Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gingrich Not Running...

Just saw a headline that Newt Gingrich is not running. Dang. That should clarify things in the GOP race a little bit. At least that possibility is removed and the candidates can start weeding each other out. Now my earlier post is becoming even more relevant. It's going to be an interesting ride...

New Song This Week

One thing that I don't think that I have ever mentioned here is that I write music for church. So far I have probably written (or contributed to) about 20 songs. Some of the earlier ones aren't too great. They may never see publication. However, over the past few years my songs have been getting better. I hope to have some of them published soon.

I have a number of songs where I have written both words and lyrics, but the last couple have been resetting some outdated hymns to better (in my opinion) tunes. The first one that I did was Rescue The Perishing. I am very happy with the way that this one turned out. Let me tell you, it is a strange feeling to share creative credit with one so well known as Fanny Crosby!

I wrote my second this week. It is a re-write of the song Let Your Heart Be Broken. I am looking forward to seeing how it is received tomorrow.

I guess my method is kind of random. This week I was working with the fellow who will be preaching at our church on Sunday. We were putting music together and I showed him this song. We both liked the lyrics - he said that they would perfectly fit his sermon this week - but we both really hated the tune. I told him that I'd try to reset the song that afternoon if I had time. (We had our worship team rehearsal Thursday night.) The rest of my day was filled with errands. I thought that there was no way I'd have time to come up with something and get it into Finale in time for the rehearsal.

Well, I got home and within 15 minutes had come up with the tune. And within another 30 minutes I had transcribed it into Finale. I even got the rhythms right on the first try! (That NEVER happens - a sure sign of Divine intervention!) Well, I guess I can credit Divine intervention if the song is well received, but I'll take the heat if it tanks!

I would have to say, though, that most (if not all) of my songs have come by way of Divine inspiration. I don't know why I was given the gift, but I am sure glad to have it. More later!

The Problem With Lines In The Sand...

I was reading a couple of weeks ago about Dr. James Dobson's adamant stand that he would not support Fred Thompson's bid for the Presidency, and I have to say that I was disappointed in Dr. Dobson. I have always respected him, and that really hasn't changed, but I have to wonder how well he has thought this thing through before making such a bold statement.

Just for the record I haven't decided who I am supporting among the present roster of GOP hopefuls. I do know that I have found it fairly easy to eliminate some candidates from my consideration at this time. Giuliani is WAY too liberal. And Romney has his problems. Tancredo is too right wing. McCain is weak on gun issues and then there is the whole McCain/Feingold issue. This, of course brings us to Fred.

I have a number of issues with Fred Thompson. Probably number 1 to me is the whole McCain/Feingold/Thompson thing. I also sympathize with Dr. Dobson's reservations.

The simple fact of the matter is that I haven't seen anyone who has wowed me. And this is where the question arises. There is only one candidate on the Republican side that I don't think would be any better than Hillary Clinton, and that is Giuliani. However, given the choice who would I vote for? That is a tough question. I absolutely DETEST abortion, so voting for either would almost be unconscionable for me. I would probably vote for an independent over either of those. But it gets a little fuzzier on the other candidates.

Of one thing I am pretty sure: I would vote for a moral, conservative non-Christian over a liberal, amoral "Christian." If my only choices are two evils, I see no other choice. Perhaps Dr. Dobson should consider that this may be the choice that we face next November.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Holy Cow!!!

Russian Woman Has 17 Pound Baby

Like the father, I'm too stunned to comment.

More Like It...

I was shocked when Katie Couric actually admitted that the war in Iraq was going well a couple of weeks ago. This is more along the lines of what I was expecting.

Couric Weighs In On Iraq

So predictable...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Just Found The Coolest Website!

I was over looking at Cox And Forkum's Site and found a link to this really neat website sponsored by the Department of Defense. It is called Heroes In The War On Terror and they have stories of American Heroes from all over the country.

The link that I supplied above will take you to a page where they show a map of the 50 states and you can click on each state and see men and women who have been decorated for valor in the Global War On Terror (GWOT.)

Here is a link that will take you to stories about heroes from my home state, North Carolina.

The story that Cox and Forkum linked to was about a soldier from the unit that my grandfather, Billy Miller, fought with during the campaign at Anzio during World War II. Here is the link to that story.

That reminds me. I met a very fine soldier while I was waiting at the Bank Of America on Innes Street in Salisbury, NC. He was home for some R&R from Afghanistan. I guess by now he is on his way back. He's a Blackhawk mechanic. Unfortunately, I didn't catch his name, but he made an impression, and my prayers are with him. Thank you for serving so that I can be here. God bless our men and women in uniform and keep them safe. And God bless America.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Respect

I saw the headline and thought, "What the heck is he doing?!"

Bush Quietly Advising Hillary Clinton

Then I read it. Man.

President Bush just went up in my respect a pretty good bit. He is thinking past his term and thinking about what is best for our country. Our security is more important to him than the political games going on among all of the candidates.

He wants to make sure that they are all able to do what is best for the country regardless of who wins. I will be sorely disappointed if a Democrat is elected, but if one happens to, hopefully, they will have gained some wisdom from Dubya.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


More on the Arab Hitler that is here visiting America. He wants to honor the "Brave 19" (i.e. the cowards that attacked civilians on 9/11/01) by visiting Ground Zero.

Here is a great article by Kevin McCullough as well as some information about a rally at Ground Zero on Monday to keep the little terrorist out. He'll be lucky if there is a piece of himself big enough to find if he shows up - especially for the reason that he wants to go there. Any American trying to help him accomplish that feat should have their citizenship stripped and be loaded on a plane to Iran with him when he leaves - IF he leaves. They can see how well they like him when he tries to use them as hostages to keep us from bombing them back into the stone age. When will folks realize that THESE PEOPLE ARE OUR ENEMIES?!!!!

What is it about leaders from over there? They have a much bigger mouth than they have butt to back it up. Like the guy that brought a rubber band to a gunfight. This guy also keeps warning us not to attack Iran or else. I have a biblical quote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off."

Mr. Ahmadinejad is headed for a reckoning and at the other side of that reckoning will be an even bigger reckoning. He is sowing wind and is getting ever nearer to reaping the whirlwind. He won't like what he finds on the other side, and it doesn't appear that he is interested in changing that destiny. Could he get saved? Yes. Will he? I doubt it.


Here is a little excerpt from an article that I just read. Click HERE for the link. I had no idea it had gotten this bad. There is no doubt about it, the smart money is on sexual purity until marriage. That means no messing around at all! God knew what He was talking about. These stats don't even take into account the psychological effects of sexual activity outside of marriage.

There is a big difference between sex and what gets called sex in our culture. Sex is great. Sex is OK with God. Sex ONLY occurs within the bounds of marriage with the person you are married to. (By the way, and it is shameful that I have to define marriage but here goes, marriage is only between a man and a woman. Sorry if this steps on your toes. I didn't write the definition or come up with the plan. I'm just a messenger.) Anything else is either adultery, fornication, homosexuality or some other weird perversion that God gets pretty upset about.

Check out this smattering of factual 411 from Dr. Meg Meeker’s new book Your Kids at Risk: How Teen Sex Threatens Our Sons and Daughters:

• This year, 8 to 10 million teens will contract an STD.

• Nearly one out of four sexually active teens is living with a sexually transmitted disease at this moment.

• Nearly 50% of African-American teenagers have genital herpes.

• Although teenagers make up just 10% of the population, they acquire 25% of all STDs.

• Herpes (specifically, herpes simplex virus type 2) has skyrocketed 500% in the past 20 years among white teenagers.

• One in five children over the age of 12 tests positive for herpes type 2.

• Nearly one out of ten teenage girls has chlamydia, and half of all new chlamydia cases are diagnosed in girls 15 to 19 years old.

• STDs accounted for 87% of all cases reported of the top ten most frequently reported diseases in the United States in 1995.

• This new epidemic is not just cursing those “poor inner city kids.” No, the viruses have solidly taken up residence in the suburbs.

Yep, the reality is that every twenty-four hours 21,000 teens are slapped, saddled, infused and infected with some creepy, nasty and potentially deadly bug brought about by following the advice of our crass culture.
He didn't say anything about HIV or AIDS in this group. I'd be scared to see what kind of numbers there are there. Those herpes numbers are almost as bad as the HIV numbers in Africa. That's just scary!

Just think of how this will effect Hillarycare if, God forbid, we should get it, when the long-term effects of these diseases become more evident. And we thought that Social Security was going to bust us. Because of the foolish political correctness that has paralyzed the minds of everyone in the government, it is becoming more and more difficult for insurance companies to refuse coverage for STDs (and especially HIV/AIDS.) There are very few times that you will see me feeling sorry for an insurance company, but they are getting more than they bargained for with this deal.

I read another article not long ago that talked about the growing number of STDs among seniors too. Wow. More fuel to the fire. But we don't want to curb our sexual appetites or actually obey the Bible or something. We have to find a cure so we can keep on with our sinful - yes, SINFUL - lifestyles. Well the day is coming, and may already be here, where there won't be any pills to make it go away, or, for that matter, even to hold it at bay.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

These People Can't Seem To Make Up Their Minds

Global Warming, er, I mean a new Ice Age, or was it warming, but the warm and now I'm feeling chilly, uh... gee, I just get so confused...

Read about it HERE.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quote Of the Day

"Curiosity requires courage. You must be willing to ask questions even when they threaten everyone around you. Faith is more than believing; it is an act of courage, a bold grasping of God's truth. Faith is a wrestling match with God, an intense struggle with truth in an attempt to squeeze every bit of knowledge out of it. Curiosity is the shape of our hunger for God. We question God without apology; we march into the presence of God bringing our armfuls of questions--without fear--because God is not afraid of them. People are afraid. Institutions are afraid. But God is not."
- Mike Yaconelli, Dangerous Wonder

Instant Karma's Gonna Get You...

Here's an idea for the fascist who has been paying us a visit the past couple of days. Any fraternities at Columbia U. up for a great prank?

Good Show, Mr. President

Question: What's your reaction to the MoveOn.Org ad that mocked General Petraeus saying he cooked the book on Iraq. Would you like to see Democrats including presidential candidates repudiate the ad?

President Bush: I thought the ad was disgusting. And I felt like the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. Military. And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democratic Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad. That leads me to come to this conclusion -- that most Democrats are [more] afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.Org, than they are of irritating the United States military. That was a sorry deal. And one thing to attack me -- another thing to attack somebody like General Petraeus.

Click Here to

Either they're afraid to irritate them or they just flat out agree with them. Of course, BOTH could be true too.

Looks Like Climate "Change" May Actually Benefit The Rain Forests

Here's something you don't see every day: a group of scientists admitting that the actual results of their scientific study were the exact opposite of what they had projected.

Climate Change May Help Rainforests

Will wonders never cease?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Sentiment Exactly

I can't believe that that little wacko was allowed anywhere near the United States - regardless of the whether the UN is here or not. (I think that I have already voiced my opinion of the welcome that I extend to the UN in yesterday's post...) I'd like to see him get up in Times Square and spout some of that crap that he does when is is with friends. I think that within 30 minutes in a steel cage with New York's finest would take care of that little problem....

What astounds me is that the freak was invited to Columbia University to have a discussion with students, faculty and alumni. Scratch another one off the list of schools any future kids of mine will be allowed to go to.

That reminds me... Cal Thomas wrote a pretty good article called Cheating College Students that talks about how poorly American universities are doing in teaching their students American civics. Here is a quote from the article:

For the second year in a row, America's elite universities and colleges have failed to rise above a "D plus" on tests of basic knowledge about civics and American history, maintains a study commissioned by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's (ISI).

Apparently, the more prestigious the school, the worse the score.

America's most prestigious colleges had the worst scores. Many of the schools that typically rank the highest in popularity scored among the lowest in advancing civic knowledge. Generally, the ISI study found, the higher the ranking by U.S. News and World Report in its annual survey of institutions of higher education, the lower the rank in civic learning. "Even when controlling for numerous variables that influence learning, seniors at schools with reasonably strong core curricula - for example, Rhodes, Calvin and Wheaton - had double the gain in civic learning compared with those seniors at schools without a coherent core curriculum - for example, Brown, Cornell and Stanford."
Not that the average college student fared any better:

The average college senior knows very little about America's history, government, international relations and market economy. Their average score on the civic literacy test was 53.2 percent. "No class of seniors scored higher than 69 percent, or D plus."
I think Cal's conclusion sums it up best:

In 1777, John Adams wrote to his son about the importance of education. He said it was necessary to teach the next generation about America's founding principles in order to preserve the freedom and independence so many of his fellow countrymen sacrificed to achieve. Only when we know and embrace those principles can we pass on to a new generation that which we inherited from the past. The ISI study reveals severe cracks in that foundation; cracks that need immediate attention and repair.

Wanna take the quiz for yourself? Click Here and go for it. I missed 7. I'd be curious how anyone else does who takes the quiz. Post a comment if you do!

Here's the thing that concerns me. Folks who legally immigrate to America know more about American government and history than natives. Illegal immigration is out of control, and these illegals do not seem interested in assimilation and integration. Therefore, if something isn't done soon we are in grave danger of losing our national identity. Yes, America is a melting pot, but lately some folk don't want to melt.

Here's another thing. This report shows just how greatly the American educational system has failed our country. I don't think that this failure is accidental. The problem is that McCarthy was right. Communists were (and are) here and they were (and are) trying to bring down our American way of life. Too bad that he started with the entertainment industry instead of academia. Apparently they were all hiding out at the universities - and from there they have done immense damage to our country by undermining all of the foundations (religion, politics, reason, logic, etc.) through their brainwashing. We can no longer assume that our schools - even our universities - are teaching students the truth about our history, our culture, and the things mores that we have valued as a nation. It is time to take that control back.

Various and Assorted...

It has been an interesting and busy day. Of course, my dinosaur computer tends to make small jobs big, (don't think sexy dinosaur like veloceraptor, mine is more like the big-boned brontosaurus - who has a really great personality and likes long walks on the beach...) but it was just a packed day anyway.

I have been doing some contract software testing for a company for the past month and a half. I figured the job would last a week and a half. Oh well, so much for that. I guess the good (and bad) thing is that I have found some fairly major bugs. It is good from the perspective that they know that I am doing what they hired me to do, bad from the perspective that it is causing the contract to drag out FAR longer than I and planned on.

I used to be scared of computers. They never did what I wanted them to do. Later, I discovered that it wasn't my fault. I just have an innate ability to uncover latent "product features" as the developers like to call them!

One of the best pieces of advice I got on my first QA (Quality Assurance) job. An old, seasoned tester told me to not be afraid to break something. That if I could break it, it needed breaking. Good advice. There is a lot of software out there that needs breaking. Microsoft's is the worst. I am pretty sure that they don't have a single QA person on staff. If they do, they should be fired. Microsoft puts out the buggiest software on the planet I think.

I never buy any of their new release software because I know that it will be crap. They release it with as many bugs as a low-rent mobile home, and then put in this clever little program that allows you to report failures when it crashes and burns - kind of like a black box for software. They get their customers to do for free what they are too cheap to pay for. And people put up with this junk! But I digress...

I have always been accused of not knowing my own strength. Growing up, I often broke things by using force against resistance. I eventually became conditioned to not do this because it usually ended up in something getting broken. (That whole tie up a baby elephant thing...) This is why there are times when I will ask for help with something and end up looking like an idiot when someone half my size and strength comes up and easily accomplishes my task by applying a little more force. I guess this explains why I was afraid to mess with computers.

Isn't it funny how much fear influences our lives? I have really been pondering this lately. In fact we had a pretty strong prayer meeting tonight with some guys from the church, and fear was our number one target. I think that we had a really good breakthrough. I guess the proof will be in the pudding. When we have an opportunity to fear, will we give in to it, or will we respond in faith? Jim Laffoon wrote a really good devotion about that the other day at Our Daily Blog. You should check it out. Here is a quote from one of his recent posts:

Even as faith is your greatest friend, so fear is your greatest foe. In fact, fear is the enemy’s version of faith; even as faith will bring you into the reality of God’s promises, so fear will bring you into the reality of the enemy’s tormenting threats.
- Jim Laffoon

I have a post cooking, actually a couple, that are about fear. I will probably post different ones on the different blogs that I am working on (as if keeping up ONE blog wasn't challenging enough.) If you are interested in more Christian-themed posts about fear you can check out Conspiracy Of Kindness. It is a blog that I set up for my church to use, but so far I am the only one who posts there. I try not to be so political over there and I really try to resist the urge to get in a good rant. Should be safe for a 'G' rating. I might just copy the post that I do on fear over there to this blog too. I can do that. I have the power.

Still, it will be interesting to see how I handle another bad news day and whether it is sufficient to bring me down or if I will be able to respond in faith. Sigh... The bad thing about that is that it means there will have to be another bad news day. I am definitely getting better at handling them, though. By temperament I tend towards melancholy, but Jesus is helping me to deal with that a lot better. Things that would have bummed me out for a month now only seem to be able to affect me for a few hours. That is an improvement!

Another indicator that I am getting better is in the way I handled my recent reading of the book of Job. Job has always been my least favorite book in the Bible. In the past, I have found myself railing at God for not answering Job's legitimate question. This time it was different. I think that I am finally starting to understand Job.

Bottom line? God is good. Period. Even when it looks like He isn't good, He is good. If you can get that, you'll be fine.

Some good news today:

Judge: Ten Commandments Display Can Stay

It's about time we win one of these.

The other day seemed heavy laden with bad news. There is an old treaty that Ronald Reagan refused to ratify (because of the damage that it would do to US sovereignty) that inexplicably is in the Senate at President Bush's request for full ratification. This is a horribly bad idea. I love President Bush and all, but this was not one of the finer moments. You can read about it at the link below. Please call and fax your Senators and tell them that you strongly oppose the ratification of this treaty. Unfortunately, letters and emails have almost no impact on Congressional opinion. Since the anthrax scare, letters take months to get there if ever, and emails are given very little weight.


Let folks know about this one. It is bad news. It is always a bad thing for us if the UN is in control of anything. I'm personally ready for the US to kick them out of NYC and tell them that if they want to act like our enemy they can do it in someone else's country. I have heard that there is a lovely mountain ridge in the middle of the Atlantic...

I also read a good article the other day on the Town Hall website. It was called:

Exposing How Liberals Misread the Bible
By Frank Pastore
Sunday, September 16, 2007

It demonstrated a very serious weakness in any biblical argument of anyone who doesn't accept biblical inerrancy. Kind of hard to legitimately use the Bible to support your point if you don't accept that the Bible is what it claims to be - the literal Word of God.

I've also been helping a friend who is trying to sell a couple homes in Rowan County, NC. You can see them here. Sorry about the website. It is new and I haven't finished doctoring it up yet. One property is a farm ($255,000) and the other is a really well renovated single story house ($149,900). I know that is a "ranch" but I thought it might be a little confusing after I was talking about the first being a farm. If you know anyone looking to move to Rowan County let them know about it.

My friend, David P has returned from Japan. Keep an eye on his blog. He has found out some interesting information, and I think that his posts in the coming days, weeks and months will prove to continue to be interesting and enlightening.

It seems that there was something else that I wanted to ramble on about, but I can't seem to remember what it was. Perhaps that is because I should have gone to bed hours ago. Thus, that is enough rambling for this post. I'll try to get those fear posts done soon. They have been tumbling around in my mind for a couple of weeks. I think they'll be pretty good. Should be ready before Halloween anyway!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Florida Drivers

Kentucky is the reason I'm not a pinhead Florida driver who rides his brakes and falls apart when it rains and can't drive on ice. You can always tell the Florida people in North Carolina in the mountains in the summer. They drive 30 miles per hour in 55 zones, and they use their brakes on every curve, and they're so ... dumb they brake all the way down mountains instead of using the transmission. Then their brakes go out, and they go over the high side on the next curve, and the locals behind them get to drive at normal speed until they catch up to the next Florida idiot. My mother straightened me out on that score. Florida drivers exasperated her.

- Steve Graham @ Hog On Ice

That is so true... God help you if you happen to be driving down 321 south of Boone in the middle of October. My mom was raised up there (NC mountains) and every time we went up to Boone she'd be complaining about the "flatlanders." You didn't even have to see the license plate to know - the smell of burning brake pads was a dead giveaway. My mom can absolutely fly down those roads. Riding with her I hardly ever worried that we'd go flying off the side of the mountain.

Actually, I think that it is matter of pride for mountain folk that they can drive curves without fear. Though I am not native mountain folk, I do pretty well, but I can't live up to my uncle's level.

My mom's brother claims that he could drive from Tweetsie to Patterson in a panel van with a load of oak cabinets without touching the brakes. I'll have to take his word for that one. I'm pretty certain that I don't want to be in the van. I have ridden with him on the narrow, windy back roads between Patterson and North Wilkesboro in a full-sized pick-up truck hauling a bass boat going every bit of the speed limit. (Maybe more. True story.) That was enough adventure for me!

On a side note, right off of the Wilkesboro Road is the grave site of the infamous Tom Dooley.

I love the mountains. Give me mountains over the ocean any day. That isn't to say that I don't appreciate the water. I do. But the ocean can't compare to my beautiful Blue Ridge.

And, by the way, "Appalachian" is Ap-puh-LATCH-un NOT Ap-puh-LAISH-un.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What Would Churchill Do?

If a candidate came out and did what Cliff May suggests in the article linked below, that candidate would be hard to ignore be he Republican or Democrat.

Advice for a Presidential Candidate: What would Winston Churchill Do?
By Cliff May

President Bush acted like this in the days immediately following the attacks of 9/11, and I have never trusted or loved a president more. I would love to have someone in the White House who would tell it like it is without worrying what anyone in the world thought about it. Washington seems to fear the truth more than Taiwan fears the Chinese.

Quote Of The Day

"If I give you everything you want, and I can afford to do that, you'll grow up to be a 40-year-old child. I build men, not boys. I want you to grow up to be a 40-year-old man."
- Jane Wyman (to Michael Reagan who had asked her for a Schwinn 10-speed bike)

As quoted in Tough Love
By Michael Reagan
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Just click on the link and read the article. It will make perfect sense then.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy Birthday!

I woke up this morning to discover that I had been given the most wonderful birthday present that I could imagine! And it came from someone who rarely packages gifts for special days. That isn't to say that this person is not generous - just the opposite. He gives gifts to everyone every day. He is so generous that we often take His gifts for granted.

This morning I woke up to discover that God gave me rain for my birthday!

I have been begging for rain for the past few weeks. And I begged in earnest yesterday. But God made the rain wait for my birthday. I had even said earlier this week that that would be the best birthday present ever! What an old softie!

Jesus loves me
This I know
For the Bible
Tells me so.
Little ones
To Him belong;
They are weak,
But He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What? You Actually Want Me To Earn Money With My Degree?!

Gotta keep it short tonight. I have some good stuff cooking right now. Today I have been working on a real estate blog entry for some friends who are trying to sell a farm for sale by owner here in Rowan County. It is a really neat property. I'm pretty pleased with how the post is turning out. You can see it HERE.

The blog is one I started a couple years ago for my real estate business. Well, the business is gone, but the blog remains - as does, technically, my corporation. Anyway, I am thinking about possibly marketing this service to an agent or two in my market. Now to figure out a price. Based on the time that it has taken to put things together, I think that my initial thoughts about pricing were way too low. The cool thing is that I also own two other blogs with great names that I could market in this way. Hey, maybe I can earn some money with my English degree after all!

I've been contributing to two blogs (make it three with the one I just linked to) right now in addition to trying to finish some software testing that I am doing. Who would have thought.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Quote Of The Day

It just occurred to me: isn't Al Gore's idiotic theory the epitome of God-denying humanism? The ancients realized that the weather was something man could not control, so they appeased their heathen gods as well as the actual, correct God. Now a certain segment of society thinks God is unfashionable. So they're looking for a way to turn man into the shaper of storms and droughts. Man, who can barely program his clock radio...
- Steve Graham at Hog On Ice

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Works For Me...

9 Members of Congress Who Should Resign Right After Larry Craig
By John Hawkins
Friday, September 7, 2007

Good Article

The Latest Problems with the “Man Evolved From Apes” Thesis
By Frank Pastore
Monday, September 3, 2007

Quotes of the Day

Thomas Sowell had some good thoughts in his article titled Random Thoughts

People who refuse to face the reality of hard choices are forever coming up with some clever "third way"-- often leading to worse disasters than either of the hard choices.

Wise people created civilization over the centuries and clever people are dismantling it today. You can see it happening just by channel surfing on TV or hear it in rap music or read it in the pompous nonsense of academics and judges.

With all the old movie favorites being shown again and again on television, it is remarkable that the old movie classic "Alfie" is seldom shown. Could it be fear that the scene where cold-blooded Alfie breaks down and cries at the sight of an aborted baby is something that would unleash the furies of the feminazis?

Chutzpah department: When disbarred former D.A. Michael Nifong mailed his Bar card back to his state Bar Association, he included a note decrying "the fundamental unfairness" with which the Bar had treated him. This from a man who was ready to ruin three lives and polarize a community, in order to win an election.

I Beg To Differ...

A recent study showed the median income of major corporate CEOs to be about $8 million a year. That's less than a third of what Alex Rodriguez earns and less than one-thirtieth of what Oprah Winfrey makes. But no one is denouncing them for "greed."
- Random Thoughts
By Thomas Sowell
Monday, September 3, 2007

It may not be terribly Republican of me to say so, but I totally denounce this disparity as greed. Why is it that the least useful, least productive people in an organization are the highest paid? Why are the people that are selling American industry out for short term profits being treated like rock stars? Why do they get golden parachutes after running companies into the ground with their self serving, short sighted business decisions while productive American workers lose their pensions and have to scrape by on unemployment? As one lady I know puts it, "They're as useless as tits on a bull."

It is greed - pure and simple. Once upon a time business men felt that they had a responsibility to their workers. For the most part those days are gone.

No es una problema seriosa

A joke says that a poll was taken in California, asking if people thought illegal immigration was a serious problem. The results showed that 29 percent said, "Yes, there is a serious problem." But 71 percent said, "No es una problema seriosa."
- Random Thoughts
By Thomas Sowell
Monday, September 3, 2007

I chuckle to keep from crying...

Good News!

I think that I mentioned in my tirade against the global warming myth that North Carolina has had a number of success stories in their attempts to undo the environmental stupidity, wastefulness, ignorance or whatever you want to call it of the past several hundred years. I found another success story article today.

Endangered Minnow Said To Be Rebounding In NC

Kind of makes you not mind paying for that fishing/hunting license. I am really glad to see the efforts that have been made to help protect NC's natural resources - especially wildlife. One of the areas that I have already seen producing fruit is in the creel limits and size limits of fish caught at the ocean. I hope to one day see the vast schools of fish that I have heard about from my Grandfather and my Father. It is hard to imagine just how much damage has been done to fish populations in just a generation. Hopefully by the time I have grandkids the damage will be reversed.

I know it is a little Utopian, but it doesn't hurt to dream.

In Remembrance...

I'll never forget September 11, 2001. Ever.

Cox and Forkum have said it better than I could. You can see it and read it by clicking the link below.
Tuesday Morning

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Did You Hear About The German Terrorists?

There is a very interesting entry at Powerline called Connect the Dots

In the article they discuss that the captured terrorists were supposed to strike by September 15 - which would coincide with the report by General Petraeus.

First of all, I wish these terrorists would quit trying to help me have a happy birthday. 9/11 was plenty close to my birthday and 9/15 is even closer. If you want to make me happy, either repent or blow yourself and all the other terrorists in your organization up... preferably in the middle of the desert.

I don't think that these guys get the American psyche. They want to sting us, when our general is about to tell us that things are going well and we can start to draw down troop levels. That's just dumb. All that is going to do is cause us to renew our resolve to fight. It would also nearly guarantee a Republican surge in the next election. That seems to be antithetical to the goal of winning and creating a worldwide Islamic state. That is their goal, right?

Is it possible that Al Quaeda is a diversion from something else? Hmmm. Could Al Quaeda be in cahoots with another enemy of America that would be benefitted by our distraction? Definitely something to consider. If that isn't the case, then I'm thinking that I gave Al Quaeda too much credit.

Please, Please, Please, Please, Please!

Gabrielle Moves Toward North Carolina

I hope the forecasters are wrong and it runs straight through NC. It is so dry here that the dirt would burn.

Feed Me, Seymore, Feed Me

I am so hungry! And I can't do anything about it!

Well, I guess I could, but it will ruin my supper if I do.

Tonight we feast! Hahahahahahahaha!

Today is the annual (well, we're 2 for 2 anyway) Eller reunion at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. We will be indulging in the gastronomic delights of the traditional Southern covered dish dinner. Mmmmmmm. I can hardly wait! Comfort food at its finest, served buffet style. I'll try to taunt you later with pictures.

I didn't make anything too outrageous to bring this time - just deviled eggs. Hey, what can I say? All of the positives weighed in to make it the no-brainer choice. Inexpensive, relatively easy, and tasty.

I spent a good bit of time in the kitchen yesterday. It all started 3 days ago. I was going through the cupboards and found a bag of beans for a Cajun 15 Bean Soup. So I put them out and started soaking them. I also took some shrimp out of the freezer to thaw. This was going to be good. I was thinking a shrimp etouffee would be nice.

Well, I have never made etouffee before. I've never eaten it before. I've never been to N'walins. Heck, I haven't even been to Lousianna before. So I started out at a decided disadvantage. That's never stopped me before - at least not when it comes to food.

One thing that I didn't know was when to add the shrimp to my stew. So I Googled it. I found a really tasty looking recipe for Shrimp Etouffee. It turns out that the website is a blog dedicated to New Orleans food and culture. I have linked to the blog in the Good Reading section. I'm guessing from a couple things that I have read there that me and the writer there probably wouldn't see eye to eye politically, but it is an interesting blog, and I don't mind making a friendship over food (we'll just stay away from politics should we ever meet!)

Anyway, I took his recipe and fiddled here and there. I made the shrimp stock. It smelled heavenly. Then I poured it into my beans and let them cook. I added a box of wild and white rice to the beans and let it cook. Then I went back and looked at the recipe. I realized that there were a few items on the list that I didn't have so I ran to the grocery store. When I got back, the cooking began in earnest. I was chopping, sauteing, and generally sweating in my steaming kitchen. I made a roux for the first time. Very cool. I'll have to try that with some other things. When it was all said and done my roux had turned into a beautiful, spicy sauce (it looked just like the picture on his recipe.) This was also added to the beans. After an all night turn in the crock pot plus a couple of extra hours I tested it out.


I haven't even added the more delicate parts (shrimp, green onions, parsley) of the recipe yet and I know without a doubt that this is going in the official cookbook of my favorite recipes.

So, I really don't know what to call it. See, I know they have gumbo there and I know they have etouffee, but I really don't know the difference. Ask and ye shall receive... Here with all the authority of Ask Yahoo is the answer. There you go. It looks like it still can be classified as an etouffee. Thus, my version will be called J-touffee!

I can't wait to finish it! You should be so lucky! Oh yeah!

Beg and grovel and I may write out the recipe for you!

Mighty Casey Has Struck Out

You have just got to love lawyers...

Apparently in legalese (aka legalsleaze) "illegal" doesn't necessarily mean "not legal."

Below is an excerpt from an interview between Glenn Beck and Rudy Giuliani. Here is the link to the article.

GLENN: ... you've got this quote from '94 and you give me the context on this. Quote: If you come here, you work hard. You happen to be an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect. We want you to get out from under what is often a life of being a fugitive, which is really unfair.

GIULIANI: The context of that was for people to come forward to report crimes because we needed their help and we didn't want them to be afraid of coming forward. The context of that was we wanted them to put their children in school not to be afraid to do that. Even with the policy that I pointed, I continued it was probably seven, eight years old, there were still people, illegal immigrants, who would not report crimes. But we wanted them to.

GLENN: Right. But isn't illegal immigration a crime in and of itself?


GLENN: Aren't you saying --

Glenn --

GLENN: You're protecting criminals by saying that being treated as a criminal is unfair.

GIULIANI: Glenn, it's not a crime. I know that's very hard for people to understand, but it's not a federal crime.

GLENN: It's a misdemeanor but if you've been nailed, it is a crime. If you've been nailed, ship back and come back, it is a crime.

GIULIANI: Glenn, being an illegal immigrant, the 400,000 were not prosecuted for crimes by the federal government, nor could they be. I was U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York. So believe me, I know this. In fact, when you throw an immigrant out of the country, it's not a criminal proceeding. It's a civil proceeding.

GLENN: Is it --

GIULIANI: One of the things that congress wanted to do a year ago is to make it a crime, which indicates that it isn't.

GLENN: Should it be?

GIULIANI: Should it be? No, it shouldn't be because the government wouldn't be able to prosecute it. We couldn't prosecute 12 million people. We have only 2 million people in jail right now for all the crimes that are committed in the country, 2.5 million. If you were to make it a crime, you would have to take the resources of the criminal justice system and increase it by about 6. In other words, you'd have to take all the 800,000 police, and who knows how many police we would have to have.

GLENN: So what's your solution?

GIULIANI: My solution is close the border to illegal immigration.

There you have it, folks. Rudy will keep the illegal (though not really illegal 'cause illegal in this case really means legal) aliens out by closing the border to illegal (really legal according to RG) immigration. For those of you trying to understand or illustrate Orwellian doublespeak, there you go.

I predict that this statement just sank Rudy's chances at the oval office. It sounds like he has no clue about America's level of frustration with illegal (most of us tend to think that illegal really means illegal) immigration. This frustration is high among both Democrats (at least Southern ones) and Republicans (especially Southern ones.) I think that the backlash from this statement will be severe.

It doesn't matter much to me, though. I wasn't going to vote for him anyway. Now it is definite.

So Busted...

Well, I guess I owe the guys in security at LAX an apology. Norman Hsu didn't head for Hong Kong. Instead he flew to Colorado where he was arrested by the FBI.

Disgraced Dem Donor Arrested in Colorado

Good job, boys.

Now if someone will only bust the Democrats' chops for their fundraising practices. No wonder they out-earn the Republicans - they break the law!

A Better Idea...

Osama Bin Ladin has invited America to become Muslim. Since I am not too excited about being the eternal target of God's omnipotent wrath (see the post below), I have a better idea: Osama, you get saved and become a Christian. It will definitely save your butt in the afterlife and it might even save it in this one. Give up your impotent religion of death and embrace life, otherwise you'll either end up like Saddam Hussein or his sons. Then God will get to take His shot at you. Even if you somehow manage to escape America's wrath, there is only one way to escape God's - and it ain't blowing yourself up in some stupid attempt to enter heaven by merit of mass murder. I've explained everything THOROUGHLY in the post below. If you have any questions I'll be glad to help you out.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Further Explanation...

So, with all this talk about salvation, I thought I might better explain some more. I went back into my archives and brought out this one from about 4 years ago. I have tweaked it a little bit here and there. (I never stop editing!) Here goes...

OK, as promised I am going to take a little bit of time and try to explain how to enter the Kingdom of God. I guess that sounds a little churchy. Let me try to put it a different way. The object of this post is to help you understand how you can become a Christian. I will try to highlight some of the benefits of Christianity and also make clear what our obligations are. Fair enough? I'll also try to do all of that without using "Christianese." So here we go.

The first thing that an individual has to understand before the Good News will make sense is that there is actually some bad news that I have to tell you. The bad news is that we are born into this world in a state that is separated from God. It all goes back to the Garden of Eden when Adam (not Eve) chose to disobey God's only command to him. Ever since then Adam and his descendants have pretty well not been able to avoid disobeying God. This was the case even before God gave His law to Moses. The general idea was that if you wanted to be acceptable before God you would have to obey every law that God had given through Moses PERFECTLY. The chances are that you broke one of those laws before you were even old enough to understand them all. I doubt that I have to convince you that you are not perfect, most people that I know are all too aware of their shortcomings, but just in case you aren't let me run down the Top Ten laws of God. Here they are:

1) Never make anything at all more important than God. Anything.
2) Never worship anything besides God. (That includes Muhammed, Krishna, Allah, Buddah, Zeus, Moroni, BMWs, sex, food... in short, ANYTHING. He REALLY hates second place.)
3) Never use His name irreverently and don't claim to be His follower if you aren't.
4) Never work more than 6 days a week. And set aside the seventh day to rest and worship God.
5) Respect, honor, and obey your parents. (Probably got you on that one.)
6) Don't murder people. (This includes hating people and not forgiving them.)
7) Don't engage in unauthorized sexual behavior. (Don't even look at someone lustfully or you have blown it.)
8) Don't steal. (Not even pens from work.)
9) Don't lie. (Not even little white ones.)
10) Don't be greedy. Don't be consumed by things that you do not or cannot have.

That's a pretty tough list in and of itself. I am pretty sure that I have broken all of them in their most strict interpretation. However, if you managed those, have you ever eaten pork, shrimp, catfish, or rare steak? If so, you have blown it. If you are male are you circumcised? Have you been to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the festivals of Passover, First Fruits, and Rosh Hashana? If not, you have already blown your chance to receive God's favor by your good deeds.

I think that is largely the point of the part of the Bible that we call the Old Testament. It gives us a set of laws and shows us how nobody back then managed to live them out perfectly. The point is that we can't make it on our own. Left to our own devices we will blow it every single time. The Bible tells us that the result of our imperfection is death. I don't have to tell you how true that is. Life is largely futile. There are spots of joy along the way. Every once in a while there is some happiness, but largely everything on this Earth is in a state of decay. We see it all around us.

There is even more bad news. When our bodies finally die that isn't the end. Left in our imperfect state there is additional torment awaiting for us after we die.

To help us get a grasp on what the torment of hell will be like I have brought in an expert on the horrors of hell, Dr. Jonathan Edwards.

Dr. Edwards, can you help us to understand what hell is really all about?

"I sure can, Jonathan. We often read of the fury of God; as in Isaiah 59:18, "According to what they have done, so will He repay wrath to His enemies and retribution to His foes." So Isaiah 66:15, "See, the LORD is coming with fire, and His chariots are like a whirlwind; He will bring down His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire." And in many other places. So, Revelation 19:15, we read of "the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty." The words are exceedingly terrible. If it had only been said, "the wrath of God," the words would have implied that which is infinitely dreadful: but it is the "fury of the wrath of God." The fury of God! the fierceness of Jehovah! O how dreadful that must be! Who can utter or conceive what such expressions carry in them?"

Whoa. That is pretty serious stuff. I can hardly imagine.

"You're right. But unfortunately there is more. Consider this, you that are here, that yet remain in an unregenerate state. That God will execute the fury of His anger, implies, that He will inflict wrath without any pity. When God looks upon the inexpressible circumstances of your case, and sees your torment to be so vastly disproportioned to your strength, and sees how your poor soul is crushed, and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom; He will have no compassion upon you, He will not withhold the executions of His wrath, or in the least lighten His hand; there shall be no moderation or mercy, nor will God stop His destroying wind; be will have no regard to your welfare, nor be at all careful for fear that you should suffer too much in any other sense, than only that you shall 'not suffer beyond what strict justice requires.' Thus it will be with you that are in an unconverted state, if you continue in it; the infinite might, and majesty, and terribleness of the omnipotent God shall be magnified upon you, in the inexpressible strength of your torments."

That is pretty severe, Dr. Edwards.

"It certainly is. And even worse is this: There will be no end to this extreme horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: for "who knows the power of God's anger?"

That is certainly bad news for anyone who isn't a Christian. Even with your description it is hard to wrap your mind around the magnitude of the punishment. Thanks for being with us today, Dr. Edwards.

"It's been my pleasure."

As you have just heard being condemned to hell is to find oneself in a terrible state. But without a doubt it is the state that all of us are in until something is done about it. Now let's get to the good news part.

Now we know some things about God. He is all powerful. He is all knowing. He is everywhere. He is love. He is just. He is merciful. He is GOOD.

God made us to be good in the very beginning too. In fact, He liked us so much that He made us the spitting image of Himself. He made us so that we could hang out with Him and enjoy each other's company. It was a great arrangement. However, Adam's disobedience changed all of that. Let's consider why for a moment.

The Bible describes God as light and says that in Him is no darkness. Before Adam sinned, He had no problem at all being in God's presence, but the moment that he disobeyed, his first thought was to hide himself from God's presence. Imperfect people cannot tolerate a perfect God. This was a problem and God set Himself to fix it. He did that because He is loving. God could not simply ignore man's shortcoming. It was the shortcoming that was keeping man from God. The disobedience also demanded punishment. Because God was both merciful and just He allowed man to cover his sins by letting him use the physical death of an animal as a proxy to satisfy God's justice. This prevented God from inflicting the sentence of death as a punishment for man's sin. However, God was still not satisfied because the death of sheep and bulls and goats still didn't fix man's problem.

God had a greater plan. This plan is pretty shocking when you think about it. I cannot fathom why He did it. The only thing that I can figure is that He loves you and me deeper than I have ever loved anything. What God did was take the form of a man and live among us. He lived His life perfectly and never once broke His own law. Then He let us sacrifice Him. This, of course, killed Him. They buried Him and three days later He rose from the grave! His name is Jesus.

Because Jesus was willing to die as our proxy and because He was sinless, God has allowed anyone who would ask Him to let His sacrifice pay for their sins be made right with Him. Absolutely amazing. The good news doesn't end there. Jesus also promised us that if we believe in Him we never have to die. Granted, our body may die one day, but like Jesus, we will also be raised from the dead, get a brand new perfect body, and go to live with Him one day.

There's more too! Because we belong to Him, He begins the process of cleansing us from our old sinful and disobedient patterns and he begins repairing all of the damage that our disobedience did to our lives. He heals our emotional wounds. He gives us joy. He gives us hope. He provides for our needs. He gives us courage. And He makes us good. That is why I can contemplate the worst that the world has to offer and have a confidence that it is going to be OK.

And it even gets better than that. Springboarding off of Dr. Edwards' description of the duration of hell imagine its converse - not the eternal exertion of the wrath of God upon us, but the eternal exertion of His love and goodness lavished upon us:

It would be blissful to experience this fierceness of love and pleasure of Almighty God one second; but you shall delight in it for all of eternity. There will be no end to this extreme glorious ecstasy. When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will be absolutely astounded by the certainty that there shall be no end, no mitigation, no cessation at all. You will know certainly that you must expend long ages, millions of millions of ages in absorbing and basking in this almighty limitless adoration; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains.

Now, what does He say that He wants from us?

First of all, we have to realize that we can't make ourselves good enough for Him. We have to recognize that we absolutely must rely on Him to make us good enough to be with Him. That's where we ask Him to save us from our lifestyle that is leading us to death.

Secondly we have to ask Him to be our King. Here in America, we don't really understand Kings. We think we have a vote, but with Kings there is no vote. You do exactly what they tell you to do. I can understand why this might be difficult for some folks. See, we were all serving another king when we first found out about God's offer. That other king is the devil. He is the one who has been doing his best to destroy us. So our only experience with an absolute ruler has been a bad one. Let me assure you that God is a good and benevolent King. He wants what is best for you at all times. There may be times when it doesn't feel that way, but trust me, it is all for your good.

Finally, we have to believe that God raised Himself from the grave. I have grown up hearing this since I was a child, so belief in it wasn't too bad for me, but if this is new to you it may take some processing to actually believe it. That's OK. He understands how hard that could be to believe, and if you will be honest with Him, He will be very patient with you and will help you to believe it for yourself.

If you do those three things your life will be unmistakably changed for the best, and you will wonder how on earth you ever made it before you found out about the plan that God has for your good! It isn't always an easy road. It is a road that is full of adventure and danger and excitement. There are many difficult challenges along the way, but it is absolutely worth it.

I hope that this post has helped you to understand what I have been talking about. If anything isn't clear, please post a comment, and I'll attempt to clarify. Also, if you are already a Christian and you see that I have forgotten something please feel free to post those comments too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Rabbi's Tell

So there I was, eating something that I'd picked up on a low-level search and destroy run through my parents' kitchen. I had been enjoying their hospitality (and their central air conditioning) when I hear this contentious ruckus coming from the TV. There, on CNN was this very up-tight looking preacher being given the third degree by an anchor who probably knows nothing more about Christianity than what she is smugly reading from the teleprompter.

This pastor is being raked over the coals for the audacity of his church to display a message on their marquee that raised the possibility that just maybe, perhaps, the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Katrina was a wake up call from God. I have rarely seen such a display of animosity as was leveled at this pastor, and I have to say that even though his body language was WAY up-tight, the words that he was saying in defense of the message were sound.

Now you need to understand. I generally roll my eyes at messages put out on church marquees. I think that most of them are trite rather than clever, and I think that they tend to do more harm than good. There is one on the way to my parents' home that I almost universally disagree with. Either the content or spirit of what they are saying seems out of line to me. Thus, I would tend to not be pulling for the pastor in an exchange over a marquee. This poor fellow wasn't doing himself any favors either with his body language. He was clearly back on his heels.

Then the anchor announces that she has brought in Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, from TLC's Shalom In The Home to discuss this usefulness of this sign. I had seen Rabbi Shmuley's show before. It is kind of schmaltzy, but he seemed to have a sweet spirit, and I thought the name of the show was cool, so I had a very positive opinion of him. I was sure that he would bring in a reasonable, cool response that would calm the harpy in the anchor chair down a bit.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

What followed was a level of self-righteous invective that made the anchor's ranting seem serene by comparison. Rabbi Shmuley literally yelled at the pastor for the remainder of the segment about how religious people are supposed to somehow become an advocate before God and calm Him down before He destroys the lot of us.

The pastor's response was sound. He reiterated time and time again that our job is to warn people about their sin and the eternal, dreadful consequences of that sin. Rabbi Shmuley would have none of it.

So, what is it about the message of this church that sent an otherwise calm and serene Rabbi into mouth-foaming histrionics?

Before I take even one step further I want to make something ABUNDANTLY clear: I absolutely do not in any way shape or form hate Jews, Judaism, Israel, or God. On the contrary, I love my Jewish friends very much and consider myself an "ingrafted" Jew. I am of Abraham's spiritual seed and long for the day when his natural seed recognize Jeshua of Nazareth as their Messiah who has come and who is coming again. The day that happens will fill my heart with great joy. In the meantime, I work among my Christian brethren to dispel the lies of Replacement Theology that they have believed.

That being said, it is very evident to me why both Rabbi Shmuley and the CNN anchor responded to this message in such a rabid fashion: the message of this marquee was exposing the lie under which they are living. To be more explicit: if the destruction from Katrina was a wake up call from God, then I'm not OK and you're not OK.

Rabbi Shmuley certainly must know from his own scriptures that God throughout history has used calamity to get people's attention. There are notable cases where no sin was involved and yet calamity came (Job comes immediately to mind), but by in large there are VERY MANY accounts throughout the Jewish scriptures (also included in the Christian scriptures) that very explicitly state that war, or disaster, or famine, or any number of other bad things came upon the various peoples of the world as a direct result of their sin and as a means of God to bring repentance to those people. I'm not going to enumerate these examples, but you could just about open the books of the Bible between Genesis and Malachi at random and point.

Does anyone REALLY want to challenge the notion that New Orleans was (and in many ways still is) a very sinful and decadent city? If so, your GOOD vs BAD meter is broken.

Now, to be honest, the chick on the news was probably trying to impress the guys in the comfy office by her ability to ambush a guest on her show. Thus, she is irrelevant to me. I don't expect much of her. She probably never gives religion even a second thought - although she probably "prays" to "someone" she calls "God."

It's Rabbi Shmuley that really tipped his hand. Anger is a very common response to fear. See, as much as the good Rabbi knows that the scriptures are rife with accounts of God trying to get mankind's attention via calamity, he must as assuredly be quite aware that he falls far short of the requirements of the 10 Commandments - let alone the entire requirement of the law as disclosed in the Torah. He must be acutely aware that there is no atonement left to him under the law of the Torah. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD and the sacrifices for the atonement of the sins of Israel haven't been offered since.

Thus he is in a quandary. He has had to figure out some way to relieve his conscience. The law says that for atonement to be secured there must be a shedding of blood. The law also says that he can't just buy a goat from the farmer down the road and kill it in the back yard. The atoning sacrifice must be made by the High Priest and taken into the very presence of God manifested about the Ark of the Covenant. I think I already mentioned that the temple has been destroyed for 1937 years? Currently there is an abomination standing in the place where the temple stood. Boy, this is a mess.

He really only has a few choices: 1) He can give up on religion entirely and convince himself that it's all just a big hoax. (i.e. ignore it and hope it will go away) 2) He can try to come up with a new compromise that will make up for his sin while he is quietly praying that the temple will somehow be rebuilt and sacrifices will begin again. (i.e. ignore it because he is powerless to do anything about it) 3) However, if it worked while there wasn't a temple, is the sacrifice really necessary? Can't you just meditate on the sacrifices that were offered before the Romans ruined everything? (i.e. still ignoring it and hoping it will go away) 4) He can acknowledge that he is a sinner and face the consequences of that knowledge.

Well, it is obvious that he hasn't chosen #1. I'd say he is probably with #3 if you asked him. But the real truth of the matter is that his response to this pastor revealed what he knows at the core of his being: he is a sinner facing the wrath of God.

I am a procrastinator by nature. I am also more of a passive-aggressive type of fellow. I tend to go for a diplomatic solution or postpone a solution when I am faced with a situation that I'm pretty sure I am not equipped to handle. However, procrastinate as I may I am always forced to face that thing that I am fearing head-on from time to time. The experience is typically terrifying and can generally ruin an otherwise good day.

Most non-Christian people are procrastinators too. (At least in regards to doing something about their sin and its consequence.) The Bible tells us that every one of us is aware of our sin. We are aware of the fact that we aren't perfect. And something deep down inside of us tells us that perfection is the standard. That's why we come up with these little "I'm OK and You're OK" slogans. They make us feel better. We decide that "God is love" means that God can't be wrathful and angry too. It helps us to avoid the eventuality that all lost people sense in their deepest being: a reckoning is coming. If God is love, then a loving God certainly couldn't send someone to hell. Right?


If you have been reading this blog at all lately, you will know that I have been reading and pondering Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God." This sermon has galvanized in me a realization that there are a whole bunch of really nice people - people I know and like - who are headed for the eternal wrath of God. The thought terrifies me. I wish I only had a deeper revelation of its reality.

So how can a loving God send someone to hell? In reality, God doesn't. He made a provision for us to escape His wrath and then gave us a choice as to whether we want to accept it or not. Each individual makes a decision to either accept the provision that God has made to rescue them from His wrath or to reject it. That choice determines our final destination. Our sin punches our ticket to hell. And in case you missed it earlier - no one is without sin. Therefore, if we do nothing else, hell is where we will end up. But here is the good news:

Even though the temple sacrifices have been defunct for ages, blood has been shed to cleanse away the sin of anyone who would ask. Jesus - God's Son - willingly gave his life so that we could be granted fellowship with God and spared His wrath. This happened because God loves us so much. This is God's love. God's justice required that the sacrifice be made to pay the penalty for our sin. Why did God do this for us? I wouldn't have paid so high a price. But because God's love is so great for us He did. We certainly didn't deserve it but He did it anyway. Just astounding.

Now He has issued the call to anyone who will accept salvation ON HIS TERMS. There is only one way to be saved and that is through Jesus Christ. I can't say this forcefully enough: there aren't many paths to God - only one. It isn't politically correct, but it is true.

You are now faced with a question. If you have already believed that Jesus died for your sins and if you have asked Him to save you then you're good. You don't have to worry about hell - at least not for yourself. However, if you haven't, you are staring down both barrels of God's eternal wrath. Here is your opportunity to avoid this fate. God said that anyone who wanted to could come to Him. The offer is open to all. You don't have to get clean before you come to Him. The offer is for Him to clean you. You have already demonstrated that you cannot clean yourself. It doesn't matter what you have done. Even if you have put Christians to death in the name of your god, you can still come and receive pardon. The offer has been made to so many, but so few have actually received it. Will you?

Good Column...

I am quickly becoming a fan of columnist Cal Thomas. He just published a great article about why we should remember 9/11.

Forget 9/11 At Our Peril
By Cal Thomas

Here is my favorite part:

What's the matter with some people? Does remembering not only 9/11 but the stakes in this world war interfere too much with our pursuit of money, things and pleasure? Serious times require serious thought and serious action. In our frivolous times, full of trivialities and irrelevancies, to be serious is to abandon self-indulgence for survival, entertainment for the stiffened spine.

Serious times require a modicum of sacrifice too.

Oh, and some people are going to have to grow a spine before they can stiffen it.

An Auspicious Moment

Wow, this is my 200th posting to this blog. Kind of cool. 200 entries in about 4 years and I took a whole year off. Let's see, that's 3 into 200...carry the 2...add the 4...halve the difference... that makes 66.6666666666666666666666666666666666 etc. posts per year in the years that I am posting. Hardly killing myself I guess. It would be alot more impressive if they were home runs! I'm on a pace to break that mark somewhere by the middle of next month. Does that mean I should take the rest of the year off?

I have actually enjoyed my return to blogging. It has given me a creative outlet and seems to have actually stirred some of my other creative gifts. I have a couple new songs swirling around in there right now. Hopefully, with my new job soon I'll have enough money to actually get a couple of these songs copyrighted and out there where my creativity could become a source of revenue.

I know, I know, you purists are out there saying it cheapens the art to sell it, but I've done the starving artist thing long enough! I've always heard that it is the greatest blessing in the world to be willing to do what you do for free, but to get paid for it anyway. I'm looking for a career like that. Perhaps this (writing music, prose, etc.) is it.

I have a couple of book ideas too. I've had lots of ideas in the past, but never really started working on them too much. My last idea took so much work just to begin to distill the idea that I got a little discouraged with it and set it aside. I hardly had a choice in the midst of taking over the real estate business. Real estate is a cruel overseer. Not mistress. Definitely not mistress. Calling it a mistress would indicate that there is enough pleasure involved to keep you coming back even though it is destroying you. The book idea's still cooking, though. However, I think that I am going to try to tackle some easier ones first.

It really has been a very creative season. I have another idea cooking that might be sellable. Nothing that I would get rich off of, but I think that it would generate a respectable income for the time that it would require to implement.

If I actually get any of these ideas implemented I'll let you know.

I just can't get over how good the past few days have been. I'm not manic about it or anything, but the past few have just been very pleasant. I could do with about a year's worth of days like this.

It seems like the sunlight has changed from summer light to fall light. It is funny how abruptly that change comes sometimes. I guess it is pretty weird that I would even notice it, but I can always tell when summer sunlight switches to fall sunlight and when winter sunlight switches to spring - and it has nothing to do with equinoxes and solstices. These seem to be the most dramatic shifts. It is as if God has a 4-way bulb in the sun and one day He decides that it is time to turn the switch. I am ready for fall to be here. I'm a fan of fall, winter, and spring. Not so much for summer, and less for spring than for fall.

My nephew started his first season of football ever yesterday. I'll have to find out how his first practice went. Man I used to dread football practice - especially the first ones, 'cause you knew that you were going to be doing ALOT of running. Running always came before hitting. I hope he enjoys it. He wants to be a receiver. I had the chance to throw with him some this summer and he has pretty good hands. If he can catch my passes, he has pretty good hands! Now if we can teach him to run so that he doesn't look like a sack of potatoes being rolled down a slide. He is in such a weird age - that 'tween stage. You couldn't pay me a million bucks - OK, maybe I'd do it for a million bucks, but definitely not $10 - to go back to being that age.

Have you ever thought about whether you would take the opportunity to go back and do it over if given the chance? I have. I think that the only way that I'd be willing to do it would be if I could do it with the knowledge and wisdom that I have already gained. Even if you could do it that way I wonder if you'd do it differently.

Well, I guess I have rambled enough for now. Now I have to go and get music ready for this week's worship service. Practice is tonight!

Quote Of the Day

"Life is the living of The Mystery. As one Greek Orthodox theologian put it, 'We see that it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.' What are doctrines but vestibules to the mysteries? To follow Jesus is not a paint-by-numbers path. To follow Jesus is to live the adventure and experience the mystery of faith."

-Leonard Sweet, Jesus Drives Me Crazy!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How The Heck...

I've got to find out how all of these folks are able to just walk up and get on an airplane! First it was the TB guy, and now it would seem that Norman Hsu was able to just get on a plane and leave. Of course, Mr. Hsu's lawyers claim that it was just a mistake. Yeah, they must have been talking about the judge's mistake in letting him post bail in the first place.

Here's Michelle Malkin's take on it:
All points bulletin: Where in the world is Norman Hsu? Part II New warrant issued for his arrest…lawyer searched for his passport for 90 minutes… Fled to Hong Kong? Update: Clueless lawyers say maybe Hsu made a “mistake”

And here is an article I found on Town Hall:

You would think that in the post 9/11 world in which we live that someone who had been in the news for evading arrest for 15 years might trigger some red flags if his name showed up on a passenger manifest. I guess some security guard was shaking down a little old lady with crocheting needles when he went through security.

I wonder if anyone will hold the Democrats' feet to the fire over this thing? Probably not. Bill Clinton gave away the farm and the farmer's daughter to the Chinese when he was in office and no one even blinked. If there were ever a cause for impeachment that would have been cause enough. Now the Honorable Senator Mrs. Clinton is tapping the same keg - along with quite a few others from her party. Of course, both the former President and his aspiring President wife were "shocked" that such an outlaw had the temerity to try to give them cash.

Pull the other one - it has bells on.

I wonder if anyone will actually follow up and make sure that this dirty money does actually find its way back out of the Democratic coffers. I'm not holding my breath.

Apparently it is a pretty widespread problem among Democratic candidates: that is, being deceived by donors who seem to be upstanding American citizens legally participating in the electoral process but are really fugitive criminals trying to sway American politics with their ill-gotten gains.

Michelle Malkin has an article about foreign purchasers of American political favor titled:

The Democrats' Foreign Funny Money

Only problem is I'm not laughing.


I'd be concerned, except that the Chinese government has said that they are no threat to anybody...

China Expands Military Training for Youth

Here are some excerpts:

China has greatly expanded a youth military training program and will provide compulsory training this year to 50 million children as young as 9 years of age, an exclusive USA Today investigation reveals....

The program is cloaked in secrecy. A military official confiscated a USA Today reporter’s camera when the journalist visited a training camp in the city of Wenzhou. Young people in the camps are taught self-defense and study advanced weaponry, including American Black Hawk helicopters and aircraft carriers, USA Today reports.

Now I know we have nothing to fear and that the Chinese are our pals and all, but something smells kind of like 1-year-old duck eggs around here.

Seems Like A Good Solution To Me

"Sen. Edgar Espindola (Columbia, as in, the country Columbia) said he has proposed a law that would impose fines and enforced community service as punishment for adulterers in an effort to protect family values and shield children from broken homes."

Here's a link to the entire article:

Adulterers Beware - Or Pay the Price

It's better than here where there is no criminal penalty for adultery, and not quite as extreme as the biblical penalty.

You Have Got To Be Kidding...(no pun intended)

Airline Sacrifices Goats to Appease Sky god

And these people have nukes?! Be afraid, very afraid. Mark that airline off of the list of those I'll fly.

Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

My pastor has been preaching a series of Jonathan Edwards' Christian Classics lately. The first sermon was "Pardon For the Greatest Of Sinners." Last Sunday we heard "A Divine and Supernatural Light." And this Sunday we will be hearing Edwards' masterpiece, "Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God."

Due to the cerebral nature of Edwards' writing, and the difference in the grammar and sentence structure of this centuries-old sermon, I decided to get a head start and re-read it.

There is no wonder that this sermon is still included in American literature classes all over this country. It is the most powerful and clear description of a sinner's precarious position that I have ever heard or read. But by the same token, because of that very fact it is astounding that it remains in the classroom to this day.

I think that I read this sermon twice before: once in high school, and once in college. I don't think that I "got it" either time. I think part of the reason that I didn't is that the teacher always felt obligated to suggest that this sermon was only relevant in that it portrayed the Puritans' severity and their "incorrect" notion that God is some great smiter waiting to smite. This vision of God was always tempered with their "more enlightened" view that God is a god of love.

Don't get me wrong - I truly believe that God is a loving God. That is His greatest attribute - and, I think, the reason that He forbears in casting the lost to the judgment that they have earned. However, God is also a God of war. He is the Lord of Hosts (i.e. He is the Lord of the hosts, armies, of Heaven.) When God gets worked up to a good smiting, He makes excellent work of it. Edwards did an excellent job of illuminating this point in the sermon.

Were I to level one criticism at the sermon it would be this: that Edwards could have improved the sermon by showing that God's forbearance in casting the sinner headlong into Hell is the result of His love, His long-suffering, and His willingness that none should perish. I would have loved to have heard Edwards deliver a sermon entitled "Saints In the Bosom Of A Loving God."

There was one description that he used to describe the utter desolation of the sinner doomed to hell that actually sparked this idea. Here is the passage:

It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one second; but you must suffer it for all of eternity. There will be no end to this extreme horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains.
- Jonathan Edwards "Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God" (emphasis mine)

What a terrifying thought! Oh, that I may allow the horror of this truth to be absorbed by my mind. That I would believe this to the core of my being so that I would be moved to compel the unregenerate to be reconciled to God. I must confess that I haven't understood the scope of God's wrath against the ungodly so well as I do after reading this sermon. If I can truly get a hold of this reality, it will change the way I treat the lost. It will spur me to action.

The flip side of this description - the one that would of necessity be included in "Saints In The Bosom of A Loving God" would go something like this:

It would be blissful to experience this fierceness of love and pleasure of Almighty God one second; but you shall delight in it for all of eternity. There will be no end to this extreme glorious ecstasy. When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will be absolutely astounded by the certainty that there shall be no end, no mitigation, no cessation at all. You will know certainly that you must expend long ages, millions of millions of ages in absorbing and basking in this almighty limitless adoration; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains.


If we only could grasp the reality of the future that awaits us how different our lives would be!

I wish Edwards had included the glories of the bliss to come for those found in Christ in this sermon. It would have balanced the message and cleared up some of the misunderstanding that has attended his sermon through the ages. Just as Moses said, "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life..." Deuteronomy 30: 19-20a

Cool Blog

Thanks to the folks at Blogger I discovered a cool new blog called Talking With Heroes. It is written by an independent citizen journalist embedded with the troops in Iraq. He is the father of a soldier. Looks like a pretty good one from what I have read so far.

A Pretty Good Day

As I am winding down tonight, I can't help but think that it's been a pretty good day. The temperatures in lovely China Grove remained reasonable for early September and my air conditioning was able to keep up. I was given a reprieve on some work that I was doing that made me want to pull my hair out. I enjoyed some pretty good food. I got to spend some time talking and praying with my pastor. I got to blog. And I got to play my guitar.

I haven't played my guitar so much in a long time. I have been trying to learn some new stuff, and that always necessitates a little practice. I haven't had to work this hard at anything (on guitar) in quite a while, though, so it is really rewarding.

I remember all those days back in college when I had my guitar out all the time trying to learn how to play. Somewhere along the way I guess I decided that I played pretty well and there wasn't any point in working at it so hard. Kind of a bummer making that decision. I might have been really good if I had kept pushing forward.

I suppose after a while you get to the point where no one is really teaching you anything any more. If you have ever played guitar with people who can play, you will agree that they rarely do much teaching, but they do a whole lot of playing. This is especially problematic if you are trying to share one guitar during the "lesson."

Anyway, last year (I think) sometime I bought an instructional DVD for worship guitar. I messed with it a little bit, but really didn't take the time to really learn the things that I didn't already know. Well, I did manage to learn the first pentatonic scale form and worked through the others, but never worked at learning the other forms.

For the past few days I have been working on the second form. It is from the devil! It has been really hard to teach my fingers to do that, but I think that they are slowly being driven into submission. It is amazing how out of shape the muscles in my hand and arm have gotten - even with the regular playing I am doing for church. Of course, the truth may be that since I have never really learned scales that I have never worked these muscles this way.

Oh well! Whatever the case is, I have made a concerted effort to take my playing up a notch. I have never ventured out on lead much, but I am hoping that learning these scales will be a path towards learning how to do that more and learning how to play electric guitar. I play acoustic pretty exclusively.

It should also help me when I am playing bass. I have pretty well always done that by ear, but knowing the scales should take me up quite a few notches there too if I can ever get an opportunity to use my bassing.

Playing last night I came up with a possible new song. It uses the same chord progression as the verse of Blessed Be Your Name, but has a much different tune. I think that the lyric will be a fusion of the Doxology and Gloria Patri

I heard a worship leader named Ashlie Rice use Doxology in her worship set. It was really cool. I have wanted to use it myself, but I didn't want to just copy it from her. She is hopefully going to be coming to our church in a couple of weeks and will hopefully be leading worship some in my place. I hope she will do it then so that she will get the credit for coming up with the idea if I do it in the future.

I guess I've never really mentioned it in this forum before, but I do lead worship at my church. I've been doing it now for 2 years... I think. It is either 2 or 3. This is definitely the longest time that I have been responsible for leading worship for a church. In the past it got really weighty, but it hasn't been too bad this time around. I have had a real grace for it. Not to mention that I really enjoy hanging around with all of the characters in my band. We have a couple vocalists and a piano/keyboard player, a bass player, and me on guitar. It would be nice to have some percussion, but that would also add a whole new set of challenges that we don't have to deal with right now.

Another thing that I never mentioned here is that I started seminary last fall. Well, kind of. I took my first class in the fall of last year. Subsequent financial challenges and a season in God's crucible have put that pursuit on hold for the time being, but I am really looking forward to getting back to my studies. I go to Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. It is an excellent school. I can't wait to get back. I'll have to devote a post to the story of how I ended up bagging the real estate business and going to seminary some time soon.

Anyway, I guess that is enough for now. Suffice it to say that it has been a very good day.