Monday, April 30, 2007

Sola's Solution for Terrorism

No commentary necessary. Just click on the link below.

Illinois' Three Crime "Thrones"

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Step Beyond Contempt

The 2008 election season is off to an early start, sadly. I have been trying my best to check the growing loathing I have for politicians, especially of the leftist variety, but it is proving to be difficult. I happened to find this photo of me looking out across Lake Superior with a decidedly grim expression (the fact that the water was 30 degrees and the air temperature not much warmer didn't help), and thought that it adequately expressed my displeasure with the current antics in Washington.

I am talking about the back and forth between the Bush Administration and the Democrats in Congress over funding our military operations. Despite Senator and would-be president Barack Obama saying that no one wanted to "play chicken" with our troops in harm's way, that is precisely what is going on. They know full well that they have no chance to override a veto, yet they choose to play games anyway to make their stupid little political statement. And all the while, the Islamic fanatics who have targeted us are laughing all the way back to their bomb-making caves.

I'd respect them more if they'd just vote to cut off funding for the war. But they don't have the moxie or the integrity to do that. They know that would prove them to be weak on defense. Instead, they play a political shell game. I also find it repugnant that they hold a vote off to coincide with what they think is a Bush gaffe, the anniversary of the "Mission Accomplished" banner on the Navy aircraft carrier (Never mind the context of that event).

With the exception of Joe Lieberman and a few others, the Democrats are playing politics with the lives of our young troops in harms' way. Appeasing the enemy. Being willing to hurt own own country as long as it seemingly helps their objective of getting back in power. Accusing others of lying while their own tongues spew out lies in assembly line speed.

Disgusting, but par for the course and not unexpected. And at what ultimate cost to the nation?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Howard Dean and Liberal Arrogance

This morning, I am posting this little clip from James Taranto's "Best of the Web" feature from the Wall Street Journal's "Opinion Journal." Once again, this confirms the "limousine liberal" mindset, i.e. we're all too stupid to understand the issues of the day, so we need them to lead us by the nose. James appropriately mocks Howard "The Scream" Dean's remarks . . .

During the Mortgage Bankers Association conference, a banker expressed frustration with candidates who only talk in sound bites and wondered how that could be changed. Howard Dean, once a presidential candidate, offered a simple solution.

"I suggest you have candidates in to meetings like this and bar the press," Dean said. . . .

"The media has been reduced to info-tainment," Dean said. "Info-tainment sells, the problem is they reach the lowest common denominator instead of forcing a little education down our throats, which we are probably in need of from time to time."

National Press Club President Jerry Zremski lashed out at Dean for suggesting barring the media.

"Has Dean read the First Amendment? The Founding Fathers knew that a free press is central to the free flow of information to the citizenry--and that the free flow of information is the very foundation of a democracy. Repressing media is a tactic one expects from totalitarian regimes, not democracies," Zremski said.

*** END QUOTE ***

First of all, lighten up, Zremski! This kind of pompous press puffery almost makes us sympathize with Dean.

We said almost. Actually, what Dean says makes no sense. If the problem is that the media "reach for the lowest common denominator," then why would the absence of the media make a difference in what the candidates say at "meetings like this"? It would seem what Dean is really saying is that the candidates can't resist playing to the media by themselves reaching for the lowest common denominator.

While I certainly do believe a RESPONSIBLE media can serve excellent educational purposes, I do have to agree with Dean at least this far. Today's sound-bite, propagandist media do more harm than good through their biased, inaccurate or incomplete reporting. But keeping the media out is not in the best interest of our Republic either. Where I disagree with Dean -and with some asperity- is what he didn't come out and say. When you read "lowest common denominator," read that to say "the American people are too stupid to manage their own affairs and think through the issues of the day. They need us..the elite, the enlightened left, to lead them to Shangri-La." Yeah, right.

You know, when I think that Howard Dean was a practicing physician, it scares me. I could speculate here as to what his speciality was, but that might be construed as uncivil, and perhaps even scatological. Therefore, I will refrain.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Serious Warning From American History

Given the ongoing vacillating over the involvement of the U.S. in Iraq - and the "war on terror" in general, I have been increasingly wondering if our nation has the stomach any more for a protracted conflict. Hearing the ongoing mutterings by the mullahs in Iran and their marionette Ahmadinejad, plus seeing the relative lack of response from our government and the rest of the West, my uneasiness has grown. But at least one academic seems to think we still have it in us if pressed.

Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a professor emeritus at California State University in Fresno, and a distinguished visiting fellow at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Professor Hanson, a military historian, recently delivered a speech in Ft. Myers, Florida, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar on the topic, "National Security: Short- and Long Term Assessments." A transcript can be found in Hillsdale's Imprimis newsletter, however, I wanted to post a short clip here because what he had to say about American history in the face of threat is profound. Professor Hanson begins by noting the conduct of the Israelis . . .

"In conclusion, let me offer a more ominous note of warning. Israel is not free from its own passions, and there will be no second Holocaust. It is past time for Iranian leaders to snap out of their pseudo-trances and recognize that some Western countries are not only far more powerful than Iran, but in certain situations and under particular circumstances can be just as driven by memory, history — and yes, a certain craziness as well.

The same goes for the United States. The Iranians, like bin Laden, imagine an antithetical caricature—which, like all caricatures, has some truth in it—whereby we materialistic Westerners love life too much to die, while the pious Islamic youths they send to kill us with suicide bombs love death too much to live. But what the Iranian theocrats, like the al-Qaedists, never fully fathom is that if the American people conclude that their freedom and existence are at stake, they are capable of conjuring up things far more frightening than anything in the 7th-century brain of Mr. Ahmadinejad. The barbarity of the nightmares at Antietam, Verdun, Dresden and Hiroshima prove that well enough. In short, there are consequences to the rhetoric of Armageddon.

So far the Iranian leader has posed as someone 90 percent crazy and ten percent sane, hoping that in response we would fear his overt madness, grant concessions, and delicately appeal to his small reservoir of reason. But he should understand that if his Western enemies appear 90 percent of the time as children of the Enlightenment, they are still suffused with vestigial traces of the emotional and unpredictable. And military history shows that the irrational ten percent of the Western mind is a lot scarier in the end than anything Islamic fanaticism has to offer.

Very interesting and no doubt true historically. However, a unique and tragic mindset has taken hold in our nation, spurred on by years of amoral, relativistic education and propaganda, plus virtually unfettered immigration with no proviso that newcomers to this country be assimilated into historic American values and culture. And of course, the 24-hour Chinese Water Torture that the mainstream media puts out doesn't help. Remember Joseph Goebbels' old adage that the more you tell a lie, the more people will believe it.

I do hope that Professor Hanson is right. But color me skeptical. There is another factor in play here as well. God's judgment, which never sleeps.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger and Ireland

Now why in the world would I blog about this at midnight? I who tend to detest celebrity gossip? I happened to be watching the classic movie "Gilda," and when it ended, I popped over to my usual news channel and the dispute over Alec's tirade toward his daughter was front and center. Some observations.

A. Both parents need their skulls cracked together for using their child as a weapon against each other. We can say quite a bit about the narcissistic behavior of Hollywood celebrities, but this kind of stuff isn't restricted to Hollywood. Plenty of parents from coast to coast pull this kind of stuff. I am a child of divorce myself. I know. It makes me sick.

B. This idea that children are little innocents in such conflicts is true in many cases, but in many other cases it is not. Children have sin natures like we all do. While there may be love for both parents, a lot of kids try to play one parent against the other in hopes of self-advantage. This behavior is as old as creation itself and is sin. Yes, children sin.

C. In this particular situation, we don't know precisely what is up. But IF the child routinely ignores her father, she deserves a chewing out. Thus far, I have heard the pundits, child welfare agencies, news anchors etc. decry Alec Baldwin for his tirade. (The question of who leaked this to the media and why is another matter) But let me ask this. How many parents - even Christian ones - have lost their tempers with rebellious children and have called them names? Especially when said name matched their behavior. I love the children in my family, but quite frankly, sometimes they act like little pigs. And I have no remorse at all for telling them they act like pigs. Far from "hurting their fragile self-esteem," [and there's an unbiblical concept if there ever was one] they need the strap across their rear-ends now and then. We can't really do much about the secular world's view of child rearing. However, Christians ought to apply biblical standards and truth to these issues.

Let me make it clear. I do not believe for one moment that Christian parents ought to be physically or verbally abusive to their children. But in this particular age of "children can do no wrong," even a legitimate rebuke, reprimand, or even severe rebuke is seen as a no-no. The real question is "what defines abuse?" Right now, people are using Alec Baldwin's reputation as a narcissist and hothead to totally excuse what might be going on on the other end. He indeed might be guilty of these things. But no matter what kind of jerks the parents might be, it does not excuse the child for being a jerk. If Ireland (sp?) made a commitment to call her father or receive a call at a specific time - and routinely broke it - especially if he provided the phone - then a rebuke was necessary.

I will leave the particulars about Alec Baldwin to the Lord, who knows the heart. Alec Baldwin is not a believer to my knowledge, although his brother Stephen is. How about we all pray that Stephen will be able to minister to his brother in this awful time? How about we pray for Ireland and Kim, that the Lord would work in their lives to bring about repentance? And how about this totally horrible as it might be to those who love a good celebrity divorce. How about praying that Alec and Kim can repent of their sins, trust in Christ as Savior, and be RECONCILED as a family? Wouldn't that be the best thing for their daughter, as well as for them?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Late Breaking News!

Sheryl Crow might have been kidding, according to a Fox News guest on Hannity and Colmes.

Okay. (roll eyes)

Excuse my skepticism, but after the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards saying that he snorted the ashes of his dead father along with cocaine, followed a day later by a publicist saying Richards was kidding, I have a hard time believing "damage control" of any type. Even if she was kidding, my remarks about limousine liberals stand. There's been enough proof of it over the years.

Poster Children for Stupidity

I am sure the above title seems a bit blazing for a Monday morning, especially in the aftermath of my absence to preach a funeral (yes, things went well by God's grace, and thanks for praying). But as is usually the case, events take place while I am gone that warrant some spleen-venting. I'll write on my post-funeral reflections later.

1. Sheryl Crow

Many of us roll our eyes these days when the celebrity set engages in handwringing, especially over the environment and global warming. For all their angst at our supposed destruction of the planet, I see few of them eager to find alternatives to gas-guzzling jets, limousines and other "greenhouse gas" emitting products. You see, the limousine liberal mindset runs thusly - "the restrictions we want to impose apply only to the great unwashed. They don't apply to us." Yeah, right.

It seems Ms. Crow wants us to only use one square of Charmin when we have to take a bathroom break. Speaking as one who suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, that is hardly realistic. In fact, it's hardly realistic even for those who have normal bowel function. In all honesty, if Ms. Crow only wants to use one square of paper per loo visit, I strongly suspect I wouldn't want to be at least two miles downwind from her. Stupid is a mild word to use here, isn't it? Maybe corncobs would be better, or even leaves? Isn't that what "biodegradable" was supposed to fix? In reality, liberal activists think there are too many of us humans out there, and that the planet would be a lot better off if a billion or two of us would die. Excepting themselves of course.

2. American Atheists

I was watching Fox News when I got back from St. Louis, and they were discussing the student outreach of a Southern Baptist church. The church is located across from the high school, and it seems that they offer free pizza and drinks to students over their lunch hour. The school has an open campus policy, meaning they could go to McDonalds or home if they wish for lunch. While there is a prayer at lunch (off campus, let's stress!), no student is required to pray to get their meal. They can get their pizza and go.

Enter American Atheists. Their spokeswoman actually said that this "is creepy. It's like the neighborhood child molester inviting your children into his basement." I did a double take and gasp, and so did the threesome anchors of "Fox and Friends." She repeated herself. Thanks to Fox's Kelly Wright, who told the pastor to keep it up. Stupid. Moronic. Imbecilic. Puerile. Fatuous. Even evil. I am glad, though, that this took place on national television so people could see the nature of this hateful organization. By the way, I know a few atheists. In fact, I am reasonably certain that one I know in particular would laugh this woman right off the stage.

I could go on with a few more, but that's enough blood pressure spikes for one day. I guess we can take comfort in the fact that it will only get worse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quick Update

I would appreciate your prayers. I was asked last night to do the eulogy for my aunt. The funeral is Friday morning. Pray with me that I represent Christ well, and that I find the right words to appropriately honor my aunt, who I loved very much.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Aunt Passes

Thanks to everyone who prayed for my Aunt Bernice. We received word last night that she passed away at the hospital in St. Louis. We are making arrangements to travel there for the funeral, so I will not be posting for the rest of the week. Lord willing, I will see you back here the week of 4/22/07.

For HIM,

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Virginia Tech Tragedy

As this is a breaking news story, I will withhold further comment until we all know more. What an unspeakable tragedy, and what monstrous evil. Our prayers go out to the victims and their grieving families

I will say this, but I wish I didn't have to say it. The sun will not have set today before the usual suspects are out there on the news talk shows, newspaper columns and blogs to demagogue this to death. Get ready for the endless loops of carnage, plus hour after hour of "guests" from the left and right screaming at each other, and no one listening.

I do hope and pray that this awful event will rattle this country's collective cage, and instead of calling for draconian political and legislative measures, people will take some time to fall on their needs and seek the face of the Lord. He just might have something to say worth hearing, and obeying.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tempation, Sin and Thought Life Part II

The battle against sin begins in the mind. You'd think that would be a no-brainer. Please be clear - I am not discounting the very real and essential issue that victory over sin is ultimately won by Christ in us. Before our regeneration by the Holy Spirit upon belief and trust in the Lord's finished work on the cross, we are dead in trespasses and sins. When we walk by the Spirit, we will not carry out the desire of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). What I am talking about is the process or pattern that takes place when each of us begins a struggle with something sinful, whether in word, thought or deed. It begins most often with thought and escalates from there. Perhaps metastasizes would be a better word.

So much is said in Scripture about patterns and examples. The Apostle Paul urged people to follow his pattern and example (Philippians 3:17). The things that happened with Israel in the Old Testament or Tanach were recorded for our examples (1 Corinthians 10:6). Likewise, much is also said about our thought life and the power therein. Here are just a few, with some comments after the verse:

1. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Can you imagine the sweeping nature of this apostolic statement? TAKING EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE to the obedience of Christ! Every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. Contained within this is the idea - "the KNOWLEDGE of God." Evil thought or knowledge runs counter to godly knowledge, or knowing God and His ways.

2. For as he thinks within himself, so he is (Proverbs 23:7).

In context, this proverb is speaking about eating the bread of a selfish man and the dangers therein to ourselves. However, more is there if you think about it a bit. We can see how the selfish man IS as he thinks within himself. He is governed by the evil, selfish mindset and thought life within.

3. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (James 1:14-15).

Here, we see that one thing leads to another. Lust doesn't even start until the thought arises (and note that the possibility of evil lust is there within the sin nature just waiting to flare up with any encouragement). When the thought arises and we begin to toy with the thought, our own lust begins to entice. That leads to sin, and so forth. That is why the earlier Scripture about "taking every thought captive" is so powerful.

4. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders (Matthew 15:19). For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries (Mark 7:21).

The Lord Himself nails it here. "Out of the heart," refers to the old nature that helps prompt evil thoughts that lead to sin. Matthew Henry's commentary on this passage mentions other Scriptures that help shed some light on this - Jeremiah 8:7 "shows the corrupt fountain of that which proceeds out of the mouth; it comes from the heart, that is the spring and source of all sin." Jeremiah 17:9 "it is the heart that is so desperately wicked."

The old heart, the old nature is dealt with by the new heart and new spirit God gives us through faith and regeneration (Ezekiel 36:26). We need to put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (Colossians 3:10). There's that "true knowledge" again. And this is not talking about some spurious, secret Gnostic-type knowledge, although those who embrace that error love to seize on verses such as this and give them that heretical, evil interpretation.

The Lord desires to help us build an entirely different worldview, ethic, behavior, practice AND thought, achieved first by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, then fed, nurtured and maintained by being thoroughly immersed in His Word. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You (Psalm 119:11). In fact, I recommend an in-depth study of Psalm 119 as it shows the attitude all of us ought to have for the Word of God. Some more Scriptures:

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11). If we have the Spirit of God in us, we must follow His leading and His thoughts, revealed in His Word.

. . . which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words (1 Corinthians 2:13). Spiritual thoughts will drive out evil, sinful, unspiritual thoughts.

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest (Ephesians 2:3). Indulging desires of the MIND. See what I mean?

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). This goes in part again to taking every thought captive, letting the Holy Spirit and His Word judge our thoughts and intentions.

I could go on for some time with this, but you should begin to get the idea now. None of us do this perfectly yet. I know I certainly do not. I still fight the battle daily. But knowing the source of what we battle, and the solution to winning, is a great help. The mistake we always make is by dwelling on the evil thought that rises in our mind. When we play with evil thought and mull it over, all that does is incite the old nature - a recipe for disaster. Through prayer, discipline and training our minds to think in a biblical way (meditating on His Word), we arm ourselves for this conflict. And we have His promise about the end result:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Temptation, Sin and Thought Life

This post was prompted by a recent meta discussion over at TeamPyro. Actually, I had been thinking of doing a piece on this subject long ago, but kept delaying it as other matters caught my attention. But now is the time.

Struggles against sin are nothing new for believers in Jesus Christ. Unless you are a believer in instantaneous sanctification (and they're out there), most of us know that our sin natures are something with which we will wrestle until we either die and go to be with Christ, or when our bodies are changed in the "twinkling of an eye" at His return for His church. Some of us have greater degrees of victory than others for various reasons. Some of us have overcome long-term battles, while others among us still succumb to besetting sins. Whatever our lot, if we are genuine believers in Christ, our new nature grieves when we allow our old nature to win out, causing us to fall into a sinful act or behavior. After all, we are to consider ourselves as dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11). We don't always live up to that, do we?

It is not my purpose here to argue sanctification, instantaneous or progressive. Sancification is something we all should pursue as commanded by Scripture. We know from God's Word that without sanctification, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). It is not my purpose here to argue for holiness. We know from God's Word that we are to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). Again, we know these things - or should know them - and these are basic Christian principles about which no argument should be necessary. Rather, my purpose here is to discuss the "escalation ladder" of sin, and how to avoid climbing its rungs. This is good for all of us - me included - to review for our own practice in walking before the Lord as He would desire us to walk.

Those of you who recall the Cold War will be familiar with the term "escalation ladder." It is a scenario envisioned by NATO as they tried to foresee just how an attack from the communist Warsaw Pact nations would likely take place. It began with an increase in diplomatic tensions, eventually leading to troop movements and masses along the border with Western Europe. There would then be minor skirmishes, followed by diplomatic protests. Finally, a cessation of diplomatic relations would take place, followed by movements of Warsaw Pact troops across the border. Then there would finally be a nuclear exchange. Mutually assured destruction. Not a pleasant scenario, is it?

Now, let's compare that with the battle we all face with sin. As I often like to point out when discussing this, teaching on it or counseling a fellow believer, sin is something we all have as fallen human beings. It just manifests itself in different ways. Some of us have particular or besetting sins or weaknesses that are different. Some struggle with sexual sins, and those are often the most difficult sins to discuss with others due to the shame involved. But sexual sins are not the only manifestations. Some struggle with gluttony. Some have horrible tempers. Some have pride. Some have a problem with lying. Some are seemingly incurable gossips. Some struggle with idolatry (anything we place over the Lord in priority). Pick your poison. But all of these things have one thing in common. The trip up the escalation ladder toward a fall begins in the mind. I think we often forget that. From the clear teaching of Scripture, I believe that victory in a battle with sin must take place at the outset in the mind. Thanks to some of the unbiblical and fanciful book offerings out there, we often associate "spiritual warfare" with imprecatory prayers against demons. While that might well be part of it, the main spiritual warfare fought by most believers takes place on the frontline of the mind.

Now don't misinterpret that. I am not suggesting that battling temptations is a figment of one's imagination, or is some form of mental illness. Hardly. We were created as spiritual beings in a physical body, with the mind as our link in communicating with one another and the world around us. Stimuli to our five senses trigger certain reactions both physically and mentally. For sin to take place, it has to begin with a thought. Review the scenario again in Genesis 3 where the serpent seduces Adam and Eve. Here is a recap of their "escalation ladder."

1. Deception

2. Doubt

3. Disbelief

4. Disobedience

5. Death

As this is getting to be a long post (in the blog world, we're supposed to keep things short), I will pick up here with my next post. I will discuss in further detail, showing how the road to sin begins in the mind, with applicable Scriptures. God's Word will also show us how the battle against sin can be won at the outset before sin has a chance to take root from our thoughts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Quick Comment on the Rutgers/Imus Dust-Up

It should go without saying that Don Imus' remarks about "nappy-headed hos" should not have been made. I personally don't listen to "shock jock" radio and I think it all ought to be yanked off the air. But having said that...

I think the national furor over this incident is stupid and that's putting it mildly. So a shock jock said something insulting. Who cares? Why should the Rutgers team even care what a loudmouth like Don Imus thinks? Why is this worthy of an international incident? I think people ought to wake up and realize they're being manipulated by the media and marionette pullers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Bread and circuses to take everyone's minds off of the real problems in this country.

And there's the glaring double standard. Why wasn't the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson defrocked or fired for calling New York City "Hymietown?" Wasn't that a bit racist? But black civil rights leaders could NEVER be racist in thought, speech or deed, could they? Why wasn't "Reverend" Al Sharpton defrocked or fired due to his incendiary role in the Tawana Brawley case? Has either one of these clowns ever preached an evangelistic, Gospel sermon in their lives? Why are people like them even taken seriously any more?

What about the gangsta rappers and their ilk to whom the words "niggas," "hos" and "b---hes" are everyday occurrences? Why aren't their records yanked off the air and the people promoting them fired? If this speech is unacceptable, it's unacceptable across the board.

If I could have my druthers, I'd keep my television tuned to Turner Classic Movies. I wish they had a conservative, Reformed television network out there. I can't stomach TBN. Unfortunately, because of what I do, I have to keep informed and to do that, I have to watch what passes for news these days. I do wish that more people would exercise a little discernment when kerfuffles like this arise, and stop letting themselves be baited into a frenzy. And how about a little consistency?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Commercials I Never Want To See Again

I know I've vented about commercials before, but I feel constrained to do it again. More than that, I am really getting sick of the media in general. I guess I should have subtitled this post "The Ongoing Putrifaction of American Television and Radio," but you'll get the idea shortly. First, the commercials that deserve eternity in the Lake of Fire.

1. Any and all Nutrisystem ads. If I hear one more time about how someone's love (gag) life has improved because they've shed their spare tire, I will shoot the screen out of the TV. I don't need to know about your libido or lack of it, and neither does the rest of the country. As for the weight problem, the last thing I want to do is seem insensitive to people who really struggle with weight. If it's a medical problem of some kind, you really have my sympathy. However, if your problem is sheer gluttony, gorging on even favorable glycemic index foods will not result in an hourglass figure. Diet AND exercise are essential, plus controlling the amount of food eaten. You don't need to spend $350 a month on Nutrisystem to do it, either. One or two commercials a night I can swallow. Nine or ten an hour is enough to make me call for drawing and quartering.

2. Countrywide Mortgages. I'm sure the pitchman for these ads is a nice, personable fellow, but 100 times in 15 minutes about the "no cost REFI" is quite enough. I can safely promise you I won't do business with Countrywide out of principle. I never did like being nagged.

3. Any and all sexual performance product ads. I have found myself almost praying that some of these substances would backfire and cause severe chemical reactions. Harsh, perhaps, but these ads are indicative of how sick and sex-obsessed our society has become. We're trying to outdo the Europeans on air, and that's hard to do. Somehow I have a very hard time believing that the majority of people have that kind of trouble functioning. For those who do have a hard time functioning, my sympathies, but the world doesn't need to know about it. I also have a sneaking hunch that few of these products are being used in the context of proper marital relations. Fornication and/or adultery likely outweighs the legitimate.

5. Not really another ad, but an aside. Have you noticed that almost NOTHING comes in front of your face on television or radio that doesn't have a sexual twist of some kind? Commercials. Food ads. News reports (yes, news reports. Fox News is almost becoming unwatchable because of their endless, soft-porn loops shown during their flagship programs.) Kids' shows. Movies. The outrage of the week belongs to WBBM in Chicago. I was driving to work and heard an ad voiced by some guy with a British accent. I think he was supposed to be from some 70s punk band. Anyway, he made reference to someone being a "wanker," which is Brit slang for masturbation. ON A RADIO SPOT. ON WBBM!!! CHICAGO'S HIGHLY RESPECTED ALL NEWS STATION! If things have degenerated to the point where we have to reference Onanism in a broadcast radio ad, I never want to set foot in a radio station again.

Folks, seriously. I am getting tired of this never ending barrage of smarmy vulgarity. Sadly, I have a hunch that even people in the church find it amusing. They'd never dream of voicing a complaint for fear of being called a raving fundie. I keep wondering what my late father would say if he was alive, not to mention my grandmother. The television and radio would likely be chopped to bits with a broad-ax and set at the curb for the garbageman to haul off.

Ultimately, nothing will change until enough people complain and quit patronizing the businesses responsible for this electronic sewage. God help us.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Are We Ready to Surrender?

Today, I am posting a link to a column by Cal Thomas, who is concerned about Europe's apparent willingness to surrender to radical Islam. I think he's spot on, and sadly, we're on the same track here in the United States.

World Magazine

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Resurrection Day Reflection

I happened to check my blog and suddenly realized that I haven't posted anything since Tuesday! It's been that hectic in my life of late. With my aunt so ill, I imagined that I would be heading to St. Louis this past week, but praise the Lord, she seems to be really putting up a fight. The last report I had from my cousin was that she had been taken off the respirator, and appeared to be breathing fairly well. She was able to take some liquid nourishment, and even had her hair done. She is not out of the woods yet, but the doctors are hopeful that she will continue to build her strength up and bounce out of this, at least in the short term. Thanks everyone for praying, and please keep it up.

In my last post, I had reflected on the whole issue of mortality and sin. Today, as is appropriate, I think it good to reflect on just how important the resurrection of Christ is to our faith. The Apostle Paul himself said that if the Resurrection has not taken place, then we are still in our sins. Paul further said, "we of all men are to be pitied." Of course, we have the Empty Tomb and the testimony of more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive. The early disciples and the majority of the Apostles went to their deaths proclaiming the reality of the Resurrection. Personally, I have no doubt at all about it, at least no doubt that really registers itself on my consciousness. (Being human, I guess one always has to include provisos like that because believers still struggle with sin natures, and the nature of sin is to doubt the Word of God).

So, I would encourage you to try your best to ignore all the commercialized hoopla that the world attaches to Christian observances these days. Ignore most of the television specials because they will mostly be written to attack our faith (Lauren Green's upcoming special on Fox News promises to be an exception to that general rule). Focus on Scripture, with prayerful thankfulness to the Lord for what He has done.

Happy Resurrection Day, everyone!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Pure Bride

While waiting moment by moment for an update on my aunt, I've been reflecting of late on my own mortality. Battling another flu bug probably makes that morose subject even more vivid. Typically for a Christian, such reflections lead - as they should - to the Scriptures and to prayer. As most mature believers will testify, when you draw close to the Lord, the more acutely aware you are of your own failings, which makes His grace all the more amazing. The Lord is doing a work in all His children, purifying them, sanctifying them and conforming them into His image. Sometimes the process isn't pleasant. We all want to be as pure as Missouri's Big Spring (pictured right), but more often we're like the Big Muddy. Praise God for the cleansing power of Christ!

All of us have our struggles with various sins and weaknesses, but what about believers who are in unrepentant sin? I've been thinking about that of late because I - and many others - see a growing problem within evangelical churches. Maybe problem is too mild a word. Too many of our churches are willing to tolerate open sin among the membership with no attempt whatsoever to confront it, rebuke it, or invoke church discipline.

The Apostle Paul deals with this issue in 1 Corinthians 5. Specifically, this passage deals with sexual immorality involving someone in the Corinthian church, but in terms of application, it can apply to any sin where there is no repentance. Read what Paul says in this chapter. I have removed the verse divisions so you can get the whole flow of thought:

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

How often do we see this happening in the church today? Pastors having affairs? People who are on church staff living in sin and no effort is made to deal with it? People who are not on staff but are members of the church - lay people involved in various church ministries involved in sin and nothing is said?

Note the part I put in bold, how a "little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough." I have heard many tortured interpretations of that statement over the years, but the context is clear. If a church does not deal with sin in the camp, the sin eventually ruins the whole church and compromises its witness. "But," you say, "we live in an increasingly litigious society. Churches have been sued for this." So what. Are we going to obey men rather than God? When people join an organization, they must agree to follow the rules as set forth in the organization's bylaws. Scripture is the ultimate "bylaw" in the church, but even state-registered church or non-profit organizations have bylaws. If someone violates the bylaws they agree to live by, then their chances of winning in court are slim. Yes, I know there have been a few rulings here and there, but these are a minority and I'm uncertain if they were even appealed up the ladder. Anyway, it's irrelevant. The state does not and should not govern how the church functions.

One more thing. If it turns out that the church leadership doesn't have a problem with members living in open, unrepentant sin, then there is an even more serious problem. The fish rots from the head down, but the whole fish eventually rots. Church leaders will certainly be held accountable for not shepherding their flocks, but the sinning membership won't escape judgment either. It is time for judgment to begin with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). If Christians are indistinguishable from the world, why in the world would the world want to join up? They can get that at home.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Update On My Aunt...

I am leaving the original prayer request intact, but I wanted to share this late update from my cousin in St. Louis. Apparently, the doctors were able to identify a type of blood infection in my aunt's system, and they began giving her intravenous doses of mega-antibiotic. As of last night, she had begun to respond positively, was up to 20 percent breathing against the respirator, and was acknowledging people trying to communicate with her. She's not out of the woods yet, but the doctors are guardedly encouraged. This is a tremendous answer to prayer. Keep praying, and thanks for the prayers you have offered thus far!


As I write this, my dear Aunt Bernice is fighting for her life at a St. Louis hospital. She has been battling cancer, and for the past few weeks we had high hopes that it was in remission and that she was on her way to recovery. However, she took a turn for the worse Thursday and the prognosis is not good from a human standpoint. She is 83 years old, very small and frail, and the chemo/radiation was very hard on her. They will be making a decision within the next day or so whether or not to remove her from life support.

Please be in prayer for my aunt and her family. I may be incommunicado for a few days if I have to go to St. Louis.

For HIM,