RECENT STUFF- D
 MEMORIAL DAY
First I want to honor our men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country [and other countries]. This past week I have read/watched lots of stuff about the things our guys go thru when they come back from the field. A sad story of a vet who survived a viscous attack- only to later deal with survivor guilt.
Upon returning to the states he volunteered to work with wounded vets. They showed you him helping guys who lost their limbs- doing activities with them. Some wounded vets. testified to his concern and seeming balanced way he dealt with his experiences in war. Yet this young man chose to take his life- the guilt of him surviving ‘whole’ while others did not- it was eating him up alive.
I read an article written by a commander who had charge of many troops in the various fields of war we are actively involved in. He spoke against our continued presence inAfghanistan. He was by no means a pacifist- he was a realist. He saw many of his men lose their lives- others their limbs. And he saw the political reality on the ground- that basically our continued presence in the field [Afghanistan] would not change the outcome if we are saying we will be pulling out in a few more months.
His view was the leaders and the Taliban will probably wind up making a deal anyway- so why waste another life? If we are just finishing up a political promise that we will stay until a certain date, and yet the last few months up until that date will change nothing- then why let the guys die for that?
All these types of conversations get lost in the American media- we have the left- who act just as ridiculous as the right- and it’s hard to really see what’s going on. These past few weeks our country [along with NATO] has stepped up ‘kinetic’ action in Libya. Libya began much like the other North African countries- protestors rose up and demanded change.
Libya is a big nation- yet 90 % of the population live right off of the coast. The eastern half of the nation are the primary Rebels [from Benghazi] and the west is ‘pro Kaddafi’ [Tripoli being the capital]. A few weeks ago I saw video of Tripoli [before the bombing] the merchant shops and the fresh goods from the fertile MediterraneanSea made the streets of Tripoli look like some ancient city that was flourishing during the time of Christ.
While its hard to measure the actual numbers- there are many people who live in the western half of the nation who do not want the eastern rebels to win. Okay- we entered the picture because we said we were going to prevent a possible humanitarian disaster- fine. NATO approved action for purelyhumanitarian reasons- a no fly zone to protect civilians. What are we doing now? We have been bombing the hell out of beautiful Tripoli- chasingGadhaffiwherever we can find him- bombing his son’s home- killing his son and his 3 grandkids. Gadhaffi's wife has publicly said she wished she died with those kids- she’s putting pressure on her husband to ‘end this thing’ [she was the one who after Bush killed Saddam- she talked her husband into giving up the Nuke plans and making peace with Bush. The story was that she was deathly afraid that Bush would do to her children what he did with Saddam's sons- kill them].
So the wife’s worst nightmare has happened- but instead of Bush being the aggressor- Its France, Britain and the good ole U.S. of A. What’s the problem? The problem is we started this action saying it’spurely a ‘no fly zone’ now we have the leader [being urged by his wife- hoping to save her sons and grandkids] making multiple offers for a cease fire- I think the man is serious.
We respond ‘the offer is not credible’ what are we saying? We have the man between a rock and a hard place- we keep saying ‘cease fire’ and when ever he does- the rebels press forward- we keep bombing and he says ‘how in the hell can I do a cease fire like that’ the man is right.
Look- if we leave these leaders- corrupt as they are- with the only option being ‘we are gonna blow you and your family up’ then we are not playing smart. Today we celebrate the lives of our men and women who laid their lives down in battle- many came home with broken bodies [and minds]. Many are taking their lives because of the reality of being in situations where they had to take other lives. These things are very serious things to live with- I just wish we as a country took these decisions more seriously.
If we are asking so much of our men and women- then let’s be honest and upfront about the cost. Sure its makes good politicalfare to say ‘I believe in a strong military’ or to say you are ‘for the wars’. But I will go with the commander who looked at the reality- and he said if we are letting our boy’s die- just to ride out some political promise of staying until a certain date- then that’s tragic. Yes- honor our boy’s today- and let’s do what we can to prevent the loss of any more.
 ALL HOPE IS GONE!
The last few days have been quite an indictment on the American media. The right has played the Anthony Weiner story hard- the left actually report the alibi [he claims his Twitter account was hacked] though as the days go by the story seems to be legit. And all the while the madman of Syria [Assad] released the tortured mutilated body of a 13 year old boy- his Genitals cut off- and this is the same man that our president offered ‘lead or get out of the way’ so very sad.
As I peruse the various media outlets- sometimes I have some hope forunbiased journalism- then something might happen that causes doubt. Last night I watched RachelMaddow a little. Now- I don’t like Rachel a whole lot- but I think she tries to be honest at times. I must confess that when I first found her show- there were a few hints that caused me to ask myself ‘gee- I wonder if she’s gay’. And I scolded myself for being judgmental- then sure enough her web site talks about herfemale partner and the N.Y. Times ran a story about her and her partner.
Fine- as a Christian I have a different opinion- but I won’tjudge the girl- the various pictures ofRachel when she’s not doing her show look a little ‘tomboyish’ but it would be wrong for me to speak about her being- well manly.
So to my surprise- out of all the people who might do a critique of another woman as being ‘too manly’ Rachel did a segment on Vladimir Putin- the former leader of Russia. She showed pics of him with no shirt- doing all sortsof Alpha male stuff- and then said ‘do we inAmerica have a politician like this’ and she then went to a bunch of ‘manly’ Palinpics- and yes- she critiqued Palin for being ‘too butch’.
The problem with our media is the left/right do not hold the opposing team to the same standards. A few days ago I was channel surfing- and it was primetime- all the news shows were covering something serious [Tornado?] but as I clicked to the MSNBC guy- the screen simply blared the picture of the disgraced Republican congressman who was shirtless [he sent a pic of himself to a girl thru Facebook- trying to pick the girl up- he’s married]
Now the guy resigned a few months ago- I remember Lawrence O’Donnell saying how he forgives him and will not drag him thru the mud over it- yet he and the crowd at MSNBC did just that- to the point where months later- when no one else is even covering it- MSNBC sees it as their moral duty to humiliate the man in front of his wife and daughters [as the lead story during primetime!]
These stories- covering Weiner or the other guy- these things are not ‘newsworthy’ like the other serious stuff. Now- if asenator or congressman lies about sending a lewd pic to a girl- well yes- he should not be able to get away with it. But these things should not take up important time- time that could be used to cover real stories.
As I watched the various shows- I flipped to CNN and I felt like they were being balanced [though they are the network pushing hard on Weiner]. Their legal guy- JeffTobin- is asked what his legal opinion is about Weiner. Tobin says ‘it's making a mountain out of a molehill- I’m sure he just wants it to go away- whether he did it or not’ geez- I guess you could say this about the shirtless Repub- or Clinton and Monica- I guess you could say they all ‘just want it to go away’ thanks for the great legal analysis.
And MSNBC reported that the real instigator- AndrewBrietbart- has been known to do fake videos of conservatives. They made it sound like Weiner was set up. Actually- if you listen carefully to Weiner- he’s using speech that tells you it's probably a picture of him- and maybe he [or a mad wife!] posted the thing.
Fine- don’t kill the man- but don’t actually report a probable lie [that some conservative faked the pic] more than likely Weiner messed up- and if you made the Repub quit because he had no shirt- than Weiner must go because he had no pants.
So as I watched Anderson Cooper I felt there was some hope- he seemed to be doing well. The only blemish on Cooper is he has a history of wearing the short sleeve T shirts at times- and he’s been accused of showing his biceps a little too much.
So as he’s doing the show they flip to a shot of him at some parade- he was on some float and yes- the guns are out. The female reporter says ‘wow Anderson- those are some nice guns’ yes- she started making lots of noise about the biceps. Cooper tried to play it down at first- and as the segment ends he says ‘next time I’ll have to charge you for the gun show’.
Yes- it was a rough few days for the media- I felt like there was some hope-maybe a chance for redemption, just a glimmer of hope. After Cooper’s gun show comment I now realize all hope is gone- so very sad.
NOTE- For those of you who don’t watch the news- Weiner is a Democrat from N.Y. who possibly sent a picture of himself with no pants on to a 21 year old girl who he follows on Twitter. The picture was only up for a few minutes and it came down fast. He posted a follow up note that said he was hacked. But as the days go by it seems like he is lying about it. It looks like he either posted it or someone else who was on his account.
 VARIOUS MUSINGS
Took a ride to the city of Bishop the other day- on the way I had a tire blowout on the highway [no spare] and managed to drive it [still had air in it- the radial tread ripped off] to a shop to get a new tire. I had one of my homelessfriends with me and we were gonna have a fellowship day with Eliseo at his ranch- instead we will do one this Wednesday.
Those of you in the area who know where Eli lives- we will be there at around noon. Bring some food and meet us there, everyone is invited. As a side note- Eli, I got your message last night. I think little Rudy called too- I will try and get back with him, if he wants I’ll pick him up Wednesday for the ride.
Okay- after the blowout I did a fish fry/b.b.q. at the house with Henry and Chris [homeless bro’s] and we had a great time. My only mistake was I put the fish out first- about 10 pieces- and I thank the Lord I at least got 1!
Let me try and hit a few things today. Last week I had a good visit with a J.W. [Jehovah’s Witness]. He rang the bell and I told him I was a Christian and that I love having discussions and I did about a 20 minute historical overview of Christianity and the development of the doctrine of the Trinity [which is a major sticking point] and I tried to come down in a nice way- being honest about the historic problems many believers/various groups have had with the doctrine- and at the end of the talk I of course emphasized the bible verses that do indeed speak about the Deity of Christ and left it at that.
He was nice enough to come back by around an hour later and he dropped off a pamphlet put out by their group that discusses the Trinity. He asked me to read it and I did.
The teaching was fairly honest about the various historic disputes that Christians have had over the Trinity. It did cover the reality that there were Bishops and early church leaders who did indeed argue against the doctrine. It did a good job at showing how some early Christian leaders were indeed influenced by Greek philosophy and that some think that that’s where the doctrine developed from.
The pamphlet made the case that ‘the bible’ does not teach the Deity of Christ- and that these doctrines were later introduced by Catholic church leaders who paganized Christianity primarily thru Constantine’s ‘baptism’ of Christendom with the Roman state.
I’m very familiar with all these debates- many Christian scholars have made this exact same argument. Muslims and Jews also reject the doctrine of the Deity of Christ [and the Trinity] and often times you hear these same arguments made.
During the 4th century of the Common Era Constantine became the Roman Emperor and the church hotly debated these issues. The Bishop Arius [who denied the deity of Christ- that Christ is God] fought against the opposing view [that Christ is indeed God] and the bishop Athanasius was the warrior who defended the deity of Christ.
After Athanasius died his tombstone would read ‘Athanasius against the world’ he was the driving force in the 4th century who swayed the tide back to orthodoxy.
Now- the church would have a few 4th [and 5th] centurychurchcouncils that would settle the matter concerning the nature of Christ and his deity- and the final decision was that the Trinity was indeed true and the Jesus is indeed God.
The other side stayed with the idea that Jesus was a created being- a god- but not thee God. Some of these churches exist till this day. They are primarily oriental churches. If you visit them they seem just like any other ancient type church- the Mass, Saints, Mother Mary- yes- the whole 9 yards. But they stuck with the Arian view [Bishop Arius] and deny the deity of Christ [and thus the Trinity].
How should I respond? Let me just say that I am a Trinitarianwhobelieves in the deity of Christ- Christ is fully God and fully man. The J.W. pamphlet made a good defense for their view- and they were not totally ‘deceptive’ in their argument. But they did quote lots of bible verses that kind of backed up their side- and they quoted some from Isaiah. But they left out chapter 9.
The famous passage that says Jesus is the ‘Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ very strong language indeed.
What about the argument that the early Catholic bishops polluted the true teachings of Jesus by introducing Greek thought intoJesus true teachings? It is true that Greek philosophy had a belief that there was a pre existingprinciple of wisdom- a ‘divine logos’ if you will.
The only problem with the argument that the Catholic bishops were the culprits who introduced Logos Christology into the doctrines of the church is that the New Testament itself has ‘Logos Christology’ in it. What is Logos Christology?
Logos is the Greek word for ‘Word’. Christology is the study of Christ. Logos Christology is the description of Jesus found in the writings of the apostle John that describe Jesus as the Eternal Word of God.
John wrote the gospel of John, the 3 letters- 1st, 2nd and 3rd John- and the book of Revelation [some scholar’s dispute that John authored the last one]. In these writings Jesus is called the Word of God- he is described as the Word that was ‘with God, and was God’ [John 1].
So the bible itself has Greek influences- because it was written in Greek! And even though the pre Christian philosophers had a concept of a personified wisdom [the Jews also- read Proverbs 8] yet the New Testament also speaks of Jesus as this Eternal Word of God who was indeed ‘true God from true God’.
So I think the talk I had was good- I understand that many groups of people have had difficulty with the doctrine of the Trinity and the accusation that Constantine and the Catholics ‘hijacked’ the true religion of Jesus has been made by many groups over the years. Yet at the end of the day the doctrine of Jesus being God is clearly found in the bible [and yes, even in the Old Testament] and we as Orthodox Christians confess Jesus as God- not because of the Greeks- or the Catholics- or because of any other influence that ‘snuck in’ we confess him as God because ‘the bible tells me so’ Amen and Amen.
 ANTHONY WEINER [AND PAUL REVERE]
These last few weeks I have been reading a few key passages from the book of Daniel. I have found lots of practical stuff that you can apply to ministry and the journey we all take in life. Daniel was stuck in Babylon- he was seeking God- praying about his situation and the people he had responsibility for.
The book says he understood from the beginning what God’s purpose was- both for him and the people hewould eventually influence- yet the men who were with him- the helpers- they did not have the same insight that he had. The bible says these men‘hid in fear’.
Daniel also knew that the appointed time was long- that the things he was waiting for would take a lifetime to see. Daniel saw that the walls andtemple would be rebuilt in 'troublous times’. That even though he was commanded to pray and intercede for the people- yet there would be much difficulty involved- he would have to persevere much. He prays‘God- do these things- help your people- not because of my righteousness- but because of your mercy’.
You can read about the actual rebuilding of the city and temple in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra.
This past week we have had some important news, lots of stuff that meant something. The economic numbers were disastrous. The Middle East situation grew worse. The president ofAfghanistan said ‘no more bombing of civilian homes’ NATO killed12 civilians- all womenand children- can you blame the man?
And of course we were all treated to the daily voyeuristic fix of seeing Weiner’spics slowly trickle out- day after day.
Truly thewall is being built-but we are also in very troublous times. I must admit that the media has scored very low on the scale of responsible journalism. I do credit Brian Williams [NBC] for not even covering the Weiner story- he was right in the fact that it was not a slow news week-and it was hard to justify the coverage that the story got.
At the same time- their cable branch- MSNBC- was shameful. They not only reported as news the fake alibi of Weiner [Brietbart did it!] but they spent the whole week as shameful political hacks.
Last night Lawrence O’Donnellactually covered the admission of the congressman and concluded ‘the only victim [ONLY!] was Weiner’s wife’. Now- the congressman just admitted that he sent many pictures of himself to many women- he could not rule out whether some of them were minors- whether they were unsolicited- yet O’Donnell does not see these women as 'victims’ to the contrary- some of the ‘liberal’ media began hinting at the possibility that these women might be in cahoots with Brietbart- yeah- way to go-blame the women.
I have come to the conclusion that MSNBC is a vast waste of airtime. O’Donnell said he could still see Weiner as the mayor of Gotham City-and he would invite him on the show and not ask a single question about the scandal. This from the network that as recentlyas afew days ago was headlining their news with the shirtless pic of the Republican congressman who has been gone for months.
So the worldis in turmoil- Yemen’s president was hurt badly when the protestors bombed the presidential palace. He was flown to Saudi Arabia and he might not make it back. Yemen is a very dangerous country- Al Qaeda is strong there-and they might actually take over the country.
Syria has decided to cross their border with Israel [The Golan Heights]. And Israel killed 20 protestors/invaders- Assad [Syria’s leader] is obviously taking the strategy of starting something with Israel to get the heat off of his murderous regime.
Yes- troublous times indeed.
You know- right about now I know how Paul Revere must have felt- jumping on his horse- riding his famous ride- ringing those bells and proclaiming ‘hey you Brits- you better not try and take our guns’ yeah- I know the feeling for sure.
Blacks are just hired guns. While this is partially true- yet when these fighters are asked ‘why are you helping Gadhaffi’ they will tell you- just like Mandela- that he has supported them for decades- when no one else cared- including us.
Let's talk about war. These past few days NATO has bombed Tripoli really hard. Reporters on the ground have said that the compound that Gadhaffi lives in has been leveled- to the point where it makes no sense- sort of like turning the place into a post nuclear looking wasteland.
Supposedly we [Brits, French and U.S.] were trying to penetrate any hidden bunkers, using the famous Bunker Busting bombs. It seems so surreal- when was the last time you saw/heard daily reports of the British and French doing routine air raids?
I can’t think of the last time- it must have been WW2. You say ‘now brother- I know the British were brave under Churchill- but the French?’ Okay- as least they were industrious- do you know how many white flags that country produced during the war? [To my French readers- I’m sorry]
So we have chosen to bomb- Libya had an ambassador go to the Hague and to the French this week, they filed war crimes charges against them. This past week the former Serbian general who was on the run for years- Slobodan Milosevic- was finally captured and taken to the ‘world court’ on charges of genocide.
You remember that back during the Clinton years we got involved because the Serbian Christians were fighting the Muslims and the charges were that the Serbs were carrying out genocide against the Muslims.
Why did we engage there? It’s possible that tens of thousands died- do you know how many Blacks died on the continent of Africa? Many of them Christians- killed by Muslims? Sudan, Darfur, Congo? Some say the numbers are over a million. Do you know how many Iraqi’s died since our invasion? Some estimates say around a million civilians have died since the war started.
The U.S. does not keep records of civilian deaths. So why Serbia and not Africa? Do you remember who the secretary of state was at the time? Madeline Albright. She came from this part of the world- she actually made statements saying she would not sit back and see ‘her’ people killed like this.
Problem? Did we allow the ethnic roots of a secretary of state dictate where and when we would get involved? Jesse Jackson brought this up at the time- he asked ‘why intervene when it’s your homeland- and let millions die when it’s in Africa’? Hate to admit it- but the man was right.
Now Libya. There are reports coming out that the western backed rebels [the guys we are backing] have tortured and killed Blacks. Why? Do you remember when Nelson Mandela was released from prison- he went to Libya and personally thanked Gadhaffi for his support- called him his brother. Many in the west cringed at the time.
Why did he do this? In Africa you have Black Africans and non Blacks. Some hate the Black skinned Africans and have been pro slavery. Others have a long history of supporting the Black skinned Africans- Gadhaffi is one of those who have been on the side of the Blacks for many years.
Right now in Libya you have many Blacks who have come from the Sub Sahara and these are fighting on the side of Gadhaffi. The western media reports this- but they always say these There is an ex Black congresswoman in Libya right now- she has reported that the rebels have been lynching the Blacks- just having Black skin identifies you as being on Gadhaffi’s side- No wonder Farrakhan said ‘who the hell are you [Obama] telling him he must go!’.
Many Blacks see Gadhaffi as one of their own- he has earned their support. Now do you see why so many Blacks can’tunderstand why America’s first Black president might be the one to topple the man- and at the same time supporting the rebels- you know- the lynchers!
What a tangled web we weave. I do not know what position we should take in all these wars and uprisings- but we need to be very slow at pulling the trigger and getting comfortable with seeing our country daily bombing another country.
The congress just tried to pass something that would have forced us to leave Libya in 15 days. The 60 day mark has passed [the deadline for the president going to the congress for support] and the president has yet to go to the congress. Instead congress passed something that demanded the president give some more answers on why we are bombing Libya- non stop.
It seems to me that the so called ‘no fly zone’ has been implemented- obviously we want to kill the man. Problem? We have no right to kill the guy- no matter what the Arab league- the U.N. -Nato- no matter what they agree on- the U.S. is not allowed to assassinateforeign heads of state- and that’s that.
So today we got a lesson on why we sometimes intervene- and sometimes not. Why we let millions of Africans die on the continent- and intervene for thousands in Serbia. Yes- we are a fickle crowd. And all this at the expense of our young men and women.
I heard Beck one day- he had a guest on. The guest quoted the words of Lincoln ‘a nation divided against itself can not stand’. Beck was quick to correct the man- Beck told him that Lincoln did not coin this phrase- but he got it from another politico who lived before him. Beck then mentioned the ‘originator’ it was some guy who lived a few hundred years before Lincoln.
To my surprise both of these men got it wrong. The words come from the lips of Jesus in the New Testament. Yes Jesushimself said it.
As I look at the political landscape today- upcoming elections where its popular to be ‘pro war’- I hope we as a people can be honest about the things we are doing- be willing to ‘cut and run’ when we realize that the political end game might not be much better then before we went in [Iraq and Afghanistan] and return to the original purpose of our fighting men and women- to protect the homeland.
As much as I want freedom for the Iraqi’s- to see the Afghan women freed from oppressive regimes like the Taliban- as good and right as these things are [or to prevent a ‘genocide’ in Libya] as good as these things are- our men and women did not join the military for this- that’s not a reason for them to die. We need to think long and hard before we spill the blood of our kids on foreign soil- we do not want them to die in vain.
THE PROBLEM IS WE ARE MUCH SMARTER THAN THE AVERAGE PERSON!
These last few days I have found it amusing to listen to the various media networks deal with the Weiner scandal. Some have tried to actually justify the fact that ‘he didn’t commit a crime’. True- but if after a few weeks of chatting with young girls who join your site because you are a representative- if after a few weeks you are sending fully nude ‘excited’ photos of yourself to these young girls- geez- you need to go- and fast!
But the interesting thing was to see the elitist mindset at work. One show discussed why this happens to smart politicos- they surmised that the mind of highly advanced politicians [mainly liberal Democrats] functions at such a higher level than the ‘average’ person- that because of this they need multiple outlets for this highly functioning intellect.
I actually have heard this argument used a few times in trying to come up with an explanation of why Obama’s numbers are low- or why the public does not fully support his ideas at times. The reporters would say ‘the average person is not able to fully digest the advanced intellect of the president- he functions almost at the level of a genius [not kidding] and because of this it’s like Einstein trying to explain physics to a 3rd grader’.
Now- pride is one of those sins that comes out- and you don’t know its there- I have it- you have it- yes we all have it. But I find these elite news men humorous- they really seem to struggle, and believe, that they are so far ahead of the ‘gun toting southern idiots’ that their viewers cant see the idiocy of their arguments.
A few weeks ago on MSNBC RachelMaddow was covering the oil situation. She explained that those who blame Obama for the high gas prices are wrong [to a degree she is right- but when prices went up under Bush- no one dared do anentire show at trying to explain this Phenomenon!]. She then went on to explain that if we drill more in the U.S. that the simple fact that the U.S. is drilling- that does not mean that all the ‘U.S.’ oil goes to us.
She explained- rightfully- that the oil produced here goes into this ‘global market’ and then it simply sells on the global shelf. The problem was at the time she was arguing against those who were saying that the lack of U.S. production could hurt in times of global war- when other oil producing nations go to war. Her defense was ‘either way- U.S. production just goes on a global market’ but the mistake she made was she was arguing economics- when the question at hand was logistics-supply.
It indeed is true that during times of national war and upheaval- enemy nations might well say ‘no more oil for you’. And if our own production is low [even though it might be a foreign company- B.P.] then we are in trouble. During times of crisis our country has the ability to ‘take over’ the actual resource [oil, etc.] and if there are limited regionalresources to ‘take over’ then in fact we would be in trouble.
Point? Maddow was arguing economics- when the question at hand was logistics. Okay- I can live with that. But at the same time this network [MSNBC] is the main instigator of the argument ‘we [liberals in general] function onsuch a higher plane than the average citizen- that’s why Obama’s numbers are low’. It really is a sad thing.
I hope Weiner can in some way redeem himself and his family. Comparing him to Vitter, Foley, Clinton- etc. It really is a waste of time for me. The fact that these incidents happened so recently- with many young women who he just knew for a few weeks- no shirtless pic's- but the Full Monty. I mean it just seems like it would be best for everybody if he took some other job for now- restore his marriage and maybe some day he can come back and be productive. Elliot Spitzer actually is doing a great job at CNN- as an analyst he is really good- very fair.
Instead of trying to explain the foibles of ‘the left’ by coming up with arguments that say ‘we function at such a higher level than the rest of the country’ just swallow the crow and take some time off- please- the country really needs a break.
 YOU MUST BE KIDDING!
I caught a few minutes of Hal Lindsey last night- I very rarely watch ‘religious TV’ any more [with the exception of EWTN] and Lindsey was covering the Rapture and some stuff in Revelation. He did Rev. Chapter 6- the 4 horseman of the Apocalypse. He covered the standardEvangelical view that the 1st horse [rider on the white horse] is the anti-christ.
There is one other reference in Revelation to a rider on a white horse [chapter 19] everyone agrees that this rider is Jesus- yet many evangelicals have developed an interesting view that has the rider on the white horse in chapter 6 as the anti- christ.
The reason? They say look what follows- ‘war, famine, judgment’. But does this chapter [or Revelation] ever describe these judgments as ‘the judgments of anti christ’? No. As a matter of fact- the last few verses of this chapter actually describe the judgments as coming from him who sits on the throne and from the Lamb.
In chapter 19 the reference [of Jesus on the white horse] says he goes forth to ‘make war’. And if you read about these horses in the Old Testament prophets- they talk about God’s Spirit carrying out the judgment.
I don’t want to do a whole thing on who the rider is- after looking at all these verses in context I would say its not anti christ- but Christ [by the way- others do hold to this view- but the majorityof ‘prophecy preachers’ USA do not]. The point is we assume stuff- then preach it like that particular view is the only ‘correct one’.
Okay- last night Weiner was being investigated for having contact with young girls on line- minors. The cops were at the house of the girl. Weiner seems to be admitting that yes- I regularly had on line contact with young girls. But during those contacts I was not fully naked and ‘excited’. But then when he clicked over to the 20 year olds- well yes- naked and out there.
Okay- he also said he cant be sure that during all these on line talks that he hadn’t exposed himself to young girls ‘maybe yes- maybe no’. Okay.
Yet at the same time the reason we all found out about this is because he ‘accidently’ posted a crotch picture to 50 thousand strangers on his twitter page. So we have a sitting U.S. congressman who has many experiences with woman on line- he has already sent these pic’s to 50 thousand people.
He also admits contact with underage girls.
And MSNBC [Lawrence O’Donnell] says ‘I don’t see why he cant be the mayor of N.Y.- and I would invite him on tomorrow and not ask a single question about his on line exploits’ none of our business!
Yet these same media folk spent yesterday going through 24,000 emails of Sarah Palin- actually enlisting the publics help ‘come join us America- lets all go through these emails and see what we can find’ [N.Y. Times, Washington Post].
The MSNBC political hacks were drooling at the mouth. Has the media ever done something like this before? Have you ever heard of any public figure [including Obama] who the media said ‘hey world- lets go through 24,ooo emails and see what we can find’. The woman is not even officially running for office right now- some of these emails are to her kids.
Yet you have a sitting Democrat congressman- admittedly sending nude shots of himself to anyone- possible young girls [15?] and MSNBC says ‘that’s none of our darn business’.
A few years ago a right winger put out a book- I think it was titled ‘liberalism is a mental disease’. I’m beginning to wonder.
 IN DEFENSE OF LIBERATION THEOLOGY
I’ve been wanting to get back to some of our studies- but the news cycle has been hotthese last few weeks [not just Weiner!] and I have been sidetracked somewhat. One of the other important news stories was the going away speech by defense secy. Gates.
He tore into NATO and raked them over the coals for their willingness to vote Yes on intervention- then letting the U.S. do the majority of the work. There are 28 nations that make up the alliance [North Atlantic Treaty Organization]. Yet in Afghanistan there are a total of around 140 thousand troops. The media constantly report ‘NATO troops were killed- or accidently hit a civilian house’. We get desensitized- we think these are actually troops from NATO- like these other 28 nations are doing this stuff. Out of the 140,000 troops- 100 thousand are U.S. troops. I mean 28 other nations?
In Libya- once again the entire alliance voted to go in [or abstain- though ‘going in’ meant different things to different nations] and after a few weeks of ‘going in’ once again we are pulling 70 percent of the load. Gates blasted the alliance- saying with all thesenations’ troops- they have a hard time standing up 25-40 thousand troops. These other 27 nations can’t even supply a regular fighting force of 25 thousand troops!
Hillary Clinton spoke out [rightfully] against a new resurgence of ‘colonialism’ taking place on the African continent. Colonialism is the abuse of 1st world nations stripping 3rd world nations of their vital natural resources and doing this with the consent of ‘paid off’ higher ups in these ‘stripped’ nations [this definitionobviouslydoesn’t speak about plain colonialism- but in modern public speak that’s what they are talking about].
In Africa, China has been doing this now for a number of years- they have been ‘investing’ heavily in buying up the worlds natural resources- and the civilian populace living in these nations are extremely poor. If other nations want to partner in trade and investment with poorer countries- that’s fine. But don’t take the resources from these countries while the people living there are dying from poverty.
Around the turn of the 20thcentury you had the rise of what’scommonly called ‘the social gospel’. This Christianmovement concerned itself with the broader mandate of the gospel that deals with bringingjustice to the poor and hurting people of the world. Dealing not just with ‘saving souls’ but also with creating a more just society on the planet right now.
While this movement had its critics- it did not go as far as the later development of Liberation Theology. Now- onceagain in our ‘reductionist’ news media- we have managed to simplify our understanding of Liberation theology- and have basically presented it as some satanic movement that simply wishes to implement Marxist ideologyinto the American experience.
Glenn Beck got a hold of a few books [articles?] that showed the church’s criticism of Liberation theology- and it cemented in his mind that all liberationtheologians were ‘the enemy’. It did no good to realize that- yes indeed- Obama’s church is a theological offshoot of Liberation theology.
Yes- the good ole Reverend Wright is a Black Liberation theologian and darn proud of it! Liberation theology took the concern of the social gospel a step further- it sought to implement social justice policies by mixing Christian teaching in with political structures. In a way it was a form of Marxism- without Marx’s penchant against religion. To the contrary the Liberation adherents saw this approach as a mandate from Jesus himself.
Liberation theology arose in the last half of the 20th century primarily as a result of what the Catholicchurch saw taking place in Latin American nations. Once again a type of Colonialismwas taking place in this 3rd world region of the world [though they are obviously doing much better today]. And the Catholicchurch in the region developed a Liberating theology that would deal with these social injustices through political means.
The very influential Catholic bishop of El Salvador- Oscar Romero- would be the lead visionary of the movement at the time. Romero said some very important- and true things at the time. It would be wrong to totally reject all Liberationtheologies as ‘satanic’. Romero taught that true theology- true learning and growing in our understanding of God should take place in ‘Base ChristianCommunities’ as opposed to the ‘institution’. This concept is actually taught in the bible [in my view].
His ideas would give birth to what is known as Feminist theology [Catholic female authors like Fiorenza of Germany or Mary Daly from America] these women were writing in what they saw as institutional oppression from the church against women- that in their view the church has historically repressed women- and they drew from the stream of Liberation theology that sought to ‘free people from oppressive regimes’ it’s just the regime they were speaking about was the church itself!
And yes- the Black liberation theologians would manage to tweak Liberation theology and make it fit their particular struggle for what they saw as a continued repression of the Black race.
All in all liberation theology was a very influentialmovement- that does indeed have many strainsof truth within it.
Then why did the Catholic church have to officially distance itself from the movement? Bishop Romero [who would eventually become the arch Bishop of San Salvador] gained so much influence within the Latin American church- that the Vatican had to finally come out and distance itself from the movement.
Liberation theology was in fact a strange mixture of Marxist ideas- though they were taken from Jesus and the gospels. In the 20th century- right around the same time of Romero's great influence- you had another very influential Catholic leader by the name of Pope John Paul the 2nd. John Paul would eventually become one of the greatest and most influential Popes of all time [that is saying a lot].
One of John Paul’sgreatachievements was his vital role in the pulling down of the Soviet Union and his stance against communism- especially seen in his own resistance to communism in his home country of Poland.
Now- how could the church be lead by one of the greatestheroes of anti communism of all time- and at the same time have such an influential Arch Bishop operating out of Latin America- who was in fact espousing a form of Communism?
So this page has been written in the books and we have what we have.
Today I think we all need to take a second look at the things we deem [or have heard] are wrong- or satanic. Though I have manydisagreements with our president and this current administration- yet I agree with what Hillary said in her warning about the Africancontinent. I also do not think it right to demonize the president because he did indeed attend a Black Liberation church- many of these congregations fully embrace redemption through Christ- and their ‘zeal’ to extend that redemption through the social justice arm of political govt. is not totally wrong- the bible speaks much about human govt. being a tool for social justice in a just society!
But we in America are fixated on more important things- like when the next picture of congressman Weiner will come out- yeah who has time for all this social justice talk anyway.
 THERE THEY GO AGAIN!
Let me give this one last shot [on Face book- to all my blog readers- of course I will keep posting there!]. Since I’ve been on face book I have enjoyed posting/commenting with old friends. Every so often I would get notices that said ‘so and so asked this question’ or stuff like that- little apps [games] that I know nothing about. Sometimes the questions seemed a little ‘weird’ to say the least.
Look- I’m an adult- heard it all [and have messed up in life many times- not just the on line games- but the real thing- yes- like most every one else in life]. So anyway these stupid things didn’t ‘offend’ me- I just felt they weren’t where I wanted to go on the site.
So at first I would just block that particular game- not the person [by the way- this was more than one person]. Then they would use another game. A few times the thing showed up on my main page- and I couldn’t delete the thing!
So finally I just blocked [or blocked their posts] from my page. Then one ingenious person waited till a mutual friend posted- and they used their post [which was on my page] to give me a wonderful ‘F—K YOU’ note- wow- it just made my day.
Look- if you are a ‘friend’ on my page- and you let people post things to me like that- I’m gonna block you- sorry. You want to tell me that in a personal email- where my kids don’t have to see it- fine- but ‘friends’ letting their friends do that- sorry- your blocked.
Okay- why the anti liberal stuff? As a political blogger- I listen to all sides. I listen to Rush- Hannity- Olbermann [he starts Monday on current t.v.] Maddow- the whole crew.
I have found it amazing that the ‘ultra liberals’ are just as bad as the hard right. But for the most part they carry a belief that they are way above the average man- I rarely see this with the hard right.
So it takes patience to deal with the libs- much more than the right [I consider myself neither]. So a few weeks ago I noticed something- MSNBC decided they were going to show the shirtless picture of the Republican congressman who quit right after he was caught trying to pick up girls on line.
Okay- he messed up. But all of a sudden MSNBC began showing the pic. Every day. Even during primetime. They laughed- smirked- they were obviously going to run with this picture right up until the election of next year.
Then what happened? The Weiner story broke and it just seemed stupid for them to follow this strategy. Their main network [NBC- Brian Williams] receivedcriticism for not even covering the story at first- I applaudedWilliams at the time because I felt the story did notdeserve the coverage it got.
I saw Williams report ‘he was forced from office because of semi nudepictures’ an outright lie- he was fully nude- erect- and possibly doing it with kids. Now- in the real world you do not call this ‘a sexless sex scandal’ the A.P. reported it this way- many commentators did too. I even saw an editorial comic that showed Weiner getting in trouble- the comic said ‘shirtless photos’ on his suit case.
Smart- huh- giving the impression that all he did was take off his shirt- just like the repub! Now- I didn’t rejoice over Weiner- I prayed for the man [for real!] but the ultra libs rejoiced over the repub- they were running primetime with the pic months after the event. These guys are insufferable!
Then I read an A.P. [Associated Press] story on how the Obama recovery was being ‘drug down’ by those darn states! Yes- the report said the recovery was working on ‘the federal level’ but the states [aha- those new Repub. Governors] they were dragging the recovery down by their bad economies- I mean they must think the general public are complete idiots- that’s what the left thinks- and they show this all the time.
I mean what are the states? They are 50 pieces of the whole country- there is no such thing as a ‘federal recovery’ being dragged down by the states- please- we are not all that dumb.
But it’s stuff like this that makes it hard to deal with the real problems we [and the global economy] are facing. If both sides do not come to some type of agreement- which will include dealing with the rocketing cost of healthcare [yes- Medicare will need to be dealt with- maybe not the Ryan plan- but more than just making a political statement- like Bill Clinton said- we cant let Medicare eat up the entire U.S. economy].
Greece is on the verge of default- I don’t know if Germany is gonna keep footing the bill. And their bond rating is 3 points below junk status! That’s bad- a nation defaulting like that. Those of you who watch this stuff- our own nation is going back into another recession [some feel it never recovered in the first place].
If the media keep playing the games that they have- then they are just adding to the problem. Did Obama’sstimulus work? Not the way he hoped- but most of the 800 billion simply staved off the job losses at the state and local level. The money was spent to prop up the states until a recovery happened. That was the real plan- it didn’twork.
Austin Goolsbee jumped ship while there was stilltime- and Paul Krugman [liberal N.Y. times economist] is running with the story that the stimulus should have been around 2 trillion- yes he’s also covering his back side.
All in all we need to come to the table and work as one- MSNBC [and NBC] should be ashamed at their continued gloating- months after the downfall of a human being- deciding to run his picture night after night- and then lying about ‘their guy’ saying he too was shirtless- they played the game and pretended they were above the ‘average guy’ you know- the viewing public- the ones who they think believe that the‘darn states are ruining the recovery’- yeah- that bunch.
This week the congress began putting pressure on the president over Libya. Traditionally presidents go to the congress for consultation when hostilities are involved. Bush consulted congress over the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
When the speaker of the house- John Boehner- lead the majority of congress in rejecting the tougher position of Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich’s bill- that would demand the president pullout of Libya- Boehner instead asked for an explanation of why the president simply is not following the war powers resolution [having to go to congress after 60-90 days of hostilities in a foreign land]. To the surprise of just about every legal analyst-including many Democrats-the president made a case that what was happening in Libya did not amount to ‘hostilities’.
Now- Boehneris a longtime insider- he knows the way Washington works. He could notbelieve that the office of legal counsel would have agreed to this. The president purposefully avoided answering that specific question.
Finally- some insiders- more than likely Democrats- could not believe the president did indeed reject the office of legal counsels advice-and instead claimed to make the call based on his own legal opinion [to just about every legal analyst- this is going rogue].
Finally the truth leaked out- and it was revealed that the president took the unprecedented step in trying to define air warfare as 'non hostile action’.
As I read the news stories- and listenedto both sides- I could not understand why the president did this. While it is true that most presidents reject the war powers resolution [the act itself] yet they usually follow the advice of their officeof legal counsel.
That is the executive branch’s legal arm that gets the advice of both the Pentagon lawyersas well as the Justice dept. It just seemed to be the decision of a man who tries to present himself in public as a reasonable man- but behind the scenes he is a very different person.
I also saw this in the president’s ‘pettiness’ withpolitical enemies. As a retired Texas firefighter- when we have had bad wild land fires- we always- in every case I know of-got federal aid when meeting the criteria of a natural disaster. To my shock- this past year the president- for the first time ever [as long back as I remember] told Texas ‘screw you’ yes- our guys- the ones who got hurt- the ones who paid out of pocket to go to the scene- driving miles from home in their personal vehicles- for the first time ever were told ‘no’. The president toldTexas Fire Fighters [and its Repub governor] no!
The majority of these firefighters are union guys whose dues go primarily to Democrat causes. I was shocked that a sitting U.S. president would do this.
Then came the school funding issue. My oldest daughter recently got a teaching job with the public schools. During last year’s political wars- Texas was the only state that the president withheld federal funding to. There were some political games begin played- but at the end of the day Texas was the only state that the president denied funding to. Eventually it got passed- against the president’s wishes- when it was slipped in under the Continuing Resolution to fund the govt.
I could go on and on about stuff like this- examples that I have never before seen- cases where this president has gone after political enemies to an extreme- where even other Democrats have said ‘you must be mad’. There have been ‘leakers’ during this administration- like all others. This president has been the only one [in recent memory] who has tried to raise the level of the leak to ‘treason’ and thus making it a federal crime punishable by death. It’s almost unbelievable that he has actually used his office like this.
As we as a nation try and move forward- there will always be 2 sides to these debates- what troubles me is it seems to me that for whatever reason- maybe the president did not realize the pressures involved with the job- but for whatever reason he really has done some really bad stuff- I mean the firefighter decision was a real eye opener tome- showing me that he is not mature in these decisions- too petty to have done these types of things to get back at a political enemy.
Hopefully we can get beyond these things as a country- but for my friends to have been turned down federal aid- while risking their lives- that’s being petty at the edge of danger- that’s like going after the leakers-and seeking their death- that’s real bad.
NOTE- Over the last few years I heard reports that Senator Obamadid indeed do politics this way in Chicago- that Rham Emanuel and other political cronies threatened people- with physical harm. I never really believed these stories- but after seeing all these examples above- I began thinking that these stories were probably true [putting a dead fish in an opponent’s bed/ room- just like the mafia movie!]. These examples are bad- I could have given the story of a Texas political blogger- yikes! -Who was just interviewed on national TV. He was stalked- the F.B.I. went thru his trash- videotaped his family from a secret camera planted across the street- and it was revealed that the administration contacted the I.R.S to go after him. This U.S. citizen was targeted- and his family-because he was on the other side of the politicalisle. Stuff like this would have never passed under other administrations- never.
NIGGERS, WHITE DEVILS, SLUTS AND HYMIE-TOWN
I figured today I would just share my true feelings with you guys- what about it?
These last few days there has been somewhat of a firestorm over the comments made by the radio personality Neil Bortz. First off- I want to admit that I do not like the guy- at all. He is the only radio person who I actually called in to complain about with the local station who airs him.
I do not like his talk about Blacks- and I also cringe when listeningto Rush do the same stuff at times. To be honest- I have not heard/read the controversial statement-maybe it’s better that I didn’t, so you can check me out on a theory.
I was watching the Ed Shultz show and they were discussing the comments Bortz made about arriving in Atlanta. They said Bortz made a statement that encouraged Whites to arm themselves and go out and shoot Black people- ‘fill the streets with bodies’. As much as I dislike Bortz- for the life of me I can’t believe the man said this.
Second- he had 2 Black guys on the show-and they of course condemned the statement from Bortz and did go on to rightfully critique other racially tinged language that Bortz has indeed used in the past. As the show progressed they attacked Bortz over a statistical number he gave about crime in the Black community.
They simply said ‘can you believeBortz teaches that the DNA of Black people is predisposed to crime’? Again another accusation- highly charged- that seems to be wrong on the face of it [to state a crime rate among any community- or the high percentage of Blacks in the prison system, which I have spoken out against as a failure of both the system and the Black leaders- to state factual numbers- if they are true- is not saying you believe that Blacks have crime built into their DNA- and to accuse anyone of this- whether they be left or right- is highly inflammable and wrong- just as wrong as the actual other racial statements Bortz has made in the past].
Now- when I see these same shows host Sharpton- or Jackson- or even Farrakhan from time to time [I saw him on a panel in Chicago]. I ask myself ‘self- why do these same media folk- who rage at the right- have on people from the left who are just as racist’?
Sharpton is accepted freely on many channels- though he has incited murder, hatred and has used nonstop racial rhetoric throughout his life.
He incited violence in calling non Black businesses in Black areas as being ‘interlopers’. He has accused white people of raping Black girls- even after the facts showed the poor girl was lying [Tawanna Brawley] and till this day- he still will not admit the thing was a hoax.
Jackson has called Jewish areas ‘Hymie town’. And of course Farrakhan is nonstop in his hatred for the white man. Former senator Byrd spoke of ‘Niggers’ [the late senator who used to be a leader in the KKK and fought hard against civil rights- he was a Democrat].
Ed Shultz himself was pulled off the air for a few weeks for calling Laura Ingram a ‘Slut’. She is a right wing radio host. And of course Harry Reid said he thought Obama had a chance- he was a ‘light skinned Blackman- who didn’t speak like a Blackman- only when he wanted to’.
Of course the hypocrisy of one side seeing prejudice only in the other is blatant.
In all these cases- I regret having to use the language that I just did. Some of you read this post because you thought 'damn- I knew John would go over the cliff sooner or later’ and you thought today was that day!
Others read because this shock language has that effect- if you have a choice between reading a post with the words NIGGER- well that draws more attention than more enlightened speech.
We all have our demons- we all battle racial attitudes in life. And if we want to critique a person for their wrong speech [which I do think Bortz uses!] then we need to be careful that we don’t falsely accuse the man of something so racially charged that it might actually incite real violence in the streets.
For MSNBC once again to have allowed one of their guys to go on the air and to charge that another person called for the shooting of Blacks in the streets- or who said that this person believed that crime was built into the DNA of Blacks- if Bortz did not say this- then Shultz needs to take another leave of absence- for good.
 TRUTH TO POWER?
Last night the president gave his speech on the war- he will withdraw 10,000 troops this year- another 20,000 by September of next year. That leaves around 60,000 going into 2013.
When the president came into office there were 30,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan- he doubled it to a little over 60- then did a 30,000 man surge [West Point speech].
Many anti war folk [like me] were not happy with the 60- never mind the surge. Yet we are staring at 90,000 for the next year- then down to 60- and they are talking about leaving 20-25 thousand forever!
Last week I caught a CNN special called Wiki Wars- they covered the Julian Assange case. Assange is the ‘Omega man’ looking Australian who has shaken the world with his on line ‘leaking’ factory [Wiki Leaks]. The show covered his nomadic upbringing- his mission to change the world- and his determination to expose corruption wherever he finds it.
His work has been recognized by Amnesty International [for exposing corrupt leaders who slaughtered innocents] and overall his mission has been very noble.
Eventually he would come into possession of thousands of leaked on line documents that would expose many hidden discussions of our military. He also released the now [in] famous video called ‘Collateral Murder’.
The video shows our guys hovering over a vehicle in Iraq [I think it’s Iraq?] and the audio allows you to hear the conversation. As we watch the enemy walking back and forth- seemingly oblivious to the chopper watching them [strange?] our guys radio communication is describing their contact with their commander.
As they wait for the go ahead to shoot- they finally get the o.k. They then show the video of our helicopter shooting the men. Most of the guys are killed quickly- others run. One guy is wounded and laying in the street- another vehicle pulls up and tries to help him- we then blow the hell out of him too.
Then something happens- one of the guys starts running from the first vehicle with a young child in his arms- our guys say ‘wow- he has a kid with him- that’s what he gets for being so stupid to bring his kid with him’ [our guys think they are enemy combatants].
The scene looks terrible- especially when we later find out that all these guys were reporters- mostly working for Reuter’s news service.
As the CNN host questions the military commander who is watching the video with him- the commander explains that our guys did ‘what they were supposed to do’. That these reporters should not have been in a hot zone- walking around with their camera equipment- which was mistaken for a rocket launcher.
This military leader actually justified our actions. Then as the show progressed- they got into the Wiki Leaks founder who released these videos. He gave the standard U.S. govt. line that the leaking of these videos/emails was unjust- that it might cause harm to people- and therefore our govt. is justified to go after Assange and the soldier [Bradley Manning] who supposedly leaked the stuff.
I found it strange to see this commander ‘justify’ our killing of the reporters- while at the same time condemning the person who uncovered this act.
This week NATO bombed another civilian house in Libya- killed a couple of kids [one a baby] and a few civilians. Once again- they released another statement saying ‘this house was a command and control operations base’ which means they thought Gadhaffi [or his men] might be there. Now- they have done this before- they kill innocent people, kids- then they justify the action.
I was wondering how long it would take before the Western media got off the Obama bandwagon and reported the truth- stop simply regurgitating the words of NATO and report the facts on the ground.
Surprisingly, as I read the article- the report said that as the journalists arrived at the home that was bombed- there were other Libyans who immediately starting saying ‘Gadhaffi blew up this house to blame it on NATO’.
These reporters have been fed this before- and simply believed it. This time as they investigated- they indeed found out that we and NATO simply blew the hell out of a civilian home- and killed a new born along with another child.
The home was a politicalsupporter’s residence. Now- I certainly realize that these actions are not meant to kill innocent people- and I know our guys did not mean to kill reporters. But when we as a nation lie about this stuff- cover it up to a degree- and then actually seek the execution of those who leaked the evidence- then we are doing unjust things.
I heard the reasoning behind why when this type of info is leaked in a traditional way [N.Y. times, etc.] that these leaks are considered very noble- uncovering the secret agenda’s of the powerful. But then the person being queried said when the leaks are being released ‘on line- without actual ink and paper’ then yes- we are justified in seeking the execution of the leakers.
It’s amazing that we accept this type of reasoning without question.
I’m glad we are starting to draw down our troops- right now in Afghanistan we are spending a couple of billion every week- we are facing a fiscal crisis at home that might eventually ruin this entire nation. And China is digging copper out of the Afghanistan ground- making deals with the corrupt Afghan govt.- and we are footing the bill for the security so China can enrich themselves and the leaders of Afghanistan- all at the same time when we are about to default on our debt- to China!
There just seems to be too many things wrong with this picture. I in no way blame our brave fighting men and women for these atrocious acts that do take place during times of war- but I do blame those in power, those who know about these acts- who seek to cover them up- and then after they are leaked- our govt. goes after them- seeking to raise the level of these leaks to the crime of treason- so we can execute the leakers. These things are unjust- and we need to recognize this fact.
 PREACH THE GOSPEL?
Let’s talk some about the role of the church in society. Many years ago I had a friend who was a preacher/pastor- at the time some people kindly told him ‘brother- I know Jesus is the answer- but you need to also teach- you can’t just say ‘Jesus is the way’ all the time’.
Were they right? In a way- yes. Let me explain. In the book of Isaiah we read about the purpose of Jesus [chapter 11]. Jesus came to preach the gospel [good news] to the poor- set captives free- to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
The book of Amos[a prophet in the Old Testament] shows Amos railing against the rich- the powerful- as he defends the poor in society. Part of ‘the gospel’ is speaking out against injustices in society- telling those in power ‘your day is coming- you have trampled down the innocent- abused the immigrant- and God hears their cry’.
Yes- a part of the ministry of the church is to address these abuses in society. Now- what happens when the church casts off this job? It gets picked up by any/all others who are willing to run with it. So you have ‘the media’ or even a comic like Jon Stewart- anyone else who is willing to speak out against injustices- uneven scales- these will fill the void if Gods people won’t.
If you read the ministry of Jesus- the things he did and said- he often came up against religious forms of holiness. Those in society who thought their purpose was to- well be ‘religious’. That is they made a special class out of religion. They often engaged in public displays of it [prayer- fasting to be seen of men].
They valued their own religious experience as the primary thing- when they perceived man getting in the way of their expression of religion- they were willing to ‘sacrifice him’ [literally] in order for their own religious cause to gain influence [they said of Jesus- if he keeps doing this we will lose our position of power and influence].
At the end of the day- these religious folk saw their own view of religion as the primary thing- it took precedence over all other things- even people themselves.
Now- when the church reduces her mission to ‘religious speech’ that is when they refuse to engage in society- to do what the prophets did in the bible- defend the poor- rail against injustice- when Gods people leave this part of ‘preaching the gospel’ out- then they unknowingly have given in to the temptation to see their practice of religion- as simply a ‘religious thing’.
In a way- they have become like the religious folk of Jesus day- so busy carrying out their religious tasks- that the voiceless of society have no one to advocate for them.
We are living in a day where many major upheavals are taking place- I think the ‘average person’ does not fully understand the seriousness of what’s going on in the world today. It is quite possible that the U.S. will default on her debt. And that we will face a credit crisis equal to that of Greece- where the politicians have pandered to the people to a point where the people are rising up in the streets because they refuse to see the reality of the situation.
There are threads of this taking place right now in this country- at the current rate we are going- our debt will equal our GDP in 10 years- that’s really bad.
As we have these debates- we must remember that the poor and impoverished of the world count to God- the cause of the illegal alien means a lot to God- these issues are not just nationalistic- they are of concern to God.
As we move down this treacherous road over these next few years- lets not forsake that part of the gospel that calls us to speak up for the poor- to speak truth to power- and to expose injustice wherever we see it- not just on the opposing team.
 ADULTS IN THE ROOM?
This week the ‘raise the debt ceiling’ talks broke down. Eric Cantor- the repubs top negotiator- walked out of the talks in frustration. The Dems want to raise taxes [actually cut certain tax breaks] and the Repubs want to only cut spending.
We [govt] have a 14.3 trillion ‘limit’ on the national credit card and in August we hit the limit. Some say if we don’t raise the limit it will be catastrophic- others say raising it would be.
I do hold to the more liberal view- that we should probably raise the thing- but make sure we also get real cuts- not fake stuff.
When Cantor walked out of the talks the Repubs said ‘look- we are negotiating for something you [Dems and pres] should have taken care of over a year ago’ [present a budget]. The Repubs said ‘do your job- present your side’!
Are they right? Yes. The reason the president and Dems have not presented a budget [going into 2 full years without one!] is because they really did not want to bite the bullet and make choices that would get people mad. So as they waited and waited- the Repubs did a daring [some say stupid] thing and in the house they presented the Ryan plan.
Before Paul Ryan presented the plan some said ‘no- don’t do it- we are in the minority [the Repubs don’t hold the executive office or the senate] and it’s really not our responsibility to present something’. Some conservatives said if you present one- the left will only use it to attack the Repubs and will not present their own plan.
The president actually gave a speech a year or so ago that warned of this- he said we have to deal with debt in a serious way- and if both sides play games- accuse the other side of wanting to kill grandma- then the country will suffer.
So Ryan put the plan out- and within days the commercials ran- they found a Ryan lookalike and they showed you him wheeling grandma over the cliff. What was the president’s response to this childishness? He was the lead ‘child’ [a child shall lead them?]
Yes- the president went on the air and railed against the Repubs plan- he said they want to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly and the poor.
Fine- I personally think Ryan did go too far- and I think we should do both- tax ‘increases’ and cuts. But Cantor saw the writing on the wall- that it is indeed the president’s job to do a budget- they didn’t do one- the Dems stalled- endlessly on the thing.
And instead of using the Ryan plan as an excuse to do some cuts and say ‘look- Ryan forced me’ instead- the president resorted to the thing he warned against- he did use it as a political tool to help his cause in the upcoming election.
Now- this is what makes me seriously wonder whether or not we will avoid a real Greek style debt crisis. Those in the know [on both sides] realize that the biggest expense that the country can’t afford- is actually the projected rise in Medicare costs down the road. It’s going to eventually ‘eat up the entire economy’ [Bill Clinton].
So if the Dems decide to simply use this as a political tool [which they have done] then the only way we will ever deal with it is for the Repubs to force something thru- while the Dems say ‘those darn baby/grandma killers- they made us do it’.
But the Repubs said ‘hell- you know what- every time you make us take the fall- we get the blame- and you [Mr. pres] are acting like you’re in the minority- you and the Dems are not presenting any budget- going on 2 years- and getting away with making us do the dirty work- and then blaming us all the way- while we are really saving your skin!’
I see their point. So- we have about a month to go- and after Cantor walked out- I thought here might be some hope- you know- both sides cooling off some- another round of golf? How did the left describe Cantors frustration- quote ‘the cry baby wet his pants and ran home to mommy’- Ah- we could analyze this statement- try and read some hope into it- maybe they were concerned about Cantors family life? Well heck- I give up- I mean they didn’t even use the word mother. The globes future depends on the ‘adults in the room’ I didn’t know adults wet their pants and run home to mommy?
 IS IT MORALLY WRONG TO TEACH MORALS?
The other night N.Y. passed gay marriage [or marriage equality]. They are not the 1st state to do this- but some in the media hailed it as a great advance for civil rights. I spoke to a Catholic friend who lives in the area- he’s an older brother- and he was really upset about it.
I think I caught him off guard by telling him it really didn’t ‘upset’ me- not like I lost a battle [right winger] of some sort. I told him I obviously have a different position than Governor Cuomo- but I’m not real mad about the thing.
I understand why some people are- and I also told my friend that my position is basically the same position that his church holds- I think homosexuality is ‘a sin’ [like many other heterosexual sins!] but I think the ‘right versus the left’ approach does no good- it seems to just alienate people
A few months ago our local high school made it to CNN because of a debate between some girl who wanted to start a straight/gay club on campus. You had the school say no- even though they did allow a Christianclub to meet. The ACLU got involved and before you knew it they were all picketing for/against the club.
As I watched the thing on the tube I saw some local preachers standing out there- a few feet away from the kids- holding signs and shouting ‘it’s an abomination’.
Then you saw the gay kids- who also had the support of some liberal preachers- they were holding signs that said ‘God loves everyone’. It just seemed ‘non Jesus like’ to see the older men- railing against the young girl [the lesbian girl] and shouting in the streets about her being an abomination.
The point being we need to tell people the truth about what is in the bible- and what the church [predominantly] teaches- and then avoid ‘going to war’ with people.
As I’m continuing to read different works on philosophy and modernity- I recently came across Daniel Dennet- a contemporary atheist/thinker. Dennet questions the ‘morality’ of teaching morals [religion] to kids. He espouses the question of the whole idea of religious teaching/tradition. Is it ‘right’ to teach ‘what’sright’?
Okay- I’m sure he is a smart man [they tell me so] but he of course is falling into the classic mistake of thinking he can argue from a foundation of ‘oughtness’ while claiming we should not have these types of foundations.
Basically you can’t argue a moral position [is something right- wrong] if you reject the reality of morality itself. This mistake is easily refuted in the field of apologetics. Sam Harris [another contemporary atheist] makes these same arguments.
I found it interesting to hear GovernorCuomo and other supporters of the law- they were oozing with moral language ‘we are proud to be part of the struggle for the rights of all people’ and other language like this. I’m sure these well meaning folk don’t realize they are contradicting their core argument ‘who is society- the church- to say what’s right or wrong!’ And then they say ‘it’s wrong for them to think that way’.
Okay- I hope you see the point. Immanuel Kant saw this some 300 years ago when the ‘age of reason’ was just taking off. Many thinkers of his day began questioning the wisdom of having religion/morality as part of the fabric of society. Kant recognized the need for the basic idea of right and wrong [What he called ‘oughtness’ you know what you ought to do] and even though he disagreed with Descartes’- he did not believe you could ultimately prove God through reason- yet he saw the need for ‘God’ to exist in the fabric of human society- in his mind there had to be an ultimate judge who could carry out justice- and there had to exist a basic idea of what you should and should not do.
These debates are long and can go on forever.
In Matthew 13 Jesus gave us a story about Gods kingdom. He said it’s like a field. A farmer goes out and plants good seed. Then when everyone was sleeping- an enemy went out and planted ‘bad seed’.
When the plants came up- his workers asked if they should go out and pull all the bad crop out. The boss said no- just leave them alone- in the final harvest he will deal with them- but it wasn’t their job to go pull them out prematurely.
Sometimes we [the church] are like the workers- we see ‘bad seed’ things that we recognize are not healthy for the field- we think ‘let’s go dig them out’. But God says ‘I’ll deal with the bad seed in my time- if you think it’s your job to go around pulling up all the bad weeds- you might hurt some good wheat too’.
I in no way ‘rejoice’ over the N.Y. vote- but I feel no urge to go ‘pull the bad seed out’ some of what we think is bad- might turn out to be good in the end.
 ARE YOU A FLAKE?
This past Sunday Chris Wallace hosted Michele Bachman on his morning show [Fox] he had just come off a previous Sunday show controversy- he had on Jon Stewart and it got a little heated. Overall I think Stewart ‘blew it’ but I think Wallace blew it with Michele.
The present controversy was him asking Bachman ‘are you a flake’. Bachman responded well- but began with ‘first of all, that question is insulting’. She was right. She went on to explain her credentials- and what Wallace thought might be a cringing, defensive woman- turned out to be a capable, smart woman- who treated Wallace like he was a defense witness.
Then a strange thing happened- MSNBC ran with the story- they covered it with the righteous indignation of a prophet [false?] Oh they tore into Fox ‘how could they dare be so demeaning to such a wonderful woman- smart- cunning- savvy- they should be ashamed of themselves!’
Sounds good, the only problem was they are the network that spent the last year publicly demeaning the woman- day after day- relentlessly. They had a photo of the woman- you know some smart camera angle- it made her look like a wild eyed demon- they showed that photo like the N.Y. press covered Weiner.
They then did the most on air offensive thing I have ever seen. During the Repubs election [congress] they interviewed Bachman. She showed up- just like a liberal might show up with a Fox reporter. Basically you treat the guest well- even if you go hard on the person [a skill Lawrence O’Donnell has yet to learn]. As Chris Matthews is talking with the woman- he asks her a question- she does what lots of folk do- she basically used her time to get her talking points across- and avoided the question.
Now- what the interviewer normally does is asks it one or 2 more times- and if no response- just move on. But Matthews says [paraphrasing here] ‘are you hypnotized- has someone hypnotized you- maybe an alien ship?’ he went on to demean her in a way I have never seen a reporter do. And in the background you heard Eugene Robinson [a regular on the show] openly laughing in mockery.
So after portraying the woman as an idiot- publicly- for at least a year- they then decide to critique Fox for Wallace’s disrespect to the woman- these guys are shameless.
But- that gets me into a guesthost they had on the other night. Ron Reagan Jr. He did alright- I’m not a big fan of his dad- though he has become an Icon in some circles. Somehow Reagan got into the Evolution/Creationism debate. Now- most times when these guys try this- they fall flat. I have critiqued MSNBC guys before- Catholics- who have slandered their own church. They say ‘the Catholic church teaches this’ and they mislead their own Catholic listeners- and I try and write on it and give the actual Catholic view [being I study all Christian theologies]. So little Reagan goes into this thing on Evolution- he says ‘look- I don’t care what people want to believe- they can believe the moon [or earth?] is made out of cheese with a giant turtle on top- but don’t bring that into the science room’.
Most of these guys have no idea about the debate. The other day my 2nd oldest came over to show me her degree- she finally finished and got her degree in Biology. Over the years I would have good discussions with her- on a fairly good level- about biology. I have read and studied Biology, Physics, History- lots of subjects over the years- and it helps when you’re conversing with others in their respective fields.
And the talks I have had were in no way controversial- my daughter actually learned stuff- things that she was familiar with- yet she realized the points I was making- were indeed factual. Yet these points- as obvious as they were- were indeed left out of her courses- she saw that. [Noah Feldman calls this the ‘secularization of the public schools’- the fear that the public school system has when dealing with religion- or even covering it fairly when teaching history- or the impact of religious thought on science. The fact is that both Evolutionary Theory- and ‘Creationism’ [more preferably Intelligent Design] have religious aspects to them- they both espouse ultimate causes that cannot be seen with the naked eye].
Now- I wasn’t talking ‘cheese with a turtle on it’ you must be quite the ignoramus to think that the debate between intelligent design and Darwin’s theory is still at that stage. I mean there are many scientists- unbelievers- who are ready to reject the full idea of Darwin. Why?
There are lots of things that we could go into on these subjects- but a few major points are these;
When Darwin [Charles Darwin- popularized modern Evolutionary theory- lived in the 1800's] espoused his theory- he thought that it was possible that all life came from one ‘common ancestor’. He came up with the idea [it was around before actually] because of his observation of the Finch’s [birds] he observed on his famous trip to the GalapagosIslands.
Darwin realized- and stated in his books [On the Origin of the Species, the Descent of Man] that eventually science would advance to the point where he would either be proven right or wrong- I think that day has arrived- and so do many scientists.
I read an article/quote by one of the Leaky daughters [from the famous Leaky family who have done much in the area of Evolution] and she basically said ‘we have to admit that the obvious lack of evidence is leading us to re think the theory’.
Basicallyscience has shown us- that the foundational plank to Darwin’s theory- has absolutely no scientific proof. For Darwin’s theory to be true- you need the cells of one living thing to eventually ‘evolve’ into the cells of another living thing. Not only has this phenomenon never been observed to happen in the natural environment- they can’t even make it happen in the controlled environment- in the lab.
Millions of man hours and dollars have been spent in trying to cause the cell of one thing to ‘evolve’ into the cell of another thing [basically they do these experiments with fruit flies because they breed rapidly] and one of the most provable, observable facts of modern biology is the fact that the cells of living things don’t do this- ever- never- not once!
So what Miss Leakey was saying was- if we have spent so much time and effort in trying to show that this does happen- and after all of the years of observable study [true science] this has never been observed to have happened, we need to admit that science is showing us that this does not occur.
Basically the criticism of Darwin is the fact that the most basic plank of the theory- has indeed been shown to be ‘un observable’ science is unable to make- or observe this happening.
Okay- there’s a lot more that can be said on this- and there have been many good things that have come down to us from Darwin’s ideas- indeed Natural Selection does take place- but it’s limited to the particular species- it doesn’t ‘cross over’ from one species to another. So we do credit the man for some good things.
But then- for anyone to think this debate is still on the level of ‘a cheese planet with a turtle on top’ geez- even Bachman knows better than that!
 THE SMARTEST PEOPLE IN THE ROOM?
Okay- the current media obsession is with Bachman- they have covered her misstatements with a fine tooth comb [more like a plow!]. I mean the main news outlets are going at it. Sure- I realize that calling John Addams a founding father is a bit much [more like a founding son] but why the obsession?
I remember when Newt got into the race- NBC [not their hack political arm- MSNBC] introduced him like this ‘he has been married 3 times- how successful he’ll be with the religious base- we don’t know’- wow- his intro mind you!
What happened to the Chris Matthews rant of no religious test? He went on for months about it- using it- wrongly- to say you can’t question/make your choice of a candidate because you don’t like his particular religious views. Yet the media has recently done polls on ‘would you vote for a Mormon’.
They laud the Broadway play ‘the book of Mormon’ which openly mocks Mormons. Can you imagine a play where you had Muhammad being mocked?
Yet now their fascinated with Bachman’s revisionist history. Okay- I’ll admit that Christians do run into trouble at times with the whole founding father argument. I often hear preachers say ‘the constitution says- we hold these truths to be self-evident’ and then they will argue their point from the ‘moral law’ theory we find in Paul's letter to the Romans- chapter 1.
The apostle does say ‘all men are without excuse- God has revealed himself to us- he has made his truth known’. See- self evident. Actually the language used in the constitution was the ‘anti-Christian’ strain coming out of the European enlightenment.
The Enlightenment [sometimes called the age of reason] came off of the Reformation/Scientific revolutions of the 16-17th centuries. Many of the men I have been studying these last few years were majorthinkers in the movement. Right around the 18th century you had a feeling of ‘modern man’ will eventually cast off all these religious restraints and we will enter this new age where the human intellect will rule.
Most of these thinkers did not reject a belief in God- they simply rejected the institutional view of religion. They fell into the category of Deism.
Now- Deism argued that we do not need Christianity- the church- the bible- to know right and wrong. But that enlightened man knew these truths by nature [that’s where the Romans 1 argument comes in]. But when the deist made this argument- he was in fact approaching it from an anti-Christian viewpoint.
Jefferson actually wanted the language to read ‘we hold these truths to be sacred’ but Franklin prided himself in interjecting ‘non-Christian’ [pro deist] language instead- and Walla- we have ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident’.
Okay- so you can see we all have a little bit of revisionism in us.
I’m not a fan of Bachman- to be honest about it. But it’s too early to be flooding the airwaves with such obvious vitriol against the woman. Geez- cover her ideas.
I’m an ex-Navy Corpsman- as a defense of Bachman many right wingers have been showing the infamous speech of the president- where he called the guys ‘corpse men’ around 3 times [you know- that monitor does not sound the words out for you]. And of course the right has to go thru the record and show all the instances where the media actually covers up the faults of their favorite guy.
Yes- to be honest- they do stuff like this- all the time. But I wish we could simply debate the various sides- be honest about our view- and then move on from there. The left always accuse the right of being partisan- yet I think they are just as bad- and just as misinformed on many issues, its pride that makes them think they are truly above everyone else.
Let me finish with an example. One day I was hanging out with the homeless guys- sure- a few drunks- a few dope heads- the usual crowd. And a new guy shows up. He claims to be an ex professor that taught at Berkeley in the past.
As the conversation grew- he began ‘teaching’ the course that he taught at Berkeley. It was a course on ANE myths [ancient near east myths]. He went on to cover the fact that other societies had their own versions of biblical stories. They had flood stories [Noah] creation accounts [Genesis] and stuff like that.
Now- I usually do not ‘do theology’ when hanging in the streets- but I couldn’t resist. So- as luck would have it [bad?] I just happened to be familiar with ANE myths- and the apologetic rebuttal to the argument- so I jumped into the fray.
I went on to tell the professor that I too was familiar with his course- and I went down the list- point by point- refuting his ideas.
I explained that just because these other stories do exist- that in no way means the biblical account is fake- as a matter of fact- if these things did actually occur- you would expect other societies to have their own versions. I gave him a few more basic points like this- and left it alone [you know- when you do street apologetics like this- things can get rough- almost as dangerous as a Wisconsin Supreme court justice meeting].
As this enlightened liberal professor sat there- listening to what looked to be his last rung on the ladder being kicked out from under him [lost his home- wife- everything- the only thing left was his superior intellect over the average idiot- one of those types of mindsets].
He realized that he was being thoroughly refuted [for the 1st time?] by some homeless bum from Texas [I play the part well]. I mean- a homeless ‘redneck’ no less.
He simply stared straight ahead- the smell of alcohol [and various drugs] wafting thru the air- and he looked up and said ‘I am going to leave now- and go put a bullet in my head’ [his head- not mine].
Now- whether or not he carried out his mission- I don’t know. But he was the classic example of a person- who seemed educated- who prided himself in not being like the rest of the ‘idiots’ of the world- and it was difficult for him to realize that his view- no matter how sincerely held- was only one view. It is possible in life for us to be wrong- or for us to be as misinformed as the other person.
I have no idea how long the current media fascination will last with Bachman- I’m sure they’ll find another thing to fasten upon- of course when their side calls a bunch of servicemen ‘dead men- corpse men’ well- something as egregious as that- that will never make it to the air. But go ahead- another round of the Book of Mormon- watching the clip air- making the ‘Mormon/Christian’ look like an absolute idiot- and saying it openly- well the media has plenty of time for that.
 WHAT DEBT CRISIS?
I read an article the other day- the headline read ‘Bachman sees no crisis in U.S. debt’. It was by the associated press- so I knew they were more than likely lying. As I read the article- I was right. As a matter of fact- the tea partiers who are against raising the debt limit- they are against it because they see the debt as the major problem.
So the headline should have read ‘Bachman sees extreme crisis in U.S. debt’ and that’s why she does not want to raise the debt limit. Now- I have been reading stories like this for years- and the thing that bothers me is when people see/hear only one side- they then see the opposing team as the major problem. I very rarely [if ever] have read something like this that slandered the left- though you do see biased ‘reporting’ thru radio hosts. So this works both ways. We as Americans need to be able to read between the lines- to not simply swallow what’s spoon fed to us.
This past week- the world court [in the Netherlands] indicted Gadhafi on ‘crimes against humanity’. Okay- do we sit back and believe everything we read? The oppressive ruler of Syria- Assad- has killed children these past few weeks- has massacred his people openly- their fleeinginto Turkey, and even the Turkish leader has turned against him.
In Bahrain- the ruling autocracy has been trying doctors and medical workers on crimes against the state. Giving them life sentences. What’s’ the crime? They treated the protestors when they were shot and wounded. Yet these despots get good treatment from the U.S. - we sit down with them- and Gadhafi has committed crimes against humanity?
Saudi Arabia imprisons women for driving- they took a reporter who wrote a critical article against the energy company- they whipped him with ‘50 lashes’ in front of the energy building- just to teach him a lesson.
We live in a day where real injustices are taking place- we are in need of honest reporting- not biased journalism that purposefully misleads the public for political purposes.
I had a conversation a while back with a liberal- good person- I too hold to some of their views. Yet the person was railing against Sarah Palin ‘she should not even be running for office- she has children!’ Now- I knew the person only watched liberal news outlets- and they very rarely were exposed to the opposing view.
I reminded the person that Nancy Pelosi also had children- should she also leave politics? When we grasp hold of seeing others as the enemy- we are unable to really see clearly.
Right now the debate is raging over whether to raise the debt ceiling or not. Some Repubs really do not want to do anything on the tax side- and they want to only cut spending.
The Dems counter that we need to do both. Now- for those libs out there- who think I’m only anti lib- I think we should do what the Dems want. Why?
I know both sides- and the supply side economic argument says ‘the lower taxes go- the higher the finances are that come in to the fed. Govt’. This argument is the classic Repub argument- but it really is limited. Why?
Some who make this argument fail to realize that even if taxes go lower- and the result is businesses do better- yet the main way the govt gets funded- even if the businessesare doing better- is thru the tax code.
The govt only gets funded this way [besides a few pennies of royalties]. So the point is- without taxes- the govt does not get funded- at all.
So to simply demonize all taxes as regressive- well that’s just not an honest argument. In the last century there were decades of real growth -40’s-60’s- that coincided with high taxes. And there were also decades of lower taxes [Reagan, Bush, Clinton] that coincided with sluggish growth. So higher taxes on ‘the rich’ do not always mean slow growth.
Okay- the simple point I’m making is when the media purposely skews the argument- giving headlines that they know are false- then they do a disservice to the country. The bible speaks about this as ‘uneven scales’. I think the answer to the current crisis is we should raise the debt ceiling- with a real plan to reduce the debt over the next 10 years.
Both the president and the Repubs have already agreed in principle to cutting around 4 trillion over the next 10-12 years.
The world economy wants to see that the U.S. has a credible plan in place to manage our debt. They are not expecting us to eliminate it overnight- nor would it be responsible to drastically try to deal with it- on an August deadline.
Yes- both sides see a real crisis looming- because of the debt. Some think it’s so bad- they don’t want to raise the debt ceiling at all. Others think it’s so bad- that we need to raise the ceiling to prevent a major short term disaster.
Whatever side you agree with- it’s simply wrong to say ‘this side does not see a debt crisis’ that’s biased journalism- journalism that knows they are lying to you- but they don’t respect you enough to think you will spot it. We just did.
 DEAD MEN WALKING?
I read a case this past week, it was the story of Randal Addams. He sat on Texas death row for 12 years. He was convicted of the murder of a Dallas cop based on the testimony of another man. Later on it was found that the person who testified against him was the true killer.
This case was documented in the movie ‘Thin Blue Line’. The original intent of the film maker was to expose how Texas was using the faulty findings of a psychiatrist to say that certain offenders would ‘kill again’ if released. So in Randall’s case- not only was he wrongly convicted- but the system swore ‘he will kill again’ though he never killed in the 1st place.
Randal was 3 days away from being executed in Huntsville and former governor Clemmons stayed the execution- not because he thought he was innocent- but on other findings that showed that the prosecutor lied about evidence.
Eventually they would find him not guilty of the crime- but heck- he was a real pain about the thing. I mean don’t you know that these prosecutors have lives to live! Going to the ball games with their kids- enjoying a night with the wife. Damn- why don’t these criminals just shut up and take it like a man.
After Randall was released- he did not qualify for the compensation that we now give to wrongly convicted persons. As a matter of fact- Texas didn’t even give him the 200 dollars that you’re supposed to get upon release- yeah they showed him.
Randall died last year in Ohio- he had a job for a while in Texas and when his employer found out about his record he was fired. Texas lied to convict him- they lied about him being a ‘future murderer’ if released. And they wanted him to die- just go away!
Right now my governor is making news about being a potential candidate for the presidency. He is embroiled somewhat in his own death penalty case. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed a few years ago- convicted of setting his house on fire and killing his kids.
Todd maintained his innocence thru out the years. What has come under scrutiny is the fire ‘science’ used to determine he set the fire. Here in Texas we have a state fire marshal’s office- as a retired fire fighter I recall using them many times over the years.
I worked at a small city dept. - 30,000 people- we had around 30 guys on the dept. Many times we would call the state fire marshal to come down [their guys] and make a determination for a case. Often times these were cases that included lots of loss- cases that insurance companies might contest.
So to play it safe we called down the big boys. Now- I maintained a Fire Inspectors license for 25 years with the dept. To be honest- it was kind of a fluke. When I got hired the city was holding a course for fire inspectors- and one of the requirements for new recruits was you must attend any schools the city is sponsoring for your first year.
So I attended and became a ‘fire investigator’. Sure- I learned a few things- and of course as a fire fighter you gain experience as the years go by. But I was a little shocked to realize that the state actually used the arson findings that the state fire marshals office determined in order to put Willingham to death.
Though the state does their best to make these determinations- yet the science is not an exact science. You do use a lot of ‘guess work’ in these findings. Over the past few years I have seen/read about the controversy. At times I wonder whether or not the governors accusations are true- he has accused the anti death penalty people of trying to use this case as a cause célèbre for their side.
Supposedly the top arson guy- from the North East- who has sided with the anti death penalty people- supposedly he is a little ‘gung ho’ about the ‘new science’ and the governor deemed him a little off the beaten path.
I did listen to this fire expert one day- and I did kind of get that feeling too. He was talking about the case- and how at the time the fire science was not as advanced as it is today [I can believe that]. But he went on to explain [maybe a lawyer was talking at this point?] that the ‘so called’ evidence of arson had other reasonable explanations. In the room where the kids were- there were signs of accelerant all over the floor.
When someone sprays/pours gas or some other flammable on the floor to set a fire- the floor will leave marks long after the fire is extinguished. So apparently in this case there were these marks all over the floor- even Todd’s defense attorney admits till this day that he believes his client was indeed guilty.
The fire investigator who sides with the defense [who Perry claims is a little gung ho] explained it this way. He said that in back draft situations [you remember the movie don’t you? Actually Hollywood is very unrealistic in its portrayals of fires. The movie showed Back draft situations where the fire was this creeping type thing- and the fire fighters are all walking around in structures with clear view. In reality you can’t see a thing in these house fires- they are full of smoke!] the room/space is Oxygen deprived- and when Oxygen is introduced into the room- like by a broken window- that this creates a sort of back draft situation- and the reason you had the marks of accelerant on the floor- they were really the marks of the air being introduced into the room and the flame followed the path towards the windows [you had marks going all different directions on the floor].
Okay- I do understand the science somewhat- but I have never seen this happen before. Usually- when you have marks like this on the floor- they are sure sings of an accelerant being used.
Either way Todd was executed and his case is getting national attention. I can go on and talk about all the guys who were on death row- who were later found to be innocent. Texas actually has a history of using faulty findings to convict people.
Obviously there are many cases of guilty persons being put to death- and many of these guys do claim to be innocent- when they are not. But we have to question a system that puts people on death row with such weak evidence- or using ‘science’ that is questionable.
Even though we do our best in the fire service to make these determinations- yet I would never allow a determination like this to be used to condemn a man to death- and it might just be that we did indeed kill an innocent man.
 A GLASS OF WINE ON THE HOUSE?
Henry’s been coming around a lot these last few days. I didn’t realize that he probably was feeling a little guilty/worried. A few weeks ago I gave Henry some money- wrote him a check for around 25 dollars.
I was supposed to do a few things with Henry- and I would always miss him. Last week I hit the grocery store and bought a bunch of good BBQ- we were going to head to Bishop for a fellowship- I went to pick up Henry at the boat dock where he works, and he wasn’t there.
I asked one of the kids if he knew where Henry was- he told me he had jury duty. What! Yeah, the week before he did get a notice to show up- it was legit. The homeless guys use various ministry addresses for their home address. I guess they found Henry because he votes.
They use the voting info for our local juries. I will admit I got a laugh out of it- I thought there was no way they would pick him. So anyway he comes by a few days later and he tells me the scoop. He made it through the first round and went back a few times as they trimmed the field.
He was telling me that it was a local corruption case against the cops. Now- I will admit, I have had my run in’s with the local cops. Over the years they really have harassed a lot of my homeless buddies. Lots of the guys live in various camps around this area.
I live in a sort of beach area- and there are lots of transients that set up temporary tents as their spots. One time I bought a nice tent for some friends- a big tent. A husband and wife couple used it. They were so grateful to get the thing. It only cost me around 100 bucks- well worth the sacrifice.
The next time I saw them they told me the cops came through and cut the tent. Our local cops do this because they get lots of complaints about the ‘bums’. Then one time I’m helping a homeless guy move from a camp. As were driving away some ‘cop’ walks up to my truck [he had a shirt on that said Corpus Christi Police] and starts questioning me- why I was in the area and all.
I had 2 of my buddies with me [Henry was one of them] and they are used to getting harassed. But as the ‘cop’ is talking to me I realize he’s an auxiliary cop [rent a cop type guy]. Now- I have worked with volunteer firefighters for years- and they are good guys- but sometimes we had a problem with them walking around town wearing our Fire Dept. shirts.
They were allowed to have them- but they were not supposed to be acting like they were the ‘real deal’. It would get the real guys [like me] in trouble. So I discerned that this cop was like that- plus he’s practically interrogating me.
I had it- I told him ‘I’m pulling over right here and getting out’. I did- he made sure he was back on his property- fast.
It’s just a long term thing- dealing with the cops harassing the guys. So Henry’s telling me his court ordeal- and when he tells me it’s a cop case- it was funny. He says they asked him ‘do you have any relationships with the local force’ [being it’s a corruption case]. I kid Henry and say- ‘did you tell them- well kind of- I hold a special affinity for the local police chief- I see him as a surrogate Father figure’ Henry just started cracking up.
He was finally kicked off the jury- I think they realized Henry might have been a loose cannon.
Okay- Back to the top- when Henry came by he wanted me to know that he ‘lost’ the check I gave him- and he said he signed it. I kind of picked up the feeling that Henry might have bought a bottle of wine- and he might have thought I found out and was mad at him.
Now- Henry is not a drunk- I have never seen him drink. But I do know that he likes to drink a glass of wine every so often. Even though I’m not a tee totaler- yet I have told the guys not to buy alcohol with any money I give them.
It’s just the principle of the thing- too many guys are alcoholics and I didn’t want to contribute to that it any way. So I think Henry might have used some of the money for a bottle. Okay- if so I would not be mad- water under the bridge.
But lots of people do get mad- they will cut guys off for stuff like this- and I think that was playing on Henrys mind. So he asks me if I could check on ‘the check’ to see if maybe someone cashed it- with his name on it of course.
So at about this time I’m beginning to catch on- and I tell Henry ‘you know Henry- my bank called and told me that someone did cash it- they asked me to come down and check the video’ okay- Henry’s kinda sweating at this point- I go on ‘and I went down to the bank and sure enough- I see a church van leaving the parking lot- it was brother Rey!’
Rey is a local street preacher who Henry works with- he’s had some tuff times recently so I fibbed a bit. Henry realized I was letting him off the hook- that it wasn’t a big deal to me- even if he had a glass of wine on the house.
I have noticed- many times- that people who do help the guys- if they feel the guys might have swindled them- or if the guys are not as grateful as they should be- some people leave- for good. I think true friendships should be able to ride this stuff out- Plus- I need to stay on good terms with the homeless guys- you never know- they might be my jury one day?
 NOT GUILTY!
These last few days have been hell for news addicts like myself. On holidays [4th] you can’t get hard news. I mean all you can find is serial killers, lock up, Casey Anthony highlights- and a bunch of stuff like that. And yesterday was consumed with the Casey trial. The only channel that showed some real news was Link T.V. - yes- Al Jazeera and Mosaic saved the day.
Even though I’m an avid news watcher/reader- yet I found little [to no] interest in the Casey show. Now- I have caught a few minutes by reason of my incessant channel surfing- and for that reason [alone] I am a little familiar with the case.
Over the weeks I have had friends ask me about the case- knowing I’m a news person. I would explain that I was not up on it- but for what it’s worth here’s my view. I was surprised to see a few followers of the case had some questions on her guilt.
I too have questions- but for the most part thought it was pretty clear that she either accidently killed the girl- or did it on purpose. I told these inquirers that there was really no other explanation to why a mother would be telling family/friends ‘Oh, my daughters with the nanny’ or ‘oh, she’s at the house’ when all along the girl was missing.
And the interaction between the parents and the daughter [whether or not there was sexual abuse] seemed to indicate that the dad really had no idea where the girl was.
If Casey and the dad found her drowned in the pool- then she would have told that story all along. And you don’t bury someone and hide the death- if it was a drowning accident.
So I basically did feel the girl was guilty. But- there was more than enough reasonable doubt- in my mind- to acquit the girl. The meter reader did do some questionable things [calling a month before- then accidently going out into the woods to take a leak- and once again you see something? He was probably looking for a payday- reward].
And the ‘forensics’ of air testing- taking air samples and claiming that’s some type of atmospheric DNA – geez- we already have enough prosecutors faking forensic stuff- we don’t need air samples!
So yeah- I think it was reasonable to not find the girl guilty- especially on a death penalty case- when you had this type of evidence.
Was I glad to see her get off? Not really- yet I was not mad either. One of the main teachings in the New Testament is what we call Justification by Faith. Even though this is a major doctrine in the bible- I find that many nominal church goers are not really as aware of it as they should be.
There is a verse in the book of Romans that says ‘God is just- and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus’. This discourse [chapters 2-4] explains that because all people are sinful before God- that God hatched a plan that would ‘allow’ him to let people off the hook- while at the same time righteously dealing with sin- and the just punishment that it requires.
This ‘plan’ was the Cross. That God would become a man [Jesus] and in this Divine mystery- he would take the place of all sinful men and die on the Cross for the sins of the world. This act allowed God [the Father] to stand in judgment over God [the Son] and for the Son to bear the righteous judgment that the sin deserved. Isaiah says ‘it pleased the Lord to bruise him’ [chapter 53].
This teaching is vital for the Christian to understand- that because of Christ’s death and resurrection- we now freely receive forgiveness from God- it’s not a matter of trying to become just by keeping the 10 commandments- or going to church- or just being an overall good guy.
It’s a matter of righteous justice- God’s Son died for the sins of the world- God made a deal with his Son- if the Son would do this- then it would only be just for God to forgive man because the Son died for them.
Yes- the bible says ‘God is just- and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus’. This is a great truth- this is the basis of us being forgiven. The only thing that prevents people from benefiting from this- is like Daltry sang [the Who] ‘I don’t need to be forgiven’ yes- to benefit from this great work of redemption- man needs to admit that he is guilty- that he [she] like everyone else who has ever walked the planet- yes- we are all guilty before God ‘there is none righteous- no not one’ [Romans].
In a way I’m happy for Casey- I hope she can see the seriousness of what happened- and if she did indeed do this- that she can also be forgiven by God. But Casey seems to struggle with something- she- like us- makes up too many excuses- too many stories to get around the reality of the situation.
Casey- like the rest of us- will first need to admit the truth- the reality that we have all sinned. Receiving forgiveness can be a hard thing- not being able to forgive yourself. Yet at the end of the day- that’s what grace is all about. Yes- God is just- and the justifier of those who will believe.
 THE SUNDAY MASS
I kind of wanted to talk a little more about the Casey reaction- why so many people are upset. What’s the root cause? Many people are actually mad- for a right reason. They have a moral sense of injustice- seeing the beautiful little Caylee dying like that- so there is this inner sense of justice that we have- it comes from being created in the image of God.
But instead of doing too much on that right now- let me catch up on a few things I felt I needed to do. In these past few years- as different teaching opportunities came up- I noticed that I had an open door from the Lord to teach all different types of people.
Catholics- Jews, Muslims- the whole 9 yards. Obviously my goal is to make clear the biblical account of mans redemption- to preach the Cross of Christ- and at the same time be willing to let anyone sit in on the conversation- If my Jewish friends stay Jewish- fine. If my Muslim friends don’t convert- and they still want to ‘hang out’ I’m okay with that. And if my Catholic friends stay Catholic- while at the same time learning more about the bible that’s great.
The point being I’m glad for the eclectic group- even the Atheists and GBLT friends- everyone is welcome at the table.
Now- one of the things I wanted to start doing was sharing the different ways the Lord has used the Mass to speak to me- I have found that watching the Sunday Mass- every Sunday- there is always some verse/homily that speaks to me.
Let me hit the last 3 weeks. A few weeks ago I had to block/unfriend a few people [Facebook] I always feel bad about it- even if I think it’s the right thing to do. So one of the things that made me feel a little better about cutting someone off that way- was the fact that even if I block people- they can always have access to the blog site.
So I thought ‘geez- maybe I was mad and cut people off too soon- but at least there’s the backup’. Then- I thought let’s see what the Sunday Mass verses will be. Sure enough it was Exodus 34- the story of Moses getting upset with the people [he had an anger problem] and he broke the first set of 10 commandments [denied access]. God says ‘okay- one more shot- come back up to the mountain and I’ll give you a second set’. Okay- that was exactly what I felt the Lord was saying- the backup set will work.
Then the following week- one of the hymns that was sung came from Psalms 147- the hymn said ‘I have strengthened the bars of your gates and blessed your children within’. I did a double take- this verse has been prayed- by me- at least a few thousand times over these last few years.
I don’t remember when I added it to my prayer time- but like lots of other verses- I read it one day and it became a regular part of intercession.
The only thing was- I pray it a little different- I pray ‘strengthen the bars of our gates and bless our children within- let peace be within our borders and let our garners be full [teaching tools] providing all manner of store’- I pray it as a request- so when I heard the priest/deacon singing it as an answer to the prayer- I had to go and check out the verse- Sure enough Psalms 147 is in the ‘answer mode’.
Then this past Sunday- the verse was from Zechariah chapter 9- the famous chapter where it speaks of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem- riding on the donkey. This chapter says ‘because of the blood of the covenant I have delivered your prisoners out of the pit’- I pray ‘let the sighing of the prisoners come before you- and according to the greatness of your power preserve those that are appointed to death’- it’s another verse I have prayed hundreds of times.
The chapter also says ‘your people will have the double portion’ I have a verse painted on my prayer wall [on the house!] that says ‘for your shame you will have double- and for your confusion they will possess the double portion in their land’.
I also pray a verse from Exodus 15- it comes from the Song of Moses that Israel sang after God delivered them from Egypt- the part I pray says ‘I will sing unto the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously- the horse and rider thrown into the sea’. It’s a prayer/song rejoicing over God breaking Pharaohs chariots in the Red Sea- and the bible says ‘they sank like lead’ to the bottom. In Zechariah 9 it speaks about God breaking the chariots and the devices of those who are coming against you.
Basically all these scriptures are speaking about the various groups/friends you will teach thru out your life- and that these different groups will learn ‘double’ from what they knew before.
Okay- I just caught you guys up for the last 3 weeks- but this type of thing has been going on for years- I just thought the Lord wanted me to share a little more on the actual verses- so you can see how the Lord will use these things- if you pay attention. I have found many times- I’ll ask a Catholic friend- ‘hey- did you go to Mass Sunday’ and he will say yes. But then he will not make any connection between the different verses the priest used during the Homily.
I’ll then do a quick review- and he will normally say ‘oh yeah- I didn’t see that’.
So the goal is for me to try and help people see a little more- not to make them convert to ‘my religion’ but to give them room at the table- to not pound them every week with some ‘moral rebuke’ about the way they are. Yes- at times we all need to repent- and re think the things we do. But there are too many ‘outsiders’ too many people- who come from different groups- and they never feel welcome to sit at the table and get a chance to learn- we too often give them the feeling that they are not wanted.
I thank God- even for those who I have had to block- that at least by Gods grace they can always read from the 2nd set- God is a God of mercy and grace- if he wants people to have access- to sit at the table- then he will always make a way for that to happen.
 GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
A few years ago- while still working at the fire dept we had to work 4 24 hour shifts straight in a row. Our dept had 24 on- 48 off [worked one day- took 2 days off]. The depts. up north- where my father retired from- they worked one day on- 3 days off, a great deal for sure.
Whenever we had a hurricane in the gulf our chief would have to decide whether or not to activate hurricane duty. Because we were a small dept [30 guys] if the city thought the hurricane would hit close to our area- we needed all the guys to be there.
So as luck would have it- one time the chief activated hurricane duty- right on the morning when our shift was getting off. And he deactivated it- right on the morning when we had to come back to work- 4-24 hour days in a row- a bit much to be honest.
I was ‘on trucks’ [drove the frontline fire truck] and others were on ambulance duty. The problem was the ‘darn’ chief would leave the guys on their initial assignments- all through the week! So you had some guys up for 4 days straight- and whoever lucked out to have ‘logistics’ slept most of the time- because his job was to go to the store and by the breakfast.
Needless to say- the biblical rule of not cursing was violated much during this week. One of the ways you broke the monotony was you cracked jokes- kid the bro’s who you’re working with. One of my buddies, Joe, already had it out for our chief- when he was a rookie the chief made him drive to Kingsville every morning- to punch in the time card- and drive back to Corpus for fire school. Then when he got out of school- he made him drive back again- just to punch out.
It was kind of stupid to be honest- but that’s the way the ball bounced. So we would kid Joe ‘hey Joe- the chief says let’s try and look happy- peppy today- the news reporter is coming for pics’ and Joe would give you a ‘pic’ right there. After our shift did the 4 straight days [me and Joe were both on that shift] other guys were only there for half the time- yet we got stuck riding the main vehicles for the 4 days- kinda dumb to be honest.
But the chief appreciated our work- when we were getting off after the 4th day- he came by and dropped off some extra stale loaves of white bread that were left over from the week. They were there in the morning sitting on the breakfast table- you know- just as a sign of love for the guys.
Joe and I lived in Corpus- we would often drive home on the same road- either he was in front- or me. The next shift I told the guys ‘you know a funny thing happened on my way home the other morning- as I was driving- I spotted Joe’s truck in front of me- obviously we were both tired after the hurricane duty. And as I drove- I thought I saw Joe eject something from the truck- and as I got closer- I saw 3 stale loaves of white bread lying in the road’.
So yes- the bread was not appreciated that day. Which gets me to the main point [after wasting all this time] in the bible- we have lots of stories/verses dealing with God supplying daily bread- Jesus himself gave us this phrase in the Lord’s prayer. There are lots of good points we can get from this term- but one important point is ‘it’s daily’ that is God can/will ‘speak’ to you on a daily basis, giving you guidance for that day- if you will spend some time listening.
Sometimes this ‘bread’ will come from a friend- sometimes a co worker- or even a family member. Our job is to discern when it comes- and to try and apply it thru out the day. Knowing that yes- in some way- today God gave me this ‘bread’ [direction] and it’s important for me to be grateful- to hear and act on this word. And of course many times it comes from a bible passage that you might read early in the day.
And sometimes the bread comes in the form of a rebuke- a word from a friend/brother that you know is right- but you get grumpy because that’s the way the flesh is. And at those times we have a choice on how we will respond- will we be open- listen to the criticism- maybe ‘eat the bread’ even though it’s a little stale? Or will we be like my buddy Joe- spread it all over the highway as a token of our appreciation?
Note- I did not see the bread on the road- I was kidding with Joe- the guys knew it at the time.
Yesterday some bad employment numbers came out- to everyone’s shock the jobs gain was only 18,000 jobs- many were hoping for at least 100,000. This caused the unemployment number to tick up to 9.2%
I heard a Dem pundit say ‘if you want to risk not raising the debt ceiling- and seeing the Dow drop 800 points- go ahead!’ A few years ago the Dow went down- get this- 5 thousand points- yes- don’t you remember when it dropped to around 6 thousand?
The world did not end. If all we had to worry about was 800 points- geez- that’s a cake walk.
The European union states [28-or 27 nation states that hold the common Euro currency] are in no way agreed to bailing out failing states. The stock market goes up and down hundreds of points a week- based on ‘ Greece might get a deal- no wait- Germany is fidgeting’ I mean the reality of the situation is all these nations who are in financial straits are there because of too generous retirement/entitlement programs.
These politicians willingly made much too generous promises that were unsustainable. The reality is they need to look at the numbers and make the changes- yet the citizens are saying no!
Pelosi and the Dems are saying ‘don’t lower the debt on the backs of the poor’ okay- I hear you. But when you do not realistically look at the numbers- then you’re doing like Greece. You’re saying stuff that later will ruin the nation.
All the ideas on ‘fixing’ Medicare or social security are not ‘on the backs of the poor’. Many people are saying let’s do means testing- if your Warren Buffet [I’ll get to him in a sec] then you need to pay more s.s. taxes on your income- and get a less generous Medicare plan.
Buffet- and all the other billionaires- only pay S.S. taxes up to around 106,000 dollars of their income. That is we only tax a person up to a limited amount of income. So if we said ‘hey- the system has overpromised- many present retired folk- who paid very little into the system- are living off of their kids and grandkids income- and when the grandkids need it- it won’t be there for them’. [Let’s leave everyone else alone after the 100,000 mark- but once you reach the millionaire/billionaire mark- your get hit with a huge tax]
So in theory- making the rich pay more [Buffet types] is not ‘balancing the budget on the backs of the poor’ so Pelosi is wrong. Yes- I understand the point- lets also get rid of these tax loopholes for big corps- but to do means testing is not hurting the poor- it helps them. It makes the billionaires pay more- so the ‘poor’ can stay in the system.
Okay- Buffet. One of the reasons why the E.U. is on the verge of a financial disaster is because the well to do nations- like Germany- are not in debt like the less well to do nations [Greece]. Greece has gotten partial bailouts already- and every time their leaders want to enact ‘austerity’ changes [dealing with their own Medicare- S.S. problems] the people rise up in the streets and simply say no.
Now in Germany- the people have saved- they work until their in their 70’s, and they do not over promise benefits to their people. In Greece you retire in your 50’s- with full govt. benefits. The citizens are catching on to what’s going on and are saying ‘hell no- we are not going to pay for your retirement-at 50- when we are working into our 70’s to support you’.
Germanys Angela Merkel wants private investors- who took the risk- to bare some of the burden. As of now- the only people paying for these bailouts are the average citizens- the rich ‘wall street fat cats’ actually made out like bandits. They invested in these countries- investment banks bought up their treasuries- and then when the countries are on the verge of default- the Buffets keep their money- and the poor tax payers are paying for the whole thing.
Ah- now you see- the Germans are not idiots- they are saying ‘you want a free lunch- well; we are not going to pay for the thing’ and to be honest- I don’t blame them one bit.
Now- Warren Buffet [Berkshire Hathaway- and a great friend of Obama] was/is a supporter of Obama. When Obama came into office- both Bush and Obama did the bailouts. They spent 800 billion to prevent the big investment banks and Wall Street fat cats from taking the loss. Now- even though much of this was paid back- yet it was emergency bailout money that did indeed cost the average man lots of money. Many of these average folk lost their homes- jobs- everything- yet they had no special bailout.
Would it not have been wise to have made the Buffets of the world- who took the risk to invest in these shaky deals- for them to have indeed taken a loss? We- like the Germans- paid for the bad financial choices of others- and the ones who made the bad choices- they took no loss.
Buffet prides himself in saying ‘Yes- I too think the rich are s.o.b’s [wow- he’s just like us- the average guy!] and the rich should pay more- and the Dems are great- and..on and on’ One bit of advice.
There are many examples of people who were rich- and they did feel guilty about it- and they walked away from their wealth and became true servants of the poor. Mr. Buffet- instead of telling us- over and over again how bad the rich are- while we are the schleps who bailed you out- on our dime. Why don’t you give us all your money- and quit talking about what a deal you’re getting on your taxes?
Okay- 9.2 was bad- real bad. Will we sign a debt deal by August 2nd- I’m beginning to seriously wonder. If the markets rattle- so be it. I have watched the market go up to around 12,500 these past few weeks- and I think to myself ‘these people have to be nuts’.
Look- I’m not telling you to get out of the market- but if you think the economy is doing okay- you’re not facing reality.
Whatever deal we make on the debt. Or whatever bailouts hurting nations get- we must realize that those who made these bad financial decisions [like Fannie and Freddie- and Barney Frank and others who resisted Bush’s oversight and denied the house of cards that was being built] when these bad decisions are made- then the citizens of whatever nation- they should not be the ones to bail the rich investors out.
These institutions and their investors need to pay- the Fannie and Freddie disaster was another scam where they sold these bum mortgages- packaged them in bundles- and told the investors ‘look- even if they fail- the U.S. taxpayers are on the hook to cover the losses’ and they indeed were right- and these bundles did fail- and yes- once again- we paid for the loss.
Okay- enough for now. I do not wish for a debt default- and I see how both sides are playing to their base- but we need to not let those in power [whether it be Obama listening to Buffet or Paulson- men who had tremendous personal loss/gain to be made by their ‘advice’] scare us into paying for others to not take a loss.
If the rich investment bankers might be afraid of a loss- or the wall streeters might fear their Dow losing 800 points- then so be it. I know the danger of a default- I do think doing it would be bad- but the August 2nd date is not a ‘set in stone’ date- and the govt. still brings in much more than it owes on the debt- yes- they would have to pay the interest on the debt first- and cut lots of stuff if they don’t raise the ceiling- in some peoples minds- this might just be the medicine we need.
 CRAZY TRAIN and squirrel busters
Here in Corpus our local paper has been having a field day with a ‘story of interest’. You have this couple, living in a small neighboring city- who are being harassed by the church of scientology.
I have read about this ‘church’ years ago- their founder is the late L. Ron Hubbard [Dianetics] and from what I remember they are basically a metaphysical cult. Some ‘cult watchers’ don’t even classify them as a religion- they lack the basic ‘Christian like’ structure of the other cults.
Anyway the husband left the group- sort of- he is a dissenter who still believes in the basic principles, but rejects the ‘church’ oversight. So the church deals with these people by harassing them- they have a team follow them around and video tape them under the guise that they are filming a documentary- and they post the videos to the net and say they are ‘busting Squirrels’.
Last night I caught a quick few minutes of Bill Maher on Piers Morgan- he is still on this ‘high speed’ fantasy of high speed rail. He also espoused the liberal economic argument that the Fed. Govt. is the ‘spender of last resort’. This idea says that during times of extreme financial stress- recession/depression- that the only ‘person’ at the table- with money- is the govt. That all the other’s ‘at the table’ have run out of money. The hard working union folk, the small business owners, the corps, etc. That because no one else has money- and those who do don’t want to spend it [the big corps, according to this theory] that the Fed. Govt. can step in and spend tons of money.
Thus the high speed rail thing keeps coming back ‘Geez- if we could just build the high speed trains- think of all the jobs it would provide’. I heard one ‘analyst’ explain- as soon as the train tracks get laid, that all types of businesses are just waiting to build along these tracks- McDonalds, Malls. High Speed Rail clothing stores [okay- I made this last one up].
These folk seem to believe that the actual rail itself- regardless of the overall business environment- will produce jobs. They then compare us to China [Maher] ‘geez- China has invested over 300 billion into it- why can’t we raise 8 billion’! [Actually- Obama mentioned around 40 billion in his speech- but whose counting].
Why has China been so successful at this? Because they are an economic powerhouse- that has this population explosion in their main cities- and they need the rail- not as some type of stand alone ‘job producer’ but as a necessity for a red hot economy [like the subway system in N.Y.- it’s not there as some type of wonderful job producer- people riding the thing for fun- it’s there because N.Y.C., like China- has this huge population center- and people need the trains as transportation- its simply meeting a need- for people to get to their jobs. It’s not an end in itself]
I think we should invest the 40 billion- let’s build a great rail- you know- with the old time ‘boarding station’ and the whole 9 yards. Lets invite Maher, Krugmann [N.Y. times] and all the other liberal economists who keep raising the hopes of high speed rail. Let's put them on the maiden voyage ‘all aboard’ but as the train leaves the station- instead of ‘I took the last train to Boston’ playing over the loud speakers- lets have Ozzies ‘going off the rails on a crazy train’ blasting.
Then instead of heading East- it turns West- yes right into the Pacific. ‘Now brother- your going too far’ Okay- let’s not dump them into the ocean- lets have them exit on a Gilligan’s Island type spot- and they can live out their days glorying over high speed rail.
Look- I know these guys are trying their best- and Maher was all for the Krugmann idea of the govt. spending trillions more- the only person at the table with money. But they don’t seem to realize that the govt is using the other ‘players’ money when it spends.
The govt. does not have a separate bank account- that gets this ‘unused cash’ to put on the table. THEY EITHER SPEND ‘THE OTHER PLAYERS MONEY’ OR THEY PRINT IT.
Now- one of the reasons the big corporations are not spending their money- is because the govt. has created an environment that scares them. When the govt. prints the money- like we did a few months back- 600 billion- the result is all the other money on the table counts for less.
So if the big spenders are afraid that the govt. will do this again- they will just wait- they don’t want to spend their more expensive dollars now- in a game where the boss might just throw a few more billion on the table. So this dream of the fed being the spender of last resort might actually hurt- not help.
Okay- I wanted to do a little more on Sudan, maybe tomorrow. I’m not mad at Maher- or Krugmann- it’s just that we tried this idea- we threw a ton of money on the table- and it did not work. Most of the president’s economic team who bought into this idea- they are gone now [Christine Rohmer, Austin Goolsbee, etc.] and the plan didn’t work.
I don’t hate these people- as a matter of fact I want to bless them- contribute to their future- I know- How bout we all chip in and buy them some tickets to the ‘crazy train’ yeah- they’ll love that.
 TRUTH IN REPORTING
Yesterday I saw the news- I caught Mitch McConnell on cspan- floating some convoluted plan that would allow the pres. to raise the debt ceiling in 3 separate steps. As I listened- it seemed like he was saying [giving room] for the tea party guys to vote no on taxes- while giving the pres veto power to push it through.
McConnell said- in frustration- that after working with the White House for the past 2-3 years- that he wonders whether or not they will ever get a real budget with this administration. He said it in a way like ‘I don’t think he’s serious about putting out a budget’. Do you know when our govt. last worked under one?
It was April- 2009. Yes- over 2 years now. It is surprising that a majority party [Whoever it be] who held the house, senate and presidency would fail to pass one- but they did.
Then I watched the new CBS guy- Pelley- do an interview with the pres. He mentioned- over and over again- that Mitch McConnell [the minority leader in the senate- Repub] said- quote ‘we will never pass a budget as long as this man is pres.’ He kept making it sound like a threat- a promise that he would never allow the pres. to pass one. Now- I know McConnell has said in the past that he wants to make the pres. fail- but in this serious time- during talks where it actually seems like McConnell is floating a plan because he wants Obama to be able to raise the ceiling- its times like this where we don’t need ‘advocacy journalism’.
You know- like when Dan Rather saw fit to float a fake military report about Bush. The average college student realized the document was fake- and even after Rather finally got the boot- he still said ‘whether it was fake or not is irrelevant- the point is Bush probably got special treatment’.
The other night CNN spoke about Palin/Bachman as- quote- ‘MILFs’- for those of you who don’t know what this means- it’s a slang way of saying they are ‘mothers that they would love to have intercourse with’. On CNN.
I’m beginning to wonder whether or not we are really heading for a national calamity.
Okay- let me talk about Sudan a little. In feb. of this year Sudan had a referendum that passed- it officially split the nation in 2. Sudan is a nation on the continent of Africa that has had brutal civil wars- and has engaged in acts of genocide- real genocide [not like the Libya thing] for a long time.
This past week the 2 nation deal went into effect- and the majority Muslim/Arab north has in fact engaged in aggression against the south. The history of Sudan is one in which the Muslim north has slaughtered the Christian south for decades. Some estimates are over 2 million have died in these ‘civil conflicts’. Now- the southern Sudanese are primarily Christian- and Black.
That’s where the genocide charge comes in- they were killing Blacks- because they were Black.
Now- in another infamous spot- Darfur [western Sudan] the majority non Black Muslim leaders of the north- are killing once again- but this time they are killing fellow Muslims. Why?
The Muslims in Darfur are Black. There is simply a racial hatred that has existed on the continent for decades- and non blacks have killed Blacks- because of their skin color. Also in the Nuba mountain region- Blacks are being killed.
Why is this important for us to know? Right now we are engaged on the African continent- siding with the Rebels who are in a civil war with Gadhaffi. As I have written before- Gadhaffi has embraced the Black Africans for 40 years- He has chosen to help them- and they actually love the guy- for real.
Many of the mercenaries who are fighting on Gadhaffi’s side are Black fighters coming from the Sub Sahara- when reporters ask them ‘why are you doing this’ they will freely admit that Gadhaffi has helped them a lot- even though other non black Arab leaders have killed them- yet as a non Black leader- Gadhaffi has supported them. Now- I’m sure he had ulterior motives- but the point is the Blacks support the man. [Like Trump says ‘I get along with the Blacks, they love me’. Seth Meyers said ‘I can believe that- that is if ‘the Blacks’ are the last names of the white family living down the road!’]
So today we find ourselves- engaged on the African continent- supposedly doing a noble thing- preventing ‘genocide’ from taking place. Even though Gadhaffi has a history of not siding with other Arab leaders who hate and kill Blacks- others who are doing it right now in Sudan- yet he has been targeted as the genocidal risk that must be taken out.
This is why- right now- you have Black leaders in our country- who hate the pres. They have actually said he will not fire a bullet at Black haters- yet he will kill those who have helped the Blacks- these are political insiders who know the scoop.
I don’t know what role the U.S. should play in these conflicts- we obviously can’t go into Sudan in a military way- that would be a huge mistake. But we can try and at least get the accusation right- if we choose to ‘oust’ a leader- a leader who does indeed have the support of Black Africans- whose enemies are killing Black supporters of the man. Then let’s not pretend we are engaged in some type of effort to prevent ‘crimes against humanity’ crimes that were not committed- but had the ‘potential’ of being committed. Why engage in the prevention of possible future ‘crimes against humanity’ when you have another nation [Sudan] actually doing the stuff?
 GREAT EXPECTATIONS? Warning- this post is graphic
The other week we celebrated Fathers day. I was getting ready to buy a new computer and figured- wait- let me just tell my daughters  that instead of getting me different stuff I don’t need, just by me the PC.
They kinda scoffed at the idea- my wife said ‘John- computers are expensive’ I said ‘Okay- I’ll pay the balance- whatever they want- they can put down- I’ll cover the rest’. I really wasn’t expecting a free computer- I just thought it was a good idea. I even told them ‘hey- my birthdays coming up- just count this as a combination present’ look- I tried my best.
So as the week wore on- I would drop hints- you know- trying to see if they made the purchase. I am notorious at this kind of stuff. Every year around Christmas time I would always trick my girls into confessing what my wife bought me. I mean I would do what needed to be done- as crass as ‘hey Debbie- want to make 10 bucks’ yes- I go low.
Of course my wife would get mad ‘I’m gonna bring the presents back if you keep doing this!’ I swore my scheming days were over. Then one year they asked what I wanted- I said ‘I know- get me a BB gun’ what? Yeah- I want the classic kids toy- that toy that kids from all cultures and races covet- the toy little Ralphie shot his eye out with- yeah- that’s the one.
So the weeks went by- I tried my best to get the girls to confess- their older now [around 10 years ago] they know how to spot my tricks. So after weeks of doing my best bargaining- I gave up.
Then my wife comes home from work- and as soon as she walks in the door- I say ‘They told me you got me the BB gun’ boy was she mad- she looked at them [and me] and said ‘I told you not to tell him!’ They replied- ‘we didn’t’ ah yes- I still had the skill.
So as Fathers day approached- they wouldn’t budge- the day arrived and I even gave them directions on where I wanted to set it up in the study- I spent a couple of days running the cord and all.
As the day wore on- I realized that this time it was no game- they simply decided to not get me a gift. I kidded them about it [one of the girls did by me a nice plant] and we really never do stuff for Father’s day to be honest- I don’t like doing birthdays [for me] or stuff like that. Sure- maybe order out for dinner- nothing big.
My girls were kind of feeling a little guilty- far be it for me to put a guilt trip on them. Becky asks ‘hey dad- what do you want for your birthday’. I said ‘I know- do they sell any type of medication at the store- maybe some natural home health remedy- something that can help a person overcome a feeling of depression- the type you feel when you get nothing for Father’s day’.
Yes- the schemer still lives.
Okay- let me try and cover a few things. Last week I was talking to my homeless buddy Henry- we got into a discussion about the buzz on Perry possibly running for Pres. I told him I really wasn’t too excited about it- I can see it now- the media portraying him as a whacky evangelical- and Obama of course is the candidate that you should never question about his church beliefs.
Sure enough the talk has started. The MSNBC crowd has already said they think Perry is a Marjoe [the story of the fake boy evangelist] and of course Bachman’s ‘pray the gay away’ clinic has made it to prime time news.
These stupid arguments usually leave carnage on the floor. Stephen Tyler’s [Aerosmith] bio has been on the best seller list for a few weeks now. He tells the story of going to an abortion clinic with his 5 month pregnant girl friend. As they go in for the procedure- he thinks it’s a simple procedure that makes the pregnancy just go away. You know- this is a woman’s right!
As she lies on the table- the doctor sticks a needle into her. She begins going into forced labor- and the baby comes out- alive and screaming. Tyler stands in shock as he sees this tiny human- this person that he thought was just a blob of cells- crying for help- love- life.
They all stand there- seeing this beautiful 5 month old preemie struggling for life. Eventually the baby goes silent- the damage done. Tyler’s friends will later say that he became a different person after that- much more violent and angry. The story is simply the true telling of the life of a rocker- and Tyler has no behind the scenes agenda- he just told the truth- the shock and feeling of disgust over what happened.
The reason I’m leery about possibility of the ‘Texas Evangelical’ versus the ‘enlightened liberal’ is because these real life tragedies get lost in the debate. One time former senator Rick Santorum showed a picture of an unborn child- around the same age as Tyler’s kid. He was on the floor of congress and had it up there. I mean there is no way you could deny that what was on the screen was human. He asked Senator Barbara Boxer if what she saw was a baby or not. Boxer replied that it was beyond her pay grade to make that decision- that she did not see it as her responsibility to judge whether or not her consent to the killing of these babies was humane.
Yet this same congress can judge ‘crimes against humanity’ when a leader on the other side of the globe threatens to go after those who have raised up an armed insurgency against him- a civil war.
Sometimes our expectations are too high- we expect more from others than what we get. As these debates move forward this coming year- we need the integrity to do what’s right- not what’s politically expedient- but what’s right. I have never- ever- been able to justify the deaths of these preemies- after seeing the actual pictures of the babies- real little babies- being mutilated- this act is atrocious- it is equal to the slaughter of the innocents under Hitler’s regime- yes- it’s that bad.
I don’t expect too much out of our leaders- but I at least would hope that when they see the body of a beautiful little baby- perfectly formed- lying on a table- screaming for its life while the mother and father and doctor watch- that we can at least say that this is no surgical procedure- no ‘right to privacy’ being carried out- this my friends is murder- pure and simple.
 HARRY POTTER
This year we ‘celebrate’ the end of an era- Harry Potter. I caught an interview last night with the publisher who put out her books. He explained that he was the only one willing to take the risk- because kid’s books- at a time when computer games and high tech stuff are all the craze- that trying to get kids into books again, well that seemed like a tough sell.
Yet J.K. Rowling went after it- and the rest is history. Some [most] preachers/Christians have been against Rowling’s fables- why? Of course she is introducing ‘soft witchcraft’ into her themes. The church has traditionally been against all forms of fortune telling. Horoscopes, astrology and the like.
And I have been surprised about how many friends over the years have asked me about whether or not doing the Palm Reading thing is okay for a Christian. The fact is the bible condemns- in no uncertain terms- all of these practices. But the bible does speak about spiritual gifts- prophecy, dreams- etc. These types of gifts are different from all these other forms of sorcery and witchcraft- these gifts originate from God- and they are acceptable.
Okay- having said all this- is there any good that come from Potter? Actually- there is. Even though Rowling has used these other forbidden themes- yet you also need to look at the overall theme of the books. For instance- do they have ideas about good versus evil? Yes. Do they introduce kids back to the lost art of reading? Yes.
So overall I think its okay for kids to read her stuff- with the parental warning of ‘
Little Johnny/Suzie- you know there is really no such thing as White Magic- all good comes from God- and evil from satan [and mans sinful nature]’.
I have sitting here a bunch of new teaching series from various scholars. I’m going thru one on the origins of the church- taught by an ex Benedictine Monk [Luke Timothy Johnson] who is an accredited scholar. Has lots of degrees and teaches at Harvard. The other series is an entire overview of the bible- with all the historical and theological data mixed in.
This series is also taught by a scholar- R.C. Sproul. Why mention this? One of my homeless buddies was over a few days ago- he loves learning- he walks thru my study [we usually hang out in the yard] and he says ‘who needs a university- you have everything right here’. Well- I have lots of great stuff- but a university I’m not.
The point is- we should try and do our best to learn from people who know stuff- people who are educated. Way too much of what is produced today from the ‘church’ is really at a low level. Now- I know I have been hard on ‘preachers’ in the past- and have criticized the abundance of TV/radio stuff that is simply ‘God is the answer’ which of course is true- but must we spend billions of dollars every year- for the simple exercise of having ‘our pastor’ say the same thing- that everyone else is saying- at a charge of millions of dollars?
We need to re think this stuff.
I had a talk with a friend the other day- I was discussing some of this with him. I told him how we [Christians] have taught people ‘if you don’t give 10 % of your money into the basket on Sunday- you are cursed- you are robbing God’. This teaching comes from the Old Testament Tithe- primarily taken from a proof text in the book of Malachi.
I said ‘now- when we use this verse- this way- we are usually telling the people that this teaching is mandated by God- to support his work’. Okay- I have been taught this over the years- but the part we usually leave out- is the actual teaching- from the bible- on the Tithe.
In the Old Testament the Jewish people were required to Tithe- it was more like an income tax than an offering [like the way we think of offering]. This tax was used for 3 things. A third was used to support the Levitical priests, a third was used for banquets and feasts [and wine!] and a third was used to meet the needs of the poor [a welfare system].
Now- the part that went to the priests- none of it could be used for personal wealth growth. The priests were not permitted to have personal wealth. They were taken from the tribe of Levi [one of the 12 tribes of Israel] and they were forbidden to own their own land/inheritance.
So if we taught the ‘biblical’ tithe- it would be using a third for the poor- a third for parties, and the rest went to ‘the preachers’ who were forbidden to own real estate [have personal wealth].
Now- after all the years of people teaching the Tithe- all the many hours of telling believers ‘you are robbing God if you don’t Tithe’ how hard can it be to simply do one teaching on the actual Tithe?
I mean I just taught the whole thing- and it took a few minutes.
But the contemporary church is consumed with practical stuff- and to many- it’s not practical to say ‘oh- and by the way- the preachers/pastors- according to the Tithe system- are not permitted to own stuff’ that lifestyle just doesn’t fit the modern picture.
Okay- my point today is not to condemn giving money to churches- but it’s to nudge us towards a more ‘enlightened’ Christianity- a church that asks- and seeks for truth.
A literate people- who read!
So today I think we can commend Rowling for re introducing a lost art- the art of learning. Though we as Christians do have difficulty with ‘sorcerer’s stones’ yet the fact that kids are reading again- well that’s a good thing in my book.
 THEATER OF THE ABSURD
The last few days the media has inundated us with stories- so called ‘news stories’ that border on the absurd. First- we heard the reports on Michele Bachman’s husband’s clinic. He apparently has this business- where he does outpatient treatment. Okay- I guess these types of treatment clinics are a dime a dozen.
As an evangelical- he obviously gets patients who want to overcome what they feel are addictive personality traits. So he has Christians come in- who feel like they are struggling with homosexual tendencies- and because of their own choice- they are seeking ‘treatment’.
Now- this ‘reparative’ therapy has come under criticism- and there are questions over whether or not this type of therapy can hurt someone. Either way- for something like this- to have made it into the top news story- on the major networks- is ludicrous.
Then yesterday you had the media running with the migraine headache thing- yes- some insider leaked the story that Bachman has migraines. I heard Anderson Cooper [I think it was him- they all ran with it] ask ‘can a person run the country if they are incapacitated for days on end’?
Sounded like Mubarak’s lawyer- like the lady goes in and out of comas every few days. Ridiculous.
We have a real story- a story that should be covered- but gets very little coverage on the major networks- because it can hurt the president. It’s the scandal of our Justice Dept. - along with the ATF- selling guns to drug runners in Mexico- then finding these guns at the scene of murdered Border Patrol agents. Mexico actually suspected us of this in the past- and asked if we were indeed selling guns to drug cartel guys.
Our govt. - under president Obama- said no. We lied- we sold the guns- these guns killed many people- including our own law enforcement officials- and this is deemed an unworthy news story. These stories are things that bring down officials- things that rank so bad on the scale of ‘news’ worthy- that every news network should be covering it.
Yet we get migraines and ‘pray the gay away’ coverage- and no time for coverage of our justice dept being in the illegal gun running trade- and these guns actually having killed our own guys- it’s hard to believe- but believe it you can
I read a small report- hidden in the back pages of the paper. Human rights watch has been reporting that the Libyan Rebels- who we support- have been going into cities- with our air support- and killing civilians- Raiding homes- burning them down- looting businesses- of citizens who are on the side of Gadhaffi. These are not soldiers of Gadhaffi- these are actual citizens who do not support the Rebels.
How can we be supporting these Rebels- while they are doing this- and at the same time be accusing Gadhaffi of war crimes? Out of all the foreign countries that have fought the U.S. in the various fields of war we are engaged in- the number 1 country that sent Al Qaeda fighters to fight against us- came from Libya.
These fighters were not coming from Gadhaffi- he hates them- these Al Qaeda were coming from the same group of Rebels that we are supporting. The Rebels who are killing civilians- looting their shops and burning down the homes of civilians- these Rebels who we just recognized as the new ruling govt. of Libya.
Have you heard this story? No- it would take away too much time from the migraine scandal.
Why are we enamored with the absurd- the stuff that does not matter one iota- and yet the real injustices going on- many of them being perpetrated by our own govt. these things get little attention? I don’t know what the final outcome will be over the ‘gun running’ story- but someone needs to be fired- if not prosecuted over this.
If there are human rights groups- telling us that the Rebels we are supporting- are actually engaging in war crimes- then we need to stop supporting them- now.
I read a report on why the Arab league voted to remove Gadhaffi- they never liked the guy- he was a loner. So when the Arab league met- they figured they would vote for his expulsion- at no cost to them- and they would manipulate the U.S. into being ‘mercenaries’ who would go in and be the puppets of the world.
The report also said that they would not take a stand like this against other oppressive Arab rulers- because those rulers were deemed needed. They mentioned Assad of Syria as one example. Sure enough- last week the U.S. came out and took a hard stand against Assad- they attacked our embassy in Syria.
The Arab league responded by saying no country [the U.S.] has the right to say whether or not another countries leader is legitimate. The Arab league played us like puppets- got us to go to war against an Arab leader they didn’t support- and then told us ‘Hands off’ when we tried to criticize another one who is just as bad- if not worse.
These things are important- we don’t want to side against people- while supporting Rebels that are committing possible war crimes. We don’t want our guys being manipulated into being mercenaries- at no cost to the Arab League- because we got tricked into acting.
As a people- we should be informed about the important stuff- we should be aware- so we can make informed decisions- so we can know the facts on the ground. But instead we are treated to the secret recording of Michele Bachmann’s husband telling a fake gay patient that he can help him overcome what he thinks is a problem- no wonder the woman has migraines.
 WALKING IN MEMPHIS-
I have part of the famous speech of M.L.K. jr. written here on my wall. He gave the speech the day before his death- and he said that God permitted him to go so far along the journey- allowed him to see the beginning of ‘the end’ and he came to peace with the fact that he himself would not make it all the way.
He said ‘I have been to the mountain..and I might not make it into the Promised Land with you..but I don’t mind.. because I have seen the land- and we- as a people- are going to make it’ [paraphrase].
After King’s death we heard stories about his personal failures in life- things he struggled with- yet he also tried his best to finish the course that God destined him for.
I often wonder if this is what King saw- if he realized he had kind of passed a personal point of no return- and he came to peace with it. That he was at least privileged to see the ‘promised land’ though he himself would not make it in.
This story comes from the bible. It’s the life story of another great man of God- Moses. God called Moses [Like Rick Perry?] when he was young and gung ho- Moses initial start was rocky- he got mad and killed a man in anger.
Moses fled to the wilderness for 40 years and God showed him a burning bush- it was time to go back home. The next 40 years were really not that much better. Sure we had the Red Sea incident- and Moses had one of the great actors of all time play him- Hesston.
Yet the next 40 years were spent in the desert- with a bunch of people [who initially voted for the guy!] and they whined about the journey all the time. Moses did his best- he led them through some tough stuff- and at the end of the 40 years [the real journey should have only taken a few days- the maps show us that they walked in circles for those 40 years] God says to Moses ‘Son- you’re not going in’.
What? God told Moses that he blew it one too many times with the temper thing- and that for that reason he could not go into the promised land. However- Moses was permitted to go up ‘to the mountain’ and look in. Yes- this was the mountain that King was referring to the day before he died ‘I have been up to the mountain- I have seen the promised land- I might not make it in with you- and I’m okay with that because I know now that you guys will m make it in’.
I think King- like Moses- came to terms with his own failures- no excuses- just the reality that he went a little too long down some bad roads- and it just wouldn’t be right for him to have gone all the way.
Yet- how could King [and Moses] be okay with it? There’s a theme that runs all thru out scripture that deals with God using you thru out your life to ‘reach’ a certain generation of people. You might never see these people in the flesh- you might not have any influence in their lives for most of the journey- yet you knew from the start that this was indeed part of the mission.
So you do your best with the other parts of the mission- always hoping and praying that the future day will arrive before you ‘call it a day’. There will be many times during this ‘wandering’ that you will deal with issues- real life failures and successes- and at times- during the hard times- you fear that you might have gone too far this time- and will never ‘see the promised land’ you might never fulfill what you knew from the beginning was a big part of the plan.
Then one day [year] you see a bush- some type of sign that comes from God- and he’s saying ‘lets give it one more shot’ at that part of the journey your usually too tired to go for it- you often think ‘geez- why now?’ Yet you’ve been around long enough to know you really have no option- just do the thing.
King [and Moses] went through stages where it looked like they might never see the promised land- never mind enter in to the thing. And God did them a favor- he said ‘son- go ahead up- look over into the finished product- it’s going to happen one day- know that for sure’. They seemed to be able to be grateful that they made it far enough to look in- to see that they did indeed make it far enough down the road that after they departed- the vision would live on.
These last few weeks- as an avid news junkie- a strange thing has happened [those of you who read these posts can pick up on it]. I have come to side in a way for an underdog- a hated man- yet an underdog never the less. As I watch Gadhaffi- day after day- stand on the tower/building overlooking Green square- I see him defying the nations of the world- saying ‘bring it on- you will never kill me’ in one of the speeches he said ‘you can never kill me- I live forever in the hearts of millions of people’.
Now- whether this be true or not- I have no idea- but the principle is biblical. Ultimately your ‘promised land’ is the generation of people that you have planted Gods word into throughout your life. The privilege God gave you to affect people- for good- during the journey. Gadhaffi was saying that you might kill him- but his ideals would live on beyond his life- this is true for all of us.
After the death of King we heard a lot about his personal failures- things that some people knew about- but not everyone. When we all learned about them- then took a second look at the Memphis speech- we can see that King was grateful for the ‘Moses moment’ that God was gracious enough to let him make it up to the mountain- to a point in the journey where he now knew that his destiny was sealed.
I’m sure he felt some sadness over the reality that he alone knew- that he did indeed go too far down some wrong paths for too long- but God was gracious enough to let him make it to the mountain- I do thank God for that.
 WHAT MATTERS?
The other day I mentioned how believers have a habit of getting caught up in certain ‘religious’ views [tithing was the example I gave] and over time these views develop to a point where they take precedence over the things Jesus actually placed real value on.
In the 1st century when Jesus showed up on the scene- the religious practices of Gods people were centered around religious meetings [holy days] prayer, fasting and tithing- mainly to be seen of men- that is religion digressed to a point where what seemed to be the most important thing- was actually not important.
So how did Jesus respond? He spends the 3 very public years of ministry- healing the sick, telling the poor they are the blessed ones who will inherit Gods kingdom- and blasting the rich- and those in power- by telling them that their day was coming too.
In essence Jesus was the ultimate prophet- he followed the long line of Jewish prophets who took these same positions. The prophet Isaiah told the people ‘God is tired of all your religious activities- your church meetings- your special ‘sacrificial’ offerings- these things are a stench in his nose!’ then he would go on and say that God wanted justice for the poor and widow.
Amos also rebuked the rich and defended the poor- Ezekiel said the shepherds [religious leaders] were fleecing the sheep- they were leaders who were making a financial killing off of the people.
All of these things- in today’s world of ‘ministry’ are making a comeback- it’s just we don’t see it because they are dressed in a different way. But at the end of the day- for the most part- American style Christianity is usually measured by how much money you give [or take in] how faithful your are to attend religious meetings- and how famous your ministry is- are you a really gifted speaker? Or do you give a great ‘stage’ performance.
And in the mind of the average Christian- if you ask them ‘when was the last time you gave of your goods to your neighbor- reached out to the poor- showed your Christianity thru charity’? Often times they will answer that that is not ‘their ministry’ or that their giving to some Christian organization/church is their role- and it’s up to ‘the church’ to actually help the poor.
But these responses miss the main point- Jesus [and the prophets] were saying that’s the mistake- thinking that ‘religion’ consists in these outward religious acts- which are really for show- while the true acts of mercy and love are all too often neglected. People today have made the same mistake as the religious observers of Jesus day.
The letter of James- written by the brother [half] of Jesus- tells us that Pure religion- is to keep yourself unspotted form the world- and to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. That’s it. No mention of religious holy days? No. No mention of special tithes/offerings? No. But what does he have to say about the modern religious view of the accumulation of wealth? Let’s not even go there [believe me- it’s pretty bad- go read the letter- its short].
This week in Somalia the estimates are 11 million people are on the verge of starvation- 2 to 3 million are kids. The world at large has had a hard time getting the food/resources in- because the country [like many other African nations] is in a sort of civil war.
The militant Islamic group fighting the govt. [Al Shabbab- I think that’s the name?] are made up of children. Yes- the kids have taken up an armed resistance against the leaders- and they are killing each other. I saw a news report on Mosaic world news- and the kids were in the streets- sort of like any kids on a block- but they had guns.
One young kid [10?] was pulling on the rifle of an older boy [15?] and the older boy got mad- like some school yard thing. The older boy just pulled away- and pointed the gun at the ‘opposing kids’- at the same time- they were playing in the street- throwing rocks and waving sticks- and pointing loaded guns at each other- it was like it was a game- they were used to shooting each other if they had to.
There are many things happening in our world today- things that matter to God. Many Christians- though they mean well- seem to leave these other things up to others. They feel that if they can just make it through another week- attend religious meeting on Sunday- put in the tithe- that if they live up to these outward religious standards- that they have done well.
Jesus taught a different way- the apostles tried to follow in his way. The apostle John said ‘if you see your fellow man in need- and don’t actually help him- do what needs to be done to defend them- then how can you say Gods love is in you’ [my paraphrase].
The apostle Paul wrote the Colossians- he said ‘I’m worried about you- you are observing days and times and other outward religious rites- I’m afraid you are falling away from the true faith’.
There was always a danger that Christians would fall into this rut- this thing where they unconsciously make the least important things- the most important. When the religious leaders of Jesus day were conspiring to kill Jesus- they had a problem- if they killed him on the wrong day- it would mess up their religious festival going on at the time. If they had to deal with the dead body- on the wrong day- they would be technically unclean according to Jewish law- and it would throw off their game.
So they worked it out where they would kill Jesus- and leave the body alone on the Sabbath- and they had it all worked out. One problem- they were violating the most important commandment of all- given to them by their most important law giver [Moses] that said ‘thou shalt not kill’ but somehow- over a period of time- they saw these things as the most important- their special observances of holy days- keeping themselves ceremonially clean- not ‘unspotted from the world’ as James said- but religiously clean- so they could put on a good public show.
I just finished praying for a bunch of stuff- of course I prayed for the kids in Somalia- those dying and those killing. Yes- I also send money every month to the starving kids- but these things are not enough. I [we] need to also engage those around us- those hurting and dying and struggling in real ways. We need to make the most important things- important again.
 LITTLE BOY LOST
The other day we saw the tragic story of the little Jewish boy who went missing on his way home from summer camp. This day he was without a ride, and his mother thought it would be okay for him to walk home the few blocks. After he didn’t show up she called the police.
They eventually discovered that he had been abducted by a member of their own community- and was tragically killed. The Jewish community in this area of Brooklyn is known as an Hasidic community. My mom was born and raised in Brooklyn- and as a boy I remember going to the city and seeing these strange looking guys with funny looking hair and dress.
This community dates back around 2300 years or so. During the Intertestemental period [the time between the last Old Testament book- Malachi- and the book of Matthew] you have quite an interesting history. It was during these 400 years that we saw the rise of the Greek world under Alexander the Great.
In the Greek world you had some very influential philosophers; Socrates most famous student was Plato- Plato’s most famous student was Aristotle- and his most famous student was Alexander the Great.
Alexander sought to implement the ideals of his teacher- he wanted to unify the known world under one people/culture- a belief that Aristotle held- a sort of ‘unified theory’ [Einstein] that would seek to bring all learning/knowledge together under one supreme [Divine] principle.
Alexander’s experiment was called Hellenization- which was the Greek worlds attempt to impose Greek culture/language on all their conquered enemies- and at the same time allow them to hold on to the their own culture too. Alexander did amazingly well at this experiment- at the young age of around 24 he had accomplished most of his mission. The cities were a sort of composite of Greek culture mixed in with their own culture- this is where we get the modern term Cosmopolitan.
Alexander died young and his kingdom was divided between 4 generals- one of them- Ptolemy- would himself make it into the history books because of his keen intellect.
The system of cosmology developed under him would last [and work!] until some 17-18 hundred years later when it was overthrown by the Copernican revolution during the time of Copernicus and Galileo.
Alexander’s generals would do their best to carry on the system of Hellenization- and other nations generals would keep the system going even after Greece fell. One of them- Octavian [Roman general] makes it into the history books by another famous name- Julius Caesar.
Alexander established a great library in the Egyptian city of Alexandria [named after him] and many of the great writings were preserved during this time.
The writings of Aristotle would be discovered again during the time of Thomas Aquinas [13th century Catholic genius/scholar] and this would lead to Scholasticism [a peculiar school of thought developed/revived under Aquinas] and give rise to the Renaissance.
Okay- before the birth of Christ- the Jewish people resisted the imposing of Greek culture upon them- you had the very famous resistance under the Jewish Maccabean revolt- where the Jews rose up and fought the wicked ruler Antiochus Epiphanies- and till this day the Jewish people celebrate this victory at Hanukah.
Eventually Rome would conquer the Greek kingdom and the Jewish people were allowed to keep their culture and temple- yet they were still a people oppressed. Hassidism [getting back to the beginning] developed during this attempt to not lose their Jewish roots- the Pharisees of Jesus day came from this movement.
Alexander was pretty successful in his attempt to unify language- even though the bible [New Testament] was written by Jewish writers- living under Roman rule- yet the original bible is written in the Greek language.
Bible scholars till this day study the Greek language to find the truest meaning of the actual words in the bible [I have a Greek Lexicon sitting right in front of me].
It would take a few centuries before a Latin version appeared on the scene [the great church father- Jerome- would produce the Latin Vulgate].
Yet it would be the re- discovery and learning of the Greek texts [under men like Erasmus- and the Protestant Reformers] that would lead to the Reformation [16th century] and other movements in church history.
Of course the tragedy of the little boy lost is very sad- and the roots of Jewish culture are noble and good- Pope Benedict refers to the Jewish people as ‘our elder brother’ because of the Jewish roots of Christianity. The original church was made up of Jewish believers- people who were waiting for the Messiah for centuries [actually Millennia] and they were convinced that this Jesus- this Jewish itinerant prophet- was indeed the one that was to come.
When you read the sermons in the book of Acts- you hear Peter, Paul- and especially Stephen [ Acts 7] relating the person of Jesus to the prophecies that were spoken about the Messiah in the Old Testament- these early Jewish believers were convinced- in no uncertain terms- that Jesus was the Messiah who was foretold to come.
At the Jewish trial of Jesus- the high priest asks ‘are you claiming to be God’s Son’ Jesus- one of the few times he did this- said ‘you said it’. The priest throws up his hands and says ‘what more need do we have of witnesses- he himself has said he claims deity’.
In John’s gospel we read when Jesus said ‘Abraham saw my day- and was gad’. They asked him ‘how could Abraham see your day- you’re not even 50 years old’ Jesus replied ‘BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS- I AM’ They were incensed- the words I AM were the words used to describe God. The bible says they took up stones to kill him.
The great Christian writer- C.S. Lewis- spent many years as an atheist- yet as an intellectual he read all the great writings of history- and he said that no matter how hard he [and other atheists] tried to reject God- that history was filled with writings- both pro and con- about God.
As a matter of fact- there was no other underlying theme- some scarlet thread- woven thru out the entire history of man- that even came close to this testimony of the reality of God.
Many agnostics of Lewis’ day said ‘we believe Jesus was a good person- even a Rabbi- Prophet- great messenger of God’ Lewis said Jesus did not leave this option open to us. Jesus said he was indeed the Son of God- Deity come down- born from a virgin- crucified- died and was buried. On the 3dr day he rose again- according to the scriptures- he is seated at the right hand of God and will come again- to judge the living and the dead.
Yes kingdoms have come and gone- great men and despots have either honored this Jesus- or despised him- but today we still talk about Jesus- King of Kings and Lord of Lords- we have only one option- either we confess him as Lord- or we call him a madman- which one will you choose?
 THE DEBT CEILING
Last night the president spoke about the looming crisis of default. He tried to explain why we are at the precipice- and he gave what he felt was a balanced approach to the problem. Let me just hit a few high points of this debate- and try and clear up some confusion I see in the media on how they are reporting the story.
First- lots of news guys are saying ‘the Tea Party Repubs are voting for a default’. Is this true? Actually no. Now- their actions might very well lead to a default- but to say they are outright voting for one- that’s not true.
Technically a default would be if the U.S. govt. did not make good on its payments to those who hold our debt. When bonds/treasuries mature- and when the interest is due- if the govt. did not meet these obligations- on time- then that’s a default.
Are the Repubs voting for that? No. So why is the media [and the pres. last night] saying this? The tea party guys are saying ‘look- we got elected by people who wanted the out of control spending to stop, that was the main promise we made to them- and we will not vote for a debt ceiling increase- unless we cut an equal [or more] amount of spending to go along with it’.
This has left the Dems and the Repubs bargaining over these last few months. There are legitimate differences between the 2 sides- and they are at a stalemate. Now- the reason we need to raise the debt ceiling is because the govt. cannot ‘rack up debt’ [by actually paying the monthly bills] without congressional approval. In August we will bring in around 170 billion dollars- the bills are around 230 billion- and the interest payments and maturing bonds come to around 25 billion [estimates].
To not raise the debt ceiling- as a strictly financial decision- does not mean your voting for default. The govt. can pay the 25 billion first [which the constitution demands] and then would have to deal with what gets paid next.
Is it responsible to try and make up the difference in one month like this. No. It’s just too much to cut in one month. Yet technically voting against a debt ceiling increase is not the same as voting for default.
Next- was the president totally ‘honest’ in the speech last night? No. What? Are you calling the president a liar! Look- like everyone else- he fibs every now and again. In the speech he really hedged his bets. He said the reason he’s against a short term increase in the ceiling [6-9 months] is because the credit rating agencies [Moody’s, S& P] would more than likely drop our credit rating if we don’t do a long term ceiling limit lift- just long enough to get the president past the next election.
If you follow the story closely- and listen to the non biased financial gurus- they are saying that the rating agencies have already told the insiders that in 6 months the rating will drop. So Geithner and all the president’s men already know this. So when the president says ‘look you Repubs- if you don’t raise it in one shot- into 2013- then the rating drop is your fault’ ah- the games people play.
And of course both sides play the game- most of the time.
Now- the Repubs floated a few budgets over the last year- different plans- put down on paper- that hung them out to dry. Basically Harry Reid has been not doing his job as majority leader [last year he was asked ‘why don’t you raise the debt ceiling before the election- and the Repubs get in?’ He replied- ‘let them do it and get the blame- not us’. He basically has done this with every important issue- even though the majority party are the ones responsible to float budgets and raise ceilings and everything else- he blatantly admits that he wants the other side to do it- so he can blame them] and has said ‘let the Repubs go on record’ then like a bunch of novices- that’s what the Repubs did!
They took the heat- floated a very unpopular plan [Ryan] and the Dems attacked- all out- grandma over the cliff- the whole 9 yards.
Okay- what did this signal to the credit rating agencies? It told them that yes- indeed- the congress more than likely will not deal with the debt problem [not just raising the ceiling] and because of this fear- they realize now that they might have to drop the rating.
All the European nations who have lost their good ratings [Greece] and who are in trouble [Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland] are in trouble by the rating agencies- not because of a false debt ceiling- but because of the actual debt..
The rating agencies are not going to drop our rating simply because the ceiling won’t get raised- they have said this. They are going to drop it because they think the govt. is not really going to deal with the structural problems of the debt.
Reid’s recent plan says he will cut around 2.7 trillion of debt over 10 years. No new taxes- and the ceiling gets raised till 2013. Problem? He’s claiming that 1 trillion of it are cuts to the wars winding down over the next 10 years. Geez- are we really that simple? [these are cuts that are going to made anyway]
Gimmicks like this are why the rating agencies are going to drop our rating- not just a debt ceiling vote of no.
If the final plan- no matter whose it is- if it doesn’t deal with Medicare in a structural way- then it’s not dealing with the debt. Medicare means well- but is has the govt. on the hook to cover the expenses of a private industry- the health care industry. This industry- for whatever reason- is going up in cost at an astronomical pace- and that’s the biggest future problem of our debt.
Social Security simply takes in present money- and then gives it out on a monthly basis- overall that plan can be made whole- not like Medicare. So to overlook the real problems [like Reid's recent plan] will also contribute to a credit rating drop.
So yes- the president is also hedging his bets- saying ‘look- if you don’t extend the ceiling beyond next year- then it’s your fault if the rating falls!’ Ah- he knows the rating is going to fall- they have been told this. And he knows it’s because of all these other things [he’s a smart man]. So he is ‘counting on’ not getting a long term deal- he sees the writing on the wall- and he’s told the country- ‘see- I told you what the Repubs are going to do will hurt our rating’ and sure enough- the rating is going to go down.
Political posturing- by whoever- is not problem solving. I do not side with the hard right- or left- on this issue- and I think not raising the ceiling- right now- is not good. But both sides have to make some hard choices- when the pres did recognize that real changes do need to be made to entitlements- he took heat from his left.
And when Boehner was left standing at the altar [or walked away- depending on how you lean] after agreeing to 800 billion in new tax revenue- he took some heat. But at the end of the day we will need to put politics aside and deal with this very real problem. Make no mistake about it- not raising the ceiling by August would be a mistake- but it’s not an outright vote for default- and when the credit rating drops- it will be because of a lot of reasons- not just because they did a short term deal.
 PEOPLE LAUGHING- PEOPLE SINGING- A MAN SELLING ICE CREAM
These past few days I have been reading scriptures on the influence of the church in the nations- that is God’s original purpose for the church- to have a people/nation that he could reveal his glory though. This morning I read Zechariah chapter 8- it talks about God restoring Jerusalem and that there will be old men and women dwelling in it- little boys and girls playing in the streets once again.
The impression you get is a sort of ‘block party’ atmosphere- all types of people enjoying life once gain- after a season of captivity. As I read the verse on the old men and women- I thought of Aunt Bee.
Bee was the aunt of one of our original church members. Emmet [Senior- I have also talked about his son on the site- Jr.] became a church member early on. I don’t remember if I met him while preaching at the county jail- or through Elias- another friend who struggled with addiction. Both of them were long time drug addicts.
I would pick up Emmet at his Aunt’s house every week for church- and just visit him every so often. The ‘church’ was a little home group I started from scratch. I fixed up my 2 car garage- and the guys I met from the streets- or at the jail- would become the core group.
Over time Aunt Bee- who raised Emmet- started coming to our meetings- and as an older lady- in her 70’s- she would tell me she was learning the bible for the first time- she really liked it.
I was basically filling the slot that she missed out on- the bible study aspect of Christianity. Bee was a good Catholic lady- and she told me her friends said ‘why do you go to brother Johns’ church- your Catholic’ she would tell them ‘because I learn things’.
I never tried to ‘convert’ Bee- she stayed Catholic- and that was fine with me. Many Protestant bible churches do fill a need that some of the historic churches lack- simple bible study. Yet many of the Protestant ‘bible’ churches lack what the historic churches offer- a historic connection to traditional Christianity.
During the Reformation of the 16th century- the Protestant reformers [who were all initially Catholic] fought with the Roman church over doctrinal issues- and during this fight the reformers stated a few main principles- one of which is called Sola Scriptura- which means ‘the bible alone’.
What they meant by this was on issues where the church could not come to agreement with the dissenters- that at the end of the day- the bible would have the final say.
Now- the common mistake many Protestants fall into- is thinking that this principle means ‘Solo Scriptura’ is a belief that all Christianity is simply a process of reading/organizing your life around the bible. That is the view that the bible is all there is.
This is not the historic Protestant position- the reformers themselves [Calvin. Luther, etc.] referred often to the early writings of the church fathers [Augustine] in trying to prove their points.
I have found it helpful over the years to spend time reading/hearing the voice of the historic church- as well as being up on the bible. The other day I moved a few books from my office into a shelf in the living room- I read an article on how people are selling books ‘by the inch’ just to decorate their homes. What types of books- that didn’t matter- they were just for show [ouch!]
So I figured I’ll move the real McCoy- classics that I have read and re-read over the years.
I was glad to see that I still had the Confessions of Saint Augustine- a classic from the 4th century. Augustine was a Catholic bishop from Hippo- North Africa. He is often associated with the doctrine of Predestination [which he did believe in] and is loved by many Catholics and Protestants alike.
The major reformer who launched the reformation was Martin Luther- a German Augustinian monk- Luther was also a strong believer in the doctrine of predestination- though its common to associate the doctrine with John Calvin, Luther too was a strong believer in it.
One day Aunt Bee shared a story with me- she used to visit her daughter who lived in Alaska- her daughter sort of felt like her cousin Emmet was taking advantage of her mom. I was familiar with the environment- my older sister- who has also been a drug addict for many years- has lived with my mom her whole life.
When addicted people live with their parents [aunts] as they age- they fall into an environment where they manipulate the guardian to get what they want [money- borrow the car, etc..]
So Aunt Bee’s daughter felt like Emmet took advantage of her mom. Aunt Bee told me about an Indian she saw one time while visiting Alaska- he was panning for gold in one of the freezing streams- and was wearing an Indian loin cloth and was in the ice cold water. She said how interesting it was to see how other cultures learn to adapt to their environment.
Bee was an educator- she taught at A&I university [Kingsville- Tx.] for many years [now called A&M] and her students were some of the most famous people in Texas- Senators and congress people. I found it interesting how an influential person like Bee- would wind up learning the bible from some Jersey boy- preaching in a garage [I was around 25 at the time].
Bee was a good person- she died many years ago- as has Emmet. Emmet eventually broke the drug habit and married another church member- Janie. She was s single mom with lots of kids- they made a very nice couple. Emmet died at around the age of 50- his liver went out- too many years of drugs eventually got to him. As a matter of fact- Elias- who I think first introduced me to Emmet- he eventually became a preacher and pastored his own church. He started with me- was the song leader and filled in on the days I had to work- and eventually took a position with a church called Victory Outreach- a ministry to addicts.
One day while working at the fire house- I was riding on the ambulance that day and we got a call. As I got to the house- I realized it was Elias’s house- he had a brain aneurism that day- he went into a coma and died a few days later.
I met Elias around 8 years earlier- preaching to him at the jail. Gave him his first bible- which he would always remind me about- and walked with him for a few years. He was ex-air force. He did at least 4 years before he got out and got hooked on hard drugs- mainline addict.
We had lots of good times together- I see his boys every so many years when I venture into Bishop [a small city around 40 miles from where I live]. I think his wife- Janie- still lives there.
The bible says Gods city [a symbol of the church] has old people having fun in the streets [the aunt Bee types] and little boys and girls playing in the streets [too many names to mention in this one- Elias & Janie alone had around 6 kids- Janie & Emmet too- different Janies!].
God’s church/family is a great one- it consists of the great church fathers [men like Augustine] and it extends to the little kids playing in the streets of some small town in South Texas- it even includes those who society has rejected- those who have failed many times in life- and they know it- more than anyone else.
I read a verse the other day- in Psalms ‘sins prevail against us- yet you will save us from our transgressions’ I thank God that he helps people- people who have things that ‘prevail’ against them- he often uses these people to help others- Gods ways are sometimes very hard to understand- his ways are not ours.
The week is winding down- and as far as I know- as of last night the president and congress have not been able to reach an agreement on the debt crisis. I do think the president has put himself in somewhat of a corner. In his speech he continued his argument that the deal needs to be balanced with ‘revenue increases’ [which I agree with] and he spoke about the ‘rich’ having to pay their fair share [though they do already pay for most of the taxes in the country- the big corp. loopholes are another matter].
Yet the 2 plans on the table right now- Reid and Boehner- neither one has tax increases. Reid’s is around 2.2 trillion in cuts [over 10 years] with the corresponding debt limit increase. And Boehner’s is 1 trillion- with the same basic plan. Reid's takes you past the next election- Boehner’s doesn’t. Can the president really say ‘I rejected the plan- the country defaulted- all because I wanted a 13 month plan- instead of a 6 month one’.
That just seems untenable to me.
Okay- what about compromise- is it a bad thing? Let me try and tie this in with some comments I made in the last post. In the last post I spoke about the difference between ‘Sola scriptura’ and ‘Solo scriptura’. Sola was the Reformation belief that when the Protestants and the Catholics couldn’t come to an agreement- then at the end of the day- the bible ‘alone’ settles the matter. That’s what Sola [alone] scriptura [scriptures] meant.
Over the centuries many Protestants began to embrace a view of Christianity that said ‘we don’t need/listen to what the traditional churches have to say- or what the Christian church fathers have to say- we have the bible alone to tell us’.
And even though the bible does give us instruction on all areas of life that are pertinent to the Christian experience- yet the bible actually contains within it stories about how the church should regard ‘tradition’ or how they should look to both scripture- and past history- when trying to come to solutions to problems.
In Acts chapter 15 we have the record of how the early church dealt with the problem of Gentile believers coming into the church. The first believers were all Jewish- so when they accepted Jesus as the Messiah- they also kept their Jewish heritage and their observance of the law.
Yet when the gospel started going out to the Gentiles [Acts 13] initially there was no need for converting fully to Judaism in order to be considered part of the church. Yet at the main church in Jerusalem [Acts 15] many Jewish leaders insisted on the Gentiles having to become circumcised and fully put themselves under the entire law.
So Paul and Barnabus- who were the main missionaries that worked with the Gentile believers at the time- they disagreed with the leaders coming out of Jerusalem- and determined that they would all go up to Jerusalem [from the city of Antioch- where these gentile believers were living at the time] and they would bring the question before the leaders- Peter, James and John.
During this discussion [which is the first church council] they listened to Peter’s experience where God showed him to not judge the gentile believers- but to accept them the way they are- as fellow believers in the Lord.
Peter had this experience in Acts chapter 10- God showed him a vision and taught him not to reject the gentile believers.
Then James [who seems to have been the main leader at the Jerusalem church] quotes form ‘the bible’ [the bible they had at this point was the Old Testament] and he quotes a passage from the prophet Amos that seems to go along with what Peter said- that God would raise up gentile believers too.
So after the discussion- James stands up and makes the final decision- with the agreement of the other leaders- and they write a letter and send it back to the gentile believers at Antioch- and they tell them they don’t need to fully convert to Judaism- but simply keep a few important commandments- don’t eat blood- don’t commit sexual sin- and a couple of things like this.
So at the end of the day they came to a position of compromise- they listened to all sides- and didn’t simply rely on the ‘bible alone’ that is they sought guidance from the book of Amos- and added that in with the other things that God was showing them at the time.
They were a community of people who were flexible enough to leave room for others who were not exactly like them- yet they did insist on belief in Jesus as the Messiah as the important thing.
As I watch the current debate- I see stubbornness with some- and I see political posturing with others- no one side is totally right- while the other totally wrong.
Last night I saw a shameful thing on the news- Lawrence O’Donnell showed a clip of a teenage girl who had killed herself because she was picked on for being gay. As I watched the story I of course felt sad for the girl’s mom who was talking about the bullying that her daughter endured- and of course it’s wrong to make fun of people- or bully them in any way.
Then they put up a quote from the mother- who said her daughter killed herself because of the ‘conservative’ district she had lived in. At the bottom of the quote- it said ‘Michele Bachman’s district’. This is no longer reporting- unbiased journalism- its people who have agendas that they are so attached too- that they can’t even see how doing this- associating the tragic death of this girl- with a presidential candidate- is so out of line.
The other day I heard a male ‘progressive’ news person talk about Bristol Palin getting ‘knocked up- [like a little slut]- while drunk on wine coolers’. Now- this girl is 20 years old- this happened when she was 16. Can you imagine any news person- speaking publicly like this- about the presidents beautiful daughters in a year or 2 from now- when they are the same age?
When we only see one side as the enemy- when we demonize peoples kids- accuse people of murdering gay kids- simply because they lived in your district- when we get this low- then compromise seems impossible- because you now view the opposing side as the real enemy.
I hope and pray we can get a compromise- for the sake of our country. I hope we can be open to what others are saying- people who have been around longer than us- ‘spiritual’ fathers if you will. Even though we seek God- have the bible- and do our best to determine what’s best- yet it’s also important to respect the opinions of others- don’t demonize everyone who is not just like you [or me] at the end of the day we need each other- even the ones who don’t fit our mold.
 WONT YOU GUESS MY NAME?
Once again I feel like I’m in a bind- I just had a dream [actually- 4 hours ago] and I felt like I should talk about it a little. I usually don’t like doing stuff like this- because of the abuse that many have engaged in with stuff like this- you know ‘God told me/you to test him with giving me a thousand dollar offering’ the whole deal.
Okay- in the dream I was up north [N.Y. /N.J.] in a busy/populated area. I was being pursued by some type of authority figure- and was actually innocent- they thought I committed a crime. As I was on the run I realized I was being recorded- and after I got caught I saw the recording- and I was in the image of a woman. Now- I really hate sharing that- maybe I’ll get to why in a moment- but that was the dream.
After I awoke I thought ‘geez- I don’t think that one means anything’ and I felt like the Lord wanted me to read Revelation chapter 12. I did know that this chapter spoke about the woman and her seed [kids].
In the chapter you see a woman that gives birth to a ‘man child’ and the dragon [satan] persecutes the woman and her child. The woman has 12 stars on her crown- the dragon has 7 crowns [various heads and horns] the crowns denote authority.
In John’s gospel Jesus talks about child birth- he says when a woman is in labor- she’s going through so much pain- she just wants the whole thing to stop. After she gives birth- she’s so happy- she forgets the pain.
Okay- all these images are speaking about the difficulty and persecution Christians go through. In the bible- the thing that has value- is the church. The church is described as a bride. She is the ‘virtuous woman’ of Proverbs 31. Her price is far above rubies. The thing of value in our lives are the actual people ‘you birth’ by speaking Gods word to them- they are ‘birthed’ into seeing the kingdom of God in new ways.
This people group [the man child that the woman gives birth to- which of course is a symbol of Jesus- the church is also called The Body of Christ] are the thing of value. The woman [a symbol of natural Israel and/or the church] has authority- God gave her authority because of the things that she went thru. That’s the crown with 12 stars.
The dragon [satan] who goes after her- he too has authority in a sense [the 7 crowns] theologians debate whether its real or contrived- the point I would make is he’s been at this game for a while- he does take prisoners- and even kills a few every now and again [you know- Jagger sang ‘I’ve been around for many a year- a man of wealth and fame. Made damn sure the Pilate washed his hands- and sealed his fate. Made tracks for the Troubadours who got killed before they reached Bombay. Stuck around St. Petersburg till I saw it was a time for a change. Won’t you guess my name?]
These past few weeks I have been reading verses on the value of the people themselves- ministry is not you convincing people to support some type of good work your doing- it’s you sacrificing your life for others- and when they too give of themselves for others- sharing Gods word and love- then you have started a real process- a real ‘church growth’ movement- the way Jesus taught.
And of course- when you’re in a position of influence [the woman giving birth] then you become a target of attack- your on the verge of giving birth to this ‘son’ and the dragons mad as hell.
Okay- could say lots more- but let me get to the example.
Many years ago- when I first started our little Kingsville church- I had all types of people attend/join. One of the guys was a sorcerer converted to preacher brother. He told me [and showed me] all the books and stuff he used to be into. He also manipulated people a lot.
He would call you up out of the blue and say ‘f—k you’ and hang up. He also did worse- lots. One time one of the church members told me that ‘brother so and so is telling people you are both gay- and sleeping together’. Now- I knew this person [the sorcerer/preacher] was gay- and had a past history that was really screwed up. He did start rumors like this with other churches.
So that night I took the church member who he said it too- he sat in my car with the window down- and I knocked on the accusers door. He was surprised to see me- I said ‘Manuel- did you tell Emmet that we were gay lovers?’ He looked at me like he was in shock ‘of course not- I would never make something up like that’ and then after he denied it over and over again- Emmet got out of the car and Manuel knew he was caught.
I had to ‘expel’ Manuel from the church meetings after that. It’s not that I couldn’t forgive him- it’s just the fact that he was there only to destroy churches. This was part of what he was taught during the witchcraft days.
This began a few years of nonstop assaults on me and my family. False calls made to the fire house. My car getting windows smashed/tires slashed. People showing up at my house- when I was on duty- at 2-3 in the morning- trying to get in.
It was bad. Now- I have had problems in life- but the gay accusation- well that was never my thing. If it were- I would either not tell this story- or just admit the thing- but the truth is- that’s just not my thing.
Have I ever messed up in other ways? Yes- my temptation [like most men] was the woman, substance abuse- so yeah- I’ll admit that. But I wanted to tell this story so you can see how the ‘dragon’ attacks people by making accusations against them- that’s how he works.
I eventually had to move my family out of Kingsville- and that’s how we got to Corpus.
Over the years Manuel did admit what he did- and he admitted he did lie. I forgave him- prayed with him when he came by the fire house- and did the right thing by continuing to help him- even after all this crap.
I did get mad a few times- even got into some ‘I’ll kick you’re a…. if I catch you on the street’ type stuff. I did blow it with the anger thing- I’ll admit- Hebrews says ‘Moses rejected the pleasure of sin and chose to suffer with Gods people’ the bible says sin has pleasure for a moment. Yes- these few fights I had during this season- I asked the Lord to forgive me later- but they were indeed very pleasurable.
Okay- if you want to be used by God to influence others- to ‘birth people groups’ then you will become a target. The accuser has a degree of authority- like Jagger says- he’s been around for quite some time. He knows how to play the game.
But the woman [the people of God- the church] she has authority too- she has ’12 stars’ on her crown- a crown you receive when you go through tuff stuff in life.
Revelation also says the dragon opened his mouth and cast a great flood- to get the woman [a type of the accusations the devil brings up against people]. The bible says the earth helped the woman- it opened up and swallowed the flood.
As I sit here and type right now- of course there’s a tropical storm in the gulf- will be here tomorrow- heading straight for Corpus. Yes- the flood/rain/storms- there all a part of the journey. As CCR says ‘as long as I remember- the rains been coming down’ and as Jagger says ‘pleased to meet you- wont you guess my name’ yeah- I guessed it a long time ago- but Revelation also says ‘the accuser of the brethren was cast down- and they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony’ at the end of the day- we win. But sure- it’s gonna rain, even flood- every so often.
 DON THE DUD
Well this morning I was at least hoping for some wind- got nada. For those of you who have never lived in the gulf- or a hurricane area- every year the local [and national] media have a tendency to ‘hype’ any type of disturbance in the gulf.
As Don developed into a tropical storm the other day- our local media began the regular routine of tracking the storm- ‘will it hit here- what are the tracking routes showing’ as I watched I said to myself ‘self- they don’t realize that the graphics they are using- the whole cone of danger- look exactly like the graphics they use for a cat. 4 hurricane’.
I realized that even though the actual satellite imagery is obviously different- yet the ‘narrative’ surrounding the entire event stays the same- and to the average grandma- glimpsing the local weather report- well yes- it looks like a hurricane is on the way!
Last night I watched the stupidity of the media- the Repubs passed their bill- finally- and it was off to the Senate- and of course the Senate has already said it would be dead on arrival. As I listened to the media- many Dems were sort of treated like they were the enlightened folk- and the reporters were like ‘and when will the Tea Party quit holding the whole country hostage- and purposefully stop trying to destroy the country’.
And the Dems would say ‘okay- they played their little game- in the House- and when will they stop playing these games- and really come to a solution’.
I began to realize that the Dems were really not presenting a totally honest picture- and with the help of the media- were actually positioning themselves for going past the Aug. 2 deadline.
Now- I’m not a tea partier- in any way, shape or form- I’m talking narrative here [remember Don] the story they are trying to tell- is not really as bad as they are making it sound like. I’m not saying the threat of default is not bad- it is very bad. I’m saying the story behind why the Dems [and Obama] won’t actually sign any of these Repub bills is not what they’re making it sound like.
The Repubs in the house have passed 2 bills- and sent them to the Senate. Both of these bills have cuts to go along with the increase in the debt limit- they also- now- have included a future vote on a constitutional amendment to have a federal balanced budget.
These bills have one more thing- the Repub bills have the House and Senate revisiting the whole thing again- in 6-9 months.
This is the main thing the pres. does not want. Why? The hard right says it’s for purely political reasons- the pres. does not want to have this fight again in the midst of a re-election campaign. The left say a 6 month plan would cause the rating agencies to drop our rating- because they think we will be on the brink again soon.
Both of these have some truth to them. But the facts right now- on the ground- are the Dems in the senate have already agreed to just about everything the Repubs have said- the Reid bill cuts 2.2 trillion- along with a debt limit increase- but it takes you past the election.
So now- why are Peirs Morgan- and Fahreed- and all the other talking heads saying ‘the tea partiers are driving us over the cliff- its Armageddon’ why? A bill with a promise [not an actual mandate] to have a future vote on a fed. Balanced budget is not the end of the world. Geez- it would take 2/3rds of the house and senate to pass it- then it would be sent to the states to get ratified [probably would never pass].
49 states already have it [and it doesn’t work so great- California is one of them]. So- why not appease the 80 tea party ‘nut jobs’ and sign the thing? I mean you already agree to the whole concept- because that’s the same basic plan that Reid has put out- except the Repub bill makes you do this again before the election.
Now- for the media to be saying ‘why have the tea party terrorists taken us to the precipice- why!’ geez- why not ask Obama- heck- we know you tried to compromise- and you did take some heat from the left- but geez- are you going to let the nation default- mainly because you don’t want to have to do this again in the middle of an election’?
I mean- the bills on the ‘table’ are very close- swallow the promised future vote on a fed. balanced budget- and ‘save the world’.
The media has simply decided to run with ‘the tea partiers are destroying the country with their proposals’ actually- the proposals are conservative- I’ll grant you that- but there are really no big differences- certainly not big enough to cause a default- to threaten a veto.
I saw a story one day- whenever I see something on evolution- I like reading it. You usually can see the bias right at the start. The story was about this new potential missing link. They found this ‘monkey’ tribe that mastered the use of tools- they made hammers and chisels and used them regularly in these caves. Wow! What a find.
The story showed how these caves had these monkey bones [skulls only] and these caves had these make shift tools in them. The skulls were all in a pile- and the tools around some table like device [these monkeys were obviously very skilled in the building trade].
The article said that this was scientific evidence for evolution. After all- who can deny that the skulls and chisels are real! I found it interesting- that the skulls were all in a pile- that there were no other bones- just skulls. Okay- according to the article- I have to believe that these advanced monkeys- either were all killed at one time- while huddling in the corner- or as they aged- they had a strange tradition- as they felt the big one coming on [you know- Fred Sanford- I’m coming home Elizabeth] they ran to the corner of the cave- laid down just in the right spot- placing their head over grandpa- and died.
Or could there be another narrative- another view of the actual evidence- don’t deny the evidence- just quit adding ‘your narrative’ and telling everyone it’s the only real way to see it.
In many parts of the world- the indigenous tribes do in fact eat monkey brain. These tribes make chisels/hammers to crack the heads open. Is it possible that they were simply getting the monkey heads- one or 2 at a time- having a ‘man cave’ moment- watching the super bowl- and after a fun night of monkey brains and beer- they tossed the skulls into a pile. That’s why you have skulls only.
The other view has some dogs coming into the cave- taking all the other bones- and not touching the skulls- okay- 2 views. I like to crab- after we have a crab boil- I guarantee you- you will find a bunch of crab shells in one spot- did they all naturally die in that spot- and did they actually craft the nut cracker and the table that it sits on- come on.
So as we close the week- the media is warning ‘Armageddon is here- the tea partiers have driven us over the edge- the end is near’ I guess the only person that comes out looking like a rose is sitting in some hotel on the left coast- listening to all these warnings and saying ‘see- I told you so’ you sure did Harold- you sure did [Camping].
 FATHER GUIDO
As I young Italian kid growing up in N.J. - right across the Hudson you saw the bright lights of N.Y.C. - back in the day [70’s] you had the rise of SNL [Saturday Night Live] it became an instant hit with the locals- and we were all treated to the ministry of Guido Sarducci- the Catholic comic who took his skit to the big screen.
Of course if you were an Italian Catholic- you could make fun- but if you weren’t- hey- don’t talk about my religion/culture! Italians are a proud people- and often times the Macaroni and Meatballs [which I just made this past Sunday] fit right in with the religious/cultural tradition- that is you tend to associate your religious views along with everything else- and in a way I’m okay with that [though you will find many teachers/preachers who are not.]
Italians also had a way of making excuses for those among us who had some type of physical/mental handicap. In Today’s world we realize that even the word Handicap is politically incorrect- but back in ‘the day’ we didn’t know any better.
It’s a funny thing with us Italians- we seemed to come up with some excuse- and that same excuse would get passed around- sort of like an oral tradition- and you would hear it used many times over.
I had a friend whose brother had somewhat of a disability- wasn’t too bad- but you could tell. And I guess his mom [good Italian family] always told him ‘if any of the boys ask about your brother- tell them that when he was young a bowling ball fell on his foot’. So I [and the other hoodlums] grew up- with this inner fear of bowling- why?
Another commonly used ‘tool’ was ‘the piano fell on his head’ geez- can we come up with something a little more believable? I mean after hearing that one a few times- I began asking myself ‘what’s wrong with us Italians- cant we either avoid ordering pianos- or avoid living in apts where people do order them- or at least not walk underneath them anymore’. Look- we are a proud people- and I’m sure brother Guido likes his job [at the furniture store] but enough is enough- someone needs to go down there and tell Guido ‘look brother- you have dropped so many darn pianos these last few years- your gonna do real damage to the entire Italian community- go get a job at the Pizza Parlor- please- before you kill us all!’
Well this gets me to the point- we- as people in general- associate our heritage with our religion [whether German Lutheran- Italian Catholic- or whatever]. We connect who we are- with what religion we embrace. As a proud Italian myself- I was glad to see- as I studied the history of Christianity and theology- that the Catholic church does indeed have a strong heritage- and that it’s okay to view the church as a good Christian church.
Now- this statement alone is enough to lose lots of ‘blog readers’ I mean in the realm of Protestant Christianity- this statement is often considered unforgiveable. But most ‘learners’ who study original sources- the church fathers- etc. most of us come to this conclusion based on the facts- that you see a very strong Catholic form of Christianity- very early on [2nd century].
You actually see some writings that speak about an early order for the Mass- and it’s surprisingly similar to what you see today. But of course you also have many doctrinal disagreements that Catholics and Protestants have fought over- and often times these 2 groups are disagreeing over things- that weren’t even part of the original ‘disagreement’ [16th century reformation.]
This discussion- cultural Christianity- has made it into the news in recent days. You had the tragic murders take place in Oslo- Norway- and the media has gone back and forth over whether or not the killer should be defined as a Christian Terrorist.
Oreilly made headlines by taking the N.Y. Times to task for doing a front page story on it- using the Christian term. Others have said that he was indeed a ‘Christian terrorist’. Some of the debate hinges on this ‘cultural Christian’ view. That is- if your view of Christianity is ‘lets go back to the medieval crusades- and re claim Europe once again for the white Christian population’ then the man was truly ‘Christian’ in a sort of cultural way- seeing it more as an historic cultural movement- and less thru the eyes of ‘a personal relationship with Jesus’.
As a matter of fact- the Oslo shooter says this very thing in his writings- that he chose to become a Christian by being baptized at the age of 15- in Norway’s state church- yet he does not see himself as having a personal relationship with Christ.
But these distinctions- though very alive and real amongst many Christian groups- are hard to make when simply covering the story of some nut who rants about going back to the crusades and fighting off the encroachment of radical Islam- so in a way- I think Christians cant totally disclaim the man- yet we can emphasize that true Christianity- like Oreilly said- does not teach murder.
Many years ago I went back North to attend the funeral of my uncle. I loved my uncle, as a kid he would take me- and my cousin Tara [his daughter] to the Ringling bro’s circus in N.Y. he would take us out to eat Chinese- and do stuff like that.
My dad [I later found out] always put up the cash- but my uncle enjoyed doing it. As the years went by- I realized that my uncle- Rudy- actually was involved with crime. How far up he made it on the ladder- I never really new. But I began to realize that he did have some involvement in the Italian mob scene in the area.
One time I was talking about some event that took place in N.J. [N.Y.] I think it was the world’s fair. I remember- my uncle had no recollection- then my dad quickly jumped in ‘oh Rudy- that’s when you were on vacation for a few years’ a few years? Who goes on vacation for a few years? O- now I get it- he was in jail [you know- the piano thing].
I used to do paint jobs with ‘the crew’. My dad, my uncle- and a few other guys. Juny was ‘the boss’. We actually did real- professional house painting- learned the trade and did it for a few years in Texas. But I later realized that they were all doing the crime thing [not my dad- he was in the group because they grew up together]. One time- a customer did not want to pay- after the job was done- I later found out that my dad and my uncle went and ‘made him an offer he couldn’t refuse’ he paid.
Anyway- I went back to Jersey and preached at his funeral. Boy- the place was packed- I mean it was like going to the casting of the God Father movie. As I talked- I simply did my best- realizing that many of these guys- like I said earlier- they have a culture- a tradition of being Italian- and Catholic. As I spoke I simply talked about the reality of the promise of eternal life in Christ- and shared about the lord’s supper- and gave some spiritual insight [I hope!].
Instead of trying to convince them to ‘change their religion’ I simply tried to focus them back on the main teachings of ‘their religion’ that all true Christianity is built upon the Cross- having the gift of eternal life because Jesus died and rose again. I emphasized the reality that all of these truths are based upon Christ- he purchased eternal life for us all- it’s not simply a matter of ‘what religion are you’ type of a thing.
After the funeral I had many people come up to me and thank me for the message- but I remember one person in particular. He looked to be around my age at the time [30’s] probably an Italian boy- grew up in the area [I guess] and probably did lots of the stuff I did as a kid.
In a way- I wondered if that would be me- or if he would be me- if we simply made a few different decisions in the early days.
He came up to me- looked me straight in the eye- and thanked me so much for ‘the talk’ I got the sense that he saw- for the first time- what everything was really about- that it’s not just a cultural thing- that life and death are very real things that we all deal with- and that he didn’t have to leave his religion- he just needed to understand more about what his church is all about.
Yeah- I was glad to see that he ‘got it’. I felt like I succeed that day- on the task of telling the truth- without having to make people believe everything I believe- just enough truth- truth that was right there before him his whole life- truth that just needed to break though.
Of course you can only do so much with these short trips- I mean if I had the time- I would have liked to have gone downtown- you know- to that piano store- and had a talk with old brother Guido- maybe speak to his union boss [who might have been at the funeral- you know- the mob connection] but time was running short. I guess there are kids living in Jersey right now- walking the same streets to school- ordering pizza at some famous spot- watching re runs of Father Sarducci. And of course- I’m sure they know someone- some friend or relative- well yes- when they asked ‘what happened to so and so’ the response was ‘the piano fell on his head’ geez- one word of advice to my Italian buddies- stay away from the damn pianos.
 CALLING ALL ANGELS
Let’s try and do some teaching today. A few weeks back I mentioned how I kept ‘stumbling’ upon bible verses that speak about angels- especially Gabriel and Michael. I mentioned how I was praying for Persia [geez- who prays for Persia?] and I started praying for God to send Gabriel and Michael to ‘war’ against any leaders who were wicked.
Okay- this all started at a time when I was doing a teaching on Islam- and was [and still am] praying a lot about the Arab Spring. Anyway- one morning- after praying like this- I felt the Lord leading me to read Daniel [I think chapter 8?].
Anyway as I read the chapter- God says ‘I heard your prayer- and I have sent Gabriel and Michael to go and war against the prince of Persia’. Man- you can’t make stuff like this up. Anyway- I actually had a few more of these ‘angel signs’ that I didn’t get into. The other day I mentioned how when I woke up- I felt the Lord wanted me to read Revelation 12- sure enough- there you have Michael warring against the dragon- helping the woman who is being attacked. Then this morning- I felt like we should do Luke chapter 1. And again- you have Gabriel telling Zacharias that his sons name will be John. And Gabriel communicating with the Virgin Mary.
I just found it strange that I have been bumping into all these angel chapters- I mean I do realize the bible has accounts of angels- but the odds on accidently hitting all these chapters- while not looking for them- it’s not that easy.
Okay- when we read the bible [which I hope you guys are doing] it’s easy to read straight thru the gospels- and not notice the details. Luke’s gospel has more accounts of women speaking- their dialogue- than any other gospel. Some scholars think Luke actually interviewed the Virgin Mary in his compilation of his gospel.
Marks gospel refers to Jesus as ‘the Son of man’- Matthews gospel uses the term Kingdom of Heaven in place of Kingdom of God. Out of all the titles used for Jesus- the term Son of Man is the 3rd most popular. Jesus Christ [Messiah] and Son of God are popular- but the term Son of Man comes from the vision that the prophet Daniel had.
It’s interesting to note- that even though this term is ‘less honorable’ than the others- yet when Jesus is referring to himself- it is the most common term that he uses.
In Luke chapter 1- we see an interesting thing. When the angel Gabriel [the only angels given names in the bible are Gabriel and Michael] speaks to Mary and Zacharias [John the Baptist’s dad] they take the good news as an answer to the promises that God made to the Jewish nation years before. Both Mary and John’s dad say ‘you have kept the promise you made to Abraham- you have kept the promise made to King David’.
What promise? Right at the beginning of the biblical story [Genesis] we see God interacting with man- he chooses Abraham to start a ‘conversation’ with. This journey eventually leads to the birthing of the nation of Israel. Abraham has Isaac- Isaac has Jacob- and Jacobs name is changed to Israel- and he has 12 sons [the 12 tribes of Israel].
Down the line comes a great king who will rule over Israel- his name was David. God made promises to David [like he did to Abraham] and one of those promises was God would raise up a son to David- who would sit on ‘the throne forever’. Now- this is one of those prophecies that is a dual prophecy- that is some of the language used is speaking about Solomon- David’s son- and some is fulfilled thru Christ.
In Luke one- they are praising God for raising up this promised king- a Son of David- who will sit on David’s throne. These promises were very real among the Jewish people of the 1st century.
Now- it would take way too much time to try and explain the various theological arguments that have taken place about this promise- that Jesus would inherit the Throne of his father David. Suffice it to say- that when you read the sermons in the book of Acts- especially Peter’s- you see them speaking about the resurrection and ascension of Jesus as the main fulfillment of this promise. Peter says that the actual promise that a son of David would sit on the throne ‘forever’ could only be fulfilled thru somebody who would live forever- thus pointing to the resurrection of Christ.
The early Jewish believers/apostles all accepted Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to Abraham and David. God told Abraham that he too would have a son that would bless all nations [Jews and gentiles] and the apostle Paul uses this a lot when talking about the gentile church.
Today’s point is- right at the start- the early Jewish people saw the coming of Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise of God to send the Messiah to them. There are various reasons why many people later rejected this claim- but at the start- they saw Jesus as the fulfillment.
When the angel tells Mary about her giving birth to this Messiah- she replies ‘be it unto me according to thy word’. Mary goes on and gives this ‘prophetic song’ which has come to be called The Magnificat- which is a term that comes from the start of the song- in Latin. Mary’s response to the angel is a point of contention between Catholic and Protestant scholars.
The Catholic church calls it ‘Mary’s Fiat’ which means Mary used a commanding tone- sort of like saying ‘you do this Gabriel’ like she was the one in charge. Protestant scholars view it more as a response of humility- like she said ‘okay- whatever you say’.
The confusion over this can be attributed to an early Latin translation of the bible- by the Catholic church Father Jerome. He wrote the Latin Vulgate- the very famous Catholic bible- and in Latin- the word used in this spot denotes ‘command’.
But when you go to the original Greek translation- the word is more passive.
Now- even though this is an ancient disagreement between very smart guys- how many Catholics and Protestants are even aware of this? So like many things- we are taught to see the ‘other side’ in a negative light- and often times we don’t even know why we don’t like them- we just know we don’t like them!
Okay- maybe you should read the chapter today- it’s a long chapter [Luke 1] and look for the language that talks about Jesus as being the fulfillment of the promises that God made to Abraham and David- its interesting to see the importance of the early Jewish people as seeing Jesus as one of their own.
History will later show how the Jewish believers were persecuted severely- and early on [2nd century] they would be forbidden to worship as a Jewish church [I think the emperor was Hadrian- he outlawed all Jewish expressions of ‘Christianity’ that is- Jewish people- who accepted Jesus as their Messiah].
This would leave only the gentile expression of Christianity- which we all know of today as we study church history. But we must not forget that the 1st believers were all Jewish- and they saw Jesus as the answer to the promises that God made to them centuries before- Peter said God fulfilled the promise that he made to King David- that a Son would sit on his throne- forever. Yes- the church recites this fulfillment every Sunday ‘he is seated at the right hand of the Father and will come again to judge the living and the dead’ amen and amen.
 DO THE HUSTLE?
One time Jesus was engaging with the religious folk- and he said they were like kids/people in the market place. They said ‘we piped and you did not dance- we mourned and you didn’t respond how we wanted you to respond’ [my paraphrase].
A few years back a lot of things changed with me [us- ministry]. As a ‘ministry’ I never took money for personal use- no salary- nada. And eventually I ‘forsook’ all money. That is in the first few years as a home church- we did take offerings- and it was used to meet the needs of people.
When we did rent a place to meet- we used some for the expenses. But as I progressed [some say digressed!] I just cut the whole offering thing off. On the radio- we [I] was the only person who actually paid out of pocket for the air time. Though you had others who never asked for money- yet these shows were underwritten by their church.
So I just said ‘from now on- I will not take money- for anything’. I also quit claiming my giving [which was a lot- considering the radio alone] for tax purposes. I simply wanted to give the example that being ‘in ministry’ is not some type of business that you have to constantly be prodding people to ‘give to God’. I realized that much of what we call ‘ministry’ is simply well meaning people- setting up Christian non profit organizations- and then developing a mechanism to get others to ‘support the work’.
Some churches teach ‘church membership’ but many times what they mean is- after you come for a while- we want you to commit to giving 10 % of your salary to the church.
Other ministries take various approaches.
After I retired from the Fire Dept. I got into a bind- I lost my health insurance- it was too expensive to keep- so I dumped the thing. This left me in a curios spot- I was still helping lots of the people out [homeless- church friends] and sometimes I would pay a bill or 2 for them- maybe 100- 150 dollar type thing- and I would be out that month. Yes- I live off of a retirement check- just a little over what some of these friends were getting- if you add in the Medicare/Medicaid- and some had disability/s.s. checks.
I guess they didn’t realize that paying a bill or 2- actually- really left me broke. Now- I didn’t complain [unless you count this post as a complaint!] but at times- after doing the ministry this way- I always found it strange that people still questioned me [and others in general] about the ‘money motives’ of ministry.
I had a relative call me and straight out question me on why I was not financially supporting another family member [kind of a bold thing to ask- out of the blue] I knew this relative was quite rich- multimillionaire? At least in the category of a millionaire. They said ‘if your spending all this money on your homeless friends- why don’t you use some of the funds for so and so’ I said ‘what funds are you talking about’?
They then realized I was basically doing the stuff from my measly check- yes- as bad as that sounds- that’s the deal.
Then they were upset that I was ‘wasting money’ on helping people.
Like Jesus said ‘we made music for you- and you didn’t dance’ that is people see ‘ministry/church’ as ‘we expect you to respond in a certain way’ and sad to say- because of this very subject- money- many preachers/churches do ‘adjust’ their messages based on how well the giving went in the previous month.
Needless to say- the whole thing at times seems to be a vast wasteland- coming up with all types of ‘bible verses’ and telling people ‘if you don’t give- your testing- robbing God’ geez- we better make sure were using that verse in context [Malachi] because in most of these scenarios we are not- and then to falsely charge people with ‘robbing God’ that’s pretty darn bad.
I don’t blame my friends for not realizing that at times- me helping them out- well- it did put me in a bind. And sometimes- they don’t realize that because I don’t have health care benefits- that if you actually added everything up- many of these friends are actually making the same [or more] than me.
I just feel like we all need to do our best to help others- don’t assume that people have money- or that they are in it for the money. Many times people are just doing what they feel they are required to do.
And of course- you’ll always have the friend/relative who wants you to do a dance for them- to justify- for them- why you do what you do- never mind that they are worth a hundred times more than you- and they are in much better shape to help the relative- no- that’s none of my business. But when they Pipe [make music] they just want you to dance- geez- I never was a good dancer- why start now?
 THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA
I was gonna wait till next week to post- but there has been some important news stuff going on- and last night S&P actually downgraded our rating [from AAA to AA+]. So let’s do some today.
Of course last week we finally raised the debt ceiling- our debt will now hit around 17 trillion [wow] until the next raise. I found it interesting to see how the media try’s to tell the public what they think is best- and they actually lie quite a bit.
A few weeks back CNN started a new show with Fahreed Zakariah- I thought I would like it- Fahreed is somewhat of an intellectual and I have heard him in debates before. The only drawback I saw [in the past] was he seemed to take one position- and defend it vigorously- and then take the other side at another time- and sware that this time he was right.
Okay- during the debt ceiling debate- many on the left described the ‘Tea Party’ as nuts- terrorists, psycho’s- the whole deal. It did get a little ridiculous after a while. I saw Fahreed- you know- the smart guy- he tried to give an in intellectual argument to why the Tea Party was ‘subverting the constitution- and actually bringing down the Democracy’ what? Yes- he explained how our govt. has 3 branches- and when one party [Dems] hold 2 [Pres, Senate] that if a minority of the 3rd branch [Tea Part- minority in the house] ‘take hostage’ the country- then they have actually subverted the Republic.
He then went on to attack the whole Tea Party mantra- their idea of cuts without taxes- everything. He then explained that the entire world has compared us to Europe [now it gets bad] and that even Europe looks good compared to us- he said that the Europeans have actually ‘shown the world’ that they are very reasonable compared to the U.S. in their dealing responsibly with their debt crisis.
Now- the very next day- because of European fears [no matter what anyone says- they have not solved their debt problem- it has actually spread this week- Italy is on the edge right now] we began to see the market collapse [dow went to 11,300 from a high of 12,500]. There are many reasons that this happened- but one of the main ones is the fear that the European debt crisis might spread to the globe.
So- the night before Fahreed said the world compared us to Europe- and the reasons we are in trouble is because we did not act responsibly- like Europe.
Then when asked ‘overall- is it at least good that we made the deal and avoided default’ he said no- and then made the actual Tea Party case to defend his position. He said that the deal only cuts a few billion in the beginning years [which he has advocated before!] and then he said- the way congress spends- ‘there’s no guarantee that they will ever stick to the cuts’. This is the exact argument the Tea Party made- to the tee!
That’s why they fought for a constitutional amendment- which Fahreed does not want.
Okay- then MSNBC had on an addiction specialist [I kid you not] to analyze the mental health of the tea party. Martin Bashir asked this guy to explain the danger of the Tea Party. The shrink went on to explain that when addicts have unrealistic expectations [Tea Party- cuts and no taxes= want dugs to make me happy] that they will resort to any means to get what they want [Heroin addict- give me your money or I’ll shoot. Tea Party- do the cuts or well not vote for a debt increase] when addicts do not see the danger of their unrealistic expectations- then yes- you get Oslo, Norway. You must be kidding- they had a guy on the air- comparing the position of the right to the guy who killed 80 people in Norway- and he [like Fahreed] tried to make it sound respectable.
On the news last night- before the downgrade- the jobs numbers came out for July. Now- news addicts like myself watch these things closely. The ‘left’ wants real bad to have some good news for the average folk. If the numbers are bad [under 200,000 new jobs is bad] then that doesn’t help. But there was no way the numbers would be above 200 thousand- I mean no one predicted that. They were hoping that they would at least be around 100,000- and not like the last report- where they hoped for 100 thousand and got around 18,000.
So as I perused the talking heads [ABC, CBS, NBC] of course they talked about the ‘number’ of unemployment dropping to 9.1 from 9.2- the number that I was waiting to see was the actual jobs number- how many new jobs were created last month?
Instead- I saw a screen graphic [you know- Lemmings like graphics- they think if they show the public anything- well they will never know] and it showed 230,000 new jobs [what!] and the unemployment dropping to 9.1 [from 9.2].
I immediately new they were lying- they were gonna show what they wanted to show you- and if they can tell you their story- any way they can- they will.
So- the small print [under the 230,000 jobs number] was the total manufacturing jobs gained- get this- since 12-09. What? Why take one sector- and go back to Dec. of 2009- and then add it up and show on the screen ‘230,000’ new jobs. Well, that’s the only jobs number [230,000- for total jobs from July] that would fit with the picture ‘unemployment went down to 9.1’. [Note- the reason 130,000 new jobs does not lower the overall rate is because that does not even keep up with the population growth of the country- we get over 100,000 new people seeking jobs every month]
No other jobs number would work. So they simply lied- they gave you a picture- false- and thought ‘you know- the average folk- we tell them what we think they should hear’.
So how did the unemployment number drop to 9.1? There are various factors that make up the number- some months you have natural weather disasters [snow storms] and people simply don’t go looking for work- that skews the number. Other months- people have been out of work so long- they give up- that skews the number.
But if the total jobs were only 130,000- then you know for a fact- that the real number didn’t drop a decimal Point- cant happen.
So more than likely some people didn’t go job shopping last month- and that skewed the number. But- the media knew they needed you to see the headline ‘230,000 new jobs’ and ‘unemployment down- 9.2 to 9.1’ and by golly- they found a way to make that happen.
Now- I hate to say [well actually I don’t hate it] ‘I told you so’ but heck- I did! If you go back and read/check the last months posts- somewhere in there I said ‘people must be nuts to be in the stock market right now’ now- I gave the caveat ‘I’m not telling you to get out’ but I then went on and said ‘if you’re smart- get out’.
Every media financial guy that was on the air- bar none- said ‘to the average investor- don’t panic- stay in the market’. Yet- in the past few weeks- 98% of trades that were done by these professional fund managers- who manage 401 k’s- 98 % were trades fleeing the stocks and going into bonds. Why? The Dow was at 12,500 [too high in my view] and we were facing all types of bad news. The Greek debt crisis [now more than Greece] the entire U.S. housing market is still a mess- and will be for a long time. The jobs numbers are terrible- and every indicator tells me these next few years are not going to be good.
So- if the odds of the economy getting worse are very high- then why take the risk of staying in right on the verge of a possible collapse? I know we can’t ‘time the market’- but heck- all those fund managers thought you could. Look- there was [is] no chance that the market was gonna hit 13,000 in the next few weeks- and a very great chance that it would collapse- then get your money out for the danger week/month- and if the sky doesn’t fall- then you can get back in- there was no chance you were going to miss a bull market- none.
But all the guys on the news said ‘stay in- hang in there’ and at the same time they- and all the professional funds they managed- they all jumped ship- left the stocks and fled for safety- while telling you ‘you can’t time the market’ yes- we are the lemmings.
Okay- then last night- well the S&P downgraded us- for the first time ever. Why? Well besides all the stuff I just mentioned- they felt the debt deal did not go far enough- that we needed to at least cut 4 trillion in spending over 10 years- we did about half that.
The defenders of the president were out in numbers- blaming the S&P for bad math [yeah- they did make a mistake- but that doesn’t change the overall picture one iota] and the reality is- the global economy is in trouble. Now- when you downgrade an entity [state, city, nation- bank, etc.] that means that entity has to pay you more interest if you buy their debt [treasury bonds]. But the last few weeks we have seen all the professional money fleeing stocks- and yes- going into U.S. bonds. Look- these investors know the scoop- S&P didn’t reveal anything that we didn’t already know- so the fact is- yeah it’s bad that we got downgraded- but the other investment options are so bad- that at the end of the day- people are still buying U.S. debt.
In high school I had a teacher- Mr. Steinberg. Mr. Steinberg was not ‘cool’ as a matter of fact- he seemed a little nerdy. He was Jewish- and at times wore a Star of David necklace- it was big- it was like he was asking for the persecution.
I liked Mr. Steinberg- and respected him for not being ashamed of his faith. It was in his class [English] that I was introduced to the great classics. Grapes of Wrath, Old man and the sea- all the classics. After we covered a book- he would check the TV Guide and when the made for TV movie was on- he assigned us to watch it.
Both of the above books/movies became favorites of mine- till this day I’ll watch them when they pop up on the classic channel. I actually have the Grapes of Wrath book sitting right here.
But the movie- Old man and the Sea- enthralled me. The struggle of the old man- his fight with the great fish- his arm wrestling bouts with the younger guys- the whole mystique was my thing.
The author- Hemingway- was himself a ‘mans man’ he lived large- took in all the experiences of life- and embraced a philosophy of life called Nihilism. This world view was popularized by men like Sartre, Camus and Freud. It basically is atheistic and says ‘there is no real meaning to life- man is a ‘useless passion’- he exists, only for the purpose of experiencing life- when the pain exceeds the pleasure- that the responsible thing to do is check out’. Yes- this philosophy advocates suicide.
Sartre [John Paul Sartre] actually said that the only philosophical question left is suicide- that we need to ask ourselves- as a society- should we allow ourselves to check out- for the good of the whole- when the pain exceeds the pleasure.
Another great work of Hemingway is titled ‘the Sun also rises’. He took the title from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes- written by Solomon [you know- to everything there is a season]. Solomon also embraces a sort of nihilistic view in this book- though it is in the bible- it is a form of literature called ‘pessimistic wisdom literature’. Sort of the philosophy Hemingway embraced.
Hemingway spoke about this view all thru out his life- though he was a brilliant writer- he had no hope ‘in the world’ [Apostle Paul]. One night, after he went to bed with his wife- he woke up- went downstairs and rigged up his favorite hunting rifle- and blew his head off. His daughter followed him a few years later.
I don’t know what’s down the road for our world right now- there are many people feeling hopeless today because they have lost- yes once again- a big portion of their wealth. As Christians we can say ‘yes- life is hard- we struggle at times- but in the end our struggles are working out a higher purpose- we have meaning in life’ but the atheist/nihilist- to them there is no redemptive purpose to the struggle- when the pain exceeds the pleasure- well yes- they check out.
Over the next few weeks- wherever you are at- think for yourself. If all the professional investors take their money out of stocks- and at the same time they advise you different- then stop listening to them. If your mad at the right [or left] then don’t keep watching people who are coming up with diagnosis’ that say the country is being run by actual Oslo killers- that’s just not true- no matter how much you might hate their point of view.
And at the end of the day- we as believers- we do have hope in the world. Mr. Steinberg wore that star of David- proudly. And in a recent post [Last?] I spoke about the promise that God made to king David- that he would raise up one of his sons and this Son would rule on the throne for ever. Yes- today this promise has been fulfilled through Christ- who sits at the right hand of God.
I don’t know- maybe I’ll rent the Old man and the Sea later [I tried in the past but couldn’t find it] and I’ll see the struggle of the old man [played excellently by Spencer Tracy] but instead of embracing his creators view [that is his earthly creator- Hemingway] I’ll ‘give’ my sufferings up- as the Catholics say- I’ll offer them to the Lord. Hemingway took the cowards way out- at the end of the day- he wasn’t the man we thought he was- he copped out.
 MINING FOR GOLD? [the Obama way- Warning- this one might be a little crude for some of my readers- had a tough week]
Okay- this week has been a roller coaster to say the least. The market went down- up- and down again. I think it closed at around 10,700 last night. I’m not in the market- I got out years ago- yet I still follow the stuff.
We also had the recall election in Wisconsin- out of the 6 Repub senators who were up for a recall- only 2 lost. The Dems spent around 30 million- hoping to maybe knock out all 6- they didn’t do as well as they wanted. I find it funny that all the liberal news coverage- they never mentioned that 2 Dems are up for recall next week- they just tell you what they think you need to hear.
A few weeks back- during the heat of the debt ceiling vote- one of the major sticking points was a vote for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. Now- there are pros and cons to the thing- but wouldn’t you think that they might do a poll on the thing?
I mean you had news guys asking ‘are the Tea Partiers terrorists’ and other stuff like that. How bout one poll on ‘do you favor a balanced budget amendment’. Then I heard some talking heads say ‘and why do we [We?] not want a balanced budget amendment’? And the other talking head said ‘well- if you do that- then if the country faces another crisis- we wouldn’t be able to do another stimulus’.
Gee- that just might be good- don’t you think? The way they were talking- I knew something was up- they had that condescending attitude that said ‘you know- the American people are to stupid to know these things’.
Sure enough- CNN did do a poll- and it was around 70 % of the people who wanted a balanced budget amendment. They did not report the poll on the air- you know- that would take away too much time from the real story- that the Tea Partiers are Hobbits- so they stuck the poll on their on line page.
Years ago- at the Fire Dept. we used to have ‘snake oil salesman’ come by every now and again. They were either selling insurance or some other type of investment scheme to get the guys in. I was mad that these guys would buddy up to the chief- and then all the guys were ‘told’ to listen to the sales pitch. And of course- the pro’s- well they have a way of selling stuff- things that people don’t need.
One year we had some guy selling life insurance- boy was he good. I think he was a Jersey brother [like me!]. Boy- he talked just like the preacher in the movie Elmer Gantry. Anyway- he went on about the need for the insurance- and at the end- he made it sound like he was signing up the guys for some city insurance thing- like when you sign your actual health care every year. He would walk up to the ones who didn’t sign and say ‘you need to sign the paperwork- you didn’t sign yet’.
Man- was I pissed. He walks over to me- gives me the line- I raked him over the coals. I told him first of all- he was selling a bad product. He was selling what’s called Whole Life- your really better off buying Term- and if you want to invest- then take the cost difference and just stick it in your 401 k [or the bank!].
I blew his cover- it was too bad he already signed most of the guys.
So this is what I see going on right now- lots of miss information- news people lying- on the left and right- and both sides thinking ‘geez- those other guys are all bastards’. The truth is- they are all doing it- not just the side you don’t like.
One day I caught a show on CSPAN- there was no editorializing- just the facts. They had on some Democrat governor [I think from Washington State]. A reporter asked her why her story- about her state solving their fiscal problems- with cuts and other ‘austerity’ measures- why she wasn’t getting the coverage like Wisconsin.
She innocently [?] replied that the media weren’t covering her because her state wasn’t in turmoil- it wasn’t the same political theatre like ‘those Repub governors fighting the working folk’.
Actually- the real reason you have not seen coverage on all the Dem states that have balanced their budgets- is because all of those states- bar none- have done the same things that the evil Repub governors did- they made cuts- balanced their books [tried] and they did the same things that the media are trying to portray as evil Repub measures.
So- how can the media run with the narrative that says ‘evil Repub governors- are killing the unions’ when the Dems are doing the same basic thing?
What’s the problem then? Well when the media decides to be in the tank like this- then even if they win the argument- and recall every Repub governor in the country- then the Dems will still have to try and balance their books- and the only way to did it is through these austerity measures- or just don’t get elected and keep using it as a tool to re elect Obama.
Yeah- just like the insurance salesman- they think the average person is simply a fish waiting to jump on the hook- and sad to say- we do!
Okay- I really wanted to try and get back to some bible teaching- and actually overview some of the New Testament- but that will have to wait for now.
What should you do now? If you stayed in the market- and took another huge hit [like a few years ago] then there’s not a whole lot that you can do. Will the market go down another 1000 points- who knows? 12,500 was way too high- and I said that all year long. I even heard a financial guys fess up on national TV- he said ‘look- us insiders- we all knew that the dow was over priced at around 20 %- this was no surprise’ well heck- that’s a surprise to all your customers! The ones you’ve been telling to stay in the market this past year- even though it was just too high.
At this point [today- 8-11] it’s probably not good to sell- maybe if we get another surge up [to like 11,500?] maybe that might be a spot to take some losses- if you can’t sleep at night- and get out. But right now- you would be locking in around a 20 % loss- thats a lot.
I had a another talk with my ultra liberal friend the other night- we have a mutual friend who is very rich [okay] but this friend is always on the bandwagon about ‘I am on the side of the working stiff [geez- that would be me] and those darn Repubs are on the side of the rich [which this person is- but whose keeping count?]
This person- the rich mutual friend- is in her 70’s [married couple] and they have fought very hard against any changes to Medicare. They are in the AARP lobbying group [one of the strongest lobbying groups around] and any time any one mentions a change in Medicare- they go ballistic.
Now as rich folk- who got into the system at the start- they probably paid a few thousand dollars into the system- and have used a few hundred thousand [that’s the average for folk their age]. That is the system overpromised- and the older rich folk- who keep lobbying against change- if the truth be told- they are screwing their kids and grandkids- but why tell the truth?
So I explained to my friend- that I have paid a few hundred thousand into our entitlement programs [yeah- I have the paperwork on it] and I can’t even get disability for real injuries- documented- [bad back discs, permanent nerve damage to my right leg, and a host of other non related things that popped up right after I lost health coverage]. I told my friend ‘I’m a retired firefighter- who was told to leave that field because of real medical problems- my only real employment field- and I have paid a ton of money into these systems- and yet our rich friend- who says they are for the poor- they lobby like mad men to not even make a 50 cent change in their Medicare payment- so they can keep getting the deal of a lifetime- while the younger generation is paying out the nose to fund them’.
And to top it all off- I’m now looking at a $700- 1000 fine- yes a fine- because I don’t have health care- and because of the pre existing conditions- I will never get any [I know the public thinks Obama fixed it- he didn’t- my only option is ‘pay the fine’ they lied to you- and me]. My friend simply said ‘Oh- I never knew this’. I figured that out years ago.
We all have a tendency to see the point of view of ‘our side’ while really thinking the other side are truly demons. Yet both sides have demons- not just the ‘other’ side.
My friend then told me a funny story- which I wasn’t sure how to tell- but I’ll give it a shot. Our mutual rich friend said she had some pain in her mouth one day and she told her husband ‘can you look in my mouth- I think my gold filling fell out’. Sure enough it did- and she swallowed it!
She went to the dentist/doctor and he said ‘well- if you want- you can go through your stool over the next few days- you might find the gold filling’.
I ended our conversation with ‘hey- when you talk to so and so- say ‘yeah- John said he knows about this procedure- it’s in the Obama stimulus plan- Its one of the ways their encouraging people to go out and see if they can strike gold- because you won’t be able to increase your wealth any other way in this economy’. I hope I’m wrong- but I fear I’m not.
 RICK PERRY- HE NEEDS HELP- BAD!
Okay- just a little politics- then some bible stuff.
Last night I watched the Repub debate- nothing real impressive- everyone played their angle. I also saw a few minutes of Maddow [MSNBC]. Okay- I have mentioned Maddow before- I mentioned that she is a lesbian- openly so. Fine [I don’t approve of the thing- but that’s her business] I want to simply give you an example of inconsistent thinking that people often engage in- and they don’t know it.
A few days ago a report slipped out- some insider leaked the fact that Obama [and his re election team] have made the decision to smear Perry. Now- I know both sides do it- but this was a leak and Obama and his team were mad about the leak.
Then- like clockwork- MSNBC began a week of smearing Perry- I mean it was ‘funny’ to see the sycophants- I mean they were like Pavlov’s dogs ‘jump- drool’ the whole 9 yards. First- they did a critique of the ‘Houston prayer and fasting’ thing- Perry announced a prayer day- had a bunch of preachers [who I actually disagree with theologically] at the event- and Maddow [Rachel Maddow- host of a news show] did an ‘in depth’ critique of all the ‘crazies’ that Perry was aligned with.
She misrepresented the whole group of preachers- even though I do not hold to many of their views- she said they were part of the evangelical movements ‘theocratic’ wing. Theocracy is the belief that religion should actually be a govt./state function- many in the Islamic world hold to this view.
Okay- the actual name for Christians who believe this is Reconstructionism- these Christians do hold to this view- they are a very small minority- and the group Perry was hanging with- they are in no way Reconstructionists.
Second- Maddow critiqued ‘religion’ as she has in the past- and said her only problem with people like Perry- is they want to impose their values on others.
If Rachel were a smart apologist [one who argues this point- but is smart] she would realize that all persons- especially her- do argue- all the time- from a natural law perspective. That is they- even though they deny it- are making the point- all the time- that their particular view of morality- whether it be gay marriage- or anti polygamy- or any other host of moral ideals- they all argue for the ‘legislation of morality’ legislation [the passing of law] is by definition the legislation of morality.
Now- if that law is simply ‘can't drive 70 in a 60 MPH zone’ this is the legislation of morality. The moral principle is ‘don’t drive this speed- it might kill you- and me’ and then we pass a law that legislates that moral belief. Pretty simple.
Okay- what Maddow is mad about- is the legislation of morality that effects her particular lifestyle. Now- she might say ‘well- we believe that consenting adults should be free to do what they want in the bedroom’ okay- got ya.
Would you agree to 2 adults- lets say a brother and sister- who have no ability to have kids- should we let them marry?
Most would rightfully say no- the point is- you are now defining what’s ‘right or wrong’ and it’s not simply a matter of what 2 adults want- it’s truly a matter of ‘right or wrong’.
I could go on- ad infinitum- with these examples- the point is Maddow- like Perry- like the left- the right- they all have some sense of ethics- where they derive that ideal from- well that’s another point- but they have their own ‘morality’ and they do in fact want to impose it- all the time- on other people.
So let’s at least be honest about the thing. Okay she finished her show last night with an image- she said that the true insiders- who know Perry- they will ALL tell you that they are concerned about Perry- they actually feel his is ‘dumb’.
She explained that these insiders- they all knew Bush was really smart [wow- never heard you say that before] yet they all think Perry is actually mentally challenged [I kid you not- she went down this road] and that these Repub insiders- they actually fear for the country- that a dangerous loose cannon like this might take the reins.
Okay- Maddow- who I’m sure would not appreciate us giving images of the things she does- or how ‘smart’ she is- she left us with the mental image that Perry is actually mentally challenged. The same image of Palin, Bachman, ETC.
What’s wrong with this picture? Even though she claims ‘the insiders all said Bush was a genius’ yet her network- they ran with the story that Bush was actually dyslexic- yeah- I remember. Look- I’ll admit I’m no saint here- yeah I too have made jokes about Bush’s brain.
Sure- I would say ‘hey- you critics of Bush- who said- look at the man- after the planes hit the towers- Bush sat- dumbfounded for around 7 minutes- sitting in that classroom- just looking confused’ Okay- I’ll admit I would quip ‘you guys are misreading it- he wasn’t confused about the response- he was sitting in a 3rd grade class- he was struggling with the curriculum’. Okay- I fess up.
But Maddow left us with that ugly picture- the seed of thinking ‘geez- I never knew others viewed Perry that way’ and even I couldn’t shake the mental image- now thinking that he might really be what she said.
They slandered him just as bad as the right has slandered their guys- they should just report the policies and leave this type of character assassination at home.
Okay- I didn’t’ really do any bible stuff- but I covered a little on the moral law and ethics- which fits in with theology. So for now I’ll leave it at that.
Don’t forget- to all my friends who read these posts- pray for one another. I just finished a prayer time and prayed for a bunch of my friends [and those in other nations] who are connected with us in some way- many are going through tough times- and it helps if others are also praying for each other. Pray for everyone on these sites- others who you see when going thru the site- you see a name- or a post that might indicate a friend is in trouble- then try and pray for them that day- stuff like this helps.
And of course pray for Texas- we need it bad- I just found out that our governor is actually an ignoramus- I mean not just of low intellect- but so challenged that all the insiders fear for the safety of the free world if he gets elected. The source?- The same people who said ‘we believe that Obama is possibly the smartest person to ever hold the office of the president- he more than likely has the highest I.Q. than any other office holder in the history of the nation’. The other reporter asked ‘do you know what the number is’ the first guy said ‘no- but I know its very high- higher than any other president’. This was an actual on air discourse between 2 reporters during the inauguration celebration of president Obama.
Yeah- these are just the type of folk I need telling me about Perry’s I.Q.- yeah- they sure know their stuff.
 OVERVIEW OF THE BIBLE
Let’s cover some biblical history- that is the making of the bible itself. A few days ago I did a post on Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises of God made to natural Israel. The post showed how the early Jewish people saw Jesus as their Messiah- the promised one that they were always looking for.
The earliest mention of the promise goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. God tells Eve that her child shall bruise the serpent’s head- and the serpent [actually the ‘seed’ or child] will bruise his heel. There have been works of art [statues/paintings] depicting this scene for centuries. It was fulfilled at the Cross.
So we have the 4 gospel accounts- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John- and these accounts give us the history of Jesus- his miracles and teachings- and they show us the fulfillment of God’s promise- made centuries before- that he would send them their Messiah.
Out of the 4 gospels- only one- John- has a different outline. The first 3- we call them Synoptic gospels. They follow the same basic structure- Johns stands alone.
John’s gospel contains no teachings about the end times- like the others. John doesn’t mention the parables- or the Sermon on the Mount. John’s gospel focuses more on the last week of the life of Christ- while the others cover the 3 years of Jesus earthly ministry [none cover the early years of Jesus- except for the account of Jesus being left behind at the temple when he was 12 years old].
The whole bible [Old and New testaments] have 66 books- 39 Old- 27 new. Only 3 original apostles actually wrote parts of the N.T. Matthew, John and Peter. Out of these 3- John wrote the most. He has his gospel- the three epistles [1st,2nd and 3rd John] and the book of Revelation.
The majority of the N.T. is made up of the collection of the apostle Paul’s letters. Paul is without a doubt the most influential person in the N.T.- besides Christ.
We also have the historical account of the early church- called The Acts of the Apostles- written by the same Luke that wrote the gospel. Luke was a doctor- and an historian. Then you have what’s called the General epistles- the kind of stand alone letters- Peters 2 letters, Jude, a few more like that.
And the New Testament closes with the apocalyptic book [prophecy] of Revelation- written by John [most think the apostle- some think another John- called ‘John of Patmos’]
Okay- one of the major themes of the N.T. is what we hit on the other day- a teaching called Justification by Faith. This is the main thrust of Paul’s doctrinal epistles [Romans, Galatians] and becomes a point of contention in the early church. The teaching is simple- it means the N.T. is a covenant- made by God with man [and with Jesus] that says God will give eternal life to all those who accept the death and resurrection of Jesus. That Jesus died for the sins of man- and because you believe in this free gift- your are/will be saved.
Now- the bible obviously says a lot more than this- but this doctrine becomes one of the main ones because this is the controversy that the apostle Paul dealt with for most of his ministry years.
I mentioned this the other day in a previous post.
Paul also has 3 epistles [letters] that are called The Pastoral epistles- these are 1st, 2nd Timothy and Titus. These are called Pastorals because these young men were protégés of Paul- he trained them up as local leaders who he could recommend to the early believers as trustworthy leaders- after he would leave a community.
These men did not function like what we usually call Pastors in our day- that is sort of a speaker preaching every Sunday at the ‘Main church’ building- but they were spiritual overseers- they led the flock in a way that if problems arose- these men could be looked to as honest guides.
Remember- in the 1st century- you did not have means of communication like we have today- so if Paul left a community [which is what the word church means in the bible- Greek- Ecclesia]. And if a problem rose up- like those who were coming in and saying the Gentiles had to become circumcised and keep the law- then the believers could look to the men Paul left his stamp of approval on.
Paul would of course correspond with these early communities- thus the letters- but until the letters arrived- the ‘Timothy’s’ would do.
Okay- the last book of the bible- Revelation- has gotten a lot of use- often too much- in the sense that we- especially lone wolf Protestant groups- have really done loops with the book.
Overall- the theme is about Christ [Lamb of God] being the central focus of this new kingdom of Priests and Kings [us] and even though there will be tough times [lots of the images of tests and trials] yet at the end of the day- we are ‘married’ to this Lamb [Jesus is called the groom in scripture- and the church is called the bride. God restores in the last book of the bible- what was lost in the first book- relationship- pictured as marriage] and we all live in a new heaven and new earth- and the story ends well.
Okay- just a few more points. The main message of the bible is that God made man [Genesis] he wanted man to be in communion [friendship] with him. Man sinned and this began the long process of God making promises to man [through/to the nation of Israel- and eventually it would extend to all men- thus the apostle Paul working with the Gentiles] that he would save man thru the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
All people who simply accept this benefit- they will be children of God. The focus should not be on anti Christ- or when the end of the world will happen- or on any other of a host of teachings that the church likes to dwell on- but the focus is God loving man so much- that he sent his Son to die for man- and we can be saved thru him.
Over the coming weeks I hope to do a little more on the development of the bible- why do protestants have 66 books- and Catholics have an extra 15? I’ll cover it fairly- giving the Catholic view as well as the Protestant one- and promise not to push only one view. But things like this are real questions that honest people have- and I want to help people get a better hold on the thing.
Okay- try and read some of the N.T. these next few days- overview some of the letters I mentioned- maybe read John’s gospel- Romans. I would wait on Revelation for now- I hope to give some hints that will make it easier to understand- so after I cover that a little more- then that would be a good one to read too.
And as you read Johns gospel- notice how many times the word Believe appears- being connected with those who believe have eternal life. That’s one of the strongest promises in the bible- and its Jesus doing the talking! So maybe memorize a few of them- like the famous John 3:16 verse- those types of verses last a lifetime- and longer.
 MORE ON THE BIBLE
Let’s cover a little more doctrinal stuff- and if I get a chance I’ll do some practical stuff too. Okay- in the last post I covered some historical stuff about the bible- I mentioned how Catholics have 15 more books in their bibles than Protestants.
Why did this happen- or how? Okay- this might get a little technical, but those of you who have been reading my posts this past month will remember that I covered some ‘Intertestamental’ history- which means the years between the last book of the Protestant bible [Malachi] and the first New Testament book- Matthew.
These years are actually covered historically in the Apocrypha- during this time we also had a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek. Remember how I spoke about Hellenization- which was the attempt by Alexander the Great to introduce one Greek language and culture into all the conquered territories.
Well one of the things the Greeks did was had the Jewish bible [our Old Testament] translated from Hebrew into Greek. This version is called the Septuagint- which gets its name from the so called number of scholars who translated it- it means 70.
Okay- this version was also popular in the early church- why? The early believers did read Greek- Greek was the common language of the first few centuries- when the church was born. [thus our New Testament is in Greek- originally]
Now- the early Christians had sort of a common consensus on what made up ‘the bible’. They accepted the Old Testament books- because these books were recognized by the Jews as being Canonical [which means inspired by God]. But what about the N.T.?
Like I said in the last post- the early church had a collection of writings that they used/understood to be ‘from God’. That is they had the acceptance- generally- from the Christian community. But they did not have ‘a bible’ like we have today- that is everyone walking around with a bible in book form [called codex in those days- an early book] they all did not own copies of the bible.
Remember- publishing as we know it today- didn’t arrive on the scene until right around the turn of the 16th century with the Guttenberg printing press. So any copies of books- or any efforts to put a bible together- well it would make sense to maybe include some history books along with it.
And this is also why some of the early letters seem to have ‘copied’ parts of other letters in them [Jude and 2nd Peter] not because they were plagiarized- but because books were not easily purchased- and it was acceptable- for standards of the day- to include some material from another writers pen [with his permission] in your own letter.
Okay- now when the early believers decided it was time to actually say ‘these books are in- these are not’. They had general agreement on what was in- with a few exceptions. Some early believers had the Letter of Barnabus in their bibles- others did not have Revelation. Some believers haggled over 2nd Peter [because of what I mentioned above] and others wanted a few more books in.
But the basic corpus of our N.T. was accepted by the church at large.
Now- after a few centuries the church felt it important to put her stamp of approval on the books. And the early church had a council or 2 and finally agreed on what we have today.
One of the early Popes asked a church father- named Jerome- to make a Latin translation of the bible. Jerome included the Old Testament and the N.T. - and he also included the 15 books of the Apocrypha. Why?
Jerome’s bible- called the Vulgate- was translated from the early Greek Old Testament- the Septuagint. Now- the Septuagint is/was a good scholarly work- but the original Old Testament was in Hebrew- not Greek. The Septuagint did have the Apocrypha in it.
And the inclusion of the Apocrypha was a utilitarian thing to do- if you could get these historical books in the bible- then good- you don’t have to have early believers trying to get hold of a separate history book that would fill in the blanks- remember- books were hard to come by.
Okay- Catholics and Protestants have argued over whether these extra books should be in. Protestants [and some Catholics] argue that the Old Testament books are called ‘the Law and the Prophets’ these books are quoted hundreds of times in the N.T. - even by Jesus. Yet there are no quotes from the Apocrypha.
This side argues that the Jewish people did not believe these books to be inspired- and that the N.T. itself does not put the same weight on these books as they do with the Old Testament.
The Catholic scholars argue that there are a few allusions to the Apocrypha in the N.T. [there are a couple- can go either way in my view] and they do make the point that all the bibles did have these books in them right up until the Protestant Reformation [remember- the Latin Vulgate did have the Apocrypha- though Jerome did say in the notes that the Jewish people did not recognize them on an equal plain with the ‘Law and the Prophets’- the Old Testament].
Okay- then during the 16th century Protestant Reformation- at one point in the debates the Catholic scholars argued with Luther- and they did quote from the Apocrypha to prove some doctrinal points.
Luther and the other Reformers challenged the canonicity of the books- and with the plethora of English versions of the bible being printed for the first time in centuries- the Protestants did not include these books in their versions.
The Catholics stuck with the books.
Okay- do debates like this mean we can’t agree on the actual message of Christ? No. There is really no problem in reading the Apocrypha- even if you’re a Protestant. We [Protestants] don’t accept them as ‘canon’ yet as readers of history- we should be able to read them.
And even if our Catholic brothers and sisters do accept them- there are really no major doctrinal departures from the rest of the bible. To be honest- there are a few references that Protestants do have problems with- but overall they don’t undermine the main message of the N.T.
And just a point of interest- the first 2 books [1st, 2nd Esdras] have been challenged- even by Catholic scholars- as not being part of the bible. Yet in 2nd Esdras we find a reference to Christ that does seem to be prophetic. It speaks of a king entering Jerusalem and he is standing in the middle of the people- handing out Palms.
This depicts the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem- which is in the gospels [Palm Sunday]. So it is interesting that this reference might actually be prophetic in nature.
Okay- got into the weeds somewhat- but wanted to show you guys that all Christians agree on the main points- and just because there are things we disagree on- yet the message of the Cross doesn’t change.
Bishop Fulton Sheen used to say ‘we might not all be able to sit in the same pew- but we can all meet on our knees under the shadow of the foot of the Cross’ Amen.
 WHO’S THE DODO BIRD NOW?
Let’s try and get a few things in today.
First- the overview of the last couple of days- I think stuff like that is important. I have lots of friends from different religious backgrounds and nations. Some are Muslim, some are Jewish- others hold to eastern religions.
I want everyone to have a grasp on what the message of Christianity is- it often gets lost in the debates that rage between nations and various political stances- yet the main message of the bible is that Christ died to pay for the sins of all mankind- and God saves/receives people on the grounds of his Son having died for us.
The Old Covenant [the law] was based on man trying real hard to be good- he could never live up to the standard. Then the New Covenant was established- which was based on this free gift of eternal life- Jesus paid the price- we receive salvation as a gift- not as a matter of works.
I’ll do more on the basics the next few weeks- but I wanted to at least hit these truths for a few days.
Okay- as a Texan I stated a while ago that I’m not particularly a fan of Rick Perry. In many ways I do not fit the political mold of ‘the right’ or the left. I also realized that if Perry jumped into the fray- well the left would use that with all their might to play on the divisions of the country.
MSNBC has showed no shame in saying that the Evangelical Protestants are nuts- and the Catholics [Lawrence O’Donnell says this a lot] are the stable folk. Now- as a Christian- I see myself more and more as a composite of all the great historic faiths.
Anyone who has read my blog for a while can easily see that. I have actually had to correct Catholic news guys- quite often- when they misrepresent their own church. So I think the lefts agenda to feed into this divide- for purely political purposes- is bad.
Last night I was channel surfing and I hit Gore’s station- current T.V. They had Shuster filling in for Olbermann. He was teasing a segment on Perry- you know- saying now that he’s in the race- well damn it- we are not gonna let him get away with his lies!
So Shuster kept saying ‘Perry’s misleading you about the job growth in Texas- we’ll uncover his lies in a moment’. Okay- I’m fair-minded- not really a Perry guy- I’ll listen.
He goes on and plays a clip where Perry states- carefully- that since June of 2009- over 40 % of the new jobs created in the country came from Texas.
Now- the last few weeks I have heard various pundits use this figure- sometimes they would exaggerate and say around 50 %.
So I figured Shuster and the crew had something on the man- they did report- as news- that he lied.
Then Shuster gave the scoop- he said first of all- many new people have moved to the state of Texas [okay- listening] and that many of the new jobs created in the state were service related—restaurants- etc. [okay- still listening] and that many of these jobs are not high paying- and therefore Perry lied.
Well someone lied for sure- but it wasn’t Perry.
Then I caught a clip of the channels owner [Gore] going off the rails. This past week was bad news for the global warming crowd [I’m not an absolute denier by the way]. I saw/heard the clip a couple of times- Gore was at some meeting and he freaked out- he was saying ‘those who say the earth is not warming- bull s^%$t. Those who deny this/that- bull s---t.’ I mean it sounded like one of my posts on a bad day.
I guess the pressure got to him- lots of folk are rejecting the science behind global warming. Let me say- I have never deeply looked into it- but as a big news guy I hear both sides. The other day I read a news article- it was a small article hidden in the paper- but it said that we now have scientific proof that the pollution trapped under the ozone layer- is in fact contributing to the COOLING of the planet.
The article explained the actual pollution particles do act as a sort of sun block- and they block some of the sun’s rays from getting in- thus cooling the planet.
Now- this report was not on Fox- or Rush- it was in a plane Jane news paper. I mean even as a casual reader of the subject- I had to laugh. I mean this is the exact opposite argument that Gore has made.
Then- for the first time ever- I watched Gores global warming flick. It came on after the news show I watch on his station. Sure enough- he shows a sort of cartoon graphic that shows the sun- and the rays of the sun penetrating thru the ozone layer surrounding the planet. And then the cartoon shows the ray bouncing off the earth- but when it gets back up to the ozone layer- well the ray gets stuck inside- it can’t get out.
He then went on to explain that the pollution [co2] is causing this effect- and that’s why the globe is melting.
Now- I had just read the news article- and it was obvious to ask ‘well Mr. Gore- how come when you show the graphic- the rays have no problem getting in- the pollution does not block anything from getting in- yet when the same ray wants to bounce back out- it can’t’.
I mean it wasn’t that hard to see that there were real problems with his idea- and I guess the world is finding out a little faster than he wished.
The other day I read an article on Evolution. It showed one of the most famous ‘proofs’ for evolution. Those who have read the pros and cons on the thing- well we all know about the famous bird/dinosaur fossil that was found around 150 years ago.
This fossil has been used as proof for the theory- for 150 years. Now- this extinct looking bird does look like it came from the pre historic world. But I have heard- for 20 years at least- the creationists say that this fossil is not a bird fossil at all- that is simply a flying dinosaur.
Now- there are ways scientists can tell this stuff from fossils- it would take too long to try and explain the whole thing [plus- I don’t know the whole thing!]. But we know in our day that birds have completely different body structures than dinosaurs. Birds do not have lungs- they have hollow bones and when they fly the air goes thru their body- and that’s how they oxygenate their bodies.
That’s why you never see a bird breathing heavy- or breathing at all after it lands- they don’t breathe like animals who have lungs.
Okay- for various reasons the evolutionary community needed to show that they found a bird/dinosaur fossil- it was needed to fill in the blank between dinosaurs turning into birds- which is part of evolutionary theory.
I have heard scientists argue- time and again- that the creationists were doing fake science when they claimed this fossil was really a dinosaur- not a bird [Flying dinosaur- but a dinosaur never the less]. And these scientists would say all true science has proven- beyond a Shadow of a doubt- that this particular fossil was indeed a bird.
Okay- the article I just read said ‘surprise- Chinese scientists have just discovered that the so called bird- well it’s a dinosaur’!
You know- you hear things all the time- from sources of media- people who sware they are telling the truth ‘Perry is lying about creating 40 % of the nations jobs’ and then when you look at the numbers- well the news guy was lying.
Yet these same advocates- who it was already leaked that they were going to do a smear campaign- they want to tell us how they are so smart- and the rest of the country are a bunch of duped Tea Partiers. Yeah- that’s the smart crowd- the ones who were worshipping at the foot of a 150 year old bird for past century and a half- and Walla- they were really worshipping a dinosaur instead.
The apostle Paul said [Romans] that people loved and served the creation- rather than the creator. And as a judgment God have them up to become like the thing they worshipped. Wow- can’t get better than then- can it?
[Correction- in the last post I mentioned birds having a different respiratory system than other animals. The mistake I want to correct is birds do have a sort of lung system- but they don’t have a diaphragm- they don’t breathe in and out- the same way other animals/people do. Everything else in the post is accurate- just wanted to clarify this part].
 HE NAILED IT TO THE CROSS
[Correction- in the last post I mentioned birds having a different respiratory system than other animals. The mistake I want to correct is birds do have a sort of lung system- but they don’t have a diaphragm- they don’t breathe in and out- the same way other animals/people do. Everything else in the post is accurate- just wanted to clarify this part].
‘For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordnances- that he might create in himself one new man so making peace….and you who were dead in sins God made alive…by canceling the record of debt that stood against us..He took the law and nailed it to his Cross’ Ephesians chapter 2 and Colossians chapter 2.
Okay- as I have said in the last few posts- most of our New Testament was made up of the letters that the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the 1st century. The main themes of these letters are the death and resurrection of Christ- the Cross- what that means to us.
These 2 chapters mentioned above deal with what’s called a Mystery. In the N.T. writings of Paul- mystery simply means the revealing of a truth for the 1st time. One of these truths was the reality that Jesus took the law [10 commandments and all the regulations that man could not live up to] and he nailed it to his Cross.
Now- when he did this- he not only reconciled [brought us back] us to God- but he also removed the ‘enmity’ that caused ethnic divisions between the Jews and non Jews.
In today’s terms we would say the death of Christ removes all racial/ethnic barriers between the people groups of the world. When people read these types of verses- maybe for the first time- it does seem to go against the common understanding that most Christians have.
We often are raised in a good church as kids- I went to Catholic school for the first few years of my life- then switched to public school so I could hang out with my friends. But I still went to CCD classes right down the block from my grade school.
And for the most part I learned Christianity from good priests- and the process was worth it [though many of my Protestant friends will be upset with me because I say stuff like this]. And like most ‘good’ kids- some of the stuff stuck with me- but lots just fell away.
Eventually I would go thru some crisis things- got in some trouble in Texas- was a young kid on my own- and did get into reading the bible.
That’s what really did it for me- reading these truths- straight from the bible- thinking ‘geez- I never knew the bible actually said stuff like this!’
And Walla- a Texas convert! But as time progressed- and I began to get serious about studying church history and the whole realm of Christianity- I came back to an appreciation of my early Catholic roots- I didn’t have to ‘hate’ the Catholics- like many of my friends did [and do] I just needed to see the overall view of the bible- and understand that many churches- like all institutions- do have a tendency to get lost in the bureaucracy as time moves on.
So my goal at this season is to simply re introduce a lot of the bible teachings- along with a healthy appreciation of the historic churches.
The above verses talk about the New Covenant- like I said these past few days- the New Covenant is the new ‘deal’ that God made with man- saying ‘My Son died for you- if you believe- by faith- you will be saved’. Now- this deal- as opposed to the old deal [called the Old Covenant] is really great news-
That’s what the word Gospel means- good news. Of course for people who are not familiar with the bible- it just seems so strange to read a verse that says ‘Jesus took the law- the commandments that were against us- the ones we could never live up to- and he nailed them to his Cross’.
I mean this goes against what most well meaning Christians believe- that if they try their best- keep the churches rules- obey the commandants- then they will be saved.
But that’s actually approaching God with an Old Covenant mindset- not seeing salvation as a free gift- but something you earn.
How did the church in general get away from truths like this? After the first century church moved on- you did have the church go thru lots of stages. Some Protestants hold a view that in the 4th century- under the Emperor Constantine- that the church became pagan/Catholic- and that this started a 1000 year process of the Dark Ages.
I find this view to be too harsh- and prefer to see it like this. Yes, the early church did go off the rails at times- yet there were also many good things that did happen during the so called Dark Ages. At one point the only institution that existed for the protection of society was indeed the Catholic Church.
Nations appealed to her as the final arbiter for justice and fairness in the world.
As the 2nd millennium of the Christian era progressed- you had the development of the University system and the rise of the independent nation states. Germany, England, France- many nation states began to develop armies/navies- and there was a sense of real independence from Rome.
This allowed for a sort of dynamic where the leading scholars of the day [Luther, Calvin, etc..] to be able to break away from what they saw as too much church tradition- and start a movement that would get closer to the bible.
We call this the Protestant Reformation- took place in the 1500’s. Okay- during these debates the Protestants wanted to get back to the basic teachings of the New Testament and in a noble effort- they replaced the style of church- and basically removed the communion table as the central focus of the mass/service- and replaced it with a pulpit.
That is- the new focus was the bible. Okay- we got some good things- and bad things- from this. Now- most of my Protestant friends would say ‘bad- what’s bad!’
Like everything in life- it takes time to see things- and this is one of those things. What slowly happened in protestant churches was the focus shifted from the ‘Table of the Lord’ to the person speaking. In Many present Protestant churches- you basically have a large theatre where people come to hear speaking every Sunday- and this has become a very limited view of what ‘church’ is.
So even though the Protestants meant well- they in a way did remove Christ [as represented thru the Lords Table] and replaced him with the speaking office- and exalted the speaking office to a degree that is really not seen in the churches we read about in the bible.
So as you can see- we have all made some mistakes- and in time we can see the things that need to be corrected- and make those adjustments.
I prefer to see my Catholic past as a good thing- having been blessed to have had a chance to learn abut God and Christian history- even though I didn’t pay attention too well.
And I also thank God for the various Protestants expressions of Christianity that I have come in contact with over the years.
I would encourage all my friends to make an effort to get back to the bible- read these chapters I mention every so often- mediate on these truths- think about them ‘wow- the New Testament teaches that Jesus took the law- and nailed it to his Cross’. This doesn’t mean we can now go out and kill, steal- commit adultery. But it means we are saved by God’s grace. The gift of faith is given freely- we don’t save ourselves through trying real hard to live up to the church rules.
Yes- the bible calls this good news- and if you think about it- it really is.
A few months back as I was sitting in my lawyer’s office- I noticed he had a painting of the great Christian martyr- Thomas Moore. I mentioned ‘Oh- Thomas Moore’ and I went on to overview his great life- and his convictions to not deny what he believed to be true- even at the point of death.
I figured my lawyer- who was a former JAG officer- would at least have some idea who the man was- he did have an expensive painting of the man on his wall- but to my surprise he had no idea who/what I was talking about.
Moore got caught up in the English reformation fights- King Henry would break with Rome and there was lots of political maneuvering going back and forth. Ultimately Thomas would get caught in the thing and he was executed because he would not deny Papal authority and accept the Kings new belief that he was the head of the English church.
Moore was also famous for his book- Utopia. It was a fictional account of this land where everyone shared and they did not live for gain- a kind of Marxist idea- centuries before Marx.
Lest do a little Utopian Redux. Say if this past year I were to tell you that this land existed on the other side of the world. It was made up of Perry’s, Bachman’s- Jerry Falwell types- you know the whole 9 yards.
In this land they hated gays- I mean all they do all day is talk about anti gay stuff! Let’s says they also are so right winged- that they have taught all the little Black kids to take up arms against their govt.
They also spread rumors that when the other countries try to come and help us- that they are secretly trying to poison us. So the kids refuse the vaccines that the developed nations are offering free of charge.
Let’s says Christianland also is experiencing one of the worst famines in history- I mean thousands of children have died- and many more thousands are on the verge of dying.
But the Christians in Christianland are so bad- that they have even used their radical religious beliefs to fight the food aid coming into the country- and because of this many of the little Black kids are dying- on a huge scale.
Do you think a story like this would get attention?
Actually this story is real- it is happening right now as I write- except ‘Christianland’ is really Somalia- and the Christians are really radical Muslims. Yes- this is the present situation in Somalia today.
Now- how has the media reported this story? Have they really covered the radical religious beliefs of this group- Al Shabab- I mean have they spent days and weeks and months harping on the sad religious angle of the story?
The vice president’s wife went there a few days ago- she came back to report on why the aid is not getting through. She spoke of the West’s responsibility to do what we can to help- but she made no mention of the fact that the religious radicals are indeed causing much of the problem.
Yet as I watched the talking heads all week- they can’t stop doing shows on Christian parents beating their kids to death [one case- Anderson Cooper is covering it like there were hundreds of thousands of cases- and he is implicating all Christians who have ever disciplined their kids with spanking].
They are consumed with any past statements from Bachman on Homosexuality- I mean they can’t stop!
Last night Christine O’Donnell [Remember- I am not a witch?] walked off the Peirs Morgan show because he just couldn’t resist drilling her on masturbation.
Let’s say if every time a gay rights advocate- who was not gay- who just supported gay marriage- say if we asked them all the time ‘so you advocate for anal sex’ and we made this the most notable thing- we talked about the actual act- described it in detail. And then said ‘well this is relevant- because you believe in gay marriage’.
And last but not least- yes- these wonderful open minded news folk- these non tea party reasonable people- yes it was only a matter of time before they would pull out their favorite card- you know- the race card.
On MSNBC Matthews [who has himself spoken about a sort of masturbation feeling he gets when he listens to the president- ‘a tingle goes up my leg’ is he describing foreplay?] had on 2 Texas politicos. They were on a split screen- top and bottom. The guy on the bottom was Jim Hightower- he used to be in the Texas political scene years ago- I guess he now has a radio show.
The other guy was a liberal from Dallas.
Matthews is engaging in his usual un informed speech- and as he is mocking the Texan [Perry]- even saying ‘the all hat and no cattle guy’ it’s hard not to laugh- seeing Hightower sitting there- with his Stetson beaming high!
And here it comes- the Dallas reporter quoted the words of Perry from a recent prayer rally- he said how Perry spoke about a 'Dark Cloud’ hanging over the nation- and that Perry believes he is the White hope that will get rid of this ‘Dark cloud’.
You know- when the left does this- purposefully injects race into the game- when we all know the real meaning of Perry’s words were not about race- then the left destroys the dialogue- they make it impossible to engage in enlightened speech.
A few weeks ago- during one of the Repub debates- CNN had on a regular Dem. Guest. His name is Cornell Belcher [he is Black]. As John King was asking them how they thought the debate went- Belcher- innocently kept using a phrase that I knew made King jump out of his boots.
Remember- John King- after the Gifford’s shooting- when the media publicly blamed Sarah Palin for the 6 deaths- King and others critiqued the right for using violent speech. King even went so far- I think honestly- that he rebuked one of his guests for saying ‘target’ or something like that.
So as he’s talking to Belcher- Belcher says that Pawlenty blew it- because he wasn’t tough enough on Romney. He then said- repeatedly ‘in these debates you have to cut the man- and make him bleed’.
Now- I saw King- I knew he was uncomfortable- but he let it slide. Then sure enough- Belcher again says ‘no- you can’t just slice the man- he must bleed too’.
He obviously was saying Pawlenty needed to not just go after Romney- but score some points. Look- I know what the guy was saying- and I did not hear any right winger rake the man over the coals- but the left were able to use the term ‘Dark Cloud’ and insinuate that Perry- and all the other right wing- anti gay- anti masturbation- child killing advocates- that they are the main cause of all the ills in the world- that if they would stop being the way they are- that the world would become a modern day Utopia- sort of like Obama spoke about in the early days of his presidency.
But no- we have a real world religious radical group- directly responsible for the deaths of many thousands of little Black kids- and this groups radical views are causing the parents of these kids to reject the free vaccinations- and their kids are dying by the thousands because of this- yet the media for some reason doesn’t see this as a major right wing religious problem- no- they want to air Bachman’s church recordings where she prays for gays- they want to go back 15 years and see why Christine does not like masturbation.
They want to find a phrase in Perry's prayer- that they can use to say ‘they hate Black folk’ yes the media are doing such a great job- I just wish I could find some place to hide- to go away from all these talking heads- maybe a place called Utopia.
 THIS ROCK
A few weeks ago I mentioned how I want to try and cover the Sunday Mass readings every now and then. I watch the Mass every Sunday [as well as hold a Protestant meeting- home meeting] and I wanted to hit on the verses so my Catholic friends can get a little more into bible study.
Last week one of the readings was from Isaiah 56- the week before chapter 55. These chapters sort of cover one of the main themes that I spoke about during our overview of the letters of the N.T.
If you remember- one of the ‘mysteries’ we spoke about was the truth that in Christ- all ethnic groups are now one in Christ. This was spoken about in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. In Isaiah we read about God bringing all nations to Christ ‘you will call a nation that you do not know- and nations that do not know you will come running to you’ ‘My fathers house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’- Jesus quotes this verse when he throws out the Money Changers from the temple. Another one ‘whoever is thirsty- come- drink of this water freely’ the themes of these 2 chapters is God is inviting all groups- they can come and make this Covenant with God.
God is opening the door for all groups to make it in!
On my site- a while back I made some friends from various countries- Muslim countries. I actually did a teaching on Islam- in a positive way- not to ‘trick’ Muslims to convert- but because I felt the anti Muslim feeling in the West- with the world facing so many geo political problems- that we needed to take some positions as Christians that were more gracious to people in general.
Now- I know I too ‘hit hard’ on my site- sure. But I do believe God wants us to live peaceably with ‘all men’. That friends from other religious backgrounds- if they are going through very hard times- then we need to do what we can to help them.
Every conversation with a young Muslim person- who might be struggling with the problems taking place in their nation- we need to also be able to do ‘justly’ see that many of their nations have been oppressive- and all the young people in these nations are not radical Muslims.
Many are women who have been treated badly by the leaders- because the leaders are strict Muslims. So for these people- we need to say ‘yes we see your situation- we are praying for you’ we can’t simply think all the problems will be solved if we only preach to them- without also acting justly- seeing their plight and being concerned and speaking out.
Okay- that’s the main reason I connected with some of these friends. At the same time- obviously I teach the bible- and I hope lots of these friends from various groups [Jews, Muslims, etc..] that they can see that Christianity is not based on the West- or a certain view of Christianity- but its Gods free offering to all men/women ‘come- drink- accept the free gift- it’s for you!’
So of course I want all my friends to feel free to take the benefits that God has given to us- while also respecting them if they choose to worship their own way.
So- this week we saw that in the N.T. the death and resurrection of Christ was Gods way of saying ‘whoever wants to come- come!’. Christ died for everyone- we can all get in.
The prophet Isaiah said this years ago- that God would bring all nations and ethnic groups to ‘his holy mountain’ [kingdom] he would make them joyful- he will accept their gifts [prayers and thanks] and that he is doing all these things for the benefit of all nations- not just one.
As we close the week- go and read these chapters- to my Catholic friends – see what chapters will be in the Mass this Sunday- when you get home after the Mass- read them.
The bible says Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone of the spiritual building called ‘the church’. The bible says many people stumbled over this stone- they were offended at him.
Jesus asked once ‘Who do men say that I am’- Peter said ‘You are the Christ- the Son of the blessed’. Jesus says ‘Blessed are you Peter- flesh and blood did not reveal this to you- but my Father who is in heaven’ and Jesus went on to say ‘Upon this Rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’
Later on in Peters letter’s- he says we are spiritual stones in this spiritual temple- and Jesus is the main Rock. All the bible hinges on him- we must see everything as it relates to ‘This Rock’.
God made provisions for all people thru his Son- he said ‘whoever wants to drink- drink- come freely- without charge- it’s for you too’.
 LIBYA, SYRIA AND FAST AND FURIOUS
Last night I watched the coverage of the bombs going off in Tripoli- you see all these explosions lighting up the dark capitol city- and the coverage under the bombing said ‘Gadhaffi’s last stand- will he unleash his violence on Tripoli’s civilians?’
Of course the bombs are our side- and we have advanced- backing the Rebels- thru city after city this last month. Human rights agencies have reported ‘our side’ murdering civilians- looting businesses- burning down many homes of civilians- all the while the media coverage is talking about Gahaffi’s human rights abuses.
We had a Black congresswoman go over to Libya- she heard reports that the Rebels [our side] were lynching Blacks [I kid you not] according to her reporting- this was true. I explained it before- the Black skinned Africans in Libya are primarily the mercenaries that Gadhaffi has hired from Southern Africa- so if the rebels catch a Black skinned person- he’s a dead man- just because he’s Black- these are OUR GUYS- the side we and NATO are backing.
CNN has been showing the pictures- UNCONFIRMED- of children and dead adults in Syria- now- I think Assad is an evil ruler- and I agree with our president’s recent call for his ouster- he said it publicly for the first time the other day.
But as CNN continues to show the pictures of dead kids- and they say they can’t confirm them- they must realize that in a situation like Syria- if you ‘UP THE ANTE’ FOR ONE SIDE TO GAIN GREATLY BY THE IMAGE OF A DEAD KID- THEN YOU HAVE JUST GREATLY INCREASED THE VALUE OF ONE SIDE GETTING A DEAD KID.
Look- I don’t know if the anti Assad side has done this- but if the American media can’t confirm who killed the kid- we need to stop upping the damn ante!
Over these last few months I have watched the congressional hearings over FAST AND FURIOS- the name of the disastrous scheme cooked up by the ATF in an attempt to trace the guns of Mexican drug runners.
In this crack pot plan- the U.S. knowingly allowed guns to be sold illegally to these gun runners. These guns were then found at the scene of the death of one of our law enforcement guys- and this administrations Justice Dept. did all they could do- with the help of the media- to not report the story.
Over time- because the hearings are on CSPAN- you heard and saw the dissimulation of the Administrations law enforcement people- and it was obvious to see that this thing is a scandal of huge proportions- they are just hoping the public will believe the media- and not the real story [Gadhaffi unleashes his violence on his own people- while showing us dropping bombs].
I have watched the U.S. agents testify that they kept warning- screaming- for someone to stop this horrendous plot. They actually have said- over recorded phone calls- ‘look- your getting us all killed down here!’
The Mexican govt. grilled us over this- one Mexican reporter [not a single U.S. one by the way] asked Obama about this- you could tell he knew about it- and was not being upfront.
Then you had the top ATF guy- in charge of this scheme- asked ‘why did you make cell phone calls to so and so [a political insider- inside the ring of the president] right after you found out the plan was going to go public’.
This guy said he was just friends with this insider- he just called to say hi. Then when asked by congress- ‘did you talk about this plan with this insider’ he repeatedly said ‘specifically- no’.
Then when the congressman asked ‘look- in your response- don’t use specifically- did you discuss this operation with this insider’ he then looked befuddled- sort of like ‘gee- let me think for a moment’ then answered yes.
What does that tell us? This guy- and all the other guys covering up- have all been coached on what to do to cover this thing up.
This week I saw our ‘illustrious’ past majority leader in the papers once again. Yes- the Hammer- Tom Delay was going back to court. If you remember the Dems went after him- charging him with Money Laundering.
Now- those of you who are not from Texas- I have been in Democratic politics [not Repub!] for 30 years. I was [still am] a member of a Democratic union- the international association of fire fighters.
In Texas politics- you used to get around the law [which the Supreme Court changed this past year by the way] that forbid actual corporate dollars to go to campaigns in Washington. The way you got around the law was you used a form- CALLED A MONEY SWAPPING FORM [I kid you not] and you took whatever contribution was given- and then you sort of sent the money to a general fund- and then from another fund they would take the non corporate dollars and that’s how they got around the law.
Now- this is no secret in Texas- everyone knows this. This actual act is legal.
But then a few years back- the highly partisan Dem prosecutor from Austin [Ronnie Earl]- who oversees Delays district- decided to go after Delay for doing this- but he would try and convince a jury that Delay laundered money in violation of U.S. drug/mafia laws- a legal case that has never been attempted in the political realm- after all- actual ‘money swapping’ is legal.
Sure enough- he managed to convict Delay- for doing what we all do- by convincing the jury that Delay laundered money.
Now- to all my insider Dem buddies- they couldn’t believe they got the man- for something they all do- all the time. I mean they have forms that say USE FOR MONEY SWAPS.
I mean the scam was too good to be true- thats the scam of sending Delay to prison for what we all know is done all the time.
Yet in the media- you would think the man actually laundered DRUG MONEY- it’s the classic example of the media deciding to pick a side- and then they just trust that the viewing public will not think for themselves.
I don’t know what will happen in all these cases- but to have the U.S. justice dept. obviously scheming to get around an investigation- one that involves many guns being used [up until this very hour!] and some of them being used to kill our guys- this rises to the level of people being prosecuted- or even being impeached- if you did indeed cover something like this up.
We are not talking leaking the name of someone to the media [Valerie Plame] or even covering up a botched break in [Watergate] we are talking about covering up a botched scheme that has actually killed our law enforcement guys- and we have our guys on record saying ‘your getting us all killed down here- stop the damn program’.
But if the media can convince us that Gadhaffi is unleashing a slaughter on his own people in Tripoli- while showing us actual footage of our side bombing the city- then I guess they can convince us of anything- I know there’s a bunch of people right now in Washington- who hope they will.
 TRUTH IN REPORTING
Last night we all watched the impending downfall of the Libyan strongman- ruled for 42 years and it looked like his time was up. The media also reported the capture of Saif- Gadhaffi’s son- I found it interesting to see the media get duped in such a public way.
We in the West want to reduce everything to a ‘hero versus villain’ scenario- it just makes us feel better to know that when our young guys shed their blood on a foreign field- well at least they died for the hero [though we did not have guys on the ground in Libya].
Yet in reality this is rarely the case. Over these last 6 months we have seen media portrayals of the Rebels. They were portrayed as doctors, lawyers and good hard working citizens who have been reduced to such primal tactics because of the madness of Gadhaffi.
Yet the reality of the situation is these 2 sides [East versus West- in Libya] have been at odds for decades. Libya has around 140 different tribes, and these tribes fight for power and influence- just like political parties.
So the tribes coming from Benghazi- the Eastern ‘capital’ have fought against the tribes from the West- Tripoli- for years.
The tribes from the East [the guys we have backed up] have had a number of Al Qaeda troops in their ranks- we don’t know how many have actually killed our guys in other theatres- but we know many Al Qaeda from Libya have fought us on foreign ground [Iraq].
But over the last 6 months this story would not have benefited the medias narrative [hero versus villain] so we have really not covered that aspect much.
So last night- all the media were reporting that Gadhaffi’s son, Saif, was taken captive. This was confirmed by the ICC [international criminal court] and the news media went with it- as being confirmed.
Often times the media will say ‘we have an unconfirmed report’ but when they say ‘confirmed’ that means the information is coming from top people who they have trusted and deemed to be honest.
So- after the reports of Gadhaffi having fled the country and his sons being captured- the media ‘confirmed’ it from the Rebels top guys- those they have given the top tier of trust to [You know- DeNiro and Stiller- the inner circle].
So the surprise was seeing Saif show up in front of the hotel where the media are staying. One reporter went up to Saif’s vehicle and knocked on the window- he said ‘if you’re in there for real- I need to see’. Sure enough the door opened- and to the shock of the reporter- there sat Saif.
Why shock? Because the rebels have played them like puppets for 6 months- denying that they have killed civilians- assuring them that these stories were all lies cooked up by the villain- and right up until the moment the car door opened- they were assured- in no uncertain terms ‘we have Saif in custody- you can trust us on this one’. Trust they did- and they looked like fools.
Then the media began running with ‘well- both sides have lied lots during this conflict- and sometimes you have to just trust your own eyes’. The problem with this is we have backed up one side- spent 1.1 billion on that side- and the media believed all the reports about ‘our side’ killing kids was simply a Gadhaffi lie- now it looks like they were used in this deadly game playing out on the Mediterranean.
I hope it ends soon- but we must remember that there are a lot of innocent civilians in the West- who never supported the Rebels- the rebels have killed many of them- burned down their homes- looted their businesses- the rebels are no angels- and it looks like the media just found that out.
Today I really wanted to post a few notes on the current media frenzy on science versus faith- the topic is becoming hot in the media- they like talking about stuff they don’t know about- and this one takes the cake.
Basically the media have been turning up the heat on why Perry and all the other stoops [that would be Christians] are denying science. I have written- and posted lots about this in the past. Most people are not aware of the overwhelming amount of science that challenges the most common ideas about evolution.
I’ll just hit on one- Abio Genesis. This is the belief that life can spontaneously generate from dead matter. This view is false- scientifically false. It is also commonly held with the false view of the spontaneous generation of all things.
Many media folk hold to a belief that the Big Bang theory shows us that all things have come from no-thing. Actually- this is a scientific impossibility. This idea- creation ‘Ex Nihilo’- is false.
Einstein’s theory did show us that matter had a beginning point- called the Point of Singularity- yet today we have absolutely no scientific proof that all things came from nothing- yet most media folk do indeed believe this.
So this topic really is one where the media have created their villain [the back water Christians] and their hero [the false idea that science has proved all types of stuff- that is has not!]. Yet they hope that if they run with the narrative long enough- then hopefully they will never be found out- you know- opening that car door and seeing their man- the man they assured the whole world was gone- yet he lives to see another day.
[note- those of you who are interested in more on Evolution- on my Blog if you go to the February posts of each year- I have studies on Evolution and one on Genesis- you might find them helpful in the coming debate].
Today I want to talk a little bit more about the bible and science- maybe over the next few weeks I’ll do a sort of overview of the Old Testament- like I just did with the New Testament.
I think it’s important for believers to have a basic grasp on some of the ideas about creation- evolution- and the whole debate in general.
I have written a lot in the past on the various theories- and won’t try and cover it all again- but just give some parameters that kind of frame this debate.
The other day I saw a news clip of an actor that I used to like- Matt Damon. I always liked Good Will Hunting and the Boerne Identity flicks. Some reporter asked him a question that kind of pit the right against the left [politically]. He replied with some ‘high faluttin’ language- I mean you could tell he really thinks he is the Good Will guy- but he did it in a way that said ‘you inferior intellects of the world- why must we have to put up with you’!
Sort of like when Tyson gave his speech on the inferior skills of those who were losing to him- they were losing because they were truly behind the advanced world of scientific boxing [not because Tyson fought you like ‘you stole something from him’ the quote of a defeated foe]. I sensed in Damon's response a feeling that you pick up when the media tries to cover this whole debate.
The other day they showed a clip of some kid asking Perry ‘why do you not believe in evolution’ and Perry actually answered in a good way- he said ‘in Texas the schools teach both creation and evolution [actually that’s not true] and that evolution has some gaps to it’.
You then heard the mom in the background saying ‘ask him why he rejects science’ and of course you knew which way the report was going.
The history behind the way Christians view the book of Genesis [and creation] has varied lots over the years. Many old earth creationists [like myself] have argued for a ‘less literal’ hard line stance on the Genesis account- yet also not fully accepting the evolutionary view of things.
Others are what you would call Theistic evolutionists- they believe evolution is God’s way of doing things.
And others hold to a literal 6 day creation- with no room for any sort of symbolism at all.
All these views have some type of problem with them- something that you could find and say ‘see- this is why this view is wrong’.
And as I read the different views- I try and stay open to the best arguments from all sides.
As you read Genesis chapter 1- you see the Account of God creating all things. You have the 6 days of creation with God resting on the 7th day.
You do see somewhat of a framework right in the 6 days. For instance- on day 1 you have God making light- yet he doesn’t create the sun and luminaries until day 4.
On day 2 he creates the sky and water- day 5 birds and fish.
Day 3 he makes the land and plants- and day 6 he makes man and animals.
So you see a sort of ‘2 tiered’ system here- God making on the first ‘3 days’ the things that correspond on the last [2nd set] of ‘3 days’.
Now- this does not mean you have to spiritualize the whole thing- but there is room here for more than meets the eye.
The strict creationists argue that even though God made the light on day 1- and the sun and stars didn’t appear until day 4- they actually teach that for the first 3 days God had made another source of light- that we don’t know about- and this source lasted for only the first 3 days.
I see problems with a rigid view like that- I would prefer to see it the way I just showed you- that God is doing the creating- and it is done in 6 days- yet we are not getting a scientific account here- God is showing us things that we could grasp as regular folk who are picking up the bible and reading it for the first time.
So as you can see these types of debates can go on for a while.
The main point I want to make is the Church has always had room for true science to ‘fit in’ with the text- the church has not always taken a hard line ‘creationist stance’ on these things.
And at the same time there are many problems with the actual theory of evolution [Perry’s gaps] problems that I see that many of the media folk have no grasp on. For instance you do have a whole bunch of science that does seem to say that one species of a thing can never- ever evolve into another thing.
The science on this very fact has caused many scientists- unbelieving scientists- to ask ‘is it time for us to re think the theory’. But when you listen to the news people- or to Mom telling her kid ‘ask him why he doesn’t believe in science’ you realize that many of these ‘enlightened folk’ have no idea what they are talking about.
Yes- they sound like the Matt Damons and the Tysons of the world ‘you have no place with us in this advanced world of the intellect- we have surpassed your Neanderthal ideas- we are the new generation’.
Yes- I see the lines being drawn already- the Perry’s of the world are now going to be contrasted with the enlightened folk- I just wish both sides would spend a little more time listening to each other- and realize that we are not as far apart on some of these things as we think- we might be able to all get along someday- but who knows when that day will get here.
 DARWIN’S RELIGION
In keeping with the last post let’s do a little more on Genesis- and the whole debate over science and religion. Because of the way this debate raged right around the turn of the 20th century [18-19 hundreds] there were many fine Christians who sort of had the impression that Evolution- as fully defined in Darwin’s way- was indeed proven beyond all doubt.
This was certainly not true. What we were learning from science was basically the actual thing that Darwin observed on his Galapagos Island tour- science showed us that species of things do change/adapt to their environment over time. And that these changes do indeed get passed along to following generations.
Modern Biology does show us- beyond all doubt- that ‘micro’ evolution does take place [when I say micro I mean evolution within species].
Darwin- as well meaning as he was- carried the idea further and thought ‘heck, maybe that’s where all species have come from- one common ancestor that eventually branched off over millions of years- and that’s the starting point’.
Now- was Darwin a nut to think this? No- at the time [late 1800’s] we did not know what we know today. It was assumed that living cells were not complex and that something like this was possible.
But since Charlie’s day- we have found out that living cells- no matter how hard we try- or observe- they simply never ‘change’ from one type of cell into another.
As a matter of fact- this scientific fact is so tested- it has left many scientists to re think the whole theory.
Now- why is it so hard for them to ‘re think’ it? You have to understand- for anyone in the field of science to even talk about evolution possibly not being true- it puts you in the category of a nut case.
And I have read/heard statements from non Christian scientists who say this very thing. They can’t get heard- even though the most basic plank of Evolution [common ancestry] has basically been shown to never happen.
See the dilemma? Yet around the turn of the century many fine scholars- men like B.B. Warfield from Princeton- they embraced evolution because they thought the Genesis account left room for various interpretations. And they thought that Darwin was proven to be right- all the way.
So today we have the problem of biased science- that is science that has gotten to a point we they can’t really admit that after 150 years- it does seem that Darwin’s initial idea- which came at a primitive time- was just wrong.
Now- does this mean the ‘God’ idea is right? Well for me- and others- sure. But I can float another scenario- which would still not explain the actual origin of life- but it would fit better than common ancestry.
That idea would be instead of thinking that one original life form arose from the Primordial Soup- you say many arose.
That’s it- you have solved a huge problem by just adjusting the theory- so why don’t they adjust it? Well Darwin’s theory has become more of a religious belief than anything else- to challenge it is considered scientific heresy.
Okay- what about Genesis? Yesterday I gave you some ideas on how different people view it. At the same time that Evolution was being hyped- you also had what’s called ‘higher criticism’ arise out of the universities of Germany. These were the scholars [Butlmann- etc.] that kind of thought the new scientific age was on the rise- humanism was the future- and if there was any chance to ‘save religion’ then ‘religion’ had to adapt.
These guys meant well- but they threw out too much. They embraced an idea called ‘The Demythification of religion’. They thought that the bible still had valuable moral stories in it [Sermon on the Mount] but when it came to science and stuff like that- well a lot of that was told as Myth- not Myth life a fairy Tale- but Myth meant it really was unreliable in these areas.
Many fine men embraced an idea that challenged the historical accuracy of the first 11 chapters of Genesis- stories like a talking Serpent in the Garden- Noah’s Flood- the Tower of Babel- all of these ‘stories’ are found in the first 11 chapters- and it was easy for these scholars to say ‘see- these are not ‘real’ stories- they are Myth’.
Okay- what’s the problem? Well- when you look at various portions of the bible- it is true that some parts are poetry- others are historical narrative- others are Prophetic- and it is helpful to know these types of distinctions.
But if you view Adam and Eve- or Noah’s Flood [you know- the whole world being saved by a man and his family on a boat!] If you read the New Testament Jesus says ‘as it was in the days of Noah’ or ‘in the beginning God created them male and female’ now you have Jesus referring to these first 11 chapters- and he is speaking about them in a way that sure sounds like true history.
See? So these types of debates do rage at times- but overall the bible has stood up to the test of time. Many of the critics will use some of these things to challenge the church- and in a noble effort some good scholars jumped a little too quickly onto the Darwin bandwagon- especially at a time when some scientists are looking for a way to get off!
 OLD TESTAMENT SURVEY CONTINUED
Let’s do some more on our survey of the Old Testament. In the past I did a commentary on the book of Genesis- so let’s just overview it briefly today.
Like I discussed the other day- the first 11 chapters cover a lot. You have the creation account, Noah’s flood and the origination of people groups [Tower of Babel- sometimes referred to as the table of nations].
Then in chapter 12- thru the end of Genesis- you read the story of one man and his family. God appears to Abraham- promises him a few things- and then the rest of Genesis covers this family.
In chapter 12 [and 15] God makes a covenant [promise] to Abraham. God says if you leave your home town- go to a place that I will show you [he goes by faith- doesn’t even know the final destination yet] then I will make you into a great nation- I will give you all the land and you will be a blessing to all nations.
The story continues with Abraham’s son Isaac- then to Jacob. Jacob’s name is changed to Israel- he has his 12 sons and they eventually go to Egypt and multiply.
Jacobs’s sons betray the favored son- Joseph- and they sell him into slavery. Eventually Joseph gains favor in Egypt and becomes the top administrator under Pharaoh. The land experiences a severe famine and the other boys who betrayed Joseph have to find food- in Egypt!
They go back to Egypt- they eventually have to confront Joseph and he forgives them and the entire family of Jacob [Israel] moves into Egypt [Goshen].
Genesis ends with the original promise of becoming a great nation only partly fulfilled. Though Abraham’s family did become huge- yet Abraham dies without possessing any land in the Promised Land- except his burial spot.
The book ends with some terrific promises that Jacob gives to the boys- this is a type of patriarchal blessing that the father passes on to the sons. A death bed blessing. And the sons go away with the final word from dad [a few ‘blessings’ are actually rebukes].
Okay- pretty simple- you just learned the whole book of Genesis- not that hard. Over viewing the bile like this is important [for those who want to learn] because it keeps the focus on the main thing.
Many people start out reading the bible with good intentions- and the first 2 books are interesting [Genesis, Exodus] but then you do get a little bogged down in Numbers and Leviticus and stuff.
If you get a basic overview of what’s going on- that God is ‘presenting’ Jesus to us- at an early stage- thru all these stories- then it helps to not get lost in the details.
Eventually these promises that God makes to Abraham get fulfilled- and the apostle Paul [and Peter- Acts] see the fulfilling of God blessing all nations thru Abrahams son- they say that this promise is today fulfilled thru Christ- one of the sons [down the line] of Abraham.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians- chapter 3- he refers to this Abrahamic blessing and says it’s the promise of the Spirit being given to all who believe- that the blessing is being justified by faith thru Christ.
When we cover the 2nd book of the Pentateuch [Torah- the first 5 books of the Old Testament] Exodus- we will see the tables turn on the Jewish people- they multiply so much in Egypt that a new pharaoh will arise and begin persecuting the people.
This leads to the story of Moses- the Ten Commandments and the continued sags of ‘Abraham and his kids’. Okay- try and read some of these books the next week or so. Read a few of the key chapters I mentioned. I would also say read Genesis 22- the story of Abraham offering up his son Isaac on the altar.
This took place on a mountain called Moriah- which is the same mountain that God will offer his Son on many years later- Calvary.
Obviously this chapter is a key chapter in the story.
Okay- that’s it for now- and to all men friends in the North East- be careful. I’m praying for you all. Earthquakes- Hurricanes- yes it’s tough.
You are all in my prayers.
 STOP THE MADNESS- PLEASE!
Okay- just bear with me for a moment. I don’t want to be guilty of what the media are doing right now- that is to run with a story- even after all the evidence is pointing the other way.
Yes- I’m talking about the storm.
Let me give a few quotes- it might be long- but it’s worth it.
Maddow [MSNBC] ‘mayor Bloomberg is shutting the bridges and closing the Subways- not because the winds might blow the bridges down [gee- you think?] but because the winds will flip the cars off [I guess like bingo chips?] and as the Subways leave the tunnels the winds might blow them off the rails’.
Some weather guy- can’t remember off hand ‘this storm is historic- the size of Europe’ the other talking head says ‘yea- I heard you say it- can you explain’ [now- as I’m watching the screen- I see the actual storm- and I’m thinking ‘look- I know maps- have them all over my office- for the life of me this storm is not the size of Europe’.
Then the weather junkie simply draws a circle- around 3 times the size of the storm- around the storm and says ‘see’.
It would have been more accurate if he said ‘you wanna see me draw a circle- 3 times the size of the storm’.
Geraldo ‘I’m not evacuating [gee- I hope not- I mean you thrive on video of you in wars- getting shot at- stuff like that] But my family lives on the 30th floor of a hotel- so I’m moving them to a 2nd floor spot- because when you have a Category 1 on the ground floor- it’s a Cat. 3 on the upper floors’.
General statements ‘there are 70 million people in its path’. Make it sound bad why don’t you? I mean there are 300 million people in ‘its path’ every morning when the sun comes up on the good old U.S. You judge the danger- not by ‘what’s in its path’ but by the actual thing!
Chris Christie ‘It’s 4:30- by now you have maximized your tan- get the hell out of there’. To be fair- he was talking about people sitting on the beach at the Jersey shore- but the media made it sound like the whole Jersey shore was evacuating.
‘Those who have not heeded the evac. warnings- they have chosen their fate’.
Okay- I could go on- but I think you get the picture.
How bad is this storm right now? Not bad at all- compared to the way we rate ‘danger’. When a storm is already halfway on land- no definable eye- and the winds are around 80-90 MPH- that’s pretty darn good- not pretty bad.
Is there still real danger? Sure- a system like this can cause lots of flooding- and sustained 90 mile an hour winds can cause damage. But get out of your mind the images [that the media has been playing] of other historic storms.
This is not Katrina, Celia [Corpus in the 70’s] or any other number of really bad hurricanes that have slammed the U.S. coast- this is not a bad storm!
What should the real response be? Look- why mayor Bloomberg is shutting down Subways and busses and bridges- I have no idea- maybe he’s lost his mind. All the media talking about evacuations in N.J. and N.Y. are blowing things out of proportion.
As far as I can tell- their just evacuating flood prone areas [like where I live in Texas] and for the most part just get ready for lots of wind and rain- I mean all the talk about ‘get out when you have a chance’ is nuts!
Now- there still might be real storm damage- and I don’t want to ‘under warn’ here- I just want us to be realistic- when storms are in the Tropical Storm category- no definable eye- half way already on land- well these storms are not that bad- that’s the truth.
But- any system like this- hugging the coast for a few days- yes- get ready for some flooding. Not like in the movie ‘the Day After’ but flooding like you already saw this past year in the North.
Here in the South we are bone dry- but the North is saturated- so any extra water will flood.
Why do the media do stuff like this? Are they all hyping a global warming agenda- that did indeed say ‘we are facing the worst hurricane future in history’ a few years back- and they feel duped because the actual count has gone down- yes- I live off the gulf- and year after year the count has gone down- right after they made the prediction.
Around 5 years ago I heard a climate guy give a model- he explained that the warming of the oceans [however small] would actually lead to the lessening of severe storms hitting the U.S.
I don’t remember all the reasoning- but he was not a nut case. I never heard from him again- he just didn’t fit the liberal media scene too well.
Yet as I see the media predict- year after year- this year will ‘be the worst’ I wonder why they keep doing this- especially when the actual named hurricanes have gone way down- I wonder if the guy I heard was correct [and if in a few years from now the media will be able to say ‘these last 10 years- we have had more PREDICTIONS of bad storms than in a hundred years!]
Then Martin Bashir [MSNBC- you know- he had doctors on during the debt crisis- telling us how the Tea Party guys are actually psychotic] he’s talking to the science guy [Bill Nye] and he asks ‘do you think global warming is the cause for all this’ [well- if by ‘all this’ you mean the possibility that global warming has caused real neurological damage to the MSNBC staff- then yes- maybe?]
And Nye says ‘yes’ and Bashir- with a look of shock simply says ‘OH MY!’. Yes- for whatever reason- the media has run with the story- subways flying in the air- drawing European size circles around the thing- claiming Cat 1 conditions on the 1st floor- but cat 3 on the 30th floor.
Yes- they have created ‘this monster’ and it’s too much to admit that ‘this monster’ is really no monster. I mean they have hung their reputations on the line- and they look like real nut jobs.
Final word- if you live in Jersey or N.Y. [like some of my friends do] then of course- don’t sit on the beach tonight. But don’t expect a real dangerous hurricane- that’s not going to happen.
I think Bloomberg has probably created more of a mess if he goes ahead and shuts all the transportation down- that’s overkill for sure.
And simply watch the weather channel- look at the actual pictures- if you have to- turn the volume off- and simply see the thing- it’s not as bad as many others have been- that’s just a fact.
 ADIOS MOFO?
Okay- it’s been a couple of days since Irene made landfall and the media are in an all out defense of their ‘over fear mongering’ of the event.
Many are accusing the critics of the media as being Monday morning quarterbacks- just a reminder- the last post I wrote was a day out from the landfall that they were over reporting.
Chad Meyers- the CNN weather guy- you know- the guy who drew the circle 3 times bigger around the thing [read the last post] he has gone back and forth in trying to defend the coverage.
He said ‘the problem with this hurricane [Problem?] is after it made the initial landfall- the eye broke up and when you have storms like this- they don’t cause lots of damage’. That’s the whole point I [and others] are making.
The facts on the ground did not warrant Cat. 4-5 coverage/language- when you knew a day before landfall in the N.E. that the storm was really a Tropical storm/Cat 1- you should not have been reporting it like a cat 4.
Anyway- after he admits this- he’s then on the Piers Morgan show and they have on one dissenter [Washington Times] and they tear the poor guy up. In defending his coverage Chad says that if this storm- after it made landfall and lost its eye- if it then redeveloped its eye [I have never heard of this happening?] and became a Cat 4-5- ‘then it would be bad’.
Geez- I guess you could say this about every storm you cover- the point is the odds of that happening are about zero- and yet your coverage made it sound like this indeed was the scenario.
I think we simply got a good lesson from this- that the media- even after their story is shown to have been overblown- yet they refuse to admit it.
And of course the lives lost are tragic- and the very real flood damage is bad- but the media reported this hurricane as a Katrina event- and Katrina it was not.
Okay- the last week the left has also been once again playing that race card. They have accused global warming deniers of being racists [Gore] they have reported as fact- that conservatives who keep wanting to go back to the ‘constitution’ and the founding father days- they have actually reported that these candidates want to roll back the civil rights laws and re-institute slavery.
Now- Chris Matthews has said ‘I heard so and so says this’ and he lied. They went and checked the accusation- and the person did not say it.
When the left does this- they lose the majority of the country, especially when you are presently supporting a military action that is purposefully executing Blacks!
I know some of you guys have doubted my posts about the Libyan Rebels targeting and killing Blacks- the reason many question this is because the media are really not reporting this.
Yet the human rights groups on the ground have been reporting this all thru out the war. Just the other day- on CBS I was surprised- they showed a picture of 2 Black men- hands tied behind their backs- and shot execution style in the back of the head.
Our guys did this- the guys we are backing- the guys we are supporting with our air power and money- yes- they have been doing this right from the start- they hate and execute Blacks.
So what should we do? Our response has been basically ‘yea- these rebels are rank amateurs- sure they make mistakes every so often- God love em’ I mean we need to catch the killers and have them stand trial for crimes against humanity- genocide- call it what you will- but we should not be turning a blind eye to the thing.
And the media- are they jumping on this very real story that we are backing a bunch of Black hating Libyans- who are constantly executing Blacks- execution style?
No- they are reporting that Rick Perry wants to re-institute slavery.
This is a story I really did not want to tell- because these racial stories stir up lots of anger. But we need to tell the thing. This past year we had lots of political fights in Wisconsin- many of you are familiar with the recall elections and the unions fighting the Repub governor and state house.
Well not long after the fights- which are still raging- you had certain Democratic constituents [minority groups] who began organizing these flash mobs- and they targeted Whites only.
At the Wisconsin state fair there were many- many reports of Whites calling in and saying ‘the Blacks are pulling White people out of their cars and beating them’.
This past week the 911 calls were finally released and you do hear many people calling this in.
Now- the media did not report this story because it obviously made one side look bad- and the other as victims.
You have also had numerous other occasions of Black on White violence that the justice dept. has overlooked for lots of reasons- too much to cover for now.
The point being- instead of the media reporting that Bachmann believes God is sending the earthquakes and the hurricanes [which if you watch the clip- she obviously was joking- yet the media have gone all out to report that she believes God is doing this].
And instead of actually reporting one of the worst race crimes in the world today [Libyan rebels executing Blacks] they are stuck on their agenda- which includes one of racial accusation- against the side they don’t like.
Many years ago after moving to Texas- I realized that the South has a reputation among North eastern media that says ‘they are all jack asses’. Yet- after observing the scene- I realized that these media folk who hold to this idea [MSNBC] they usually do not see their arrogance and stupidity.
After watching their coverage of the storm- to just about every person living off the gulf- we all knew this storm was a tropical storm- and that the damage would be real- but not what the media were saying.
You learn stuff like this when you live in a state that reports on all the hurricanes every year- here in Corpus Christi- you know this stuff by heart.
So to see the media- in full denial- well you realize they are really the ones who are lost- yes- they do make many mistakes- and they rarely [if ever] admit them.
Though I have lived in Texas for many years- I never became ‘Texan’. I never got the cowboy hat- boots- or became a country music fan.
Yet even as a former Yankee- I always loved the southern rock of Leonard Skynard. I also love all the old rockers- they are my favorites. Van Zandt spoke to the race divisions in his song Sweet Home Alabama- he took Neil Young on by saying ‘Southern man don’t need him around anyhow’.
Yes- even an open minded person like myself- one who criticizes Perry at times [go read my anti death penalty posts] yet even I get fed up with the nonstop race baiting ‘we are better than you’ mentality of the north eastern media.
Times have changed down south- even Gabbie Gifford’s chose a Texas hospital for getting the most advanced treatment for her injuries after the tragic assassination attempt [Houston].
Yes- even though I’m not a big Perry supporter [though for sure I would pick him over Obama any day] yet I kinda sympathize with the man. He has received criticism for signing off on an ‘on air’ interview by saying ‘Adios Mofo’. Though I don’t recommend the language- after hearing the liberal media for the past week or so- I do agree with the sentiment.
I was going to cover Exodus- but let’s close up a few loose ends instead. Yesterday I mentioned that this Justice Dept- headed under Eric Holder- has some very real problems.
About a year or so ago- right after Obama took office- there were changes that were made that concerned people who worked at the justice dept.
Basically- you had the case of the ‘New Black Panther Party’ which were a small group that protested outside of election sites during the presidential election.
By anyone’s standard- these guys sure looked intimidating. I don’t know if you remember the pictures- but they were tall Black guys- wearing gang type looking stuff- carrying bats.
I would imagine that a 90 year old White grandma would take one look and say ‘maybe I’ll skip voting this time around’.
Okay- because of the civil rights movement in our country- we passed laws against this- against people being intimated from voting. Now- some Black advocates have said that these laws were meant only to defend the rights of Blacks being intimidated by Whites- and as hard as this is to believe- some of the top Black people who were put in charge at the justice dept. [Holder is Black] do believe and practice this.
So- when the case of the Black Panthers came up- these people working for Obama- did drop the case. Other people [who were heroes in the defense of Blacks!] asked ‘why are we dropping the case’? And they were told that this justice dept. does not believe in prosecuting Blacks- by using laws that were meant to defend Blacks.
Okay- at the time you had a long time employee of the justice dept. quit- and he became a whistle blower. He exposed the fact that they were even asking applicants if they believed that the voting rights laws applied equally to Blacks as well as Whites- if you agreed [which is the right way to go on this] then you did not get hired.
So this White lawyer who quit- he exposed the whole thing- I mean this is corrupt- to be honest about it. The response? They accused ‘Whitey’ of being a racist. Now- I watched the congressional hearings on CSPAN- and it just so happened that this White lawyer was a champion of Black rights.
He was sort of affiliated with the southern poverty law center- a legal group that has a reputation of defending Blacks- and he received many awards thru out his life for his service to the minority community.
And of course his reward for telling the truth? You’re a racist.
Now- you would think that this type of history inside the justice dept. that it would explain why all these cases of Black on White violence [last post] why none of them are being treated as hate crimes. Yet if you are White- or you commit an act of violence against a Black or gay person- your going away for a long time. But if you’re Black- like the flash mobs- who have targeted Whites- because they are White- these crimes are not deemed to fall under the hate crimes rules.
Obviously- this is a huge scandal. Yet instead of these race violations being exposed in the media- they come up with all sorts of stuff- that compared to this- are nothing.
The other day I heard a Democratic activist- on a news show- talking about Herman Cain [the Black Repub candidate for Pres.]. Now- I like God Fathers Pizza [he used to be the CEO] but to be honest- Cain seems like a good guy- but he’s not going to get the nomination.
Never the less- he has every right to run. But as they were talking about Cain- they openly accused him of being an Uncle Tom. They said he is probably being paid by White insiders- to give legitimacy to the racism on the right- that they can cloak their racism by having a Black token on the team.
I mean the language- the racist language- was deemed acceptable because those who were using it were on the left.
Here in Texas we have a state rep. She makes it into the news every so often. Now- she is Mexican- I love Mexicans- many of my best friends are Mexican- but this woman made a charge a few years ago- she said that a White Repub. confronted her one day and said ‘if you act like Meskins- we are gonna treat you like Meskins’. Okay- she went public with the charge.
Of course- the media wanted to expose the racist who said it- but after a while they found out she made the whole thing up.
Now- you should be kicked ‘the heck’ out of office for that- but because she is on the left side of the aisle- she is deemed a hero.
I don’t know why those who support the president play into this race card stuff- because I think the pres. himself does not play into it. Yet his supporters- guys like Al Sharpton- play the card day after day- I mean surely they must realize that they are never going to re gain the independent vote if they keep doing this stuff.
Look- all race baiting is wrong- and if you have real cases of hate crimes- or one race targeting another [like pulling Whites out of cars in Wisconsin] then the justice dept. has to be race neutral- you can’t have a rogue justice dept. not prosecuting these cases.
Yet they have indeed embraced a radical anti White view- and this has been shown time after time.
So- as a White guy- should I not speak out? We should all speak out against racism- no matter what your color is- it’s wrong. It’s wrong to be racist against Blacks, Whites, Mexicans- against anyone because of their race.
And it’s wrong to say that the voting rights laws only apply to one group- that view is flat out racist- and that’s the view our present justice dept. has taken- where’s the media on stuff like this?
Let’s continue our brief over view of the bible. The book of Exodus begins with Israel going into Egypt [connected with the end of Genesis] and the first 15 chapters deal with God raising up Moses and using him to deliver his people out of bondage.
We see the 10 plagues on Egypt- because they won’t ‘let God’s people go’ and we finally see the great parting of the Red Sea and Pharaohs armies drowning in the ocean.
God’s people receive the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai and they begin a very long wilderness journey [40 years].
The book ends with the building of the Tabernacle [a tent system that was the central focus of worship during their travels].
The book itself is a good read- not as slow as the next 3 to come [Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy] and it is the continuation of the promise that God made to Abraham in the book of Genesis. If you remember- God told Abraham if he left his home land and went into a strange land that God would bless him and make him into a great nation.
The Promised Land of course was not Egypt- but Canaan [modern day Israel/Palestine] yet we read a few occasions when things got rough during the journey- That Abraham [and his kids] would lose faith and for various reasons [famine] go ‘down into Egypt’.
So Egypt kind of represents a time of doubt- slavery for God’s people. During their wilderness journey- after God delivers them out of Egypt- they go back to their complaining ways.
At various times they say stuff like ‘why did you deliver us Moses- we have no food/water out here- only if we could go back and have the onions and good food we had in the good old days’.
This mantra becomes a stumbling block for Israel- time and again God will supernaturally provide the food and water [Manna, Quail- water from a Rock] and time and again they will complain.
Eventually we will read the story of them taking their Promised Land [the book of Joshua] but yet even at that point- they still have their doubts [12 spies go in to check the land out- only 2 come back with ‘a good report’- the others say ‘the land looks great- but the people living there are too much for us to defeat- we look like grasshoppers in their sight].
Like I said in the post on Genesis- you can view the Old Testament as the story of one man and his family.
God makes the initial promise to Abraham- and the rest of the Old Testament [Law, Prophets and wisdom books] cover that story.
It’s important to understand that all of these earthly land promises- they take on a much broader meaning in the New Testament- if you carefully read the writings of the apostles [especially Paul] you will see that they viewed the coming of Christ- and his death, resurrection and ascension to God- as the ultimate fulfilling of this promise.
Lots of language says ‘we are now all heirs of these promises- Jews and gentiles’ lots of language like that.
This has been a very contentious point in church history- most of the early church [Catholic, Orthodox] did accept this view [Saint Augustine was very influential in this area] and later on many Protestant churches would reject it.
But I think for the most part that the historic church got it right- while the Protestant view has some merits as well [Amillennialism, Dispensationalism are the various names given to these views].
Okay- out of all the figures in the bible- only 2 are said to be Mediators- those 2 are Moses and Jesus.
A mediator is the person who acts as the go between- when 2 parties enter into a covenant. Moses is the mediator of the Old Covenant- Jesus of the new.
In the gospel of John we read that ‘the law came through Moses- but grace and truth came through Jesus’.
John also says ‘The word became flesh and dwelt among us’. John uses the imagery of ‘the Word’ [called Logos Christology] a lot in his writings when referring to Jesus.
The words ‘Dwelt among us’ literally mean ‘he pitched his tent among us’ the same image of the tent [tabernacle] that was set up during the wilderness journey that we just spoke about.
This tent that was set up and taken down for the 40 year period of wandering [which eventually becomes the Old Testament Temple under King Solomon] was indeed a picture of Jesus.
Just like God was ‘in the tent’- the Ark that was in the Holy of Holies- the inner room- so likewise God was ‘In Christ- reconciling the world back unto himself’.
John said ‘The Word became flesh’. God became man- lived among us and redeemed us back unto himself thru Christ- once again we see that the entire bible- all the figures and stories and experiences- point to one thing- Jesus, the Christ- The Son of the Most High.
 GROUND TRUTH
Let’s finish the week with some ‘ground truth’. Years ago- while working at the Fire Dept. every so often you would get a guy- either a new firefighter- or someone who has been around a while- but they operated primarily from ‘book truth’.
That is-you learn stuff in fire school- you read all the latest fads in the field- but at the end of the day- if the truth be known- some guys don’t do that well in emergency type situations.
So- you work with what you got- and in some more extreme cases- you have tell the person ‘look- we like you- we know you’re a smart guy- but this line of work is not what your cut out for’ and the best thing for him- and us- is he finds another line of work.
Okay- the fire dept that I worked at was in a city with about a population of 30 thousand people- we only had 2 fire stations and around 30 firefighters.
My dept functioned a lot differently than the one my dad retired from in N.J. Because of the limited resources [not a firehouse on every other block type of a thing] we developed a strategy where the frontline truck- the guy who got there first- would drop the attack lines and the booster truck [the truck that got there second] would supply the attack truck with water from the hydrant.
In principle [there goes that book knowledge] the fire truck that was stationed on the east side of town would usually get to their side first- and the same with the west side of town.
But on occasion- if some of the newer guys are talking too long to leave the station [which became a problem that I brought up quite often] then the fire truck from the opposite side of town would arrive at the fire first- and at that point you have to use ground truth to finish the job.
That means the first truck- even if he came from the other side of town- he has to drop the attack lines and the second truck has to boost water from the hydrant. On one occasion I arrived at the scene first- even though I was driving the truck from the other side of town [like I said- some guys were too slow at leaving the station] and I dropped my lines and the house was fully engulfed. So as the other truck got there- he stopped by my truck and just looked- I yelled ‘go hook up at the hydrant- fast!’ I was running low on water in the truck [the trucks hold about 1000 gallons of water- but that only lasts a minute or so at a working fire].
My friend said ‘no- you’re supposed to be the truck that hooks up’ now- this guy was not a new guy- he worked at the fire house for about as long as I did- yet he was the type that you really had problems with every now and then.
And this was one of those ‘thens’. I yelled a few times ‘look- go hook up the damn truck at the hydrant- I’m running out of water’ [and yes- I’m sure some other flowery speech came out]. The guy wouldn’t budge- I almost had to threaten him to hook the truck up- he finally did.
Okay- this is an example of well meaning people- people who have ‘head knowledge’ about stuff- yet they lack real world knowledge. This doesn’t mean they are bad people- they just don’t fit the job they are doing at the time.
Okay- said all that to say this. These last few weeks I have read lots of news articles on Texas- how Perry lied about Texas job growth. How he really took the federal money- and that’s why the jobs grew.
Or how he is a hypocrite because he [like other Repub governors] has complained about federal spending- and yet he took the money.
Let me say- I have lived in Texas since 1980- and just by me being familiar with the state- we have had lost of jobs come to the state- simply because the other states [Cal, etc.] had way too much regulation and taxes on business.
Now- whether you hold to a more liberal view or not- I’m’ just stating ‘ground truth’ right now. The job growth in Texas is not because we took fed money- all the states took money- and that hasn’t improved their economies one iota.
The facts are Texas is a business friendly state- and that’s why the jobs came.
Okay- I have also seen the fed govt do things that have hurt the jobs in Texas. One of the fights going on right now is over the EPA [environmental protection agency] and whether it has the right to regulate the co2 production in the state.
Basically the govt has been trying to pass laws saying co2 is a pollutant- and because of that- the EPA can shut down certain types of plants that over produce the levels of co2.
Now- remember- you have ‘book truth’ and ‘ground truth’. The ground truth is that the fed govt expects certain business to convert over to ‘clean energy’ in a time table that is unrealistic- and because they are trying to empower the EPA to be able to come in and regulate- well this has scared some business away from the state.
Now- what is co2? In this debate- you often hear the global warming side that says ‘co2 is a bad pollutant- we must rid the world of it before it’s too late!’ Yet there are real questions about whether or not co2 gas is truly a pollutant.
The present level of co2 in our atmosphere is around 390 ppm [parts per million]. Before the industrial age- around 150 years ago- the levels were around 270 ppm.
Co2 is produced naturally in our world. When you breathe out- your are producing co2. When forests burn- co2 is released. And yes- when we burn fossil fuels for business- co2 is released.
Why? Because co2 is in the things we burn- they make up the stuff of life. Humans are basically made of Carbon- and this material is in all sorts of life and plants and stuff.
Okay- what are the safe levels for co2? Both NASA and the U.S. Navy have done extensive studies on this- because the submariners and the astronauts deal with special situations that concern the mixing of gases in the blood- and the upper level for safe co2 is around 8000 ppm.
Geologists tell us that the planet used to function at about a 1000 ppm level- and that the planet did well at that time [millions of years ago- before we had any factories!]
What’s the lowest ‘safe level’ of co2? Humans and animals can survive without any co2 in the air- but plants need around 270 ppm to do okay- and if you go under 150 ppm- then they are in real trouble.
Studies have been done that show the orange groves in Cal. have a much higher production rate now [around 30 %] then before the industrial age- because the levels of co2 are at a higher rate.
Some greenhouses have an increased level [around 1000 ppm] because plants thrive at higher levels [have you choked on pollution at your local greenhouse lately?]
So- the safe low level would be around 200 ppm- at the high end of the scale- maybe around 5000 ppm. So where are we at today?- around 390 ppm.
The way the media talk about the thing- you would think we are in danger of hitting the top of the scale- if the truth be known-we are closer to the bottom than the top.
Okay- said all that to say this- being there are lots of real questions about dealing with these levels- should we be closing down businesses- at a TIME WHERE PEOLE ARE LITERALLY STARVING FOR JOBS- simply because of some supposed book knowledge truth- that as you look at it- it doesn’t even seem to be book knowledge.
As the president gives his speech this coming week on jobs- yes- let’s do our best to work together for the next year and see if we can help those who are hurting. But at the same time- you can’t keep making ‘head knowledge’ decisions- based on book truth- when those in the real world know what needs to be done.
Sometimes you have to yell ‘go hook up the damn truck!’ and I think we are at that time.
 ALIEN INVASIONS- JOE WILSON- FAST AND FURIOUS
Let’s do a quick ‘week in review’ on a Tuesday. Over the last few days I have piled up a bunch of news paper articles that I feel we should hit on- but there are so many- I think I will just skim a few.
First- as the weeks go by- more and more reports are backing up what I have been saying this last year. They are openly saying ‘Black skinned people in Libya are open targets’ I mean that was the headline from a N.Y. Times piece.
I read a quote from a Black school teacher in Libya- he said ‘if you are Black- you are a target- women- children- it makes no difference’.
Can you imagine what the reporting would be like if Bush/Cheney were running the show ‘U.S. govt. is backing rebel group that is executing Blacks’.
Then I read an article about Global Warming- now- in the last post I mentioned a lot of factual stuff on Global Warming. Why? Because what you hear in the media- all the time- is this comparison between the ‘right wing Christians- who deny science’ [Evolution, Global Warming] and the truly educated person, and they have this narrative that they can’t escape from.
So- after hearing this for so long- I figured I would just give some scientific facts on the thing.
Then the article I read said ‘some NASA scientists floated a theory that if intelligent alien life exists- they might choose to extinguish life on the earth- because of Global Warming’ [I kid you not!]
So- the guys who are accusing the ‘right wingers’ of denying science- of grasping at religious ideas instead of using solid science. These guys would have us believe that the aliens overlooked the Holocaust- they sat back and remained quiet during the Crusades. They watched in amazement as the U.S. engaged in a brutal civil war. Yes- all these threats to life were deemed acceptable- but if we let the co2 level jump another notch- watch out!
And then- yes again- the Fast and Furious scandal continues to unravel. This past week a few heads rolled- the top U.S. attorney in Arizona stepped down- and a few other guys were moved around. This story is really bad- this is the debacle of the U.S. letting guns ‘walk’ [be sold] to gun runners in Mexico- and these guns later were used to kill lots of people.
One gun showed up at the death of one of our border patrol agents- and congress has been holding hearings- and the justice dept. has been stonewalling.
It’s amazing- this quite possibly will be the greatest scandal of this presidency [what did he know- and when did he know it?] and yet there are some news organizations that have never even mentioned it once [MSNBC- as far as I can tell- they have not covered it on the shows I watch].
Yet they spent entire shows [O’Donnell] covering the story of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson. On a scale of 1-100- the present fast and furious scandal would rate at the top- the Plame story- about zero.
I haven’t read the Joe Wilson story in a while- but let me do a brief overview as best as I can.
During the buildup to the Iraq war- Bush and his team did indeed try to push evidence that would justify the war [Weapons of mass destruction anyone?] And during this time you had some on the left who fought those on the right- over the evidence. So- during this fight there appeared an Op Ed piece [N.Y. Times ?] That said ‘Cheney sent me to Niger and I came back with the evidence that Iraq was not seeking Uranium to build a bomb’.
Okay- who wrote this piece? Joe Wilson- someone that Cheney did not know- or ever even heard of. So you can imagine that Cheney [which his subpoenaed notes would later verify] would ask ‘who is this guy’?
Cheney and Bush found out- by others reporting on the story- that he was basically a civilian- whose wife worked at the CIA. She got him the gig because he spoke French [the language of Niger- I think] and that’s how he got the job.
So- it’s obvious that Cheney wanted people to know that the guy really wasn’t ‘sent’ by him- so they wanted the story to leak that said his wife got him the job.
Okay- really not a big deal to be honest about it- stuff like this happens all the time.
But- alas- when the name of the wife leaked out- Valerie Plame- nobody knew she had some undercover status at the CIA- so whoever did leak the name accidently violated the ‘don’t reveal the name of an undercover agent rule’ and thus the story had legs.
Now- from everything that came out- it was quite obvious that people did not ‘leak’ the ;ladies name to get at her- they leaked it because they wanted to show that Cheney did not send the guy- but his wife got him the job.
Never the less- Patrick Fitzgerald became the special prosecutor- and he went after it. During the investigation- it was revealed that a guy by the name of Richard Armitage leaked the name- and he did it inadvertently. He told the name to the late Bob Novak- and Novak published the name.
Armitage was not a political guy- and the Dems knew that. Yet in the media- they kept making it sound like Rove and Cheney went after the woman.
Eventually they convicted Scooter Libby- a fairly decent guy- who worked for Cheney. They said he lied when he said he first heard the name from Tim Russert [another dead news guy] and denied that he first heard the name from Cheney.
Okay- they were going to send him to jail for this- but Bush commuted [not pardoned] his sentence.
Okay- they made a movie about the thing- and when congress did its own investigation they said Wilson did indeed ‘fudge’ the facts. He did make it sound like Cheney sent him- and that was not true.
Look- this whole scandal- involved a person whose name was inadvertently released and the enemies of Bush had the gimmick of saying ‘they outed an undercover agent’!
It should be noted that Valerie Plame actually appeared on the cover of a magazine- using her real name- while she was supposed to have been ‘undercover’ [it seemed like she had the status- but she wasn’t really active]
So that’s politics- you have a real story- people today possibly being murdered by the guns we let walk- Mexico estimates that around 150 deaths have taken place in their country through this program. We now have testimony that the U.S. agents went on record and said we were getting them all killed because of the program.
We have top guys resigning- and the justice dept. released tons of papers- the whole page blacked out- to congress. This is a true scandal- people possibly dying every day because of what the ATF and the justice dept. let happen- and some media outlets have not mentioned this story even once- yet they spent whole programs covering the Valerie Plame story.
That’s the problem- whether they won’t report the Black killings by the rebels we support- or the deaths of our border patrol guys by the guns we let walk- when the media allow their favoritism for a particular president skew their reporting- then they are no longer the 4th estate- they are simply stenographers.
 THE GREAT DEBATE [Who is this Galeyoo guy?]
Okay- last night we had the 2nd [I think?] Repub debate of the year. I thought the debate went fairly well- I think Perry did okay- maybe a few bad sound bites that will be used against him [Ponzi scheme] yet overall he faired pretty well.
When I realized it was being broadcast on MSNBC- I almost didn’t watch the thing. This station is so in the tank for Obama- and they play the race card all the time- I thought I might just skip the thing.
But Brian Williams [NBC anchor] did okay. You even got the sense that the political hack- Chris Matthews- was upset that Williams didn’t get more into the Evolution, Gay marriage stuff.
Matthews interviewed Rick Santorum after the debate and kept asking him ‘why did you avoid all the social issues- Abortion, gay rights- and the Evolution stuff’. I mean Mathews was mad. Santorum kept saying ‘Hold on- your network [MSNBC is the cable arm of NBC] never asked me any of those questions’.
Matthews still went on and said ‘no- you’re dodging those issues because you know they make you all look nuts’. My daughter was walking thru the room at the time- she heard conversation and asked ‘who is that guy?’ talking about Matthews- even though she is no political junkie like myself- she still thought he was an idiot.
I told her who he was- she said ‘why don’t they sue him for that’ Oh- the joys of youth [she’s 20]. I mean if I had 3 wishes- you know- one of those deals where you have to think long and hard- I think I might actually waste one for that [suing Matthews to get him to go away].
I also found it interesting how in the after debate coverage- the MSNBC crowd were all basically playing the side of the apologist for Obama- yet the only 2 Black guys on the panel- Gene Robinson and Sharpton- they had some interesting insights. They said that after they heard Perry’s response to the question on why he tried to mandate the vaccine shot for cervical cancer in the state- that his answer was actually intelligent.
As a Texan I remember when this issue came up. A few years back Perry wanted all the kids above the age of 12 to get the shot- a lot of people opposed it and Perry gave a loophole that if you didn’t want the shot you didn’t have to get it. At the time I rejected it for one of my daughters- I went to the school that year to sign her up [you know- the yearly routine] and they did ask- and I said no.
So the 2 Black guys on the panel said they felt Perry was actually more intelligent than he has been made out to be. Now- I know Matthews and the other race baiters were not happy about this observation- because it’s their network that has run with the narrative that Perry is a behind the scenes ignoramus. Yes- Rachel Maddow [another panelist] has said this openly on her show.
So why did Robinson and Sharpton make this observation? Look- I know I have angered lots of people who read my blog- my openness about race and all- I mean I’m sure some people have said ‘geez- does this guy believe Whites are better than the other races’ actually- not a whole lot better [You know- I wonder sometimes if people realize when I’m kidding around - I also wonder why I have not been shot yet].
No- actually I think society should be color blind- and we should heed the words of the great Doctor King- we should judge people on their character and not on the color of their skin.
I believe that Robinson and Sharpton- because of their background and the many injustices and stereotypes that they have dealt with thru out life- that they actually began to realize that they were falling for their own in house stereotyping of Perry [idiot] and they began to realize that they were wrong about it.
So all and all I think it went well.
But I just can’t get past the elitist mindset of this crowd. During the debate Perry mentioned that Galileo was outvoted in his day. Later on Sharpton quipped ‘Perry- he even said Galeyoo was outvoted’. Okay- I want to be nice- Sharpton has a new show on MSNBC and I have seen it a few times. Al is the opposite of Obama. When Sharpton is talking off the cuff- like any good preacher- he does well. But when you put the guy in front of a monitor- watch out.
He can’t read the darn thing. Now- I left it alone when he was portraying Perry as a simpleton one day [remember- Sharpton was actually believing the in house spin of his own network]. He was reading ‘Secede’ and saying ‘succeed’ [you know- Perry's statement about seceding from the union- which was a joke].
And then last night he keeps pronouncing the name of Galileo as ‘Galeyoo’. I mean- it’s just too much.
Was Perry right about Galeyoo? Actually he was. I have actually covered this whole thing in depth on the blog- if you go to the Feb. posts and look up the Evolution sections- it’s in there.
But let’s do a short overview. One of the common misconceptions of the early church is that lots of people believed the earth was flat- this is actually false. As a matter of fact- a few hundred years before Christ most cosmology was based on the Ptolemaic idea.
Ptolemy was one of the 4 generals that took part of the broken Greek kingdom after the death of Alexander the Great. Ptolemy introduced a system of the solar system that had the earth as a globe- being surrounded by a sort of crystalline sphere. On this outer sphere were the stars and planets. As this sphere rotated around the earth- you had the variations occur in the heavens thru out the year.
Now- even though this system would later be overturned by ‘Galeyoo’- yet it did work well for around 2 thousand years. Now- during the Copernican revolution [Galileo and Copernicus were both influential in the change of this system] they had developed a better system- through the invention of the telescope man was able for the first time to actually see the solar system up close.
And we then had the great breakthrough of our understanding of the solar system- we are Heliocentric- the sun is indeed the focal point- and we revolve around it- not the other way around [which was the older idea called Geocentric].
Oaky- when Gaioploi first came up with the idea [you do realize I’m talking about Galileo here- I need to clarify this just in case Sharpton reads this post] his initial idea was indeed off. There were some very serious flaws in the initial system.
Other scientists critiqued the plan and found these flaws- yes- the other scientists of the day ‘voted down’ Galeyoo.
But- like all the other spouting heads of MSNBC- why mention facts- especially when you are engaging in speech that says ‘look at the dumb Texan- he rejects science’.
Let me finish with a confession- as somewhat of a quasi intellectual who likes getting into all these types of things- I must admit I also like watching smart comedies- you know- good intellectually stimulating stuff. So let me quote a line from Jack Blacks Nacho Libre.
As Black is trying to convince his wrestling partner to get baptized before the big match- they were going up against another team called Satan’s disciples [or something like that]. Black keeps pushing his partner to get baptized- and the partner refuses- he says ‘I don’t want to get baptized- because I believe in science’. Ah- there it is- the present mantra of the liberal media- Perry, Bachman, Mitt- the whole crowd- these people don’t believe in science- not like us truly intellectual folk- they are all idiots’!
Ah- these guys are all like the people who fought Galileo- they are against true science. You know- I guess an argument like this might have some legs- but when the person making it keeps calling Galileo ‘Galeyoo’ well- maybe not.
 THE PRESIDENTS SPEECH
Last night the president gave his talk on jobs- I think he did all right. He chose somewhat of a compromise approach. Some of the proposals were conservative in nature- others progressive.
I’m sure some of the more progressive Democrats are mad- they were hoping for a big spending plan [another stimulus] and they did not get that. The cost is not cheap- don’t get me wrong- it is around 450 billion, but it is not the trillion that some have called for [Paul Krugman- NY Times].
The president also spoke about the need for Medicare reform- this did anger the progressives- yet he was honest about the program- at the current rate of the cost of health care- and the age that people are living- the program does need adjustments.
Now- for the more cynical out there- the president might not being doing this out of a purely noble reason- he might realize that there are only so many things left that he can shoot for- and to have the legacy of being the president that ‘saved’ Medicare- well that might be part of this.
He does get advice from Bill Clinton- and Clinton was a moderate/conservative Dem- he angered liberal Dem’s when he did welfare reform- yet he is viewed in a good light because of it.
So it is possible that some have told president Obama that he too will get heat for the Medicare proposal- but at the end of the day it will help his image more than hurt it.
The other day I did a post on the EPA and how too many new air standards could jeopardize jobs. Funny thing- that same day the president made headlines by rejecting his own EPA rules that would have lowered the smog and the ozone in the atmosphere. I think this was the first time he has gone against his own EPA and did indeed anger many environmentalists.
I also spoke with my liberal friend from the North the other day- we were discussing Obama care and I told the person that I did feel like the law might be overturned. That the way the president justified the mandate [Making people buy insurance] was thru the Commerce Clause.
This rule lets the govt. regulate business between the states. But the administration went to court in defending the new law by saying they can force people to buy health insurance because health care is a business that the govt. has the right to regulate.
I remember when Obama care first passed- some reporter did ask Pelosi about this- she laughed- like there was no way the courts would possibly overturn the law based on this challenge. Yet the next day or so after I told my liberal friend that I did think there was a chance that the courts would overturn it. A major ruling came out against the mandate.
I’m no prognosticator- but I find it strange that I was hitting on these subjects and within a day [or the same day] these things did go the way I felt they would.
I do think that it’s possible that our political system is so broken- that it might be beyond repair. The problem is we need statesmen- men and woman who will do what is right- and not simply play to their party [or to corporate interests- or a whole host of other special interest groups].
Yet year after year the pressure on those in office- to either want one side to fail- or to go after the other side because they are trying to deal with one of the 3rd rails of politics [Medicare- s.s.- etc.]
If we are unable to truly do what we can- like the president said- he and the congress have a year and a few months left to work- if they can’t get stuff done because of an election year- and both sides playing politics- then it really won’t matter [a whole lot] who the next president is- because once again the system will devour itself.
I do think that the president now sees that the more progressive Keynesian view has now been tried- on a larger scale than was ever tried before [though not large enough for some] and the project did not create the jobs that many liberal economists thought it would create.
So most of the progressive economists who worked for the president during the first 2 years have left and gone back to the university classroom- and continue to advocate their view- even after it failed!
People from all sides do stuff like this- they take a position and even after it fails- many times they still will not let it go- that makes governing difficult- because both sides see the other side as the enemy and many times they will purposely take a position that will hurt their opponent- even if that position is not best for the country.
I give Obama a b [or c+] for the speech- but we really need him to put stuff in writing form here on out- to be honest- we really do not need any more speeches- we need the rest of this year and the next for these guys to sit down and present real proposals- things on paper that the budget office can score.
Many of the president’s critics are right when they say he does not commit on paper when he tries to negotiate- and he needs to put down his proposals and take the lead on these things.
I think he has learned over these past few years- and I think it would be good if we tried to get some of the things he spoke about accomplished- it is good for the country if we can get some good things done. Yes- we will have to look at the cost- but if we can work together some- that would be good too.
 STRANGE DREAM [In memory of those who died on 9-11]
I wasn’t going to post today- but as I woke up this morning [the morning of 9-10-11] I remembered what I just dreamt.
I was back at work at the fire dept. and we had a call- as I ran to the fire truck I realized I had left my bunker gear [protective clothing] at the other station.
I realize this might sound strange to some people- but this has happened a few times [more than I would like to admit] over the years.
Sometimes you would get assigned to the other station and you would think ‘I’ll drive straight over’ and you would just get your gear after you do the morning truck check/radio check. And sometimes you would forget to get it- and if you had a call that night- you then thought ‘damn- I forgot my gear’.
Now- you could just grab another guys gear off the rack- but if he was the big guy [or small] then you might not be able to use his gear.
And of course- some of us older guys- who were around for a while- well we got too comfortable at times and at certain fires- well- we actually did not put our gear on.
Maybe there were not a lot of flames actually showing- but a lot of smoke- and we did the stupid thing and walked in thru the front door- maybe for just a minute or so- to see what we had- but that’s a huge no no in the fire service.
When you don’t wear your gear- and have your breathing mask on [Scott Pack] then your breathing in very bad stuff- us older guys were sometimes called ‘fire eaters’ because in the early days this was done too much- and it took many years to ‘re train’ the old guys- they [we] were set in our ways.
I think I might have had the dream because being it’s the 10 year memorial [of those who died!] of the 9-11 attack- they have been playing the video and talking about the event.
As I think about my dream- I can imagine that the guys on duty that day heard the call come in- and often times you think ‘geez- today will be one of those days’. Sometimes you get to work and the fire phone rings off the hook- a day- for whatever reason- that will have lots of fires.
Or a day where you have a big fire. I was telling my daughter a funny story the other night. One year we had a call for the local elementary school being on fire [called Kleberg school- Kingsville, Tx.] and as I arrived on the scene- sure enough- this would be what we called ‘a working fire’ [big fire- need to make it a general alarm and get the off duty guys to come help].
I was the truck operator that day- had to hook up the truck to the hydrant and make sure the hoses had a constant supply of water [by the way- you could get away with forgetting your bunker gear on a day when you pumped the truck- but you never know- a guy might go down and then you’re in trouble- you have to get him out- and you forgot your gear].
So some kid set the school on fire- and we were gonna be up all night for this one. It was kinda funny- after a few hours of pumping the truck watching the guys from the outside- I finally figure I’ll take a look- you know- just step in thru the front door [of course- without the mask] and take a peek.
Now- there is a ton of smoke- both inside and out- so I really didn’t know how bad the damage was. As I walk in the front door- trying hard to see what I’m looking at- I realize I’m seeing stars! Yes- the wall [and door] survived- and that was it!
Okay- as we remember 9-11- we need to be careful that we don’t have too much of a ‘celebratory’ attitude about the thing. I went to the beach with my daughter and a bunch of friends and family for labor day- and it was packed. Yet there was really no difference between the partying spirit of labor day and Memorial day- yet on Memorial day we are supposed to be remembering those who died for the country- I mean we should not be having a ‘good old time’ at a funeral.
So as the weekend moves forward, Bloomberg banning the clergy and all [by the way- as a Protestant- I think it would be perfectly fine to have Bishop Dolan- from St. Patrick’s- there. To even do a prayer. Most of my fellow firefighters who died that day were good Catholic kids- many were Italian like myself- and out of a show of respect- I think the bishop should get a pass].
But as we remember- let’s try not to make the mistake of what our Memorial days have turned into- let’s remember the fallen- and pray for their families this weekend [and all the other guys still on the force]. I did our local prayer thing for a few years at our dept. while on duty- and yes- I did a Christian prayer- ended the thing in Jesus name.
Didn’t want to offend any Muslims or Jews or any other faith- but most of these guys were Christian- they were the ones who died- they deserve the prayer- and respect. We can save political correctness for another day.
 DEBATE- WEEK IN REVIEW
Let’s do another ‘week in review’ at the beginning of the week. I now realize why it’s easier to do them now- because I usually read about 10 papers over the weekend- and the stories are fresh in my mind.
First- last night we had another debate- I don’t know how many more I’ll watch [well- probably all of them- but I’d like to pretend I’m above it all]. We basically know the positions of these guys- and if they want to get lost in cervical cancer vaccines- or Ponzi schemes- or any of a number of hot sound bites- then the debates will not really accomplish much.
Just a few points- let me make another Fire Dept. confession [by the way- those of you who are not familiar with the fire service- you might read a post every now and then and think it might sound strange- or dangerous. Like when I spoke about the school fire- I said the only thing that survived was the wall. Of course the school was empty- no one died! So in the fire service the other shifts that are not on duty will come in and kid you about a fire the night before ‘hey- I heard you guys saved the wall’ and stuff like that is an on house joke- but the average folk might not get that].
Okay- one of my pet peeves was every year our chief [and other city administrators] would have a meeting or 2 with everyone about the FISCAL condition of the dept/city- you know the usual routine of fighting wasteful spending.
In most cities the Fire dept and Cops are the single most expensive depts. for the city. But for whatever reason- these guys got into the habit of pronouncing FISCAL- by saying physical. Now- one time I tried to ‘change the tide’ on this if you will- you know- leave a legacy of at least getting the guys to say the word right.
I told one of the Captains ‘you know Cap- you guys are not pronouncing the word right’ he quipped ‘o- you can say it both ways’. Now- I know YOU can say it both ways- I mean if you want you can say MOONWALK instead- but the point was- well never mind- I just gave up.
Okay- I will now admit- A year or so ago I saw a news clip from Perry- and yes- he said it. That dreaded word- the word that I heard all those years- sort of like little Ralphie [you know- Christmas story] when he blurted out the big one when his dad was changing out the flat tire.
Yes- when I heard Perry say it- well I couldn’t help but view him in a negative light [and was also shocked that what I thought was an in house problem- actually spread all the way to Austin!]
So last night- if you watched carefully- he did it again. Yes- it was sort of a hybrid though- between Fiscal and Physical- but for us pro’s- you knew he was falling off the wagon.
Then- my fears were confirmed when he gave another talk and when he got to the point of saying fiscal- he stopped- one of those moments where you could tell he was coached to avoid the word- and after a second of reflection said ‘monetary policy’- at that point I knew he too was infected with the disease- so sad- so very sad.
Okay- on a more serious note- I also was surprised that the talking heads did not really mention the biggest so called phopar from Perry- he took a very liberal- pro immigration stance with Mexico.
This stance is in the tradition of Texas- both Bush and Perry are pro Mexican immigrant- Texas is not Arizona when it comes to illegals.
There are various reasons for this- like our farmers having benefitted from those who are willing to pick real cheap- but overall Texas is an immigrant friendly state.
Anyway- Perry said it last night- and got booed by the Tea Party- why do you think the media didn’t make a big thing about it later? Because if you have a conservative Texas governor- loved by many- and at the same time might garner lots of Latino votes- well then Obama won’t stand a chance at another 4 years.
So all in all- it was pretty interesting.
Okay- just a few points of interest. Last week we met the other G-7 states and we tried to push a Stimulus mentality [the G-7 are the developed economies- U.S., Canada- France- Italy- etc.]. Our treasury secretary- Tim Geithner- wrote a piece in the Financial Times that tried to nudge the E.U. [the 17 nation states that make up the common currency in Europe] to work with a stimulus mindset.
Basically the Fiscal [or should I say physical?] problems of the E.U. are not going away- and we wanted the stronger economies of the Euro Zone to keep spending money- instead of taking the conservative view of cutting back- called austerity.
These nations- the cradle of socialism, fascism, communism- they all told us that our economic policies were too liberal for them- I mean what a final death blow to Obama’s economic team- to be turned down by this crowd!
How sad. We also had another revelation of Fast and Furious guns showing up at another scène where our law enforcement people were involved. These are the illegal guns we let walk- the FAST AND FURIOUS scandal [I have written about before]. The govt. just admitted that a few of these guns were found in a stolen vehicle that rammed a law enforcement vehicle a year or so ago.
So it looks like this story will not go away.
I also read 2 articles from the A.P. [associated press] now- those of you who are big news paper readers- whenever I read an article- I always look at where it came from.
If it’s a N.Y. time’s piece- or an A.P. piece- I take that into consideration- they are almost always pro Obama.
So to my surprise these 2 A.P. pieces were both negative- even demeaning. They came out a day or so after the president’s job speech- which angered some of his supporters. And the obvious ‘in your face’ style of these articles- well it showed you that these reporters indeed have a love hate relationship with the president.
Okay- the first one critiqued his jobs speech- and blasted him for lying. They even said ‘maybe he meant to say this instead’ now- that’s bad.
The other article exposed an ongoing false claim by our govt. that the Wiki Leaks ‘leaks’ are very dangerous- that they have put many people’s lives at risk.
Now- this is another thing I have written about lots- The Wiki Leaks story is the Julian Assange guy who got a hold of thousands of defense dept. ‘secret’ emails and began leaking them on line.
Last week he dumped another load and this time he did not black out the names of people. Once again the U.S. govt. came out and made it sound like these leaks were getting lots of people killed- which is not true.
Finally- the A.P. said they interviewed the people whose names appeared- and they found no case where lives were at stake- in fact many of the people said they did not know what the big fuss was all about- these ;leaks amounted to nothing- except they exposed the hypocrisy of the U.S.
So yes- the A.P. even got tired of covering the story the way Obama wanted it to be covered. It was only a matter of time before the media got smart with this one.
I mean this story is one in which the prime source for media info- leakers- were gone after like no other president has ever done. The supposed soldier who leaked the stuff to Assange- Bradley Manning- is an openly gay young kid- it’s obvious he had problems in the military- and we have had this kid in 24 hour solitary confinement FOR A FEW YEARS NOW.
This really is unacceptable- to just keep the kid like that. Even P.J. Crowley- a former defense spokesman who toed the Obama line- he had to quit because he made a statement one day that what we are doing to Bradley is stupid.
Okay- all in all we see the tide turning some- the media are tired of doing the presidents dirty work- and they are letting it show.
As we come closer to the end of this year- there are still lots of global economic problems going on- and like I said a few weeks back- I would not be in the market right now. When Buffet ‘invested’ [more like a private ,money bailout if you ask me] 5 billion into Bank of America- that’s a sign that the banks are still in trouble.
And AIG just sued Bank of America for 10 billion- because they sold them all those bad mortgages- so to still be facing possible bank problems- this late in the game- that’s not good.
Okay- not here to give ‘psychical’ advice- but just thought I’d be upfront with you guys.
When you watch/read the news- be skeptical- not cynical- but skeptical- don’t believe everything that’s passed on- because if you do- you might end up in the state house one day- saying physical [instead of fiscal].
Note- I still have lots of people claim that you can say Fiscal either way- Look- I’ll admit that it is being used that way a lot- and maybe you ‘can’ say it like that- sort of like after using any word a certain way for so long eventually ‘allows’ that word to be used like that. But if you read the actual word- I think my position is right.
First- I make no excuses for going ‘off’ on those last 3 posts. No- I’m human like everyone else- yes- my account was hacked! [Actually- after I thought about it for a minute- you know- just delete the post, or in Anthony Wieners case the picture- and then claim your were hacked- that does sound tempting].
But no- I’ll just quote another Jack Black line [remember- I quoted him from Nacho Libre the other day?]. This one comes from that intellectually stimulating comedy- Anchorman- the Legend of Ron Burgundy.
As Will Ferrell is driving down the highway he’s eating this giant burrito and he can’t finish the thing- so he tosses it out the window and it hits Jack Black in the face and he wipes out on his beloved Harley.
So Ferrell [Burgundy] stops to see if he’s all right- and Black takes Burgundy’s dog- Baxter- and punts him off the bridge.
Burgundy just stands there- he’s in shock- and as Black walks away he says ‘that’s the way I roll’ and that’s it.
So no mea culpa- my site is not for kids or the fainthearted- that’s just the way I roll.
Okay- what’s Solyndra? Yesterday I didn’t listen to any talk radio so when I flipped on the news I was surprised to see most of the news programs covering this scandal.
I usually don’t like to write a post until I read a few news paper articles first- but will make an exception and I’ll try to cover it from what I gleaned from the tube.
This company was a Solar panel co. that made cylinder type solar panels [thus the name- Solyndra]. These panels were actually expensive to make- but they were cheap to install so the investors took a risk [that proved bad] and invested in this green energy co.
Now- when this co. went bankrupt recently- the federal govt. began investigating how they got approved for a 500 million dollar tax payer loan- if they were such a high risk.
Under the Bush Administration the govt. began a program where green energy companies could get federal loans if they were shown to be good risks.
Solyndra applied for a loan under Bush- but all the newly released records now show that we deemed them a bad risk. The Energy dept. and other federal agencies that looked over the books said they were a no go for the loan.
Okay- within a few days after Obama became president- for some unknown reason [unknown until now] this loan was fast tracked- and approved.
All the recently released emails and memos show the administration putting pressure on the federal govt. insiders to make the loan.
You even have emails saying ‘what’s holding this up- we need this done!’ And the agency responding back ‘don’t rush this loan- this company is on the verge of going bankrupt’.
We now know that one of the biggest investors in this company is a major campaign bundler for Obama [he collects lots of money for Obama]. And this guy- Kaiser- did make lots of visits to the White House and it simply looks like Obama did a favor for one of his cronies and that’s why they gave this bad company the loan.
Now- all the emails released and the media reports [even from the big networks] showed you enough of a trail that it does look like this happened.
Why would the president do this? Look- lots of people are really not aware of the political crowd Obama came in with. Chicago politics is corrupt- has been for years. And Obama came to office with these guys all around him [Rahm Emmanuel being the head honcho].
So if they were all playing inside poker like this- you know getting one of your major money guys a special break- in the Chicago arena this is nothing. I mean those guys were chopping heads off horses and putting them in opponents beds [actually it was a dead fish that Rahm sent to a political opponent- for real!]
So doing a favor like this- getting a loan for a buddy- well he might have thought that was just a perk to being president.
Actually- if your caught manipulating the system for friends like this- well that’s gonna get you in major trouble.
Now- there is more to the story. When the govt. makes these loans- they have a special rule that’s says ‘if the company goes belly up- the tax payers get their money back first’.
For some ‘strange’ reason- as the Administration became aware that this friends company was going to indeed go bankrupt- they went and changed the loan and made this loan say ‘if you go bankrupt- the investors will get their money first- then the govt.’.
Now- they did not do this for any other loan- only this one.
So- the taxpayers are out half a billion bucks- and it does look like the president has involved himself in a huge scandal- one that will not go away.
And how did MSNBC cover this? Well they didn’t have time for trivial stuff like this- instead they covered Bachmann accusing Perry of forced cervical cancer vaccine injections on little Texas girls- and those girls becoming mentally retarded because of it.
Now- Bachmann has gone after Perry big time these last few days- she even exposed his lie about the Ponzi scheme thing ‘hey Perry- who is this Ponzi guy anyway? You had Fonzi- and Potsi- but there was no Ponzi!’ [Okay- stole it from Leno- but thought it was pretty good. To my younger readers- if I have to explain the thing it ruins it].
So all in all we will see how this thing goes. I don’t think there is much hope that this next year will be an above the board ‘we will talk nice about you’ type of campaign. No- it looks like it will be down and dirty. And if you throw what looks to be a real presidential scandal into the mix- well then we will be fighting big time for the next year.
It’s too early to condemn the president on this- but from what I saw [even on the major networks] it does seem to be a big deal- one that will not go away anytime soon.
One word of advice for the White House [I am on their official page you know]. Don’t be tempted to do the Anthony Weiner thing [you know- delete what you can and claim you were hacked]. No- my advice would be to take it like a man.
Pull a Jack Black if you must- do what needs to be done and end the day with ‘that’s just the way I roll’. It can’t hurt- well not too much.