RECENT STUFF C 2013
1852- SPECIAL COUNSEL?
Let’s cover a few of the top stories of the week.
Yesterday I heard a report- from NPR radio- not what you would call a ‘right wing’ show.
They were covering the debacle in Libya.
That the country is in a shambles- that the terrorists that now run the place are holding the family members of Gadhaffi- and will not turn them over to the U.N.
That they bombed one of the ‘peace keeping’ vehicles.
And that the massacre of/by BLACKS continues [Blacks have been killed- and they are now fighting back].
I covered this underreported story before.
In Libya you had a strange situation- Gadhaffi saw himself as a savior for the Black men/women on the continent.
For whatever reason- he stood up for the Black Africans- more than any other leader on the continent.
When we did our so called ‘no fly zone’ and bombed the hell out of the country- we were fighting Gadhaffi- and a huge militia made up of Black Africans [who spoke French!] who were from the Sub Saharan part of the continent.
These Blacks supported Gadhaffi.
So- when we toppled the leader for political purposes- we unleashed a torrent of violence against Black women- men- and children.
They undergo forced castrations- women raped- men murdered- kids raped.
We did this- the U.S. allowed this to happen.
The ‘winning’ side- made up of lawless thugs roaming Libya- see ALL Blacks as those who sided with the former leader.
Okay- this has been going on since the toppling of Gadhaffi- and if you’re Black- you’re in danger every single day of your life.
Why is it important for you to know this?
Because this administration is indeed responsible for this.
If this were a White president- a Bush- who did this- this would be the number one story on the nightly news.
Enter the attorney general who got grilled yesterday by congress.
The calls for his resignation are growing- and it does seem like a storm is brewing.
What’s the big deal?
Holder has been involved with all types of shady stuff- the Fast and Furious cover up is just the latest.
[Holder sought and recommended the pardon of Mark Rich. Rich was a billionaire who fled the country because he was a tax evader. Rich knew Clinton- Bill ‘knew’ Richs’ wife. Rich had connections to Clinton- and Clinton got a pardon for Rich- Holder did the dirty deed].
Holder will not release the documents that will show- one way or another- how far up the chain this went.
These are the papers that deal with the murder of border patrol agent Terry.
At his death scene- we found the guns that Holder and the justice dept allowed to be there thru the sale of illegal weapons to drug guys from Mexico.
This was the botched program called Fast and Furious.
What we have been trying to find out is who authorized this deadly program- and how far up the chain did this go.
It seems like Holder is covering something up.
Now- some are calling for an independent counsel to look into the national security leaks- Holder just appointed 2 U.S. attorneys to check it out.
The Dems are raging ‘how dare anyone call for an independent counsel’.
Won’t the attorneys be fair?
Let’s see- one of them was a political worker for Obama- he was on the team that picked vice presidential picks for Obama.
Yeah- I’m sure there will be no conflict of interest.
So- McCain and others are calling for an independent counsel.
What’s hypocritical is the fact that Obama and Biden were some of the loudest voices calling for an independent counsel under Bush.
Okay- the Repubs calling for the counsel are wanting to investigate the leaks of classified info that came out the last few months.
These are high level national security secrets that some think were leaked for political purposes.
When Obama and Biden called for this special counsel during Bush’s term- they were investigating the Valerie Plame name leak.
I have written on it before- for the most part this was a silly issue.
Valerie Plame was a woman whose husband was sent to Niger [back to Africa] because he spoke- well French!
Yeah- just like the Gadhaffi guys.
How did this happen?
Africa [Niger and other spots] was colonized in the past- and one of the colonizers was France.
So- during the Bush years when he was making the case against Iraq- one of the big pieces to the puzzle was whether or not Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear materials from Niger [called yellow cake].
So- some guy- Joe Wilson- goes to Niger [cause he speaks the language- this is how his wife got him the gig- she recommended him] and comes back and writes a piece in the N.Y. Times that said ‘Cheney sent me to Niger and I came back with proof that they were not selling yellow cake to Iraq’.
Well- for some guy- that nobody really knew who the heck he was- to write a story like this- raised lots of eyebrows.
[note- congress investigated the whole thing- and one of the conclusions was that Joe Wilson lied about Cheney sending him].
The biggest brow being that belonging to Cheney.
He asked ‘who in the h.. is this guy claiming I sent him to Niger’.
They found out he was the husband of Valerie Plame [this was the real reason Plames name came out- people wanted to reveal that Plame got her hubby the job- that he was a liberal Dem who had his own agenda- that Cheney never sent the guy to Niger].
A lady who worked for the govt.- and in the past held a ‘secret’ security type clearance.
Okay- a reporter- Bob Novak- wrote a story about the incident- and named Plame.
The left [dems] went nuts- and charged ‘Bush and Rove leaked the name of a secret Agent- AHHH!’.
Was she really secret?
Everyone knew her by her real name- she appeared on the cover of a magazine- and she was no longer a secret agent.
Never the less- her name should not have been outed.
During the investigation- by the special counsel that Obama called for [Patrick Fitzgerald] they found out- early on- that the name WAS NOT LEAKED by any Bush politicos.
The guy who inadvertently coughed up the name was Richard Armitage- someone who the Dems actually liked.
He worked for the dept of defense.
But- nobody knew this yet- only the insiders.
So- instead of dropping the case- the special prosecutor continued pursuing the Bush guys- and finally got one.
He was asked ‘do you remember when you first heard the name Plame’.
He said ‘I think Tim Russert told me’.
Russert [former Meet the Press guy- now dead] denied it.
They convicted Libby for lying about Russert giving him the name- and gave him a prison sentence.
You mean even though he [and no one else] ever purposefully leaked any name- yet- the prosecutor- who Obama called for- tried to send a Bush guy to prison for this.
Bush commuted his sentence [but did not pardon Libby] and till this day- Cheney’s pissed that Bush never pardoned his friend.
Okay- if something as stupid as this required a special counsel- what about the serious national security leaks that have endangered the lives of many.
Someone leaked info about the Bin laden killing- they leaked that a Pakistani doctor had a secret vaccination program that obtained DNA from a family relative of Bin Laden- this DNA was used to identify Bin laden after we killed him.
Within days this doctor was tried for treason and is now doing 35 years in prison.
Pakistan has since shut down their nations child vaccination program.
His wife and kids are in constant danger.
Is this worse than saying ‘I think I heard Plames name from Russert’?
Iran has been under a ‘covert’ attack for the last couple of years.
Their nuclear facilities have been blown up- their top scientists have been killed in the streets- and they have been blaming Israel for it.
Israel has not admitted a thing.
We leaked the fact that Israel and the U.S. were behind the computer virus that attacked the nuclear centrifuges in Iran
We just ‘outed’ Israel.
And we have also leaked the Drone attacks- top secret info about them.
Should we have a special counsel look into these leaks?
Obama and Biden were for the imprisonment of a man whose crime was ‘I heard the name from Russert’.
They were vocal advocates ‘we need a special counsel- this leak rises to the level of a special counsel’.
But Holder and Obama seem to think these leaks- that caused real national security dangers- that these don’t rise to the same level.
Do you think these leaks rise to that level?
I don’t know- why don’t you ask the doctor- sitting in a Pakistani cell for the next 35 years- maybe he can clue us in- maybe?
1853- SEX- ALL TYPES
Let’s cover the ‘other’ news story of the day- the Elephant in the room.
Yes- with all the things going on in the news this week- we also have had the start of the Jerry Sandusky sex case.
Most of you know the scoop.
Sandusky is the famous coach from Penn state that worked for years with the famed Joe Paterno.
There were rumors- and ‘chance’ encounters where people saw Sandusky with young boys- and he was caught molesting kids.
As the defendants have been testifying this week- well- we heard bad stuff.
I don’t want to ‘defend’ the Sandusky’s of the world in any way- but I want to speak openly- and in a politically incorrect way about sexual orientations of all kinds.
I have a book here in my study- about 3 feet from where I’m sitting.
It’s the story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s conversion to the Lord after he was sent to prison.
I do realize that we see lots of jail house conversions- and for some people they will never believe that a Dahmer could convert.
But as I read the book- and also have watched the re play of the interview that Dahmer did with MSNBC- I do believe he was sincere.
One very interesting- and truthful part of the interview was when Dahmers dad was asked ‘why do you think this happened to your son’.
The dad- who is a Christian man- said he felt like somewhere along the line- Jeff associated- connected- the act of sex with dead things.
That he was fixated as a boy with skulls and dead things- and in time when he went thru puberty- that he also- somehow- connected the joy of collecting skulls and stuff with the act of sex.
Now- some might dismiss this as a lame excuse- and of course the crimes Jeff committed were very serious [for those not familiar- Dahmer is the famed serial killer who cannibalized his victims].
In point of fact- people- in all societies and in every age- can- and have ‘learned’ certain types of behavior- for good or ill.
The reason this debate is hard to have in our country- is because the present debate over gay rights pits one group against another.
For anyone to say ‘we actually do have proof that certain sexual behavior can indeed be learned’ seems to be bigoted and against the civil rights of people.
The purpose of this post is not to get into a long drawn out discussion over this.
I want to simply say- there are- and have been- all types of sexual associations that people have made with certain acts.
In the Sandusky case- with minors.
In the Dahmer case- with dead things.
The list does go on.
Is it possible to ‘un learn’ associations like this?
In short- yes.
Is it easy?
A few years ago I noticed that one of the major hospitals in the U.S. – famous for doing sex change operations- very quietly quit the practice.
As I listened and read about the story- I came to find out that the hospital- that was lauded for their non judgmental attitude- their willingness to break ‘the religious bigotry of our day’ that after doing the operation for years.
Admitted that the results were horrendous.
The rate of depression and suicide among most of the patients went sky high.
After years of doing the operation- the data showed that despite all the ‘political correctness’ the facts on the ground were these operations were doing more harm than good.
Yet- year after year we see people who have had the operation- on well meaning news shows being interviewed- and the interviewer- without fail- always comes across as ‘look how accepting I am of you- look how wonderful it is for us all to celebrate your freedom and to not judge’.
Yet- many of the times I get the impression that these people are under great pressure to go with this line.
That they are cast into the limelight as a great example of acceptance- and they seem at times to not want to let the interviewer- or the world- down.
But- if the data says the rate of suicide and depression sky rockets among those who have gone thru with the procedure- then if we really love these people- or our kids- or generations to come- then we would be more careful before we jump on the ‘what a great thing you did’ bandwagon.
In the whole debate about whether or not sexual orientation [or simple associations of sexual expression with particular acts] is changeable- we need to be aware of the overall effects we are having on all sorts of people.
In the Sandusky case- we do see an attraction that many men have.
There are entire organizations supporting man/minor ‘love’.
NAMBLA- North American Man Boy Love Association- being one.
Do these men make the same argument that some have made with the gay rights issue?
Many argue that that they have had this ‘orientation’ for as long as they can remember.
They argue that they share a common orientation with thousands of other men all over the world.
They argue that its’ the ‘Victorian era morality’- that religion wants to impose on people- that tells them- and society- that they are wrong.
After all- if ‘God created me this way- why should I not express it’.
Now- I- like you- do not accept these arguments- but in truth- they are basically the same type of arguments that others have made with the gay rights debate.
[Note- I do have gay friends- and I do not want to come off as saying I equate child molesters with gay people- I don’t. The point I’m making is the NAMBLA folk are saying ‘who has the right to say that Man/Boy sex is wrong’. And to be honest- if you reject the basis of natural/moral law- then they win the point.]
The point I’m making is if we- as a society- tell people that sexual orientation is never learned behavior- then we are in ways justifying the NAMBLA argument.
I was going to delve into the entire field of what we call natural/moral law.
Where does it come from?
Does society simply make up moral law?
This is a very long debate- going on since the days of Immanuel Kant [one of the great thinkers going back a few centuries].
In short- some have argued over the years that we need to rid society of moral law- that it’s these restrictions on men [particularly sexuality] that is the cause of society’s ills.
The famous thinker Freud [and Nietzsche] advocated this.
But after hundreds of years of debate- there are no examples of any successful society that has managed to develop any type of functioning ethic- apart from what we call the Judeo/Christian ethic.
I don’t mean to come off as judgmental- nor to offend any group of people- but if we are telling entire generations of people ‘you are a slave to your sexual orientation’.
If we are saying to people ‘you can never change’ or overcome your sexual associations.
Then we might be biting off more than we can chew.
If it simply makes us [the interviewer] feel better about ourselves when we say ‘see- you have done such a great thing- if only these religious bigots would stop judging you’.
But in reality- the data show that these people suffer tremendously- for the most part- after they get the sex change.
Then maybe we need to re think what we are saying to them as a whole.
Maybe we should tell people ‘yes- associating sexual expression with a particular act- or life style is a very strong thing’.
In most cases- even in cases like Sandusky- even if there are hundreds of thousands of people with the same ‘feelings’ all over the world.
Yet- if we do love people and are honest- we would tell them it is possible to change the feeling- the association- dare say ‘orientation’.
We must realize that there are many types of sexual expression- that society- and moral/natural law say is wrong.
Those in these lifestyles- often will argue that the orientation was with them for as long as they can remember.
Others argue that there are many others like them.
All this may be true- but in the end- this does not mean the association is right [NAMBLA] or can never be broken.
I’ll end with a couple of verses ‘I hate vain thoughts- but your law do I love’ ‘commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts will be established’ ‘God will keep them in perfect peace whose minds are fixated on him’.
This entire debate is long- and even many Christians disagree on some points. There are movements within the church that seek to accept the gay lifestyle as an acceptable lifestyle.
Today’s point is- if we tell people- with all types of orientations- that you can ‘never change’ them- or overcome them- then we are not being honest.
If we think that the solution is ‘let’s just live with no moral law’.
That has been debated- and tried- and found wanting [Freud died in a mental hospital- going insane from a sexual disease].
If we love our kids- those around us- our neighbor- then we should not encourage those among us struggling with orientations to ‘go with what you feel’.
Or to be so accepting of an operation that the data shows does not solve anything- only makes it worse.
In short- if we love people- we must be truthful with them.
Yes- try not to judge- love them even if they don’t become what you think is best.
But be honest with people.
I feel sorry when I see Chaz Bono being interviewed- time and again- everyone telling her how happy they are for her.
When I know in reality the data says something different.
The statistics show that those who go as far as ‘changing’ their sex- many of them take their own lives.
And it’s not because they feel judged- it’s because many of them can’t believe what they have done.
Sad that we hide this- sad.
1854- WEEKEND WARNING
Before I forget- the odds of the market selling off today are high.
If you are in- and have been for a while- no big deal.
But if you are one of those types that buy and sell every couple of days/weeks.
Then I wouldn’t buy today.
Okay- have a lot to cover and not much space.
I found it interesting to watch the narrative that I have been talking about these last few days to have been so blatant yesterday.
On MSNBC the hosts are now regular telling people that the Euro zone crisis is a direct result of austerity measures [spend less than you have].
This is an outright lie- I wrote about this lots the last few weeks and don’t want to re hash the thing.
The point is the entire network is now saying this- and if you are someone that’s invested in world events- you are being lied to- daily.
I caught the morning NPR show yesterday- I usually catch the early show [sometimes right at 5 am].
I’m an early riser- been up since 3:30 this day.
So- it was interesting- right at 7:05 the report was some bad housing numbers- foreclosures were up from last month.
They were up 16% from this time last year- 9 from last month.
Bad- but not surprising [to me].
Then- at 8:05 am- the report said ‘good news for the housing market’.
I mean- you can’t make stuff like this up.
Why are these bad numbers not a surprise?
Last year many of the banks put a hold on their foreclosures.
You had the Robo Signing scandal [people just rubber stamping foreclosures- using fake names].
And you had the president purposefully do a short moratorium on foreclosures.
Okay- so what would happen when these temporary fixes were over?
Foreclosures go up.
Then why don’t the financial guys tell you this- why do they make it sound like all is well?
I don’t think these guys are purposefully lying [most of them] but when your whole career is based on the market- then you have a natural tendency to hear [say] what you want- not what’s necessarily the truth.
Why am I so negative on the market today?
Yesterday we had a short run up- primarily because the central banks [in Europe and presumably us- the Fed] made it sound like they might help the cash strapped European states and pump ‘liquidity’ [cash] into the system.
Okay- so the Dow went up- not because we had good economic news- but bad.
That is- things look so bad- the world banks said ‘we might help’.
Okay- why does this help the market?
These last few years- our nations bank- the Federal Reserve- has pumped trillions of dollars into the system.
Some think this is bad monetary policy- others say it’s good.
Now- as a matter of simple math- if you put extra money into the system- this money has to go somewhere.
And eventually a large part goes into the market.
This in reality is a fake way to ‘stimulate’ the market.
So that’s what you saw yesterday.
Yesterday the high court disbanded the entire Parliament.
The military are still in control- and it looks like Democracy has failed.
Now- do I think this is a bad thing?
Look- the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power after the protests.
These guys just had thousands in the streets calling for the destruction of Israel.
They are indeed radicals- and if they run the country you will have another theocracy like Iran.
This is not good for the rights of women- Christians- and many other groups.
The economy of Egypt has been ruined.
For centuries people have been going to visit the pyramids- that whole thing is now dead.
Tourism was a major part of their economy.
We have not helped the cause of these people- we might have meant well by toppling Mubarak- but the aftermath is bad.
Oil prices are down 12 %- because of a global slowdown.
Asia [China] is slowing down faster than anyone thought- China just took financial action to try and counteract this.
In the beginning of the year many were projecting 3.5- 4 % growth for the U.S.
The Bulls and Bears were just about split [I was- am still a bear].
Half way thru the year- the estimates are now 1.7 % growth- terrible.
There is no way we are going to see an upturn for the rest of the year- not possible.
Now- will the markets go up?
I don’t think so- but people do crazy stuff.
I’m saying the global economic outlook is terrible- very very bad- The E.U. crisis is very bad.
Spain and Italy are in trouble- not just Greece.
Greece is on the verge of exiting the Euro- and many investors have taken their money out of Spain and Italy.
Italy is really ‘too big to fail’.
If the Italian economy crashes- the Euro\zone is over.
Now- Do I think the worst will happen?
I don’t know for sure- but for financial advisors to be telling people that the ‘fundamentals’ are strong is ridiculous.
This has been the mantra the last year.
That U.S. companies [and banks] have much more cash on hand- the price for stock- compared to ‘projected’ growth/income of the company is cheap.
And some paint this rosy picture.
If you own a McDonalds on your block- and your ‘fundamentals’ are strong- but if everyone on the block is going broke- it makes no difference how strong the fundamentals are- the customers are broke.
That’s what the E.U crisis means- they are our number one trading partner- yes- they beat China.
If they are having all these very real problems- then we are in danger of another recession.
Most of the recent numbers seem to be saying this.
The last few weeks we are seeing a rise in the weekly unemployment numbers.
Our economy is softening- and the trend is not your friend.
With all this going on- the message of the president makes no sense.
He gave a speech yesterday- he basically is saying ‘do you want what we had the last 10 years- look what Bush gave you’.
I mean he acts like he has not been in charge for the past 3.5 years.
Look- I’m starting to worry about the man.
One interesting thing to keep note of.
The markets play into what they think might happen.
If the Supreme Court shoots down Obama care this month- markets WILL LIKE THAT.
And- the truth be told- if they think Romney is going to win [the odds look much better for him now than 3 months ago] the markets will factor that in as a positive sign.
All in all- today might be a rough day for stocks.
We do need to batten down the hatches for the rest of the year and realize at midyear- we have made a turn for the worse.
Don’t worry- don’t panic- but make sure your listening to good advice.
I am not a total doomsayer when it comes to this [Beck type]- but I see the writing on the wall- the global economy is slowing down- we are on the verge of a double dip recession- and the Euro Zone looks very bad- despite the central banks action.
1855- UNFINISHED BUSINESS
First we need to take care of some unfinished business.
Yes- I’ll admit- yesterday’s prediction failed.
The post warned of a possible sell off in the market [I guessed around 100 or so points- nothing real big].
But- the market went up around 100.
If I have learned anything in life- it’s when you blow it you need to fess up- come clean- in Christian lingo ‘confess your sins one to another- so you will be healed’ [James].
So- to all who read this site- I have one thing to say.
My account was hacked [Anthony Weiner?]
Okay- let’s move on.
Actually- most of everything I posted was [is] still true.
I don’t want to do another whole post on economics- but some analysts think the market went up- not because we had good news [yesterday stats showed factory orders were down in May from the previous month] but because we had bad.
Like I wrote- if investors think things are bad- that makes them think the Fed will act [put more money into the system] and Walla- the Dow goes up.
There are a few other things too- like the Greek vote on Sunday [whether or not they will stay in the Euro] but overall I still stick to my post- absent that one line that was hacked!
Okay- did we have any other ‘big’ news yesterday?
There were a few things- some ‘bigger’ than the media [or the administration] would like us to know.
The president did a funny thing yesterday- he sent a letter to congress saying he ‘declassified’ info about our terror [drone] campaign in Yemen.
This is the first time he did this [as far as we know?] since he’s been in office.
Why does this really look suspicious?
His administration is under criticism right now- it looks like they have indeed been ‘leaking’ these stories to the press.
The whole recent scandal of national security leaks.
Of course he has denied it.
But- if he [and his political people] were behind it- then they obviously had a strategy about how much would come out each month.
This ‘late Friday’ release- seems to go along with this theory- it looks funny to me.
The president also did his ‘kinda’ executive order- by giving some type of cover to some illegal aliens.
For the record- I’m liberal when it comes to this subject [for those who think I’m too far right!]
I want for our nation to work out some type of deal for the kids of illegal’s- who were young when they came to the country- who are in school- basically grew up just like you and me- I don’t want these kids to be afraid of getting sent back.
I also realize the need to have some type of border enforcement- I just want to say I’m not against the principle that that the Pres laid out.
Of course it was politically timed- I mean you’re in office for 3.5 years- and now you do it.
In actuality there really is more ‘politics’ to it than meets the eye.
When the president’s real plan for immigration was shot down- The Freedom Act- he simply blamed it on the Repubs.
But something unsuspected happened.
Marco Rubio [the Cuban American Republican from Florida- possible V.P. pick for Romney] began working on a Repub plan to allow the minor kids of illegal’s to stay in the country.
The same basic thing that Obama wanted to do.
Okay- to the surprise of some- he seems to have convinced enough fellow Repubs to sign on.
Now- the part you don’t see is this.
What the Pres did- and the other Democrats- was they saw how bad it would look if the Repubs actually passed a law that favored immigrants- that if Rubio succeeds- than it will look like they did something Obama was not able to do- pass immigration reform.
So behind the scenes Obama and the Dems have been telling fellow Dems ‘don’t agree with Rubio!’
Some have jumped ship and simply said ‘look- we want reform- we [the Dems] had total control of the govt. for the first 2 years- you [our leader- Obama] spent all your capital on health care- so we don’t care if it’s Rubio- we simply want TO HELP THE KIDS AND GET THE REFORM DONE’.
Okay- that sounds principled to me.
So- Obama realized he was gonna look bad if the Rubio thing goes thru- and he came out- after 3 and a half years- and said ‘I must act now’.
He pulled the rug out from Rubio [which in reality hurt the long term solution- which would have been much better for the Hispanic kids].
And gave an ‘order’ to Janet Napolitano [the lady that oversees the immigration laws] and said ‘put a 2 year hold on deporting the kids of Immigrants’.
Now- there’s more to it- but this is the short story.
It really would have been better to just let the Rubio idea pass- because the new plan from the Pres still leaves the kids in limbo- they simply get 2 years to not get deported.
Okay- lets end the week with a few verses.
I have been reading Isaiah chapters 26- 30.
Some notable verses ‘your dead sons will arise- together with MY DEAD BODY shall they arise’.
This week the more historic/traditional churches celebrated the Eucharist [communion- the actual term means Thanksgiving].
This past Sunday was a church memorial that always sticks in my mind each year it comes up.
It’s a special day that celebrates the Feast of Corpus Christi.
This feast is a celebration of the Body of Christ- but because that’s the name of my city- I usually make note of it when it comes up annually.
I like the above verse- I have quoted it every week for years [it’s one of the many prayer verses I have painted in my yard].
It’s a prophetic verse speaking about both the future resurrection of all men- and it’s also speaking about the Lords Table.
At the last Supper Jesus gave his men [and us] an ongoing memorial of his death for us.
‘Take Eat- this is my Body’.
He broke the bread and poured the wine.
We as believers have been keeping this memorial for 2 thousand years.
The apostle Paul told the Corinthians ‘as often as you do this- you do show the Lords death until he comes back’.
I love the celebration of the Eucharist- the Catholic scholar Scott Hahn says something I like.
He says ‘Jesus said DO THIS in remembrance of me- not- write this’.
His point- to us ‘scholarly’ types- is that we often emphasize the bible- the written word- while Jesus told us the doing of the memorial was what would ‘show his death’ till he comes.
I like that.
So- for you non church goers- maybe tomorrow [or in the near future] you can make an effort and go to church and celebrate the meal.
Isaiah said ‘your dead men shall rise- together with my dead Body they shall live’.
Gather ‘together’ with the confessing church- celebrate the meal- lets all live TOGETHER.
1856- FOR THE BIRDS
Late happy father’s day to all you dads out there.
Yesterday I got up early and went to Wal Mart- I wanted to get presents for my girls and do a kind of raffle at my oldest daughter’s house [Bethany].
I had wanted to meet at the beach- but I realized that plan wasn’t going to work so we ended up at her house.
I bought some nice stuff for the kids- and had a home bingo game I bought a while back [my wife plays with her sister- so I got them a cheap home version] and I used the thing that turns/mixes the bingo balls in the cage- and stuck the names of my kids on the balls.
It was silly- but they liked the stuff.
So- after I bought the gifts I took a ride to the beach [about 2 miles from where I live] and jumped in the gulf- yeah- it was dad’s day- so I swam.
O- I forgot- while driving to Wal Mart we had one of those quirky storms- and I [and everyone else] spotted a Funnel Cloud over the bay.
I stopped and took a few pictures- we do get them in our area- but it might be only the second time that I spotted one live [you see them on the news at least once every year or so- from the area].
As I was walking back to the truck after the swim- I heard someone yell out ‘hey John’.
Sure enough it was my buddy Tim [carpenter Tim- I wrote about him in the last few weeks].
Yeah- I have not spoken with Tim in years- like I said- sometimes I’ll run into my homeless friends once or twice every 2-4 years.
That was the case with Tim.
He was on his bike- and he told me he just got back to the area.
He rode the thing to Roswell N.M. [no joke- he’s a real bike rider!].
So we talked for about 2 hours [yeah- was running late for the father’s day gig].
Tim shared with me all the times the Lord provided for him on the bike ride.
At one point the weather got real cold- and the day before he found some long John’s [thermal underwear] at a rest stop- they were still in the bag!
He told me how this was how God provided the whole time [a few week- month type trip].
He told me he still has a camp in the Bluff [where I live- many years ago I used to visit Tim regularly in the camps- many of the homeless have camps- Tim was a regular friend- I would trek thru the brush area- maybe half a mile or so- Tim would have a nice camp set up- he’d brew me some Folgers over an open fire].
As we were talking there at the beach- he had some of the old Folgers coffee in his bag- sure enough he broke it out and made some right there.
I gave Tim some money- he really did not want to take it- then he tried to give me something of value [he had some music C.D.’s].
I told Tim ‘no buddy- the last few weeks I have been giving 20’s away- felt like I needed to catch up’. I was slacking with helping the poor- so it was the lord that allowed this chance meeting.
Tim told me he still has a camp on the property of some rich lady who lives here in town.
He does work for her- at almost no cost- so she lets him live there- outside!
He has told me about her in the past- nice lady- but a staunch atheist.
You know- the type that really lets you know they don’t believe.
He was telling me how she’s an avid bird lover- has all the stuff on her property for birds.
I gave Tim a quick Apologetics argument he can use with her- if he ever gets the chance.
I have written a lot about this over the years- but let me give you the short version.
Apologetics is the field where you argue for the existence of God- you use the proofs from science and logic and philosophy to argue your case for the existence of God.
Okay- this is the short version.
The fact that ANYTHING EXISTS- is proof that God exists.
For many thousands of years- dating back to the time of the famous philosophers- Plato, Aristotle and Socrates [5- 600 years B.C.] people who studied the universe [Cosmologists] believed that the universe [time, matter, space- all things that make up the physical world] had no beginning point.
Most [though not all] believed that the universe was eternal- even the contemporary Carl Sagan said ‘the universe is all there ever was- and all there ever will be’.
So- when Christian thinkers argued for the existence of a creator- most used the Aristotelian argument that said ‘God is the Prime Mover’.
Which meant- He started all motion.
Even the great 13the century Catholic scholar- Thomas Aquinas- used this argument.
But- in the modern era- science has found out that yes indeed- there was in fact a time when no physical matter existed.
We learned this in the 20th century- men like Einstein made great breakthroughs in the field of Physics- and they showed us that there was a time- well- when there was ‘no time’.
It would take too much to cover this here- but men like Hubbell and a few others made some great scientific observations that backed up Einstein’s theory- and vice versa.
So- when SCIENCE [not religion- not bible- not ‘God talk’] showed us that all matter had a starting point- it left the atheist in a tough spot.
If there was a time when nothing existed- then how did everything get here?
The only logical conclusion is something [or someone] who exists outside of the physical realm [called the metaphysical realm] had to have been responsible for it.
Why is this the only logical explanation?
Because things cannot come FROM NOTHING [the ancient saying ‘out of nothing- nothing comes’].
So- we are left with the dilemma that there was indeed a time of NO MATTER- and therefore something- outside of the material realm- has to be responsible for it.
This is indeed- in my view- the greatest Apologetic argument used to ‘prove’ the existence of God.
Now- some say ‘but how do we know it’s God- maybe there is some other ‘non material’ thing/being that did this’?
Look- some of the so called ‘new atheists’ have gone down this line of reasoning- and made fools of themselves.
One quick example.
One of the famous present day atheists is Richard Dawkins.
He was pinned down in an interview- and he was confronted with this dilemma.
He actually said that he thought it was possible that some ‘being’ from another time might have made all things.
He said the being- well- would have to be eternal [because if he isn’t- you have the problem- where did he come from].
He said this being had to have been very smart [you can’t get intelligence from non intelligence- this is a scientific observation].
And this being had to be very powerful- because he created all things.
In short- when Dawkins was done- he described the attributes of God down to the last detail [omniscient, omnipotent, etc.]
So- any thinking person- even an avowed atheist- realizes the problem that they face in trying to explain the existence of all things.
I told Tim it was ‘funny’ that this lady loves birds- but ‘hates’ God.
The Apostle Paul said in Romans chapter one ‘they did not want to have God in their thoughts- so God gave them up to worship the created order- Birds, etc..’
Yeah- men who rejected the obvious proof of God- creation- became worshippers of creation [they made idols of animals and birds].
I found it interesting that Tim’s bird lady was living proof that the bible is true.
I had a good time talking with Tim- it’s been a while- he asked if he should come by the house and visit in the upcoming weeks- I told him sure.
Tim is one of the homeless guys who does not like to impose on people- that’s why I hardly ever see him- he won’t even go to the free mission to eat- he avoids the whole scenario of looking like your homeless.
He works- lives- and feels like it’s his right to not have a home- without being looked down upon.
Well- I’ll end with that for now- for those who want to read more about Apologetics- I have stuff on the blog you can find- have fun.
1857- LIBYA REDUX
I was going to post this morning on ‘secondary causes’.
That in nature- and the created world- there are what we call secondary causes.
That means God does not ‘create’ everything you see- as he did the original creation.
We see trees- plants- fish- even humans- and even though it is proper for us to refer to these as Gods creation- yet we can also examine the natural process of reproduction- seeds falling to the ground- and even ‘test tube’ babies- and this is still a creation from God [man can’t duplicate life- even in the lab] yet- these creations are not direct- as the original creation.
Anyway- maybe I’ll do this tomorrow.
What I want to do today is simply re hash some of the posts from the last year.
The other day when I checked my site [Face Book] I had a few comments about my political posts.
At the time I did not realize I knew the person.
She is a good friend who was an original church member form the church I started years ago in Kingsville.
I did feel bad a little- that I responded to the comments- not in a bad way- but without first saying hi.
Then after thinking ‘geez- this name sounds familiar’ I realized it was my friend.
Actually – she does have a good story to tell.
Janie met her husband- Emit [or Emmet? I never knew the correct spelling] at our little church.
Emit was one of the first ‘drug addicts’ that joined our church.
He was a friend of Elias [another addict I met while preaching at the jail] and our little home church was made up of these families.
Anyway- Emit- and Aunt Bee- the aunt who raised Emit- and Emits son [Emit Jr.] were all church members.
Emit Jr’s wife- Veronica- and her mom- Yolanda- all came too- I mean Kingsville is a small town- and after a while you meet the whole crew.
I was happy to see Janie and Emit meet- and later marry.
I would visit her and the boys [she has lots of boys- and a sweet daughter- Rhonda].
I knew these kids when they were young- I’m sure they look different today.
Janie and Emit and the family made a nice family.
Then one day I heard Emit died.
As far as I knew Emit was clean- not on drugs anymore.
And his son told me his dad died because his liver was bad- after all the past years of drugs.
I don’t know the whole story- but this was what his son told me.
By the way- Emit Jr still keeps in contact with me till this day.
So- before I get into the political debate- I wanted to tell the story of Janie and her family- it really is a good story to tell.
Okay- in some of the comments- it’s hard to re-tell all the posts I did last year- and the comment section on Face Book is too small to really do it justice.
One of the debates was over whether or not Gadhaffi slaughtered his people.
Did we [Obama] intervene in Libya because the leader was slaughtering his people?
I disagreed- and this is the reason why.
There was an ongoing policy debate within the administration [the president’s team].
There were some on one side- Susan Rice, Samantha Powers- and the other side was pretty much made up of the defense secretary and the military folk.
I remember reading/hearing about this particular debate- because some in the media made it sound like ‘the women’ won over the men.
Basically the debate was ‘should we- the U.S. – and the Obama presidency- should we set a new precedent that says- we will use military force- BEFORE a slaughter takes place’.
What you had in Libya was a very public ‘civil’ unrest.
90% of the population lives right off the Mediterranean coast- in the West you had the capitol city- Tripoli.
In the east the main city was Benghazi.
The rebels from the east rose up against Tripoli.
Gadhaffi and his men were attacked by the east- they made it all the way up until the western stronghold of Tripoli.
[Note- these guys raped- killed- and committed ‘crimes against humanity’ on the way- that’s a fact]
After a few weeks of fighting- Gadhaffi re grouped and began his trek east- and wound up at the gates of Benghazi.
Okay- was there a slaughter that took place?
No. It was GOING TO TAKE PLACE- at least that’s what the threat seemed to be.
Gadhaffi was saying- very publicly- that he would go in and go from house to house and get all those who are siding with the rebels.
Some think this was just a threat- that he wanted the city to abandon the rebels cause- and this was simply bravado.
Anyway- on both sides- there was killing- but no slaughter [slaughter is what took place in Rwanda- a million dead].
President Obama and his team admit this- this was their argument ‘we acted first- before the slaughter took place’.
Now- I don’t want to re hash the whole thing- nor do I think it profitable to get into debates like this- with my friends.
It’s just some of the comments said I basically was an idiot and had no idea what I was saying- and I felt like I needed to respond.
I actually am on the side of Obama right now- in his decision to not act in Syria.
There are those calling for military intervention- but we [the U.S.] have intervened too much already- very rarely does military force do the job.
In Libya- before we acted- people living in Tripoli had a good life.
I used to see actual documentaries on the open markets of the city- venders selling olives and fish and all the wonderful produce form the Mediterranean region.
You had doctors and professors- kids going to school- you went to the hospital- just like here in the U.S.
After the killing of Gadhaffi- that city is ruined.
If you take your kid to the hospital now- there are opposing militia groups [terrorists] who walk through the hospital- carrying guns.
They are all saying ‘we are in charge- no- we are’.
I heard this from an interview from a doctor- it was on NPR radio- a very reliable news source.
The non Black leaders that were from the east- the group we sided with- they have taken the Black women and children and have made them- well- slaves.
The leaders we backed- they hate Blacks- with a passion.
I explained why this is in the past- basically Gadhaffi loved the Black skinned Africans. So the ‘friend of my enemy is my enemy’.
There are many reports that these wonderful Black people- I mean some were doctors and school teachers- you need to see how bad this is.
These Black people are now actually doing slave labor- they have them cleaning up the streets and working as slaves- these are reports I heard from multiple reliable sources.
I mean how would you feel if the U.S. came to your city- and your Black kids were used like this?
Taken out of school- their future gone- their dads castrated.
This has been going after the death of Gadhaffi.
How can anyone think this is good- that we helped these people?
Libya- Egypt- and yes- Iraq- they are all worse off than before.
This debate is not about whether or not someone’s favorite president did better than the other president.
It’s about U.S. intervention- it’s about the use of force.
It’s about the plight of the Blacks in Libya.
No- Obama did not go in because Gadhaffi was slaughtering his people- he went in to prevent what he said would be a slaughter.
Either way- we ruined that country- for good.
1858- WHO WAS THAT MASKED WOMAN?
I want to try and cover a little more on Apologetics- but just a few notes.
Yesterday my favorite news channel [you know I’m joking?] MSNBC once again showed why they have the lowest ratings around.
Lawrence O’Donnell- he did a report on Ann Romney’s disease- she has M.S.
In the report he questioned her use of trained horses as a recommended therapy for her sickness.
By the way- a Cali news paper did the same thing a few weeks back.
For those who don’t know- some in the media mocked Ann Romney because she works with these ‘dancing horses’.
Yeah- it’s not what the average person does- and that’s exactly why they think its fine to mock the lady.
So last night O’Donnell said that he had his team investigate whether or not this is an actual treatment for M.S. He then quoted some report- that it’s not in the top 10.
Well of course you would not recommend the average M.S. person to go out and by dancing horses at the rate of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I mean this is common sense.
But if you have the money- working with horses is indeed a legitimate treatment for all types of motor skill injuries/diseases.
The shameful thing is this network deems this as a legitimate story.
When Michele Obama got caught in disguise a few weeks ago- to be honest- this was very sad.
She went shopping- against the warnings of the secret service- and against the wishes of the president himself [you can’t do stuff like this- an unplanned shopping trip into town].
But there have been lots of reliable reports that Michele Obama has had a very hard time adjusting to being the wife of a president.
She initially wanted to stay in Chicago with her 2 girls- and simply travel back and forth to D.C. every few weeks/months.
Obviously this would look bad- so the president convinced her to live with him.
Now- when I heard/saw the story that she actually put on a disguise and went shopping- against the strong recommendations of the pres and the secret service- I knew there were real problems.
I did not rejoice over it- I pray- by name- for him and his family every Monday and Friday [those are the days I use for regular prayer intercession- I pray every day- but those days I mention world leaders].
Okay- if this happened to Sarah Palin- or any other top political figure from the other side- you would have had the late night comedians dressing up in masks.
You would have had MSNBC and the shameful crew laughing nonstop.
I mean an incident like this- is fodder for the ‘press’.
Yet I never heard one story like this- I simply saw the hard news story on it- and that was it.
Now- I’m sure the White House prepared- braced themselves for the jokes- none came.
I think it’s shameful for MSNBC [and the Cali paper] to have actually investigated the recommended treatment that Ann Romney uses.
They went- in detail- on how much insurance she holds on each horse- they mocked the fact that she used a lot of money to work with the horses- I mean they investigated her more than Obama- I mean the press never even read his autobiography!
When the media celebrated that 20,000 pages of Sarah Palin’s emails were released [many emails that were between her and her daughters- things that you would not want released].
They actually tried to recruit the public to ‘go thru them and see what you can find’.
Yes- at least one news paper asked this of their on line readers.
What did they find?
It was a shame that they did this.
They released- and put on line- emails that they did not even read yet.
Say if there was one that said her daughter had some type of sexually transmitted disease- the public would have know this- and it would have been out there for the world to see.
Yet the same paper- the N.Y. Times- did not release the emails about the scam that some global warming guys perpetrated.
These emails showed that some of them [not all!] actually rigged the data to make it look worse than it really was.
The Times said they would not report- or reveal- these emails- because- quote ‘the original writer did not intend them to be made public’.
Too bad they never gave the same courtesy to Sarah and her kids.
Right now- as I speak- the attorney general of the U.S. – Eric Holder- is ‘holding’ on to around 70,000 pages of emails and other info that would show us who was responsible for the program that resulted in the death- and cover up- of a U.S. border patrol agent.
Holder has released around 20,000 pages- and he’s trying to ‘bargain’ make a deal ‘how bout I give you so many more- and then you wont ask for the rest’?
Who are you bargaining for?
Why are you even trying to make a deal?
We are asking- we- the American people- are asking ‘who in the heck is responsible for the murder of agent Terry’?
No deals- no bargains- if the media rejoiced that the American public read everything about Palin and her family- email’s that spoke about family problems- the whole thing ‘we have the right to know!’
Then what about the right to finally find out who is responsible for the dearth of Terry?
The problem with politics- and the way we side with either side- is we begin rooting for things that are wrong.
Yesterday I posted about how our action in Libya has caused the Black people of Libya to be persecuted against.
Yet there are many supporters of Obama- who will not report this story.
These people are complicit by their silence- yet they claim to be on the side of the Black people.
I had a talk a few weeks back with a liberal friend.
It was during the time of the debate over Planned Parenthood.
I explained to my friend that the founder of Planned Parenthood- Margaret Sanger- was an extreme racist.
I wrote on this a while back- and even posted the on line info on her [you can Google her name and it shows up on the first page].
Sanger observed the Black race in major cities- and came to the conclusion that the Black race were like rodents- that the more they increased- the more they would be a drain on white society.
She looked at the Blacks in N.Y. and said if they keep ‘breeding’ they will eventually overburden the welfare system.
She wrote- using this language- in many of her published papers.
She said it was obvious that the Black race were an inferior race- who could not compete with the more enlightened White race- and that we need to find ways to eliminate the Race.
Okay- the first clinic opened in N.Y. – with the intent on cutting back on this ‘breeding race of rodents’ [her language- not mine].
Today- Planned Parenthood is the number one provider of abortion in the country- and Blacks make up their biggest client base.
Now- this is simple fact.
I am not saying that all the current workers know this- I’m sure they don’t.
But when I revealed this to my liberal friend- the racist language and all- my friend tried to defend the woman by saying stuff like ‘well I’m sure she meant well- but maybe used unfortunate language’.
You see- we are so joined to either party- to either side- that when a real injustice is done- we will even defend ‘our side’ even if that means defending a true racist.
Do I think its ‘funny’ that Ann Romney does the silly dancing horse thing?
Not really- I don’t think anything she does in her private life- unless its illegal- should be a platform for some immoral reporter like O’Donnell to shamelessly broadcast to the world.
To question whether or not her horse thing is a ‘recommended treatment’ for her disease.
If the media- and the comics- were able to ‘overlook’ Michele’s shopping trip- incognito- then let’s leave Ann alone.
1859- NOT A CHANCE
Went Down to the mission yesterday- saw the guys.
Dirk has his van running good- put the new radiator in [a few posts ago].
Gave Henry a ride back to the boat dock where he works- there were these beautiful Pelicans all lined up along the dock- never saw so many in a row like that.
On my way back to the house I saw a few cars in front of me make a detour- I realized there was a cop car with his flashing lights parked in the local speed trap.
Of course they’ll stop you for anything- I had gotten a ticket for driving without my license in the same spot a while back.
My inspection sticker has been expired since around May- of last year.
Yeah- I know.
I took it to the inspection guy a couple of month’s back- it failed for the tires.
So- as I saw the cop- I did a detour too- and went to another shop [yeah- I know].
I figured ‘Lord- I just helped the guys out- maybe I can get a break’.
So as I sat in the waiting room- doing one of those silent prayers ‘Lord- blind his eyes to the tires’.
You say ‘John- I thought you weren’t one of those positive confession type guys’.
I’m not- but when you’re in a bind you do what you have to.
The kid comes back ‘sir- your tire failed- your brake light is out- and you have a hole in the catalytic convertor’.
The plan didn’t work out too well.
Okay- let me finish a few more comments on proofs for the existence of God.
Yesterday I got into it a little with Dirk- and the other week I mentioned my friend Mike.
I have known Mike for a long time [the homeless artist] and I never knew he was really into the science shows and all.
As we talked Mike told me how over the years he has spoken with Christians/preachers and he has said ‘why do you think God created everything- Fungus and bacteria seem to produce on their own- maybe the cause for all things is that’.
Now- this was a good question- Mike told me that the only response he ever got was ‘the bible says God made everything’.
Okay- I got the point.
I told Mike that what he has observed over the years- the shows he has seen- that these things are good- they are true- science and God do not contradict.
I simply explained to Mike that fungus is part of the material world- and science teaches us that the material world did not always exist.
Therefore- if fungus did not always exist- it could not be the ‘creator’ of everything else.
Mike never heard this simple truth.
He actually thought about it- kind of in a way- a look on his face- like ‘geez- I just lost the last thing I clung to’ type expression.
He thought it through- understood what I said [I went a little more in depth] and then responded ‘well- maybe some other non physical being did it- instead of God’.
I simply gave him the argument I posted around 2 posts ago.
Okay- what was Mike seeing in the fungus?
He saw what we call Secondary causes.
That is there are many things in the natural world that do indeed re produce on their own.
Things grow and develop.
God made the creation to be self sustaining in a way.
Yet- many good people have heard ‘bad’ arguments- things that are false on its face- and don’t really know it.
The most popular ‘misstatement’ today is ‘everything was made by CHANCE’.
Now- I’m not a physicist- but this statement- on its face- is not true.
Look carefully- chance is NOT A THING.
Okay- chance is NO THING.
Chance is NOTHING.
When people make this statement they do not realize what they are actually saying.
This statement says ‘chance is the actual cause of creation’.
They are giving what we call Ontological status to the word Chance.
They are treating it as in if chance was a living thing- a real thing- not simply a word that describes the odds of something.
Okay- the other misconception is ‘Given enough time- anything can happen’.
Is this true?
If you took a room- were able to seal it- nothing gets in- nothing gets out.
And you have nothing in the room.
How many years would it take for you to open the door- and find a functioning world?
People- planets- stars- parades- horses- stores- etc.
I mean- is it possible- over a long period of time- for this to happen?
No- this is simply not possible- not scientifically possible.
But if you knew there were some being who had control over the room- who did have access to it- and had the power to create.
Well then it would be possible for the room to contain things.
When it comes down to it- there are really only 2 choices.
Either everything popped into existence from nothing [this is impossible].
Or something caused everything to be here [the Christian view].
When people realize this- that this debate is not about ‘well- you believe in faith and the bible and fairy tales- and I believe in fact’.
Actually no you don’t [you being the atheist- unbeliever].
No- in this debate there really is only one rational conclusion- that someone is responsible for ‘everything in the room’.
The other explanation ‘everything in the room came from chance- given enough time’ is not an option- at least not a logical one.
1860- POLITICS OR RELIGION?
I wasn’t sure how to close up this week- I know how much you guys like it when I do politics! [note- every now and then I drop a joke or 2 in- I realized once that everybody does not know when it’s a joke- but if you have to say each time ‘here I kid’ it kinda ruins the thing].
I did go to the mission yesterday- and Dirk- my homeless friend that I gave a lecture to on the ‘proofs for the existence of God’ [he was kind of going off the other day on how everyone believes what they hear- that there is no real way to know who is right- so I covered the history of apologetics and the proofs for the existence of God- I kinda blasted the guys for about 15 minutes- and wasn’t sure they were following].
So when I see Dirk- the first thing he shows me is this book on Bertrand Russell- the famous British philosopher- I wrote about him when I was doing the study on philosophy.
Dirk was kind of repentant- he must of took my ‘speech’ to heart- and he told me he was going to put more of an effort into researching stuff.
Now- it was a surprise to see my homeless buddy running around with a Russell book- but I got the hint that he did get something from my talk and wanted me to know he was trying.
By the way- being he showed me the book- I encouraged him to read it- but had to let Dirk know that Russell was a very influential 20th century British philosopher- he was famous because he was a public protestor against the use of nuclear weapons.
But in the field of thought he became an Agnostic.
He was raised as a believer- but at a young age he read a book from another famous thinker- John Stuart Mill.
Mill wrote about what we have been discussing these last few days- the law of Cause and Effect- and how things came into being.
Mill said ‘if everything has to have a cause- then why not God? Who caused God?’
Now- Mill wasn’t the first thinker to pose the question- but Russell became influenced by this idea and espoused it for the rest of his life.
Though both of these men were smart- they stumbled over this misconception.
The law of Cause and Effect [also referred to as causality] does not say EVERYTHING has a cause.
It states that all EFFECTS have a cause.
In essence- it’s within the realm of logic to espouse an infinite- causeless being.
Now- some might say this is ‘illogical’ but using the laws of logic [like we covered the last few days].
In the end- the only logical explanation for all things is an infinite being.
Anyway- don’t want to re hash the whole thing again- just thought it interesting that Dirk was reading Russell’s book.
Even though there are a lot of news events that could be covered today- lets finish with a few ‘religious’ things.
I have a verse here [about 200!] hanging on my wall- it’s from Isaiah [I think? I write them down and hang them up- but I don’t write the reference].
It says ‘do these things- and when others read about them- this will be a witness to them’.
There are others along this line that I have come across these last few years.
I started working with the homeless in 1992- with guys that were on drugs- ex-cons- before that.
I never told any of these stories until a few years back.
I started the blog in 2006- Facebook a couple of years later.
I felt that it was part of the ‘next step’- that is doing ministry- that the Lord wanted me to get into.
So- even though I did not even have email until 2006- or even get online until that time- I did my best to put together the blog [amateurish as it is] and start the process.
Now- over the years- as a student of religion, philosophy, ecclesiology [church]- I have written a lot about what it means to ‘do church’ or ‘be church’.
In Christian circles this has been hotly debated in recent years.
Many in the House Church movement have written- and debated with those who are more into the Traditional type churches.
There are many Protestants who have all types of ways they see ‘church’.
In its most basic form- the best definition that I have been able to come up with- is Church is a community.
It’s a worldwide community of those who confess Christ [the universal church].
And it’s a local community of those who follow him.
If you read the gospels- Jesus and his disciples are a good picture of the church.
Now- many will say ‘No John- the church was not formed until Acts chapter 2’.
Okay- I hear that.
I see the whole thing.
But- as community- it’s a mistake- in my view- to dismiss the gospels as ‘pre church’.
I don’t want to get into a theological debate- because I’m not even sure how many are following right now.
But- the point is- if we actually read the things that Jesus told us to do [sounds simple enough].
We would end up doing a lot of the things that most of us call ‘prison ministry’ or ‘street ministry’ or ‘outreach ministry’.
In actuality- these things are a main function of being a community.
So- over the years- because many of us associate church with the meeting [or the building]. We have a tendency to shift the focus from community- to the corporate entity.
Years ago I filed the corporation papers for our ‘church’.
Instead of paying a lawyer- I got a self help book- ‘how to incorporate your church’ and filed.
It was no big deal.
But I realized how we confuse the actual corporate laws of a state- they have ways they recognize what they call ‘a local church’.
And what the bible actually teaches.
In the bible- the church is a community of people- much like Jesus and the disciples going thru the towns- preaching- healing- helping others.
Yet- much of the focus of modern ‘church’ is the corporation ‘how much do we need this month? How many members do we need each month to tithe- and cover the vision of the church’.
Much of the focus- and effort- is spent on raising money for the corporation.
People are ‘challenged’ to sacrifice for Gods work- but the challenge is often seen thru the lens of ‘give till it hurts’.
Look- I’m not against giving- I give lots of money away.
But when you have the majority of church goers- who mean well- when they begin seeing their sacrifice mainly thru a paradigm of giving more money to a corporation- then this blinds them to the majority of teaching in the New Testament that calls us into the world- in real ways- to be the ‘actors’ [ones who act- function- not just give money so others can act/function on our behalf].
That is- the primary responsibility of the believer is not simply to go to church on Sunday [though this is a good thing].
Or to tithe to the ‘church’.
But to be active in helping one another- to be giving our lives away for other people.
This is the heart of the whole New Testament.
So- my purpose in telling these stories the last few years was simply to show one example [out of many- there are many Christians who do see the stuff I just showed you] So these things could be ‘the wisdom’ that the example of people seeing what it means to ‘be church’ might lead others to a ‘more better way’ [Hebrews.]
So- I’ll end the week with the example of my homeless buddy reading the writings of a 20th century British philosopher.
The politics will have to wait- yeah- I know your sad.
1861- THE 40 YEAR REUNION
Let’s recap the week’s news.
The lines are drawn- the pres has asserted Executive Privilege- for the first time.
And Pelosi has come out and accused the Repubs of outright racism.
Chris Matthews- the most dangerous man alive [sorry Ken Shamrock] has also jumped on the bandwagon.
He had on 2 Black Dems and said those who want Holder to release the documents on fast and Furious are racists.
The other week Matthews was defending the right of Asian Americans to abort their baby girls because they preferred a boy.
Yes- he took the other side when the Repubs wanted to outlaw sex selection abortions.
Now- he claimed he was not for it- but argued against the passage of the law- because he said it was only a problem in the Asian community.
So- he thought ‘why outlaw it- only Asian girls are dying’.
This is the same guy who sees racism in the Holder affair.
About a month ago I said to myself ‘let’s see how long it will be before the media begin re running the Watergate movie nonstop’.
To my surprise- not only are they running the movie- but all the major networks have come out in full regalia- ‘celebrating’ the 40th anniversary of Watergate.
I also read an article the other day- some Texas professor wrote Holder- demanding the release of the other documents from Watergate.
Holder responded in a way that sounded like ‘there is no longer any good reason to continue the cover up of Watergate- by golly- the truth must show!’
Let’s see- did we celebrate the 20th– 30th anniversary?
Do you normally celebrate the 40th anniversary- of anything?
Your normally have a big bash on the 25th– and 50th.
But the media have actual real time scandals- the cover up of the murder of 300 hundred Mexican citizens- and at least one border patrol agent.
The Solyndra scandal that revealed that the presidents own men [All the Presidents men?] actually told him- in a memo- that what he was about to do looked illegal.
This was said- in a memo- by his own men.
What he did was changed the loan to Solyndra- in order for his top fundraiser- who put money in the company- to get paid back first if the company went bust.
This loan change was not done for any other person/company- only for the loan that his top fundraiser made.
When this was first revealed- a mainline news reporter [Sharyl Atkinson] who broke the story said it looked like this might bring the presidency down.
This was all revealed on a Friday- after months of denying any involvement in the scandal.
For it to be revealed that your own people thought what you did was illegal [not just knowing about an illegal act- Wateragte- but actually doing it!] and you did it anyway.
And you did it for your friend- against the actual law that regulates the loan- which said you can’t do this.
Well- even a mainline reporter thought it as bad- or worse than Watergate.
What happened John- Nothing.
The media simply kept silent.
Now- in the current scandal- you know- the ‘race haters’
In this scandal- when congress asked the Justice Dept. if they had any knowledge about the Fast and Furious program- they sent a letter to congress denying involvement/knowledge.
This was the beginning of 2011.
Now- when you go on record like that- the investigating team usually drops the case- because you would be lying to congress at that point.
Holder left the letter out there for most of the year- claiming they had no knowledge of the program.
When congress continued digging- Holder pulled the letter back.
Because they did indeed know about the program- this in itself is enough for a resignation- this in itself is a Watergate.
Congress just tried Roger Clemens- twice- for lying to congress.
I’m glad he got off- they found him not guilty.
Did he lie John- and use steroids?
But for this crew to be trying people for lying- well that’s laughable.
So- Holder basically already admitted that he lied- whether he knew it or not at the time we don’t know- but we do know they said- for around 9 months ‘we had no knowledge of the program’.
Then he pulled the letter back.
At the least- we need to know what changed- who was lying- why?
The parents of the dead agent- Terry- went on the news this week- they too think Holder and Obama are covering up- by all accounts- it does look like they are covering up.
Are the parents racists?
According to Pelosi and MSNBC- yes.
We have very real scandals- things that rise- easily- to the level of Watergate.
Watergate was the cover up of a botched break in of a political office in a hotel- the name of the hotel was Watergate.
The cover up of fast and furious involves the murder of at least 300 Mexican citizens [the Mexican govt. by the way does not see this as a joke- they are outraged over this].
And the murder of an American law enforcement officer.
The Solyndra scandal was presidential involvement [not just knowledge!] to change a loan- illegally- even said to be illegal by the president’s own people- in writing!
He changed the law so his number one fundraiser would not loose money- and he denied it- until he was caught.
These lies- these scandals- they outrank Watergate- I said it at the time- but the media tried their hardest to make these things look like nothing.
I’ll end with one last ‘lie’.
This week I read some of the Leaks that are believed to have come from this White House.
These are the leaks of all the classified intelligence info that outed Israel- got the Pakistani doctor put in prison for 35 years- you know- no big deal.
When I looked at the leaks- I mean they were laughable in the way they were made to portray the president in a favorable light.
Most leaks are simply info coming out- lots of time from good men who see wrong things and are trying to expose the corruption.
We call these people Whistle Blowers.
But as I reread some of the recent leaks- I mean they are saying things like ‘As the president sat there in his chair- debating on which terrorist to kill next- he contemplated his recent study of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas- and he acted with righteous indignation’.
St. Thomas and Augustine.
I mean these are 2 of my favorite Catholic scholars.
Augustine- the 4/5th century Bishop of North Africa- and Thomas- the great 13th century Doctor Angelicas [Angelic Doctor].
Yes- these are some big players in Theology and Philosophy.
So why have the media reported that the pres used them in his war strategy?
They are also famous for the development of the Just war Theory.
Yeah- people for centuries have appealed to these great thinkers in their justification for war.
But Obama- how does he find the time to read these guys?
I mean- unless their names are on the golf balls [he just played his 100th round!]
I don’t see him having time to read them.
So why mention it?
Because he fumbled the ball with our Catholic friends [who just began a 2 week prayer and fast against the repression of religious liberty- because of the presidents demands that they provide birth control thru their institutions].
And he needs to make amends- so lo and behold- he loves reading the Catholic scholars!
If you put all this together- the ongoing scandals- not just one.
The actual lies- the ones they have been caught in- on paper.
I mean even a mainline reporter could not believe that the revealing of this was ‘no big deal’.
And now- the fact that the pres came out the other day and addressed the nation ‘me and my Whitehouse have not released any CLASSIFIED information’.
‘It’s an insult to think this’.
Then- one week later- on Friday- they sent a letter to congress- declassifying the drone war
They were basically saying ‘yeah- we were behind the releasing of all the info- it’s just we ‘declassified it’ first’.
He is going to say when he released the info- his office first ‘declassified it’.
But when he addressed you- and me- he was outraged- he made it sound like he was not aware of the leaks.
And 99 % of the public took it this way.
Look- when you get caught doing this- over and over and over- I mean this is not a one time affair.
Then it does make the public wonder about everything else.
And when the public asks for answers- and you respond by playing the race card- then it’s time for some people to resign.
Holder needs to go.
Whoever else has lied about their involvement also needs to go.
And if Nixon had to go because he lied about his knowledge about a 2 bit break in- then what about the possible cover up of your knowledge about the murder of a U.S. border patrol agent and at least 300 Mexican men, women and children.
But wait- I forgot- we don’t have time to cover these present scandals- no- we are covering the golden [or brass?] 40th year anniversary of Watergate.
1862- LOVE THE ALIEN- FOR YOUR WERE ALIENS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT- Deuteronomy 10:19
The Supreme Court came out with a few rulings yesterday- the big one was their decision about the Arizona Immigration law.
Most of you know that the governor [Jan Brewer] has been fighting with the Justice Dept. [Holder] over their stringent immigration laws.
Arizona- like other border sates- has had a problem with illegal aliens for some time.
So- they passed new state laws that made it tougher if you were an alien in the state.
If you applied for a job- and you were an illegal- you would get arrested.
If you got stopped by the cops- they could ask you for your papers.
A couple of other things that went beyond the federal law.
So- Eric Holder [attorney General] did what he does best- he sued Arizona.
[As a side note- this is not a joke- he has sued states/cities ever since coming into office. He just threatened to sue the Fire Dept. here in Corpus Christi. They settled for hundreds of thousands of bucks- why?
We were ‘discriminating’ against women.
Some of them could not pass the physical exam- you had to do things like pull a dummy- the weight of a person- to show that if you were in a fire you would be able to rescue either your partner or a victim.
Many times women would fail this part of the test.
Okay- so some depts. changed the test.
But lots of women do- by nature- have a hard time passing this requirement.
If you ‘dumb’ down this part of the test- you are putting people’s lives at risk- both the woman as well as those she would need to rescue.
Holder threatened to sue- Corpus settled.
He also sued 2 north eastern depts. a couple of years back.
He said they were not hiring enough Blacks- he told them to change the exam.
They spent about a million bucks redoing their exam.
Some Black applicants failed.
He then ordered the dept. to lower the passing score to 60.
Finally- the BLACK firefighters union said ‘ENOUGH- YOUR GOING TO GET US ALL KILLED HERE- Blacks and Whites!’
So- Holder does have a penchant on suing cities/states when he perceives a racial issue.]
What did the court do?
They struck down some of Arizona’s law- but upheld the most controversial part- the cops can still ask for your papers at a stop.
I found it interesting that Justice Kennedy- who wrote the majority decision- seemed to side somewhat with the more liberal argument.
One thing he mentioned was when dealing with illegal immigrants- we need to keep in mind that we are dealing with people.
I know this seems obvious- but when issues become politicized- we have a tendency to forget this.
I live in an area where over the years I have seen lots of Illegal’s coming thru.
The Fire Dept. that I worked at had calls where illegal’s would accidentally start a brush fire- they maybe had a camp under a bridge and lit a fire to stay warm- stuff like that.
I had friends- Mexicans- whose families gave them food and water when they saw them in the fields.
The point is- the immigration problem is a real problem- and it is true that all countries need to be able to control their borders and have a system of legal immigration.
At the same time- we need to also look at the person issue- the above verse was a reminder to the Jewish people that they too were illegal at one time- when they were staying in Egypt.
In all these debates- we tend to forget that we are all ‘aliens’ in a sense- our country is made up of immigrants [the American Indian is the only group that can claim non immigrant status].
I personally have a problem with the amount of lawsuits that Holder has launched against the states.
He is suing Florida over their voter registration ‘purge’.
The governor- Rick Scott- has made an attempt to get non citizens off the voter rolls.
Okay- should we be letting non citizens vote?
Of course not.
Then why is Holder suing?
He sees [like others] this as a racially motivated purge.
He argues that what Florida is really trying to do is get the minorities to not vote.
Okay- the governor simply asked the justice dept. to give them a list of non citizens- those they know to be illegal.
Why does Holder- and others think that Scott is anti minority?
Because after they checked the data base- the majority of those who were non citizens were indeed minorities.
So- according to Holder- this is racist.
But who else would be on a ‘non citizen’ list?
I mean do we have a massive migration of say- polish folk who are washing up on our shores?
Not yet- unless this E.U. thing gets out of hand.
So- if you are ‘purging’ the voter list of people who are not citizens- by its very nature you are going to get more minorities on the list.
Yet Holder sees this as racist.
So- both sides need to be honest- and fair.
The Right side of the aisle needs to keep in mind the above verse- that in the end we are all aliens- yes- our grandparents came legally and it’s not the same as those who are coming illegally- I hear that- but we are still dealing with humans [Kennedy].
And the left- if Holder keeps suing fire dept’s- and thinks that his role in life is to use the justice dept to accomplish some type of political agenda- then I think the words of my fellow Black firefighter should be kept in mind.
If you keep this up- ‘your going to get us all killed’.
1863- HARDBALL- CHICAGO STYLE
Yesterday morning I caught NPR radio news.
They were talking about the presidential campaign- and how the Repubs are using the accusation that Obama was/is part of the corrupt political machine that has existed in Chicago for decades.
In Chicago politics- just like where I grew up [N.J.] you had a lot of illegal- strong arm type stuff going on.
If you felt it was to your advantage- you would ruin a person’s life- or hurt them- just to make an example.
Now- the NPR show was discussing this- and a woman reporter said that Obama was not really a part of the corrupt ‘machine’ of Chicago.
Then- an older male reporter- I recognize the voice but don’t know his name- said ‘I am going to have to disagree with you’.
I was surprised- you normally don’t hear it that blatantly.
Then he went down the list and actually covered a brief history of Obama’s time in Chicago politics.
He seemed like he knew his stuff.
He brought out the fact that the machine was made up of men like former mayor Bill Daly- and Rahm Emanuel.
The Daly family was an institution in Chicago politics- and they were ‘the machine’.
Of course we all know that Daly actually went to work for Obama in Washington- and Rahm Emanuel was his first chief of staff- Daly eventually replaced him.
The reporter also brought out the fact that Obama was the man that the corrupt machine backed in Chicago.
He ran against another prominent Black leader- Bobby Rush.
The Black community backed Rush- the machine backed Obama- Rush won.
It was simply a short lesson that contradicted the false media narrative that somehow Obama was connected to all these guys- but was never really ‘a part’.
The reason I bring this up is if you realize this- then you might not be surprised that the president has indeed crossed the line- many times.
One of the reasons that many believe the president is behind all the leaking of national security info these last few months is because of the way he ‘shut down’ all unauthorized leaks in the first couple of years of being in office.
Now- this is where you need to ‘see’ the Chicago machine.
In all administrations- you have leaks.
Some hurt you- some help [actually Obama’s recent leaks have helped him].
But- you did have some the first 2 years that were real leaks- leaks that people usually believe will bring sunlight into a corrupt- or wrong practice.
How do presidents deal with them?
It’s their choice- it ranges from letting the person off the hook- called forgiveness.
To firing the person.
And in rare occasions- you press federal charges against the leaker.
For instance- the Watergate ‘scandal’ and other exposes’ were the result of leaks- most liberals thought it good.
Okay- in the first 2- 2.5 years- president Obama has sought to try- imprison- and yes- execute leakers.
This is no joke.
President Obama has used the strictest federal law to go after leakers- the Espionage Act [usually used on real spies] and he has used it 6 times.
‘Okay John- what about other presidents- have they used this act’.
Sure- 3 times- total.
Yeah- all former presidents of the U.S. – combined- have only used the act 3 times to go after people like this.
This is amazing- this is astounding- this is the Chicago machine- but you don’t see it.
One case I heard/read was an outstanding man [maybe a Dem?] who was also a university professor.
So- in the long tradition of men who leak- and take the risk of maybe getting fired- he did what he felt was right and leaked something about some program, that he felt was unjust.
Okay- he took the risk- if worse comes to worse he might get fired- from Washington- and go back to work at the university.
Obama pressed the highest charges against the man [the Espionage Act] and put him away- if I remember- for life.
Yes- he sent the man to prison.
The man’s wife and kids [he had 2 daughters in school] begged the govt. To ‘please not do this- please just treat us- like say- BUSH’.
The family has been ruined.
The man is in prison- divorced- his kid’s lives are ruined.
Now- this is one case of 6.
In another case- a ‘gay leaker’ at that- the president- thru Holder- raised the offense to the level of an executable crime.
Are you kidding me John- I have never heard this.
I know- the media don’t like telling you this.
Yes- to the shock of many- even many inside military men- the president raised the charge on this gay soldier to a charge that would merit execution.
Unbelievable- never- ever- in the history of the country has a leaker been charged like this.
When you use the Espionage act- it’s usually used for real spies- not for leakers.
Even one of our countries worst spies- Jonathan Pollard- who spied for Israel- against us- even he did not get the Ax.
Yet- Obama has sought to charge this soldier with this type of crime.
It should be noted- that Holder said ‘even though we are seeking this charge- we probably will not ask for execution’.
Gee- what a nice guy.
I remember an instance when some person- an insider- stole- and leaked info on Bush.
When they caught the person- Bush simply forgave the person.
I am telling you these stories because the average American has no idea that the president has operated like this- this is the most ‘strong arm’ presidency in the history of the nation.
I mean the death penalty- for things that others simply lost their jobs over- if that.
You see- when the lady NPR reporter said ‘no- even though Obama was in tight with all these Chicago guys- he does not play their game’.
The older male reporter corrected her- he does play the game- a lot better than most people realize.
[One last note- many reporters- who were really Obama supporters at the start have seen this- and they will tell you that it is impossible to get real leaks anymore about anything. These insiders see the volume of recent leaks about national security stuff and they know these are being done behind the scenes with the full permission of Obama- I mean after the first 2 years- who in their right mind would leak anything without the permission of the White House?]
1864- BLAME THE MESSENGER
I was tempted to post a quick note last night- but I thought it better to wait for today.
As I was watching the various news shows- I caught an interview with some lady who just wrote a piece [for some magazine] that said the Fast and Furious scandal- was not a scandal at all.
She did a 6 month investigation- and lo and behold- there was never any ‘gun walking’.
Yeah- instead she talked about the real reasons these guns were in the hands of Mexican drug lords.
Go on- I’m hearing you sister.
She explained that many of our law enforcement guys have tried to get the guns off the streets- but because of the Republican [and NRA] loose gun laws- that to their dismay- they cant stop the drug runners from purchasing the guns.
Oh- I see now.
O yeah- one last thing- she said there was ONE case where she did find a Gun walking activity.
It was the single Whistle Blower [Dodson?] who did this.
As the woman made the rounds [I saw her on CNN] the ‘new’ story was that both the Repubs- as well as their cohorts in crime- the actual whistle blowers- that these were the ones who were blaming Holder [because he is Black?] while all the while Holder and his people are really innocent- after all- they never sold guns!
Now- I was really mad when I saw this latest story.
This last year- as I actually watched some of the congressional hearings- and read lots of sources and stuff.
The REAL STORY is there were guys working for the ATF and other law enforcement agencies- and these guys complained- for a couple of years- that the Gun walking program was a very dangerous and real program- even Holder has said this.
Now- these were the actual guys doing the ground work- of course they were the ‘gun walkers’ they worked for the govt.
So- after complaining about it for a while- nothing was done.
Eventually the story made it to the news- and the govt. [Holder] denied it.
At that point- some of the guys involved risked their careers- because they knew the govt. was lying- and they went public and said ‘look- I am one of the guys who actually bought and sold the guns’.
So- instead of demonizing these guys- like the lady making the rounds on MSNBC and CNN- we should be thanking them for what they did.
Quite frankly- this is about as low as it gets- they were actually saying ‘Holder never walked guns- but these darn whistle blowers- who are making the charge- they are guilty!’
Sad- so sad.
One other charge came out- it was initially made by those on the Right- and now it’s used by those on the left [as a counter charge].
When I first heard this charge- by some on the Right- I was mad.
I was mad because I knew the charge was false- and I could not believe that some were actually falling for it.
Some have said that the Fast and Furious program was designed- on purpose- to get guns into the hands of drug lords [actually- this part is true- they wanted the top guys to get the guns- then they thought they could catch the big boys. The goal was noble- the way they went about it was stupid].
But some have said Obama purposefully wanted the gun crime to go up- so in the end he could blame the loose gun laws [NRA folk] and pass stricter gun laws.
Now- I have heard this by some radicals on the right- and this is not true.
Then why is the charge gaining ground?
Because- in the mess of this whole thing- there was indeed some memo that slipped out- by the Dems- that did say ‘if this gets out of hand- and you are asked about the program- turn the conversation into one that says ‘see- we need stricter gun laws’.
Yes- the Dems did say this- and indeed do this.
As I watched the news over the months- whenever a Dem was asked about the scandal- he/she said ‘well- it’s because we need better gun laws’.
Is the scandal about this?
Is it about some whistle blower who is guilty- while Holder is innocent?
No [Holder- and the ATF big wigs were in charge- they bare the blame for the peons at the bottom that they ordered to do this].
The whole scandal- is simply the fact that the Justice Dept. – under Holder- at first denied the program- then later admitted it.
He now will not release the other papers that probably show that they were indeed trying to cover their tracks after the story broke.
Congress will vote today on contempt charges- and Holder will probably be the first Attorney General of the U.S. to be held in contempt.
This week I have been reading the story of John the Baptist.
John was an interesting guy.
The bible says he was filled with the Holy Spirit ‘from his mother’s womb’.
The prophets Isaiah and Malachi spoke of John ‘before the great day of the Lord I will send Elijah the prophet and he will restore the fathers to the sons and the sons to the fathers’ Malachi chapter 4.
Isaiah said ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness- prepare ye the way of the Lord’.
John was the fulfillment of these prophecies.
One time the people came to Jesus and he asked them ‘what did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind- or someone dressed in expensive clothes?’
No- you went to see a prophet- and I tell you- more than a prophet.
For this is he of whom the prophets spake [above].
Then Jesus says something kinda strange- he says ‘I tell you- of all that are born of women- there has not been a greater than John the Baptist- but he that is LEAST IN THE KINGDOM is greater than he’.
Over the years I have heard various takes on this- most say that Jesus was saying that even the ‘least’ in the new church age- the Born Again Christian- is greater than the greatest of the Old age [Law].
But I like this interpretation the best.
Jesus often spoke about himself in the 3rd person ‘for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’.
Maybe Jesus was really saying ‘he that is least [himself] is greater than John’.
Jesus spoke about the smallest of seeds falling into the ground and dying- then later it becomes the greatest tree.
He said this about faith- about Gods kingdom- and also about himself.
‘Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die- it abideth alone- but if it dies it will bring forth much fruit’ [John’s gospel].
Jesus was the ‘least among men’ that is- he gave up his glory- his position with the Father and became a man and humbled himself unto the death of the Cross.
Because of this God raised him up and seated him at his own right hand in glory.
Jesus was [is] greater than John- yet John was up there on the charts.
John was- in a way- a Whistle Blower- he revealed the secrets of men.
The thing that got John killed was his preaching against corrupt leadership.
He said ‘Herod- you snake- you have your brother’s wife- and its wrong!’
One day Herod had a party [he was the puppet king that ruled the Jewish region of the Roman Empire].
And Herod’s daughter in law danced for the king.
Herod was struck ‘I’ll give you anything honey- up to the half of my kingdom’.
The mother says ‘ask him for the head of John the Baptist’.
Yeah- the wife got tired of John’s whistle blowing- and John lot his head over the thing.
Today congress votes on Holder- also the Supreme Court will rule on Obama Care.
Both sides have all the reasons why they are right- and the other guys wrong.
Lets agree on one thing- let’s not blame the messenger- the guys at the bottom who were ordered to do these things- they risked their lives and careers in revealing the program- because they were good guys not bad.
Yeah- the least- the small seeds- these are the valuable ones.
1865- HEALTH CARE RULING- AND A BED
Okay- before we get to the health care ruling- let’s do some spiritual stuff.
When I got up yesterday morning- I determined not to listen to too much news before I go to the homeless spot.
I mean I like keeping my mind free- at least until I get back from visiting with the homeless.
On my way to the mission- I put on the Christian music station [I listen to classic rock- talk radio- news- and Christian stuff at various times].
I was in such a spiritual state of mind- avoiding all the political stuff.
Then my music station broke in- yeah- one of those ‘breaking news’ type things- like CNN did one day- in the middle of real news- they broke in ‘BREAKING NEWS’- gee- what could it be that’s so important- I mean they were already covering real time important stuff- Syria shooting down a Turkish jet- you know- stuff like that.
Then the urgent story broke ‘Obama rose 2 % in a poll’.
Sad- so sad.
So my Christian station ‘broke in’ I mean I was in a good state of mind- free from Rush [on the right] and NPR [a little left].
It was short- and well- sweet ‘the Supreme Court has upheld all of the Obama care law- yes- all of it’.
Now- go back to your spiritual state of mind.
Thanks a lot.
Actually- at first I was surprised- and thought for a moment ‘am I mad’ ?
You know- I wasn’t.
Am I in shock?
I was just surprised.
Those of you who have followed my posts this last year realize that I was not a total rejecter of Obama Care.
I did feel that the main justification for the mandate- the way Obama used the Commerce Clause- was a mistake.
The administration said they had the right to make people buy insurance because the Fed. Govt. has the right to regulate commerce [under the clause].
And that health care is ‘commerce’ that takes place between the states- so they are ‘regulating’ it by telling you to buy insurance.
In short- this seemed like a stretch to me.
I also wrote that the pres does have the authority to pass a law that could tax people for health care.
But Obama- and the Solicitor General [the lawyer who argued the govts. case before the court] chose to reject the ‘we have the right to tax you’ law- and instead argued the ‘we have the commerce clause right to regulate you’.
So- that’s really why I thought the law would get rejected by the court.
But who am I- just some arm chair peon who watches the news- a lot.
When I got home from the mission- I caught the latest and realized that I was actually right.
The court did reject the Commerce Clause argument.
The 5 more conservative justices did in fact shoot down the Commerce Clause argument.
Then how did it pass constitutional muster?
John Roberts [the chief justice] then sided with the 4 more liberal justices- and said in essence ‘you [Pres and Congress] do have the right to tax [which we all agree on] therefore- Obama Care passes because it’s just a tax’.
The Solicitor General- and the President- have argued- time and again- that this is not a tax.
Yet Roberts said ‘we pass the law [mandate part] because it’s a tax’.
It seems like a contradiction to me.
Then- when I read/heard the dissenting opinion- from the 4 ‘conservative’ justices- they ripped into Roberts.
They basically said what I just told you.
They said Roberts and the 4 libs did indeed change the law- by saying in their ruling that it is a tax.
The 4 dissenters said it is the courts job to simply rule on the law- the way it was written- and the way it was argued- and that both said this was not a tax.
So- in the end- for some reason- Roberts took it upon himself to kind of be a ‘judicial activist’ and in a way re write the rule himself.
This is a little strange to be honest.
And it confuses the public.
There are now many Obama supporters who are saying ‘see- we told you it was constitutional all along’.
But actually- the way it was written- the Commerce Clause thing- was said to be unconstitutional.
Yes- the majority says the way the law was initially written was unconstitutional.
So- those who said this from the start- were proved right.
Yet- those who defend the law are skipping that [as they make the rounds on the news] and are simply saying ‘see- it was constitutional all along’.
What a mess.
I fear Roberts- in his desire to make the court look like it’s not too political- might have made one of the worst decisions- that is- a decision that seems to be political.
From the start I was [and am still] not someone who outright rejects the goal of universal care.
I never made the strong right argument that what Obama did was socialized medicine.
In actuality the law is simply a mandate for citizens to buy private insurance- without limiting what private insurance can charge.
I think in a way this is a boom for the private insurance industry.
I would have preferred a more European style thing [see- you guys who think I’m all ‘right’ have not read my blog too long].
Yes- I know both sides of the issue- and realize that true universal care- Canadian style- has its good and bad.
I just felt from the start if you are going to shoot for universal coverage [a noble goal] that the way Obama went about it was not the best way.
Okay- enough of that.
I hung out at the mission for a few hours- had a good talk with Dirk and a few other friends.
Around 1 o’clock one of the new ladies that has been coming the last few weeks- she had a free bag of goods that the mission gave her- and had to walk a few blocks in the heat.
She’s also pregnant- so I offered to give her a ride home.
Tammy also asked if I could give her a ride and I said sure.
Most of the times I will leave with Henry- and he comes back to the house and hangs out for the rest of the day.
But he was not around so I just gave the girls a ride home.
It’s been real hot in Corpus the last few weeks- we have been breaking records.
Anyway as I was dropping off Tammy she was telling Johnaa that she is sleeping on the floor of her trailer- she has no bed.
Right at that point I make the turn to get to Tammy’s street and some people look like their moving out and have about 5 beds right there on the street.
So Johnna says ‘hey look- there’s a bed’.
I asked Tammy if she wanted to turn around and see if they want to sell one.
Of course she was broke- but I told her maybe I can get a deal and I’ll buy it for her.
So I did the U turn and asked the guy- he said they were moving out and we could take one.
I’m like ‘praise God brother’.
I noticed he had on that little Elder tag that the Mormons where.
Now- I like Mormon people- and over the years I have had very open and honest discussions about their faith.
I do try to be nice when I refute some of their teachings- and have really made headway with them over the years- being open too- and willing to hear both sides.
So the guy I talked too had the badge on- plus there were about 5 more of them standing in the garage.
It must have been some missionary house that they were moving out of.
So I told them I just left the mission- I gave the Elder my ministry card [so he knew I wasn’t making stuff up].
And I kinda saw the whole thing as God working it out.
They seemed to not take it the same way.
I mean- they didn’t say anything- but it’s almost like the elder didn’t even want to touch the card.
I realize why they are like this- and if any of you guys are Mormons- I’m glad you read the site.
Yet- I felt they just were not that ‘into me’.
Anyway- far be it from me to hold a grudge- I mean that’s childish.
So we got the bed.
Oh yeah- one more thing.
If Romney thinks I’m gonna vote for him now- well he better think again.
1866- MARY- THE MOTHER OF GOD- WHAT DID SHE SAY? [or- I am the Egg Man]
As we close the week- lets recap a few highlights.
Of course the SCOTUS ruling was the biggest news- and we also had congress vote- and pass- the contempt of congress charge against Holder.
But there were a few other ‘lesser’ stories that in a slower news week would have gotten more attention.
The enemy of all conservatives- yes- the peanut farmer from Georgia- Jimmy Carter- got some heat over his criticism of Obama.
What did he say?
He made some comments about our Drone war tactics- and said there is no doubt that the U.S. is violating human rights.
The drone planes are remote controlled unmanned planes- Bush was the first to ‘arm’ them- and Obama followed his lead.
We used to use them as surveillance planes- but when we stuck bombs on them we started using them to go after the enemy.
Being we don’t have pilots in the planes- we are basically doing our best to hit the target by remote control- and we often kill civilians in these strikes.
We are doing this in Yemen and Pakistan as I speak.
So- after years of killing lots of the wrong folk- these people are outright pissed off.
In Pakistan- there is some lawyer representing the families of the victims- and they have been saving the debris from the bombs- writing down the serial numbers and all- and using them for evidence on some future court case against the U.S.
We recently found out [thru leaks?] That the way the U.S. counts the amount of terrorists that are killed in the strikes is ‘every adult male killed in the vicinity is considered to be a terrorist’.
Yup- that’s the rule.
So if we accidently kill- let’s say 15 men- and even if the remote control operator messed up- and hit the wrong spot- we count this as ‘15 bad guys dead’.
Geez- with scoring like this- how can you lose?
So- Carter came out and said this type of killing is wrong.
Was he right?
Of course he was- we have killed a lot of women and kids- that’s wrong- in everyone’s book.
Then why don’t we stop it?
The newly elected president of Egypt- the Muslim Brotherhood guy- he has already given signs to Iran that he wants to form some sort of an alliance with them.
He has also told the U.S. that he wants us to turn over the Blind Sheik.
If you remember- years before 911- we had another attempted bombing of the World Trade Towers.
They traced the original plot to some Muslim radical who was based in New Jersey.
I remember the case because as I watched the story- the guy had his office/mosque set up right on a storefront street- and when I saw the spot- I recognized the street as one of the places I walked passed as a kid [I think one time I illegally rode my dirt bike right passed the area- you know- one of those late night street rides when the cops chase you].
So- the new Egyptian president wants the guy released and sent back to Egypt.
And we have hailed this election as a great thing- we forced a former leader out- who we were actually allies with- and we [Obama] publicly supported the Brotherhood.
This is sad.
And last but not least- I told you the other day that Holder sued Florida [man- he needs to stop suing cities/states- this guy is out of control].
He sued the Repub governor- Rick Scott- because Scott ‘purged’ the voter rolls of non citizens.
Yeah- Scott actually identified real non citizens who were on the roles- and he tried to take them off.
It is against the law to vote if you’re not a citizen.
Why the suit?
Holder believes that the states that are doing this are really trying to hurt the Dems by going after minorities.
Okay- but say if we know- for a fact- that the people he’s removing are only non citizens- would that be okay?
According to Holder- no.
Yes- Holder said the state does not have the right to remove NON CITIZENS from the rolls- because it is within 90 days of an election- and darn it- those non citizens have rights too!
So- the case went to a federal judge- and the judge said- in so many words ‘are you nuts man- it’s against the law for non citizens to vote. The state and governor can actually be held liable if they don’t purge the voter rolls- of course Scott can do this- it’s required by law’.
I mean even the judge- a Dem appointed judge- thought Holder must be delusional – because they were upholding federal law.
As a side note- Holder has also sued some Egg farm.
Because he said they were requiring too much proof- from non citizens- to prove they were not illegal’s.
Yes- he sued this private business- not because they were requiring the proof from citizens- but from non citizens.
Why did the egg company do this?
If you get caught hiring an illegal- you pay a fine or go to jail.
They just raided a pizza place here in Corpus for this.
So- if the Egg man actually got caught hiring an illegal- then off to jail he goes.
So- he simply tried to make sure that the people he was hiring were in fact citizens- Holder sued him for this.
These are the things that have really riled up some on the other side.
I mean who cares if your Black, White or Green- this guy is absolutely off his rocker.
Okay- lets end with a bible thing here.
I mentioned the other day that I read some chapters about John the Baptist this week.
One of the big [and long] chapters was Luke 1.
In the chapter we read about the angel Gabriel appearing to both Mary- the Mother of Jesus- and Elisabeth- Mary’s cousin.
Elisabeth and her husband Zacharias were older folk and were never able to have a baby.
Then one day God does a miracle and Elisabeth gets pregnant and has John the Baptist.
The miracle was not the same as when Mary gets pregnant- but the miracle was they were older now- past the normal time to have kids.
Mary is told about this and when she gets pregnant with Jesus she visits Elisabeth and when Mary- who is carrying Jesus in her womb- sees Elisabeth- who is pregnant with John- the bible says the ‘baby leaped in her womb’.
It was John the Baptists purpose in life to be the fore runner of Jesus.
And even before he was born- he still responded this way as Christ showed up in the womb of Mary.
When the angel reveals to Mary that she will bare Christ- she bursts into this prayer/proclamation of praise.
Scholars call this Mary’s Magnificat [her magnifying of God].
If you have time- read this prayer in Luke one.
It does not sound like the prayer of some humble- quiet little lady.
It’s more like a prophetic blast of Gods rule.
Mary says things like ‘He hath put down the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree’ ‘He hath filled the hungry with good things and the rich hath he sent away empty’.
I mean these are some of the same themes we see in the teachings of Christ.
As I write and blog about politics- I do try to be fair.
I know it must have been hard these last few months for my friends on the left side of the aisle.
Trust me- about a year or 2 ago my friends on the right went thru the same thing.
My ‘job’ is to not simply pick a side- and then defend that side at all costs.
I think that’s the mistake many in the church have made.
We have really lost our prophetic voice as the people of God.
The modern Evangelical church [and the televangelist world] has lost the true social justice message of the church.
They [we] have traded that message in for one of self help- how to become wealthy- how to be happier- how to have a better life.
We have lost the prophetic voice of the church- the one that speaks out against the murder of the innocents [drones] or the lying about killing terrorists- just because we count ‘all adults in the area’ as the enemy.
Yes- the ‘church’ is supposed to have a voice for the defenseless in society.
No- we are too busy having an American party.
Beware- Mary said ‘the high he will bring down- the rich he hath sent away empty- the famous/proud will be bring low’.
I can’t think of a better description of the church today- can you?
1867- DID JESUS WHERE AN ARMANI SUIT?
I was debating on what to talk about this morning- I want to do a little more on Leaks and the freedom of the press.
But I think instead we’ll cover some more about the nature of the church.
I read an article yesterday- it was about a church in Singapore whose pastor was arrested because he ‘funneled’ 19 million dollars from the Charity Chest- and he used it to support his wife’s ‘international singing ministry’.
They showed the picture of the wife- she was supposedly trying to break into the ‘secular’ industry [non Christian music] and she simply looked like any other rock/pop star.
I don’t say this to be critical- and whenever I deal with these issues- people get mad.
Most of you see stuff like this and right from the start see it as wrong- and you should.
But there are many people- good people- who head up big ministries- who actually think this type of stuff is okay.
It takes a long time to explain it- but over the past 40 years the Evangelical church has developed a type of theology- usually called The Prosperity Gospel- and many good people have been inundated with all types of arguments- even from the bible- that seem to teach that fame and fortune are actually Gods plan.
Often times these people think- sincerely- that any rebuke of this type of stuff is simply a rebuke from those ‘old time traditional churches- those religious folk’.
But in reality- a proper reading of the bible- and especially the life and teachings of Jesus- show us that this type of idea- the fame and wealth thing- is not really a right biblical understanding.
Let’s do a few examples.
A few years ago I read an article in the San Antonio paper- to my surprise it was about a church in the city that was embroiled in a controversy.
I knew the pastor- used to listen to his teachings [years ago] and read a couple of his books [sitting here on my shelf right now].
The controversy was some board member from the church took the church to court- because the pastor publicly exposed him as a trouble maker from the pulpit on a Sunday morning.
This board member was a ‘trouble maker’ because he revealed to the church that at a time when the church was going thru this huge money raising campaign- encouraging people to give sacrificially- the Pastor bought a 4 thousand dollar Armani suit for another board member- as a gift [with church funds].
Yet- at the same time- there were lots of poor people who were giving there measly widows mite- to whom 4 thousand dollars is not a drop in the bucket.
So the board member exposed the thing- they went to court- and the whole thing was a mess.
Now- as I read the story- at one point the Pastor defended his buying of the suit by quoting the story of Jesus in the bible- when the lady pours expensive perfume on Jesus.
The Pastor basically said ‘see- its okay to waste lots of money’.
This story is often used to defend a lavish ‘ministry’ lifestyle- and innocent people- people who hear these types of so called ‘biblical arguments’ do become convinced over time.
Needless to say the story in no way defends wealth and fame- but simply shows us that it’s okay to worship THE LORD extravagantly- not man.
Another bible story is often used in these churches to defend wealth- wealth as being Gods primary will for his people that is [it’s okay to be successful- and have money- but I’m dealing with the abuse of it- the 19 million dollars from the Poor Fund being spent on the singing career of the pastors wife type of thing].
In the gospels we read about the Crucifixion of Jesus.
At the foot of the Cross the soldiers gambled for the robe of Jesus.
There actually is an Old Testament prophecy that said this would happen- it was written hundreds of years before.
The prophecy says ‘they will cast lots for my vesture’.
Okay- why did they gamble for it- instead of just ripping the thing in half?
Because this coat was an expensive coat- sort of like the coat that the patriarch Joseph had from his father [Genesis].
The bible says Joseph’s coat ‘of many colors’ was a source of jealousy for his other brothers.
When you have a seamless coat- in bible days- that’s a lot of work- so these types of coats are indeed the Armani’s of the day.
‘So John- the Armani thing is good- to spend 4 grand for the board member’?
Actually- no it’s not.
Some- many- have argued that Jesus was indeed rich- owned his own home- and was one of the richest men of his day.
Years ago when I was on the radio- I used to preach against this a lot.
I had an older listener- he was steeped in this doctrine- I mean he would write me very long letters- over many years- and I knew he read the bible a lot.
After years of hearing these arguments- he became one of the innocent victims of false teaching.
He really did thank me for my teachings- and every so often if he missed the program I would send him the tape- but this person was not an outright con artist- he was convinced of this belief.
He had a very long justification for why he thought Jesus was the richest man of his day.
I know it’s hard for the casual observer to understand how people can be duped like this- but trust me- this is no isolated case.
Okay- back to the coat.
Did the fact that Jesus had an expensive coat mean he was rich?
How did he get the coat then?
The bible does not say- but the first story I told you- the perfume- gives us a hint.
People did do extravagant acts of worship on/for Jesus.
And it’s quite possible that some person gave their expensive Armani to the Lord.
One day I was watching Larry King- you know some think he actually lived at the time of Christ [sorry].
He had on a very popular prosperity preacher.
King was open and honest- he always was a good interviewer.
King asked the man ‘how can you actually think Jesus was rich- I mean even the New Testament speaks about him as not being a millionaire’.
And the preacher- he sincerely believed that these types of verses I just talked about proved King wrong.
Now- this preacher- like many others- have a huge influence in the modern church.
They often have very large audiences and they do reach entire continents with this message [Africa].
Yet- at the end of the day- even though they mean well [for the most part] they teach a tragically flawed gospel.
I mean there’s no other way for me to say this- in a way it’s nothing less than ministerial mal practice- on a huge scale.
Let’s end with this- many times people will never listen to reason- even if you give them biblical arguments- they become fixed in their view- and that’s that.
I simply recommend people read 1st Timothy chapter 6.
The apostle Paul warns his young protégé to avoid this type of thing.
He says ‘we came into this world without material wealth- when we leave we can’t take it with us- so be content with what you have’.
Notice- Paul does not say ‘Timothy- you must believe for great wealth so you can reach the world with the gospel’
‘You must get rich- so you can fulfill the promise that Jesus told us- that he came to give us abundant life’.
No- the apostle does not use any of the reasoning of the many who are preaching this gospel today.
In fact- many of the modern preachers say Paul’s idea was wrong- they say ‘if your happy with the little you have- you’re in sin’.
Who you gonna believe?
I’ll go with Paul.
1868- ALIEN INVASION
Last night I was watching a talk given by the Ohio congressman- Dennis Kucinich.
Dennis is known as a big Lib- he has been the butt of jokes for years- he once saw a UFO- and that pretty much put the nail in the coffin.
But- to be fair- the guy is smart.
Now- I’m not saying I believe everything he says [accept of course about the alien ship] but during the talk he was asked a question.
And he used an example from Evolutionary Biology.
He said- in so many words ‘scientists tell us that there is this thing called Punctuated Equilibrium’ and he used this idea to make a political point.
Now- as I heard Dennis- I thought ‘geez- if I get into this in the morning [now] it will take the whole post’.
So let’s see how far we can go.
I laughed somewhat over the example.
Evolutionary Biology has made great strides- and had setbacks ever since the idea was popularized by Charles Darwin in the 19th century.
Now- Charlie was not the first person to espouse the idea.
In fact- there was another famous scientist at the time- who some believe Darwin ‘stole’ the idea from him [much like the debate with Einstein- the famous Mathematician- Max Plank- at one point took part of the original idea of Einstein and almost became the famous one].
So- what Darwin is famous for is coming up with the theory of Evolution [what we call Macro Evolution- that all species came from a common ancestor- one spontaneous living cell that popped into existence from nothing- Charlie did not teach this by the way- not fully- but the modern theory has gone there].
Okay- it would take too much space to explain all the ins and outs.
But the debate that has raged for the past 150 years has been whether or not this ever really happened.
That is- have all species actually come from a common life.
The strong evolutionist insists [or did insist] yes.
Those who questioned the theory [not just Christians or Theists- but there are many in the scientific community who have expressed real doubt- these men are not believers- but it’s virtually impossible for their voices to be heard because when you question some of the huge problems with the theory your usually tagged as a right wing nut].
So- after 150 years- the evidence that they thought would be there- is simply not there.
After many years of discovering fossils- and trying to see if there is a pattern of things actually evolving over millions of years- the evidence does not show this.
You heard me- the evidence shows something quite different.
It shows us that new species came into existence at set points in history.
That is- we might find a certain species living for so long- and Walla- seemingly overnight- a new one pops up.
There is absolutely no regular pattern of what you would call transitional species- it’s simply not there.
Okay- if this were the only Monkey Wrench [pun intended] then that wouldn’t be so bad.
But as science has advanced- we have also been trying- desperately- to get some type of species- anything- to actually become something else.
The way we [science] attempts this is thru the experimentation with fruit flies.
In the lab they have been trying to simply get a fruit fly to become another thing [they breed and reproduce fast- so that’s why they use them].
After many dollars and years spent trying this- they can’t get this to happen.
There are many more reasons I could give- but after things like this kept popping up- some in the field- leading Evolutionary scientists- Gould [MIT]- one of the daughters from the famed Leaky family- etc.- starting having real doubts.
Now- these doubts were not based on religion- but science.
The data showed that there seems to be this huge wall between species- that is it’s not as easy as Darwin first thought.
As a matter of fact- the science showed that it is virtually impossible for one thing to become another thing [as far as we can tell right now].
So- the normal thing you would do [should do] at this point is to say ‘maybe we got it wrong- maybe we need to look in another direction’.
And Walla- Punctuated Equilibrium.
Yes- as Dennis said- scientists have said that this is the idea that instead of things slowly evolving over millions/hundreds of thousands of years- they simply changed overnight.
Now- this in reality would be saying ‘the other side- those who questioned Evolution- are right’.
Because the 2 major competing theories are Evolution [things changed slowly over millions of years into new species].
Creation- things came onto the scene at once [or set times].
The Punctuated Equilibrium idea is simply a fancy way of saying the evidence points to the creationist as being right.
But instead of coming right out and saying it like that- instead the theory sounds like it is a result of Evolutionary biology.
I have heard this stated over the years- that indeed Evolution has made this new discovery possible.
Now- I’m not a total rejecter of the entire theory.
I have said in the past that there is no doubt that evolution [natural selection] does take place within the known species [called Micro Evolution].
But there is lots of evidence that seems to say Evolution does not take place on the bigger scale- species changing into another species over long periods of time.
[Darwin thought that whales changed into cows over many years- he thought that the Black aborigine tribes were proof that Evolution was true- he said these Black races were less advanced along the scale. And the famous ‘Monkey Trial’ here in the U.S. [Tenn.] made it look like the Christians were idiots. Many are not aware that the Evolutionary book that Scopes was accused of teaching Evolution from was actually a racist book that the KKK endorsed. The book [by George Hunter] had a scale of the most advanced races- and the least advanced- of course at the top were Whites- the bottom were Blacks. Yet the media made it sound like the more noble side was indeed those who backed using the book in public schools].
But the entire argument shows you how people’s bias affects the end result.
In reality- for anyone to say that Evolutionary science has been responsible for the great breakthrough- known as Punctuated Equilibrium- well it’s ridiculous.
Because Punctuated Equilibrium is simply saying that those who reject the theory that species change into new species over long periods of time- they are right.
So what you see is a manipulation of the argument- to make it look like the ‘losing side’ is actually responsible for this discovery.
But in reality the other side was right all along.
See- I knew this would take the whole post- thank Kucinich for it.
O- by the way- he does have a backup plan.
He can always say the aliens did it.
1869- THE GOD PARTICLE [and Mayan flag day]
Hope you ‘all’ had a good 4th of July.
I actually flew the flag for the 2nd time in so many months.
For years I never had a house flag- I hung them up daily at the fire dept for 25 years and it never dawned on me to get one.
So when I woke up on Memorial Day and saw my neighbor’s flag flying high- yea- it made me feel like a commie.
So I went and bought a flag.
I asked my wife- ‘where did you put the flag’ ‘it’s in the closet’.
I get the flag- it’s around 7 or so- and I walk back into the room ‘let’s go hang the flag’.
My wife says ‘what do you mean- you need 2 people to hang it’?
But I want you to stand next to me and recite the pledge.
I thought it was funny- she didn’t seem to think so.
Yeah- I’m one of those types that get the most use out of a purchase as possible.
I’ll probably be flying it on that Mayan calendar day- I think it’s coming up pretty soon?
So- as I debated about what we should discuss today- I picked up the paper [yesterday morning] and the front page headline read ‘JUSTICE DEPT SUES CITY’.
I mentioned this the other day- about the fire dept not hiring enough women [they say].
I read about half of the article- I read the stats- we actually hired more women than other comparable cities.
I really did not want to do another whole post on the thing- but it was sad to see that as a front page headline- I don’t think we have ever been sued by our own govt. before.
[in the post the other day- I think I used the word threat- maybe not- but now I know they did sue].
I have written about our attorney general before- Eric Holder- this guy has politicized the justice dept to no end.
I could give you example after example- even his past dealings are very shady- the Mark Rich pardon- a pardon he recommended when he worked in the Clinton days.
By all accounts- Clinton pardoned a crook because he had connections- Holder used his influence to get the dirty deed done.
Pure- 100% Chicago politics- corrupt to the core.
Okay- instead- let’s do the other big news story- the so called God Particle.
Yeah- I heard/read a bunch of stories on the so called breakthrough discovery.
Now- I am not ‘anti science’.
I am not a person who believes the earth is only 6 thousand years old- or that kids rode on the backs of dinosaurs.
But- in the historic setting of apologetics- and the role that science has played in the debate- I must say there are lots of misconceptions floating around in the air.
Okay- a brief history of the scientific method and how it came to be.
The past year or so I covered lots of posts on philosophy and physics and world history in general.
We covered how during the middle of the last millennium [500years ago] the world began a break thru in many areas- and we often refer to this as the modern era.
Man- science- thought- all of the fields we see as part of the modern era- they began at around this point.
Science/philosophy and religion all played a big role in the debate.
One of the big boys was a man named David Hume- he was a thinker who questioned what we talked about the other day- the law of cause and effect.
This law simply says that every effect has a cause.
Hume challenged the popular idea that we can know causes.
He said we think we can know the cause of something- but in reality we can’t be sure.
The example Hume gave was the Pool table.
He said we see a person hit the q ball- the ball hits another ball and it goes into the pocket.
Hume said it might look like this a string of cause and effects- but we don’t know for sure.
Maybe there are other reasons why the balls are reacting like this.
Another famous example is the Rooster crowing- the guy couldn’t sleep in because the sun kept shinning in his window- so every morning right before the sun rose he heard the darn rooster crow.
So he shot the rooster.
Just because one act precedes another- this does not mean that is the cause.
Okay- we got it Hume.
But some began to doubt all possible knowledge- they said you can’t make any judgments at all- because we don’t know for sure what the real cause is.
Okay- this led another great thinker- Kant- to challenge Hume [the famous quote from Kant was ‘he woke up out of his dogmatic slumber’] and Kant said even though we can’t be 100 % sure- yet for any possibility for science to function- we do need to be able to have some type of way we can settle on knowledge- science does need to be able to say ‘okay- we have looked at this long enough- we think this is what’s causing this’.
Okay- this whole debate is called Epistemology- how we know stuff.
Now- the God particle.
As I listened to the various reports the last 2 days- I could tell right off the bat that there was some funny stuff going on.
The actual statements form the scientists are saying ‘well- we haven’t ACTUALLY seen the particle [also called Higgs Boson] but- we have detected enough other particles- so we think the Boson is more than likely there too’ or ‘it’s like looking in the distance- and you think you see someone- but maybe you’re looking at his twin instead’.
Okay- what kind of argument is this?
This is what we call a Metaphysical argument.
It’s an argument that is made- not because you actually detected the thing- but you have come to a conclusion based on the Scientific Method of Induction/Deduction.
You looked at- observed- and tested various things- and you now say ‘well- it must be there- because look at all the other stuff’. [layman’s terms].
Okay- is there anything wrong with this.
But- here’s the catch- many in the modern field of physics refute the argument for the existence of God because in the end it is a metaphysical one.
That is- the materialist scientist [one who says we only deal in facts that we can actually see\detect] uses metaphysical arguments all the time- he just does not realize he is doing this.
Remember the other day- I posted about the many contradictions good men make when mixing science with apologetics and the laws of argumentation [or logic].
They often do not realize they are contradicting themselves- or making out right nonsense statements- because they are scientists- not logicians.
So what we have in the Higgs Boson case- in the Dark Matter- Dark energy case- in the entire Multi Verse theory [many universes].
In all these theories- which now make up the majority of modern physics- they are all the same type of argument that the materialist scientist says are not good arguments- at least when it comes to the argument for the existence of God.
In a nutshell- if we agree to accept that a certain particle must exist- not because we have actually detected it- but because ‘well- it must be there- because if not- then how do we explain everything else’?
If these arguments are being used in all of the above scenarios- and trust me- they are.
Then we can’t exclude the Theist from the table- we can’t say ‘no- you silly Christian- you deal in things we DON’T SEE- we deal in things we do see.’
Actually- you don’t.
All of the above theories are conclusions based on how the other things around them respond.
The reason many think Dark Matter exists- is not because we have found it- we haven’t.
But because in order for the standard model- well- to stand- then Dark Matter simply ‘must be’.
Okay- this is the same type of argument the Theist [one who believes in God] uses.
If you want to exclude the believer from the table- on the grounds that he appeals to a ‘non detectable’ being.
Then we must ditch all of the above.
And it seems- Higgs Boson too.
NOTE- all scientists are not materialists- many are believers- and even many non believers are not materialists. If you are a pure materialist scientist- one who says we cannot accept any other non material arguments [things we don’t actually see/detect] then you also would not be able to accept any of the major theories of physics today- that is if you were consistent in your thinking.
Also why did the researchers at CERN release this as some great new finding?
The ‘discovery’ was made at the new 10 billion dollar Hadron Collider.
This is the world’s largest Atom smasher.
In order for the Europeans to justify the cost- they had to convince people that this was the best chance to actually discover this long elusive particle.
Now- Europe is in a near depression- as most of you know.
This underground ‘particle smashing tunnel’ [I think it’s right on the French Swiss border?] when first opened- had a bad day.
It leaked oil into the tunnel and it was shut down- and had to be repaired at the cost of millions of dollars.
Okay- all of these guys realize- if you do not justify the cost of this thing- in the midst of a European depression- then what are the odds that your gonna keep getting funded?
I don’t know if this was the main reason they came out with the statement now- but for them to have come out- and kinda have fudged on it- makes me wonder.
1870- THE PRAIRIE PROPHET
This week I read the book of Amos.
Amos was a prophet to the northern nation of Israel- 750-790 b.c. [though he had a few prophecies for Judah- the southern nation].
He was unlike the other Old Testament prophets- in that he was an ‘uneducated’ shepherd that came from a little village [Tekoa] about 5 miles south of Bethlehem.
Yet- Amos knew history.
He railed against the political leadership of the nation- he spoke up for the poor ‘in the gate’ and condemned the ‘church’ of his day.
He said they were spending all their time and money on religious celebration- on their own ideas of what they felt God wanted [Amos says they worshipped the ‘gods that they made’].
And yet justice was falling down in the street.
Yeah- Amos was a prophet sent from God- and the people knew it.
I watched [re watched] a documentary this week on the failed run for the presidency by George McGovern.
Now- as a news buff- I never really studied McGovern- but have heard so much about the guy [usually negative] that my view of him was formed by these little clips of his life.
McGovern is famous because his loss to Nixon in 1972 was one of the biggest landslides in presidential history.
As I watched the documentary- and read Amos- I began seeing a type of Amos in McGovern.
McGovern was from South Dakota- outside of the mainstream ‘machine’ of the Democratic Party.
He was raised in a preacher’s home- and dabbled at becoming one himself.
He would eventually enter politics- and also had a background as an historian [Amos].
They called him ‘the prairie prophet’.
He was not the favored candidate for his party’s nomination.
At first it looked like Muskie would be their man.
But old Ed didn’t seem to have the temperament for the job.
At one campaign stop he was picketed by some gay rights group.
He said- quote ‘If I have to be nice to a bunch of Soddomites to get elected- then fuck it’.
McGovern would eventually win his party’s nomination- and lose in the general election.
As I watched the rise of McGovern- the animosity- and outright hatred- from his own party.
I also saw that he indeed was a voice in the wilderness at times.
McGovern is most famous for his opposition to the Vietnam War.
It was said that just the name of McGovern being said would send Lyndon Johnson into a rage.
McGovern stood steady in his opposition- and as an historian he had read that other world watchers had predicted that there would be an uprising in Indo China and South East Asia.
They said the people groups were growing tired of colonialism- and they would eventually rebel.
So McGovern did not see the Vietnamese as a communist threat- that left unchecked would have a domino effect.
After the assassination of Bobby Kennedy he was convinced to briefly throw his hat into the ring and run for the 68 nomination.
But the 1972 nomination was his big achievement.
In the book of Amos there are some choice quotes [not like Musky].
‘Hate evil and love good- establish judgment in the land’
‘Let judgment run down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream’ [MLK’s famous line too]
‘Woe to them that are at ease in Zion’ [the present day church]
The one that caught my eye the most-
‘He strengthens the spoiled against the strong so that they come against the fortress’.
At times in history there are voices that rise- sometimes they are Prairie Prophets.
Sometimes we don’t realize the importance of what they are saying- until after they are gone.
Rulers- people in power- they are not all corrupt- but many are.
LBJ referred to Vietnam as a ‘little piss ant of a country’.
He [and Nixon] bombed the hell out of the land- not wanting to be seen as week.
A small- little ‘piss ant’ country in South East Asia.
Hundreds of thousands would die needlessly.
Men like McGovern- for all their critics- saw the writing on the wall.
At the present day- as I write- we have been at war in Afghanistan for around 11 years now.
We just reopened a key ground [truck] route thru Pakistan- it has been shut for 7 months because we killed around 30 Pakistani soldiers in a mistaken identity case.
NATO was flying over the border- we were fired upon from the ground- and we bombed them.
We thought they were Taliban- they were Pakistani.
Pakistan got pissed off- and they forbid us to use the key supply route until we apologized.
We just did.
We are now having talks with the Taliban- to come to some type of Peace Terms with them.
Our goal at the start was to remove them from power because they gave Al Qaida a place to operate from.
At the start we were warned that the Taliban [and the Afghanis in general] are a resilient people.
That to enter into a ground war- in some ‘piss ant’ part of the Arab world would be foolish.
We are now trying to find a way to untangle ourselves from this mess.
Yeah- after 11 years- our guys coming home without their body parts.
Thousands dead- many of them women and children.
Yeah- after 11 years our only response is.
Well- in the immortal words of Ed Muskie #$@^%$
Let’s recap a few recent news events.
Yesterday Libya held their first Democratic election.
To my surprise [and glad about the thing] it seems [so far!] that they might have elected a ‘non Islamic’ guy.
Yeah- every so called Arab Spring state has gone the other way.
Yet- in Libya- maybe- just maybe they will get a good guy.
‘John- do you mean to say the Muslim Brotherhood’ are bad’?
In a way- yes.
What we have done in the Western world [especially the President] is we have sided with those who have been ‘rebelling’ in these various nations.
You might have a situation like Egypt- where we were actually good allies of the former leader- Mubarak.
Yet- he- like the other autocrats in the region- did indeed abuse his power.
His police force were brutal- and eventually the people rose up and had the historic protests in Tahrir square.
We then began calling for Mubarak to step down [the infamous words of Robert Gibbs- the former press Secy- ‘he needs to go- yesterday’]
And he did just that- he stepped down under pressure.
Now- as ‘righteous’ as the U.S. looked- we actually conspired secretly with the Egyptian military and used this inside pressure to get the guy to go.
How come we had that type of influence?
Because the top military leaders were all trained at West Point- here in the U.S.
Our generals and military guys all knew their top guys- and that’s how we did it.
Okay- the rest is history.
The Muslim Brotherhood guy just won the election in Egypt- and he is calling back the Parliament- the military dismissed them a few weeks ago- and the new guy is going up against the military.
The Parliament had a majority of Muslim Brotherhood in the ranks.
Because the Egyptian law limits the majority in parliament- one party can only hold so many seats- their high court ruled it ‘unconstitutional’ and they were ‘let go’.
So- the new Brotherhood guy wants them back.
All in all- many [most] of these countries are going the way of Islamic law.
This is not good for the rights of women- it’s not good if your gay- and it’s bad if you’re a Christian.
Yes- even though they might have been elected by the people- makes no difference- if you want to rule your country by religious law- then that’s not good- period.
Okay- then why did we just have a couple of days of worldwide media coverage about the Taliban killing the woman ‘taken in adultery’.
Look- we- the U.S.- use propaganda all the time.
We are all affected by it.
The Taliban shot a woman because she committed adultery with some military guys.
The media have been showing this ‘shocking’ tape.
We have been trying to negotiate a peace treaty with these guys.
And how have they responded?
They blew up a few buildings and killed a bunch of guy’s right after one of the recent meetings.
They are saying ‘screw you’.
So- we show how bad they are.
‘But John- isn’t it bad’.
But they do the same thing in Saudi Arabia- Bahrain- and a bunch of other places.
And we support these other leaders- even though they indeed do the same thing- based on Islamic law.
So- when we show the killing by the Taliban- make no mistake- many of ‘our friends’ do the exact same thing.
I hope Libya turns out well- but it’s too soon to tell.
Every now and then I’ll see that they’re playing that Jim Carey flick.
It’s kind of a kid’s type movie- but when I saw it years ago- it was funny.
Carey is ‘cursed’ by having to tell the truth for 24 hours.
His kid made a birthday wish and Carey becomes this saint.
So- he finds himself in these tough spots- being he is a lawyer.
He tells his secretary about the curse- but she doesn’t believe him.
He says ‘go ahead- test me- ask me something that you think I would lie about’.
So she begins questioning him about the time she asked for a raise and he said that the bosses said they couldn’t approve it because then all the other secretaries would want one.
She then recounts how he told her he offered to pay out of his own pocket- but they said no.
As she recounts the tale- Jim covers his ears and says ‘never mind- don’t ask- don’t ask’.
The next scene- she’s emptying out her desk.
His son tells him ‘dad- my teacher said that true beauty is in the heart- it’s not the outward appearance’.
Carey responds ‘that’s just something ugly people say’.
He does this all thru out the movie.
At one point the secretary answers the phone- it’s one of his regular ‘customers’.
She informs Carey that it’s him- and he’s asking for advice- he just got busted doing some drug thing- or break in.
Carey takes the phone to give him the advice- actually I hesitated on using this- I mean I did drop the F bomb in the last post- but he takes the phone and says ‘stop f$@# up- A- hole’.
What’s the solution to all these uprisings?
We are now using the same words that we used in all the other spots- we are talking the same way about Syria ‘the wrong of history- his time is short’.
I have stood on the side of the people in all these uprisings- and at first I wanted to see real democracy spring forth.
Yet- we must realize that many radicals in these countries are also using the whole ‘wrong side of history’ to see if we will come in and do the dirty work for them.
One of the militia leaders in Libya- the side we backed- is actually an Al Qaeda guy who was released from Gitmo.
Yeah- one of the prisoners we released- he‘s running a military group right now in Libya.
So- what do we do?
When various groups rise up- start an armed uprising- then say ‘look- do something- see- we are dying’.
We need to say- we support democracy- everywhere.
But- if you want our backing- then you can’t install Islamic rule- as the law of the land.
The U.S. would not permit it- so we won’t back you if you keep doing it.
Second- if your ‘rebellion’ includes the bombing of civilians- hospitals- and other ‘non military targets’ [like the Syrian rebels] then we won’t back you.
In short- we- the U.S. and the Western World- we are not responsible for all the world’s problems.
We want to help people- but not groups who are tied to Al Qaeda.
We want to support democracy- but not ‘democracies’ that elect leaders who want Islamic law.
Yeah- maybe the advice of Carey to his client is what we need to tell them- stop- well- you know.
NOTE- Let me give you one more example of ‘propaganda’.
Last year I watched a story unfold on MSNBC.
Thru out the week they did their usual Sarah Palin bashing.
Now- I have said in the past- I think she was not ready for the job of V.P.
But- that doesn’t mean open season on her- and her kids.
The story was some book writer rented the house next door to the Palin’s.
He set up all the stuff to see if he could catch them doing anything that the world might want to see.
I guess the guy had cameras and recorders rolling.
So- the response of any normal person would be to- get mad.
So they put up a bigger fence- and tried to protect their privacy.
Then- some out of town reporter showed up- he came to Alaska for the sole purpose of digging up dirt on the family.
He actually approached the younger daughter of Palin- I think it was at the school yard.
She was around 13 at the time.
When mom and dad found out- they were rightfully pissed off- like any normal parent would be.
They informed the guy- from out of state- to stay away from this minor- I mean who knows- the guy might have been some sex offender.
So- one day in town- the guy approached the daughter again.
When Sarah found out- she was fuming.
So they contacted the authorities- and they tried to press charges.
How did I find out about the story?
Well- on MSNBC- Keith Olberman’s show- before he quit.
He covered the story as ‘Sarah Palin and her nut family’.
Yeah- he had the reporter on- and they made him look like a victim.
‘Who does the daughter think she is- damn it! I mean- it’s not illegal to walk up to somebody in town!’
Yeah- you tell em Keith.
The story went on and they depicted Palin- and her minor daughter- as nut cases.
The reporter defended himself by saying after the school yard incident- he decided to leave the girl alone.
But being he flew to Alaska- he might as well not waste the ticket.
So- he went ‘sight seeing’.
As he was ‘sight seeing’ in town- low and behold- the daughter- by chance- spotted him.
He says she approached him.
Then- MSNBC made it look like the daughter was the nut ‘who does she think she is- she’s the one who was out looking for you’.
Okay- this guy is in Alaska for the sole purpose of getting dirt on Palin- yet the daughter sought him out.
It was sad that a so called news organization would do this [another reporter- Andrew Sullivan- reported a story that Sarah’s Down Syndrome son Trigg- was really the ‘bastard’child of Bristol- this story will forever live on the internet- the son- and all the family will one day read it].
It was even sadder that many believed it.
I usually have talks with my liberal friend when stuff like this happens- and they usually have swallowed the line.
‘Geez John- look how dumb Palin is- who does her daughter think she is- just because your 13 doesn’t mean adult men cant approach you’.
Say of the story were turned around- say if this happened to Sasha or Malia- the presidents girls- would we be saying the same thing?
See- that’s media bias- that’s propaganda- that’s what happens to all of us- regardless of what side of the aisle your on.
1872- TEXAS ‘HOLD-ER’ [Texas Hold-em is a popular scratch off down here in Skynard land]
I had an interesting day on Facebook yesterday.
I kinda hung out for most of the day- reading my friends sites and all.
Being I’ve been living in Texas for the past 32 years- to me it’s neat to see all the old pics from my hometown area.
Some of my friends post classic/current pictures of my old stomping grounds- that’s so cool.
As I perused the landscape- I also noticed something- many of my friends get lots of comments.
At first this seemed like a good thing- but as the day wore on- and I watched the news [Holder story- in a sec] I began letting ole slew foot in the door.
‘Yeah- why do they get so many comments- and I get none’?
‘Wait John- don’t go down that road- you know where it leads’.
Okay- I resisted ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you’ [James].
Yet- the more comments I saw- the worse it got.
‘John- focus on the word- find a short- 2 or 3 word verse that you can fixate your mind on’
‘Love those that treat you wrong- don’t get even- don’t be jealous’.
I mean- there are so many to choose from- plus- they sound real good- but I can’t seem to ‘get satisfaction’ by focusing on them.
I also saw lots of old Rock pics and stuff- yeah- even ran across that old Stones tune ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ I know what you mean Mick.
So- after a while- I found a short- 3-4 word phrase that seemed to do the trick- but it came from the Facebook site itself.
REPORT/BLOCK THIS PERSON
Oh yeah- sweet- so sweet.
Easy to remember- and it feels sooo good!
Okay- I kid.
Now- what actually did get me riled up a bit?
As a news watcher- I flip the channels nonstop.
I watch em all.
So- as I’m resisting the jealousy thing- I see that Eric Holder came to Texas to address the NAACP.
They showed a few short clips of the speech.
He has sued our state multiple time- he just sued Corpus Christi last week [few posts back].
So as he’s giving the speech- he criticizes the new voter ID law.
He even mocks good ole Texas.
You know- Skynard said ‘southern man don’t need him around anyhow- in Birmingham we love the govn’r’ yeah- he stuck it to old Neil Young.
So Holder says that the new law would permit you to vote if you showed a pictured gun permit- but you could not use a student ID.
Yeah- you preach it Holder!
Doesn’t that sound like Texas is filled with a bunch of A holes?
Boy did they roar in the crowd.
He then went on and said the law- which requires an ID [I’m pretty sure you can get one for free if you don’t have the money?] is a POLL TAX.
He said we were all racists.
This is our attorney general.
‘John- be honest- it’s because he’s Black- isn’t it’?
No- that’s only about 5 % of it [okay- I kid once more].
The truth be told- this is indeed playing the race card- and for the chief officer of the justice Dept. to be playing this card- well- that’s bad.
I mean why would a gun permit do the trick- yet a student ID wont?
In Texas- many students [thousands- 10’s of thousands?] are not U.S. citizens.
It’s not against the law for a non citizen to have a Texas student idea.
Yet- you can’t get a gun permit without an extensive background check.
If you have a permit- you are a citizen.
Now- Holder knows this- so what he did was pure politics- he appealed to the racist instinct in all men- yes even in Black men- and he played the race card.
This is shameful- it is racist- and the man needs to resign his job- now.
Okay- see- now I’m struggling again- just like the comment thing ‘love your enemies- pray for those who do you wrong’.
Yeah- I know.
But BLOCK THIS PERSON.
It just feels so much better.
I have been reading/meditating on it the last couple of days.
The Psalm recounts the story of God meeting the needs of his people when they came out of Egypt and were in the wilderness- for 40 years.
You find the story in the book of Exodus.
During this 40 year journey- which in reality was a couple of day journey- but they wandered in circles for 40 years because they would not believe the promise God made to them.
So- during this time they complained- lots.
‘we will starve out here- we have no bread- no water- no meat’.
And time after time God would do a miracle and give them what they needed.
In the Psalm we read that he gave them bread from heaven- it was called MANNA- the word means ‘what is it’.
It was called Angels food.
It was a little wafer type thing [Catholic friends- think Host] and in the morning when they got up it was on the ground- every day- for 40 years.
They wanted meat- they started complaining about the Manna ‘Manna every day- cant we change the menu up Moses’.
So God sent them meat- he caused a strong wind to blow and tons of Quail blew in from off shore- they had meat ‘until it came out their nose’- yeah- this is a quote from the bible.
So- God did provide for them- yet they still complained.
Years ago when reading the story I came across a verse I liked [almost as much as BLOCK THIS PERSON].
It said Moses kept the ordinances in the wilderness for 40 years.
Think about that.
After God parted the Red Sea- they spent 40 years wasting time.
They were supposed to go right into the promised land [Cancan- Israel] but because of their whining- it took 40 years to make the 3 day trip.
Yet- God gave them ordinances- religious type rituals that he wanted them to keep- Passover- etc.
And Moses kept observing them- even though the promise was so far away.
Yeah- that’s the tough part if you will- what divides the men from the boys.
It’s not your talent [or how many darn comments you get] or your good looks.
No- at the end of the day- can you keep the ‘ordinances in the wilderness’.
Can you do what needs to be done- even when all hope seems gone.
Yeah- that’s the key.
So- as I end this post- I too have a choice.
Will I think ‘happy thoughts’?
Nah- the BLOCK THIS PERSON still seems to give me that extra umph- one more night with the frogs will have to do [one of the 10 plagues- it’s a long story for another day].
1873- DON’T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CANT DO THE TIME
Last night I was arrested for impersonating a cop.
Okay- not really [see last Facebook post- real time].
No- the title comes from one of my favorite TV shows as a kid.
How many of you saw the interview he did last night with Piers Morgan?
I rarely watch this show- but the night before I saw a quick plug for it- and decided to watch the thing.
It was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve seen.
Blake [Robert Blake played Barretta in the cop flick].
He made it into the headlines a few years back because he was suspected of shooting his wife- Bonnie Lee Blakely.
It became one of those viral type stories- you know- the whole ‘movie star’ is in trouble thing.
He was eventually acquitted- but found guilty in civil court.
I was surprised to hear Blake talk about God- a lot.
He cursed Morgan a few times- rambled about his past- and it was genuinely a wacky interview.
I started thinking about the old TV shows when I was a kid.
Okay- what one was your favorite? [Between 1970-80].
I’ll never forget this one episode of a show simply titled FAMILY.
It was one of those down to earth Walton type things.
I used to watch it with my sister.
This one episode- the star of the show- I think the actor was Gary Frank [show name- Buddy?]
Anyway- I guess he was the latest ‘cute kid’ that the girls flipped over.
I hated having to compete with these guys.
You know- how can you impress the girl in class if she’s thinking of David Cassidy all day?
So- in this episode some ex-con knocks on the door.
Buddy gets it.
The guy introduces himself and then the mom comes.
Buddy walks away- and the convict says ‘That’s one tough looking dude’.
Where in the world did the writers come up with a line like that?
I mean it was so out of the blue.
This convict just spent 10 years in the hole with murderers and all.
Yet- his first impression of Buddy was ‘he’s tough lookin’.
So- as we laughed- hard.
I told my sister ‘I know- Frank’s contract must have been up- and instead of a raise- he wanted this line in the next show’.
Ahh- vanity of vanities.
Okay- the other day I got with the homeless guys.
I was surprised- Mike [the artist] had a gift for me.
As we sat at the mission- outside on one of the benches.
Mike pulled out a new CD- still in the wrapper.
I told Mike- you wont believe this- I just asked my girls to get me the Boston CD for father’s day.
They made me about 5 cd’s from the internet. [I told my future son in law- after he informed me of where he can burn them- for free. I said ‘I do the same thing- I just Google ‘burn illegal songs without getting caught’ and a bunch of real good sites pop up- even from the FBI]
Actually- he did burn me some good tunes.
But Mike remembered that I said I liked Boston [the rock group- not the state]
And he picked me up the CD.
I also had another good long talk with Dirk.
Dirk lives in his van- has been for the past 25 years- ever since I’ve known him.
Dirk can’t stand the homeless guys- even though he is one.
One good friend Henry [written about a lot over the years] is also the ‘street Deacon’ for a church that’s called ‘Church without walls’.
Brother Ray- a street preacher- runs the ministry.
Dirk often talks bad about Ray- and the people that go to the free meals he serves [Dirk being one].
So Dirk was once again ranting about the bums and addicts and all.
He often says ‘the bible says you’re not supposed to help these people- if they don’t want to work [like Dirk] then they should not eat’!
He is blind to the fact that he is actually one of them.
He mentioned the apostle Paul’s writing to the Corinthian church.
Paul did say ‘don’t eat with the heathen’.
Dirk said ‘see’.
I spent a little time trying to put it in context.
Jesus was accused of being A FRIEND OF SINNERS.
Notice- it wasn’t just ‘I have a ministry to homeless folk’.
No- a friend.
That’s what irked the ‘heck’ out of the Pharisees.
I mean they were willing to ‘minister’ to them [by judging them].
But no- Jesus was their friend.
Actually- there’s a famous song on this very theme.
Okay- in the city of Corinth- well- you had a lot of stuff happening.
Corinth was on the way to Athens [the center of philosophy of the day].
And it would be considered one of the more ‘liberal’ cities of the day.
It was like the Amsterdam of our day.
Prostitution was legal and open on every corner.
Paul told the women in the Corinthian church to ‘wear head coverings’ when they went to church.
More than likely- a cultural thing just for the day.
The way the ‘street ladies’ put on the Red Light was to wear no veil/hat.
So Paul told the women in the city- wear your hat.
You had a few other things like this- where the context explains the meaning.
So- another big thing at Corinth was eating ‘at the table of idols’.
One of the local customs was you would buy some type of animal- use it as a sacrifice to one of the idols- and then the meat would be sold ‘at the shambles’.
A sort of market where you bought the meat at a cheap rate.
This stuff became an issue at Corinth- and they wondered whether it was okay to eat the meat.
They also had a controversy over the Lords Supper [Eucharist] and some other stuff.
So- Paul did say ‘don’t eat with the heathen’.
But- in context- he was telling them not to be a part of the custom of eating at this idol type buffet thing.
They were having their own meal [Lords Supper] and they ought not to be worshipping the idols at the other table.
Okay- that’s context.
That’s why Jesus did eat with the prostitutes and sinners- and he was not violating the law.
Okay- there are lots of things like this when you study the bible.
And I do see the point that Dirk was making.
You do want to encourage people to not become a permanent member of the welfare state.
You do want to try and help them get on their feet.
The apostle Paul did say ‘if they don’t work- they should not eat’.
Talking to the actual church members- he did not want people ‘coming to Christ’ for the free stuff.
But- we always have people in need- and we’re commanded to love/help them.
Okay- that’s it for now- maybe I can catch a re- run of Barretta tonight?
I have not seen it yet on the guide.
I try to avoid Family- Buddy scares me.
1874- THE MONEY PIT
The other day I took a few pics of my homeless friends.
I thought I better get them while I can- I have had a few of the guys die on me.
So- I checked my old cell phone and found a few from some friends who died already [Shelby] – plus a few old pics from the fire dept.
I’ll try and post them this week.
Okay- the day I took the recent pics I saw Buck.
I haven’t seen Buck in around 3 years.
[I had heard he died once- then later saw him.
Henry- who is usually real reliable- a trusted friend- told me Buck died.
He also told me Roger died in jail.
And he told me Vern died [all over a period of 3 years or so].
Then one day while sitting at the mission- with Henry- Buck showed up.
‘Hey Buck- I heard you died’.
Then Roger showed up.
‘I can’t believe it- you’re alive too’.
I realized at that point that Henry was not the most reliable source when it comes to the Obit column.
I will not be surprised if I see Vernon one day. ]
Bucks a nice guy- but a falling down drunk- you know- the type that’s so drunk he passes out on the street.
I’ll admit- I have had my problems with drinking a little more than you should over the years- no excuses.
But Buck goes real overboard.
The thing that surprised me was Buck was missing an arm- he lost a ton of weight- and he’s in a wheel chair.
He looked so bad- almost to the point where you would avoid him.
When the guys went inside the mission to eat- I sat opposite Buck at the table.
Buck recognized me and asked for a couple of dollars.
I try not to give drunks money- but I have given a few guys a few dollars.
I give away money- but I realize with Buck he will drink.
So- I had a 20 on me- and asked for change from the workers at the mission.
No one had any- after a little while I gave Buck the 20.
Was he happy?
Yeah- and no.
Being he’s in a wheel chair- and one arm- he can’t push the thing [you know- circles].
So he asked if I could push him to the restroom.
They have a bathroom for the homeless- and one for the employees.
The homeless one was occupied- so Buck had me turn him around and he ‘went’ in the workers bathroom.
I had no idea about the rule- but when he asked me to stop him at the workers bathroom- he stood up and took a leak.
The lady that runs the place screamed at me [no lie] ‘your gonna clean it up mister’.
I said- fine- if that’s what you want- no problem.
Look- I was in the Navy before- so having ‘latrine duty’ was no biggy.
When I wheeled Buck back to the table- he bummed a cigarette from Don and asked me to wheel him outside for a smoke.
I told him I was gonna sit inside for a little bit- but he would not stop asking.
Buck is a narcissist- he found someone who was willing to help- and the demands came- one after the other.
I wheeled Buck outside- and had to walk away- he would not stop seeking his own welfare- nonstop requests.
So- I sat with Andy and Huey- old friends.
Huey asked if I had a couple of dollars- I told him [and Tammy] ‘look- I had a 20- I wanted to get change- and you guys could have split the money- but Buck has the 20’.
They wanted me to get the 20 back- and they would get change.
I told them ‘I’m finished with Buck- if you want- you get the change’.
The wheels started rolling [in their head- not Bucks chair].
So- after a few requests- they conned Buck out of the 20.
He wanted cigarettes [another request] and Andy said he’d get the smokes- and then bring a 10 back- and Huey and Andy and Tammy would split the rest.
So- Andy gets back [he had someone’s truck] and as he spreads the loot- Huey grabs the 10 and Buck gets the cigs and 2 dollars.
Bucks pissed- Huey laughed- and I told them ‘I don’t care who gets what- leave me out’.
Actually- first I said ‘hey- I just remembered- I have no gas- can somebody lend me 2 Bucks’.
Yeah- a test.
Actually- they all were willing to give me a couple back.
I know to some folk- this looks bad.
In a way it is- trust me- I have lots of friends who never- not one time- ask me for money.
I had some that took me out to eat- they saved thru out the week so they could buy.
And the whole thing this day- well- it was kind of funny in a way- I know these guys well- real well.
Huey was asking Andy [his brother] to go down the block- to the motel- and go to room ?- tell the girl ‘I’m Huey’s brother’ and then get the 2 ‘things’ in the cabinet.
Now- I realize he’s giving him directions to get some type of drug.
Not sure what type- maybe Meth- it’s popular in this area [called Ice].
But Andy kept saying ‘look Huey- if you want me to go- tell me what it is’.
He didn’t want to say it with me there- I walked around the building for a sec- and came back.
Andy went on the mission.
He came back- the girl was not there.
When I was going thru my phone pics- I saw I had one of Andy and John David [all 3 are real brothers- Andy, John David and Huey].
And I thought I will post that one for sure- we were at my house and had a fellowship- we did the lords Supper right in the yard.
John David and Andy are actually seeking God.
At the time of the picture- John David was clean from drugs for a couple of months.
He had a great story- wrote about it at the time- but he really made an effort to seek the Lord.
I guess I’ll re- tell the story- it’s worth it.
Many years ago when the brothers lived in Dallas- John David shot- and killed his best friend with a shotgun.
The case gained publicity- and John’s mom did her best to get her son a good lawyer.
She was told that the best guy was the guy who actually defended the guy who shot Lee Harvey Oswald.
He told me the name- I forget it now.
But his mom went to the lawyer’s office and waited all day- he was trying to avoid her.
Finally- at the end of the day- he came out of the room and she asked if he could defend her son.
He did the job pro bono.
He got John off.
John told me a year later he went to his friend’s grave and ‘pissed on it’.
He was in no mood to repent.
The family moved to Corpus after that [early 70’s].
And John David had a thriving construction business.
He also hated the homeless people.
John became a big time addict [Coke- etc.]
He eventually lost it all and wound up on the streets- with the people he despised.
Over the years when I met the different guys on the streets- John kept his distance.
He looked bad- scary looking- like someone that would indeed shoot you to be honest.
Anyway- I met his brothers- Andy and Huey- and John kept his distance.
One day at the mission John was different.
He actually couldn’t wait to tell me the story.
A few months earlier he was all strung out down by the bay [I’ll post these pictures too- we live surrounded by water].
He was doing the usual thing- getting high.
He was tired- he lost his business- family [he had a boy get run over- the boy- and the doctor who ran him over- were both drunk at the time- the boy died].
John sat there and said to God ‘if you’re fucking real- then do something’.
A couple of days later- 2 strangers came up to him and offered to pay 5 thousand to send him to the local re-hab- called Charlie’s place.
John went- met a bunch of Christians- and got clean- and dedicated his life to God.
John came over to the house a few times- we had a few fellowships [I’ll post the pics] and he stayed clean- for a long time.
That’s been about 5 year’s now- and the other day I heard one of the guys tell Andy ‘I heard John David was not doing well’.
I dreaded to ask- but I did ‘what do you mean- he’s back on drugs’?
The guy- who did not know me from Adam- said ‘no- actually he’s be clean for years- but he needs heart surgery and back surgery’.
I was not glad to hear about the medical problems- but was glad to hear he was still clean.
So- all in all it was a good day.
Yeah- the guys fought over the 20.
I cleaned the bathroom.
But in the end- it was worth it.
Oh yeah- John David got his answer ‘I’M REAL’.
I wanted to cover a bunch of stuff today- but I know I won’t be able to get to it all.
I haven’t commented on the news in a while- and there are some trending narratives that we probably should do.
This last week the Obama campaign accused Romney of possibly committing a felony.
Now- most of us know why the accusation was made- and yeah- we all know politics gets dirty.
What I find ‘funny’ is- out of all the presidents- and potential presidents of the past few decades- none- zero- has had the corrupt connections like the present president.
Look- I’m not an Obama hater- nor a Romney lover.
But- the reality is- our current president has all types of current/former political connections that are presently on the verge of being convicted for committing felonies- or are serving time for just that.
But- as you listen to the news- you would never know it.
Right now- as I write- Jesse Jackson Jr. is in ‘treatment’ for a Mood disorder.
Jackson left his post a couple of months ago- and his Chicago constituents were asking where he was [he’s a congressman from Chicago].
The story finally made it into the national news.
Some thought he was in hiding- or on the run.
The latest is he is being treated for the mood disorder.
Why was there speculation that he was on the run?
Because another associate just got sent to prison for his involvement in the Chicago political corruption.
It involves illegal contacts with the Obama people when he was running for pres- yes- real felonies- not fake ones.
Enter the former governor.
Rod Blagoavich [sp?] also got sent to the pokey.
You guessed it- more illegal contacts with the actual Obama people- caught on actual FBI tapes.
Rahm Emanuel- the president’s former chief of staff- and current mayor of Chicago- he was on the tapes.
Yeah- real felonies all around.
Glad you asked.
Once again another close confidant of Obama sent to prison for corrupt real estate deals- they were committing crimes by doing illegal deals for their friends.
Obama actually bought real estate from this man- he actually was involved in one of the deals.
These are all real felonies- real crimes- that all of the people who were wheeling and dealing with the president- while he was a senator from Illinois- have gone to prison for.
Yet- the media covered these stories at a minimal rate.
Some of you never even heard of them until now.
But- the major media market has been intensely going thru all the business deals of Romney.
Not one news organization that has investigated it has said Romney has done anything even being close to illegal- yet this is the major story of the day.
This is what you call media bias.
You have one person [Obama] who was surrounded with friends/political partners who were all convicted of felonies and sent to prison.
One of the players is currently in treatment for a ‘mood disorder’ yet- the media rarely mentions that the real problem is they were all involved with illegal deals while in contact with the Obama people.
This is real- these people were all sent to prison because of this.
Rezko sits in prison right now- and he actually sold one of the homes to Obama- no joke.
To even have this ‘side’ make an accusation of a felony is unbelievable- yet- the media try to make you believe it.
‘John- how do you know Romney wasn’t really doing an under the counter deal- maybe he was lying to the govt. when he said he was still the CEO of Bain’.
This is how- if you are trying to deceive the people- and your plan is to say- on paper- that you’re the CEO of a company.
Then- as you are trying your hardest to stay ‘undetected’ you then proceed to run the U.S. Olympics for 3 years.
I mean who in their right mind would do something like that- unless the story is true.
The story that Romney says is true.
He went and took the job at the Olympics because he thought it was a good thing to do.
He refused to get paid by the way- just like when he was governor of Mass- he refused to take a check.
There are other things that the president has done that has turned some heads- even liberal ones.
Obama is the first president in the history of the nation to have executed an American citizen without a trial.
Yes- no lie.
When asked what his justification was- the ACLU sued to get the administration to release the justice dept. papers that justified the killing.
The Justice dept refused to release the memo- and instead made a statement that said ‘Due process does not mean you get a trial’.
Most observers- liberal ones- said this is outrageous.
The U.S. constitution says U.S. citizens have the right to due process- which means the courts.
Holder interprets that as saying the process ‘they do’ at the justice dept will cover it.
Even Colbert mocked it- he said ‘o- they mean it’s a process YOU DO’.
I’ll end with this.
When Obama authorized use of force in Libya- he did not go to congress to get approval.
The constitution does give the power to go to war to the congress.
When this happened- some in the media reported that Bush did it too.
That was wrong- Bush sought congressional approval twice- and got it.
Obama was the first to go it alone.
He argued that planes dropping bombs was not ‘military action’ but ‘kinetic action’.
[it was later reported that we had men on the ground in the action]
He forever changed the standard of war.
I could go on- but I think you get the hint.
So- the next time you see a media report about Romney being a felon.
Re read this post- it will help you keep things in context.
1876- THE SPEED OF LIGHT
Wasn’t sure which way to go- but this morning I was walking in my yard [I get up real early!] and I thought about the story of the Unjust Judge.
It’s a parable that Christ told- I actually haven’t read it in a while- but remember it pretty well.
Jesus said in this city there was a widow who went to this judge- the judge did not ‘fear God—or care about men’.
She had a situation where she needed the judge to do justice on her behalf.
The judge at first put the woman off- but then he said ‘I better do something- because her continual nagging is driving me up the wall’ [my paraphrase].
Jesus then said ‘see what the judge did- how much more will my heavenly father do for those who come to him’- then he says ‘he will avenge THEM SPEEDILY’.
We often tell the story like this ‘see- God is like the judge- he will defend you’.
Actually Jesus is saying ‘God is not like the judge’.
This judge acted- not out of what was right- but out of pressure- you know- the lobbyist wins.
But God- he does what’s right.
I was thinking about my governor when this verse ‘speedily’ dropped into my head.
During one of the debates Rick Perry used an example- I forget what the whole thing was about- but he said ‘such and such will happen- at the speed of light- literally’.
I think he was talking about Iran coming into Iraq and having more dominance in the region [which by the way he was right about].
But- when you use an example that has ‘the speed of light’ in it- well- it’s usually Figuratively- which just happens to be the opposite of literally- you know- a minor detail.
Okay- I can hear my Jersey friends now ‘wow John- you got one heck of a governor in the Lone Star state’.
Yeah- what can I say?
Maybe this ‘didn’t I see Christie on the boardwalk the other day’?
Let’s let bygones be bygones- deal?
Our timing- what we think is speedily- is not the same time line of God.
There are many texts in the bible that talk about the ‘end of the world’ and ‘the coming of Christ’ and it says it will happen fast.
These verses were penned 2 thousand years ago.
[Actually this is a pretty in depth study- how the church has handled the verses that deal with the End Times.
We call this Eschatology.
There are different views on this- Futuristic- Historical- Preterist.
This entire teaching is worth doing- I have done some over the years.
In a nutshell- some of these verses say ‘at the end of the age’ not ‘world’.
In the Greek language- which the New Testament was written in- the word used is age.
So- they are not always saying ‘the world will end soon’.
But ‘the age’.
In context- the old age [dispensation] of law- the Old Covenant.
And the New age- the age of Grace- has come.
This debate does have some [lots?] of merit to it- and it ‘solves’ some of the complaints from the critics of Christianity who say ‘Jesus was wrong when he said the end of the world would happen soon’.
In the above context- it did happen soon- see?]
So- we all have requests- we are in a way like the woman going to the judge.
Ask- Knock- don’t quit.
Jesus said ‘men ought always to pray and not to faint’.
Pope John Paul said ‘prayer is strength for the weak’.
James said ‘the continual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much’.
Yeah- whatever the request is- the good judge will do what’s best- not because you’re bugging him nonstop- but because it’s right.
1877 CHINESE FOOD- RELIGION- POLITICS [WOW!!]
Let’s try and cover a few things today.
Yesterday I went down to the mission to see the guys.
Henry showed up- I was hanging out with Dirk and Joe for a little while.
Henry heard they were serving chili – he has stomach problems- so he invited me and Joe to go to the Chinese buffet about a block away.
Henry has been working regularly at the boat dock and he had some cash.
We walked down to the Chinese place and Joe and Henry ate- I never eat lunch [or b-fast].
We had a good time- I actually took a few pictures and my daughter will try and post them [I’m bad at that].
We talked for a while- actually the guys brought up politics on their own.
Geez- Chinese buffet- homeless outreach and politics- I thought for sure the Kingdom had come.
Henry told me ‘John- did you hear- the cops cuffed me at HEB the other day’.
He told me the story.
Henry is one of the most upstanding guys you could ever meet.
He is a deacon for church without walls [a homeless church].
He is practically a scholar when it comes to the bible- and he does not do drugs or get drunk [he drinks wine. Not a lot- he thinks it helps with his stomach- that’s actually in the bible. Paul told Timothy ‘drink a little wine for you ailments’].
So- just to let you know- Henry is not a trouble maker by any means.
Why did the cops cuff him?
He went to HEB [our local grocery] and bought lunch.
He ate- then went to catch the bus.
Someone had called the cops and said a homeless guy was threatening him if he didn’t give him money.
HEB is right next to the mission so it’s possible that one of the other guys did do this.
So- when the cops got there they thought it was Henry and they cuffed him.
Henry does get mad- over the years they have arrested him- for no reason- they were just doing a sweep of the area- business people complain about all the ‘bums’- the cops pick a bunch of them up with no real charge- Henry is not loitering- he’s not drunk- he just looks bad [check out the picture on Face Book].
So- he has had to sit in jail- without doing any crime- and of course it would piss you off- it would me.
So anyway he told me the scoop- they finally uncuffed him- and let him go.
I took a few more pictures of the guys- now that I started posting pictures of the guys- I’m like the dad that keeps making his kids pose for pics on vacation [like my dad did a lot].
The guys were like ‘why are you taking pics’?
I told them I started posting them to the site.
They said ‘wow- were gonna be famous’.
One of the guys said ‘you can’t take my pic- the cops might find me’.
I mentioned that I regret the fact that some of the guys have died and I never got a picture.
I talked about Bill.
Bill was one of the first guys I met on the street- he was about 30 years older than me and I have written a few posts on Bill over the years.
Bill eventually saw me as his ‘best friend’ almost like a son/brother.
I guess I took Bill out to eat more than any other street guy.
Bill died a few years ago.
So- as I mentioned Bill- Joe told me that they have a picture of Bill hanging up inside the mission.
I couldn’t believe it- they had one of Bill- and the camp!
I took a pic- will post it.
Many of the guys live in makeshift camps- I have visited hundreds of camps over the years.
These are little ‘tent cities’ that pop up in the vacant fields all around the area where I live.
I live on a bluff- a peninsula type jetty sticking out into the bay- right off the gulf.
So- there are lots of beach spots- and areas where the homeless can camp out.
My area is nice- it’s been developed over the years and marketed because of its closeness to Padre Island [right over the bridge and you’re at the beach- the national sea shore- you could walk it].
So- after a while the locals complain about the homeless population- and every so often they do a sweep- and go thru the camps and cut the tents [cops] and stuff like that.
I have bought tents for the guys over the years- and I get mad when I hear the cops cut another tent.
I’ll try and get these photos up loaded soon.
On the way back to the marina [where Henry works].
We started talking about all the guys who have died these past few years.
I told Henry that when I do my early morning prayers- I try to ‘see’ these guys as part of the community- the little fellowship of friends I have worked with over the years.
I told Henry- that in a strange way- I still sense Bill- Shelby- etc. – as ‘hanging out’ with us [I just looked up over my head- I have a ball cap of Bill hanging on my shot gun rack- after Bill died I found it under my car seat. He must have left it there one day when going out to eat- I kept it as a memento].
I mentioned that as Protestants- we usually neglect the biblical teaching that our Catholic friends emphasize.
The Communion of the Saints.
That even though Protestants don’t practice prayers to Mary and the saints- yet in a very real way those who have died in the faith are indeed still part of the community.
I mentioned the book of Revelation- it speaks about the prayers of the martyrs [dead Christians] going up to God as incense.
I told Henry- just because our friends have died- that does not mean they can’t still pray- even for us!
Being Henry knows the bible well- he was familiar with the passage that I mentioned- he just never saw it like that [see- there are lots of things like this in the Christian journey- that’s why we should hold judgment on other Christian denominations as much as possible- we all ‘see dimly’ at times].
Okay- I guess will end there.
I was gonna do a few news items- yesterday the ‘rebels’ in Syria bombed a key headquarters of the leader- Assad.
This was a suicide bombing- by most accounts- Al Qaeda did this.
Yet- the U.S. – and the western media continue to describe these guys as innocent civilians whom Assad is killing.
This happened in Libya as well.
I am not defending Assad- but we in the West need to stop referring to all the rebel groups in the various Arab spring uprisings as ‘innocent rebels’.
Many are not- many are terrorists- they practice such things as suicide bombings.
The one yesterday killed some key Syrian men- one was the brother in-law of Assad.
Things are getting very unstable over there.
Our recent killing of an Indian fisherman [we shot the fishing boat off the U.A.E the other day].
And yesterday’s terror attack on a bunch of Israeli tourists.
These are all signs of major unrest in that region- It’s possible that this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to Israel taking out the nuclear facilities of Iran.
Obama has been trying to get Israel to hold off on the Iranian attack- you guessed it- till after the election.
But after yesterdays bus bombing- they might decide to go.
So all in all- there’s lots of stuff going on in the world- lets pray for peace- for all people.
PEACE ON EARTH- GOOD WILL TO MEN.
1878- THE DARK KNIGHT OF THE SOUL
Well today is surely a day of mourning.
As you all know- yesterday marked another tragic day for our nation.
We had another deadly rampage in Colorado [Aurora].
Right down the road from Columbine.
James Holmes- a 24 year old student- walked into a theatre- carrying multiple guns- and shot randomly at the audience.
Last I heard- 71 shot- 12 dead.
It was at the premiere of Dark Knight Rising- the new Batman movie.
We don’t yet know the motivation for the killings- maybe we never will.
But of course- that won’t stop the media from making fools of themselves.
Brian Ross- ABC’s ‘chief investigative reporter’ had breaking news on their morning show.
He actually had the audacity to report that he found a man with the same name- James Holmes- who had a web site affiliated with the Tea Party.
Gee- I’m sure there are no other people with such an odd name that live in Aurora Colorado.
I’m sure if this were a Muslim name- I’m sure you would have reported a random find- that you found another Muslim name- sounds the same- and he’s affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The sad thing is- after a little while- Ross had to apologize- the man he ‘outed’ was not the shooter.
The shooter was a 24 year old- the Holmes from the Ross report is 54.
The 54 year old had to disconnect his phone- his family immediately became a target for revenge.
What a bang up job you did Brian- may God have mercy on your soul- and please- please go away.
It’s sad- right up the road from where I live- we had the Fort Hood shootings.
Major Nidal Hassan walked into a crowded room on the base and fired on his fellow military men and women.
Killed many- shouted ‘Allah Akbar’- and opened fire.
During the investigation we learned that Hassan carried a card that identified himself as a soldier for Islam.
He dressed in garb that indicated he was Muslim.
He made many statements thru out his career that said he was a radical.
He had on line contacts with nut sites that advocate radical Islamic terrorism.
Yet- for all this- the administration refereed to this killing as ‘work place violence’.
Yet- ABC news thought it fine to simply share- with the world- that someone with the name Jim Holmes was connected to the Tea Party.
We had another ‘attack’ just up the road from me a few years back.
The nut who flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin.
The NY Times reported- on their on line forum- ‘Tea Party unhinged’.
It was later found out that the pilot was actually a communist sympathizer- not a Tea partier at all.
Gifford’s- when the congresswoman from Arizona was shot- the media spent a week trying to connect the dots- that somehow the political use of ‘targeting a district’ used by Sarah Palin- was responsible for the tragedy.
And of course- who can forget the nemesis of the large size cola.
Yes- a few years back Bloomberg [mayor of NY] referred to the Times Square bomber as ‘probably someone who is mad at Obama Care’.
We later found out- yes- once again- that the guy was a radical Islamist.
It’s sad how slow the media are to report the associations of radical Islam- when it’s obvious for everyone to see.
Yet- they go hunting- and even report innocent names- when they think there might be a connection with a right wing group.
How did Ross do his research?
You think he just stumbled upon a name that was the same?
You think he might just have googled ‘Tea Party- Jim Holmes’.
No- I’m sure the chief investigative reporter would never stoop so low.
This last week I’ve been reading Isaiah- chapters 49 thru the end.
There are so many key verses in these chapters- ones that I have memorized and quoted over the years during prayer.
In chapter 53 we read that God saw the ‘Travail of his soul and was satisfied’.
‘Because he poured out his soul unto death’.
‘He was numbered with the transgressors’.
The chapter speaks about the suffering Messiah.
Our Jewish friends apply this to their struggles as a nation.
I think both are applicable.
There is a term we use in Christianity- it’s called ‘The dark night of the soul’.
Saint John of the Cross [a famous Christian from church history] made the term popular.
Mother Theresa- we found out later- lived many of her years in this state of ‘darkness’.
It simply speaks about the trials we all go thru- times when we think all hope is lost.
Some people experience it more than others- the above chapter says this travail- this numbness- is redemptive in nature.
God uses it- and the people- nations- that go thru it for a purpose.
It was because Christ suffered- poured out his soul ‘unto death’ that he became the savior for mankind.
It was because of the struggles of the Jewish people that they have now become one of the most prosperous nations in that part of the world.
I’m not saying God ordains that a mad man shoot innocent people in a movie.
But I am saying that we as a nation can become a better people thru it all.
Yesterday Obama and Romney both suspended their campaigns for a day.
And I even heard MSNBC give credit to both men for it.
Yeah- we saw civility- by both camps- for the first time in a while.
Today we pray for the victims of Aurora.
We try and resist the stupidity of associating this mad kid’s act with any group- at least until we get more facts.
And we- as a nation- have an opportunity- we have a ‘dark night’ opportunity- we can either become worse- hate more- blame the other side for it.
Or we can reflect- we can turn our minds to the things that count.
In the end- we can find redemption in the collective ‘travail of our souls’.
1879- GOAT MAN [or Fire Walkers]
I have a couple of news articles I clipped last week.
The first ‘Goat man spotted in mountains of Utah’.
The first paragraph says the authorities are worried that a man- dressed like a goat- living with a bunch of other goats- might be in danger as ‘hunting season approaches’.
I refuse to read the rest of the article- why ruin the fun?
The second- ‘21 people treated for burns at fire walk’.
The story is that Tony Robbins [success guru] did one of his ‘unleash the power within’ seminars- and 21 people received 2nd and 3rd degree burns while trying to ‘unleash the power’.
The other day I was going to mention the death of Stephen Covey.
I was a fan of Covey’s stuff- I actually pulled out his book from my shelf the other day- to make sure I spelled the name right if I did a post.
There was a notable difference between Covey’s approach and the other so called ‘motivational speakers’ of the day.
Covey took a more biblically oriented approach- he said success was not so much a technique thing [Robbins- he even taught the way you look- if you look in a certain direction while thinking- or posture yourself a certain way- that this too bread success].
Covey taught 7 basic principles [when they played the clips of his stuff- I knew it by heart- I listened to his c.d.’s many times].
They focused you on trying to work on the most important things- the things that you do have some influence on.
The things you can’t change- leave them be.
And ‘begin with the end in mind’.
Basically think ‘legacy’ don’t live for pure hedonism- but make something of your life that’s worthwhile.
I liked Covey- sad to see him go.
These few stories got me to thinking about the goal of faith.
I throw the word ‘metaphysical’ around a lot in my posts- usually talking about physics.
But there are what people refer to as ‘metaphysical cults’.
I don’t like the word cult- to be honest.
I have friends who are in groups that other Christians call cults.
I prefer to be honest and open with these friends [Mormon friends and Jehovah Witness friends].
Covey himself was Mormon.
And I have had really good- nonjudgmental talks with both of these groups many- many times.
When they come over- I talk to them as friends.
I’m not trying to continually persuade them to think my way.
I also realize that for someone that has studied church history- theology- various religious movements.
That it’s not very hard for me to throw out the standard talking points that most people use when trying to prove their side is right.
These types of ‘talking point’ debates usually lead nowhere.
So- I see the various guys who come and knock over the years- as well meaning people who wake up every day- and with a sincere heart are going out to do what they feel is God’s will.
Upfront with them?
At the same time understanding where they too are coming from.
Okay- said all that to say this.
The metaphysical ‘cults’ are groups that view the ‘real world’ as the non material realm.
‘Geez John- don’t we too walk by faith’?
Yeah- but walking by faith- and not by sight- is different from what these groups do.
Many in the Christian world have embraced lots of these ‘positive confession’ type beliefs- not realizing that they do fall into this category.
A few years ago I heard very popular preacher from this genre talking about an incident where a man ‘froze’ to death in a freezer.
The preacher said that they later found out that the freezer was unplugged- yet in his mind- what he thought ‘created’ an environment where he froze to death.
Okay- did this man freeze to death?
He more than likely died of a heart attack.
Now- the mind does play a role in things.
So- I saw the point.
But New Testament Christianity does not see the key to the Christian life as someone who masters certain principles like this.
Often times the letter to the Romans is used.
Paul says ‘we look not at the things that appear- but that do not appear’.
This is in Hebrews as well.
These examples come from the life of Abraham- when he walked by faith- not by sight.
Many times he rejected the evidence that said ‘this will never happen’.
Instead he trusted in God- and God did what seemed impossible.
Okay- that’s faith.
But Abraham lived quite the life.
He failed many times thru out the journey [too many to recount now].
He struggled with doubt too.
But in the end- faith was him believing God’s promise- not mastering some type of technique that denied physical reality.
So that’s the difference between biblical faith- and ‘positive confession- motivational’ type faith.
Be careful- if you confuse these 2- you might just get burned in the end.
1880- ZIGGY STARDUST
I’ve been catching some of the classic rock concerts on VHF 1- you know- the stuff I [we] saw back in the day.
I must admit- I have been an amateur ‘singer’ for many years.
I used to belt them out at the fire house on a regular basis- you know- sweeping the stalls- or doing a daily routine thing.
Okay- no lie- I did get some real compliments over my ‘career’.
One of the Captains asked one morning ‘were you playing the radio in there’.
I told him no- laughing- he did not believe I was singing.
My captain [Lopez] said for years that I should go on the ‘Americas got talent’ type shows.
So- after a while the guys would give a request or 2- and I tried my best.
I remember Sam- a younger guy- one day I sang Lola [the Kinks].
Sam knew the song as a remake- I guess some new group re-did it.
So- I sang the words- which Sam said he never really knew.
I told Sam ‘you do know who Lola is’.
He did not.
‘She walks like a woman and talks like a man’
‘When she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine’
‘I never ever kissed a woman before’ [nor this night!]
Yeah- you’re talking Penn State football locker rooms for the years that Sandusky was there.
So- one day I drove the girls to school- I tell them ‘you guys want breakfast- then you have to bear thru another one of dads songs- without laughing’.
They were up for it.
So- I picked one from my catalog [in my head!]
And I was off.
They managed to not laugh- or smile- that was the deal.
At the end- my daughter- per instructions of the bet- said ‘wow dad- that was really good’.
Still- no laugh.
I responded- with a dead pan serious face ‘are you serious.’
She lost the bet right there.
So- I caught the re-run of a David Bowie concert tour.
To be honest- I never really liked the guy- Changes was an all right song- but not much else.
But the stardust character that he sang the tour as [he was this androgynous type persona for the tour] reminded me of the famed Physicist – Neil Tyson.
Tyson heads up the Hayden planetarium in N.Y.
My dad took me there a bunch of times as a kid- I loved it.
Tyson has been making the rounds recently- talking about the Higgs Boson thing.
He is a nice guy- and he is trying to ‘popularize’ physics for the average guy- a noble cause.
But he- like a long line of others- stumbles very badly when he wades into the field of Apologetics/Logic.
Recently I saw a clip- he gave a very enthusiastic account of how the stars ‘made us’.
He said that we now know that the basic elements of the stars are in us.
And he then reached the unfounded conclusion that ‘we came from stars’.
Okay- a brief review.
This type of argument- which is not new- says if you find common elements in 2 different things- then one must have come from the other.
Why would this be false- at least in the star debate?
Because you cannot get intelligence- information- consciousness- from a non living thing.
As wonderful as the study of the stars can be- yet- to give the stars ‘Ontological status’ [meaning- you give a non living thing the status that only a living thing has] is wrong.
Tyson gives us no mechanism of how the stars actually created us.
I mean you can’t even appeal to biological evolution- because at least it uses living things.
No- the stars have no life.
Then how would you [I] explain the fact that stars have the same base elements that humans have?
Easy- there was one creator- a ‘first cause’ if you will- and according to the biblical argument- he made man from the base element- dirt.
So- in the Christian view- you have both how the same elements are in various things- and you have a ‘mechanism’ that explains how intelligence- consciousness- and life arrived.
They came from an infinite being- who has life in himself.
In the end- this is really the only logical explanation for the creation.
Remember- you can’t get intelligence from non intelligence.
It would be like finding a C.D. in a field- you popped it into a computer and you found information on it.
Then- you broke down [in a lab] the basic elements of the makeup of the C.D. – the actual hardware- not the info on it.
And said ‘aha- I have found the source of the info on the device’.
And you proceeded to show me the ingredients that make up the disk itself.
I would respond ‘all you have done is shown me the common elements that make up the disk- you have in no way proven that these base elements are responsible for the info on the disk’.
That’s the mistake that Tyson makes- he assumes that the common elements we find both in the stars and in humans- is proof that ‘we came from the stars’.
He’s wrong- very wrong.
About as wrong as me thinking I can make it on America’s got talent.
1881- GOAT MAN SAGA CONT.
Okay- I never thought I would write a follow up post on the Goat Man [few posts back].
But- yesterday morning I read another story about this masked [or fur coated?] man.
Yes- this time I figured I’d read the whole thing.
For those who didn’t read the post- Goat man was simply some guy- dressed like a goat- ‘living’ among the goats in Utah.
Some tourist spotted him and reported him to the cops.
So- Goat man made national news- and the story went viral.
They were looking for the guy- fearful that he might get shot.
So- the follow up story said the local authorities received a call- by a ‘very agitated man’.
He simply said- quote ‘leave Goat man alone- he’s done nothing wrong’!
Could this caller be wearing a fleece?
Yes- it was the infamous goat man on the line.
The story went on and said he was a hunter who was simply preparing for a Canadian hunt.
He made the ‘goat outfit’ using a painters type suspendered pants- and some type of hair.
Okay- maybe goat man is innocent.
But I must correct our furry friend- no sir- dressing like a goat- making it into the national news- twice- at the age of 50 something.
O- this is wrong- so very wrong.
Second- I find funny stuff in the most unlikely places.
The other morning I was listening to NPR [radio news] and they were doing a story on Muslim athletes who are competing in the Olympics.
The reporter introduced the piece by saying the Muslim fast of Ramadan has just started- and that some Muslim athletes are ‘struggling’ with whether or not to observe the daily fast.
Muslims are not supposed to eat during the day.
So- I was expecting to hear the athlete say ‘Praise Allah- I have struggled much with this decision- and…’
You know- some type of real personal turmoil over this great dilemma.
They guy comes on and says ‘Nah- I’m not gonna be doin that’.
Sounded like this Muslim brother came straight from the streets of Jersey- sort of like the Henry Hill character from Goofellas [or Depp in Donnie Brasco- take your pic].
So- over all- I had a few good laughs.
Okay- It’s been a few days since I did economics/politics.
But I must say- the news this past week has been very bad- economically.
Britain has reported a worse recession than previously thought.
China has been fudging their numbers too- they made it sound like they were doing better than they were.
And the E.U. crisis is not getting better- or even staying stagnate- but getting worse.
So- the other day after the markets looked like they were going into another sell off.
The dow was down around 200.
The Fed chairman popped into action and basically said they were going to do another Qe-3 [put more money into the system].
Normally- this would drive the market way up.
This time- it simply stopped the sell off for the day and the market has only risen a few points since then.
That’s a bad sign- even the investors are saying this won’t do.
I heard a quote from a knowledgeable guy the other day- on one of the business shows.
He said the real money- the institutional investors- they see all this Fed action as dangerous.
That to simply print money like this- and for the market to ride on it- is not good economic policy at all.
It looks like he was right.
We really should have a national debate over stuff like this.
I feel bad for the seniors who were forced out of the interest rate market [Cd’s and bonds] and were told ‘you need to be in the market- look- you can’t live on 1 % inertest’.
So- many of these older folk- who were perfectly happy with 5-7 % on their money- they were forced out of that stable market- and into this terrible market that we have had these past 12 years.
That’s the fault of the various Fed chairmen- when they decide to enact fiscal policy that says we want to keep the rates really- really low- then that leaves the seniors no other option- they get thrown into the risky stock market- and then they take a hit.
I am not a ‘right winger’ or left winger on these things- but I do see the Fed at the end of the road- they simply have done all you can do at this point.
I think they should leave the thing alone- no more stimulus- it’s just throwing money into a system that’s in the process of de-leveraging- and just like the real estate market- we simply need to let the system bottom out- because if we keep propping up the system- then it will never really get fixed.
[yeah- Krugman- it’s not that easy]
We have now seen 3 cities declare bankruptcy in the great state.
Some city is messing with the idea of actually doing Eminent Domain on the houses that are underwater.
They want to ‘seize’ the mortgages of these homeowners- and force the banks to re-do the loan- at a loss to the mortgage holder.
If they do this- trust me- your home in that town will be worth nil.
Everyone in the state will know that if you invest in a house in that city/county- that you might someday be forced to take a loss on that house- by Eminent Domain.
These ideas come from well meaning people- but for the most part they have no business experience.
Last year the president talked about stuff like this on a national level.
It wasn’t Eminent Domain- but he made the argument that if we come to some type of a deal with the banks- to ‘make’ them lower the values on these homes- that it would help everybody out.
Obama said ‘it does no good for you to have 3-5 foreclosed homes on your block- so this will prevent that from happening’.
Look- anyone who has any knowledge at all on real estate will tell you this would be an unmitigated disaster.
If you go into a neighborhood where the homes on average sell [or sold] for 150,000.
And you take half of the homes on that block and reduce the value of the homes to 100,000.
You did not do the other home owners a favor [the ones who by the way are paying their bills!]
You simply ‘revalued’ their home to a hundred thousand as well.
So all in all- sometimes people mean well ‘look- lets seize the mortgages on these struggling folk- and force the bank to take the hit’.
Sounds good- but if you do that- you will ruin the value for all the other people in that county.
Also- the biggest retirement fund in the nation- in Cali- just reported 1% growth- not the 7% it had counted on.
I think California is in danger of possibly declaring bankruptcy for the whole state.
They say ‘they way Cali goes- so goes the nation’.
Let’s hope this is not true this time around.
1882- IS GAIN GODLY?
As we close the week- lets re-cap a few things.
As an avid news watcher- once again the media over covered a very tragic event.
There were numerous days of nonstop coverage on all the news networks- of the tragic killing of 12 people in Aurora- Colorado.
While we don’t know all the motives of the sick person who did this- yet it is possible that one of the motives is attention.
And if we give a person nonstop coverage- then in a way we are playing into his distorted mind game.
The next day or 2 after the shooting [or the same day? I forget] we had 15 people killed right here in South Texas in a truck crash.
It was another case of a bunch of illegal aliens in a truck- coming into Texas.
The tire blew out- and 15 died.
Now- we also have had a string of murders going on in Chicago- it is really strange.
Ever since the former White House chief of staff- Rahm Emanuel- became mayor of the city- the death rate has sky rocketed.
I don’t know why this is- but it is a fact.
So- the real danger in the country is not the lone psycho who will walk into a theatre and open fire.
But it’s the regular gun violence taking place in Camden [N.J.] or Chicago- or any other inner city USA.
We have a terrible culture that exists in the gang lifestyle- and these are the real stories that if not dealt with will eventually kill tens of thousands more each year.
So- don’t want to lessen the horrendous act of Holmes- but just want to keep things in perspective.
The other week I caught an interview with David Brody- a reporter for CBN [Pat Robertson’s ministry].
He put out a book- Teavangelicals- and was talking about the ‘religious right’ and stuff.
The interviewer brought out some very good points- he challenged some of the ideas of the so called right.
Brody said many identify their faith with capitalism- he used a famous verse form the Old Testament ‘a good man leaves an inheritance to his kids, kids’.
I have heard [and read] this many times over my life.
So- Brody said that’s why the religious right identify with ‘right wing’ politics.
The interviewer quipped back ‘yes- but that’s one Old Testament verse- and all thru the New Testament Jesus railed against riches’.
Wow- I was surprised that the guy new his stuff.
Was he right?
This is what I talk about a lot- keeping things in context.
Avoiding what we call ‘proof texting’ which means you pick one verse out of the bible- and then build an entire belief system from that verse.
Jesus did say stuff like ‘What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?’
‘You cannot serve God and money’.
‘It is easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven’.
Now- I can go on- and in the past I have.
But the point I wanted to make was the news guy was right.
We need to see the Christian life primarily thru the ‘lens’ of the teachings of Christ- and emphasize the things he taught the most.
Now- this does not mean we should ignore a verse like ‘leave an inheritance for your kids’.
But we should absolutely avoid making stuff like that the main thing- I mean we- in the modern evangelical church have seemed to have fallen into the whole trap of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.
Years ago one of the prosperity preachers of the day put out a little book- the title was ‘righteousness is profitable’.
Of course the title told it all.
It was a short- and all consuming teaching that comes from this camp- and it basically taught that if you are a child of God- you will make lots of money [profitable].
Once again- the verse comes from the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy [1st Timothy chapter 4].
And in context it does not mean what the author said it meant.
2 chapters later Paul will actually write ‘the love of money is the root of all evil- some say gain [profit] is godliness [righteousness] avoid them’.
The point is- the author took Paul’s words- from the bible- and ‘made’ them say the opposite of what he said.
Then taught ‘see- that’s in the bible’.
Actually ‘that’ was not in the bible- at least not the way the author made it sound.
So- at the end of the day- we need to keep ‘first things first’.
Yes- there are many people who live day by day- lives without purpose or meaning.
And we- the church- don’t want to tell them that the purpose is more material stuff.
That’s not the message Jesus gave.
Sure- we can find a good verse about leaving money to your kid when you die.
But read the WHOLE bible in context.
Jesus put much more emphasis on warning people that if they ‘gain the whole world- and lose their soul- it profits nothing’.
The Kingdom of God is not about making a fortune- it’s about living your life for a higher purpose- a more noble goal- give your life away- that’s what the Master said.
1883- ALL AND ALL IT’S JUST ANOTHER BRICK [NOTE] IN THE WALL?
So the news for the last few days has focused on Romney’s ‘world tour’.
As most of you know- he embarked on this trip to boost his foreign policy credentials.
And of course- the ‘main stream media’ has made it sound like he has made the worst gaffs since the time Biden told one of his political ‘close friends’ to stand up at some rally.
Biden ‘go ahead- stand- don’t be shy’ of course the guy sat there- still- hoping Biden would move on.
‘Go ahead stand man- stand damn it- enough of this false MODESTY- stand!!”
Finally- someone from the audience yelled ‘he’s crippled you ….’
Close friend- remember?
So- in London Romney’s asked about the Olympics- does he think there might be some security problems.
And as a former CEO who ran the Olympics in the past- he was honest- he said there might be some difficulties with the security people who were hired to do the job.
Oh my- the press in the U.K. and the U.S. made it sound like this was the worst thing in the world.
They spent days- top headlines- top world news- yes- ‘how can this be- Romney singlehandedly has destroyed the greatest coalition ever- NATO and the Brits will fall apart now!! Oh my!!!’
I mean it’s hilarious.
Most don’t realize that Romney simply expressed- in a nice way- what the British press has been saying for weeks.
As a matter of fact- the security company who was hired to do security were about 3,000 men short.
The British military filled the gap.
This is bad- very- very bad.
Though I’m sure the military are good guys- yet they are not trained for this type of job.
The London games is a major target for terrorism- and if the truth be told- Romney’s comments were mild.
But because they decided to portray them the way they did- now the media are stuck in a way- because the games have had a bad start.
Most of the seats are empty- they actually need people to attend the events.
Yet- you have people who can’t get tickets.
They don’t know for sure- but it might be that lots of companies bought tickets- and gave them to their people- and the people are not going.
I mean I’m sure it couldn’t be the fact that the media have been reporting for weeks that the security is in fact not good- no- it can’t be that.
Either way- Romney was right- and those who follow the news know it.
Then- Romney trotted off to Israel.
Of course the media have found their niche- they are waiting to stomp on him every time they get a chance.
So- he tells the Israelis ‘your culture obviously has contributed to your success as a nation’.
Okay- is this true or not?
Look- as a bald faced statement- it is true.
What did the media say?
Oh my- Romney has insulted the Arab world- he has defamed the Palestinians- how could he ever have made a statement like this!
Now- as an independent- I do not always side with U.S. policy in that part of the world.
And- I think the American Evangelical church has made some big mistakes when they read the bible- and try to fit current U.S. policy in with their interpretation of end time events.
So- I do not see the Palestinian problem as one side being the enemy [Palestinians] and the other as the ‘people of God inheriting the land’.
For the most part those are Old Testament mindsets that overlook the New Testament view- that we are all called to inherit the kingdom thru the Cross.
So- just wanted to make that clear.
But- the truth is Israel has one of strongest Democracies in that region of the world.
They are governed with a system of courts and laws- that have even ruled on the side of Arab people- against their own govt.!
That’s rare- very rare- you do not find that in Arab states- that a court in Iran would rule against their leaders- and side with a Jew.
You have certain Arab states- that to even be Jewish would get you killed on the spot.
And some Arab states [not all!] have no real rule of law- even though they have tried- many are living a lawless existence.
Okay- I know there’s more to the debate- but on its face- Romney simply told the truth.
Yet the media are reporting it as a huge blunder- the likes of which has never been seen before!!
So- they show a clip of Romney putting a folded prayer request in the Wailing Wall [Jerusalem].
They then do a quick story ‘I wonder what he said’.
You know- it’s a traditional thing- the wall is a place for the Jewish people to connect with God- and they pray daily at the wall.
So- Romney kinda says what he wrote in the note- he says he thanked God for the source of our salvation- a few other things.
Then they show the shot of Obama when he did his note- of course they had the scoop form Obama’s note.
He asked for ‘wisdom and knowledge to govern the people’.
Basically the same prayer that king Solomon prayed [convenient that this slipped out- in Jerusalem!]
Then they had the shot of good ole G.W. [Bush].
I braced myself.
They simply showed him putting his hands on the wall.
I was waiting for Brain Ross to break in [you know- Ross is the news guy who ‘outed’ Jim Holmes from the Colorado shooting- he said he was a Tea Partier from Aurora- of course he outed an innocent man].
Yeah- I was waiting for the ‘Ross Report’.
‘George- I have breaking news- I don’t know if this is the same GW from Texas- but a goat herder was walking by the wall- and he found this note had fallen- strangely- it was signed by a GW from Texas’.
Go on Brian- what does it say man?
‘Well- like I said- we don’t know if it’s Bush- but the note says- and I quote- “What’s it like to be a wall” unquote’.
Yeah- I was waiting for the scoop.
So- you get the idea- the media have the power- and the desire- to depict one side as total idiots- and the other as those who can do no wrong.
I’m not on either side- trust me- but the bias is hard not to see.
Okay- I actually do have more to say- maybe tomorrow.
Right after I post this- I’ll post some pics from the weekend- now that I got my smart phone- I’m taken pics.
In a little while I will be driving my daughter to San Antonio- she’s catching a flight back to Indiana- she’s staying there for now- her boyfriend has been working across the country- right now they are in Indiana.
So- I’m sure I’ll take some pics.
That’s it for now- enjoy the pics.
And don’t forget the lesson of the day.
If you’re in a political rally- and Biden says ‘go ahead- stand up man- for the love of Pete’.
Just leave- it will save you from a very awkward moment for sure.
1884 AND THEY CALL THEM ‘SMART PHONES’
I dropped my daughter off at the San Antonio airport [by the way- we do have a nice Corpus airport- but the flights are cheaper if you fly from the Alamo city].
The next day [yesterday] as I was catching the news- I saw that they locked down the airport- they had a bomb scare at the same time we were there the day before.
Glad I missed it for sure.
Okay- there are always a few current event things to do- lets hit some real quick.
The Chick- Fil- A debacle.
As most of you know the president of the restaurant got into some hot water by saying he was for traditional marriage– not ‘gay’ marriage.
Then you had the ‘left’ go ballistic ‘how dare you hold values different than ours’!
The mayor of Boston [Menino] and Chicago [Emmanuel- yeah- him again] were outraged.
So outraged- that they said they were banning the chain from opening up restaurants in their cities.
Wow- what noble ethics these guys have.
If the CEO of a company simply holds traditional values- you forbid him to operate in your city.
Even though gay people actually work for the company- and they also serve gay folk.
No- if you say your view is different- you’re out.
I like Old Emanuel [not really].
The other day he teamed up with Farrakhan- he said they were going to work together to combat the killings that have taken over the city ever since Rahm took the reins.
So- let me get this right- you are not only willing to let Farrakhan operate in your town- but you give credibility to the man by publicly teaming up with him.
Jews are lying cheating bastards that need to die.
Whites are the demon seed- the kids of satan.
This nut job has spewed the most racist stuff that you could ever imagine.
Yet- Rahm refuses to let Chik- Fil- A operate- because ‘we do not share their values’.
Great job Rahm [and the political strategists of Obama- who were probably behind the whole thing].
Okay- enough of that ;stuff’.
Now that I have my new ‘smart phone’ I have been noticing the commercials and stuff about the phones.
I actually have learned a few things from just watching the commercials [sad- I know].
So the other day I’m watching the news with Dianne Sawyer [ABC] and they do a piece on all the injuries that have increased because of these new devices.
They do the stats on the increase of broken head/face bones [people walking off stuff].
All the neck injuries and stuff.
Then they show a clip of a guy walking into a bear- he’s not looking- he’s got his face in the phone.
Some person walking off the subway rail tracks.
A few other ‘smart’ phone folks walking into walls- or the pond thing in the middle of the local mall.
I mean it was funny in a way- I just didn’t realize I was getting into another high danger field- just by purchasing a phone!
I remember years ago at the fire house- all the younger guys were getting the latest phones and stuff.
I never was the type to update something just because the next new thing came out- I kept the laptop and phone for years before I would upgrade.
But you had the guys walking around the fire dept with the hands free thing- you know they are walking- talking- and nothing in their hand.
I thought they were talking to me- or themselves.
No- they were just doing the hands free thing.
Then we all got new pagers- and we had to wear them- all the time.
You know- just in case the chief needs you.
At a fire?
So- I would be at the scene of an emergency [fire- car wreck- heart attack…]
And sure enough- the ‘darn’ pager would buzz.
‘gee- who could that be- after all I’m just inside this house- on fire’.
I look at the pager [after the smoke clears].
It’s the latest scores for the college game [Basketball?]
I was ready to chuck the thing in the fire.
Yeah- we had pagers that went off every time the sports channel did an update.
So- we live in this strange new world of technology.
We also have Dem mayors refusing to give business permits to restaurants- at a time when people are dying for jobs.
And these same mayors- who refuse on the grounds that ‘they don’t hold my values’.
They are teaming up with leaders of racist movements who call for the deaths of Jews and Whites- way to go Rahm!
Yeah- it’s a strange new world.
Okay- that’s it for now- need to upload some of the S.A. pics I took the other day.
You know what that means?
Yeah- I’ll be using the phone- pray for me- please!
1885 WHO’S THE GREATEST?
Got with the street guys yesterday- will post a few pics right after this note [p.s. every morning that I post- I post to the blog and Facebook- these are not ‘generated’ posts- I write- post- and leave. So- if you’re reading this on the blog- the pics are on Facebook].
2 guys died this past week.
John- a nice brother- carried a staff- sort of like a prayer thing.
I didn’t know him well- but just spoke to him the other day.
The other death was a good friend- Donald D.
I met Donald 20 years ago- he was one of the first street guys from the Bluff.
He was a real nice guy- sure- problems- but nice.
Donald did not hang out at the mission- so I would maybe see him once every few years- for the past 20.
He always treated me like a brother- big hug- you know- like when you see a family member.
I was sad to hear that he died.
A few years ago I met his son- Eddie.
At first I didn’t realize it was his son.
Eddie told me they were originally from the Garden state [N.J.].
I was surprised- being I’m from there as well.
He told me they lived at Lake Hapactkon [spelling?]
Wow- I went there as a kid with my dad- a small world.
Okay- let’s finish the week with something spiritual.
I have had a few things I wanted to say this last week- but haven’t really had the time to cover them all.
So- let’s pick one.
In the gospels the mother of James and John [disciples] ask Jesus for a favor ‘can my 2 sons sit at your right hand and left in your kingdom’?
Jesus tells her that it is not his place to decide that- but God [the father] will make that decision.
The other disciples hear about the request- and they get mad.
They begin a debate about who will be the greatest.
Then Jesus says- in the world you measure greatness by how far up the ladder you go- how many people are under you.
But in his kingdom it’s not like that- but the least will be the greatest- the ones who serve- not the ones being served- are ‘great’.
This simple example covers a lot of ground.
I have friends in ministry- pastors- ministry leaders- etc.
And it’s often difficult to ‘explain’ the ministry to them.
Usually- we see ministry as setting up 501c3 nonprofit- raising money [usually lots] and then becoming- well- famous.
Often times what we call ‘pastors’ are really just motivational speakers who speak weekly- or travel to an event- all well meaning men- but that’s the category many of them fall into.
So- when I’m asked ‘to preach’ or ‘how are you funded’ it comes as a surprise that I never take money- ever.
Some of my pastor friends actually think that it is wrong to not take the cash.
I remind them that the apostle Paul left that option open in the N.T.
My purpose is not to debate this whole subject right now- I’ve taught it in depth many times over the years- but just to say that we usually judge ministry by criteria that Jesus himself said was wrong.
It’s not how many people are ‘under you’ or how much money you bring in- or how famous you are.
It’s a matter or serving others- laying down your life for others- not always seeking your own welfare- but the welfare of others.
These principles are the main principles of leadership- and Christianity in general- but they are often over looked because we simply have substituted the modern corporation for ‘the local church’ and we basically run ‘the church’ along the same lines of the corporate world.
I am not one of those critics who hates going ‘to church’ [the building].
There are many who don’t go- because of the things I just shared with you.
I’m not in that camp.
But- the things I did just share- they are very important to get a grasp on- for those who see themselves in ministry- or as pastors.
On the blog- if you look to the left you’ll see a few short books I wrote years ago.
The one called Further talks on Church and Ministry deals with this subject a little more in depth.
Also- under the Feb. posts of each year- there’s a category called ‘what in the world is the church’. There are posts about this there as well.
Okay- the point today is we [leaders- believers- the whole bunch] are not to measure success in ministry as attaining some type of material success.
We should not view Christianity thru the lens of ‘what can I get out of this’.
These are usually the main themes that you see from the TV preachers of our day- and I know they mean well- but that’s simply not the heart of Christianity.
The writer to the Hebrews said ‘you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods- knowing that in heaven you have an enduring substance’.
He was talking about the persecution they went thru- they were robbed of their stuff.
In today’s world the average preacher would say ‘get back what the devil stole’.
The writer of Hebrews says ‘praise God- you have a better inheritance in heaven’.
The apostle John wrote ‘if you have this worlds goods [see- he does not call material stuff ‘true riches’] and you see your brother in need- and don’t help him- then how does Gods love dwell in you’.
The apostle Peter says ‘you were not redeemed by corruptible things- like silver and gold- but with the precious blood of Christ’.
I could go on- but just want you to see that we in the modern church really don’t focus on these themes any more.
Sure- most well meaning preachers will say ‘yeah- I believe that’.
But we often [if ever?] actually teach it.
The bible says we should listen to the WHOLE counsel of God- not just to the ‘bless me’ verses.
Okay- that’s it for now- I know some of this stuff rubs some of you the wrong way- in the past I have had friends ‘un-friend’ over stuff like this- so whatever will be will be.
If you want more about this subject- also on the blog- you will see another little book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ I wrote that years ago- at the fire house- but it gives you some verses that might help.
Okay- have a good weekend- and don’t worry- I’ll be back to politics soon- I know how much you guys love it!
1886- DIVINE LOGOS
Okay- just read Isaiah 65- one chapter left.
These past few weeks I have been going thru the last 15 or so chapters of the book.
There are lots of great themes to do- maybe I’ll take a pic of the verses I wrote down and hung up here in my study.
I also wanted to engage in a conversation on the Divine Logos.
Well yeah- maybe a little scholarly sounding- but my goal has been to ‘upgrade’ our level of teaching.
When I say ‘our’ I’m talking generally about the present day church in America- and the obsession with ‘the now’.
That is ‘what do I get out of this- monetarily?’
Yeah- that’s the rave of the day.
So- every so often I do my best to walk the other road- to give the other side of the coin.
So- a few weeks ago I was at my daughter’s house- we usually have the whole family over for the b-days and stuff.
And my kids like playing those word games.
So they bought some game- don’t remember the whole name- but part of the name had LOGOS in it.
I just quipped ‘you do know what that means’?
Now- I kid around so much- sometimes they have a hard time believing me- like ‘sure- you’re making it up’.
No- for real!
Logos means WORD.
It’s the Greek language- which the New Testament was written in- and it simply means WORD.
My 2nd oldest said ‘I should have known that’.
My oldest daughter- Bethany- just turned 27- Becky is a couple of years younger.
They both have degrees from A&M University here in Texas- top notch school for sure.
So that’s why Becky ‘should have known it’.
Anyway- this word is a favorite in the writings of the apostle John.
In both the gospel and his 3 little letters [1st, 2nd and 3rd John] he uses this term to describe Jesus.
‘In the beginning was THE WORD and the word was with God…’
That’s the Greek word- Logos.
It should be noted that the early Greek philosophers had a concept much like this.
All the way back to the time of Plato- Socrates and Aristotle [around 500 years before Christ] the Greeks were speaking about a universal principle- some type of ‘unifying theory’ that would be the basis of all knowledge.
They spoke about this principle as THE LOGOS.
So- some of the critics of Christianity did use this as a criticism of the church- they say ‘see- the disciples were just making stuff up- borrowing themes that were already there’.
Do they have a point?
A point- maybe- but that’s all.
In the letters of John we also read him refuting a cult of the day- called Gnosticism [Gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge. They believed that they had secret knowledge that the others did not have. A modern twist on this is sometimes referred to as Revelation Knowledge- it’s a form of this ‘special knowledge’ idea that existed in the early days of the church.]
An off shoot of this group were called the Docetists.
These guys were pseudo Christians- they held to some form of Christian belief- but denied the true faith of the church.
They taught that Jesus was ‘a phantom spirit’ that is- they denied what we refer to as the incarnation.
That God became man in the person of Christ.
John was one of the youngest disciples- and he also outlived the others.
His writings are probably the oldest in the N.T. [Revelation]
So- he was around long enough to refute the growing philosophical challenges to the church.
So- putting all this together- when John said Jesus was the Divine Logos- he was not ‘stealing’ that idea from the earlier Greek philosophers who were indeed looking for a Logos principle.
No- he was saying ‘look- we- the followers of Christ- have found the thing you were looking for all the time- he is the Wisdom- the Logos of God’.
Okay- I haven’t read John in a long time- nor have I ever studied Greek.
But- I do have a Greek lexicon [a book that gives you the Greek word before it was translated into English].
And back ‘in the day’ when we were young believers- seeking to learn the faith- these were the basic tools of the trade.
But today- well- the tools are motivation- success stuff.
Learning how to invest- make a buck [or 2] – how to ‘create your world’.
Yeah- we really don’t have time for all that silly stuff like the Logos.
After all- it’s all Greek to me.
Yeah- I know.
1887- SIKH YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Let’s talk about the temple shooting- but first a verse from the prophet.
‘I will gather all nations and tongues and they shall come and see my glory- I will set a sign among them and send those that escape to the nations’ Isaiah 66:18-19
Over the next few weeks I will try and post some of the verses from Isaiah that I have been reading- the ones I think have special importance.
This one is a familiar one I have been praying for years- it speaks of the greater purpose of God.
He wants ALL NATIONS and cultures to come into the kingdom of God.
The purpose of the church is not to fight and be a stumbling block to the nations- but to be a sign of peace- a witness to Christ’s kingdom- and those ‘that escape’ those that come ‘out of Babylon’ and into the new kingdom- they are the ones who will ‘go tell it to the nations’.
Okay- now the shooting.
As most of you know- the day before yesterday we had a shooting at a religious temple.
The religion is Sikh [pronounced Sick- or Seek] they are not Muslim- but they look Muslim- so these past few years they have been the target of hate.
The guy who shot and killed about 7 or so people was killed by the cops at the scene.
Now- as I watched the media coverage- they used this type of language.
‘He comes from a White Supremacist group’
‘They hates Jews and Blacks’
‘Stupid and uneducated’
‘He was not nice- he was crazy’
On and on.
Now- once again- I in no way want to make light of this terrible tragedy.
This type of hate crime- if it turns out to be one- is obviously terrible.
The point I make is you would never- ever- hear the media describe a radical Muslim shooting with these terms.
As a matter of fact- the president himself refused to describe the Hassan shooting as terror [the shooting that took place here on the military base in Texas- Hassan was a radical Muslim- and also a major in the U.S. military]
They made a huge point that if Hassan acted alone- then it was not terror.
Yet- the president- and the FBI have been saying this temple shooting is indeed domestic terror.
As far as we know- this shooter at the temple also acted alone.
Why the distinction?
A few weeks ago Brian Ross from ABC- along with his ‘partner in crime’ George Stephanopolous were the ones who jumped the gun and associated the Colorado shooting [the Batman movie] with the wrong person.
Ross reported- on air- that there was a Jim Holmes from the same city who had a Tea party web page.
Could it be that maybe another person with that very strange name- you know- about as strange as John Smith- might be the web site guy?
Sure enough- they ‘outed’ the wrong guy.
So- Ross was one of the first to come out and use this language about the temple shooting.
He couldn’t seem to wait- to say ‘see- I told you these Tea party- I mean right wing groups- are the real threat’.
Yeah Ross- you tell em!
Now- as someone who holds to the theological belief that the above verse speaks about- I have made efforts to have Muslim friends.
I have Jewish friends as well.
I try not to only have associations with other Christians- because I think we all need to talk to [not at] each other- and that Gods purpose is for the church to be a blessing to all nations and cultures.
So- that’s my position.
Also- we need to be honest about the real threats that face our world today.
As a student of history and religion I have come across a few recurring things.
One of the themes I see every so often is ‘look- we all [Jews, Christians- Muslims] have radical terrorists in our ranks- and we should not condemn the other group’.
Realistically- the very real threat that exists is within the extreme elements of Islam.
Everyone knows this- it’s no secret.
Now- do I want to offend my Muslim friends?
But- the truth is- are there real- huge scale threats of radical terrorism coming from the Jewish people?
Of course not [they usually point to a single incident in the history of the Jewish people- during the restoration of their nation in the 20th century- and this one incident has become the mantra for those who say ‘see- the Jews have terrorists too!’]
What about the far right wing hate groups?
A little more of a threat- yes- but a global threat- one that has the potential to destabilize nations- no.
That’s the whole point.
During the broadcast of the temple shooting- you also had the other news of the Syrian uprising.
These are the various nations in the Arab world and North Africa [Tunisia- Egypt- Libya] that have been going thru the Arab Spring uprisings now for a couple of years.
One of the major players in the overthrowing of the leaders of these nations is Al Qaeda.
Now- there are also innocent Arabs/Muslims who are being caught up in the fire fight- but you also have a very real presence of Al Qaeda in these rebellions.
The leaders themselves- who we have demonized to no end- have been saying this.
Gadhaffi, Mubarak- Assad- they have all said that the ones ‘rebelling’ have Al Qaeda in their ranks.
We [the western world] have for the most part played that down- heaven forbid that we should go against the ‘democratic spring’ that is sweeping the world!
The fact is- during the same news broadcast that is so quick to associate a single- isolated shooter- as an act of terror.
The same news media that refuse to use this type of language when a person [Major Hassan] who did indeed identify himself with radical Islam- a worldwide movement that is responsible for many worldwide terror acts- the media refer to his shooting- at an actual military base here in the U.S. [Fort Hood].
As ‘work place violence’.
The double standard is so big- you have to be blind to not see it.
Yes- right wing hate groups are dangerous- but they pose absolutely no threat on a global level.
Do they pose a Tim McVeigh [Oklahoma city bombing of the fed building] type threat?
But not a real global threat- one that would in fact meet the criterion of being terrorism on a global scale- no.
We need to be honest about these things- the media have once again dropped the ball by associating what seems to be an isolated act- with terror.
They showed video of the hard right rock group that this shooter played in- with no disclaimer that the other members of the group do not condone the actions of the shooter.
They used quotes from bystanders who said ‘they are uneducated idiots’- referring to this movement that does indeed have racist elements in it.
But I have heard the same racist stuff from Farrakhan- many times.
Yet the media would never- ever use this language about him.
As a matter of fact- Obama attended the million man march before he was president [I think he was the senator from Illinois at the time- the march was held by Farrakhan].
So- if hate speech is wrong- then it’s wrong all the way around.
If we condemn White hate groups- which we should- then we need to condemn Black hate groups too.
The New Black Panther party are a bunch of racists.
The leader of this group was photographed behind Obama during the 2008 campaign.
He was holding up his hand- in a Black Power display- and he was walking right behind the president.
They were in Selma at the time.
The media never covered this- or showed this picture.
That’s what you call a double standard- that’s what you call ‘media bias’.
NOTE- do you think a Romney type person- who was running for president- if he attended a David Duke rally- and had Duke march behind him on the campaign trail- would have escaped Scrutiny?
Not on your life baby.
1888- THE NEW AMERICAN GIGOLO
Okay- let’s talk.
Before I forget let me finish a note on one of the pictures I posted last night [Facebook].
I posted an old pic from a fellowship we had at a ranch in Bishop- at Eli’s house.
The reason I have posted some of these blurry pics- taken from a very old cell phone- is because they have friends in the pics who have died and I will never get any new pics from them.
In this photo there was a shot of Shelby- who passed away a few years back.
Henry was also there- these are my friends from the streets of Corpus Christi- and the Bishop fellowship was one of the few times that the 2 different groups met- one group from the old days in Kingsville/Bishop- when we had our little home church.
And the later days- the guys who I now work with each week- the homeless guys.
Part of the note that got cut off was one night I was driving Homer home- he was Eli’s- Bebe’s and Rudy’s dad.
They all came to the church.
And Homer told me how happy he was to see all his boys in church.
I am still in touch with these Kingsville/Bishop guys- some are on the site [Facebook].
I plan on making a trip soon [so if you guys are reading- let me know the best day- I’ll bring a few street guys].
Okay- that finished that.
I also had one of those strange experiences.
The other day while I was praying for all the different guys- I also prayed about the ‘jail’ ministry.
For many years I used to preach at the county jails in Kingsville.
When I moved to Corpus- I tried to get in at the one here- but they had certain rules that made it hard for me to get in.
I usually do stuff like that thru the name of our ministry- corpuschristioutreachministries.
But this time they wanted me to go thru another church- so it didn’t work out.
I left it at that- I mean I still have plenty of other guys to work with.
So- as I was praying I asked the lord if he wanted me to get more involved- then he would have to show me.
It was only a day or 2 and I got the letter from my friend in prison- in N.J.
So I felt this might be an open door.
I mentioned that I was suspired to get a letter from Jersey- and the next morning I wrote a post and ‘unwittingly’ titled it I KNEW A LITTLE GREEK.
Just a play on words [the post is a few back- I was talking about the Greek language].
Later in the day I realized that this buddy who just wrote me- he is the only Greek friend I have!
So- that was cool too [you know- the first letter in years- just happened to be the only Greek guy I know].
Okay- let me quote another verse from Isaiah-
‘Behold- I create new heavens and a new earth- the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind- be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create’.
This verse is also found in the book of Revelation.
Here in Isaiah God is speaking about a new future for his people- a time of restoration.
God’s people went thru years of struggle and hardship- and he is telling them ‘look- those days are now over- yeah- they served a purpose- a lot of it was stuff you reaped from making bad decisions- and to put it bluntly- sinning and messing up. But no more- this is a new time- rejoice- be glad- this is a new season’.
For those of you who need it- just take it- no charge!
And I’ll end with the tragic news event.
Yeah- I’m sure you have all heard- Romney kills women [to my less astute political readers- I kid.]
Yeah- Obama’s people put out an ad- I watched it.
It sounded very sincere- the guy said he worked for the company that Romney’s firm eventually shut down.
He then said ‘when Romney shut us down- I lost my insurance- soon after my wife died of cancer- we had no more insurance thanks to Romney’.
Now- by just watching the ad- you would have thought that the guy’s insurance covered his wife- and thanks to Romney- the lady died.
The truth is- the lady was not covered by the husband’s ins.- she had her own.
When the guy got fired- his wife still had insurance.
She finally lost hers- and later- 6 years later [after Romney left the company] the lady got sick and died.
I mean if you want to blame somebody- why not the employer who she worked for?
This whole thing is stupid- they now found out that this guy also did another ad for Obama.
That’s a big no no.
The latest ad was by one of the super pacs- and the actual campaigns are not allowed to co-ordinate with the super pacs.
It looks like the Obama people might have screwed this one up- big time.
I also liked the other Romney story I read the other day.
Some guy smashed his wife’s lap top.
He saw a picture of Romney on her Facebook page- and thought she was a ‘cheatin’
on him [he did not know who Romney was].
Yeah- he hit her and broke the computer- all because of that darn home wrecker- Romney.
Wow- he kills women with cancer- he wreaks havoc in homes- homes he has never been in.
Yeah- that Romney is some piece of work- a reincarnation of the American Gigolo- way to go Romney- way to go.
I woke up early yesterday- prayed and blogged.
Then I went food shopping around 5:30 or so.
I like going early before the crowds get there.
Then I took one of my weekly drives around the area.
I drove over the JFK causeway bridge to the Island- took some pics.
Took the ride around the City of Corpus and drove thru Cal Allen- Robstown and back past the airport.
I’ll try and post the pics this morning or tonight.
A few weeks ago our city started stepping up the code enforcement for various stuff.
Lots of people park their cars on the grass- or let the grass grow too long- stuff like that.
The sub-division I live in is nice- because of that we get lots of solicitors- selling all types of stuff.
They think we must be rich because we live in a nice spot.
Yeah- my home is close to the bay- and the Gulf of Mexico.
But I bought it years ago- at around 60,000- I got it under the real value.
I used to buy and rent houses- so I knew how to spot a deal- and that’s how I got this house.
It’s worth at least double now- but as a retired firefighter- I am not rich.
Anyway- we get the snake oil salesman here all the time.
So- when the city stepped up the code enforcement- my neighbor told me that one of the ‘enforcers’ was asking about my mustang in the drive way.
I was like ‘what the heck are they asking about the car for’.
It’s parked on the grass- but it’s not the ‘yard’.
Lots of the homes here have an area for RV’s or boats- and my house has a spot with the double gate- that people park their boats and stuff in.
So the mustang sits in a parking spot in front of the double gate.
Anyway I was like ‘why don’t they worry about all the door knockers coming around all the time- I mean every week I have people trying to sell me stuff’.
So- as my nature is- I sent an email to the mayor- and yeah- I let him have it!
So- the next day or so I figured let me get the car ready for sale.
When my girls got their drivers licenses we bought them all their first cars.
This mustang- 1998- is a nice car- we bought it for Becky about 10 years ago- and then gave it to Debbie [my youngest].
They all have their own cars now- so I have the mustang here- with the van- my wife’s car, my truck- and my classic 66 mustang in the garage [and Christina’s car too- my daughter].
So- I do need to sell the car.
Plus- the morning I was going to work on it- my wife came home later that day and said ‘your truck has a flat’.
Darn it- I have to fix the flat and mess with the car.
So- I get the car ready for sale and tell my daughter to call her friend and let her know I’m selling it- the girl had stopped by a few times to ask.
So- the girl comes over with her dad and boyfriend- she wants the car- but will ‘come up with the money’ on August 9th.
So- I told them ‘well- I’m still gonna list it on Craig’s list- and keep the for sale sign on it’.
They tell me they will come back and put a down payment that night- they beg me to not list it.
So- what the heck- I told the girl ‘okay- don’t worry about the down payment- just come back in 10 days and I’ll hold it for you’.
So- after waiting for them all day- they never show.
I was mad because I had a few other people who wanted the car- and I told them it was sold.
So- after stewing a while- I’m catching the local news- and seeing all the stories of the code enforcement.
Which was what started this whole thing.
And I see some lady crying- ‘I’m an old disabled woman- and your here threatening me with a fine over some weeds’!
Yeah- the local news media are all over it.
So- I’m watching it- identifying with her pain ‘yeah- and what about all the darn solicitors who come by my house every week- why don’t you do something about them- instead of worrying about my daughters car in the driveway!’
All of a sudden I hear a knock on the door- when the girl who wanted to by the car came by- for some reason she knocks- I mean I do have a doorbell.
So I thought ‘well- maybe the day won’t be that bad after all’.
I rush to the door- and there are 2 people walking away.
Hmm- doesn’t look like them?
‘Can I help you’?
They go into this long story- there sister died of breast cancer [last night mind you].
And they’re out selling some stuff to raise money for the funeral.
Yeah- more solicitors.
Okay- I am up to my ears with these people.
So- I told them ‘I’m busy man’ and yeah- I made sure the door shut real good- you know- some people call that ‘slamming’.
All in all- what else can go wrong?
My wife walks in the door- she says ‘your truck has another flat’.
I kid you not [solicitor’s revenge?]
So- the chapter for the week was Exodus 16.
It’s the story of God’s people in the wilderness.
They are complaining about Moses taking them out of Egypt and bringing them into this wilderness place.
They said ‘why didn’t you let us stay in Egypt- we had all the food in the world- now we are starving out here’.
So God gave them a miracle- he rained bread from heaven.
In the morning when the people arose- there was this bread type wafer on the ground.
When they saw it- they said ‘what is it’- or the word- Manna- which means the same thing.
And Moses said ‘this is the bread that God gives to you- you are to eat it’.
I find it funny- they were used to the gluttony of Egypt- stuffing themselves to the brim- even though they were in bondage- they were slaves in Egypt.
Yet- God has freed them- and he is giving them food- maybe it doesn’t taste as good- but it will sustain them- it’s what they need to finish the mission- but they are not used to it.
See- they developed an appetite for ‘the abundance’ of Egypt- they were hooked on getting ‘all you can get- the God of more than enough’.
Yet- the real God said ‘this is what you need- it might look strange right now- but trust me- this is the bread I am giving you’.
The last few months- for whatever reason- I have been hitting on the themes of carrying our cross- denying ourselves- living for God- not cash.
All themes that I have spoken about lots over the years.
Yet- for some reason- I felt the lord wanted me to go over them again.
It often takes time to see this stuff- we- in the modern church- have been fed a ‘buffet’ of teaching that says ‘stuff yourselves to the full- get all you can- eat until it comes out your nose’.
And God says ‘look- this Manna- this ‘new’ bread- yeah- it might be strange at first- you might say ‘what is this’- but this is what you need’.
Sometimes we get caught up in Egypt- we don’t even realize we are slaves- we get used to it.
The apostle Paul wrote about his credentials- he said he was beaten- stranded- stressed out- people talked about him- he ran out of resources- he was hungry at times- he gave a long list of things that would seem to contradict the ‘abundance mentality’.
Preachers today actually take verses- sentences- from his letters- and they teach the opposite of what he said.
They actually develop entire systems of thought- that go against the actual experiences of the apostle.
Where are you today?
Is the car still for sale- is the tire flat [mine is!]
Don’t judge things by stuff like this- sometimes we get the things that we need- the ‘Manna’ often looks strange at first- we have been fed the Egyptian buffet for so long- we don’t even recognize the real food when it comes.
I’ve been wanting to write on this for a few weeks now- but the opportunity never arose.
Yesterday me and my wife were driving to church- and I noticed they put up a new sign on the front.
We attend the only ‘mega church’ in the area- and they do all the things that mega churches do.
So- this sign is like the big marquis things you see while driving down the highway- I mean its big.
As we were right by the sign- ready to turn into the parking lot- I said ‘hey look- Bethany’s face is on the sign’.
Bethany is my oldest daughter- she’s a school teacher- and she helps out a lot at the church.
So- my wife looked- and was shocked- she thought I meant that Bethany girl [Soul Surfer] who lost her leg in a surfing accident.
That Bethany was at the church a few weeks ago- telling her story.
But no- the one on the sign was our daughter.
What’s it to ya?
Many years ago when I first started writing little books and stuff- I told one of my kids that I put a story about the cat in a book.
Wow- OUR cats are gonna be famous!
The other day when I got my new camera phone- I started asking all the street guys to pose for pics- so I could put them on the web site.
Hey- were gonna be famous!
Yeah- it’s in our nature- I mean we want it- deep down inside- to be the top dog.
A few posts back I posted about this thing popping up in the minds of the disciples [post was called GREAT].
Jesus quickly rebuked the idea.
I was going thru the book of Acts the other day- and in chapter 9 we read the ‘famous’ account of the conversion of the apostle Paul.
Paul is on the original Damascus road and he’s blinded ‘by the light’ and after 3 days God sends a disciple named Ananias to restore his sight and baptize him.
Jesus tells Ananias ‘I will show Paul the things HE MUST SUFFER for my names sake’.
If we use the criteria of the modern preaching of our day- we might say to Jesus [or Ananias].
‘Don’t listen to negative confessions- Jesus talking this way will bring you down’.
‘If you hang out too much with people who talk like this- you know- suffering stuff- then it will affect you’.
Yet- Jesus was simply telling the truth- that in order to be a true disciple- you must bear your cross.
This wasn’t a ‘negative confession’ or some type of thing that was denying our ‘covenant rights’.
It was simply teaching- from JESUS- about the cost of discipleship- nothing more- or less.
I have spent many years reading/learning from many different camps.
And verses like this- or the one in chapter 7 where Stephen is martyred for the faith.
These verses didn’t seem to fit in with the modern message of success.
I mean we view success as not suffering- or not being killed for the faith!
Yet- success in the kingdom is different than the world.
If we want to find our lives- we must lose them.
If we want to be first [fame] we must be last- the servant of all.
These are the things that Jesus taught.
I even remember how some of the teachers would do their best to say that the suffering Jesus spoke about was not ‘real’ suffering.
Some said it was the affliction you go thru when you become rich- and then when the other Christians [like me] teach different- then you ‘suffer’ because you are rich- and people talk about you.
What about Stephen?
It doesn’t seem like that would fit his case- I mean the guy was killed for Christ.
Some taught that Stephen DID NOT HAVE TO DIE.
If he chose to believe- and have faith- he would have been delivered- but it was his choice- or lack of faith that brought him to martyrdom
I could go on- but why?
Yeah- I was glad to see my daughters face on the big screen- and it’s okay that she was on it.
But the faith is not about fame.
When Jesus said ‘let your light shine before men’.
He was not talking about talents- singing- preaching- etc.
If you finish the verse he said ‘so they may see your GOOD WORKS and glorify your Father in heaven’.
Once again- the good works of charity- giving to the poor- laying your rights down for the benefit of others.
That’s ‘the light’.
1892- WHAT A DEAL!
Well I finally sold the Mustang last night [a car- not horse].
I put it on Craigslist for about a week- geez- too many calls.
People would ask for directions- I’d give them the address and directions- then they would call back ‘well- I don’t speak English too good [lots of Mexicans buy the cars from this area and sell them in Mexico] – I’m still in the parking lot ‘[Wal mart].
Okay- would could I do?
I told a few people ‘look- I gave you the address- directions- part of this project is you need to be able to get here- if you can’t complete this part of the ‘mission’ then I guess you won’t be buying the car brother’.
Yeah- they need that type of tough love.
So anyway it sold for 700.
That was a steal to be honest.
1998 mustang- runs good- does need a starter.
Another one was selling for 1500- with a blown motor!
Okay- let’s do another verse from the prophet.
‘In all their affliction he was afflicted- and the angel of his presence saved them’ Isaiah 63:9
If you read the entire chapter you get a scene of someone treading the Winepress.
I spoke about this a while back- the imagery of a Winepress- a place where you crush the grapes and make the wine- is used by the prophets in the bible.
Jesus himself uses the same imagery in the gospels.
Here you have God saying ‘I looked for a man- someone to do this mission- and I found no one- so my own arm brought salvation’.
It is important to note that in this chapter we see God [Jesus] stained with the blood of those who are being trampled at the Winepress.
In the book of Revelation we this same thing.
Many modern prophecy teachers [another pet peeve of mine by the way] have an end time scenario all figured out- they see these things thru the ‘lens’ of modern warfare- which nation should get which piece of land [Israel- Palestine- etc.]
But they fail to see how the New Testament focuses on all ethnic groups- Jews, Palestinians- etc- as being One New Man in Christ [Ephesians].
So- this image of the winepress sometimes is associated with a final battle of Armageddon scenario- that makes me cringe when I hear it proclaimed- in an ethnic way- from the media pulpits.
‘John- how should we take it then’?
Look- I’m not saying ‘my way’ is the only way- or the right way.
But when we read the bible- we must also take into consideration the broader themes of the love and grace of God- yes- judgment too- I don’t deny that- but the mercy of God must be there as well.
So- in this imagery of Jesus being stained with the blood of sinners- at a Winepress- the ‘place of pressing’ [like the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus started to bleed- pouring out his blood].
We can also see this as a type of the Cross- the place where the judgment and wrath of God was poured out- on Christ himself.
Maybe the blood that the ‘treader’ is soaked in- maybe its redemptive- just maybe.
But the actual verse I wanted to hit on was that ‘in all our affliction- he is afflicted’ [which by the way fits in more with what I just said].
In 1st Peter 4 we read that we are partakers of Christ’s suffering.
The apostle Paul said ‘I fill up the sufferings of Christ’.
They saw their trials as being redemptive in nature- that is they felt like the things they were going thru in life were for a higher purpose.
They did not view the Christian experience thru a lens that was primarily seeking self benefit.
Many today see ‘church’ and Christianity as a means of self improvement- often times you hear the same thing from the pulpits as you hear on the weekend self help infomercials [or the ‘how to get rich’ guys].
Is this a right view?
We are on the earth to glorify God- and to finish the work he gave us to do.
If part of the cost is suffering- then so be it.
These verses I have quoted show us in no uncertain terms that we are called- at times- to suffer.
As a student of all types of scholars- I must confess that our Catholic brothers and sisters get this right- much more often than Protestants.
So- those of you who have been tracking this journey- you have seen some flat tires- some wrecked trucks- and yeah- some up’s and downs.
I’m not saying all of this is equal to the sufferings of the early apostles- but in a small way- we can identify- and gain comfort- to know that these are not ‘strange trials’ these are things we all go thru in life.
I just wish we could take turns!
1893 CHAINS- TREES AND RYAN
It’s been a few days since Romney picked Ryan as the V.P.
And I find it interesting how the media has covered it.
Last night I caught Blitzer [CNN] grilling a Repub on all the votes/positions Ryan has held since being in congress.
I mean the media have been doing this since day 1.
So- Ryan and his defenders have spent time saying ‘look- when someone is picked to be the V.P. – he realizes that the top guy on the ticket is the one who calls the shots’.
Is this true?
As a matter of fact- I never heard one reporter ever pose a question like this to Biden.
When Obama picked Biden- Biden had cast tons of more votes than Ryan- he has been in the senate for years.
Yet not a single question- not one- about Biden casting votes that were contrary to Obama.
Yesterday we also had some bad news- a shooter walked into a political opponent’s office [he held the opposite views of this organization] and opened fire.
Yes- the shooter was associated with groups on the other side- politically- of the people he shot.
Now- where were the Bryan Rosses of the world?
You know- the reporters who were going thru the shooters background- even reporting that they found people with the same name as the shooter [Jim Holmes] who held the opposing political views of the people he shot [Ross falsely associated the batman movie shooter with a Tea party guy].
No- for the most part yesterday’s shooter got little coverage.
He was a left leaning Democrat- active in all types of liberal causes.
Now- Biden just came out and made the now infamous ‘they are gonna put YOU ALL back in chains’.
You all- the Black folk in the audience.
How lovely Joe- you just keep hittin’ them out of the ball park ole buddy.
So- when you have a shooter ‘shoot’ at some type of Democrat type organization- or at some type of liberal leaning organization [abortion clinics].
The media spend days- weeks- asking the question ‘do you think the language of ‘the right’ is responsible for this’.
Yet- you have Biden- Obama- and the entire left side of the aisle spending the last few months demonizing rich folk- business people- people who hold to conservative views.
And not one single question [that I saw] asked about whether or not this type of incendiary language [their words- when covering the right] might have caused some unstable person to shoot at the Focus on the Family people.
As the media can’t seem to stop covering every vote Ryan made that was not 100 % in line with Romney- I saw a short report last night from the local NBC affiliate.
It portrayed Romney as being angry- mad- unable to handle the tough campaigning.
It showed Obama and his team as good natured folk- people who live and let live.
Yet- as I have been watching the news- I have not seen Romney openly angry- stressed out- or frustrated to no end.
No- as a matter of fact- many on the ‘right’ are upset with Romney- because he is not doing this.
Let me make a point here to some of my Christian friends.
I know most of you know Romney is Mormon- and has played a very active role in his church.
Did you know Romney was what we consider a Pastor for many years?
People that know him will tell you straight up that he is the basic pastor type person in all of his dealings.
That in all his business dealings- even if you disagree with him financially or politically- they say he is a very honest guy.
So- when the NBC report was painting a narrative that said Romney was this stressed out angry guy- I knew they were telling ‘their story’ and theirs alone.
Then- at the end of the piece- they added in the recent comment of Biden that Romney wants to put Black people back ‘in chains’.
Which was what you saw in the clips they played of Romney- his response to the latest attack.
I also saw another interesting news story.
It was on one of the world news shows that come on at 5:30 in Texas- 6:30 in the east.
They were talking about the wildfires out of control- they then mentioned the global warming thing- how it is behind the fires.
Then- they showed a picture of Palm trees burning- all by their lonesome.
They then insinuated that global warming is so bad- that palm trees are ‘spontaneously combusting’ from the heat.
I kid you not.
Now- did these trees just ignite- by themselves- because of the heat?
As a firefighter- who worked 25 years in a very hot state- days of 110 degrees- with many palm trees.
We never had a case of a palm tree doing this.
So what was the news doing?
More than likely- they were showing you some trees- that probably did ignite- but they were not showing you they were about 100 feet from the rest of the blaze.
Yes- in fire science you learn that the heat from a fire- many more times hotter than the actual temp- even in the worst ‘global warming’ spot on the planet.
The heat from a fire can heat up a close object to its ignition temp.
Now- the fire has to be real hot [your talking thousands in degrees- not 110!]- and the object has to be pretty close- like the fire in the above scenario was probably right out of the picture- on purpose.
So- the news story can say- with some truth ‘this palm tree spontaneously combusted by the heat’ and in the same breath talk about global warming.
They did not outright ‘lie’ but they gave you a narrative that mislead you.
The media do this day in and day out- with everything.
So- as we watch the media go with a fine toothcomb thru every vote Ryan ever made- as they portray Romney as this angry cult leader- who is unable to deal with the stress of a campaign.
Yes- as they show us the palm tree that spontaneously combusts- because those damn Repubs won’t stop global warming!
Yes- as we view all this thru the looking glass of the tube.
Just remember- that when Biden [or Obama] accuse the other side of wanting to put ‘you all back in chains’.
Or wanting to kill grandma while rolling her off the cliff.
Remember- when the left uses this language- and a Democrat walks in to a Christian ministry and starts shooting- remember- this has absolutely nothing to do with the man’s act.
But when some nut shoots and wounds a Democratic senator from Arizona- Gabbie Gifford’s- the media spend an entire week asking if the use of the word Target- by Sarah Palin- was responsible for the shooting.
Yeah- that’s the good ole honest media for ya- you know- the ones who just happen to spot palm trees spontaneously goin’ up in smoke.
NOTE- I kid you not- right now- just as I wrote ‘up in smoke’ I look up- and yes- my desk top [wood] is actually on fire- for real.
I have a habit of burning candles- lighting my own home made lamps [bottles with wicks in them- filled with lamp fuel].
And burning incense.
So- my wife keeps telling me ‘your gonna set the house on fire one day’.
Sure enough- I had a candle burning- and it lit some spilled wax on the desk top [I have a spot where I burn candles and the wax gets on the wood].
I look up- the thing is in flames.
If I had the time I would have clicked a pic!
I put it out with a towel- but I almost had to grab the garden hose- let’s hope my wife does not read this one [or one of my daughters squeals on me! You know- Biden style.
1894 HEROD- FAME- AND ONE COOL DUDE
I mentioned the other day that some of the street guys said ‘wow- were gonna be famous’ when I told them I was gonna post their pics to the site.
The next day I was watching the local news- and they did a report about 2 guys getting arrested for peeing- on a cop car- at the police station.
So- whenever I see a news teaser like this [you know- ‘coming up next’] I think ‘geez- wonder if I know them’.
Sure enough- it was Albert and another guy that I just saw at the mission.
They did want to be famous.
Right after I posted yesterday- I read an article that backed up my suspicion.
It was so obvious it was funny.
I wrote that I saw an NBC news clip that portrayed Romney as this angry- mean- loser who can’t stand the heat.
Then- they spoke about Obama as a very calm- almost messianic figure.
So- right after the post I read my paper- there was a report by the AP [associated press].
Let me quote the first paragraph- it’s right here ‘Romney is portraying THE OUTWARDLY CALM PRESIDENT as a man seething with animosity and power lust as the Repubs seek to undermine one of the Dems greatest strengths- his PERSONAL LIKABILITY’.
I mean it’s so obvious- you can’t take these guys serious.
I was watching MSNBC- Matthews was responding to the court ruling that backed the Repub rule that in Pennsylvania you need to show voter I.D.
This has been an ongoing political battle in a few states- including mine.
The Dems charge that there is absolutely never any voter fraud- ever.
[note- a few years ago they showed a tape of a Texas Dem- she was speaking to a room full of Mexicans- down by the border- she said ‘go out and vote- even if your not a citizen- they cant check!’]
They say the Repubs are doing this because they know many ‘poor Blacks’ who vote Dem- cannot get their I.D.’s
Once again- they don’t realize that this stereotype is racist.
Like when Harry Reid said of Obama- and Biden too ‘he’s the first CLEAN BLACK guy- on a national scene- he can talk good- he doesn’t SOUND BLACK- only when he wants to’.
Yeah- you tell em guys.
I’m surprised Biden didn’t kick in ‘yeah- you need a slight Indian accent in the 7-11’s and Dunkin Doughnuts too’- ‘I’m not kidding either’- yeah- we heard.
So Matthews goes on and asks his guest ‘tell us what this rule means for the poor voters in the state who usually vote Dem’.
The lady goes on and says that this forces them to travel across the country [huh?] in order to obtain their proof of birth from their state.
What about the fax machine?
Then she said many of these people were born by midwives [many- these people- hmm?]
And they don’t have birth certificates.
One of my daughters was born by a midwife- she has a birth certificate.
My homeless friends are constantly losing their picture I.D.’s- which is an important thing for them to have- and they regularly write- contact their home state of birth- without actually going there- and they get new I.D.’s
I really don’t know why MSNBC calls itself a news station.
Then the wonderful Chris Matthews says ‘they are going back to the days of King Herod- where he made all the world travel back to their homeland to be taxed’.
Please- Please- try and stick with the news as best as possible- because when you guys delve into the faith- you really screw stuff up.
Oh- I forgot- I also cut out the picture from the article- it shows the most calm picture of Obama I ever did see.
He’s with his wife at some function.
She looks good too- like a happy- sweet angel.
He is on a plane- doesn’t look that bad- but maybe a little stressed.
Now- I’m sure they searched high and low for a stressed pic of Romney- this was probably the best they could come up with.
I remember when Newsweek posted a cover picture of Michele Bachman- I mean it was the most insane shot I ever saw- like some wild eyed lunatic.
Yeah- the media do stuff like this- all the time.
People don’t realize they are affected by it- but they are.
Okay- this past week I posted some pics of old friends and I also shared a story about some of these friends with the homeless guys.
So I think I’ll post another ‘post’ right below- one that has some info about these old friends.
So- enjoy your weekend- Oh- if you’re a Black person from the great sate of Penn.- say high to King Herod for me.
1895- BUYER BEWARE!
We bought the Rocu thing the other day.
That’s the device that lets you watch movies on line.
You get a lot of real good stuff- I was surprised.
I was also surprised to see all the documentaries about religion and Christianity.
The ones from Netflix looked interesting- so I watched a couple.
All of the ones I saw were done from a skeptic’s point of view.
Now- as someone who writes on apologetics [the defense of the faith] I am familiar with these arguments against the faith.
But- if you are not familiar- these doc’s will shake your faith- for sure.
They are done from the perspective that Christianity basically copied the Greek myths of God and religion- they focus on the ‘similarities’ between Christianity and Greek [and other cultures] religions.
Okay- what was wrong- or deceptive?
First- this entire school of thought was popularized in the 19th century- from the Christian universities in Germany.
Yes- some good men- well meaning men [others not so good! Freud- etc] believed that in order for the faith to survive in this ‘brave new world’ [modernity- and the whole humanistic advance of man since the enlightenment].
That they had to re-fashion the faith and sort of bring it up to date with the times.
Men like Rudolph Bultman introduced the idea of ‘de mythologizing’ the bible.
So- these guys rejected all the supernatural elements of the bible- no more miracles- angels- demons- or resurrection!
Many people embraced this ‘new’ bold approach to the faith- and basically became theological liberals.
One of the reasons some of these men went down this road were covered in the above documentaries.
Okay- as I watched a couple of them- they had similar themes- and were also wrong in the same way.
They compared about 25 other religious myths- from other cultures- and they said these other religious myths all had a savior- a son of god- who had 12 disciples.
They said this Lamb of God died- was buried- and on the 3rd day rose again.
They said he did miracles- was born of a virgin- was called Lord and savior.
And they made it sound like this ‘story’- in complete form- was repeated many times before the Christians ‘picked it up’.
Wow- double wow.
Why are these documentaries dangerous?
First- I actually have read/studied in this field.
The similarities that they described in the doc’s were way overdone- they simply are not true.
That’s the first problem.
But- they did mix in some truth- with the false stuff.
Both of the documentaries I saw [it seems like there is one person- producer- behind the 2 I saw] did give an actual quote from a 2nd century Christian leader- Justin Martyr.
The quote is indeed real- Justin is known as one of the first Apologists of the church.
He defended the faith during a time when many enemies of the faith slandered the religion.
In one defense [out of many] he said that those who reject Christianity because we believe that a Divine son rose from the dead- that others also held the same type of belief in the pagan world.
He was referring to the god Jupiter and the stories that surround those who believed in him.
You also do find this same type of thing in the myth of Hercules.
Okay- so the skeptic was right then?
In the documentary- the skeptic actually gives the quote from Justin- and Justin says that just because these similarities did exist in other religions- before Christ- that this in no way means the Christian faith is false.
Justin said it was possible for satan to have ‘imitated’ what was really going to happen.
The skeptic mocked this argument from Justin- and went on to challenge the faith.
A few things.
First- it is possible that Justin was right.
This whole line of attack is not new [unless you never heard of it before- which is why I’m kinda surprised that Netflix has them in their lineup].
It goes all the way back to the writings of Gilgamesh.
These are writings that also have similarities to the things we find in the bible- yet they are not coming from the Christian perspective.
They contain a story about a flood [like the one in Genesis].
So- over time- skeptics have said ‘see- the bible must have copied these flood stories- because we find them in other cultures’.
I actually covered this before.
Let me give you the short version.
We- as Christians- do indeed believe the story of Noah [the flood].
Some debate whether it was a global event or local- I don’t want to get into that now.
But- if there was a huge event- say like a 911 plane attack on the world trade center.
Would you not expect to find that event- recorded in more than one culture?
Of course you would.
So the fact that other cultures have a flood event recorded too- this does not mean the Christians plagiarized the flood- no- it would be evidence that the flood really did happen.
Now- the similarities between a divine son who rose from the dead.
First- there ARE NOT 25 or so stories like this- with 12 disciples- raised on the 3rd day- and so on.
The producer of the doc was simply mislead- or outright lying.
We must remember that anything we find in Greek culture- which predated Christian ‘culture’ was also predated by Jewish culture.
That is to say that the story of Judaism comes before the Greek philosophers.
Are there any themes in the Jewish religion that speak about a Messiah who would come- die- and be the Messiah of all mankind?
So- you could argue that any similarities between Greek myth- and Christianity- are actually ‘copies’ taken from the Old Testament story.
That is- God himself gave us clues about the story of redemption- and these clues might have very well ‘seeped’ into the Greek culture- before Christ- and that’s why you might find similarities between the 2.
Okay- I could go on- but I think I made the point.
I was not mad that these documentaries were on net flix.
But I saw the danger in presenting one side like this- without giving the other view [which I just gave].
All in all- the Christian faith has more historical backing [like the many thousands of bible manuscripts that survived the early days] than any other religion or writings of any kind.
The documentaries made a couple of good points- things that were indeed true- but they had way too much mis information in them to be playing on such a huge venue.
Buyer [or watcher] beware!
1896 SIGNS OF THE TIMES
‘Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee- is burned up with fire’ Isaiah 64:11.
Yesterday I mentioned that I watched a couple of negative documentaries about Christianity- they were done from the extreme skeptic’s perspective.
In these types of shows they usually have a few Christians/preachers that they portray as idiots.
In some cases- we can’t help ourselves!
One of the scenes was this group of protestant Christians traveling to Israel on a holy land tour.
When they are at the site of the temple mount [a real big deal for certain protestants- called Dispensationalists].
The pastor is speaking- very loudly- and quoting Jesus from Matthew 24.
He says ‘Jesus said there would be no stone left upon another- he meant it- all these stones will come down’!
Now- I know he meant well- and it must have felt exhilarating for him to kind of be standing up for Jesus- but we all know that there is this huge gold mosque sitting right at the spot where the temple used to be.
And this is where- for some Protestants- the rubber meets the road.
The above verse comes from the Old Testament prophet- the people of God [Israel] were being judged- they lost their homeland and eventually their holy temple would be destroyed.
Over a period of time they would return to their land and the temple would be re built.
During the days of Jesus you had a 3rd temple- even though the 2nd rebuilt one was never destroyed- yet Herod [the father of king Herod whom we read about in the bible] would undergo this huge rebuilding project- and he turned the temple of Jesus day into this huge majestic place.
So- when the disciples were with Jesus one day [matt 24] they said ‘look at all these great buildings Jesus’.
And that’s when he gave the response ‘their will not be left one stone upon another that shall not be cast down’.
This event took place in the year AD 70- the Roman general Titus would sack Jerusalem and the temple was cast down- there was not ‘one stone left on another’ literally.
After the destruction- many went in and searched thru the rubble for the gold that melted and fell between the stones- they actually laid every stone bare during this process.
So- the actual words the minister quoted from Jesus- these words were not defending the glory of the temple- which in Christ’s day came to represent religion apart from God.
No- the words of Jesus were actually a rebuke to those who put too much emphasis on the temple itself [which just happened to be the camp that the above minister was in- ouch!]
Christians do have a problem with stuff like this- lots.
I also caught a few preaching shows over the past week- and many of them had the same theme.
One man was ranting against Muslims- he was quoting verses in the Bible that talk about avoiding the evil person.
I actually just posted on this a few weeks ago.
These verses come from the Apostle Paul’s pen- in his letter to the church at Corinth.
He was not saying to have no contact with unbelievers [or people of other faiths]- he was talking about ‘church members’ who were living in open sin.
I got into it the other day- don’t want to rehash it again.
The point was- even though this minister meant well- he was giving the opinion that Christians should have no peaceful dealings with Muslims- or any other religion for that matter.
Is this right?
The bible says we should live peaceably with all men.
In the Old Testament we read the story of Joseph.
He became the second most powerful figure in the land of Egypt- only Pharaoh was over him.
Joseph was living- and functioning- in the midst of the Egyptian people- who did indeed have different religious beliefs than Joseph.
Yet we read how Joseph earned great respect from the Egyptians- and when Joseph’s dad died [Jacob- who was named Israel] they respected the wishes of Joseph and even mourned with him.
Now- this is a great example of believers having friends- functioning in society- without purposefully offending people.
I do not claim to have perfect understanding about the end times- but I do see some major flaws with what most people think about when they hear ‘end times’.
Many Christians see a future restoration of the temple in Jerusalem.
They see a huge problem that the mosque sits on the temple site- and they have various scenarios to see the thing removed.
These same believers- all good people mind you- also see Jesus restoring the sacrificial system- and him ruling over Jerusalem- with the sacrifices taking place once again.
In the book of Hebrews- in our bibles- the writer says ‘those who continue the sacrificial system- after the crucifixion of Christ- are doing disgrace to the Cross of Christ.’
Theologically- the above end time’s scenario does much harm to the basic message of the Cross.
Geopolitically- it spells disaster.