Friday, September 19, 2014

Understanding Britain's Princes

Prince Harry (left) and Prince William (right)
I am not usually one who reads gossip columns much, nor am I one who obsesses over celebrity. Maybe being involved in broadcasting for decades inoculated me. Having met and interviewed a few on radio through the years, you quickly find out they're really human beings with feelings like everyone else.

Like many, I was very saddened at the death of Princess Diana, and furious knowing that slavering paparazzi contributed to her death by their relentless pursuit. It is reported that both Prince Harry and Prince William loathe the media, and I can understand why. Take a peek at this Daily Mail piece from a while back when the royal brothers attended a friend's wedding here in the U.S. Memphis, Tennessee, to be precise. It's sad, because not all "media" are the type the princes justly loathe. Yet if they paint with a broad brush, I have to cut them some slack.

Wouldn't it have been nice if they could have quietly come to town, and been able to enjoy quiet, slow, relaxed, friendly Southern hospitality as it is without a media circus? A traditional barbecue on the lawn, sweet tea, fried potatoes and peach cobbler? Not that they couldn't have had those things, but it would have to be like a prison camp to keep unwanted jerks and their cameras away. It has to be tiresome to always have to be on your guard on what you say and what you do for fear some hidden camera or microphone will capture your words and spread them all over for the world to see.

For the purposes of this post, I am not considering any of the controversial things that either may have said or done, and have been caught out on camera. There are people out there who really loathe the monarchy and wealthy people in general, and seldom hesitate to throw out hateful remarks. I was on Twitter not long ago and had a British far lefty decry today's royal family, noting the "bloody" history of the monarchy. I don't think we can hold Queen Elizabeth II and her children personally responsible for the actions of monarchs 400-500 years ago. Haters gonna hate.

As a Bible teacher, I recognize that most of the royals haven't exactly lived the lifestyle of committed Christians. It is said that the Queen is a devout Christian as was the Queen Mother, but we can't know that unless the Queen elects to share her testimony, and protocol demands that the sitting monarch does no interviews. I have no idea whether either of the princes have made any profession of faith.

As a Christian, I have concern over their spiritual welfare as I would anyone else's. But we're not talking about personal behavior here. This is being written by one human being recognizing that two other human beings might actually like to enjoy a bit of life like any other human being, and to be left alone to do it. Regardless, both recognize the fact that they are royals, and with that comes duty. I suppose theoretically they could divorce themselves from it, but that is not likely. I do wonder, though, on particularly stressful days, whether the thought MIGHT have crossed their minds to chuck it all, leave for the States, and run a surf shop in Florida. Or perhaps a Colorado ski lodge. Fun to ponder.

Being a royal puts you at physical risk as well. The Queen's second cousin, Lord Mountbatten, was assassinated by the IRA back in 1979. They certainly didn't ask to be in that kind of danger. But it "comes with the territory." Another sad fact of a fallen world.

So, whatever the case, I wish the guys well. I'm sure there is plenty of privilege and perk for being a royal, but it probably can't compensate totally for living in a bubble. Rumor has it that when King George the VI passed, Princess Margaret said to her sister Elizabeth, "Poor you."

I know I wouldn't want the job. May God bless them.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What about Scotland?

As I write this, many around the Western world are watching what is going down in the United Kingdom. Will Scotland leave the UK after 300 something years? What are the likely consequences of such a move? Not just in the immediate term, but down the road in years? The political rhetoric has been heated, and usually when there is that much heat, you have to move away from the fire and smoke to get a clearer picture.

Although I bring it up rarely, I am a confirmed Anglophile (and we can argue about what "Angle" means technically). I mean that I have a fondness for all things British, and in my book, that means England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. As an aside, I love the Republic of Ireland also. My own heritage is Welsh.

In one sense, we Americans have to be careful about waxing eloquent on independence movements. Remember 1776. We wanted independence as well. Double standards always tick people off. Having said that, both sides have a case to make. I can understand the aspirations of a people group to have their own nation, but I also understand the benefits of union. After a 300-year union, undoing those ties will not be easy. It has broader ramifications on Western political and military alliances, including the placement of the UK's nuclear deterrent. It impacts NATO. It impacts economics. It is a decision I hope is being decided thoughtfully rather than fanned by firebrands.

My own hope is that the UK remains together, but if that will not happen, my hope and PRAYER is that they will be able to handle the breakup peacefully, and will be able to work out economic and security benefits amenable to all. I suspect it may be a lot more complicated than people imagine.

Another thing to consider globally. There have been separatist wars going on for years all over the place. I am glad this particular matter is being decided by the ballot box instead of bullets. Other places like Nagorno-Karabach, Georgia and Ossetia, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, and the like have had bloody wars fought in recent years. And those conflicts are still not settled. There's a cold, watchful peace. Do we really mean it when we say every people has the right to their own aspirations?

Here in the United States, are we going to give back the West to Mexico (or Spain?) The Raza movement would like that. Are we going to return the American Indian/Native American lands back to the tribes and disband the reservations? Will we give the Louisiana Purchase back to France? Impractical and unlikely? Yes. But not totally impossible. Civilizations besides ours have imploded. Why are we exempt? And unrestrained immigration and lack of assimilation into American culture means we are increasingly becoming Balkanized in our own country. Demographics have changed, and the American "ideal" that has bound us all together is unravelling.

Scripture has much to say about the last days of this current world system and how the nations will be pulled into conflict. Wars will erupt. Those of us who are citizens of Heaven and children of the King have Him as our first loyalty. We are his Ambassadors no matter where we're planted. That doesn't mean we shouldn't voice and vote our views if we are able. But politics should never take the place of the Gospel, or override the love of Christ—the love we show for one another in His name.

Pray for Scotland and the UK regardless of the outcome. My personal prayer is that the UK—and the rest of Western Europe—will rediscover its need for God. And that doesn't mean a theocracy as is often mistakenly depicted. It means foundational values. Love. Peace. Mercy. Grace. Forebearance. Long-suffering. Faith. Hope. All good things worth seeking. May it be.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bugs Bunny, B.O. - Baby Boomers and Politicians

Bugs Bunny's Nemesis
My, no post since the first week of the month. Joel is in one of his moody, frenetic, listless, dry spells. After a while, one gets so overloaded with the cares of everyday and the escalating tsunami of crises, you just have to shut down and turn off for a while.

Today's brief post contains a moment of levity. Baby boomers will notice the cartoon dog as being from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. The dog finds Bugs, gives him a good sniffing, and then in basso profundo, says "BEEEEE YOOOOOOOH!" Here is the clip itself if you want a little laugh.

It's funny, but the cartoon world often makes me think of Washington. That's a sad commentary. But the waves of B.O. coming up from the nation's capital are overwhelming. And lest you suspect, that comment is aimed at way beyond what is coming out of the Administration. How these people can have tapes played of themselves making clear statements, and then look unashamedly at the camera and either outright lie that they didnt say it, ignore the question altogether, or abuse their questioner. Congressman Luiz Gutierrez (D-IL) from Chicago looked at an FNC camera yesterday, and flatly denied that we had a problem on our Southern border. Despite evidence to the contrary, he actually insisted that no terrorists were coming across the border at all. Many other officials on the ground who know better say otherwise.

I suppose lying has always been a part of politics. It's just the sheer brazenness of the lies that take my breath today. At least before, you had to actually catch them in the lie or prove it in some other fashion. Now they just lie with aplomb on camera and have no conscience about it at all.

Even sadder is an electorate that doesn't care, and who will probably put the same jokers back in office.

B.O. Big time.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Cold War Redux?

The Who once sang something about "the new boss, same as the old boss." Maybe now it should be "the new war, same as the old war?"

Check out this fairly cogent analysis of the way things are once again racheting up between Russia and the U.S. I suppose we could throw in the NATO Alliance nations, but it's hard to tell whether they'll be in total unison or not these days.

I'll withhold comment for the time being. This has so many potential scenarios to it. From a theological level, I know things must progress to set the stage for certain events. Read Ezekiel 38 and 39 for starters. On a secular geopolitical level, I concur with much of what the article has to say in terms of the "tripwires" being set, and it's pretty predictable. I also can see the arguments on both sides of this fence, including that of Russia, who raises the issue of NATO once promising not to expand to Russia's borders. NATO did it anyway.

And caught in the middle are all the littler countries who seem to have no say over themselves or their own territory. And such is life under this sun. It has been for thousands of years. This earth will not know final peace until the King of King returns and puts all power and authority under His feet.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Washington's "Jester."

Every time I pledge to myself that I'm going to back off the politics, something new manages to seize my attention and fire up my anger. With the second beheading of a journalist this week by the cowardly butchers of ISIS/ISIL, the tensions being ratcheted up between the West and Moscow over Ukraine, the ongoing crisis at the U.S. borders—you'd think you'd get at least some positive, decisive action from America's current "commander in chief."

While I am tempted to denominate Barack Obama as Washington's Court Jester, I cannot. There are plenty of "jesters" in the nation's capital, but things have gotten too far out of hand and way too deadly to use a term that denotes clownish incompetence. Because I stick to my long-held view that Obama's problem is NOT incompetence. His actions all along have been fully in keeping with who he was when he took office, and his intent from day one has been to pull back America's influence in the world. If I really wanted to ascribe even more serious malevolence to Obama and his inner circle, I could probably make a pretty good case that he really wants to ultimately destroy the country. But that's a very hard sell as most of the talking heads—even when they're outraged at Obama's lack of action and apparent serious errors in judgment—still insist that Obama is naive, a rigid ideologue, incompetent, ignorant, checked out, counting out time until the end of his term, only focused on his domestic agenda, etc. A rigid ideologue, yes. Focused on his domestic agenda, yes, to a point. But naive, ignorant, and incompetent? Not by a long shot.

Everything this man does is intentional, and it is not to the good of the United States. Obama runs the show with a very narrow circle of advisers, the most chief of which is Valerie Jarratt, and I fail to see what makes her such an expert on running a country. They're experts at propaganda, and following the Alinsky/Cloward-Piven playbook to the hilt, creating as much chaos as possible, but that's about it. Sadly, they have a good chunk of the Democratic Party in for the whole ride, a good chunk of the media, if not half the country who loves government entitlements.

I suppose it is possible that the man has a narcissistic personality disorder who thinks he alone knows what to do, and who rejects the advice coming from the military, CIA, and National Security apparatus. It could be a mixture of that and the former points. Who knows? But we have two years left in Obama's term, and God only knows what will get thrown our way next.

It's disappointing that the Republicans in the House and in the Senate seem to have thrown in the towel. I suspect that they will not do anywhere near as well as they expect in the mid-terms, and that is because the demographics of the country have changed. I don't think the GOP gets that fully yet. The "moderates" run the show right now, and "moderates" are fairly useless when you really have to fight over principle.

In the end, I also still have to ponder how much of this is God's judgment on America finally beginning to rain down. If so, we had better begin repenting very quickly.