The top story was the local hero- who looked just like one of Jeff Foxworthy’s Red Neck’s.
He was on the front page because he made his annual trip to NYC to protest the Iranian president.
Yeah- he started making this his cause about 10 years ago.
This time- as he was standing outside the U.N.- he saw the Iranian security guys walking right by him.
They were protecting some top diplomat- and the Arkansan thru a punch- and hit the guy!
As I read this story- while ‘parked’ in Parkin- I had to laugh.
The guy said ‘as they walked by- I thought the guy was Ahmidinejab’.
Yeah- he was proud- grinning ear to ear.
They asked him how he got involved with this cause- he has an on-line web site and he leads a group who regularly protest the Iranian leaders desire for Nukes.
He told the reporter that his wife died of cancer about 10 years ago- and he needed something to keep his mind occupied.
Yeah- Foxworthy would have loved it.
All in all my day [half day] was well spent- lessons learned- prejudice revealed- and hospitality shown to me- by a nice Black owner of the local beauty salon [her name was Shea].
Yeah- I learned some stuff in while parked- in Parkin.
1920 SHEEP FROM ANOTHER FOLD
One of the challenges on this journey is I have friends/family who have hearing problems.
My dear mom has a hard time hearing- and it’s natural to talk loud.
You think because it’s difficult for you to hear- that to talk loud will somehow help the hearer as well.
I have a homeless friend who has been legally deaf his whole life.
He has learned how to talk low- on purpose.
I was telling my friend Patrick that this homeless friend also likes to dominate the conversation- he will talk- nonstop- literally for hours.
To be honest- I don’t mind- or lets say I realize that it helps him- so for 20 years I have had lots of talks [or should I say ‘hearings’] with him.
Okay- so as I’m sitting at my mom’s house yesterday- everyone is out- and I figure ‘wow- some quiet time- let’s make the most of it’.
Well- let’s at least try.
My phone rings- it’s a Texas number ‘what the heck- might as well get it’.
I usually never answer my phone unless it’s a number I recognize.
I get it- it’s my deaf homeless friend on the line- yelling ‘hey John- I can barely hear you’.
So- this is my buddy stuck in the forest in Texas- his girlfriend left him there [remember the last 5 posts?]
Anyway- he does not know I’m in Jersey- none of my homeless buddies know- I had no plans to have left the day I left- so no one knows.
So- as Dirk’s on the phone- telling me ‘I can’t hear you- you’re breaking up’.
I keep saying- well- yelling ‘I’M IN NYC [that’s really the spot- N.J. – right on the Hudson] I CAN’T TALK RIGHTT NOW’.
He keeps telling me he can’t hear me- but says ‘well- I can’t hear- but I guess I’ll just talk anyway’.
No- no- don’t guess that- not today!
I finally got thru and told him I’ll talk whenever I get back to Texas.
Okay- the journey has been interesting so far.
Whenever I drive cross country [or south to north] I enjoy reading the different ‘church’ names along the way.
You can see the development of Christianity across the country- by reading the signs.
As somewhat of a church historian- when I see the signs- I remember the times I read about the various movements.
Some church signs show the debate over the Trinity ‘Pentecostal oneness church’- they emphasize the divinity of Jesus a lot.
‘Pentecostal Trinity church’- they are saying ‘we are not the other guys’.
Of course you see the standard Baptist churches- the Methodist regions as well.
Over the years all of these groups have come to emphasize various teachings of Christianity.
As I headed further north- of course I come to my ‘homeland’- and I see the great catholic churches- the ones I remember from my youth [sort of like crossing the Tiber in a way- for you non intellectuals- google it].
It’s a sort of spiritual lesson- this past week- as well as the coming months- the Catholic church is going to focus on Vatican 2- the last church council.
This council [a meeting of all the catholic leaders/bishops] emphasized Ecumenism- for the first time the church recognized the various Christian churches- you know- all the ‘signs’ I saw on the road- as ‘separated Christian brothers’.
It was a big step for the church- a step of unity- based on the desire of Christ we read about in the gospel of John- chapter 17 ‘that we all would be one’.
In my talks these past few days- and my bible reading in the gospel of John- a theme kept popping up.
The Lord has been telling me to ‘shepherd all the people I bring to you- all those who are on a spiritual journey’.
In John’s gospel the message- at least to me- is to do my best to present the pre-imminence of Christ- that he is the source of salvation- and to recognize that there are also ‘sheep- not of this fold that he will bring’.
Now- in context Jesus was speaking about the Gentiles- the ‘non- Jews’ who would convert.
In the ‘broader’ context- I am taking it as being open to the other Monotheistic faiths.
So- I have good talks with Muslims [and have even shared some good things about Islam- yes- there are good things- with fellow Christians].
My mom told me ‘John- do you know who died’.
Sandy is a nice Jewish lady who lived right up the block from me when I was a kid.
I was friends with her son.
She became a Facebook friend a few years back.
I am always grateful when I make Jewish/Muslim friends on the site.
When I first friended Sandy- we talked some.
Then I noticed one time- we didn’t talk much [you know- when you write a lot- people are going to get offended at one time or another].
So- when I did not see her comments- I figured she got upset about some post.
But then one day- about a month ago- I saw some action form her page- I forget what it was- but I saw that she came back to read the posts.
Then- well- she passed on.
When my mom told me that she died- I said ‘are you sure’.
I went to Sandy’s page- and there was no indication that she died.
So I left a little note to tell my friend good bye.
Yes- I’m grateful for ‘the other’ sheep if you will.
The other friends of mine who are on a spiritual journey.
I’m grateful for all the ‘separated brothers’ those various Christian churches who are now seen as brothers in Christ.
Make no mistake- as a Christian I believe that Jesus is the Son of God- who died- was buried- and rose again ‘according to the scriptures’.
I believe he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the resurrection of the dead- the forgiveness of sins- and life everlasting.
I also believe that in this life God will bring to us others who are on a journey as well- and maybe for a time these people might be on a different path- maybe they do not see everything like I do.
But when these contacts are made- do your best to try and see them as ‘others who are not from this group’ but others whom God has brought your way- at least for a season.
NOTE- One sign I liked was on the side of this huge gun store ‘GUNS- GUNS- GUNS- JESUS IS LORD’.
I posted some pictures the other day- of Craig- a homeless guy I ran into while going to Wal Mart.
As soon as I saw Craig I knew he was homeless.
He was sitting by the side of Wal Mart- with a couple of well kept carrying bags- and he was organized- as much as someone can be while homeless.
So before going into the store I walked over to him and became friends.
I talked to Craig for about 30 minutes before going into the store.
I told him when I get out of the store I will take him to breakfast- my treat of course.
Craig turned the breakfast down- but he asked instead if I could by him a can of BeefAroni.
So I picked him up 3 cans- no big deal.
When I got out of the store we took a ride to the park and hung out by the lake for a while.
Of course I told Craig that this is ministry stuff to me- I didn’t ‘preach’ to him- but I told him ‘my story’ as he told me his.
He knew that I was reaching out to the street guys because I believe Christ called us as believers to do so.
I later took him about 30 miles south/west.
I asked him if he needed a ride somewhere- being I had the day and van.
He told me he was heading to Lyndhurst the next day- but if I wanted I could start him going that way.
He just needed for me to take him to a small town around here called Secaucus.
We took the ride- and I parked in a store parking area.
Craig has these walking routes all down pat.
I told him that I would walk with him some before heading out.
As we started the trek, when we got to the end of the parking lot- he put his bags down [they looked to be well over 50 pounds].
And he back tracked about 50 feet- picking something up.
At first I thought he saw some change- the street guys are good at spotting change on the ground.
But as he got back- he had about 10 cigarette butts- he rolled the little tobacco that was left into a small cigarette- it looked perfect- and the task was finished in a few minutes.
Its stuff like this that will let you know that the person is a ‘true’ street guy [plus turning down the fast food offer- and opting for food that you can take with you].
We walked a good few miles- crossed over a bridge and I told Craig I would start heading back to the van.
Craig looked at me- we shook hands- and he said ‘peace’.
I could tell he was grateful- for real.
Sure- I gave him 5 bucks for the journey- we spent some time hanging out- but he was grateful to have someone to give him a hand.
I could tell from the start that he was not a beggar.
He was not looking for a ride [his plans were to walk the whole trip- till he got to the major highway- where I dropped him off].
No- he was just a nice brother- a new friend- you know- like you used to make friends as kids.
You saw some kid on the block- never met him before- and within minutes your playing some street ball or something.
I gave Craig the blog site card/paper.
He doesn’t know how to get on line- but I told him if he wound up at a friend’s house who has a computer- he can look us up- and see his picture and story on the site.
Craig was the first ‘real’ homeless guy I have met since being here.
I can tell from my excursions that this area is not suitable for homeless guys- they know that and that’s why they don’t come here.
I talked to Craig for about 3-4 hours in total.
I always try and find out their stories- and I tell them that I share their stories on the site.
Craig is 49 years old- my age less a year.
He was originally from Modesto Cali.
He has been in Jersey for many years- usually lives in Atlantic City.
That’s the spot where many of the homeless go- Craig gave me the scoop.
Craig has had various jobs over the years- some good ones.
But as I first talked to him- it’s obvious he has some real mental problems [yet very smart!]
It takes about 3 hours for Craig to communicate 2 hours of stuff you can understand.
I’m sure most people would get scared the first few minutes- seeing he has some type of problem- and he rarely makes it to the 3 hour ‘made a new friend’ point.
Yeah- Craig is a new friend I made on the trip.
He did indeed hear the gospel- as a friend- and to be honest- I had a good time hanging out with Craig.
The other night I went to an NA meeting with my friend Pat.
It’s basically the meeting for Drug addicts- based on the 12 step program.
My friend sponsors his own meeting- and also attends and is real active in the group.
Before I came to Jersey [this visit] I was in touch with my friend John David [heart surgery] and he has been wanting to open up a half way house in C.C.
I also picked up [by accident] a book defending the 12 step program from a Christian perspective.
All in all I have been learning/reading on the 12 step program.
But this was my first actual meeting- so I was looking forward to it.
It was a really good format- from the things I have read/seen- the key to success is the basic principle- found in the bible- that says ‘confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that you may be healed’. [James]
The meetings are times/places where people share- they speak about their struggles- their victories- and others see that some have been clean for many years- 20-30 or more.
When an addict sees another ‘addict’- who has ‘overcome the mark of the beast and the number of his name’ [Revelation] he then sees that there are indeed a whole company of people who have come thru this- and are on the other side- clean.
All of these things are biblical principles.
As I sat in the meeting- I had an interesting experience.
The table in front of my chair had the names of some of the local restaurants written on them.
I’m not sure why- maybe they support the meetings- the meeting was held in the old Catholic church- Our Lady of Fatima- that I attended for CCD classes as a kid.
The church is a couple of blocks from my old Elementary school- Horace Mann- and I used to walk over every day for class.
The NA meeting was in the same part of the church that my CCD classes were in.
So- after 34 years- I found myself- for the first time- back in the old class.
I had a friend/schoolmate back in those days.
His name was Glenn Hashway.
His parents own a deli- famous- right down the block.
I have heard that Glenn has been an addict for many years.
A friend of mine was in jail with him one year- he didn’t know I knew him- but I did.
From what I heard- he was in big trouble- looking at many years in prison- if he made bail he was going to try and leave the country type of thing.
So- this was his story.
On the table in front of me- the name of the restaurant/deli that was written- was ‘Hashways’.
Yea- it just so happened that this was the spot where his family had the name of their deli.
Sad story for my old friend- seeing how his life turned out.
Today I’m supposed to make a trip to NYC- I need to check my phone for messages.
I can do the trip on my own- but it’s been so many years- I don’t know all the right subways and buses to catch.
So Patrick is supposed to go with me.
I did want to say a few words about the debate- it has been such a hot political issue- and I do talk about that stuff.
But- on this trip I’m trying to avoid too much politics.
I took a ride yesterday afternoon down to Jersey City- got out at a park on the corner of Manhattan Ave and Kennedy Blvd.
Yeah- not really the best spot to hang out when you’re from out of state.
But I wanted to just walk around the area.
As I walked thru the park- I asked some guy sitting on a bench ‘what’s the name of this park’?
He told me ‘Persian field’.
Now- I know it’s not Persian- like Asian [or at least I don’t think things have changed that much!]
But at the entrance of the park I saw a statue to some war hero or something- I assume the name is Pershing- you know- some past war guy type thing.
Anyway- I walked thru the park taking some pictures.
Some kids hanging out and all- wondering why I was taking pictures.
I talk one of a little blue bag- small- you could fit about 3 aspirins in it.
It was a Crack bag- empty.
I saw 2 more while walking around- wasn’t even looking for them.
I saw some nice animal statues and a few squirrels.
I continued the ride- went down past journal square- and went a few more miles- came back on Tonnele ave.
Passed the old Pulaski Skyway- and saw my 2nd homeless guy- begging for money on the road.
I usually don’t give the guys with signs any money- but being I haven’t seen too many- I gave him 5 bucks.
Yeah- the old area looks okay- still worn and torn after many years.
Sort of like an old war horse- battle scarred but keeps on going.
I read a verse in John chapter 17 this morning.
Jesus said ‘ Ihave revealed your name to the men that you gave to me out of the world’.
I have read this chapter many times over the years.
Jesus speaks about the desire for unity in the church.
He talks about his disciples as the special people God brought to him along the journey.
I have run into a few already- I’m trying to hear God- to speak and connect to the ones that he’ gave me ‘out of the world’ –or ‘from New Jersey’.
Yeah- there are always at least a few- people who are too on a journey- and it’s important for us [you and me] to speak the right words- to communicate the Father [God] to them.
At the end of the day- that’s what lasts.
Okay- there are lots of good stories to tell on this trip- but I’m trying to keep them short.
Let’s do the NYC trip today [do=tell].
The other day I took a trip to the city with Patrick—an old friend I met about 12 years ago- he was my ‘tour guide’.
I haven’t been to the city in many years- and I have no idea what buses/trains to take.
Pat knows all the routes.
So we took this nice route that lets you see all the famous areas- from the top of the rail road tracks.
We got off at the last [and final! For you Pat] stop on the A train- Rockaway.
This is the Queens section of the city- Howard Beach- Gotti’s club- you know- the ‘famous’ spots.
As we walked to Pats brothers’ house- he told me the story of his family.
Pat grew up in somewhat of a dysfunctional home- like most of us have.
His parents died early on- and he had this older brother that he never really knew- 20 years his senior.
So- one year Pat made an attempt to find him- he looked him up in the phone book and tracked the house.
As Pats brother came home- Pat was on the steps- blocking his way- he said ‘can you move- you’re in my way’- and that was the reunion.
Pat told me that his brother was an addict for many years as well- he used to see him sleeping on the subway stop- he would give him a few dollars if he had it.
After many years- his brother finally got clean- and married a great Christian lady- Veronica.
I met them both on the trip this day.
We hung out most of the day at Pat’s brothers place- we had a good time- we were helping Veronica hook up to Facebook and stuff.
She has a nice computer- but needed help getting everything working- you know- most people are not experts like myself [okay- maybe not- this trip was the first time I ‘texted’].
It was funny- after I helped her hook up to Facebook- and Pat was helping her get the phone hooked in as well.
I said ‘that’s it Veronica- you’re in- now all that happens is you get a bill for 50 each month’.
At that point she looked at me- yeah- you could tell she’s a real New Yorker [of course I was kidding].
On the way back to Manhattan- I took a few more pics from the rail- and me and Pat had some good time fellowshipping.
Pat now sponsors a couple of guys thru the NA [narcotics anonymous].
He got a call from one of the guys while we were waiting for the train to leave.
It was a learning experience- to see how the group works along biblical lines.
The last time I saw Pat was about 8 years back- Pat was hooked and you could tell.
Pat overdosed real bad a few years ago- I got a call and they told me he might have died- he was in the hospital and I put him on the web site and asked for prayer.
Pat pulled thru- but he messed up his leg real bad- he walks with a very bad limp- but he never complains.
This week I have been reading John 17- it’s the famous prayer of Jesus [besides the Our father]
Jesus says ‘for their sakes I sanctify myself- that they too might be sanctified thru the truth’.
Sanctify means separate.
Jesus was saying he set himself apart to do God’s will- he did this so others too might be free.
The example from my friend Pat- and his brother- and a few other people I have met on this trip- is one where people got to the end of the road [last AND final stop].
They lived many years in bondage to things- Jesus said ‘whoever commits sin becomes the slave of sin’.
These have learned what that means.
And they got to a point where they had enough- they have now ‘separated themselves so others too could be free’.
Yeah- my Rockaway trip was a real learning experience- in more ways than one.
1924 A FREE BUS RIDE
In the last week I have had some good conversations- talked to various people- from different backgrounds.
I have actually defended other groups [Catholics] from false accusations.
One friend said ‘the Catholics put tradition OVER the bible’.
I said- ‘actually-that’s not true’.
The other person- a fellow Protestant- insisted it was.
I told them that the church believes that Gods voice comes to us in 2 ways- scripture and tradition- but they see them both as means to communicate God’s word- they hold equal value- at least in official Catholic teaching it is this way.
I had another friend- a Muslim- ask me about the teaching from the bible that says ‘another prophet will come’.
Is this in the bible?
I told him there is a famous teaching you find in the bible that says ‘another’ prophet must first come.
But- he was under the impression that this verse was referring to Muhammad- I explained that the disciples actually asked Jesus about this.
They said ‘if you’re the one- that what about the prophecy that says Elijah must come first’.
Jesus said that there was indeed a prophecy that says before the Messiah comes- Elijah must first come.
Then Jesus said ‘John the Baptist was Elijah’ [John the Baptist came in the power and spirit of Elijah- and according to Jesus- he fulfilled the prophecy].
Jesus said that the prophecy about another prophet was fulfilled by him and John the Baptist- Jesus was the final and ultimate ‘prophet’ –Messiah- sent from God.
In all of these dialogues- I was friends with these people- I talk to these people as co-equals- I try real hard not to ‘preach at them’.
Sure- in a way- this type of conversation- is a type of preaching- but how long would it have taken my Muslim friend to have wandered into some church and have heard this?
We- all of us- need to have friendships with people from other backgrounds.
We need to know- really- what other people believe.
My Protestant friend started from a wrong understanding of what Catholics believe.
If she wants to dialogue with Catholics about the differences between us- then she needs to know what the differences are.
The other day I was riding the old bus that drives down Bergenline ave.
Back in Texas when you buy a ticket with a transfer- it’s good all day.
So when I got on the bus I asked the guy if it was still good.
He looked at it real quick and said ‘yeah’.
After I sat down he told me ‘you know it did expire- but don’t worry about it’.
I told him I would pay for the ticket- but he said that’s okay.
So I talked to him from 48th street to 91st.
I told him I was visiting from Texas but grew up here in the area.
I told him I retired from the Fire Dept. after 25 years.
He has worked for the state for 30 years.
He asked me what it was like to retire- sort of like he is thinking about it too.
I told him that a lot of my friends put it off- they are scared of doing it.
Even though a job like mine might be considered dangerous- yet you get used to the routine- and some guys don’t know what they will do if they retire.
He kept agreeing with me- like he is having the same thoughts.
He was nice guy- a Black guy.
Why mention Black?
I asked him where he lives- he said East Orange.
I haven’t been around here for so long- I did not know that it is a predominantly Black area [I found out later].
But when he said he lives there- he said ‘you know- I like it- I don’t want to go home and have a lot of drama- I get that on the job’.
I think he was saying he has to deal with people who are racist- people who look down on others because they are different.
And when he’s home- he doesn’t want the same thing.
Sure- I understood what he was saying.
When I sat down that day- I never met the man before- after about 40 blocks- we were talking like friends- plus- I got a free ride.
It’s worth treating others with respect- listening to their side of things.
Sometimes they have picked up ideas that you might be able to correct- to show them that they might have a wrong impression about Christianity.
Other times you will learn too.
All in all- if you start without prejudice- you can go a lot further.
1925 WHEN TWO BECOME ONE [a short critique on the pastoral letter from the Bishop of Newark]
Today I want to comment on the Pastoral letter that the Archbishop of Newark put out last month.
Being I’m here in N.J. for a few days- one of my goals was to visit all the old places I saw as a kid.
And 2 of those spots were the Catholic churches I went to as a kid.
I went last Sunday to Our Lady of Fatima- and this Past Sunday I visited Our Lady of Grace.
It just so happened that the Bishop of Newark put out this Pastoral letter- a letter to all the Christians in his area- a few weeks before I arrived.
The letter is in some ways a defense of the historic position of the church.
It’s titled ‘When Two become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage’.
In short the Bishop does an excellent job of defending the traditional definition of marriage between One man and One woman.
He bases this teaching on both Natural [Moral] law- and what we call Revelation [or Revealed Truth- which means teaching that comes to us from God].
Natural law simply means in society in general- since the early times of man- there was a basic understanding of what was right or wrong.
Where did this Moral foundation come from?
The Church teaches that this comes from God [Apostle Paul- Romans 1 and 2].
Since this Moral law exists- and part of this ‘collective conscience’ includes the basic idea of traditional marriage- therefore we [the Church] make the argument that traditional marriage is not only a Church teaching- but also a foundational truth that all men have known since the beginning of mans existence.
The bishop notes that the early Greek philosophers and other ancient societies have indeed believed that Moral law does exist- and therefore it is not only a church belief.
The Bishop is also careful to treat Homosexual people [language that the church does not use- the church teaches that all people- even those with ‘homosexual tendencies’ are indeed created in the image of God. The Church says both Heterosexual and Homosexual are words that describe sexual attractions- but are not fundamental identities] with respect.
That is even though the Church believes in One man One woman union- that it recognizes that all people struggle with ‘sin’ and that the Church calls all people to live repentant lives- and to strive to live an abundant life in Christ.
The Bishop emphasizes that the Christian community does include people who have homosexual attractions- but it simply does not legitimize homosexual lifestyles as an acceptable way of life for the practicing Christian [I do understand that others see this very thing as discriminatory- and that would take a long time to get into- my purpose in this post is to kind of break down the 4 page letter of the bishop and hit the high points.]
All in all the letter was written in a scholarly way- the bishop used what we call the classic Apologetic tools to defend the Faith [he appealed to natural law- he quoted the Greek philosophers- etc.]
And he made the case in a way that was as gracious as possible to those who consider themselves Homosexual- while still defending the Traditional definition of marriage.
I of course did read- and re-read the letter.
I guess that around 10 % of Catholic Christians might have gone home after Mass and read the letter [it was kind of long- and a little scholarly].
But it was written in a well thought out way- and it does give you the official Catholic teaching on this matter.
The Church teaches that those Catholics who reject the traditional definition of marriage are rejecting a serious doctrine of the church- a ‘Grave matter’- and the church says these Catholics need to repent from this position.
In the Catholic Church there are degrees of Moral teaching- that is some areas are not considered as serious as others- the Church teaches that this doctrine- traditional Marriage- is one of those serious doctrines.
At the end of the letter it has the signature of Archbishop John J. Meyers- the bishop of Newark.
This was the first time I ever read an official Pastoral letter- one that was actually circulated in the handouts from the Church meeting.
I found it well written- scholarly- and of course- in keeping with the teaching of the historic church.
Whether you agree with the teaching or not [for instance I am a Protestant- and not bound to the teaching of the Catholic church].
You must admit- that the Catholic church puts out responsible material- material that is well thought out and in a way ‘peer reviewed’.
Yea- all in all- it was a good letter.
1926 THE DEBATES
What the heck- might as well do a post while the guy works on the van.
I am surprised that I picked up wireless here- Inkys or something.
O.K.- I have been wanting to mention the debates.
Of course last night we had Biden and Ryan go at it [I slept in the van and caught it on NPR].
If you’re a Dem- then you think Biden won- if a Repub- Ryan.
What do I think? [I am independent]
I think they both did well- maybe a sort of tie.
Now- what about the Obama/Romney one?
Most people think Obama did poorly- me too.
But- when I first heard the liberal side of the aisle skewer Obama- I thought it must have been really bad.
Whenever you hear a news guy- whether Liberal or Conservative- try and give you their narrative- always be open and make your own call.
I saw the Pres. Debate the next day on CSPAN- I thought Obama lost- but I did not see it as the Titanic.
I told a liberal friend ‘it really wasn’t as bad as they made it out’.
A few things.
Right after the pres debate- the campaign people for Obama put out a line that said ‘sure- Romney won- but it was simply a good performance from a liar’.
Then- the news media ran with that story- night after night- you heard them say Romney is a liar- who lied well.
I was at my mom’s house- she watches MSNBC a lot [I do on and off].
And I saw how it affected her.
She was furious at Romney for being a liar.
I explained to her that they all lie- Obama- Romney- all of them.
I told her how many see Romney as a ‘liar’ because he flip flopped on ‘Obama care’.
He was ‘for it- before he was against it’ type thing.
I told my mom that I don’t see either of these men as angels- or demons.
I said Romney says his health care plan in Mass [while governor] was different.
Okay- I have heard his explanation- I think it pretty much was the same.
But- I don’t hate the man- he’s running as the Repub candidate- and the Repubs don’t like Obama-care- so he’s against it.
I got it.
But how many Dem’s- who hate Romney for switching his view- over a period of years- also ‘hate’ Obama for doing the same thing?
When the president ran against Hillary- he vowed to never do ‘Obama care’ the way he did it.
Hillary was for universal health care- with a mandate.
A mandate is the law that says you must purchase it- or pay a fine.
Now- during the nomination process- right up until the election- Obama was dead set against a mandate.
Some people voted for him because of this- during the Dem nomination process.
Yet- it did not take him 6 years- 3 years- or one year to ‘switch’ sides.
It took him one day.
Yes- the day before he was elected- he was against the mandate.
The first thing he did after being elected- the major ‘accomplishment’ of his first term- was health care- with a mandate.
Yet- I don’t remember the news media spending days with a narrative [story] that said Obama is a liar.
So- it’s better to simply listen to the sides- if you prefer the conservative side- then you will vote Romney.
If you prefer the liberal side- then you will vote Obama.
But do we have to watch days on end of the news reporting- openly- that Romney is a liar?
I said about a month ago that the real big news story- that is worthy of coverage- is the situation that happened in Libya- the killing of our people at the embassy.
In last night’s debate- that was the first question that came up.
Yeah- their catching on- ya think?
1927- THE END OF THE ROAD [TRIP]
Well- the N.J. trip was long- and I realized that I can’t drive like I did when I was younger.
It’s hard to see at night- and it just seemed much longer than it used to be.
From now on I will fly.
Okay- since I’ve been back I was able to catch up on all the news- all the shows I missed [I have Rocu- they basically DVR everything for you].
On the trip I caught some shows- but I realize now that there are things I do need to cover.
But for today- let’s just hit a few thoughts from the trip.
On the way back I broke down- for the 2nd time [the first was on the way to N.J. – I blew a belt and water pump in Arkansas].
I was in Kansas- and it sounded like the water pump went out again.
But the guy checked it out and it was a fan clutch [I have changed these before- it’s much easier/cheaper].
So I lucked out [of course prayed!]
On both of the ‘breakdowns’ I wound up getting the van repaired by small- kind of ‘po-dunk’ type shops.
I managed to drive to the shops- or to the town- and thru using the local stores was able to call the shops.
The shops both did great jobs- very professional- in Kansas I drove back in the tow truck- a brand new one- nice.
As we got back to the small shop- the tow driver was also the repairman.
He had it done in around an hour.
All these services were done by small businesses.
In actuality- they would be in the category of the ‘rich who are not paying their fair share’.
Yes- most small businesses fall under this category.
Why did these guys do such a great job- treat me well- and were available to do it?
Because they are in business- they are the capitalists of our world.
Now- if I had to use ‘government’ services- would they too have been there?
If I never made it to a town I would have called 911- and some type of ‘govt.’
worker would have helped.
Whether it was the local cops- the DPS- the highway patrol- all of these services fall under the heading of government- whether city or state- they would be considered govt. [public safety].
They are paid by taxes- and they are in a ‘non profit’ job.
Yet- they do it for a salary as well.
Right now in our country there is a debate that says ‘should we be a conservative people- or elect liberal folk’.
Joe Biden said that’s the choice- and in a way he is right.
But I think if we see only one side or the other as the national ‘savior’ then we are setting ourselves up for a fall.
In a way we do need both- that is there is a need for government- how big? – well that’s the debate.
But a strict ‘capitalist’ society- where everything was based on services for profit- would not totally do the job.
Because there are needed- vital services- that would not make a profit.
The whole debate on health care- why do Insurance companies drop- or not insure- the elderly or sick [unless they are forced to]?
Because there is no profit if you have all chronically sick people.
That’s the whole point about the mandate/universal care- the private industry will not do the job- in this particular case.
So- I get that.
But in many areas- like my tow truck/mechanic experiences- they do indeed get the job done- and they do it well.
It’s sad that many of these small business guys have been demonized this past year.
From what I saw- both of the shops I stopped at were hard working guys/kids.
They treated me with respect- they did not rip me off [I know mechanics somewhat- I ‘diagnosed’ the initial problems and all- right away].
And they did it all under a ‘for profit’ venture- yet they met a vital service- – one that serves the community well.
And not just their local community- I was just one of many road travelers that have used them- and they do a real good job.
Okay- this week I will try and hit on some of the major news stories of the last few weeks- there are some important things to cover.
Last week I read Hebrews 2 [Psalms 128 and Gen 2]- this week lets read Hebrews 4- Psalms 90 and Mark 10.
I will try and comment on them at the end of the week.
Okay- that’s it for now- remember- pray for one another- if you disagree with people about stuff [often politics or religion] try not to demonize them- they are also created in the image of God.
1928 BENGHAZI- LIBYA
So much to say- where do we start?
Okay- I have caught up on the news shows/papers for the past couple of weeks.
And even though I have been able to follow snippets of the news on my trip- yet I really didn’t see the entire picture until now.
First- as most of you know many in the Muslim world protested the U.S. on 9-11-2012.
Many of these protests seem to have been instigated by a stupid film about the prophet Muhammad that was put out by some guy living in the U.S.
One of the attacks that took place on that day was in Libya- our embassy was stormed and for the first time in 30 years an American ambassador was killed on foreign soil [the other incident was the famous raid in Iran].
The difference between the attack in Benghazi- Libya- and the other protests was the attack in Libya was a militia type attack- they used heavy weapons and there were no protests during the day.
Now- for whatever reason- the White House ‘spun’ the attack as part of the protests about the film. They used this language to describe the attack- even after the U.S. knew this was false.
I saw Ambassador Rice on the Sunday talk shows saying that the killing of Stephens was part of the protests over the movie- this was 5 days after we knew that this was not true.
As more facts surfaced- and the White House began adjusting their story- they later said that the Libyan attack was different.
Now- what’s wrong here?
As the story developed- it was in the best political interest of the president for this attack to have not been Al Qaeda related.
If Al Qaeda was indeed responsible for the hit- then it would contradict one of the major arguments for the president to be re elected.
That argument being he has ‘Al Qaeda on the run’ and ‘go ask Bin Laden if we are tough on terror’.
Now- whether you’re a Dem or Repub- there is no doubt that this has been a major part of the campaign this year.
If you ‘tune out’ the first story- about the attack being a response to a film- and look at another set of facts- you will see a quite different story.
Okay- the ‘other facts’.
A few days before the Libyan attack- we killed a very top official of Al Qaeda.
A few days after the killing the president once again said- publicly- ‘we have them on the run- they are on their heels’.
Now- we just killed one of their tops guys- we basically said ‘look- you guys are on the run-we are killing you like ducks in a pond- and you can’t respond’.
Okay- this is not the smartest move on our part.
Then while all this was happening- the top Al Qaeda guy who replaced Bin Laden said ‘we are going to retaliate for this’.
A few days more- Stephens was killed- by Al Qaeda related groups in Benghazi- Libya.
Why did V.P Biden say- in the debate ‘we did not know this was a terror attack- our intelligence learned about it later’.
Actually- there were congressional hearings on this very thing- the same day of the debate- in the hearings our guys testified that we did indeed know it was a different attack- a terror type attack- and not the same type of protests that were taking place in the other nations.
The next day- when this came out- that Biden simply got it wrong [heaven forbid that we use the word lie- which by the way just happened to be the actual label they put on Romney for 2 weeks].
When the contradiction surfaced- the White House press secy- Jay Carney- said that Biden was telling the truth- that he and the president did not ‘personally’ get a call telling them about the nature of the attack.
It seems unthinkable that the intelligence agencies- the state dept.- and many other top officials- including some Administration officials- could know about the nature of the attack- and yet a sitting Vice President would still say ‘WE did not know’.
Who are we?
We- the U.S. govt. did indeed know- it came out in the hearings.
The best spin you could put on this is that Biden simply flubbed it once again- the worst is that they are trying to cover for themselves at the expense of the state dept.- by making it sound like they got the info wrong- and that’s why Susan Rice and others said the attack was simply a protest- versus an Al Qaeda attack.
Okay- now do you see what’s been going on- why this story is not simply some silly thing- like the first page coverage the papers gave to a 40 year old story about Romney cutting some kids hair in prep school?
No- this story is about the false spin that we have been hearing the last year- that Al Qaeda is ‘on the run’.
No- lara Logan- the news reporter who was raped during the protests in Egypt- she put out an article that said Al Qaeda is in no way on the run- that they have grown strong- and that they are on the verge of hitting us here in the U.S.- once again.
No- this is a serious story- it’s about whether or not the current administration took seriously enough the real threat that our ambassador in Libya faced.
Ambassador Stephens said he was on an Al Qaeda hit list.
CNN found his diary a few days after he was killed [it’s amazing that we left the crime scene open- to the point that 3 or 4 days later CNN walked in and found this key piece of evidence just sitting there next to a chair].
In the diary our ambassador wrote about the very real threat of Al Qaeda in the area- he had requested additional resources to guard against the threat.
For some reason- we turned him down.
A few days later he was attacked- dragged thru the streets- sodomized [yes- most news shows did not tell you this part] and murdered in cold blood.
And till this day- over a month later- we don’t have the answers.
Yeah- this is a story that deserves coverage- real news coverage.
1929 LAST NIGHTS DEBATE
Okay- I caught the debate on U- tube.
Bad choice for sure- missed about 15 minutes because of the bad download.
But- for what I saw- it was kinda mean to be honest- and even though the President did much better than the first time- there is enough for both sides to say ‘we did well’.
A few things.
Whenever you hear me talk about media bias- what I mean is most reporters/news guys usually vote for the Democrat candidate.
Polls have been taken in the past and over 90% of those who work in what we call the main stream media are indeed Dem’s.
So- does this means that have a secret conspiracy to go after the Repub?
But when you hold to a particular view- it’s hard to not let it slip out in ways that you- or the hearer- might not even realize.
On the U-tube event- they had Sam Donaldson on- a liberal news guy- who was tough on both Dem’s and Repubs over his life.
But- in one of those ‘unplanned’ media bias moments- when Sam was asked what Obama needs to do.
Donaldson said he has to ‘show how Romney does not really care for the average people’.
Okay- but the way he said the statement actually says Romney does not care for the average guy.
It would be like saying ‘what should Romney do’?
And the reporter says ‘he should show how Obama ruined the country’.
If you believe either of these charges- that’s up to you.
The point is- a reporter should not state the charge as fact.
So- overall the debate went okay.
I thought there were times when the president said ‘you are just not telling the truth’.
A line I find disturbing- because if you keep saying the other guy is lying- when both of you have used the facts the same way- kind of fudging when you can- then you’re not really telling me what your vision is.
But- when one candidate makes an accusation like that- its normal- even called for- to let the accused respond.
In this case- the moderator- Candy Crowley did not let Romney respond back.
But- what’s done is done.
The pre debate chatter from the U Tube panel talked about Romney’s obstacles.
They said that one of his problems is people just don’t like him- that he is really- at heart- a very unlikable person [huh?- both candidates have people who hate/ Love them].
And the panel said the way Romney must deal with it is to simply acknowledge that he is very unlikable [Huh?] and appeal to the people on the basis of ‘Sure- I am not a nice person- I’m actually one of the worst people you will ever meet. Yet- even though I’m so mean- I think I can manage the country better’.
Now- I’m sure the panel thought they were being realistic- but when you use words like this to describe one side- you are being biased.
One more example.
When the president changed his position on Gay marriage- the media reported it as a very good thing- that he was ‘evolving’.
When Romney changed on health care- he was called a flip flopper.
Now- you might think both of these descriptions are accurate- but they play into a mindset- a way of framing the words of a story to make you see the person in a negative light.
This is nothing new- it happens every day in the media.
All in all I think the president did much better than the last time- and I thought Romney did okay.
The real decision should be based on the record- in my view.
Last night the president spoke about how bad things have been for the past 10 years [he’s smarter than Biden- who said the middle class have been crushed these past 4 years].
He blamed all the ills of the last 4 years [you know- they are part of the 10] on the republicans/Bush.
He has said you can’t vote for Romney because he has not actually said- in detail- all that he will do in the budget.
It’s amazing that the president says this- he has not passed a budget- in 4 years.
And when he actually has presented one- he did not get a single vote for it- either Repub or Dem.
As far as I know- this is unprecedented in the history of the country- for a sitting pres to not be able to get a single vote from his own party on his budget.
So- these are the things you should decide on.
If you’re the incumbent- and your saying things have been terrible the past 10 years because of Bush- then you- in my mind- have no real solutions.
I am not an Obama hater by any means- but in the real world if you miss managed the ‘company’ so badly for your first term- then you would not get another.
1930 FRIEND OF SINNERS
Yesterday was the first time I saw my street friends since I’ve been back.
I did need to see the guys [girls] to take care of a few things.
One of the guys did call me when I was in N.J.- and he had an issue- I did not have time to talk so I had to cut him off.
He has been a good friend for years- but to be honest- he is also a violent guy- big guy- and that has gotten him into trouble before.
I have never gotten ‘into it’ with him- but over the years I have had a few times where I had to let him know he couldn’t pull that stuff on me- I wouldn’t go for it.
So- being I basically hung up on him a couple of weeks ago- and it had to do with me talking with his girl [that’s why he has most of his fights- because he is jealous] I figured I better see him…so- as soon as I got to the mission I saw his van parked in the lot- doors open- he lives in the thing.
I walked up and let him know I was back.
Of course he wanted to know what happened when I talked to Julie.
When I left he was stranded in some forest about 600 miles from here- and that’s the last I knew.
I told my friend that we had a good talk- she did accuse him of some stuff [being gay] and he has also said the same about her.
So- as she was making the accusation- I laughed- because I told her he has done the same thing- accused her when he was mad- and I told her I take these things with a grain of salt- and even if it were true- he is still a good friend- either way.
So- that’s what needed to be settled.
My friend simply was worried about the way I viewed him- he thought that because of some stuff she said that maybe I was going to cut him off.
I told him ‘I have been your friend for 25 years- everybody has past issues- I told Julie even if all this stuff were true- he is still my friend’.
He got into a few more things about his past- and started crying- I guess he always feared I would cut him off if I knew.
I told him it did not matter- we are friends.
As I sat at the mission- I saw a few of the guys and caught up on some stuff.
My friend Don- who cares for the garden- he has the fall garden going real good [posted the pics last night].
And I saw Albert- I did not recognize him at first- so I kinda responded in a ‘mean’ way.
When you’re at spots like this- in the open- you have to be careful- sometimes if someone is looking at you- from a distance- and he starts heading your way- they might be getting ready to jump you.
So- I have not seen Albert in 5 years- I had no idea who he was- but he’s walking my way- looking at me- as an old friend.
But- as he got closer- I was ready to stand up and get in his face- then I recognized him [if you just sit down- and someone is coming to jump you- you will get hurt bad].
So- after I saw it was him- I said hi.
I met Albert about 5 years back- he is gay and had a Black boyfriend at the time.
If I remember- they both had some type of a Christian background [families were preacher’s type thing].
I felt funny a few times- they asked me to pray for them- and of course I did.
So- Albert had a guitar and sang a few of his original songs.
One song was a country type thing- and it was a love song [country- so he lost the truck- the dog got killed- you know- country themes!]
But I recognized the words from the bible- Corinthians chapter 13- the love chapter.
When he was done- I told him ‘Corinthians 13’.
He was surprised I knew it- he said ‘I got the words from there- how did you know?’
To be honest- it’s a famous chapter- most bible readers would know.
Its funny- a day or 2 ago I heard/read a verse about reaching out to the poor- the needy.
It says ‘when you help the poor- do it with love- do it cheerfully’.
I wrote it down as a reminder- that it’s important to really love your friends- they appreciate getting help [I gave away some money this day] but they want real friends who will love them like brothers.
I had just written the verse down- and then heard it sung by one of them.
Yeah- my friend wanted to know that what I heard about him- even if it were true- would not break the friendship.
That’s what meant the most to him.
I guess the bible is right ‘Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers- because he too suffered from the same things they suffered with’ [Hebrews].
Jesus was able to identify with people- he walked in their shoes.
Yeah- that counts.
1931 A PLACE CALLED REST
When I get up in the morning- I spend about an hour or so praying/meditating before I write.
I get the entire ‘message’ during this time.
This morning- in my mind- I saw a sort of panoramic view of all of church history- quite a message for a short post.
I also felt like covering the history of Judaism during the time of Christ- another long subject.
I think the main reason for these themes popping up is because I have been reading some in the book of Hebrews- and I want to cover Hebrews 4.
But- let’s try the other stuff and see if we can get it in.
In the early days of the church- in the 4th century- we had the rise of the Roman emperor/military ruler- Constantine.
Part of the achievements of Constantine was his development of the eastern half of the Roman empire- whose capitol was named after him- Constantinople.
Over a period of years the early Roman church fought over whose bishop would have more influence- the bishop of Rome [Pope] or the bishop in the east.
Many bishops in the Catholic Church have disagreed over the influence of one bishop being greater than the others [the idea that all the bishops should have an equal voice at the church councils is called Collegiality].
This has caused splits within the Catholic Church thru the centuries [the last big one in the 19th century].
Eventually the early church split- and the Eastern Church separated from Rome.
The eastern empire [called Byzantium- the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church] officially split in the year 1054.
Now- in church history we call this the Great Schism- even though the Protestant split which took place in the 16th century was greater in effect.
Okay- the Protestant reformers split over various issues- I have an entire study on the blog about this.
But the main issue became what we call justification by faith.
Over the centuries many good men- and average church goers- lost the main message of the New Testament- which was a message of being saved by the grace of God.
Many well meaning Christians were struggling to do penance in a way that sort of earned them their salvation thru works.
The Protestant reformer Martin Luther was teaching the book of Romans [he was a scholar and a Catholic leader in intellectual circles at the time].
During his teaching on the epistle of Paul [Romans- in our bible] he came across a verse that said THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.
As he mediated on the passage- and the other themes in Romans that speak about being saved by faith and not by works- he started a sort of mini revolution amongst the students and he became a sort of favorite teacher in the area of Germany where he was teaching.
Over a period of time- thru all sorts of religious and political machinations- he launched what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
Okay- Hebrews 4.
How does this fit in?
In Hebrews 4- the writer is appealing to a first century Jewish audience who were steeped in a legalistic mindset.
That is- in many ways- they were like the Christians of the 16th century who lost the idea of grace- and were seeking to please God thru the works of the law.
The writer tells them that thru the appearing of the Messiah- Christ- we can enter into a new type of covenant- one based on rest.
He says ‘those who have entered into Gods rest have ceased from their own works- as God did from his’.
Okay- there’s a lot to unpack here- and time is running out.
The writer uses the creation account in Genesis chapter 2- where the bible says God created the world in 6 days- and on the 7th day he rested.
He symbolically says ‘there is a place- called Gods ‘rest’ that we too must enter into’.
He’s using an analogy- God rested from his works on the Sabbath day- so we too must strive to enter into this Sabbath rest [a type of the New Covenant- established on the death and resurrection of Christ].
If you read the chapter- you should be able to pick up this main theme- the main point he is making is because Jesus has come and become the final Passover sacrifice for the sins of man- therefore the Old law- with all of its sacrifices and demands- has now been fulfilled thru Christ.
We sit ‘at the table’ with the other disciples- the Lords table- and we freely partake of the Body and Blood of Christ- and by faith we receive eternal life- not by the works of the law.
See- this is the whole point.
Thru out the centuries Christians have lost this sense of free grace- this reality that we come to God by faith- not based on how good we have been- how hard we have tried to obey the law.
No- we come to God- Boldly [Hebrews] ‘because we have a great high priest who is now in heaven- seated at the right hand of God’.
Jesus represents us to God- he is before the throne of God interceding [praying] on our behalf.
It is no longer a matter of our effort- our striving- no- we are truly saved by grace.
1932 CHALLENGING THE SYSTEM
I have finally started my book on Einstein.
I bought it a few weeks ago- and never had the chance to break it open.
I also am working my way thru the Catechism of the Catholic church- quite a volume indeed.
I watched a couple of documentaries on Netflix over the weekend- Last night I caught a documentary on Hunter Thompson.
He was the character that Johnny Depp played in the movie ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.
Hunter was a sort of counter culture hero- he wrote for Rolling Stone and had his own unique style of writing.
He called it Gonzo journalism- he said the writer needed to inject himself into the story- and become part of the story.
Sort of like what the reporters did in the Iraq war- we called it ‘Embed’.
He covered the campaign of George McGovern- who sadly passed this week.
George was the quintessential liberal- but a man of conviction- he was a good man.
Hunter made it into the headlines a few years back- he killed himself with one of his favorite things- a gun.
Yeah- Hunter was a gun lover- a liberal- and in some ways a moralist of his time.
Now- with all the doc’s I saw [also finished Greek civilization] and the books I’m reading- it’s hard to pick one subject to cover at a time.
But let me go with Einstein for a few minutes.
In this biography- by Walter Isaacson- he doesn’t go too deeply into the science of Einstein- which would take a whole physics course to understand.
But he does cover some high points.
One of the things that Thompson and Einstein had in common- was their willingness to challenge the system.
They took on the ‘received wisdom’ of the day- and were daring enough to take the ‘path less trod’.
Just one area- Ether.
At the start of the 20th century Ether was an accepted ‘scientific truth’ that most [if not all] scientists accepted.
It would be like Dark Matter today- something that seems to be ‘true’- most of the scientific community speak of it as real- yet- as far as we know- we have never once actually detected it.
So- ether was this theory that said light/energy is a wave [not particles] and therefore for this wave to move thru space- it needs a carrier.
Ether was this so called vapor like substance that allowed Energy/light to travel.
At a young age Einstein accepted this idea- but he was learning at a time when particle physics was just getting off the ground.
Though atoms and molecules [particles] were indeed part of the conversation- yet they were not totally proved yet.
So- part of the great breakthrough of Einstein put to death the idea of Ether- and instead we learned that light is not a wave so to speak- but a sort of particle beam- we did not really need the Ether concept- and to be honest- it never was really there.
This is just one little tid bit from the book that I thought interesting- today you would be considered a fool if you still talked about Ether [in this way].
Yet- at the time of Einstein you were a fool if you did not accept it.
Einstein would later challenge the field that he launched- Theoretical/Quantum physics.
He felt like some of the ideas were not really scientific- too much speculating.
That’s what I see as I watch/read about some of the most popular ideas that seem to make it into the TV specials that cover these subjects.
It’s often the theories/ideas that are ‘way out there’ that are the most interesting- and get the most viewers.
The problem is- many of these ideas are [in my view] modern day Ethers- they are accepted ‘fact’ even though we don’t really know if they exist.
When I see shows on alternate universes- parallel worlds- where we supposedly have duplicate lives and all.
Well- this is not science- this is not even Ether- its fairy tale land.
Yet- these same theorists will mock belief in an omnipotent being- because they want to see the facts.
So- over the next few weeks I will try and hit a little more on the books I’m reading- cover some more important news stuff- and try to be as challenging as Hunter.
Sometimes it’s when we go against the status quo- when we are open to see things differently- that’s when we make major breakthroughs in our thinking.
We should not cast off all the stuff that has come to us down thru the ages- but we need to realize that some of the stuff that seems to be accepted fact today- just might be the Ether of yesterday.
1933 THE LAST FANDANGO
Got home yesterday afternoon- had a few buddies that were waiting for me at the house.
Yeah- they hunted me down!
Actually I told the guys the other day [homeless bro’s] that we were gonna do another all nighter this week.
I get with them- we hang out for the day- I pick up bbq and we have an all day fellowship- then they crash out on the floor till morning.
So- they ‘picked’ last night!
No BBQ- but they ate left over home made meatballs [they did come good!] and a plate of Mac’s- I think they liked it better than the BBQ.
Henry’s crashed on the couch- we both watched the debate and fell asleep.
Okay- howd’ it go?
A few points;
I think they both pretty much pleased their base- after the poor showing by the President in the 1st debate- his base wanted him to ‘go after Romney’.
And that’s what he did.
The political team of Obama chose to use the word ‘you are a lair’ or ‘you are simply not telling the truth’.
This became a mantra for Obama.
After saying it once or twice- I found it tiresome.
The president did in fact say this- when he was the one who was ‘factually wrong’ [sounds better than liar- don’t you think?]
Last night the president accused Romney of not wanting to help the auto companies during the bailout.
At the time Romney wrote an Op-Ed and said he felt the auto companies should go thru bankruptcy- and then the fed govt. could at that point bail them out financially.
Last night Obama said that Romney did not want any fed money to be used.
Romney replied that he was wrong- he did indeed call for fed money- Obama said he was lying.
It took 5 minutes to Google the op-ed- yes- Romney was right- Obama wrong.
He was using the accusation ‘liar’ when he himself was doing it.
He must know he is doing it.
Then why do it?
He made the political calculation that this was the best way to raddle your opponent- you lie about him- and call him a liar at the same time.
What about the people who will find out that Obama lied?
That’s part of the calculation- only so many will find out the facts.
I don’t like it when a sitting president does this- most candidates fudge the numbers on stuff- but to actually outright lie in a public forum is rare.
He did this in the last debate as well.
Romney said that oil drilling/permits on public [govt.] lands went down the last 4 years.
Obama said Romney was ‘lying’- huh?
Romney tried to be careful- he said that oil permits/drilling went down on govt. land- but up on private.
Now- as a news guy- I have known this stat for a few years now.
But- Obama repeatedly said Romney was lying- and that drilling/permits went up on govt. Lands in the last 4 years.
It took 5 secs to find out that drilling/permits have gone down- 39%- on govt. lands the last 4 years.
Okay- while the pres was being ‘factually wrong’ at the same time- he is saying ‘your lying’.
I just found the whole ‘you’re a lair’ strategy to be condescending- your making the calculation that the other guy will get really mad [wouldn’t you?] Because you are the one actually lying- numerous times- while making the accusation.
Romney never took the bait- many supporters of the president- who only watch MSNBC- will never find out he was indeed wrong- and for the others who did find out he was wrong- he could care less.
So- that’s the big story- Obama never really laid out any plan- anything he would do that would be different than the last 4 years.
The tax plan ‘the rich paying their fair share’ will increase taxes on individuals making more than 200 thousand a year- couples making more than 250.
In many areas of the country- that’s not rich.
So why do it?
If you simply ‘tax millionaires’ you won’t make enough revenue.
So- you say ‘tax the rich- they are not paying’ but you mean ‘tax many in the middle class- but don’t say it’.
That’s the only real ‘plan’ the president has- and that’s not really a plan.
When I was in N.J.- I caught some news.
In the beginning of the year we knew that in order for the unemployment number to go down- under 8%- you needed to create at least 300 thousand jobs a month- for a few months in a row.
At one point- it looked like that might have happened- and all the pundits- liberals and conservatives- agreed that the only way unemployment would go under the 8% mark was for this to happen.
But then- not only did the monthly jobs never make the above 300 mark- they did not even keep up with the 150 thousand mark- which meant that the rate would go up- to around 8.5. [you need around 150,000 a month to keep up with population growth- new people entering the workforce for the 1st time].
So- as the year rolled on- what could the media do?
Some said- just watch- they will get the number they need- somehow they will simply say ‘the new unemployment number is now under 8’.
Last month’s jobs number came out- they were once again below 150,000- and nowhere near 350,000 or higher.
Yet- as the labor dept. put out the new employment numbers for the month- they reported unemployment at 7.8%.
This would mean that the jobs/economy is doing better than it has in many years.
This simply was not true- yet they got the magic number- somehow?
How did they do it?
There is lots of speculation- but there was a little note at the bottom of the report.
When the labor dept. does these numbers- they collect all the data from the sates and average it out.
In the reported states- one state was left out.
Was it a little state- say like Rhode Island?
No- it was California.
The largest state- economy wise- in the country.
They used to be the 8th largest economy in the world- they were just passed by Brazil for that rating.
But- they are also the worst state- economically- then all the others.
If you leave out Cali- then you get the magic 7.8 number.
Sure- they will later revise the number- after the initial effect wears off- but they got what they wanted- that initial effect of ‘unemployment is the lowest it has been in years’ the month before the election.
Even though that stat is unreliable.
So- as we end the debates and head towards the election- one guy kept saying the other guy was lying.
And time after time- in many ways- we were all lied to.
Vote your conscience- look at the facts- don’t let others form your opinion of either man- simply look at the track record for yourself.
O- and may God help us all- we will need it.
1934 MERCY OR JUDGMENT?
Let’s talk a little.
First- I found it interesting that the last few days the stock market took a hit.
In the beginning of the year I thought the Dow should/would be somewhere in the 12,000 range by the end of the year.
I heard some financial guys talk about it maybe going to 17,000- others had lower estimates.
But none had my estimate.
Why did I have a bearish view?
Because all [most] of the data showed that we were in a global slowdown.
The Asian markets/economy was doing worse than expected.
Many were counting on China to pull the rest of the world out- instead the rest of the world [the E.U. crisis- U.S.] pulled them down.
Now- the jobs numbers were not good- and the last few days the data showed this.
This is [should not be] a surprise.
But to many it was.
Because many financial folk- good people- simply did not want to believe the bad report.
Even though the ‘bad’ report- the stats I just gave- were more than likely going to pull the market down- yet many felt if they just keep talking up the market- things will do better.
Sorry- a positive confession does not work when the stats are bad.
So- as we near the end of the year- it looks like we might make it into the 12,000’s once again.
Okay- I also wanted to mention a few more things about my Jersey trip.
I want to give a prime example of what ‘too much government’ looks like.
Now- I love my old state- the Garden state [you ask- why garden? Because as a kid I remember the paintings of gardens on some old truck road down the block!]
While I was staying at my mom’s house- my mom and sister have multiple health problems- my dear mom is getting up in years- and to be honest- they have a hard time simply dealing with day to day chores.
But- I was shocked at the fact that one of the major chores of their week was having to move their cars- by ‘law’ 2 times a week.
Yes- that Old Street Sweeper just keeps on coming!
The city [for those who don’t live in N.J.] has a street sweeper that comes by on Mondays and Wednesdays- between 1 and 3 p.m. – and basically pushes the dirt around.
I have lived my entire adult life with no street sweeper- and the streets look the same- the rain does the job for free.
But- in my old town- with all the political connections- you would never be able to get rid of the dept.
So- my mom plans her week around having to move 2 cars [hers and my sisters] 2 times a week.
Everybody else is also moving their cars- at the same time- to the opposite side of the street.
So- every so often- my mom drives a couple of blocks to find a spot.
She also has to jump start my sisters car- twice a week- to move it.
Sometimes if you can’t find a spot- you simply drive around from 1-3.
To be honest- this is what you call ‘a police state- or city’.
I told my dear mom- if this were in Texas [or any other Democracy] you would have some guy [gal] run for mayor on a platform of ‘the first thing I will do is abolish the street sweeper- I will then rebate all these fine citizens of this town all the wasted money on the thing’.
And the guy would win.
But- the politicos have connections- the unions support guys who keep them in their jobs- and the fine citizens of North Bergen will continue to move their cars- twice a week- so the guys can keep their 70,000 dollar a year jobs.
One last note from the journey.
On the way back to Texas I listened to news/talk radio.
One of the big stories I caught while driving thru Dallas was the case of a 22 year old single mom who glued her daughter’s hands to the wall.
Yes- a very sad case indeed.
The reason it lit up the talk shows was the night I was driving in- the judge sentenced her to 99 years in prison.
The show I was hearing played the audio in the courtroom- many were in shock.
The talk show guy was siding with the judge- you had various people call in with their opinions.
This sentence was harsher than that given to people who have actually have killed their kids [Deena Shlosser being one].
When you make child abuse- which is a very bad crime- a higher punishment then actually murdering the child- then what do you think the results might be?
Sure- some say ‘well- that way people will know not to do it’.
But you might also have some unstable moms who have already abused their kids- who might now think ‘gee- if they ever tell- I will be punished with a harsher sentence then if I killed them’.
That’s something we don’t want either- see?
I cut out the news article of the girl- Elizabeth- and she will forever be on my prayer wall- with hundreds of other cases that I have collected over the years.
As I heard the sentencing judge- of course he had his reasons- the prosecutor was only asking for 45 years- yet the defendant chose a non jury trial- and in Texas the judges are elected.
Your main election benefit of being ‘tough on crime’.
And that was that.
We had a local judge run over a highway worker a few years ago.
He was a very famous ‘tough on crime’ judge- he and his wife were big Democrats- involved in all the politics of the area- many connections.
When I read the story- the judge was driving 70-75 on a turn that was posted at 20-25 MPH.
I have gone to many car wrecks over the years- as a firefighter- and when we had people doing stuff like this- you got arrested- and had some type of price to pay.
But- as the story went on- the local paper explained that the 20 MPH sign was just a ‘suggested’ speed- that the turn is still part of the highway- so 75 MPH was the actual speed.
Also- even though he flipped the guy off the bridge/overpass- and nearly killed him- yet- somehow the judge did no wrong.
When all was said and done- he got the equivalence a parking ticket.
[ I also read an article in the paper about this time- it was a ‘warning’ to drivers- the story interviewed some local officials- and they explained that if your driving 55- in a 55- you could be cited for reckless driving- because if its raining- then the cop makes the call. It went on to say if you slow down to much in the rain- that too is reckless. And- of course- if you’re going to fast- well we can’t have that. So the article stated that if your going under the speed limit- doing the speed limit- or driving over the speed limit- watch out! That’s of course if you’re not connected in some way].
I’m sure when the case worked its way thru ‘the system’ that at each turn the people who knew him felt justified ‘after all- this is so and so- he has a family for heaven’s sake!’.
And they empathized with him because they knew him.
Yet- when meeting out judgments on others- they seem to be able to see only justice- without mercy.
I will pray for Elizabeth- to be honest- the rest of my life.
Maybe I will write her as time goes by.
But the bible says ‘mercy rejoices against judgment’ I choose mercy.
1935 ROMNESIA ANYONE?
Let’s end the week with a little news.
Last night I caught a few ‘fact checking’ reports.
They covered the statement in the debate when Romney used the phrase ‘apology tour’.
Now- over the past year this term has a meaning- sort of like ‘Obama care’.
In the talk show/news circuit it means that the President did indeed do a world tour where he felt like he would try and establish a new relationship with foreign leaders.
Now- some say he was naïve- others think he did well- either way- the term ‘apology tour’ refers to this trip.
In the debate- when Romney used the term- the president responded that Romney is a liar- and that he never ‘apologized’.
Now- Romney never said he apologized- and in response Romney said when he uses the term ‘apology tour’ he is not in any way saying he actually used the words ‘I apologize’.
No- Romney gave an honest/truthful response- he said that during this tour- the president did use words like ‘the U.S. has dictated to you other countries at times- and this will be a new season’.
Romney basically said- yes Mr. president- your right- you never actually apologized- but you represented the U.S. in a way that said we were arrogant in the past- we responded to 9-11 in a way that was inconsistent with our values [I heard him say this myself- he was referring to the water boarding stuff].
Okay- basically Romney used the term- sort of like Obama uses Romnesia- he is not saying that Romney actually suffers from some strange form of amnesia- no- he is saying that Romney changes his position on stuff.
Okay- now here’s how the media tries to manipulate the public.
The reports I saw yesterday- the so called ‘fact checkers’ they went thru some of the speeches Obama gave during this ‘apology tour’ [they left out the ones where he did use the most apologetic language].
And at the end of their fact checking- they said ‘no- Romney is wrong [liar?] because the president never actually apologized’.
Ah- so the unsuspecting public thinks that Romney actually said the president apologized- and then when you hear these reports- these so called ‘fact checks’ you then think ‘gee- that Romney is a liar’.
Okay- where were the reports that said ‘ no- in fact- Romney does not suffer from Romnesia’?
That’s media manipulation- that’s media bias- the media shapes a story in a way that makes you think the way they want you to think.
The actual fact is- Romney- nor anyone that I ever heard use the term- ever meant that Obama actually said ‘I’m sorry’.
But the fact check made you think that was the accusation.
A few years ago there was a news story about a trip to Afghanistan by some senators.
Later on it was reported that some military leaders might have used a form of propaganda on the senators.
They supposedly did this in order to influence the senators to take their side in the war- I think it had to do with funding or man power.
After the report surfaced- the senators did of course condemn it- but they also said ‘look- we’re big boys- we can’t be swayed by stuff like that’.
But- when you use propaganda- you use it in a way that when you ‘persuade’ the victim- he does not know it.
For instance- maybe when the senators were there for a week- the military guys spoke in a negative way about a certain group/position.
But they did it in what you thought was normal conversation- maybe after a week- you think your just listening in to regular conversation- but everything you heard was to persuade you.
Then- when you get back home- if a vote comes up on the issue- you have already heard all the pros’ [or con’s] and this would indeed effect you.
That’s manipulation- that’s all the ‘fact checks’ that said ‘no- Obama never apologized- Romney is wrong’.
When you read/hear that- you think Romney accused Obama of apologizing- but he never did- he even went out of his way in the debate to say ‘when I use the term Apology Tour- I do not mean you actual apologized- no- I mean…’
Yet- the media still covered the story the way they wanted you to see it.
Now- is this one little thing such a big deal?
No- not if this were the only time it was done.
But the fact is- the media do this every day.
They focus on a story that they think might hurt someone [like a 40 year old hair cut that Romney gave to some kid- a ‘bullying incident’].
But the murder of 4 Americans in Libya- and the absolute failure on the part of the administration by not protecting our guys- no- on some news shows this gets zero coverage.
That’s manipulation- that’s bias- that’s what you don’t see.
Yes- like the well meaning senators- you might think ‘heck- I’m not that dumb’.
But the media must think we are- because they keep on doing it- day after day.
No wait- maybe they think we suffer from that newly coined disease- what was it again?
Oh yeah- Romnesia- that’s it.
1936 EINSTEIN THE DETERMINIST.
In keeping with the last post [propaganda] I read an interesting AP article on Syria.
As most of you know Syria has been in a civil war for many months- they are the 1st ‘Arab spring’ nation that has not ‘fallen’ to the rebels.
Now- there are lots of political things going on in the region [Russia and China not supporting a Libyan style NATO action] that are sustaining Assad’s regime.
But I found it funny how the western media have chosen to portray the war.
In order for the media to side with those who want to depose Assad- they must ‘side’ with the ‘deposers’.
So- the article spoke about the outside Al Qaeda groups who are coming in to assist the rebels.
It used terms like ‘heroism’ ‘valor’ ‘experienced fighters who know what they are doing’.
These terms were used to describe Al Qaeda fighters- in contrast to Assad- a ‘crimes against humanity’ description.
Wow- I never thought the media would actually try and honor Al Qaeda fighters- in order to accomplish their agenda.
That my friends is the ultimate in propaganda.
Okay- I read some more on Einstein over the weekend- and wanted to cover a few things.
Over the years as you read various sources about famous folk- you need to be aware of the source.
For instance- Christian writers [writing from that perspective] often portray the religious tendencies of a figure in a more favorable light then an atheist writer would.
So you have to be careful that the author is not writing his own story into the person he is covering.
But the biography I’m reading was not written from a religious view.
Yet- the author does share the various positions Einstein has taken about God over the years.
One thing to note is Einstein was a lover of philosophy- he admired men like Hume, Kant and Spinoza.
If you remember- a few years ago I covered the history of philosophy and how much of it dealt with what the causes of things are.
The law of Cause and Effect [also referred to as causality].
As a Physicist- Einstein had a great interest in these subjects.
At the end of the day- Einstein fell into a camp of thinkers called Determinists.
That means he believed that that the universe was ruled by definite principles- even though we did not have the answers to all the puzzles- yet he was convinced that if we searched long enough- we would find order to it.
This belief is in keeping with Theistic thinkers- not with those who ascribe chance and disorder to the creation.
I might have bitten off a little much here- but the point is- at the end of the day Einstein rejected the commonly held belief that there is no real cause to the things we see.
Many thinkers who argue against the existence of God argue form a perspective that chance is behind the ‘perceived’ design we see in nature.
Dawkins [the famous atheist] calls it ‘the appearance of design’.
Einstein did not simply believe in the ‘appearance’ of design- but he believed that the Cosmos was indeed a product of some type of cause that gave it design.
Now- I’m not saying Einstein was a Christian [or observant Jew]- but the point is- in his thinking- he rejects the most commonly held arguments that are made against the Theistic world view [in Cosmology- science] and sides with the Christian thinkers of our day.
Einstein famously said ‘God does not roll dice’ meaning he did not believe in the atheistic argument that things just happen without any cause.
No- Einstein seems to agree with one of his favorite thinkers- Spinoza said ‘All things are determined by the necessity of Divine nature’.
Yes- Einstein was a Determinist in his thinking- he did indeed side with the Theists at the end of the day.
1937- WAR CRIMES AND OTHER STUFF.
In the aftermath of the Benghazi debacle [the U.S. putting an embassy in the middle of an unsecured area- with known militants roaming the land- and then pulling out their security]. There were voices [including the president] that condemned the killing of the ambassador as acts of terror- or on the same grounds as a war crime.
The president used language like ‘bring them to justice’.
When one nation declares war on another [or in this case- a specific group- Al Qaeda]- then the killing of actual representatives of the other side- when that side is dumb enough to plant them like sitting ducks- is actually considered a legitimate military target [compared to the killing of an ordinary citizen who holds no official capacity].
Now- before I lose my conservative readers- listen clearly.
I of course condemn the killing of ambassador Stevens- and the 3 other Americans.
After watching/reading the stories about this incident over the past couple of weeks- I fault the U.S. administration for failing to properly protect the area.
We now know that that the U.S. watched the attack unfold- over a period of 7-8 hours- and did nothing.
There are conflicting stories- our people on the ground said they requested help- multiple times.
They said that help was denied.
We had a brave young Navy seal who took it upon himself to try and save the ambassador- he was killed in the attempt.
And we had the president say- that as soon as he heard of the attack- he immediately made ‘the call’ to increase security around the world- and start the steps to bring the attackers ‘to justice’.
What our guys needed was ‘real time’ help- we had a drone filming the thing- some possibly armed- and we watched our guys get killed for 7 hours- and did nothing.
Now- this was a debacle in no uncertain terms- and the loss of our guys is tragic.
But- when you declare war- and put an official representative of the opposing side smack dab in the middle of those we declared war on- what the ‘heck’ do we expect?
Right now in the media- this term is often used against those we deem ready for removal.
It makes no difference to us whether the side doing the removal are Al Qaeda- we simply refer to the leaders as having committed ‘war crimes’ or ‘crimes against humanity’.
We did this with Gadhaffi- doing it with Assad [Syria] and will probably keep doing it from now on.
When you see one side as having committed ‘crimes against humanity’ in general- then it justifies the other side- no matter how bad they are.
The whole concept of holding people responsible for war crimes arose after world war 1- yet it wasn’t until WW2 that we really had the concept down.
After the war was over- there were trials held in Germany- the most famous being Nuremburg- and we tried the German military men who committed ‘war crimes’.
Some of the criteria for a war crime simply said ‘if the losing side did it- and the winning side did not- then that’s a war crime’.
Sounds a little like Jeff Foxworthy type stuff.
But this is true- some of the German submarine captains actually used as there defense- that the allies [our side] did the same thing- and that was enough to say ‘okay- not a war crime’.
As you can see- war crimes- or ‘crimes against humanity’ are in the eye of the beholder.
Now- in the entire history of the world- the biggest one [or 2] day killing of civilians- that is a targeting of civilians for a military/political goal- was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Yes- out of all the nations on the planet- the U.S. killed more civilians- on purpose- in these 2 attacks- then in any other single bombing in history.
We had our reasons for sure- but the immediate deaths were around 200 thousand- not counting the many women and children who died many years later- from the long tortuous process of radiation cancer.
These types of deaths- especially on many of the thousands of young kids who suffered extreme agony- great fear in their deaths- were not considered ‘crimes against humans’.
Yet- the water boarding of a terrorist- an actual enemy who is in our custody- is considered tortuous- and meets the criteria of a war crime.
See how messed up this is?
Now- in the past 2 years the U.S. has worked closely with the state of Israel in monitoring/spying on Iran- to see how far along they are coming with their nuclear program.
We share intelligence- and have even ‘partnered’ with them in some clandestine op’s.
The famous Stuxnet virus- a computer virus that was launched to disable Iran’s nuclear reactors- was a joint program between the U.S. and Israel.
Okay- one of the other secret operations that has been going on is the killing of civilian scientists who are working with Iran’s nuclear program.
These scientists are not military targets- they are civilians- who are deemed ‘worthy’ targets because of their role in the nuclear program.
I have heard no one call these killings ‘crimes against humans’ or ‘war crimes’ even though these scientists are civilians.
No- in the reports about their killings- there is a sense of ‘hooray’.
In the past 3 years there has been a collection of various bomb parts- dropped by the U.S. – in the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
There are legal teams on the ground- representing the families of kids and women who have been killed by our nonstop use of Drones in the area.
We- the U.S.- have a military objective- to root out the Taliban [who were ‘created’ by the U.S. govt. when we aided them against the Russians]. In the process of this rooting out- we have killed- and keep on killing- Muslim women and kids.
Now- do we ‘mean’ to kill them?
Of course not.
But we are making the military/political calculation that so many kids and women will indeed be killed- we know this.
So- we are basically saying ‘look- we really don’t want to kill these kids- but this does happen from time to time’.
Can we help it?
Of course- stop using the ‘darn’ drones- solved.
The whole point I’m making in this post is we- the citizens of the world- are often manipulated by the way a story is told- by the way the media show us stuff.
I know of no U.S. citizen who even thinks twice about calling the killing of the Japanese- and thousands of kids- with radiation poisoning- a very tortuous death- a war crime.
Yet many see the water boarding of a terrorist as a war crime.
Does this make any sense at all?
All killing- all war- is wrong.
You mean our response to 9-11 is wrong?
I mean that when humans resort to killing other humans- because they see no other way to resolve the problem- then it’s wrong.
I don’t like hearing the words ‘this guy committed a crime against humans’.
When you put a bullet in another human- and kill that person- it is never a just act- not in my book.
Yes- there are people who have committed terrible crimes- and I- like everybody else- also think ‘that so and so needs to die’.
But as a society- we should be able to deal with them [life without ever getting out] without having to kill them.
Over the next few weeks we will see the outcome of what really happened in Libya- but when I hear words like ‘we will bring them to justice’.
I don’t truly get it- if we [the U.S.] declare war on a group- we then need to be more responsible about where we put official rep’s of the U.S.
Our official Rep’s are deemed ‘justified’ targets- they represent the U.S. govt. in an official capacity.
The U.S. needs to respond to attacks on them as an act of war.
I heard Leon Panetta say ‘we couldn’t put our troops at risk in an unknown situation’.
No- you say that if it’s some type of rescue operation of non U.S. citizens- but when it’s an attack by those we have declared war on- and they are attacking our official U.S. rep on the ground- no- we do indeed put our troops at risk to go in and do what needs to be done.
1938 LEAN FORWARD?
I debated whether or not to address this today.
I thought of maybe just doing a prayer request for all of our friend’s in N.J. – the devastation is beyond what anybody would have thought.
I find it strange that I was just in Jersey- rode the subway for the first time in 25 years- and now I see the tunnels flooded.
As I drove into the state- I passed some of the shore points- and was going to stop and see some of the old spots I loved as a kid.
One of my favorites was Seaside Heights- now the area is devastated.
So- we do need to pray for all of our friends in the region- and help in any way we can.
Now- the tough stuff.
As a news/political watcher- I saw the president do something that was a crass political move.
He did it because he knew that most people would not know he was doing it- during the deaths of people- but he wanted his ‘target’ audience to respond.
What did he do?
In one of the first speeches about the hurricane- he said ‘I am directing all the aid agencies to LEAN FORWARD’.
About 6 months or so this term LEAN FORWARD became the new campaign theme for the Obama team.
Yeah- maybe 5 % of the public know this- but everyone in politics knows it.
Now- at the same time MSNBC took the phrase LEAN FORWARD as their own sort of cheer for the president.
None of this is a secret- it was an open type thing.
Okay- when the president used the term- he knew it would be heard by the Repubs/Romney folk- and he wanted them to tell you what I just did- that he indeed followed the advice of his former White House chief of staff ‘let no disaster go to waste’.
Rahm Emanuel said you should use a disaster- when people die- to your political gain.
So- he dropped this statement in- trying to elicit a response from the opponent- and then MSNBC would jump into lap dog mode and say ‘how dare he accuse the president of politics!!’
Of course they would have to take a break from their present mantra ‘all who don’t like the president are racists’.
I at first did not think Obama would do things like this- I did like the man at the start.
But- I have seen him do this- more than once.
When the Pres gave the order to get Bin laden- no one knew it till after the State of the Union address- it made him look big in the eyes of many- because the scene of the Repubs giving a response to the Pres- while he was ‘getting the bad man’ simply gives political points to the ‘good man’.
Now- he did no other action like this- until the next year- during the next state of the union address.
Yeah- he waited a whole year- and in the next state of the union he sent in U.S. troops to go after Joe Kony- a radical leader of a group in Africa.
He gave the order to go- on the same exact night of the state of the union.
The man we went after has been operating for many years- as a matter of fact his influence had waned over the past few years.
But- he was trying to get a response from the opposing side- the Repubs- and they did not take the bait.
Finally- after a week or 2 of no criticism from the right- I heard a liberal reporter slip and say ‘all you bad guys- watch out- the president only comes after you during his state of the union speeches’.
Now- like I said at the start- why would he have used this term LEAN FORWARD- knowing for sure that the insiders would know that he was connecting his political goals with the hurricane?
He did it because he knew that if anyone had the ‘audacity’ [of hope?] To tell you what I just did- then they would pounce like there was no tomorrow.
Then why did I just say it?
I said it because what he did was simply wrong- he has a tendency to throw out bait like this- in situations where people are/have died- and he does it for political advantage- that’s why.
And he played the odds- sure- maybe a small percentage of political folk knew that he actually made the phrase LEAN FORWARD- his campaign mantra- but he figures ‘to heck with them’ that is those who know what he did- he’ll just write them off- and throw out the bait because he wants the Romney folk to tell you what I just told you.
Sad that any president would do this- while people are dying.
Sad that he was waiting for someone to tell you this- so he and his media advocates could say ‘how dare any one even think this’.
But most of all- it’s sad that this is true- and you can take that to the bank.
1939 THE MORE IMPORTANT STUFF
Today we are going to do an ‘all nighter’.
A few months ago I started a new thing- I invited a few of the homeless guys over to the house [actually that’s not new].
But I cooked a good meal for them and let them crash out on the floor for the night.
Over the years I have had a few friends spend the night- but not on a weekly basis.
So- I fixed up a room for them- and tonight they will use it.
Before the weeks out [I guess that means in the morning?] I will try and write a post on Luke chapter 15.
I at least want to cover one bible chapter a week.
But let me just make a few notes today.
For those of you who are not familiar with ‘our ministry’- the whole basis of what I do could be summed up from Isaiah chapter 58.
In a way it’s an encapsulation of the whole intent of the Judaic law.
Actually that will fit in with tomorrows post.
In the Old Testament prophets we read many times where God rebukes the Jewish people [called the People of God under the old covenant].
And he says time after time ‘I don’t want your religious ritual- I want your heart- I don’t want to know how good your are at making animal sacrifice- I want you to sacrifice by loving your neighbor’.
These themes are found all thru out the prophets.
Now- in the New Testament we see the same thing with Jesus.
He says ‘you tithe and do all types of religious stuff- yet you have left out the more important matters- love and mercy’.
Jesus truly fulfills his prophetic role by defending the poor and speaking ‘truth to power’.
I see the role of the church- the main job of Christians- as one where we are not building religious empires- where we are not all about getting a lot of money to ‘reach the world’.
But where we are to live- as best as possible- the new command that Jesus left us.
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart- soul- mind and might- and your neighbor as yourself’.
That’s the crux of the matter.
So- today I will go down to the mission and invite about 5 or so friends.
We will pick up some food for the ‘party’ [I got paid last night!]
We will come back to the house- hang out- share what’s been happening- eat- and then crash for the night.
Now- don’t be fooled- we will talk much about Gods will- the guys always wind up bringing it up- it’s a natural part of fellowship.
There will be no drinking or smoking [pot].
Yeah- the guys will smoke cig’s.
But all in all they know the rules- and they abide by them.
Last week Michael- the street artist I have written about over the years.
Mike is a great painter- and right now he works as a cook at one of the local buffets.
He came over just for a few hours with some brothers- and later he told me that was one of the best times he has ever had.
We did nothing- but hung out.
Many street people live lives of quiet desperation.
I see them every day- they go thru their routines- they know each other by name- but yet they rarely interact this way- that is just getting together without it being a drug induced party.
And when they do get together like this- it helps them.
The other day I was talking to Joe- a friend I have known for 20 years.
Somehow he brought up the name Tom.
I asked him ‘do you mean the Tom that hit the 100 thousand dollar lotto ticket a few months ago’?
Yeah- one of my good friends hit the Texas lotto thing- a scratch off- and won big.
He bought 2 Harleys and a bunch of stuff.
I posted the pic on my site- you probably would find it under the Photo album named ‘homeless 2012’ [Face book site].
As I mentioned Tom- the Harley guy.
Joe told me ‘no- not him- he’s my biological brother’.
I have known both of these guys for 20 years- have seen them on the streets- at the mission- all over.
Yet I never knew they were related- actual brothers.
It’s easy for the guys to live their lives- to pass by each other- and never really have fellowship- a good time where they all get together and have fun- without getting drunk- without getting high- just eating good food and knowing that we are doing it as a ministry/friendship thing.
I simply spend my money on the stuff- I take no offerings for it- imagine if we all did stuff like this? [I know many others do- but most Christians don’t see this as a regular part of the Christian experience].
If people all over the world did this on a regular basis.
Then if you had all the church people doing it- then you wouldn’t need to raise a million to do ‘Gods work’.
It would be getting done thru the small sacrifices that each of us make on a daily basis.
The Apostle Paul wrote the Ephesians and said ‘he that is not working- get a job- so you can have to give to those in need’.
No tithe here?
Not pouring it into a huge ministry budget?
No red tape?
Yeah- the New Testament [and old- Isaiah 58] teach us to actually use our resources to reach out- directly- to the poor and hurting.
Read the epistle of James- or the letter’s of John.
This teaching is not a side issue- it’s one of the main things.
As a matter of fact- that’s why the prophets of the Old Testament- and Jesus in the New- kept rebuking the religious people of their day- because they knew how to keep the religious rituals.
But they forgot the ‘more important stuff’.
1940 WHY THE EXCITEMENT?
Okay- as promised let’s cover the gospel of Luke- chapter 15.
First- we had a good fellowship last night- cooked lots- and 4 guys spent the night crashed out on the floor.
I just saw Hugh on the way to my office room- he was eating left over chicken for B-fast.
This story- the Prodigal son- is famous amongst preachers/bible readers in general.
The chapter actually starts with 2 other stories.
A lost sheep- 1 out of 99.
And a lost coin- 1 out of 10.
Why these stories from Jesus?
The bible says Jesus was eating with- and ‘receiving’ sinners.
The religious leaders at the time developed their idea of serving God- as a ritualistic thing [remember yesterdays post- Isaiah 58?].
Part of their understanding of this service to God- was being separated from ‘the world’.
Yes- the world of Jesus’ day was much like ours- you had outcasts- ‘illegal’ aliens- and the overall class of people that couldn’t quite seem to make it in life.
Now- when the religious leaders saw Jesus accepting them- that is he received them- loved them- but at the same time never ‘whitewashed’ sin- they got mad.
He never said ‘oh- that’s fine- we all mess up- keep on doing it’.
No- in time they knew that Jesus was showing them the love of God- yet God had a better way for them- than the old paths of sin.
So- it’s because of this reaction from the Pharisees that Jesus tells these 3 stories.
A man has 100 sheep- he loses 1- and he goes after the lost one.
When he finds it- he’s so happy- not because he didn’t care for the 99 that stayed home- but because he regained one that went astray.
A woman has ten coins- she loses one- the same thing happens.
Jesus is telling them ‘look- all of you who are jealous that I’m accepting these non Jews- these Gentiles- your mad because I’m excited about these outcasts- but it’s just like when you guys lose a sheep- or coin- you react with joy because you regained something that was missing- that was supposed to be a part of the puzzle all along- that’s why I’m going after these outcasts’.
Then he tells the longest story of the chapter.
A man had 2 sons [in context- these are references to the Jews- Gentiles].
The one son asked his father for his inheritance and the father gave the money to both the sons.
After a while the younger irresponsible son goes and wastes all the money on partying.
He becomes broke- realizes what he did- and repents and heads home to his father.
His father sees him coming and rejoices- he accepts the son- throws a huge party for him- gives him this nice robe- puts a ring on his finger- and all is well.
As the party is going on- the older son- the one who never left home [a type of the Jew who saw themselves as part of Gods people all along- they never had left God- not like these ‘dog’ Gentiles- see?]
This older son is outside- sulking.
The father goes out to see what’s wrong- the older son says ‘look dad- I was with you all these years [a type of the Old Covenant- the Jewish people had a long history with God] and you never acted excited like this with me- making a big party- killing the calf- the whole thing’.
The dad [a type of God] says ‘son- you were always with me- all hat I have is yours- don’t take my excitement wrong- it’s not because I don’t love you- but it’s because your brother was gone for a long time and finally made it home’.
That’s the story of the Prodigal son- God was just as excited about regaining a lost human [the Gentiles]- as we are about regaining things we lose.
The story deals with jealousy in the human heart- how we often benefit from the blessings of God- yet we feel wronged somehow if others too get the blessing.
These themes run thru out the teachings of Christ- talking about us receiving forgiveness- yet not giving it to others.
In the 1st century context- the Jewish people saw themselves as part of this special covenant that God made with them many years earlier.
They kept this covenant- as best as they knew- and when they see their Messiah- accepting these others who were like the younger son- they felt wronged.
They felt like all their years of being with God- as Gods special people- were for nothing.
That’s the mindset Jesus was dealing with here.
If I had more time/space- I would make a few applications about the current situation with the storm.
Some are mad at Governor Christie- he’s buddying up too much to Obama in the view of some on the right.
It’s not exactly the same- but there are side’s people take- there are jealousies and divisions with all of us.
And it helps us if we can sit back and examine what’s really going on- Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living.
When we examine ourselves- do a self inventory- maybe we should be happy that others are getting help- that we should not see it as us losing out in some way- whether it be politically or any other way.
In the end- there was enough mercy to go around- the father was happy that the lost son was found.
Just like we get happy when we recover things.
It doesn’t mean that the things that never got lost hold less value [99 sheep- 9 coins].
No- its juts a natural reaction to be excited that something that was lost- that seemed like it had no hope- was recovered.
1941 BORN TO RUN
The last couple of weeks- since I have been back from N.J.- It’s kind of been surreal to see all the video of the spots that got washed out in NY/NJ.
As I was watching the news with Henry on my big screen TV- I kept telling him ‘I was just at that spot’.
For the past 25 years I have been back to NJ many times- this last trip was the only time I took a tour of the city [NY]- I have been wanting to do a train/subway ride for the past 10 years- and simply ride the famous A train and see the city from the top of the tracks.
I got this idea in my head one year while watching a documentary about NY.
They showed you the history of the subway/train system- and the idea of a train ride was birthed at that time.
Yet- the last time I was up north- about 9 years ago- I missed out on the chance.
But this time- I finally did it.
I rode with my friend Patrick- to the last stop on this particular train- Rockaway beach- Queens.
As we walked the area- we walked right up to the boardwalk right off the Atlantic ocean.
For some strange reason I felt like I should walk right up to the ocean and splash some water on my face.
It was the first time I ever stuck my hand in the Atlantic ocean from the NY area.
Not many days later this very ocean would engulf the region.
We walked back to Pat’s brother’s house and had a nice visit for a few hours.
Then back on the train- back to the crossing where the subway goes under the Hudson and comes out on the Jersey side.
I took pictures from Rockaway to the Jersey side- we even saw Hoboken a little- the place I was born.
All of these spots- Rockaway beach- Hoboken- all the areas I toured- are some of the worst spots that got wiped out by hurricane Sandy.
It just was a feeling of ‘this was the last chance tot take the tour- before the storm comes’.
As we were watching the video at the house- Henry said ‘gee- you were like a messenger of wrath’.
To be honest- that thought came to me more than once.
I woke up yesterday morning with the guys still sleeping on the floor in the living room.
I got up early to post and get some stuff done before they got up.
Dirk- my good friend for years- got up early too.
He came into my study and told me he just had a dream- and he felt it was from God.
Now- with all of my friend’s problems and struggles- I know at times they have said things that are significant- that have meaning.
I was writing about some of the political things with Governor Christie- I of course have written about the storm- and in my office I have all types of world maps and stuff- plus a huge poster of NYC- and Jersey maps.
It just gives a sense of being in a ‘larger’ place.
Dirk begins telling me the dream- he says they were all at some place- and they had a friend that was- well- going to shoot himself.
He had a gun that was on a timer- and they all tried to tell him not to do it- but he wouldn’t listen.
Dirk called the gun thing- quote- ‘a suicide machine’.
He said after they left- the timer went off.
Now- Dirk felt that this dream meant something.
I told him one of the things that caught my attention was the phrase ‘suicide machine’.
I asked him if he knew where that term came from- what famous song.
He did not know.
I told him it was a line from the state song of NJ.
Springsteen’s Born to Run.
‘mansions of glory … in the suicide machine’.
I told Dirk I have been writing about governor Christie [who has been to about 150 Boss concerts].
I have been thinking about- praying for NJ the past few weeks.
I have been back from the tour- riding the subway [machine] right before the storm hit.
That in many ways this dream has significance.
Next week we vote for the next president- I don’t know who will win.
One of my friends- who is on welfare- lives in public housing- gets a disability check [though he is in better shape than me].
He asked me who I was supporting.
I told him I don’t hate Obama- or love Romney- but just as a matter of the past 4 years- I am supporting Romney.
My friend said ‘no- he will take away my check’.
I think it was DeToquville who said that a Democracy will only last long enough until one party starts giving away free stuff and the majority of the people just vote for the free stuff.
Yeah- at that point we are all on a suicide machine.
1942 POLITICS AND EINSTEIN
Let’s start with the big story of the day.
Just a few things before I get back to Einstein.
As I have followed the news on this- over the past few weeks there has been some question on whether or not the media have manipulated any of the numbers.
Going in to today’s election- if the media are correct- Obama will no doubt win.
They have shown polls that have the president winning in enough states [battle ground states] that he should win.
Are any of the polls wrong- or possibly skewed?
That the question.
It’s hard to say that all pollsters would have some inside conspiracy to do this.
Actually I don’t believe that they would [they do have reputations you know].
But- we do have some actual evidence that some have done this.
It’s hard at times to filter out the bias- on both sides- but let’s try and take one example of possible skewing.
Most of the polls we have seen these past few weeks have shown the sample of people that they use.
For instance- you might have one say they polled a thousand folk- then they’ll say 39% were Democrats- 31 % Republicans.
Now- some on the right were saying ‘see- they are cheating’.
Would this be cheating in a poll?
Because the pollsters are trying to get an accurate picture of the electorate- that is- if they ‘think’ that more Dems will vote- then this would be a fair way to poll.
So- how do they figure out who the likely voters will be?
They usually look at the last election [presidential].
But- everyone who watches politics will tell you that the last election- 2008- had an historic turnout of Dem’s.
Many were not only voting for a man they felt would do a good job- but they also felt like they were part of an historic thing- the possible election of Americas first Black president.
Everyone [well most] will admit this- and it’s not wrong to admit this- that many came out to be part of an historic event- fine.
So- did some of the pollsters do this- did they use a larger number of Dem’s in the polls?
Now- a case can be made that you would not have the same type of turnout this time.
Because you don’t have the same historic significance- it’s not historic to say ‘yeah- we voted for the first Black president in history- the second time’.
Okay- but the pollsters do have a reason to have more Dems than Repubs- sometimes.
But- there were some polls that showed twice as many Dems [as a percentage- that is if you had 7% more Dems last time- this time they were showing about 14%- something that would be next to impossible].
So- yes- in this few cases- we do have some evidence that some pollsters were rigging the system to benefit one side.
Okay- said all that to say this.
If Romney wins- and big [which I doubt] then you just saw a good example of media bias- because according to most of the media- Obama should win.
Lets see what happens in the morning.
Okay- just a few notes on the Einstein biography I’m going thru.
The book is an older book- I picked it up a few months ago at half price books.
But it’s a good book- not written from a religious perspective at all- the author- Walter Isaacson- is a top notch writer.
The reason I say ‘not from a religious perspective’ is because it’s kind of amazing how many times Einstein- and his companions- either speak about God- or outright quote him!
Yeah- over the years I have heard views from both sides [Atheists and Theists] who have tried to make Einstein more like them.
But the actual quotes from him- and how many times they allude to God- is really more than I thought.
I’m at the point in the book [about halfway] where you begin seeing the anti Semitism rise up in Germany.
As most of you know- Einstein was a Jew- who came from Germany.
He lived at the time of the rise of the Nazi’s- and the anti Jewish ‘ness’ of the times would affect him.
Einstein held teaching positions at various universities of his day- one was in Berlin.
Some of his contemporaries- men like Max Planck- were indeed all in for the German nationalism that was riding a wave at the time.
Einstein on the other hand resisted the mixing of science with nationalism- he believed more in a global type citizenship- that the great breakthrough’s they were making at the time- were for the world- not just for the benefit of one nation.
Einstein would refuse to sign a declaration signed by many of the thinkers of his day- one that supported German nationalism.
Instead he was part of a smaller group who drew up a sort of pacifist declaration- one which would fall by the way side because of its lack of support.
A few notes.
I find his insight into war- where it ‘comes from’ to be enlightening.
I’ll give you a quote- it comes from “a biologically determined feature of the male character” “What drives people to kill and maim each other so savagely” “I think it is the sexual character of the male that leads to such wild explosions”.
Einstein saw a sort of genetic ‘defect’ in man- something within him- that was the root cause of war.
In the book of James- in the New Testament- the brother of our Lord writes ‘from whence come wars and fighting’s among you- come they not hence- even from your lusts that war in your members’.
Yeah- I think James and Einstein were on the same page.
Eventually Einstein would oppose the war- that is- the initial aggression that was sprouting from his homeland.
The book does not go into detail about the actual war [WW2] at least not yet.
But we know from history that the Nazi’s would be part of one of the most heinous mindsets the world has ever known.
Hitler’s idea that a certain race of people were inherently ‘less human’ that others.
Many do not know that some of his thoughts were formed by the popular idea of Evolution.
The teaching that all humans are on a scale of the ‘most evolved’ and the ‘least evolved’.
Yes- I have gotten into this in the past- and don’t want to do it again right now.
Eventually the allies would also cross a line of war- a line that divided the U.S. and the British for a short time.
The line of bombing urban centers- and targeting civilians.
Some of the correspondence that came out after the war showed that certain American military commanders objected to the bombing of civilian centers.
They would eventually do as they were told- but they did make their objections known.
The British were more willing to engage in the bombing- after all- Germany had already bombed them.
The first city center to go was Hamburg- a convenient target- right across from the British on the North Sea.
Above Belgium and the Netherlands.
War has a tendency to take all sides further than their conscience would allow at the start.
There seems to be something within the nature of man that always leads down a road of more destruction- not less.
One of the greatest minds of our time- a man who was brilliant- and also struggled with his own passions- saw it as some type of inner flaw of man.
A sort of ‘sinful nature’.
Yeah- James- the Lords brother called it ‘the lusts that war in our members’.
On this point they agree.
1943 IT IS FINISHED
Good morning everyone.
Some of my friends are rejoicing today.
Others are flying the flag at half staff.
Yes- most of the pundits were right- those who were following the polling- Obama did indeed win- as most of the polls showed.
Now- why were some [on the right] skeptical of the media/polls?
One reason is- they had good reason to be.
Most every morning when I get up- I listen to NPR radio news.
They have a reputation of being liberal [part of the big bird thing- Public Broadcasting- you know. One time I heard Alex Keaton- Michael Fox [Family Ties] berate his dad for working at a ‘not for profit’ company- Keaton could not even conceive of the idea!]
So yes- NPR has been a target of the right for some time.
Now- as a media guy- who listens/reads/watches lots of media- I do catch the left wing bias every so often.
But it’s tricky- that is you don’t even know for sure if those engaging in it even realize they are doing it.
Just about every morning these last few weeks- their top of the hour news coverage- which gets repeated every hour- started with either an actual re-play of an Obama ad [free ad time] or some report about how Romney lied.
Now- the undiscerning hearer might think they were actually doing news coverage- and in a way they were.
But all the coverage was favorable to the president- and none of it [that I heard] favored Romney.
Okay- was I mad?
Not really- but it makes me think how many people- not realizing the imbalance- wind up hating one man [who seemed like a good man- are you mad that I even say this? About Romney- then maybe you have also swallowed the hate bait].
Yes- when you hear this it affects you.
I watched some of the coverage on MSNBC- I think Matthews does not even realize what he says.
They were gleefully referring to Romney as a liar- someone who does not care for people at all- a man who does not like minorities or women.
It went on and on- at the same time they were covering the right wings ‘attack’ on the voting rights of all people.
There were actually multiple reports- not fake either- that many people [tens of thousands?] were actually voting for Romney on the touch screen- and their machine registered a vote for Obama.
When MSNBC covered this- they laughed at the republican official who used ‘strange’ language when registering the complaint.
Yet- they could care less that many thousands of people were tricked by rigged machines.
Then they went on and spoke about how the Repubs were attacking the rights of voters- in the same breath.
That’s media blindness- that’s why many are skeptical of them- and that’s why many on the right simply did not believe the polling as the day of voting began.
Now- I was not really skeptical- that is I saw some polling that was off- but as I listened to multiple sources- I got the feel from even some on the right-That they felt they were in trouble in the battle ground states.
And at the end of the day- they were [the Repubs].
Where are we at now?
I personally will continue to pray for the president over the next 4 years- by name- twice a week.
I mention him and his family as well as other world leaders- this is mandated in scripture- we are supposed to do it- I do it.
And I don’t do it grudgingly either- I have done it for all the presidents for many years- be they Repub or Dem.
The left- the media- they did indeed divide the country by their coverage.
They often accused those who did not support the president of racism.
Yet- once again- in Philadelphia- the racist group Black Panthers- were out in force- standing at the polls- looking like they might beat you with a bat.
Yes- the same group that the justice dept. dropped the charges against [its illegal to intimidate voters] were out again- intimidating voters.
Any media outcry?
Yet- the same media who would not mention this- at the same exact time- were calling Romney and his people actual racists- and calling this media/election coverage.
If Romney won- and there were multiple reports of people voting for Obama- and the machine registered Romney- there would be an uproar.
If you had White supremacists- whose leader has called for the murder of Blacks- actually intimidating Black women and elderly Blacks- the second election year in a row- the media would be calling for the arrest of these thugs.
Yet- all these things did happen- but because they happened on the side the media supports- it was not an issue.
And not only was it not an issue- the same media called the other side racists- while this was going on.
Yeah- it does not surprise me that many went into the Election Day skeptical of the media.
I had a feeling Romney was in trouble- I kinda saw it in the ‘read between the lines’ stuff.
But what the media did yesterday- well- that’s a sign that we as a nation are in trouble.
Yeah- for the media- fly the flag at half staff.
For the president- I will continue to pray for him and his family- and I hope we as a nation can try and work together.
Lincoln said ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’.
He was quoting another great leader of days gone by.
The man- Christ Jesus.
1944 PEACE ON EARTH AND GOOD WILL TO MEN?
Before I get into the news- let me mention that the bible chapter for this week was Isaiah 26.
Once a week I like to focus on a chapter- and if I have time I do a post on it.
But being I want to cover some news stuff- If I don’t get to it- that’s the chapter for this past week.
Okay- what’s going on?
Yesterday I was amused as I went thru a few news papers.
As most of you know- my prediction that the DOW would be in the 12,000-s has come true.
The news shows came out right away after the president was re-elected- and said ‘the dow is down because people are afraid that CONGRESS and the president will not make a deal’.
Okay- one of the arguments made by Romney for his election was the reality that both the pres and congress are in gridlock [true] and that- regardless of who you blame- more than likely if you re-elect Obama the gridlock will remain.
Now- in his case- he did not place blame [smart] he simply used this as a talking point- like Obama saying ‘Romnesia’.
But- here’s the catch- the media and the Obama people said ‘false’.
That it made no difference who got in- you would still have gridlock [the Dems would also be in gridlock against Romney].
So- after Obama got in- the DOW took a dive.
Okay- was it only because of the Fiscal Cliff [which the media blame it on- because that gives mutual blame to congress and the pres].
No- not at all.
Listen carefully- if the Romney argument was false- and the media were right- then it would have made no difference [according to their view] who got elected.
Because business and the economy watchers all would have seen gridlock- no matter who got in.
If this were true- then why wait for the election for the DOW to tank?
Come on folks- are we that dumb?
If it made no difference [in this particular scenario] then why wait till Obama got in?
Yes- it did make a difference- like the Romney people said.
Okay- sour grapes here?
Just trying to show you the system- how the media jumped to say that Obama getting re-elected had nothing to do with the stock market tanking.
Okay- I read 2 or 3 more articles- and they were all trying to give you the same narrative- that it was better for the country- and the world- that Obama got in.
O- Let’s see.
One page [yes they had a whole page comparing the differences- the heading said ‘what to expect’ now that Romney lost and Obama got in]
One paragraph was ‘that Democracy will be promoted in the world’.
This was juxtaposed against ‘what to expect if Romney got in’.
I guess Romney would have promoted communism?
Another article ‘the re-election of Obama means there is now an opportunity to save many Syrians by trying to get peace in Syria’.
Again- this is ONLY an opportunity- now that Romney lost [see- a Romney win would have meant the killing of many more women and kids- got it?]
It went on and on like this- for the unsuspecting reader [the media must think people are all fools] you would get the impression- without realizing it- that Romney would have destroyed civilization- all the while using language and innuendo that made you think Obama will save the world.
Many in the business/financial world do see Obama as anti business.
Now- I’m not giving you talking points- I’m telling you from personal experience- and being a reader of all things- including global economic stuff.
Over the past 4 years- in all my years as a Texan- I have never seen a president/justice dept. attack cities/states like this one.
I have read- on more than one occasion- how my own city was being sued by the justice dept [which means this White House] for various stuff.
Some had to do with the oil producing industry- and regardless of what side of the aisle you are on- these multiple lawsuits have killed many- many jobs.
I have seen it.
Now- this has been the style of president Obama- for all types of political reasons- this has been ‘ground truth’.
Okay- Fiscal Cliff.
What is it?
The president and congress did not come to a deal on cutting spending and increasing taxes- so they passed a law that said if they don’t get a deal by 2013- then automatic cuts will go into effect.
These are very deep cuts that both sides really don’t want.
Okay- it is amazing- but one of the things that will negatively affect the economy is if this Fiscal Cliff hits- then all the Bush tax cuts [which have been demonized by Obama] will expire.
So- both sides are saying- if you lose all the Bush tax cuts [which those on the left say are bad] that it will negatively affect the economy.
Look- if you have been saying the Bush tax cuts are bad- then go ahead- let them expire.
If you say you want to cut defense by huge amounts- then go ahead- do it.
But- if you argue for all these things [which Obama has done many times over the years] and then say ‘no- congress- if you let this happen you are ruining the economy’.
Then which one is it man?
Before the president got in office- he made a statement- on video tape [you pretty much have to catch him on tape- or in writing in his own books- to pin him down].
He said he wanted gas prices to be high- around 7 dollars or so a gallon.
At the time- this was [still is] a prevailing view among some environmentalist types.
Obama ran with that crowd- that’s why he said this.
Okay- he also said- if he ever had a chance to be pres- to implement these types of things on a large scale- that he would make it so hard on the oil industry [coal operating plants]- that he would put so many fines in place- that if some company wanted to start a new coal plant- that they could do it- but because of all the new govt. regulation that he would put in place- that they would go bankrupt.
Okay- these things are all real things the president has said.
Then- after he got in- one of his top environmental guys in Texas started going after the oil industry in Texas- I have seen it- with my own 2 eyes.
The guy Obama had in charge- was caught on tape [yeah- if it’s not on tape they deny all the things they said].
He was caught talking about their policy in Texas.
He said ‘like the Romans- when they went into a city and crucified the first rebel- that sent a message’.
He was saying that they needed to hit certain oil businesses in Texas- hit them so hard [maybe even prison for the executives?] that all the other oil companies would see it and either shut down or never get a new business going.
That’s the exact same strategy the president had said he would use if he ever had the chance.
Now- not only has he said this- he has done this.
But- if you listen to all the statements he makes on this stuff- he makes you think he is more pro oil than Bush/Cheney.
See- that’s the problem- that’s part of why the DOW tanked [plus the E.U. crisis- a global slowdown- Fiscal Cliff- see- there are many reasons- and one is the anti business policies of the president.]
I’m not saying Obama is a bad man- nor am I excusing a congress that might at times simply be obstructionist.
But I’m saying it did make a difference who got in- it did indeed have an impact on the markets and the fear that some in business have because of the polices of the president.
This post is not a defense of the right- or left.
It is intended to show you how quick the media were to downplay the real negative effect that the re-election of Obama did already have on the economy.
Look- you might agree with his policies- maybe even on his anti oil stance- fine.
If you agree- agree.
I too hold very liberal positions on many things [I’m very pro immigrant- I was also for a national health care system- yeah- true Canadian style].
But I want you to see how the media played this.
I wanted you to see- that Romney was indeed correct- a least about this one point- that the re-election of Obama would continue gridlock [regardless of who you place the blame on- that was not part of his argument].
Yeah- some of these things came true- sad- but true.
But then again- according to the paper.
If Romney got in;
More Syrians would die [women and kids mostly].
Democracy would not be promoted.
And world peace would elude us.
Gee- I guess the trade off was good then- the DOW went down- but there will be peace on earth- and good will toward men- all because of the re-election of the president.
Thanks media- thanks news papers- I feel better already.
Just try not to crucify any more of our oil executives- because it’s tough on those looking for work in the Lone Star state if you do.
1945 BIRTHER- ME?
Before we end the week I want to simply quote a few verses from Isaiah 26.
‘Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee’
‘Trust ye in the Lord forever- for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength’
‘When thy judgments are in the earth- the inhabitants of the world will learn justice’.
I stumbled upon this chapter the other day- I did not realize how many verses I have memorized over the years- ones that I would quote and stuff- not realizing they were lumped together in this chapter.
Over the years I have had times [years] where I would read thru the bible every year.
Or maybe read the New Testament thru many times- and the Old Testament a little slower.
These past few years I have slowed down a bit- still reading every week- but less ‘volume’ and more meditation.
I’ll read a chapter- then stay on it for a few days- and then see more stuff each time.
I try and listen for ‘daily bread’ type of a thing.
In the Lord’s prayer [Our father] he said we should pray for ‘our daily bread’ and in a way that speaks about what God wants to tell us each day.
Sort of like the story of Manna in the time of Moses.
The people of God were in the wilderness for 40 years- and God fed them bread every morning.
It was called ‘angels food’ it was this little wafer type thing that was on the ground each day.
God told them only take enough for you and your family- if you take too much- and store it up overnight- it will spoil.
But on the 6th day they could take enough for 2 days- because they were not supposed to gather it on the Sabbath.
So God in a way has daily manna for us- if we try and overload the system- by eating too much- then it will spoil.
Its funny- over the years I have seen/gone thru stages where you get involved with movements- good people- who for whatever reason get into some type of teaching.
Maybe they will emphasize some new thing- and for years they will go down that road.
Maybe it’s not a bad road per se’- but these things were not supposed to be ‘roads’ at all.
That is- as believers we should establish our hearts in grace and the reality of God.
The reality of the Cross and death of Christ for us.
And then as we learn and grow- sure- we will learn lots of stuff- but when you get into fads- well it’s like the verse in the book of Hebrews.
‘It is a good thing that you are established in grace- not with meats [ side doctrines] for it is not profitable for those who are occupied therein’ [my paraphrase].
Okay- a few things.
The other day at the mission I had to intervene- sort of like a Ref.
2 of the guys were getting into it- over all things- politics and religion!
Now- these guys happened to be sober- but you have a few guys who start drinking early- and by the time I get there- well let’s say they are feeling pretty good.
So- I could think of no better environment to discuss politics and religion- can you?
Somehow one of my buddies- who is very smart- got a hold of ‘birthirism’ somewhere along the line.
I first heard him talk about it a few months back- and was kinda surprised.
He is not a ‘right winger’ at all- he attends a classically more liberal church [Methodist] and we often discuss the Sunday school teaching from the previous week.
He has the notes from church- and they are always taking a more liberal side- and I have told him that the Methodists are a great church- and they do an excellent job at social justice [like the Catholics].
So- it was a surprise for my friend to have launched into birthirism [the belief that Obama is not a U.S. citizen].
By the way- those who believe this are not total nuts- if I have time I’ll share a few facts- things that have caused people to question- yet I have never swallowed the Trump view.
So- my buddy starts into his talk.
‘Obama was sworn in on the Koran- even if he was born in Hawaii- that’s not part of the continental U.S.- so he still is not legitimate’.
A few more things like this- that coming from this particular friend- surprised me.
Now- this day we were sitting with my other friend Don.
Don is the gardener at the mission- the pics I posted on Facebook- with the garden- that’s Don.
Don is quite the intellectual- for real.
It never ceases to amaze me when I run into the smartest guys that are homeless.
Don has a well rounded education- knows all types of subjects- sort of a renaissance man if you will.
So- for Don to have heard my other friend launch into his thing- well- he could not believe that my friend was saying this.
Don- rightfully- corrected my buddy in no uncertain terms.
My buddy went on about Obama being a non citizen.
Then they appealed to me- to be honest I did not want to get into it.
But I did.
I had to side with Don- and correct my other friend because he was so misinformed.
Obviously Hawaii is part of the U.S. – even though Alaska and Hawaii are not part of the land mass that makes up the lower 48.
Yet they are states- and they count as being born in the U.S.
But I had to throw out some cover for my misinformed friend.
He looks up to me as sort of a teacher- and when someone sees you that way- it’s hard for them to be corrected by someone they look up to.
So- I did tell Don that I have read/watched so many news things over the past 4 years- that there were things that gave some people real reason to doubt the president’s place of birth.
Now- be careful here- I want you to hear carefully.
Because what I think has happened- is the president did things in the past- like we all have done [skewing the facts to gain a benefit].
He possibly presented himself- at various times- as being from Kenya- or as sharing the Muslim faith.
What- are you nuts?
Not 100% [maybe half?]
Okay- here’s the cover for my buddy.
As people started looking into the birth certificate thing- there were some indications that the president might have said he was from Kenya- maybe to sort of play into the role of ‘this new and up and coming author- with such an interesting background’.
Or maybe at times- in applying for school- you might say you’re a foreign born person- because you get an edge if the school has a quota type thing [thus the Trump challenge to show his college records].
Why do I think this might have happened?
When you wade thru all the accusations- there were a few things that did come up that quite frankly looked strange.
One of the more questionable things was the actual promotion of one of Obama’s books- the book publisher actually introduced Obama- the author- as a ‘Kenyan born’ person.
Now- when this came out- the president- and the publisher- both admitted that this was not a fake.
They simply said it was a typo.
They both admitted that the intro for the book said Obama was Kenyan- but it was a typo.
Look- a typo is hitting a wrong key on the keyboard [unless this type writer had Kenya as one of the keys?]
And what are the chances that this typo just happened to name Kenya as his birthplace?
I mean that’s a bit much to swallow to be honest.
So John- he’s a Kenyan!
Now- here’s where I give the pres the benefit of the doubt- but why I say he too has given the birthers a reason to question him.
There are a few people that said/think that Obama used this ‘I was born in Kenya’ thing to simply help promote himself.
He has spoken about his own identity struggle in the past.
Growing up he had the name of his step dad [Sotero].
As he got older- being raised by a single mom- he eventually learned more about his real dad- from Kenya- and he did try to identify more with his father’s heritage.
So- maybe did he start saying ‘I’m Kenyan’
Was this so bad?
But is this possible?
The more believable explanation for a book publisher to say you’re from Kenya- would be that Obama might have presented himself as such.
Others have said that he did say this to them as well.
And some think he might have used this on his college application.
This is very possible- and to be honest- for a book publisher to accidently pick Kenya- as a typo- that’s a bit much.
So- I gave cover to my birther friend- by leaving him room- that is to say there are people who question it- Obama’s place of birth- and they are not all nuts.
But- I also sided with Don- that at the end of the day- I think this issue is settled.
It’s hard to have friends on both sides of these things.
Because when you take one side- the other feels alienated.
I think it’s also wrong to assume that those who did not support Obama are all birthers.
I supported Romney simply on the basis of experience.
Those who want a real honest critique of the president should read Bob Woodward’s latest book.
He tells the story- the true story- of how many of the president’s closest inside fiends felt he was so far out of his league- after he got in- that others had to actually run the show- for quite some time.
Yes- these are actual reports from friends of Obama.
I remember hearing his main financial guy [I forget the name right now- Lawrence Lindsey?]
He said at one point ‘if we were not running this show- no one would be in charge’.
Yes- there are some real- honest critiques that have come out- and they did indeed feel like the president was way out of his league for this job.
And these were not birthers.
So- at the end of the day- some supported one side because they had real questions.
Others supported Obama because they too had honest positions.
But we also need to correct those in our midst who have wrong views- things that they picked up along the way.
If we want good discourse- it must be informed.
And yes- at times both sides have missed this mark.
1946 JEWS TEACHING SCIECNE- WHAT IS THIS?
I want to try and cover a little bit more on Einstein.
But just a few quick notes.
The last few days- as I have watched some of the post election coverage- I find it funny how the ‘4th estate’ has tried to rise above their own ignorance.
This past year- as I have both read- viewed- listened to many media sources- all sides of the various debates that go on in the country.
There was a conscious decision made- by some on the left- to ‘suppress the vote’.
I thought it was the Repubs that were trying to do this?
Yes- there were efforts made- whether noble or not- to suppress some of the minority vote [noble – some say they were just trying to stop voter fraud- others said they were trying to suppress the minority vote].
But- how did the left do this?
Once again- yes- hailing from the great state of N.J. [ the headquarters of many media outlets- it is sad that the most grievous offenders come from my hometown area! – Fort Lee- Secaucus- spots right where I grew up].
MSNBC spent an entire year mocking the faith of Romney.
I saw Martin Bashir- actually say- on air- that Christians should not vote for Romney because he denies the Trinity.
Can you imagine him saying this about a Muslim candidate?
Chris Matthews- he spoke about Romney and his religion as weird- a cult- and other interesting terms [Matthews says he was taken out of context- but simply using the word accomplishes the task].
Now- after a year of this- it is true that some White evangelicals [their target audience of suppression] did indeed not vote for Romney.
In media lingo they call this ‘failed to get out his base- the White vote’.
They see what they did as a noble cause- a good thing.
When you convince yourself that those who don’t embrace your ideas are racist nuts- then it justifies this double standard.
There was an article on Hillary Clinton seeing the Broadway play the Book of Mormon [yeah- Bloomberg manages to keep the lights on Broadway on- but watch out if you’re from Staten island or the Rockaway’s!]
When she came out of the theater she said it was so funny- she couldn’t stop laughing.
What was she laughing at?
The play is an open mockery of the Mormon faith.
Yet- this same state dept official- she was outraged over the release of some on line movie clip that depicted the prophet Muhammad in a negative light.
They just sentenced the maker of the movie to a year in jail- over some probation thing.
Yes- that’s the double standard of the media- politicians- it is quite obvious.
As I read a few chapters every few days- I want to comment on the important- relevant stuff.
One of them being the very word Relativity.
Now- I am tempted to go back and review all the posts we did on physics [you long time blog readers might remember?].
But this book is not a physics book per se’- but a biography.
Yet a quick review might help.
Einstein became famous for a few things- most of us know the famous equation E=mc2.
Simply a conversion of mass into energy formula- it works for all things- not just Nuclear.
His theory of Relativity shook up the world of physics- and Einstein is indeed the father of what we call modern physics [and Quantum theory].
Okay- what he did was he took the centuries old ideas of Newton [the father of classical physics] and he said that time and space were not absolutes.
That’s is- that depending on the observer [and his speed] time actually changes.
Some in the scientific community could not fathom what he was saying.
The book has actual headlines from the NY times- they openly doubted some of Einstein’s work
I remember reading this years ago- but this time I saw the real headlines.
They said stuff like ‘what is this new theory- that space might be limited- this defies the actual definition of space’.
Now- it would take too long to tell you what they were covering- but it is one of the various theories of the universe.
In actuality- the times might have been right in this one case [it’s a theory that the universe is curved- has no detectable edge- if so- you can than argue for an infinite universe in a closed space- because there is no edge- or end].
As a side note- logically- the times was correct.
Just because you can’t find a ‘sharp edge’ to a thing- that does not mean the thing is ‘endless’.
I covered this years ago in our apologetics posts- it was interesting to have re –read this from this author [Isaacson].
He is a good author- and explains stuff well.
Okay what was the other stuff that some objected to?
Some associated- wrongly- the theory of Relativity- with the modernist philosophy called Relativism.
Relativism [remember the philosophy stuff?] said that there was really nothing as objective truth- that what you see might be just as true as what someone else sees.
You might both be looking at the same thing [morally- murder- etc.] yet to one it might be wrong- to the other- right.
This idea- Relativism- was strongly rejected by many philosophers- especially those with a Christians/Theist background.
Even today this is one of the major debates going on in the world of the philosophy.
But- some confused what Einstein was saying- and they thought [or used it] to back up the ‘moral’ philosophy of Relativism.
This was a mistake.
Einstein himself- as I mentioned in an earlier post- was not a relativist at all- that is when speaking about moral absolutes.
So some began to associate him- as one of the new ‘Jew’ scientists- who were introducing dangerous doctrines to the world.
Yes- some of the objectors to Einstein objected on the basis of this new ‘Jewish science’ that was breaking away from the moors of Christian science- whose father was Isaac Newton.
See how both anti Semitism- and religious belief played a role in this?
I’ll end with a quote from a famous man of the time- an up and coming politician- I mean he could awe his audience like no other.
Obama- Clinton- even the great communicator- Reagan- were no match for this man when it came to giving a speech.
He said ‘Science- once our greatest pride- is today being taught by Hebrews’.
Who said this?
The future leader of Germany- Adolph Hitler.
1947 DAYS OF OUR LIVES or General[s] hospital?
Okay- lots to cover today.
First- the growing fallout over the Benghazi debacle has now entered a phase that can only be described as having a sort of soap opera aura.
Most of you know that right before the election some radical militants attacked our counsel in Benghazi [Libya] and killed 4 Americans.
One of them being our new ambassador to the region.
Now- within days of the incident- Susan Rice- our U.N. ambassador- went on the Sunday morning talk shows and said the attack was a response to an anti Muslim video.
In fact there were multiple protests that same day- Sept. 11th– around the Arab world.
So- Rice sort of lumped the killing of our ambassador with the video protests.
Now- what we now know is this;
That the Libyan attackers were not simply part of a protest that went out of control- but were one of the many militia groups who operate in Libya.
The counsel [embassy type compound] at Benghazi was under a real threat.
It was bombed before- and the Red Cross- as well as the British pulled their people out of there because the place was a sitting duck target for these radical militia guys.
We also now know that our guys at the embassy warned about the growing threat.
They made requests for greater security- which were denied.
And that by all accounts- the administration failed in the sense of not providing adequate protection for our guys.
Now- those defending the president say it would not have mattered if there was more protection- that a military style assault would have been effective either way.
Then let’s pull the guys out.
Some say if we had around 10 Marines- with automatic weapons- that in itself would have been enough.
Either way- the facts are that the British and the Red Cross pulled their people out.
Why didn’t we?
Some think that Susan Rice and others purposefully made it look like the attack was part of the video protests because that would have gone along with the political line that Obama has Al Qaeda ‘on the run’.
Enter David Petraeus.
Petraeus was the guy in charge of the CIA- a former general who some say had great success in Iraq and later Afghanistan [he was the guy who did the Surge strategy- more troops to finish the job type thing].
Okay- as head of the CIA he actually went to Benghazi and interviewed his men.
Yeah- we have CIA guy’s right there near the compound.
What did he find out?
Was there more going on than meets the eye?
Petraeus got back and testified before congress and gave the same story as Susan Rice- that the attack was simply a protest that went out of control.
Okay- here comes the soap opera part.
A few months ago- some lady in Tampa Fla. was receiving what she felt were threatening emails.
The lady- Jill Kelley- was involved with the local military there in Tampa- and by chance knew Petraeus and the top generals [Allen being one].
The U.S. has a military post in Tampa where the top generals and their families go.
So- she had a friend at the FBI [because she was also sort of a civilian FBI cadet- you know- these programs where anyone can get into as a civilian. We used to do these things at the Fire Dept. sometimes the people that get involved are wannabe’s- that is they sort of fantasize about being the real deal].
So- Kelly tells her FBI friend about the emails.
And he starts the ball rolling to find out who is sending the emails.
The emails basically said to leave Petraeus alone.
Lo and behold- the emails were sent by Paula Broadwell- a lady who wrote a biography about General Petraeus [whew- this gets tiring!]
The story breaks that Broadwell was a lover of the general [in more ways than one]- she sent the emails as sort of a jealous lover type thing. She knew Jill was friendly with Petraeus and was telling her to leave ‘her man alone’.
And when the story hits the fan- Petraeus resigns abruptly- right after the president gets re-elected.
Now- no one in congress [and supposedly the president] knew anything about the affair until after the election.
The problem is Petraeus was supposed to testify about the Benghazi attack in a few days.
Some on the right think his abrupt resignation has to do with this.
Broadwell’s father has said ‘you aint seen nothing yet’ [or something to that effect] – indicating that this whole scandal has much more to it than meets the eye. [More than this? I don’t know if I can take much more?]
So- we have one general gone- the other general –Allen- a top military guy- who was up for another position- which now looks like it’s on hold because during the investigation over the emails [you know- the Tampa socialite].
It was discovered that Gen Allen sent a load of emails to Kelley- some reported that they were ‘sexual’ in nature.
Nah- no way- our generals?
Do they even know the word?
Okay- all the reporting on the women- that is the stuff about their lives- showing the picture of the mistress right next to the wife of Petraeus [Holly] all of this makes for ratings- but really has no value.
Last night CNN’s Cooper was reporting on the credit card debt of Jill Kelley and her doctor husband.
He went into their mortgage problems [not paying their mortgage on their million and a half home].
That they started a cancer charity- and things look fishy with the charity.
Peirce Morgan reporting that she is a sort of flirt with all the military guys.
One report said she was a ‘lune’ [loony].
None of this is relevant- nor should the media be getting into the ladies credit card debt.
She is not a public [elected] figure- leave all that stuff out.
The real news is the fact that our guys were killed.
Did the administration and his team purposefully make the Libyan attack look like a video protest gone awry?
Did they mislead the public about the deaths of our people because of political reasons?
If so- then that’s a huge scandal.
Now- in defense of their side [Obama].
We did have Intel that said the many protests that took place on that day were in fact over the stupid video.
And the Libyan attackers did use the same day to attack and kill our guys.
One of the statements that Rice and others made was that the militia guys took advantage of the protests and did a more organized attack.
Looking at all this stuff- that statement is not really that off.
So- yes- the attacks were not simply a protest gone awry.
But- it is more than likely that the attackers used the other 9-11 protests as an opportunity to attack.
One more thing- after it became known that Paula Broadwell was having an affair with Petraeus- the news outlets of course went thru all their old video’s of her.
She has appeared numerous times on various shows.
One recent clip had her saying that our embassy grounds in Libya also was holding some Libyan militia guys as prisoners.
She said this was inside knowledge [then why say it in a speech?]
And she hinted that might be the real reason for the attack [some think she might have had inside knowledge because of the affair].
Now- by law- the CIA is not allowed to hold prisoners.
Petraeus was the top CIA guy- who just got back from Libya doing his own personal investigation.
Then he quits.
Yeah- some see something fishy with the whole thing.
I have no idea which side is right [maybe there is some truth on both sides?]
But we do need to get to the facts.
We don’t need to know what Jill Kelley’s credit debt is.
Or why the FBI guy in Tampa sent her a shitless pic of himself [and was thus removed from the case].
Well- just be reassured- after all- these are the guys that are running the country- they are the protectors of the flame.
Yeah- Obama kept saying ‘we have them on the run now’.
I just wonder who ‘them’ is.
1948 WAR OF THE WORLDS [or world views?]
Once again I end the week with the dilemma of either writing on a bible chapter [Hebrews 9] or discussing world events.
Let me start with a few news items.
I find it funny how the media has been covering some recent events.
I also find it degrading that MSNBC has begun a new era- yes- for the first time I can remember- they are now continuing to go after the losing side’s candidate- even after the race is over.
Yes- They have been doing shows- I guess we should start calling them skits [they are performers you know].
And they are blasting Romney for anything he says- even as a private citizen- and they are using his life- I guess for ever- as a talking point.
I guess we will continue to hear about Ann Romney’s MS- her use of horses- you know- O’Donnell can’t stop mocking the woman.
Her kids- watch out- MSNBC will get you too!
This is so sad.
Chris Matthews had on Jim Clyburn the other day [a Dem congressman] they were discussing the issue of Susan Rice [UN ambassador].
She’s under fire for her statements about the Benghazi attack.
To be fair- it does seem like some on the right misread it- Petraeus did testify yesterday that she did not change the Talking Points.
But they were ‘scrubbed’ by the Intel community- not the White House.
This was the big issue- who removed the part that said Al-Qaida were part of the attack.
Anyway- Clyburn tells Matthews that- don’t forget- they are going after a young ‘BLACK WOMAN’.
Matthews says ‘go on’.
Very sad indeed.
There were [still are] very legitimate questions about what Rice said.
Why did she present talking points that basically said the opposite of what they knew? [even if she’s not at fault- they were still not accurate].
She did go on in the Sunday interviews and say Al-Qaida was on the run- yet the truth was they were part of the attack.
Even if she is innocent- yet she did present a false narrative.
If this is business as usual- than we still have a problem.
I was at the mission the other day and some girl asked one of the older guys who works there ‘what are you reading’.
He told her a news article from the NY Times about the Palestinian- Israeli fighting.
She asked him why Israel was bombing the Palestinian area.
He really didn’t have a good explanation- right at hand.
So I contributed a brief synopsis [which he later thanked me for- as well as the girl- just to say it wasn’t rude].
I told the girl that Israel began this recent action [it’s the largest military action against Hamas- the group that they are fighting- in years].
Because Hamas started shooting rockets into Israel about a week ago.
They sent around 300 rockets in- with no response.
Now- as someone who has tried very hard to be unbiased about the middle east question [for instance I have written in defense of the Palestinians many times- something that is the minority position in Evangelical circles].
Israel had no choice but to respond.
But some in the media are making it sound like Israel is to blame.
CNN said ‘this all began when Israel killed the top Hamas leader’.
Yes- many of you have seen the dramatic video of the guy being taken out in his car.
But this was not the ‘start’ of the violence.
If someone bombed your house- say 3oo times- and then you shoot them with a gun.
Well- who started it?
There is a very important story that should be told- that takes a little time- but the media is not telling you.
Let’s give it a shot.
First- I’m not blaming Obama.
But elections do have consequences.
Over the many years of the fighting about the Palestinian question- Hamas- the group that won the election a few years back- took power.
Now- they are actually branded as a terrorist group by the U.S.
They now feel emboldened to act- to make an all out attempt to raise world awareness- by these initial attacks- and they are hoping for their own Arab Spring.
Why are they doing this now?
Understand- Hamas is actually an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood- the group who has now risen to power in Egypt.
The new Egyptian president- Morsi- has already sent a team to the Palestinian areas- and they are backing Hamas.
Obama has been very friendly with the Muslim Brotherhood- and very cold to Israel [though he denies it].
After the re-election of Obama- it’s only natural for Hamas to think they have much more leverage now- see?
Now- that took a couple of lines- why couldn’t the media have told you that narrative?
Fahreed Zakariah- a CNN analyst who I actually like.
He was asked about the release of a guy who killed some Americans- Iraq was holding him- they let him go.
He blamed the problem on Bush [yeah- you can use Romney on MSNBC- CNN will use Bush].
He said that Bush was too willing to work with the radical Islamist groups- and he allowed them to gain some power in Iraq- and that’s why this happened.
He also said Obama came in and tried to fix it- but it was too late.
I find it interesting that Fahreed- who advises the president- has been part of the entire ‘new approach’ to the Arab world.
Yes- Obama [for good or ill] had very high hopes of starting a new relationship with the Muslim world.
He sincerely felt if he could reach out to certain groups [Muslim Brotherhood] than he might be able to change the tone in that part of the world.
He has made more effort- at normalizing relations with Muslim groups- than anyone in the history of the presidency.
I just showed you how some of these efforts might be the root cause of the aggression right now with Israel and the Palestinians.
Yet- in the middle of the greatest effort ever made to reach out to- and work with radical groups.
One of Obama’s top defenders said ‘the reason Iraq released the guy who killed our men- is because Bush was too cozy with radical Islamist groups’.
This would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
I try to be fair in my analysis of these things.
When you are simply a cheerleader for either side [MSNBC on the left- Fox- some- on the right].
Then you lose all credibility- because people know they can’t trust you with a fair analysis.
But if we can’t- as a nation- as a globe- see behind the lines- see what’s really going on- then we will continue to blame one side- or the other- while not really seeing the root cause.
Yes- there are questions still to be asked.
Maybe the president’s noble attempt at reaching out to radical elements was doomed from the start.
Maybe one of the reasons we are seeing some of the worst violence in the Palestinian areas has to do with this.
But for one of the president’s biggest cheerleaders- who has himself criticized Bush many times for his hard stance and ‘unwillingness’ to see the Muslim side.
For him to say one of the problems is Bush was too chummy with radicals- it’s beyond belief.
Yeah- but if we don’t blame Bush- who else could we blame?
Just switch to MSNBC- they’re still blaming Romney.
Yeah- that will work.
1949 HEBREWS 9
Let’s make up for lost time.
I was wanting to review Hebrews chapter 9 last week- so let’s hit it today.
The book of Hebrews [in the New Testament] is one of my favorites.
Not only chapter 9- but the whole book speaks about how Jesus started a ‘new and better’ covenant [agreement] between God and man.
The Old ‘agreement’ [covenant] was called The Law.
It was based on man approaching God solely on his own effort- how well he did- how hard he tried to keep the commandments.
There are many good people today who still approach God based on this.
The New Testament says the law came thru Moses- but grace and truth came by Jesus.
Because of Christ- we can now approach God based on his merit- he kept the law and died for us.
Now- this does not give us an excuse to sin- but the new approach is one of grace as opposed to law.
Okay- Hebrews 9 says Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament law to the tee.
He is now our new High Priest.
He goes into the presence of God for us- with his Blood- and he makes intercession for us.
In the Old Testament system the priests went daily [and yearly] into the tabernacle [tent] and did certain sacrifices.
They used the blood of ‘bulls and goats’.
The writer says these things could never make the worshippers clean- but they only served as examples until the ultimate sacrifice would be made.
That was Christ.
The writer says the real temple—the real presence of God is in heaven- and Jesus has entered into the true Holy of Holies on our behalf.
He says ‘this should purge us from dead works to serve the living God’.
In context the ‘dead works’ are the old works of the law system- with all of its animal sacrifices- and the New Way is this new priesthood established by Christ himself.
We don’t need the blood of animals as a sacrifice- we have the death of Christ.
I wrote an entire commentary on the book of Hebrews- on the blog.
It’s a great letter- and the main point of the letter is an appeal to the first century Jewish community- who were still keeping the ordinances of the sacrificial system.
The writer is trying to show them that Christ has put an end to the old system of animal sacrifice- and he has established this new ‘system’ [called the New Covenant] and it is based on the one and final sacrifice of Jesus.
This truly is Good News [the meaning of Gospel].
Today we have better covenant- a better way to approach God.
We don’t come to him based on how well we kept the law.
No- Hebrews says ‘let us come boldly into the presence of God’.
How can sinful man come boldly?
Because we come to God- not by our works- but on the merits of the sacrifice of Christ.
Yes- as simple as this sounds- Christ died for all- all can come- all who believe.
1950 LORD OF THE RINGS
These past few weeks have been somewhat of a whirlwind.
Every so often in life you hit a stage when multiple things come together.
Over time- as you get older- you learn to take these times with a grain of salt.
That is- you don’t get overly excited about them.
Yet- you see ‘oh yea- this is one of those times’.
There are usually lots of signs that accompany these moments in life.
Let’s name a few.
A couple of months back I went to a part of town that I usually don’t go to.
I wrote a few posts on it- met a few homeless guys- and felt like we needed to do some type of ministry in this area.
Then within a few days one of my good friends wound up in the hospital for triple bypass surgery.
I have known John David and both of his brothers for years- Andy and Huey- they are all street guys where I live.
So- we went to see John David in the hospital- come to find out they thought he was going to die after the surgery.
They had to resuscitate him once.
So- John David has asked me- a few years back- if I would help him do a halfway house.
Now- over all the years of ministry- I have worked with ministries like this.
And I was interested- but really did not know if it would fly.
John David is a very smart guy- he once owned one of the biggest concrete businesses in the area.
Made tons of money over the years.
He lost it all when he became a hardcore addict.
So- I knew he had the smarts for the business aspect- but John is sort of new to the faith.
It’s been a couple of years and he has that new excitement that young Christians have.
So- I just tried to encourage him- and when he gets too many ideas I realize he’s like a lot of us- we sometimes over do it.
But since he had the surgery- he called me the other day and that was the first day of the new halfway house ministry.
Okay- some signs.
I did not realize that the first house [there are now 2] was only a few blocks from my original foray into that part of town.
I met the homeless guys on Morgan and Cross-town [you locals know the spot] and John David opened up the first room at Mary and 20th st.
Walking distance from the spot.
I only realized it later [you take different routes to get there- it never dawned on me that the day I spent with the homeless guys was right there- when we left John David’s house the other day- I realized that was the same spot where I hung out].
That was the first ‘sign’.
I have been praying for years here in my yard- it’s really like a prayer garden- I walk the yard and have all types of prayer markers.
Facing certain ways- praying for the nations that are in that direction- recognizing the star clusters each time of the year.
When you pray early like this- you see lots of shooting stars and come to familiarize yourself with the ‘heavens and earth’.
Anyway- I have this gazebo with hundreds of painted names of prisoners I have collected over the years.
These are cases where people got sent to prison for long periods of time.
So- being I work with street guys- they are sort of my collection- I might run into them some day on the street.
So- this gazebo is like a prayer spot- it represents a community of people.
I also have lots of verses on it.
Over the years I have collected street signs.
Yeah- you’re not supposed to pick them up- but I have.
These are various signs that I found along the road [on the ground or in the trash]- my daughter came home one year with one- she’s like ‘hey dad- we found you one’.
So- I have about 3 or 4 like this.
I have them hanging on this gazebo thing.
Yesterday as I was walking and praying- praying about the halfway house- seeing how the location was ‘prophetic’.
As I’m walking past this gazebo- early in the morning- I must have walked it 30 thousand times before.
I look up- right there- one of the signs says ‘STAPLES AND MARY’.
That’s the actual street that the halfway house is on.
That street is also the connecting street to the second house [on Laredo].
Yeah- Staples and Mary is the main connection for the homes.
Now- Corpus is big- to ‘accidently’ have that sign- that crosses right there- well that’s a bit much.
Last but not least.
Right when I got back from my Jersey trip- the first chapter I read/studied was Luke 15.
For some reason the story about the father putting a ring on the son- it got me to thinking about getting a ring.
Now- I am not a jewelry type of guy.
I have lost multiple wedding rings over the years.
And at the fire house we would take them off.
Yeah- they are a hazard.
There are many stories about guys getting their fingers pulled off when the ring catches something.
So- I haven’t had a ring in years.
But- it’s in my head- so I’m on the hunt.
I stopped at the local pawn shop- I had a homeless friend who died years ago- Bill.
One day I was in there with Bill- and he spotted this ring that he liked a lot.
It had a horse on it.
Personally- I didn’t like it that much- but I thought ‘hey- if that ring is there- I’ll get it’.
Sort of like a reminder of my friend.
It was long gone.
So I hit Wal Mart [yeah- the last resort spot].
They had 2 nice gold rings- with Crosses.
But they wanted a couple of hundred for them- I wasn’t gonna go for that [heck- what if we go over the fiscal cliff!]
About 2 weeks before I mentioned to the street guys ‘hey- I’m looking for a ring- with a Cross on it- if you find one- I’ll buy it’.
Now- I let them know I don’t not want a ‘hot’ ring.
I have had guys wanting to sell me stuff at a cheap rate- stolen stuff.
I told them I would never do that.
So- the next day- after my failed venture at obtaining the ring.
I am getting ready to go to the mission.
I’m in the bathroom and my cell phone rings.
My daughter says ‘dad- your phone is ringing’.
I ask ‘who is it’?
She says ‘it says Martin’.
Martin is the last name of the 3 amigos- John David- Andy and Huey.
I ask ‘which one’?
She says ‘H martin’.
‘O- That’s Huey- just leave it- I’m gonna see him in a minute’.
So- I leave the house- don’t check the message [I never check my messages].
And as I head out I think ‘geez- maybe I should hit the other pawn shop- right passed the mission’.
I’m kinda praying about it.
Then I feel like the Lord is saying ‘son- in Luke 15- the father gave the son a ring- wait till I give you one’.
Right then I make the turn into the mission.
Huey says ‘hey- did you get my message’.
I told him no- I figured I’d see him right now.
He says ‘I got your ring’.
Yeah- I gave 12 bucks for the thing.
But it’s a nice ring- a copper stress ring.
It says ‘TRUST GOD’.
It has 2 Crosses on it.
Probably a 35-50 dollar ring.
[It wasn’t stolen- the guy who owned it was right there- Huey talked him into selling the thing for quick cash].
Yeah- as I have grown older I try not to overdo the sign thing.
But- at the same time- I also try not to ‘under do’ them.
The bible says God is in control of the affairs of men.
Nothing happens without his permission.
Yeah- I guess you can even say- He’s
THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
NOTE- As a side note- the ring was given to me by Huey- John David’s brother.
Rings denote partnership in scripture.
It was interesting that John David’s brother was the one who gave me the ring- I would be ‘partnering’ with him in just a few more days.
1951 ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE [and the media write the script]
This past week we have seen media bias on an unusually large scale [that is it’s rarely so blatant].
The current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been reported in the strangest of ways.
Say if you had 2 kids throwing apples at each other.
You would ask ‘how did this start’.
And say if we found out that Timmy had small apples- and Billy had big ones.
Now- Timmy knows Billy has better apples- that he can launch them with greater precision and power- yet Timmy thinks if he plays his cards right- that maybe Billy won’t throw in response [Or that his new friends might come and help him].
So Timmy throws about 300 apples in a short period of time.
Finally Billy has enough- he takes his precision throwing skills to the table and slams Timmy.
After a few days of getting slammed- Timmy’s friend [little Morsi from around the corner- lives on Egyptian trail] gets involved.
Morsi says ‘damn you Billy- stop it- Timmy’s my friend’.
Billy has only one request- tell Timmy to stop throwing.
Morsi is really not a go between at all- in all his talks he keeps saying he’s on Timmy’s side- he calls Billy a cold blooded apple thrower- and little Morsi does not even recognize that Timmy actually started the whole thing [the recent apple throwing].
So- the big brother on the block finally steps in.
Yeah- the guys from USA Street enter the fray.
They have recently praised the guy from Egypt Street- they have made all sorts of statements saying he’s really a heroic figure- he’s willing to reach out to both sides and play the mediator.
Yet- in fact- he has not done this at all.
But the boys from USA Street have to make it look that way- or else they too will look bad- after all- they were behind the Egyptian street boys rise to power [in many covert ways- like calling for Mubarak to step down ‘yesterday’].
So- USA boys have a plan- they have friends that write comic books [called news paper reporters].
These friends will write and say anything to help their friends who are currently the bosses on USA Street [the Obama team].
So- they wrote all types of articles praising the new leadership role of Morsi- they made it look like Obama and his risk in backing Morsi was worth it- after all- Egypt has emerged as the new mediator in these affairs.
Well the truth is- all of this is a big lie- a true comic strip if there ever was one.
Yes my friends- I have rarely seen bias on a scale so large.
These last few days the articles reported that ‘both sides have demands’ [Israel and Hamas].
They reported ‘a cease fire is now in place- but there are rockets that continue to be fired into Israel- will Israel use this as an excuse to be the first to break the cease fire’.
If the other side [Timmy- Hamas] are firing rockets after the so called ‘cease fire’ what do you call that?
You say ‘o- Hamas broke the cease fire’.
But no- the media made it sound like these rockets had a will of their own- they were fired into Israel- after the cease fire- which according to them- both sides were still abiding by.
I mean this stuff is laughable- they must think we are absolute morons.
The truth is- Israel and the Palestinians have a long feud- and this post is not to say one side is totally right- I at times have said we also need to see the true plight of the innocent Palestinians- yes- some are very good people- they are not all Hamas.
But- the recent violence is a direct result of Hamas deciding to send rockets into civilian areas of Israel.
No nation- that has the capability to fire back- would sit back and not respond.
Israel did the only thing that they could- they shot back.
Now- to then say ‘yes- the violence is a result of both sides having legitimate concerns’ is stupid.
Yes- the Palestinians do have real concerns- but the recent violence is a result of little Timmy starting the apple throwing.
I read a report that said ‘Israel’s demands are for the rockets to stop- Hamas wants an end to the embargo’.
Okay- I got that.
But when one guy starts shooting at the other- and the other shoots back- and you say ‘okay guys- what’s going on- what do you want’.
And when Billy says ‘I don’t want anything- Timmy just started throwing- I want him to stop’.
That’s not ‘both sides having equal demands’ no- that’s one side saying ‘quit throwing the apples’.
The truth is- this entire thing is a debacle.
President Obama should not have been in Asia- there’s too much going on at home [fiscal cliff] and he needs to have more involvement in the mediation.
Yes- when Bush was in office- and had an actual peace process on the table- when things hit the fan- Harry Reid- and many other Democrat leaders were on the floor condemning Bush for not being involved more.
This time Obama does not even have a peace process in place- he could not even call both sides ‘back to the table’ because there is no table.
One article showed a picture of the president on the phone- it said he ‘skipped dessert and rushed back to the phone’.
Making it sound like him and Morsi were these 2 jet setter type diplomats- in a world of ids fighting.
The reality is this thing was a huge foreign policy mess.
Hillary went in- she basically told Morsi what he had to do- and she [we] also made it sound like he won- he prevailed as a new emerging peace negotiator- this is all a false story.
Hamas agreed to stop firing [even though they were still firing!] because Israel has amassed a ground force and were ready to go in and demolish Hamas.
Yet- after the agreement- both the Palestinians- and Morsi- were celebrating a so called military victory over the ‘terrorist’ Israel.
Yes- Morsi and Hamas all held to this same line.
How can you call him a new peace maker- after he says and acts like this?
Yes my friends- we have seen the worst in media bias- in a long time.
We have seen the comic strip writers living up to their reputation.
Yeah- they all put on a big show for us- they wrote a script that had nothing to do with what really happened.
And they did all this because this time their friend was running the show.
The last time around [Bush years] well the script looked nothing like this.
NOTE- Why so hard on Morsi [the Egyptian president]?
Just yesterday he re wrote the ‘Egyptian constitution’ and took to himself more power than Mubarak ever had.
Many Egyptians took to the streets [they are there right now] protesting this power grab by an Islamic group.
Yes- Morsi and the group he’s affiliated with- the Muslim Brotherhood- promised to never do this.
There are Christians and other non religious secularists in Egypt who fear this move.
One of the reasons he did this was because he arrested- and wanted tried- many of his political opponents.
The judges in Egypt have a reputation of being independent.
Yes- they are not as good as our system- but they are pretty good- in that they are not simply tools of the leader- like in many other places around the world.
So- when Morsi wanted some of his political enemies tried- the courts said no.
They said there was not enough evidence to try them- or find them guilty.
So- Morsi made this move- and is replacing all the judges with his own men.
Yes- this move is worse than anything Mubarak ever did.
Yet- we find president Obama and his administration praising him as some sort of great peace negotiator.
Ah- what a web we have weaved in this mess.
1952 YOU WILL STAND IN YOUR LOT AT THE END OF DAYS
Let’s do a little from Daniel chapter 12.
That was the chapter for this past week.
These chapters in the Old Testament prophets are very familiar with the End Times teachers.
In Theology we call this Eschatology- the study of End Times.
But what I want to do is give you a few simple principles.
Daniel is receiving a message from God/angels.
He hears that God is going to do a great work with his people- but this work takes place in the middle of great trouble [often called the time of Jacobs Trouble- or the Tribulation].
God communicates that his people will be scattered- a ruler will come against them- and yet- this is the time they will inherit the promises God made to them.
The chapter ends by saying those who endure to the final days- they will ‘stand in their lot at the end of their days- and rest’.
The ‘end of days’ phrase- used by Jesus in the gospels- can be a tricky phrase.
In the New Testament when we read that certain things will happen- and the ‘end of the world’ comes.
The actual term in Greek says ‘the end of the age’.
This can refer to a specific time period coming to an end.
For instance- one of the great themes of the bible is the New and Everlasting covenant of the Blood of Jesus.
Yes- Christians celebrate and remember this covenant every Sunday in church.
The Eucharist/communion is the central mode of worship in many Christian churches of our day.
In biblical terms- we are already in a ‘new age’.
So- in some ways the ‘old world’ has passed away- and the new one has come.
Okay- applying this to Daniel- God says in the ‘end of days’ we shall stand in our lot [fulfill our purpose in life] and this will happen during a time of great trouble- like never before.
As we say ‘can I get an amen’?
So- in life- we have a calling from God- a purpose for being on the planet.
Thru out the journey there are ups and downs- but those who ‘endure to the end [outcome]’ will ‘be saved’- or fulfill the purpose at the end.
Okay- just a few notes.
The last week or so I have been helping my friend establish a halfway house.
I have been working with some new guys- guys form the other part of town- yet they are brothers just like the guys where I live.
I mentioned Little Charlie the other day- he’s a young kid- has had his problems with drugs- and is living at the halfway house.
I brought a bunch of furniture and stuff over the last few weeks.
I like it- it already has some of my favorite nick knacks hanging on the walls.
I spent some time with the guys this past Sunday- I took them to a street church that my friend pastors [see all the pictures of the tent he sets up- I posted them on Facebook].
His name is Rey Escalante- he’s a good friend of mine- he works with the same street guys I work with.
I took the halfway house crew to his service this Sunday- we had a good time.
Rey feeds everyone a Sunday dinner too.
I had a good talk with Bryan.
Bryan is one of the guys at the house- he’s 46- I was surprised- he looks much younger.
He told me ‘John- I’m Catholic’.
I guess he has had various ‘preachers’ jump on him about that over the years- you could tell by the way he said it.
I told him that’s fine- I have Catholic friends [over the years even a few priests] who have read my blog.
So- I do get along well with my Catholic friends.
Bryan has been in Corpus for about a year.
He is a drug addict.
He works in construction- and looks to be a hard worker [some of the guys do work hard- there are different types of guys who struggle with addiction- and believe me- some are hard workers].
Bryan strikes me that way.
As we were heading to church this Sunday- he found out that his Jeep finally got repossessed.
He was behind 3 months on the payments and his friend was holding it for him.
Sure enough- they found it.
Bryan told me he was glad in a way.
That years ago- something like this would really get him upset.
You know- having to get with the dealership and try to get his tools and stuff back.
Yeah- this has happened to him before.
But this time- he has learned how to deal with it in a better way.
He can now focus more on his recovery- and less on the Jeep.
I had a good day with the guys- this type of ministry is really more like a brotherhood.
After we left the church meeting at Church Without Walls- we came back to the house for a couple of hours- by this time I picked up a few other guys- we had a house/yard full [Huey crashed out in the ‘homeless room’ I fixed up a few months ago- It’s just ‘their room’ type of thing].
Henry crashed on the couch- watching his favorite show- ESPN.
And the rest of us hung out in my yard- I cooked some hot dogs on the grill and we just laid back.
Bryan even took a short nap in my Hammock.
All in all we had a good day.
Yeah- like the prophet said- in the end times there will be trouble- yet- those who endure to the end- they will inherit all that God has for them.
In a way- I see God doing this with all these guys.
I took a ride with John David the other day.
John David is the older brother who actually started the Halfway House- I’m just helping him with it.
As we were driving- getting the rooms fixed up- he was so excited.
He was saying ‘thank you God for making all this happen- it’s happening all around us’.
John was a big time addict for many years- I know John- and his brothers- from the streets.
He almost died a couple months back [had the open heart surgery- had to be shocked with the paddles].
He has had quite the life.
And now- after all the troubles- he is ‘standing in his lot at the end of his days’.
Yeah- I thank God for my buddies- seeing them come full circle.
They stuck it out- in very tough times- may God bless them all.
1953 LEADERS/PASTORS AMONG MEN?
Saw Lincoln yesterday [actually it was the movie].
I did like it- but to be honest- it was a little too much like watching the news [or some politics show].
My daughter crashed out on the seats.
I took Debbie- my youngest- she’s 20.
I’m trying to take them out at least once a week- the mall- Golden Corral [buffet].
You know- dad and girls day.
Okay- I also have had some good talks with the guys at the halfway house.
I spent about 2 hours ‘teaching’ an entire course on Ecclesiology [The doctrine of the church in the bible].
I haven’t taught this subject in a few years- it can get in depth- and it takes a basic foundation of knowing the bible before you can really teach it.
But Little Charlie really has the bible down well- for a younger Christian he knows a lot.
So- I took him on a tour of the mind.
The reason it’s not an easy subject is because much of what you pick up in this teaching is by simply reading the interaction of the biblical people.
For instance- Paul the apostle’s letters make up most of the New Testament.
So we read how he is addressing the churches he is writing to- and he seems to by-pass our normal ‘way’ of doing church.
Much of church in our day is a type of lecture hall format.
That is people go to ‘church’ [some sort of meeting place- from an old time Cathedral to a theatre].
And you listen to a lecture [called a sermon].
Okay- all of this has a role.
But when Paul writes to the churches in the bible- he is addressing communities of people living in a location [which is the biblical definition of the church- Ecclesia].
He speaks directly to ‘the brothers’.
That is- there does not seem to be an office of Pastor on the sense many modern Evangelicals understand the term.
How do you know this John?
Now you see why this study gets hard.
We know this because if you had the office functioning the way it functions today- Paul would be breaking church protocol to speak directly to the brothers in these churches- he would be violating the rule of going to the ‘authority’ office over the people commonly called the Pastor.
Okay- doesn’t the bible speak about Pastors?
Sure- actually one time in the book of Ephesians [one time- yup].
One time in the English King James version that is [Ephesians].
In the bible the word speaks about a gift that God gives to certain believers- and it’s a sort of shepherding gift.
It simply functions in the community- that is if you a part of a church [a believing community] more than likely you have a person like this who functions in the gift.
It was not a speaking gift- that is a sort of professional speaker who preaches to you every week.
Now- I’m just showing you the difference between the biblical word itself- and how we as believers have developed more ‘meaning’ to the word as time goes by.
So- this study does take a long time- cant’ do it here- but pretty much covered most of it in my 2 hour talk.
Charlie really learned a lot that day- it would take a long time to simply see these things yourself as time goes by.
The main point of what I was showing him was the important thing we are doing [as a new ministry- the halfway house just stared a few weeks ago].
Is we are simply working- helping- accepting people where they are at.
We are not starting a business- a 501 c3- that usually takes the description ‘local church’.
These things [non profit- etc.] serve a purpose if needed- but the point is in the bible the churches are the people.
Some of the guys are getting worried about all the money needed for the rent.
They are working- I also have chipped in cash- and John David [my buddy who actually started it] gets panicky at times.
So- I spend a few days a week simply working with the guys.
But I wanted them to get their eyes off of the idea that what they-we are doing is not simply attempting to start a ‘ministry’.
In the sense of the whole corporate thing.
But I wanted them to see that the important thing is the people.
That’s the whole point of me showing them that the apostle was writing the brothers [that’s how he mostly addressed the churches he wrote to in the bible- I think he addresses the Philippian church and does use the term Bishop- along with brothers- which means overseer- but he mostly speaks directly to the brothers].
So- to sum it up.
The best biblical definition of Church would be the communities of believers located in any given place at a set time.
That’s what we call ‘the Local church’.
It’s not the place they meet each Sunday- as fine as that might be- but it’s the family- the community.
And we also speak about the universal church- all the believers- of all time- even those who have died and are with the Lord right now.
Yes- these too are part of this great communion.
The gifts that God gives to people- pastors- teachers- etc.
These are for the purpose of building up the people- and they are the ones who go out and do the ‘work of the ministry’ [Ephesians].
So the job of leadership is to build others up- and they do the work of God.
It’s not the job of leaders to be the main [or only] functioning person among the people- and the people see themselves as the financial supporters of the gift of their minister.
Often times that’s how modern church expresses itself.
But that paradigm is very limited- and it hinders the growth of the church [the believers].
Because we have relegated them to a position where they see their main ‘job’ as simply giving money every Sunday- and others will do the work.
Yeah- this takes long to teach- and as you can see- I’m running out of time.
On the blog- I have written a few little books on this over the years.
I think there is an entire category in the February posts of the first couple of years that I stuck on the blog.
So- for those who want to study more on this- help yourself.
Okay- that’s it- maybe tomorrow well’ do some more news- let’s see.
1954 DON’T MOVE THE ROCKS
I want to cover a few things today- not sure how much we will get to.
A few months ago I kept having a ‘thought’- I was thinking about a church/ministry that I have known for years.
They are from Kansas City [the Missouri side].
I have read the pastor’s book- I have met many that were involved in the church/movement- and I even had a good pastor friend who eventually went and joined the ministry.
He held a doctorate in theology and became one of the teachers for their university.
Okay- so- for some reason an image of the ministry kept coming to mind.
Actually- I kept thinking about the off balance of a few things I had heard over the years.
I was thinking about their belief- taught to the students/members of the ministry- that they are all convinced that we are definitely in the ‘end times’ and that they are actually fulfilling a role of an end times prayer ministry that will rise up before the Lord returns [which they believe the bible speaks about].
At its most basic level- this is dangerous to do- for a variety of reasons.
The other thing that came to mind was a simple statement I heard the minister make years ago.
He was mentioning some criticism that their church/university has gotten over the years.
Some of the parents of the kids have said to them ‘but you need to also learn some type of job skills- some type of learning in the liberal arts- you can’t just spend all your time praying and learning about being the Lords end time army’.
When I heard this- I actually agreed with the critic- though I was sympathetic to the ministry.
Okay- after having these things in my mind- for a few weeks [that’s how you know you’re actually praying in a way for them- because you’re thinking about them- even during prayer].
Then I read in my local paper that a kid from my town was I involved in a possible murder plot and killed his wife.
They were involved in the above mentioned ministry.
I went on-line a bit yesterday to read up on it before I comment- I won’t mention the names- you can find that from many other sources.
I just want to mention the danger of various expressions of Protestant ministries- and why this is so.
The other day one of my friends was mentioning some stuff about not being a ‘lone ranger’ in ministry.
And I agreed with him.
But I also reminded him that the church he associates with [Baptist] is in many ways a ‘lone ranger’.
Depending on what kind of Baptist church your involved with- some are highly ‘lone’- others not as much.
But by ‘lone’ I mean historically they are a church movement that came out of the 16th century Reformation [later on- they were part of what’s called the Radical Reformers- those who took the reforms further than the initial protestors] and in historical terms- they are all ‘rebelling’ against authority.
They left the historic church.
Now- I don’t take this view in a harsh way- I have many good Baptist friends and many good churches are Baptist.
I say this only to give the broader perspective.
Okay- as time progressed [from the 1500’s] you had a multitude of churches/denominations break away from one thing or another.
It’s really astounding to see the many divisions that have come since the days of the Reformation [which some Catholic scholars warned would happen].
In these ‘off shoot’ expressions of Christianity- some are less dangerous- others more.
Many cult watchers have lists of what to look for in these movements- and these lists can be helpful.
What I try and tell people [and teach] is if you stay connected as much as possible with the historic church [yes- both the Catholic and Protestant expressions of it] then you are in safe territory.
But if you truncate yourself from ‘the church’ then you are heading for trouble.
In the above example- the thing that troubled me was having lots of young kids- on ‘fire’ for God- being taught that they are God’s ‘end time army’.
The actual ones!
Geez- that in itself is really disturbing.
First- I think the Evangelical church has to do some real soul searching about the way she views/expresses the ‘end times’.
The fact that over the last few years some of the best sellers are Tim Layahes books- his End Times series- is troubling.
He gives a very narrow- and skewed view [in my opinion] of the bibles’ teaching about End Times.
I posted the other day from Daniel 12- and I have hinted about these problems over the years.
But some of our view about the end times comes from a miss reading of the actual Greek text.
In the gospels when we read ‘end of the world’- the term actually means end of the AGE.
Okay- that little adjustment alone can change our understanding about lots of stuff.
That’s just one little thing- I have posted lots more over the years.
But the point I’m making is if we have a whole group of fine young people- embracing a view- from the elders over them- that they are indeed the actual ‘end time army’ or prayer movement- that was foretold about in the bible- than that’s very disturbing.
When I read about the case yesterday [the ministry is IHOP_ Mike Bickle is the main leader- I won’t mention the name of the local boy who is implicated in the death of his wife].
The church is trying to distance itself from the incident- and to be fair the young kid seems to have started his own ‘break away’ community [which can also be one of the problems with a Protesting position form the start- that is when the actual name of your group ‘Protestant’ seems to say we are nonstop protestors- well that can give rise to the nonstop protests- you think?]
We don’t know all the facts right now- but we know enough to say we- as Evangelicals- as Protestants [which I am] need to make every effort to stay connected to the historic church.
Yes- there are things that Evangelicals disagree with- there are things that the historic early church might view differently than we do.
But- they are our Fathers in the faith.
Over the years I remember a verse that some in the above movement used to mention.
It was a sort of obscure verse found in the Old Testament.
It says ‘don’t move the foundation stones that your Fathers have laid down’.
Yeah- I think that verse fits pretty well.
As we end the week once again we are reminded of the politics of chicken.
You know- that old game where you see who blinks first.
I find it sad that the lines have been drawn- over the Fiscal Cliff- with the whole idea of the rich SOB’s not paying their fair share.
1955 GRECIAN FORMULA ….
I spoke to a liberal friend not long ago- she watches all the more progressive news shows [MSNBC].
She was railing against Romney- against the rich fat cat corporate guys.
She went on and on about the rich being the actual cause of all the nations problems.
I asked my friend if she thought the rich pay less taxes than the middle class.
She said ‘of course they do’!
I went on to inform my friend that the tax rate- as well as the actual dollars paid- are much higher among the rich than the middle class.
She could not believe this was so.
I told her that when some say they are not paying their fair share- their talking about Capital Gains taxes being less than the middle class tax rate for income.
And the rich who don’t earn income- well they do pay less- if they are only living off their investments.
But most who are in this category do indeed earn income [the rich now being earning 200 thousand or more].
But it’s the way the debate was framed- blaming things on the rich- this caused my friend to not see the real problem.
Which is no matter how much we tax the rich- that will not solve the problem of our country having promised too much stuff that we can no longer afford.
I saw Ed Shultz the other night- he actually was telling people that the problem was we are not taxing them enough.
If you listen long enough- you would think that we could get out of the hole if we simply taxed rich folk.
I’m for raising the tax on them by the way- I don’t think it’s wrong to go back to the Clinton year’s tax rate.
I’m no conservative about this.
But that does not even come close to fixing the problem.
Our nation is in debt for around 16 trillion dollars.
The largest expense- not counting the military- are the Entitlement programs.
Medicare- Medicaid- etc.
Now- if we do raise the taxes on the ‘rich’ it will bring in about 80 billion a year.
That’s a drop in the bucket- that won’t barely put a dent in the debt.
But the rate of growth for Medicare- if we keep growing at this rate- will eventually swallow up the entire budget- we will be spending everything on Medicare alone.
That’s why I believe the result of the last few weeks has been bad.
After Obama won re-election- many from the more liberal side began putting pressure on him to not deal with entitlement spending.
Yesterday he made an offer to the House Republicans- and it had no real change to these programs.
If we do not make any changes to the programs- like means testing [the rich get less benefit than the poor- which you would think would be a Democrat’s dream come true- yet they are the ones blocking this change].
If we simply keep framing the argument as one being the rich not paying their fair share- then that will give an excuse to not actually fix these programs.
And that’s what the president has decided to do.
Remember- I’m for the tax rate going up on the rich- but that will barely put a dent in the debt.
You must- we must- make some adjustments with the entitlement programs- that’s the only way to really fix the problem.
And the president- and some who support him- have decided to continue the campaign.
They are not going to realistically look at the problem.
And if they keep kicking this can down the road.
Well- it will land in Greece.
1956 SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES [versus the 2nd amendment?]
Found it interesting to see the politics play out over the sad murder/suicide of the Kansas City chief’s football player.
Both the left and the right were out in force- using their standard lines.
Bob Costas used his coverage of a game- during halftime- to speak about gun control.
That raised the ire of the right- and they were out too- you know- the usual rhetoric.
I guess the most honest view came from Joe Namath.
He was on Piers Morgan [CNN].
Morgan asked him about Costas’ comments.
Joe said even though he was partial to the gun control side- yet he felt Costas shouldn’t have used the game in a political way.
I mentioned I saw the Lincoln movie the other day.
It really was a good history lesson on how congress works.
They spent most of the movie simply playing out the political machinations of congress and the president- and how making the right moves can accomplish the goal.
Slavery was forbidden under the 13th amendment to the constitution.
The second amendment talks about gun rights.
I own a few guns- am not a liberal- or an NRA type of guy.
But I find it strange how believers seem to associate guns with patriotism and freedom.
Of course weapons have been used in the past to obtain freedom- and it’s in mans nature to resort to violence in order to protect what he thinks is valuable.
But there actually is a biblical goal- the scripture speaks about God’s ultimate goal for weapons.
It does- I never knew that?
Yes- the bible speaks about a future day when there will be no more weapons of war.
The prophet Isaiah says ‘they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks- they will learn war no more’.
Now- to my friends on the right- no- I’m not against our 2nd amendment rights.
To my friends on the left- well- yeah- guns don’t kill people- but people do.
But- the end goal for the believer- for the kingdom- is no more weapons.
Okay- I guess a few more examples from my homeless buddies will do here.
I have been mentioning the guys the last few weeks- we have been working together on a halfway house- and I have been sort of playing the mediator role with some of the guys.
In ‘ministry’ there exists a sort of competitive spirit.
The same type of thing you see in sports.
My friend David who started the halfway house has noticed that some of our mutual pastor friends are not so happy about it.
I have been teaching the guys about the nature of ‘church’ and Gods kingdom- insights I have gleaned over the years.
And my friend David is seeing it- the competitive thing- and he realizes that people are more willing to help other ministries if they have some type of name recognition fixed to it.
A few pastors/churches are willing to help my buddy- but they want him to incorporate as part of their church.
The other day David asked if I wanted to actually use my ‘ministry’ as the name- the incorporation- for the halfway house [he wants to establish many of them].
I have been helping the most I guess- out of all the other ministries.
I told David I really did not want too- I actually incorporated years ago- but eventually dropped the status.
There was no need for it.
I never took offerings- or financial support at all [since around 1994?]
So I told David I had no need- or desire- to have the thing under my name.
But he saw that seemed to be a big thing with some of the other pastors we work with.
In my talk the other day with the group [called NeWay].
I spoke about the kingdom of God in the parables of Jesus.
Often times we overlook the simple teachings of Christ when thinking ‘church starting’.
Now- there are many theological reasons pastors do this- too many to cover right here.
But- in the parables of Jesus we see a principle- a kingdom principle about seeds.
Jesus teaches his men that the kingdom of God is like spreading seeds.
You throw some here- some there- and you have no control over which ones take and the others that don’t.
Jesus says ‘after he plants- he sleeps- and wakes- and the seed grows- he knows not how’.
I like that- we are just seed sowers.
Now- Jesus did not just teach this- he also modeled it in the actual ‘ministry’ he was building with his men.
They were going from town to town- preaching the good news- healing the sick- feeding the poor.
They were not ‘setting up ministries’ in the way we think.
They were simply communicating the truth of God- in whatever format they were in at the time- and doing kingdom works.
Eventually some in those towns became followers- others did not [some seeds took- some did not].
Notice- there was no big appeal for lots of money- sure- they did receive offerings from some- but the appeal to start some huge 501 c3 thing was nonexistent.
So- the point I was making was we- ministers- Christians in general- we should not focus most of our time on simply raising money for all types of ‘worthy’ causes.
No- we are here to basically model the ministry of Christ.
Yeah- could it be that simple?
Jesus said ‘let your light so shine before men- that they may see YOUR GOOD DEEDS- and glorify you father in heaven’.
Our ‘light’ is not the showcasing of our gifts or our talents.
We often see modern ministry thru that lens.
‘wow- did you hear him speak’ type of thing.
Actually that’s not the light.
The light Jesus spoke about was the actual good deeds of charity.
The actual lived out love we have for one another.
‘greater love has no man than this- that he would lay down his life for his friends’.
Yeah- the kingdom seems to always rub against our own ideas.
Yeah- there’s coming a day where there will be no more weapons.
That’s not just a Lennon song.
1957 TODAY I HAVE TO GO- DON’T WORRY.
Which way to go?
Yeah- today I have lots of things to write about- but must pick one or 2.
Yesterday I spent the day with David- my buddy who started the halfway house.
I picked up Henry in the morning- he was at a weekly breakfast that a local church sponsors.
I actually posted the pic yesterday- the plate looked like a Denny’s thing!
I don’t eat breakfast or lunch- though I’m regularly at these spots- because that’s where I have met lots of street guys in the past.
Me and Henry stopped at brother Rey’s [pastor of church without walls] and he donated a couple of real nice cots to the halfway house.
At the halfway house we took in a new guy- John.
Yeah- I was with John David- I took John Henry- and we added another John.
That has come up a lot these last few months.
I also posted his pic on Facebook.
Please pray for him- he has liver cancer real bad- has been sober for a while- but he might die while at the house.
Okay- I really did not plan on spending the whole day helping with the halfway house- but once we started- I felt that was the plan for the day.
As we left the halfway house and headed back to David’s little apt. – he wanted to stop at McDonalds- the one close to the area where all this is happening.
As we sat inside- I relayed to David and Henry that the last time I was here was about 8 months ago.
It was the beginning of my involvement in this area of town [downtown Corpus- most of my homeless/street friends live on the south side].
I told the guys that I took a ride one morning- prayed for the Lord to open some doors- and stopped right here.
There were 2 homeless guys sleeping on the bus benches outside.
It was early- about 6:30 in the morning.
I bought a couple of breakfasts and woke the guys up- they were grateful for the meal.
I spent about 4 hours with the guys- hanging out- telling them about the ministry and all.
I never saw them again.
I did go back to look for them- but like many others- they just moved on.
But- thru a series of events- we are now doing the halfway house right in the area- and sitting at the same McDonalds that I bought the breakfasts from.
So yes- God did open some doors- in ways that I did not see in the beginning.
Yesterday as I was reading the paper I came across a sad story.
When I read my papers every morning- I glean from the both current events- which I write about lots.
But I also write the names of severe crime cases- people being sent to prison for life- or upcoming death penalty guys.
I write the date of their execution on my calendar- I pray for them thru out the months [along with lots of others].
And if I remember- I pray for them on the day of execution [I’m not praying for them to get ‘spared’ though that did happen one day- but for them to die ‘well’. If they are indeed guilty- to ask forgiveness from their victim’s families if they have not done this. Or if they have denied the crime- to confess- to go out well- and to ask God for forgiveness].
I started this a few years ago- I felt the Lord leading me into this strange type of prayer group- you know- people who are now dead.
Almost seemed like a waste of time- I mean who ‘collects’ these dead ones?
Anyway- in yesterday’s paper I read about Niko [the San Antonio news].
They had a picture of him sitting on the beach- by a pier.
He is [was] 11 years old.
Niko was an ambitious young kid- smart- and had big plans.
He liked soccer- and wanted to attend Harvard one day.
But Niko was diagnosed with cancer- and died.
The story went on.
His family were visiting him at the hospital once again.
And he said to them ‘Today is the day- today I have to go’.
He died later that day.
As I read Niko’s words- it was so sad.
The end of the story said his last words were ‘don’t worry about me’.
I have Nikos story right here- when I’m done typing I will post it here in my study- along with the names of my ‘prisoners’ who have died.
Yeah- in some way I feel like this little community that I live amongst- homeless buddies- friends in prison- and some who have died.
That they are all part of this group.
I have had many confirmations about this over the years.
I’ll end with just one.
A few years back I did an on-line teaching about the other books that never made it into the bible.
Many years ago I bought some of these- and when you study church history and theology- well- these are an aspect of that type of teaching.
So I commented on them- gave the reasons why we don’t have them in our bibles.
But I also said that when I read some of them- I have found some are actually quite good.
One of my favorites is called the Epistle of Barnabus.
But there are others as well.
Some in the early church actually had a couple of these that were included in some of the early bibles- others were never given a 2nd thought.
By the way- in this field of study- I come down of the conservative side.
That is I don’t hold to the ideas of men like Bart Ehrman- the more liberal scholars.
They seem to give more credence to the books that never made it into the canon- and cast too much doubt on the bible we have today.
Anyway- the few that I do lile- when I re-read them as the years go by- there have been times when God did speak to me.
As my prayer time developed into this inclusion of dead folk [above].
I felt much more awareness of my friends who have died- as being amongst us during prayer.
Now- I don’t ‘pray to them’ but I have a greater sense of praying ‘with them’. I mention their kids and all- because these guys- some- were actually friends of mine- who came to my church meetings I started years ago.
So- I painted a spot on my wall- it was dedicated to this group.
I simply wrote a few things- stuff that reminded me that these were those who have gone on- and are yet ‘here’.
Sort of like my ‘friends in prison’ type of thing.
Prison represents those who have died- and we are not so sure where they are- to be honest.
I’ll explain it in a moment.
So- right after I painted this little altar area- I read in one of the ‘lost books of the bible’ [I think it was in the Revelation of St. Peter?].
It said ‘have you preached to the spirits in prison yet’.
Meaning- have you included those who have died yet- have you yet ‘learned this’ son?
That was the type of sense I got.
As I read the verse- I simply said ‘yes’.
Now- I do know the source is from one of the early books that is not in the bible.
But this reference- even if it is a copy- or a fake- does come from our bibles as well.
It’s in the letter of Peter [I think 1st Peter 3?]
And it’s one those texts that scholars haggle over.
But Peter is speaking about some who died before the days of the world wide flood [Genesis 6].
And he refers to these dead people hearing the gospel- by Christ himself- after he died and rose again.
And they are called ‘the spirits in prison’.
So- that’s the same thing I felt/understood as I began seeing those who have gone on- well- they are still with us in a way.
Yeah- in a few minutes I will post little Niko’s picture up on my wall.
I’ll look at it as time goes by- as I see all my friends- both living and dead- and I will read his words.
‘Today I have to go- don’t worry’.
Yes- Jesus said out of the mouths of babies thou hast perfected praise.