Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thank your military

http://media.causes.com/576542?p_id=92681239

"Show our military there are still plenty of people who appreciate their service and sacrifice. Pass this YouTube video link to every person you know so it will eventually reach every present and former military person across the globe! Love your freedom? Thank your military."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The rationing begins?

If you've been concerned about health care reform, and wonder if rationing is really being considered, check this out:


http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/16/mammography.recommendation.changes/index.html

"With its new recommendations, the [task force] is essentially telling women that mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives; just not enough of them," Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

Welcome to the brave new world, comrade.

Post script...here's some more fine reading from a recovering Berkely liberal...

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/11/obamas_mind_game.html

Brainwashing the masses to believe that racism is a greater danger than radical Islam...
Opposing health care means you oppose Obama. Oppose Obama and you're part of a vast right-wing racist conspiracy.
...
Obama and the Left are making sure that there ia an increasing number of persuadable people. By displacing workers, panicking business owners with Draconian laws, and whipping up rage and paranoia, they amass more lackeys.


The American Hard Left knows how to create a cult because it is a cult, one with a violent history. The Black Panthers, Symbionese Liberation Army, Weathermen, Black Muslims -- all nefarious cults.


Members of the Weathermen, for instance, had their spirits broken through forced wickedness, such as animal abuse. Patty Hearst morphed into bank robber Tania after weeks of isolation, rape, and beatings by the SLA. Huey P. Newton sent his Black Panthers to the hospital or to the grave if they didn't practice total obedience.


So what's the end game here?


The first goal is power. The Left has an insatiable need to control every aspect of our lives.


But there's a deeper reason, one much more insidious.


The Left wants to tear Americans down. Just as the Weatherman did to those naïve lost kids, they want to break our spirits. This goal of degradation is more crucial than their one-world government.


The progressives want to turn us into them, to make us feel as deprived and depraved and deadened. It's the only way that they can silence the roar of shame and self-loathing.


What they don't understand is this: it's not going to happen. There are too many of us who won't be hypnotized.


We can see right through them. We know who they are: the most piteous of human beings, and the most dangerous. Men without a country, orphans far from home. The forsaken and disowned.


They're "hungry ghosts," to use a Tibetan phrase: tormented beings who are starving to death from their inner nothingness.


Mother Teresa was once asked how she coped with serving the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. She responded that what she saw in the cities of the United States was much more disturbing, because it was a "poverty of the spirit."


Poverty of the spirit. No truer words can be spoken of the progressive Left.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Flora and Fauna

What responsibility do humans have to the rest of creation, specifically, on planet Earth? We live in decadent times, indeed, since it is now en vogue to be philosophically suicidal. Some track this back to Neitzsche, but the root actually goes to day one: in that day you will surely die. What? You won't die, and don't call me Shirley! And so goes the great lie, that we can be as gods.

However today we see people actually espousing the destruction of the human race, so we stop abusing the rest of nature! I kid you not: yesterday I saw a bumper sticker which proclaimed, "Plants and animals die to make room for your fat ass."

These people have confused America's freedom of speech with countries which really do abuse the planet and don't care.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Change begins on the inside

"Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."
-Patrick Henry

Please consider these things when you observe the news: is it just? moderate? temperate? frugal? virtuous? in harmony with America's fundamental principles? If not, then you government has gone astray, and it is your job to deal with it. Midterm elections are in 2010, and you can be a part of the CHANGE.

Now, what does God require of you?

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (NKJV)

Please consider these things when you react to the world around you: do justly. love mercy. walk humbly with your God. God bless the United States which, for all its faults, is still the greatest country on earth and makes provisions for peaceful change in its government.

And for the "deep thoughts." Do you disagree with Patrick Henry's first sentence above, that there are no "bad" people? Perhaps that assumption is one of the roots of the division in America. We will discuss this more at a later time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bind him down

"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

--Thomas Jefferson

I leave it for you to decide how to apply that quotation, then read where I just saw it:

http://patriotpost.us/alexander/2009/10/29/nobody-questions-that/

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Breaking down into our Constituent pieces

Go read "Dismantling America" by Thomas Sowell. It's short and important, but no big surprise.

"...Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government-- people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America's influence in the world.
"...Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question-- and the biggest question for this generation."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/10/27/dismantling_america_98883.html

I am behind in my reading through the Bible in 2009, however I find it very interesting that I am now in the book of Isaiah, in which the prophet warns God's people to turn back to Him or be laid waste.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

In defense of liberty

Thoughts of the day:

"The contest for the ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power." - Daniel Webster"

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men." – John Quincy Adams

Hattip to m4carbine.net

Saturday, September 19, 2009

God-Incidents

While discussing whether or not coincidences exist, my wife used the word "incident," in saydescribing what God crafts in our world. She recently experienced an incident which appeared so out of the ordinary that she felt it was a small miracle. I am blessed by experiencing these all the time. This matter is related to two different Wills of God: what is His Will (what would He prefer), and that all things are within His Will (power and control). God-incidents versus coincidence is obviously a difficult concept for the finite human brain. To believe that God organizes events before the beginning of time such that, for instance, we miss being in a car crash by 2 seconds, may be more easily dealt with by attributing this to the laws of nature and good fortune. However, for those who believe in a God who is good, omnipotent, active and present, the small leap of faith yields great rewards. I do not say small because it is easy...the faith of a child generally becomes more and more difficult for adults to enjoy, and it is even harder for a rich man, since this entails depending solely on the power and desier of God to take better care of us, at all times, than we would of ourselves at any time. One portion of the reward is a glance into the realm of the Real, for our struggle is not bound by this physical world, but against spiritual powers and principalities (Ephesians 6:12).

Most sane individuals desire to know what is real: a desire ranging throughout history from Plato's cave to the movie The Matrix. However one's sanity may be called into question anyhow when making such statements as "God knows the number of hairs on every human head on earth" (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7). Or consider this:

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
(Matthew 6:26 ff)

If God is also personal and desires to have a relationship with us, why would He not want to design small and great events in our lives, before the beginning of time, to draw us closer to Him? What is difficult for us to conceive is a snap of the Almighty's fingers. While discussing this matter with another friend, I suggested the challenge of thinking that God is in control of all things, and nothing we do can ultimately change His Will (which one?) Andy replied that our response is one of responsibility. We are responsible to the extent that we are capable, and God uses our efforts to make us grow.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Friday, September 11, 2009

Have you forgotton

From the NY Post today:

Instead of proudly and promptly rebuilding on the site of the Twin Towers, we've committed ourselves to the hopeless, useless task of rebuilding Afghanistan. (Perhaps we should have built a mosque at Ground Zero -- the Saudis would've funded it.)
Instead of taking a firm stand against Islamist fanaticism, we've made a cult of negotiations -- as our enemies pursue nuclear weapons; sponsor terrorism; torture, imprison, rape and murder their own citizens -- and laugh at us.
Instead of insisting that Islam must become a religion of responsibility, our leaders in both parties continue to bleat that "Islam's a religion of peace," ignoring the curious absence of Baptist suicide bombers.
Instead of requiring new immigrants to integrate into our society and conform to its public values, we encourage and subsidize anti-American, woman-hating, freedom-denying bigotry in the name of toleration.
Instead of pursuing our enemies to the ends of the earth, we help them sue us.
We've dishonored our dead and whitewashed our enemies. A distinctly unholy alliance between fanatical Islamists abroad and a politically correct "elite" in the US has reduced 9/11 to the status of a non-event, a day for politicians to preen about how little they've done.
We've forgotten the shock and the patriotic fury Americans felt on that bright September morning eight years ago. We've forgotten our identification with fellow citizens leaping from doomed skyscrapers. We've forgotten the courage of airline passengers who would not surrender to terror.
We've forgotten the men and women who burned to death or suffocated in the Pentagon. We've forgotten our promises, our vows, our commitments.
We've forgotten what we owe our dead and what we owe our children. We've even forgotten who attacked us.
We have betrayed the memory of our dead. In doing so, we betrayed ourselves and our country. Our troops continue to fight -- when they're allowed to do so -- but our politicians have surrendered.


read the rest of novelist Ralph Peter's article here: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/betraying_our_dead_H6T95r1BTCnkC1UbEdUfsO
and hattip to Michael Bane.

Although it's based on a different subject, the words of a hymn prompted my predominant feelings of this day: "Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree? Ohhhh, sometimes it causes me to tremble..."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Poor in spirit

Imagine a time you set aside for earnest reflection or prayer. Thoughts seemed focused for a short while, then the concerns of the day sprang up, and you were again hooked by normal habits of thinking. You realized this, then tried again, with more or less earnest focus, and again your prayer was foiled. At this point, it is natural to give in to the day's concerns...perhaps leaving the scene at least grateful for having made the attempt, or guilty at not having succeeded...so less likely to try again. For these reasons I often am thankful to have at least made the attempt in the morning, before anyone else in the house is astir, admiring the sunrise, and as of yet not focused on phone calls. This first fruit of my time is a good start, anyhow.

So what do we make of this inability to break away from the world's cares even for a few minutes? Christian reformers described the depravity of the soul, that humans are by nature caught in sin's quicksand. I suggest Attitude is key, here. When, at the point of giving up on prayer, we are moved to return to it, feeling guilty, we have a few predictable choices: (a) continue in guilt, (b) leave prayer behind and proceed with the work-day, (c) acknowledge our situation and ask for peace. Since (a) is untenable for long, it must give way to something else. Choice (b) is the natural human default position. Yet Grace is found in (c): admitting we are indeed poor in spirit--as evidenced by our week attempt even to pray for a few minutes--to recognize we are unable on our own to break away from these earthly chains, and to plead with the Almighty for forgiveness and love and an abundance of blessings to be showered upon our existence. This is what God wishes for us, if we simply ask, with a correct attitude, and have faith. Prayer is not a one-way conversation, and God uses even our natural propensities--easy to be distracted, prone to fee guilty--to call us back away from ourselves. This, too, reveals a facet of why we were created as finite, so that our own weakness points us to our Creator. When our spirit is poor, we are ready to inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fluttering Contemplation

Caught up as usual in the business of the day, two butterflies chased across my window view: chaotic flight. Fluttering contemplation is not an oxymoron. Contemplation is understood as "going deeper" than standard operating procedures, not reflecting shallowly, nor flitting from thought to thought. We contemplate when a truth alights our consciousness and interrupts our mental routine. This is not simply chasing butterflies.

Some may say contemplation does not require external stimulus: they conceive that their spirit contains longings which of their own accord draw them into contemplation. This may be, and yet it may also involve the oneness of the universe, such that there is nothing external: all material things touching each other, interconnecting, such that (for example) our subconcious and the need of our gardens for water interact and intersect. Certainly our internal longings cannot logically be completely dissasociated from the rest of the material universe ("nature"), since we are made of it and cannot remove ourselves from it--yet the difference between these two modes is useful for discussion. Since we are inextricably caught up in our "habit and skin" (Bruce Cockburn), contemplation is so important as a tool to "know ourselves," and why we should accept the invitation to contemplate, even if it comes on the wings of the temporary butterfly.

Another explanation for the original cause of contemplation is that there is something or someone beyond the realm of our material confines, of this mortal coil. Let's imagine God calls us out of ourselves, away from our prideful existence which, left to its own accord, operates like a child's Slinky toy: a spring falling through time, reacting within its physical shape and within physical law, not unlike any other material substance, awaiting the bottom of the stair. So, contemplation may be seen as (a) within one's own self, (b) connection with the rest of nature, or (c) God calling us out of (a) and (b). If this last is so, it would lend evidence that everday miracles do occur: http://billofgrace.blogspot.com/2009/05/everyday-miracles.html

The defensive measure or contrary use of the contemplative exercise is a glance out of the corner of your eye.* All animals' senses are heightened when they perceive danger. You may have noticed, when you are concerned with crossing a very busy street, that your peripheral vision reflexively kicks into turbo. However, this is the opposite of contemplation, for it directs us outwardly towards that which opposes us. This is one example of (a) and (b) above, and it is an exercise we share with non-human animals, a more reasoned (perhaps) approach to the fight-or-flight instinct. Thus we may consider contemplation to be NOT this defensive response, but rather a momentary countermeasure. We may then entertain that the ability to contemplate is one faculty which makes us different from the rest of nature.

If that is so, logic requires we consider that humanity is not alone in this structure or capacity, but rather there exists another who is that much different from us than we are from the rest of nature. This is just another way of describing one historical argument for the existence of God, and one thing we have in common with our Creator, which is separate from the rest of nature.

*Postnote: I have just read about "stress induced tunnel vision." This contrasts the example in an analogy discussed above. We will contemplate this further.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Original Understanding

When I was young, the King James version of the Bible was the standard. I memorized enough verses in AWANA (a Bible study for children) so that other translations' sentence formations still seem awkward, when it comes to those "Greatest Hits" of memory verses. However I have a new-found appreciation of what my colleagues call "the proper" version: the New American Standard. Not to be confused with the Catholic New American Bible, nor the NIV...all of which I feel comfortable with. I'm still enjoying my year-long journey reading the Chronological Bible, in New Living Translation, (although I am running about two months behind.) Regardless of what naysayers who don't actually read the Bible may tell you, I haven't seen THAT much difference between versions, especially when it comes to the most important of issues, like the saving blood of Christ. Different sentence structure, sure, but essentially the SAME meaning.



Now onto current events. There seems no end to debate regarding whether the Constitution should be considered with the Founders' intent, or whether it is a "living, breathing document," which can basically mean whatever you want it to. We are seeing changes which drastically alter the meaning of the Constitution. I posit that one reason the soul of "America" is in its death-throes, regardless of how well the United States are doing, is due to a lack of interest in our governing documents. Imagine a Christian who said he or she didn't really care what the Bible actually said, because it's just the spirit of the text that matters. That's what's happening with the Constitution today. Certain members of Congress actually want to change its meaning, and say that the original intent matters not.



http://www.umt.edu/law/original-understanding/presentation.htm



Amazing bibliography there, for getting a sense of the climate in which the Constitution was written. Here are a few excerpts:



It also requires taking account of heavy influence of Latin on eighteenth-century English. This influence existed partly because the Founders were temporally closer to widespread Latin usage than we are and partly because boys from the influential classes customarily were immersed in Latin from an early age and were expected to be fully competent before they enrolled in college. It is difficult to do effective originalist research without a fair knowledge of Latin, and some serious textual misconstructions have arisen from trying to do so.





The founding generation tended to look at the world through a classical lens, not merely because of their immersion in Latin, but because Greco-Roman writings comprised such a large part of their education. Many of the founders retained a love of classics throughout their entire lives. (It was said, for example, that Patrick Henry – not someone thought of as a particularly bookish figure – annually re-read Livy’s Roman history.) Therefore, the originalist scholar needs at least a cursory knowledge of the history of ancient Greece and Rome, particularly of the Roman Republic. Especially important are the histories of Rome written by Livy and Polybius, Aristotle’s Politics, and Cicero’s De Officiis (“On Duties”) and Cicero’s more important orations.


Although the Founders didn’t talk much about it, they also were influenced by the Bible, long passages from which children learned by heart.



A clear super-majority of the leading Founders, including many, if not most, of the leading Anti-Federalists, were lawyers. Moreover, legal knowledge was very widespread among educated non-lawyers, and legal arguments were common public fare in the debate over ratification. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that much of what passes for originalist scholarship treats legal sources skimpily – often relying on little more than Coke and Blackstone.





It's sad today's Congress presumes to know better than the Founders.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

500th anniversary of grace and glory

It's the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, and whether you agree with his theology or not, this is a biggie. It's been suggested that the Protestant Reformation, and Calvin's teachings in specific, were fundamental to the rise of capitalism (see "Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism" by Max Weber). Of course the spirit of America, too, owes a great debt to this man and these philosophies. Some would say the spirit of America is dead, and only the United States remain, but I'll let that go for now...

If you've been reading so far, you'll note we're challenged by attending to the politics of the age, since we wish to maintain America's freedoms--which defend the practice of our religions--and yet, we want not to be "of this world." Here's a recent essay on Calvin which poignantly speaks to this dilemma:

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/2009/07/where-is-the-glory-found.html

Calvin understood that we must remake worship. Everything else is icing. To put it another way, Calvin understood that we must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, not so that we might have all these things added to us, but so that we might have the one needful thing -- the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

We, the heirs of Calvin, have forgotten this lesson. We, if we think about worship at all, see it as a means to the end. The end we have in mind is the power and the glory. We want to build political coalitions that we might change the world. We want to overcome the powers of the Hollywood elite that we might change the world. We want to remake the economic landscape that we might change the world. What God wants is that we would bow down in repentance and give glory to His name. What God wants is what Calvin did.

When Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, He wasn't telling us: "Now when you go about your life, when you pursue your goals, don't forget the big picture. Don't lose sight of why you do what you do." Instead Jesus was telling us: "Seek this. Seek this alone. Forget about everything else. Have a single-minded passion and leave the rest alone. It is in my hands anyway."

We, on the other hand, have it all upside down and backwards. We will, especially this year, look at the glory that once was Geneva because of the ministry of Calvin. We will, especially this year, look out at all the nations that felt the ripples of Calvin, moving from Geneva, to England, to these United States, then back out across the globe through the modern missionary movement. We will, especially this year, remember the great economic power that was unleashed with the spread of liberty that likewise redounds to Calvin. What we will miss is the true glory, the real story. What we will miss is the unvarnished beauty of a single congregation in one neighborhood of Geneva, bowing in prayer to the living God, lifting up their voices, singing the Psalms of God, receiving the Word preached, and receiving the Word as bread and wine. There is where the glory is found.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Is reading fundamental?

Many of you may recall the RIF movement of the '70s: reading is fundamental. It passed through public TV into the public elementary schools: content is not as important as the fact that they're reading. In the '80s we experienced DEAR: drop everything and read. I remember often thinking...what if it's Playboy? I mean, there are probably some good articles in there! O.K., that's not acceptable. So what about witchcraft? Or communist manifestos? Yeah, that's the ticket. Just as long as the kids are reading, the actual content isn't that important. I look back at the Electric Company show and see so much bickering between the characters...is that ideal for impressionable minds? No, but it's secondary to the paradigm that reading is fundamental. So this movement in education walked hand in hand with relativism: as long as it's your truth, no one should tell you it's wrong.

So now we have Harry Potter. I didn't like the withcraft part, but that wasn't the worst of it...see below. Just consider how many people will consider that editorial to be heretical to the religion of RIF. Think of all the kids who have been saved from illiteracy by Harry Potter. Yuk.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So that's my issue

I've had plenty of issues with the Potter stuff, but this one hit it on the head. via http://www.nypost.com/seven/07192009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_trouble_with_harry_180093.htm
and hattip to House of Eratosthenes

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY
NO CHALLENGES, NO MORALS -- POTTER IS THE PERFECT HERO FOR AN ENTITLED GENERATION
By KYLE SMITH

Last updated: 12:57 pmJuly 19, 2009 Posted: 2:52 amJuly 19, 2009
...Harry might be the blandest superhero ever conceived. He simply follows the trail, learns the spells and saves the day. Kids love to be in Harry's shoes: all zapping bad guys, no taking out the trash.
Compare Luke Skywalker, who has to conquer his own vanity, laziness and anger in order to earn his powers. Harry, like many of his generation, is the Cosseted One from an early age. He's told that he's special, that he's got awesome gifts, that those who don't understand this are blind to the plain facts. Deploying his powers involves no more character or soul-searching than following a recipe.
The whimsical creations and the narrative pull -- making readers beg to know what's going to happen next -- are all Rowling offers. The great kids' works strike deep, satisfying chords. "The Wizard of Oz" would be just a Technicolor fun ride without Dorothy's discovery that everything she always wanted was right there at home. "Willy Wonka" isn't just a funny freak-out. It's also a near-biblical catalog of sinners and punishment. The Potter tales are built on nothing. Inside them is a deathly hollow.
Is there any children's writer more dismissive of morals? A Rowling kid starts learning at an early age that principles are adjustable depending on convenience.
Rowling ignores ethics to the point of encouraging dishonorable behavior. Harry spends "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" -- the film version of which is raking it in this weekend -- cheating out of a textbook that has all the answers written in the margins, causing him to fraudulently win a luck potion that he uses to solve the central mystery. And his punishment for this is . . . nothing. Harry's taking advantage of the annotated textbook is depicted as simple resourcefulness, and Hermione's protests seem mere whining. Rowling's readers will conclude it's OK to go on eBay and buy a teacher's edition of a textbook.
..."Gulliver's Travels" and the "Alice in Wonderland" books are comedic sociopolitical satires. "Winnie the Pooh" has been used as a teaching aid to introduce Nietzsche, Descartes and Taoism. Superman (born in 1938, as Nazis marched) meant truth, justice and the American way.
Rowling, sensing that her readers would think her corny or un-PC if she (for instance) dared to make Harry stand for the transcendent appeal of British civilization and culture, is no more interested in principles or resonance than "Desperate Housewives" is. If the Potter books are about nothing except childish good vs. childish evil (and they are), then they amount to a cosmic quidditch match. There's not a lot of suspense about who will win, why they should, or what it all means. All the pleasure for the reader is in the how -- the vacuous, disposable, inconsequential how.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nehemiah Group

This just in from Gabe Suarez:



THE NEHEMIAH GROUP



Nehemiah 4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night because of them.



Nehemiah 4:17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.



Nehemiah 4:13 And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people,"Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."


The Nehemiah Group is a new section of Suarez International focusing on the security analysis of places of worship, as well as the training of Church Security Groups around the world. This has been a long time coming. Interested pastors, or rabbis please contact us at info@suarezinternational.com



Some of my Bible study guys and I have discussed the matter of church security many times. After 9/11 our pastor asked around to see who among the flock carries a pistol, in case of a violent attack. We have more than a few, in and out of law enforcement and military, so we'll have a fighting chance.

Since July 4th, I've spent much less time in the news, and more time in The Word. That's a good thing, folks. Nothing like the Sword of Truth to cut through modern times.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where's Waldo when we need him?

For what avail the plough or sail,
>>>
or land or life,
>>>
if freedom fail?


Ralph Waldo Emerson



Yet further from the heart of things, what avail universal health care or corporate stability?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The wilderness returns

I've heard from a few pulpits over the last few years that the light is going out in America, that God is taking away His guiding hand, etc. But our thesis is that God's grace supercedes human rights, and Christianity is indeed growing in leaps and bounds...just not in the USA. So we don't depend on human organizations, but rather focus on the invisible, spiritual war.

But what is the relationship between having the freedom to worship and true freedom? Christ said in no uncertain terms that if you take up your cross (not necessarily the same as His cross) and follow Him, you WILL BE persecuted. Further, persectution is fertile ground for the growth of the Body of Christ (all Christian believers). Should we then pray that God sends more persecution? Umm, I don't criticize others who do, but that's not really up my alley. Likewise, although I think fasting is good for the soul, I don't think I'm called to do emulate monks who wore scratchy woolen underwear.

Why are more people than ever simutaneously concerned for the future of America AND foretelling a new Great Awakening? Largely due to the present state of politics, I'll wager, especially at the federal level. For example:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/09/barack_obama_and_the_strategy.html

"Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1989 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one. (Courtesy Discover the Networks.org)
Newsmax rounds out the picture:
Their strategy to create political, financial, and social chaos that would result in revolution blended Alinsky concepts with their more aggressive efforts at bringing about a change in U.S. government. To achieve their revolutionary change, Cloward and Piven sought to use a cadre of aggressive organizers assisted by friendly news media to force a re-distribution of the nation's wealth.
In their Nation article, Cloward and Piven were specific about the kind of "crisis" they were trying to create:
By crisis, we mean a publicly visible disruption in some institutional sphere. Crisis can occur spontaneously (e.g., riots) or as the intended result of tactics of demonstration and protest which either generate institutional disruption or bring unrecognized disruption to public attention.
No matter where the strategy is implemented, it shares the following features:
The offensive organizes previously unorganized groups eligible for government benefits but not currently receiving all they can.
The offensive seeks to identify new beneficiaries and/or create new benefits.
The overarching aim is always to impose new stresses on target systems, with the ultimate goal of forcing their collapse.


If you think America was a bad idea and we should work toward its downfall, I guess this is as good a strategy as it gets. Obviously I think that's, ummm, SATAN speaking, since Capitalism and the Protestant Work Ethic (Weber), combined with the New World, has been the most significant force of freedom, democracy, and human rights the world has ever seen.

See also here: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/once-upon-a-time-in-america/

In America, you were free.
Here was a New World. No kings, no knights, no dukes, no earls. No titles, no shackles, no pales of settlement. Some of us, shamefully, owned slaves. But when push came to shove, Americans were willing to kill and die to make other men free. It was true in the Civil War. It was true in World War Two. It remains true today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We were never perfect, but we were always working on it — at least when we weren’t trying to make a buck, or maybe just trying to avoid attention. America was the land of promise, and the land that delivered on that promise.
American freedom was a huge, sprawling, messy, brawling thing. It consumed everything and anything, and spewed out an unimaginable bounty. For some, the freedom was about growing their business and making money. For others, it was about growing their hair and making love. But it was always here, for anyone willing to risk the journey and leave behind the Old World and its old ways.
But now that we have this wonderful place, this precious idea — what are we doing with it?
Already, the government runs our children’s education and our parents’ retirement. Now we’re allowing it to usurp our banks and nationalize what remains of our auto industries. Within weeks, Washington promises a plan to dictate our health care. To do all this, we’ve let Washington run up enough red ink to impoverish our grandchildren. As if all that weren’t enough, the president still found the time to kick our friends in London and Tel Aviv while courting a genocidal, election-stealing maniac in Tehran. He even gave a speech in Cairo — that oppressed, impoverished Old World megalopolis — in which he assured the world that America really is no better than anywhere else.
Well, once upon a time, we were.

...If the Old World comes here, where does the New World have left to go?
When the Puritans were persecuted in England, they risked everything to come to America. When young Germans faced the Prussian army’s grip, they gave up their ancient towns to come here. When Jews faced the Czar’s pogroms, they gave up their bucolic steppes for the slums of New York. Rather than accept stagnant lives in their own countries, Latin Americans risked uncertain lives in America. Rather than accept far milder impositions than our own, America’s Founding Fathers risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor just to sign their names on parchment.


What are our federal branches of government risking for us today? Certainly not their lives. On the contrary, they're betting their constituents' (yours and mine) lives and fortunes. Ugh, without faith in God this would be a dark situation.

My friend Dave also sees this struggle and is engaging: http://troubledcorinthian.blogspot.com/2009/06/wisdom-of-men-and-holy-spirit.html

To what extent should the Christian be a voice in the political wilderness? To what extent should human rights issues--even in our own country!--compare with spreading the Gospel?

Friday, June 19, 2009

For the children, part deux, Age of Decadence

A friend referred me to an ancient philosophy which suggests everything we do is for the future generations. We had a short debate on how attempting to get us out of a recession by burdening future generations with trillions of dollars of debt may not be logical, then...but I digress.

Yes, our example is always an educational model for our children--we "are always teaching"--however my point was that too often people disguise their rationale for doing something as being "for the children," and even at times as a burden! This is not only disingenuous but also counterproductive. Children also hear what we say, and what we say becomes part of our psyche, so it would be better: "I'm doing X with my kids."

Thinking of the tax burden on the future, and the nature of government to encroach upon rights, Troubled Corinthian and I discussed the nature of government and what is the best direction for government today. He simply and brilliantly said that the crucial change for our generation is to lower taxes, to starve the government. Regardless of any other policy--to save the earth or the unborn, to become energy independent or insured against any health problem--government must be reduced.

We have entered the Age of Decadence. We have arrived here mostly due to the economic prosperity of the United States carried into the 21st century, which many historians have already posited will continue through the next 100 years. I love having a good drink, coffee, and dessert, and we typically revel in such an event as being "decadent." I'm sure you've seen "Chocolate Decadence" on the menu. The bittersweet definition, however, is usually directed toward the fall of the Roman Empire, in which society became too rich for its own good. Yeah, my 42" LCD TV isn't good enough; I need a 56" plasma screen. Kids would rather play video games all Saturday than play outside. This is uncannily similar to 2000 years ago.

This means for our government that, not only do we feel comfortable in our seeming isolation from overseas terrorists or any other enemy (unjustifiably, of course), we spend far too much time trying to redistribute wealth from those who produce to those who do not. Too much energy attempting to control education at the federal level. Too much in tax credits to people buying so-called "energy efficient vehicles" and building "green buildings" when these measure could never counteract pollution spewing communist China.

One lesson we should learn from the current financial crisis is that we need to--and CAN--survive on less...and that means the government, too. Why should it be expanding while "the people" are losing their investments? The government needs to tighten its belt, and that means lowering taxes. A wonderful consequence is that it will have less power to encroach on our freedoms.

Second, we need to throw ourselves at the feet of the Almighty. Only God can make the sun stop in the sky--not the crazy North Korean dictator, certainly not Osama bin Laden...and not even the U.S. government. The more the government takes control of the economy, the more it fails. We will look back at this moment in history and wonder why Americans allowed its federal government to use a recession as a rationale to take over General Motors. Our founding fathers would appraise this situation quickly and, like it or not, they believed in individual people's relationship to God more highly than the federal government. This worked hand in hand with contemporary Adam Smith's "invisible hand." Let the market correct itself...because it WILL, sooner or later. If the government tries to fix it, the crisis is prolonged...as with the Great Depression. The federal government attempts to be god, it will be slapped down, as have all other gods in history...by The Almighty.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nine/twelve plus one

This from Glenn Beck.


The 9/12


The 9 Principles

1. America Is Good.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
HonestyI hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
Marriage/FamilyIt is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
JusticeI deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of HappinessEveryone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
CharityIt is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson


The 12 Values

* Honesty* Reverence* Hope* Thrift* Humility* Charity* Sincerity* Moderation* Hard Work* Courage* Personal Responsibility* Gratitude

http://theglennbeck912project.com/the-912/


Oh yeah. That's what I'm talking about! And toss in a little of this, and we'll be set.


"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." Thomas Jefferson

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wish it weren't true

Walter Williams epitomizes what we've been discussing everyday, when the topic comes to the current state of politics:



...it was Albert Einstein who explained, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." So which is it -- stupidity, ignorance or insanity -- that explains the behavior of my fellow Americans who call for greater government involvement in our lives?

According to latest Rasmussen Reports, 30 percent of Americans believe congressmen are corrupt. Last year, Congress' approval rating fell to 9 percent, its lowest in history. If the average American were asked his opinion of congressmen, among the more polite terms you'll hear are thieves and crooks, liars and manipulators, hustlers and quacks. But what do the same people say when our nation faces a major problem? "Government ought to do something!" When people call for government to do something, it is as if they've been befallen by amnesia and forgotten just who is running government. It's the very people whom they have labeled as thieves and crooks, liars and manipulators, hustlers and quacks.


Aside from the general level of disgust that Americans have for congressmen, there's the question of whether there is anything that Congress does well. What about Social Security and Medicare? Congress has allowed Social Security and Medicare to accumulate an unfunded liability of $101 trillion. That means in order to pay promised elderly entitlement benefits, Congress would have to put trillions in the bank today earning interest. Congressional efforts to create "affordable housing" have created today's financial calamity. Congress props up failed enterprises such as Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service with huge cash subsidies, and subsidies in the forms of special tax treatment and monopoly rights. I can't think of anything that Congress does well yet we Americans call for them to take greater control over important areas of our lives.


I don't think that stupidity, ignorance or insanity explains the love that many Americans hold for government; it's far more sinister and perhaps hopeless. I'll give a few examples to make my case. Many Americans want money they don't personally own to be used for what they see as good causes such as handouts to farmers, poor people, college students, senior citizens and businesses. If they privately took someone's earnings to give to a farmer, college student or senior citizen, they would be hunted down as thieves and carted off to jail. However, they get Congress to do the identical thing, through its taxing power, and they are seen as compassionate and caring. In other words, people love government because government, while having neither moral nor constitutional authority, has the legal and physical might to take the property of one American and give it to another.


The unanticipated problem with this agenda is that as Congress uses its might to take what belongs to one American to give to another, what President Obama calls "spreading the wealth around," more and more Americans will want to participate in the looting. It will ultimately produce something none of us wants: absolute control over our lives.


The path we're embarked upon, in the name of good, is a familiar one. The unspeakable horrors of Nazism, Stalinism and Maoism did not begin in the '30s and '40s with the men usually associated with those names. Those horrors were simply the end result of a long evolution of ideas leading to consolidation of power in central government in the name of "social justice." In Germany, it led to the Enabling Act of 1933: Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation and, after all, who could be against a remedy to relieve distress? Decent but misguided Germans, who would have cringed at the thought of what Nazi Germany would become, succumbed to Hitler's charisma.


Today's Americans, enticed, perhaps enchanted, by charismatic speeches, are ceding so much power to Washington, and like yesteryear's Germans are building the Trojan Horse for a future tyrant.



http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2009/06/10/americans_love_government



Dang, if he doesn't hit the nail on the head. No wonder that in addition to serving on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, Dr. Williams is the author of More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Conspiracy time

Isaiah 8:11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 "Do not say, 'A conspiracy,' Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. 13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread. 14 He will be as a sanctuary... 17 And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him. 18 Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel From the Lord of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.

What a waste of time and energy are conspiracies! Please help us focus on what's eternal, defend the weak and fatherless, and maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. (Psalm 82:3)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Freedom's crossroads, part 2


These men formed a more perfect union, with the goal of maximizing freedom for the most people. If they were alive today, they'd be spitting mad, regardless of how serene this picture looks. We recognize freedom is under attack within our own borders, and we make it our mission to fight back. Some call the fall of the Berlin Wall the end of the 20th century, and 9-11-01 the beginning of the 21st. While considering our current struggle, I keep recalling Churchill: "America did not become what it is by being made of candy." I subscribe to Tim's e-mail reports, and here's an especially poignant one. While you read it, consider what's going on in our country, right now, and whether the U.S. is striving for more freedom or more governmental control...which incidentally is its exact opposite, in the minds of our founding fathers. Are we heading for a more or less secure America for future generations?

...I’d like to share some principles from a book called ‘The 5000 Year Leap’ written & put together by the National Center for Constitutional Studies. Simply put, this book is AWESOME! Heck, I wish it was required reading for all high school students. It’s about ‘The 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World.’
The 15th Principle, one of my favorites! The Highest Level of Prosperity Occurs when there is a Free-Market Economy and a Minimum of Government Regulations. Most of this is straight from the book.
The United States was the first people to undertake the structuring of a whole national economy on the basis of natural law and the free-market concept described by Adam Smith (who wrote a book in 1776 called The Wealth of Nations). Among other things, this formula called for the following:
1. Specialized production – let each person or corporation of persons do what they do best.
2. Exchange of goods takes place in a free-market environment without governmental interference in production, prices, or wages.
3. The free market provides the needs of the people on the basis of supply and demand, with no government imposed monopolies.
4. Prices are regulated by competition on the basis of supply and demand.
5. Profits are looked upon as the means by which production of goods and services is made worthwhile.
6. Competition is looked upon as the means by which quality is improved, quantity is increased, and prices are reduced.

The Four Laws of Economic Freedom: Prosperity also depends on a climate of wholesome stimulation protected by law. Reduced to its simplest formula, there are four laws of economic freedom which a nation must maintain if its people are to prosper at the maximum level. These are:
1. The Freedom to try.
2. The Freedom to buy.
3. The Freedom to sell.
4. The Freedom to fail.

Proper role of gov is to protect equal rights, NOT provide equal things.
By 1905 the United States had become the richest industrial nation in the world. With only 5 percent of the earth’s continental land area and merely 6 percent of the world’s population, the American people were producing over half of almost everything-clothes, food, houses, transportation, communications, even luxuries. It was a great tribute to Adam Smith.
Those are the values this country was founded on. One person CAN make a difference. You can teach those around you, your family, your friends timeless principles that we need to all follow once again.


Thanks, Tim. You're making a difference.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hell and the Hitler principle

A recent Bible study veered into the intersection of Evangelism Avenue and Hell Street. One fellow said that hell is a most important topic to discuss, since it is one of the biggest roadblocks to new converts. On one hand, how can genuinely good people go to hell, just because they don't believe in Jesus and, on the other hand, how can a just God allow genuinely bad people to go to heaven via a "deathbed" conversion?




My short answer was, that we should not let a discussion with new believers get bogged down in a discussion of hell. I spent way too many years in college researching William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," peering into Dante's "Inferno" and C.S. Lewis' "Great Divorce," and now laboring under a media thrilled (under a romantic spell--see vampire meaning attributable to "thrill," especially in the novel "Monster Hunter International") with all things hellish. Allowing a serious discussion of one's immortal soul to fall into the hands of modern day gnostic entertainers makes me reach for the Tums.



Another fellow chimed in that hell, among other topics, can be a "smokescreen" to distract from the underlying issue: whether that person is angry, hurt, or what-have-you. Others, however, felt hell is a very important topic to be fluent about, to be able to answer those questions, and so on. Now I agree that hell is a very important topic, and that we should be prepared to answer questions about hell. Here's an excerpt from an article one fellow forwarded to me:




http://www.grace4u.org/Topical/doct_hel.htm




A close look at hell can make us more godly and compassionate.


That Hideous Doctrine
by John Thomas, free lance writer


...Hell is a place of darkness (Matt. 8:12). Imagine the person who has just entered hell--a neighbor, relative, co-worker, friend. After a roar of physical pain blasts him, he spends his first moments wailing and gnashing his teeth. But after a season, he grows accustomed to the pain, not that it's become tolerable, but that his capacity for it has enlarged to comprehend it, yet not be consumed by it. Though he hurts, he is now able to think, and he instinctively looks about him. But as he looks, he sees only blackness.
In his past life he learned that if he looked long enough, a glow of light somewhere would yield definition to his surroundings So he blinks and strains to focus his eyes, but his efforts yield only blackness. He turns and strains his eyes in another direction. He waits. He sees nothing but unyielding black ink. It clings to him, smothering and oppressing him.
Realizing that the darkness is not going to give way, he nervousiy begins to feel for something solid to get his bearings. He reaches for walls or rocks or trees or chairs; he stretches his legs to feel the ground and touches nothing.
Hell is a "bottomless pit" (Rev. 20:1, 2 KJV); however, the new occupant is slow to learn. In growing panic, he kicks his feet and waves his arms. He stretches and he lunges. But he finds nothing. After more feverish tries, he pauses from exhaustion, suspended in black. Suddenly, with a scream he kicks, twists, and lunges until he is again too exhausted to move.
He hangs there, alone with his pain. Unable to touch a solid object or see a solitary thing, he begins to weep...
A hard look at this doctrine should first change our view of sin. Most believers do not take sin as seriously as God does. We need to realize that in God's eyes, and in His actual plan, sin deserves eternal punishment in hell.
We can actually learn, by comparison, to hate sin as God hates it. As the reality of hell violates and offends us, for example, so sin violates and offends God. As we cannot bear to look upon the horrors of hell, so God cannot bear to look upon the horrors of sin. As hell revolts us to the point of hatred for it, so also God finds sin revolting. The comparison is not perfect, but it offers a start.
...Reprinted from MOODY MAGAZINE, Sept. 1985





Yes, it is important not to allow modern discussions to vascillate from "this is what churches use to scare you into converting" to "hell's not a real place." On the other hand, it is important NOT to let discussions with prospective believers circle round and round about whether hell is real or not. Likewise with any other smokescreen topic. Our discussions must rise to the level of, and remain focused upon, the love of Christ.



If someone raise the objection of whether a genuinely good person could go to hell, or if Hitler could have had a deathbed conversion, I offer the pithy response: "Let God sort 'em out." What's more pertinent to the current discussion is, what side are YOU on?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Christian warrior

BoG disclaimer. In reference to the Winston Churchill quotation some time ago, and my adjacent invective that conservative should make life hell for socialists, a liberal friend of mine said she's not interested in my blog because it is partisan. Let me be clear. Socialism leads to tyranny and the death of innocents. If you don't understand this, please Google that, and expand your historical knowledge base. I am interested in God's grace, and in His blessing this country such that it defends people's "rights" to practice religion, defend themselves, and so on. (To what extent God is concerned with human rights we will leave for a later date.) No other country was founded on such principals. No other country goes out of its way to defend others around the globe, in the way the U.S. does. To the extent the U.S. falls away from its original principals, it will also quite likely fall out of grace with the Almighty, upon Whose Name it was founded. Those who wish to re-write the Constitution to fit their political agenda, making it more like failed systems aroud the globe and less like the proverbial City on the Hill, these are either misguided souls, enemies of freedom, or both. As Churchill also said, in one of the most quoted graduation speeches, "Never, never, never, never, never give up!" And with Christian love, we will continue to promote the Gospel of Christ, and the remaining foundation of this country which still stands upon His principals.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The below is quoted from one of Gabe Suarez's emails to which I subscribe. This one in particular exemplifies our themes of the supplication of God's Will and the absence of coincidence.



CHRISTIAN WARRIOR



Suarez International is dedicated to His service, and this section exists to glorify His name and to provide encouragement to our brothers-in-arms that serve Him as Christian Warriors. We believe that God gave us courage and called us to the profession of arms, and that its His will that we be strong and dangerous in the face of evil and the sons of perdition that walk this earth.

Responsibility and Preparation

When a publically-traded business fails, investors quite reasonably look at the CEO to ask what happened - and to place the blame. When a military unit is captured, the generals will want to interrogate the team leader for the same reasons. This is all very reasonable. One might even expect it would be an inherent aspect of leadership to "accept" such responsibility.

Yet today, when a church fails, many church leaders are very quick to simply blame their Boss - The Lord. "It was not His will", they will say, "that this church succeeds". What might we say of the CEO, of say, a failed automobile manufacturer, or a failed bank, if when asked about the jobs and livelihoods of those dependant on him, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, "C'est la vie"? (That means "That is life" in French for any liberals that might be reading). Probably nothing you would repeat in front of a gaggle of girls at a Sunday service, yet it is OK for a pastor to use such an excuse?

What about when a family fails? You know - kids go bad, relationship ends in divorce, poor spending discipline, etc. Stuff like that. Whose responsibility is it? God's will, or the failure of leadership?

Listen. Do not blame God for your own mistakes. I often see failure in leadership as far as churches go because the pastor makes some sort of decision with his own interest in mind and not necessarily the interest of his church. Then, falling in love with his decision, convinces himself that it is God's will. Yet at every turn there is nothing but resistance and closed doors and problems. An attentive man might be thinking that God does not want him to go that way, but not the pastor (or Christian Leader) that has already made up his mind. He will press on and dismiss the resistance as spiritual warfare.

I do not believe God forces us to do things, rather, having free will, He will guide us. But all too often we refuse to pay attention. I remember back in 2002 when the idea of moving out of California first came up for us. It was a difficult thing as we owned a home, belonged to a church there, and still had family and friends there. So what did I do? I prayed. I asked the Lord that if it was in fact His will that we move, to please make it so easy that we would in fact know it was His will. Some might say such a prayer was unfaithful. Truth is, I don't care what they think. If they prayed such prayers (just as Gideon did in Judges) I suspect they would not make as many life mistakes.

In any case, God made the transition so simple it was almost too funny. Think of a door not only being opened after such a prayer, but that door being blown up by det cord and a big suction sucking us through the opening! But I consulted God before moving a finger. And most importantly, waited for an answer before moving. David did likewise as I recall.

In the old martial arts world we had a saying about preparations - Those destined to win, study first, then fight the battle. Those destined to lose, fight the battle first, and then study why they lost. Same thing here. Don't you think?
__________________
Gabe Suarez

One Source Tactical
Suarez International USA
Christian Warrior Ministries

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to
send peace on earth: I came not to send peace,
but a sword.

*******************************************************

We have begun a new website titled

Christian Warrior Ministries

Take a look.
http://www.christianwarriorministries.com/


BoG aside: I heard a market report last night which suggested that if Chrysler were allowed to fall a few decades ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today...not to say that would eliminate failure, but rather it would set a better precedent for success. It also made the interesting note: "Capitalism needs failure like religion needs sin." Well, let's not delve into the theology of that, but rather reflect upon our sinful nature, and need for a saviour, and upon capitalism's natural tendancy to have market cycles, successes and failures. To the extent to which the government interferes with that failure and subsequent recovery, the market will take longer to recover. It's take plenty of academic openness to admit recently that the Great Depression was prolonged by the New Deal, NOT solved by it. We can only hope that the U.S.'s inherent economic strength, and God's Will, don't make us pay for this meddling.



And on the poetic side, this is from a year-old mailing from Gabe:


To prevent the unforeseen when I’m alone and down the block, I pack a Holy Bible…a Bible and a Glock.
If the enemy opposing has a Christian soul to seal, I will bless him with a scripture, but if not…with lead and steel.
I want to live in peace with everyone I see. I shall always try to do so, as much as depends on me.
But there’s no evil I will stand, no devil hand that I won’t still, like the Lion and the Lamb,
the very hand that blesses you can kill!
To prevent the unforeseen when I’m alone and down the block, I pack a Holy Bible…a Bible and a Glock.




Gabe, thanks for all you do, as a Christian, and as an American.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The sky is falling

You all know the beginning premise: Chicken Little runs around saying "The sky is falling," and the rumor spreads.

But who can tell the rest of the story?

More and more birds (Turkey Lurkey, et al) become similarly afraid, and together they journey to warn the king. Along the way, they come across the path of Foxy Loxy, who generously offers her den to keep the others safe while she undertakes the perilous journey to the king. Of course the sky is fine, Foxy gets fat, and the birds go missing or KIA.

Next thing you know, the government imposes extortionate environmental standards, takes control of a major auto corporation, attempts to disarm the populace and silence opposition...

Monday, June 1, 2009

The religion of socialism

As in the 1930s, we are seeing a resurgence of socialism in the media. An antithesis of freedom, socialist methodology attempts to turn each new generation's minds to mush.


Socialists advocate abortion rights, since socialism purports that "personhood" is defined by use value, which status can be bestowed by a person's caregivers. (A side note: aged people can have that status taken away when they are no longer useful. Keep that in mind as our nation contemplates a national health care system.)


So when does a person become useful to the movement as a whole? Answer: when they become true believers! As youths under the spell of their parents, proto-people struggle for meaning and awakening. If this is not acheived sooner, they may attend socialist purgatory--the university--for one last chance at seeing the light, before entering "the real world." Winston Churchill: "If one is young and not a liberal, he has no heart. If one is old and not a conservative, he has no brains." Sadly, modern liberals have become socialists, and conservatives are left fighting for both freedom and tradition.


Therefore, conservatives make life hell for socialists. Forge ahead.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Say it ain't so, San Diego

http://www.10news.com/news/19562217/detail.html

...Broyles said, "The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' 'Yes.'"

The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed "unlawful use of land" and told them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit" -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars...

Simply.Amazing.

The saving grace (or silver lining, if you prefer) is the attention this blatant attack on the 1st Amendment will draw to our most modern of citizens, in this most free nation on earth.

The Church historically flourishes under persecution; let it be so today.

Continually in prayer

I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

What does it mean to be "continually in prayer?" It is fairly axiomatic among Christians I've spoken to, that we should be doing this. However each conversation ends up with: "Yeah, but then you have to go to work. Maybe go back into prayer during lunch or on the commute home." So we typically proceed in thinking that "continually" means "daily" or "regularly."

Here's another suggestion. God calls us into a loving relationship. When you love someone, you're thinking about that person all of the time, occassionally to distraction. God being omnipotent can love everyone without becoming distracted. Then again, most people I know talk on the cell, or text, or at least eat fast food while they drive. If you can do that, can't you think about God, too? Perhaps being continually in prayer is the most important multitasking available to humans. If you want a loving relationship with God, you need to think about Him as you conduct ALL of your daily living.

Unreasonable? Maybe, maybe not. I'm sure you have done something your spouse (or S.O.) has asked you, "Were you thinking of me AT ALL when you chose to do that?" How much more so with God, Who loved you before you were conceived. The Bible suggests that the relationship between Christ and the Church (all Christians, the body of believers) is like a marriage. When we are "married" to Christ, we are expected to put on new clothes, a new life. New attitude, new behaviors...

And I suggest, new multitasking. Give it a shot. Perhaps you wear one of those rubber bracelets which says "WWJD," or have a Bible verse taped to your desk, or whatever. Just try to be continually in prayer, and see what God has in store for you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Face of Prayer




Hattip to G&R Tactical.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What makes us different

We're pondering the Christian foundations of the U.S. and, in this season, turning our thoughts to Memorial Day. Although we traditionally contemplate WWII and the "Greatest Generation," it is also important to remember those who are fighting for our freedoms right now.


Americans generally have a reverence for life which is unknown to America's enemies. Enjoy this bittersweet, solemn and yet entertaining movie: "Taking Chance." I guarantee you will be choked up during at least one scene, and you will walk away with an even deeper sense of pride in the American soldier.

And please don't go around saying, "Happy Memorial Day."

That just doesn't make sense.

If you see a Veteran, say, "Thank you." Just two more things:

Putting on that uniform they are saying to all of us.....
"I will put myself in harm's way for you. I will take your place in time of danger."

"If you are an American, you know of two people who have died for you: Jesus Christ, who died for your soul, and the American G.I., who died for your freedom."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The American Way

Permission to circulate gladly granted by the author. Download an easy-to-print version.

The American Way, by Alan Korwin, May 21, 2009

I was fortunate to be invited to a meeting of thirteen deep-thinking well-educated men recently, and for two-and-a-half hours over lunch we examined some of the critical issues of our time, from our perspective.

The question came up, "What Is America?" and I ask you today, "What is America?"

It seems to me this is a question without an answer, because America is as many things as there are people to define it. It is a complex and huge topic that could fill encyclopedias and not scratch the surface.

But it dawned on me that a few fundamental principles of America stand out. These are the principles that have made America great. These are the reasons America is a shining beacon of real hope for the entire world, such as the world has never known. These are guidelines that people have adopted in their hearts, instilled in their families. These are understandings that drive people from their homes across the entire planet and to our borders. These fundamental principles are The American Way, and this can be described.

I've been a champion of The American Way for as long as I can remember, and way before I even knew that this was what I was championing.

The American Way is hard work. It is keeping the benefits of your hard work. It is ownership of private property, and the sanctity of a contract between people.

It is the idea that you and you alone own the fruits of your labors. It is the idea -- of paramount importance -- of self ownership. You and you alone own and are responsible for you. It's a tautology. The king doesn't own you. The state doesn't own you. You own you.

This is not a right you demand, or get from the state, or earn. It is a fundamental right of the fact that you exist. It is a right that comes from your Creator, by nature. It is the natural order of things. And it is honored here like nowhere else -- that's why we've achieved so much.

The American Way is the idea that all you Americans can make something of yourselves, because you are free to do so. This is the great magnet that draws people here. In 2006, net immigration into 78 nations from Albania to Zimbabwe was below zero -- people were fleeing. In America in that year, more than two million people, risking life, limb, family and arrest, walked across blinding miles of blazing snake-infested desert to get here. That says something. Half got caught and sent back. Half snuck in. Those are problems for another time, but that raw drive speaks volumes about what we have accomplished that their native lands have not.
____

In one of the documents that helped start our country, Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, published in the year of our founding, 1776, he described principles that drive The American Way (although it was too early for him to call it that). Wealth of Nations, in the country's infancy, identified what has led to unprecedented opulence, prosperity abundance, opportunity and freedom that is The American Way.

Smith recognized that private property, free trade, self interest, limited government and division of labor were the basics of capitalism and cornerstones of personal freedom and economic security.

____

So these are the factors that make you and me special, and make the land we live in special, and attract many non-Americans to this special place, seeking to be Americans. But along with the teeming masses yearning to be free are undesirable miscreants seeking to leach off our success, eat out our substance and do us harm, who must be resisted. Col. Jeff Cooper put it plainly: Some people prey on other people. I don't like it. That's just the way it is.

So I ask you: Do you intend to preserve, protect and defend these special attributes that make us what we are? You bet we do! Will you resist the constant forces that seek to diminish, denigrate, defeat and delete these special attributes? You bet we will!

The American Way can be summed up, not perfectly, and not for all cases, but it can be summed up for our purposes: The American Way is the idea that the people are the rulers and the rulers are the servants. Have we strayed from this? Yes. Does that make it less true or less valuable or less right? Not at all.

The American Way is the rule of law, individual responsibility and government of limited delegated powers only. It is free markets, free enterprise, low taxes, entrepreneurship and capitalism. The American Way is moral and just and yes, has a strong religious underpinning, whatever your religion may be -- so long as your religion does not include forcible coercion of others. It is "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," but definitely not, "You better submit to our way," no matter how strongly convinced that your way is right.

Convince people to follow and you follow the precepts that drive much of what we are. Force people, and you are by definition the enemy of The American Way. Neither political party has a really good score card on this.
The American Way is what has generated the most opulent, abundant, prosperous, generous, productive, creative, inventive and loving society the world has ever known, light years ahead of whatever is in second place. Our politicians have lost support because they've abandoned our goals.


The idea that such a land could even exist was beyond the comprehension of earlier societies -- the ideas that made it possible had not been invented yet. The uniquely American ideals of freedom were born here. They were birthed by a lucky confluence that skeptics might say were coincidental. True believers might say it was destiny, or divine providence. And who knows who's right. The important thing is that it happened.

Our natural geography, limits of technology, self-selected pioneers and thinkers in a brave new land, the abuses and usurpations of a tyrant, the homogeneous nature of voluntary leaders, simultaneous existence of so many geniuses in one place and one time, an abundance of natural resources, existence of such vast expanses of untapped wilderness -- all contributed to the damn lucky creation of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights that set us on our way.

When people are turned free to do what they will, they do what we have seen here. Acting in your own self interest, you persevere, plant and harvest great seeds of innovation and wealth. And great wealth results from the work of your loins. True Americans, recognizing the great blessings that have been bestowed upon us, share those fruits, like no society before us has ever done. Americans donate and share more food, more wealth, more health care, more humanitarian aid, more power of righteous self defense, than the world has ever seen -- without exception.

And what of guns? Guns, guns, guns, they are so American. All nations have guns, but only in a scant few do the people have guns. And only in America is there a wildly western tradition of a gun for everyman. Only in America is there broad understanding that guns save lives. Guns stop crime. Guns keep you safe. Guns deter evil. Guns are good.

Colt, Remington, Winchester, Browning, Smith and Wesson -- is it just coincidence that Americans have guns, and use guns, and have invented some of the finest firearms ever known -- and the fact that America has been the freest nation on earth? It is not coincidence. Guns are why America is still free.

We know and easily accept that you can't let slaves have guns and expect them to remain slaves. Does that mean that if the forces of darkness were to succeed in their endless effort to disrupt our long-standing balance and disarm peaceful, innocent Americans, that America would be devolve into slavery? Is it safe to confiscate guns from the innocent? I'm not eager to find out!

Why is it safe to give all those dangerous guns to other people, just because they have government jobs and are paid with your tax money? Why can they be trusted any more than any of you who actually earn the money that pays them? What magical writing says guns are OK but only if rulers have them all? Where does it say that a man in government is more trustworthy than a man in his own home?

We know that just the opposite is true. It is our resistance to the bad idea that only leadership should have power that put power into the hands of the people and created The American Way. It is the understanding that the power to govern is only legitimate if it comes from the consent of the governed. When the power to govern is disconnected from consent, you have classic tyranny, no checks on leadership, only those latitudes leadership arbitrarily decides to offer. That, my friends, is the Anti-American Way.

Guns are indeed why America is still free. Guns in the hands of the masses help assure that leadership cannot just run wild. It stops them short. Guns are power to the people.

Slaves must be disarmed. Americans must never be disarmed. A disarmed docile subservient America would cease to be the magic magnet it is.

Now, there's corrosion in the aging machinery of The American Way. Jefferson's warning that the natural tendency is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground is true, and 200 years of yielding and gaining have taken us to a strange place.

Our great strides forward are at grave risk today. The idea of true human freedom, freedom from the state, freedom from arbitrary rule, appeal to a power higher than any government or man can exert -- these are what give us what we have. Today, far too many people, influenced by dastardly powers, reject the very things that give them the power to speak out against us.

We are now infested with czars -- a drug czar, an education czar, an environment czar, and now even a border czar. Czars are horrors yet we're embracing them, welcoming them into our midst. Czars are toxic waste, destroyers of freedom, autocratic tyrants who have no place in our system. Yet they are praised and promoted with glee by our failed "news" media. Tolerance of czars is a repugnant result of the insidious success of political correctness. Czars should be removed and replaced with representatives.

But our representatives need to be replaced with representatives, because they've long since left the scene.

We have reached a point where our laws are written by secretive government operators and clandestine conspirators, creeps working in deep basements without the light of public scrutiny, who draft endless edicts that cannot be read by a person of decent education. The edicts are thrust upon our elected hollow men, who are coerced and intimidated into signing before they have read what they are handed, and saddle us with unacceptable, anti-American crap whose contents they don't know.

Think about that. The laws are now written by people you don't know, can't name, can't see, signed by people without reading or understanding, and then held against you at the point of a government gun and prison. That, my fellow Americans, is corrupt. It is tyrannical. It is intolerable.

Our elected participants should fall to their knees in shame and tears for what they are complicit in forcing upon this great nation and its people. But they show no shame. They justify, and excuse and continue. How much further must that travesty go on before a few heads are on pikes on the K Street bridge? A bridge, by the way, actually named after Francis Scott Key, the author of the Star Spangled Banner.

Tyranny has its appeal. Especially in the young, a desire to follow rather than lead burns hot. It's easy to be sheep, to obey, to stand in line, take what's handed you, care not for the higher values. They are far from the roots that got this tree growing. And their schooling, run by the very government that schooling is supposed to tame and keep in check, encourages the collectivist antithesis of The American Way.

Freedom is hard work, but worth it. Socialism, the Anti-American Way and our arch enemy, seems easy, because it runs on other people's money and sweat. Too many Americans today have had their values turned upside down and actually crave socialism, or can't even tell the difference between craven collectivism and freedom's liberation.
________

We have our share of difficulties, and our ability to surmount them looks increasingly grim. And when you're the big dog, as freedom has made America, people and groups and nations and even ideologies nip at your feet.

The have nots, the do nots, the know nots, freeloaders and the useful idiots wound up into a frenzy by people of ill will and a disgraceful media, seek to take you down. Seek to hurt you. Seek to diminish your accomplishments, cast aspersions on your greatness, work to undermine your success, mean-mouth your achievements, deny, rewrite and twist history to say it isn't so. They would rather pick at the nits than recognize how far America has drawn humanity out of the primordial goo.

Americans know our greatness. America haters hate our greatness. Too many of our own countrymen are misled, misguided, propagandized and brainwashed into hating -- blind fuming hatred -- of the very hand that feeds them.

America haters are the most pernicious, deceitful and hate-filled enemies of all that is good and prosperous and productive and beneficial to humanity. Too many exist within our midst, in our Congress and schools and newsrooms and within the bureaus of the czars. And they are clever, and devilish in their cunning, and left unchecked they will indeed ruin the greatest society the planet has ever seen, and then dance in the bloody gore of the havoc they reek.

If you believe in The American Way, if you have benefited from The American Way, if you want your children and their children and generations to come both here and abroad to bask in the glory of The American Way, then you need to rise up -- in all your righteous glory and indignation -- and denounce the siren song of those who would rend and ridicule what we have achieved.

You need to always say the obvious, and flatly refuse to participate in the debilitating socialist disease of political correctness! Don't joke about it, which reinforces it, denounce it! You need to substitute e pluribus unum -- "From Many, One" for the leftwing sickness of multicultural divisiveness. You need to know that belief in limited government, low taxation, delegated powers, free markets, free enterprise, gun ownership, religion and personal responsibility makes you a moderate not an extremist. Those who tell you to reject these core American values, they are the extremists. The extremists are calling the moderates extreme, and the media helps sing that song. Clinging to The American Way makes you a centrist, a moderate centrist. Only a vile and corrupt media could see it otherwise and then promote an upside-down cake of the truth.

You must loudly and publicly reject laws that violate the separation of Congress and the States, laws that violate the 10th Amendment by delegating forbidden powers, laws that grow government illegally, laws that use color and sex and language to force compliance, quotas, and deceptive non-equality. Equal treatment under the law, not enforced treats and benefits through income redistribution. Special treatment to favored groups is the behavior of tyrants. We are and must remain a nation built on merit and compassion, not central dictates and giving away your money to other people.

You can do all these things, and keep America at her heights of glory. You can for generations to come preserve all the things that made America great and this shining beacon of liberty it has been for more than two centuries. You need to ask yourself, of every proposal that comes down the pike from central government, state government, local government, media pundits and all others who profess to know what's right for you, "Does it maximize freedom?"

Does it maximize freedom, that's the question. That's the benchmark.

If it maximizes freedom, it's good. That's what our Founders knew. That's what got us to this great pinnacle of success from which we are now slipping. If it would do good but does not maximize freedom, it must be rejected. If government could take action -- but has no authority to do so, it must be rejected. There is always another way. The American Way.

Thank you, and may God bless America.
Alan Korwin

Thank you, Alan. Considering current events, it's no coincidence Alan takes note of America's "czars"...see "Soft shoe" post below.

May God bless America indeed and, through her, may God bless the whole world.

Soft shoe

You may have seen the video of Kruschev beating his shoe on the table and declaring, "We will bury you." After the Berlin Wall fell, did we assume this could never happen?

"American Capitalism Gone with a Whimper"

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blind the foolish.
Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.
The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.
These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?


http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-0/

So do we go dancing our way into the dustbin of history? Forbid it, Almighty God.

Hattip to Smallest Minority, via Arms and the Law

Weird science

Go over to TC and let me know if that ain't the truth:

"For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" 1 Corinthians 1:18-20

http://troubledcorinthian.blogspot.com/2009/05/wierd-science-of-post-modernists-and-un.html

That is the brilliance of the American system of government as designed and laid out in the US Constitution. The concept is that the more general and large the government, the less ultimate power it possessed. There are checks and balances everywhere to, hopefully, ward off attempts to hijack the government for narrow purposes.
A friend recently wondered aloud whether as Christians, there is nothing we can do other than pray and spread the Gospel, and that we shouldn't worry so much about this world. He may be right, but to paraphrase Hugh Hewitt, we may not be of this world, but we are in it.



I also think some of Dave's writing has to do with the justifiable pride in being a man, with the attendant emotions a man naturally has, notably, the desire to actively defend what is right. A dear old friend of mine, who has been a lifelong Catholic priest, often mentioned he was proud of being: a man, a Catholic (Christian), and a priest. I'll bet most men wouldn't find anything wrong with NOT being ashamed of his gender, however I'll also bet not many have actually contemplated the concept. Yeah, we've heard plenty about "I'm woman, hear me roar," but how many men have consciously said, "I'm proud to be a man." When you consider the post below, about emasculizing our culture with an attack on hunting, think further that post-modern society has elements which suggest being a man is sinful in itself. That woman is holy and man should feel guilty. Isn't this a new Manichean heresy? Now there's some weird social science.