Wednesday, December 31, 2008

John Bolton Nails It Again!

Once again, the incomparable John Bolton reveals why the Democrats and some renegade Republicans wanted him out of the United Nations. The following is a mini-transcript from Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes" program. Bolton as usual is spot on, hitting on the very thing that always drives me batty -- the double standard aimed at Israel whenever she defends herself against terrorist thugs.

COLMES: If you overreact, and you say you don't think Israel is, but if it's a disproportionate reaction, Turkey's prime minister says it's a crime against humanity. Sarkozy of France condemned the provocations, but he also said Israel is using a disproportionate use of force. Can you create a bigger problem if the response is disproportionate?

BOLTON: Well, I think this is the customary rhetoric that occurs every time Israel acts in self-defense. Look, the fact is it's not disproportionate use of force to eliminate the threat itself. You're not required only to fire as many rockets into Gaza as Hamas fired into Israel. That's what Israel says it's trying to do, but, as I say, the real judgment will be whether they're effective or not or whether they're seen as reaching farther than they're able to go.

COLMES: What should be the role of the United States? President Bush is on vacation staying in Crawford, he's had his spokespeople out front. He's not personally said anything. Should he be more involved? The impression is he's just leaving it all out for the next administration? Should he be more proactive at this point?

BOLTON: No, I don't think so. In fact, I think the administration made a mistake over the weekend at the United Nations in agreeing to a statement by the Security Council president that called for a cease fire. That can only mean stopping the Israeli military action. That's really what's at issue here, so I think the administration has already given away a lot of important ground.

COLMES: The president in Annapolis last year, about 13 months ago vowed that he would be fully involved, proactive, fully involved in a peace process. This seems not to be the case especially now that he's kind of laying back, seems not engaged here.

BOLTON: Well personally, I thought the launching of the Annapolis process was a mistake when it was started. There was no chance there was going to be real negotiation between Palestinians and Israelis. The Palestinians don't have anybody that can really speak for them. The Palestinian Authority has broken probably into two irreconcilable pieces, so I think the Annapolis process was a mistake from the outset.

RICH LOWRY, GUEST HOST: Hey Ambassador, it's Rich Lowry. Thanks so much for being with us.

Let's go back to this idea of a disproportionate Israeli response because it's a key part of the world reaction to this. Can you elaborate on this a little bit? Because I think there are a couple of key points. One, there's zero moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas. Hamas is a terror group with a maximless goal of exterminating Israel. And as you pointed out in one of your responses to Alan, a strictly proportionate response would mean Israel randomly firing rockets into Israel. That would be absurd — sorry, into Gaza. That would be absurd and immoral in itself.

BOLTON: Yes, well this whole idea of proportionate force is just something that's been dreamed up in U.N. and academic circles. Let me give you another example. Was the United States limited after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to a proportionate response? We sink as many aircraft carriers and battleships as they sank, and we have to stop our use of force at that point? Of course not. We were entitled as a legitimate exercise of the right of self-defense to eliminate the threat, and that's what we did.

LOWRY: And Ambassador, why is it that Israel seems to be the only country in the world that evokes this kind of condemnation when it simply defends itself?

BOLTON: Well I think it's not only Israel, and this to me is one of the really important parts about this debate about the right of self- defense and this argument about the proportionate use of force. Because while the focus is certainly on Israel, Israel in a sense is a surrogate for the United States.

God forbid another attack comes against us, and we have a president who decided to respond to it, we will be criticized for the disproportionate use of force. We weren't criticized for overthrowing the Taliban, although, that was certainly a much larger operation than even the September attacks, but we were criticized for overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

The notion of proportionate force is something that can easily be turned against the United States. So the way this debate turns out over Israel has implications that go well beyond this current clash in Gaza.

What's Happened to Young Evangelicals?

I am pressed for time today, but enjoy this commentary by Phyllis Schlafly today. Well, maybe "enjoy" isn't the right word. I think she's right -- spot on, in fact. I've said many of the same things for years in terms of what's happened to our culture in general. But it doesn't give me any satisfaction to see why so many self-described young evangelicals voted for someone diametrically opposite of a biblical worldview.

On a side note, it's New Year's Eve. There are some comments in previous posts to which I plan to respond as soon as I can, specifically within the metas of these posts. But I can't today as I am pressed for time. I hope to get to it tomorrow.

In the meantime, a happy and joyous New Year. As Bette Davis once said, "it's going to be a bumpy night."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The End of the United States?

When it comes to the future of the United States, we've all heard various predictions. We've heard from some that a new American renaissance lies ahead under the leadership of The One (Mr. Obama). We've also heard our share of doom and gloom. Now there's this Wall Street Journal article about a Russian academic -- Igor Panarin -- who predicts that the United States will break apart within a couple of years. Civil war and lots of unpleasantness.

Please take a moment to read the linked article, and then think about it a while. It's tempting to do what many others have done and laugh it off, but I think we'd be well advised to at least consider the possibility. We've fought one Civil War already, and it was a very bloody one. Why do we think such a thing is impossible now?

I don't necessarily buy the idea that other countries will gobble up portions of the United States, at least not right away. But it is certainly possible that our nation could collapse from within.

Think about it.

Late addendum: Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily wrote a column on this today. Worth reading.

Monday, December 29, 2008

An Atheist's Unintentional Message to Christians

I generally like James Taranto's column at the Wall Street Journal's on-line section. I am saddened that he describes himself as an atheist, but at least I'll give him this nod. He's not a hostile one, unlike many of his counterparts.

Below is a clip from one of his recent columns. I want you to read it carefully. Note especially the part in boldface . . .

Atheists Debate: Are Christians Evil, Insincere or Confused?

Christopher Hitchens and Heather Mac Donald, both atheists, are having an amusing debate about religion, prompted by Hitchens's outrage over President-elect Obama's choice of the Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. Hitchens argues that certain Christian beliefs are "bigoted":

"It is theoretically possible to make an apparently bigoted remark that is also factually true and morally sound. Thus, when the Rev. Bailey Smith, one of the deputies of the late Jerry Falwell, claimed that "God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew," I was in complete agreement with him. This is because I do not believe that there is any supernatural supervisor who lends an ear to any prayer. . . .However, if the speaker says that heaven is a real place but that you will not get there if you are Jewish, . . . then you know that the bigot has spoken."

Hitchens describes Warren as "a relentless clerical businessman who raises money on the proposition that certain Americans--non-Christians, the wrong kind of Christians, homosexuals, nonbelievers--are of less worth and littler virtue than his own lovely flock of redeemed and salvaged and paid-up donors," but he does not note that has carved out a lucrative niche for himself as an antireligious provocateur. He also describes evangelical Christians as "weirdos and creeps," leaving himself vulnerable to the charge of bigotry.

But these points are tangential. Mac Donald gets to the heart of what is wrong with Hitchens's argument: "I don't think it's fair to label a theological position as bigotry simply because it does not conform to secular principles." Indeed, an atheist has no business imputing bigotry to anyone except on the basis of attitudes toward worldly matters. It is bigoted to think Jews should not be allowed to join a country club or to live in Hebron, regardless of whether that belief has a theological predicate. To a true nonbeliever, a belief about who is going to hell or whose prayers God hears is mere nonsense.

Mac Donald, however, doesn't quite see it this way either. She speculates that Christians must not really believe all that stuff:

"But here's another possibility: Do modern Christians still believe with the same fervor as in the past all those unyielding doctrines of eternal damnation for the unbaptised and unconverted? They sure don't act as if they do. If they really were convinced that their friends, co-workers, neighbors, and in-laws were going to hell because they possessed the wrong or no religious belief, I would think that the knowledge would be unbearable. Christians surely see that most of their wrong-believing personal acquaintances are just as moral and deserving as themselves. How, then, do they live with the knowledge that their friends and loved ones face an eternity of torment? I would expect a frenzy of proselytizing, by word or by sword.
In previous centuries, when religion had the upper hand, religious differences meant more. But ours is a world dominated by the secular values of tolerance and equality. Either believers live with an extraordinary degree of cognitive dissonance between the inclusive values of their society and the dictates of their religion, or they unconsciously mitigate those bloody-minded dictates as atavistic vestiges from a more primitive time."

One wonders if either Hitchens or Mac Donald has ever met an actual Christian. We know quite a few who are neither bigoted, as Hitchens insists they are, nor insincere or confused, as Mac Donald speculates they must be. Could it be that the problem lies not with religious belief itself but with Hitchens's and Mac Donald's own poverty of imagination in understanding it?

We claim no special insight into this question; like Hitchens and Mac Donald, we approach it as a nonbeliever (although unlike Hitchens, we stopped worrying about whether other people think we are going to hell when we were about 17). But it occurs to us that there are other areas of life that reason alone is inadequate to explain.

The best example is romantic love. When a man loves a woman, he experiences her as being the most important thing in the world. Would Hitchens call him a "bigot" for believing that other people are of less worth and littler virtue than his own lovely companion? If the man also professes to believe in the equality of all people, would Mac Donald claim it must be either that either his love is insincere or that he is experiencing cognitive dissonance?

Of course not. "She is the most important thing in the world" makes no sense as a logical proposition, but that does not make it false. Its truth lies elsewhere than in the realm of reason. Our conjecture is that something similar may be said of the religious beliefs that infuriate Hitchens and mystify Mac Donald.

Unbeliever though she is, Heather MacDonald makes a spot-on observation in the boldface area. If we as Christians were really convinced that our loved ones were on their way to an eternity in Hell, wouldn't that make us more concerned, eager witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ? And even beyond our loved ones, wouldn't general, Christ-centered compassion make us more zealous to proclaim the life-changing Gospel to a lost world? Is it possible that we've either been intimidated into silence, or perhaps that we just aren't that concerned about it anymore? One correction, though. We'll leave the sword out of it, thank you. We'll leave that to radical Islam.

We're commanded to preach the Gospel. Who gets saved and when is up to God. But He has given us a role in the process, and it isn't optional. If the Lord has saved us and has done great things for us, we need to be eager and willing to share it. Of course, there is a right time and place for it, as well as inappropriate times and places. But all too often, we use that reason as an excuse not to say anything at all.

Heather, thank you for a good reminder -- albeit unintended -- to your Christian friends. I hope and pray you are drawn to saving faith, and soon. You too, James. And yes, even you, Christopher.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel Under Fire Again

According to this news story, Israel has begun a series of strikes on the Gaza Strip, provoked by a constant onslaught of rocket attacks from Hamas radicals. And of course, the global handwringing has begun. Arab states are fuming, and Western states are urging Israel to "show restraint."

I've made the point before and I'll make it again. If San Diego was the target of rockets from Tijuana, or if Seattle was the target of rockets launched from Vancouver, OR BETTER YET -- if Miami was under fire from Havana, do you suppose the government of the United States would "show restraint?" I think it's time the Israeli government told such carping governments to go pound sand. They have a right to defend themselves. Period.

If the Palestinians really want peace (I mean true peace, not the peace of the Quraysh), then they need to stop firing rockets into Israel. It's that simple. If the attacks stop, I guarantee you'll have peace.

But wait, you say. The Palestinians can't help it that they've got militants in their midst. Hmmm. I can pretty much guarantee you that if someone came into my neighborhood here and began firing mortars, action would be swift and severe. If law enforcement didn't handle it, my neighborhood would. Some of us out here are armed pretty well. And given the number of cheering demonstrations when these attacks take place in Gaza or the West Bank, it seems quite a few in the general population have weapons of some sort. They could stop it if they wanted to, but they don't want to stop it. The population cheers the attacks.

That means they'll have to pay the consequences.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Most Blessed Christmas to All . . .

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus (Matthew 1:20-25).

Saving His people from their sins. That's what it's all about. What a gift, and what a Savior!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 - The Year Shame Died

This commentary is worth reading and keeping. The author hits the nail on the head as to what is wrong with our "whatever" society.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bigots, Haters and Studied Ignorance

What a shame -- here a couple of days before Christmas -- to have to post something like this. But I couldn't let it pass.

Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Bobby Kennedy and former wife of Andrew Cuomo, was on Fox & Friends this morning and accused evangelical pastor Rick Warren of "hate speech." The context was that Barack Obama's selection of Warren to deliver an invocation at his inauguration has caused huge controversy with homosexual activists and the far left.

Not to be outdone, openly homosexual Congressman Barney Frank chimed in. “Giving that kind of mark of approval and honor to someone who has frankly spoken in ways I and many others have found personally very offensive, I thought that was a mistake for the president-elect to do,” said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, today on CNN’s “Late Edition."

I am beginning to get rather tired of this Goebbels-like propaganda, aided and abetted by the media who don't challenge them. Steve Doocy is supposed to be a devout Catholic, and I am surprised he let Kerry Kennedy's remark go by without a peep. And don't tell me that the Fox & Friends trio don't express their opinions. They do it all the time. But they didn't this time. So I'll do it. The real hate and bigotry is coming from the homosexual activists and their supporters. Just watch their demonstrations. They don't understand the motivations of Christians in the least, nor do they want to understand them.

First, to Ms. Kennedy. She just released a book on being a Catholic today, and her viewpoints on this do not jive with the teachings of Roman Catholicism. I think she needs to have a good talk with her bishop, and then repent of her insult to Bible-believing evangelicals AND her fellow Catholics who still believe what their church teaches on the subject. I am not a huge Rick Warren fan for other theological/methodological reasons, but his stance on same-sex marriage has been correct. It is sin. It is immoral. It is ultimately destructive to the family and to society.

As to the Congressman, what else is there to say. This man is -- and has been for a long time -- in unrepentant gross sin. Every day he draws breath is mercy and grace from God, and opportunity for him to repent. Like all of us, Mr. Frank might well wake up tomorrow in eternity. In Barney's case, it will be without Christ. He will be standing before the God he defies. Then it will be too late, and the result will be eternal separation from God in Hell. That's a tragedy, because it doesn't have to be that way. Will he listen in time? God alone knows.

Ultimately, that's where all of this ends up. From liberals like Kerry Kennedy to homosexual activists and their hangers-on, their problem really isn't with me, Rick Warren, or any other Bible-believing Christian. Their ultimate problem is with God Himself, who calls homosexual conduct an abomination and says plainly that those who practice it will not inherit His kingdom. That is the truth, but when those who practice and love this sin hear that warning, it drives them wild with rage. Rather than understand the love behind the warnings of God (and His people), they lash out in hate and anger. Their sin means more to them than righteousness.

It's funny, because when I say all of us have sinned, I do mean all. Christians are not lily white. All Christians have had to come face to face with their sin -- whatever form it takes -- and acknowledge it to God with repentance. All of us have had to admit that we cannot save ourselves. We need a Savior, and the righteousness that only saving faith in Christ produces. Only His blood can cleanse us of our sin, and only His Holy Spirit can enable us to live righteous lives. There is no other way. No other alternative. For anyone.

In the meantime, the modern-day Goebbelses will continue to spew their nonsense, and the steady drumbeat of lies will no doubt sway the gullible in sufficient amounts to help them further achieve their goals.

God help us.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Week

Well, we're finally here — Christmas week.

I imagine that my posting will be fairly sporadic this week, since I have a host of family coming in. But for this morning, as you look at the photo of the Star and Wise Men, join me in remembering what Christmas is really all about. It's easy to forget in this hectic, commercialized cultural swamp, but Christmas is all about the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to save His people from their sins.

More on that later. May God bless you today, and remember to be in the Lord's house with the Lord's people if at all possible.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Church Discipline in the News (Again)

This is one of those stories that just doesn't pass the smell test.

According to Fox News, a woman by the name of Rebecca Hancock (pictured) is upset that Grace Community Church in Jacksonville, Florida, is "threatening to make her sins public" as they carry out church discipline.

You can read the Fox news account through the hyperlink, but the gist is this - Ms. Hancock is alleged to be in unrepentant sin. The church followed the biblical guidelines for church discipline laid down by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 18. Here's what the Lord said:

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matthew 18:15-17).

Ms. Hancock refused to repent, and so the church began the discipline process, which incensed Ms. Hancock to the point where she left the church. She has now helped stir up an outcry in the general public about this mean old church threatening her reputation and the sensibilities of her children, who are still allowed to attend the church.

It goes without saying that the church is right in this matter, and the carping critics in and out of the media are wrong. As a member of a church, you agree to follow its bylaws and procedures, and are made aware of that when the church accepts you as a member. Ms. Hancock claims ignorance of those rules, but I'm not buying it.

For someone who is so concerned about her "sins being made public," don't you find it odd that she has no trouble talking to national media about the matter, including the situation that got her in trouble in the first place? The church wasn't about to go to the news media with this story. It's an internal matter in the congregation. But now that she's gone public herself, the story is fair game.

This isn't the only time something like this has happened. Numerous churches have been sued (another sin between believers) because they exercised church discipline according to the demands of Scripture. It's a classic example of unrepentant and likely unregenerate people trying to force a church to abandon biblical integrity rather than changing their own behavior. I for one am not going to sit silently and watch when this happens.

The media feeding frenzy has begun, and the church is facing withering criticism. I hope and pray that the leadership of Grace Community stands firm. I also pray that Ms. Hancock will do what she's supposed to do if she is a true Christian. Repent!


John Kasich subbed for Bill O'Reilly tonight and had a segment on this case, with radical feminist lawyer Wendy Murphy as his guest. I've never been more disappointed in Kasich. Murphy was inflammatory as usual and demonstrated no knowledge of church discipline much less Christianity. But Kasich described himself as a believer, and then sided with Murphy against the church. "We need grace, and grace is what it's all about." Hokum and bunkum.

I fired off an email to Kasich telling him that he'd better review Matthew 18 again, especially point three where the Lord instructs us to "tell it to the church" when someone remains unrepentant. No doubt my note will probably be ignored, but I had to send it. This kind of smear job makes me so mad. I'm glad I am out of broadcast journalism

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fun With Radical Atheists

A friend sent this to me today. Without checking Snopes, I am going to assume it's a joke and not a real event. Regardless, it's a real hoot, at least to me.


In Florida , an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians and Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized day.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel and declared, 'Case dismissed.'

The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews hav e Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah. Yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays.'

The judge leaned forward in his chair and said, 'But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant.'

The lawyer said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists.'

The judge said, 'The calendar says April 1st is 'April Fools Day'. Psalm 14:1 states 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God'. Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned.'

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rewriting the Constitution?

Today in WorldNetDaily, it was reported that America is only two states away from the needed number to call for a Constitutional Convention.

This is something that surfaces periodically, and thus far, we've been able to stall such a move in its tracks. However, I think that the juggernaut might be difficult to stop this time around given the radical sea change in our culture's mentality. And that would be a catastrophe.

Calling a Constitutional Convention would in essence allow the scrapping of our Constitution as is, and enable it to be rewritten. I don't think I need to spell out what such an event could potentially do to the freedoms we have enjoyed for more than 200 years. President-elect Obama and several in his entourage have expressed their dissatisfaction with our current Constitution because it stands in the way of their idea of a utopian, socialist society. This is something that we dare not fall asleep at the switch watching. And I am talking at the state legislature level.

The Constitution of the United States is a precious document. It's a precious achievement, and has served our nation well since our founding. The Founding Fathers purposely made it very difficult to amend. But a Constitutional Convention would bypass this amendment process altogether.

We cannot let that happen.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What a World, What a World . . .

As I remember the Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch getting hit by water, I remember her famous line, "Who could imagine that a girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness" or something close to that.

I am thinking of scandals tonight as I recover from my illness. Don't have too much steam to yell or scream, just wonder. I have roots in both Arkansas and Illinois. Both states are known for shenanigans in the political and criminal sense. Illinois' most recent national embarassment is Governor Rod Blagojevich. A bit further back, Arkansas gave us the Clintons and Jim Guy Tucker. Sigh.

I love both states. Both states have their redeeming qualities. Emotionally, I am perhaps a bit more drawn to Arkansas because that is where the bulk of my roots -- mom, dad, grandparents etc -- are from. I grew up in Illinois not by choice. My heart and soul are in the South.

But right now, I'm not proud of either.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Love . . . and Meaning It

The following passage from the Gospel of Luke is well known enough. It gets quoted quite often . . .


I wonder if any of us really understand the ramifications of this commandment of Scripture, and I mean in their entirety? What would be the results if we really obeyed it?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bronchitis . . .

This pattern is all too familiar.

Flu. Yuck. Ache, cough, gag, sneeze, toss and turn.

Now, bronchitis. Cough. Lung burn. Phlegm. Yucky, thick, almost black phlegm.

Doctor. Antibiotic. Hydrocodone cough syrup. More staying at home and lying under vaporizer. Grouchy, owly temperament.

I am hoping (and praying) it doesn't end up in pneumonia like it has done before.

In the meantime, the world goes by. The governor of my state ends up getting arrested for corruption, but for Illinois and Chicago, what else is new? Between that, plus another Christmas display outrage and a so called "day without a gay" (wouldn't that be nice), and my things to vent about are piling up like my workload from the office.

But I just don't feel like waxing eloquent at the moment.

I'm sure you understand.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Flu . . .

The Seventh Sola has been bitten by the flu bug. He will return when he doesn't feel quite so "in the crypt."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

From the Democrats' Founding Father . . .

Thanks to my friend Kevin, who sent the following to me this morning.

The quotes below are from none other than the late, great Thomas Jefferson. The Democrats of today like to claim him as a founding father. Well, I think they need to listen to him again. Unfortunately for the Dems, I think he'd wear an "R" behind his name he were alive today.

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall
become as corrupt as Europe.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle
which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too
much government.

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms
is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of
patriots and tyrants.

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he
disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what
Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Something to Consider

My cousin sent me the following "think piece" this morning. I thought it was cool, so I am posting it today as a break from heated arguments. (smile)

BTW, out of sheer laziness, I am leaving it in rough form without fixing spelling and punctuation. You can holler at me for it later.

As you might know, the head of a company survived
9/11 because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was
His turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her
Alarm clock didn't go off in time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike
Because of an auto accident.

One of them
Missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take
Time to change.

One's car wouldn't start.

One couldn't
Get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man
Who put on a new pair of shoes that morning,
Took the various means to get to work
But before he got there, he developed
a blister on his foot.

He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
That is why he is alive today.

Now when I am
Stuck in traffic ,
Miss an elevator,
Turn back to answer a ringing telephone ...
All the little things that annoy me.
I think to myself,
This is exactly where

God wants me to be
At this very moment..

Next time your morning seems to be
Going wrong ,

The children are slow getting dressed,
You can't seem to find the car keys,
You hit every traffic light,
Don't get mad or frustrated;
It May be just that
God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you
With all those annoying little things
And may you remember their possible purpose.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Born and Raised in the Christian Faith?

In the meta of my last post about Willie Nelson's marijuana offering to Jesus, a commenter expressed her outrage at my comments, and accused me of not doing my research before popping off a post. Here's a clip of what she said:

Willie Nelson has a strong faith. He was raised in the Christian faith by his grandparents in Abbott, Texas, and attended the Methodist church there. When he was younger, he taught church school. His first performance was at the church. He has recorded several acclaimed gospel albums. Two years ago, he purchased the Methodist Church in Abbott, to prevent it being sold, so that it could continue to hold church services.

So Willie has a strong faith. Faith in precisely what isn't specified, although the subsequent comments imply it's a Christian faith. That doesn't jive with the things I've seen and read over the years. More recently, I came across an item which documents Nelson's own comments on the subject. Take a look at this commentary by Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While I've linked the entire article, I'll excerpt a comment here . . .

In a recently released book, Texas outlaw songwriter Willie Nelson says quite a bit about his rejection of the Christianity he once professed. Nelson was, for a time, a student at Baylor University and a member of a Southern Baptist church. Years of dissipation have left him far from those Baptist church pews. Now he holds to a pantheistic form of paganism, embracing everything from pop-Taoism to psychic powers to reincarnation. It is clear, however, that he’s rebelling against something, which is why it seems to delight him to talk about smoking marijuana in Jimmy Carter’s White House or lighting up a joint in the presence of Ann Richards, then the goveror of Texas. The tensions between Nelson’s longing for the Christians in his past and his longing to be “on the road again” are everywhere in his music. He is, after all, the man who sings both “Family Bible” and “Whiskey River.”

Aside from this commentary which clips from Nelson's book, I've seen other things through the years that have shown me that the singer is hardly an orthodox Christian.

This whole subject is very sad to me -- aside from Nelson's theological and spiritual deterioration. My real target for this post is actually something that is pretty widespread within a lot of churches. I'm talking about the erroneous, ignorant idea that because someone grew up attending a church -- be it Methodist, Baptist, or any other denomination -- and has done good works here and there, that makes them a genuine, regenerate, born-again, biblical Christian. That is not the genuine message of Christianity. That is not the Gospel. That is not the clear message of God's Word, the Bible.

For my errant commenter's sake, I hope she and others do a little research of their own on what the founder of Methodism would have to say about such an idea, Willie Nelson's theological beliefs aside. Both Charles and John Wesley would take issue with the idea that just attending a church or buying a building for a church earns you a spot in heaven.

All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. We can be saved only by saving faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross for our sins. We are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead for our justification. Once we are saved, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who enables us to live a godly life. Someone who is truly saved will obey God's Word out of love for God. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." (John 15:15). Someone who loves God and is a true Christian is not going to mock the God who saved him, and is not going to ignore or denegrate His Word. Period.

This doesn't just apply to Willie Nelson. It applies to everyone.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Willie Nelson Crosses the Line

I'll admit at the outset that I've never been a huge Willie Nelson fan. A good chunk of that stems from the fact that I don't like country music in general, although there are a few exceptions.

That aside, my distaste began with Willie's open advocacy of marijuana usage. This distaste was furthered along when I saw Willie's appearance in the 1979 film "The Electric Horseman." One of Willie's lines in the movie had him announcing his desire to go find a woman to perform an act that shall remain nameless on this family blog. Given his general unkempt appearance, I'd be amazed that any woman would want to get near him, much less do something like that. But I digress.

These previous things roused my disdain, but now my ire has been raised. On Bill O'Reilly's "Reality Check" segment, it was revealed that Nelson is releasing a Christmas-themed song/video, where he plays a Wise Man offering marijuana to the baby Jesus. The video shows Willie robed like a shepherd or a Wise Man, and shows the manger with marijuana plants and smoke around it. Blasphemous and disgusting.

To my knowledge, Willie Nelson has made no profession of faith in Christ. He has long been associated with far-left activism. Even without a personal confession of faith, you would think that he would at least have some restraint about insulting a good chunk of his fan base. The country-western audience is notoriously conservative. Maybe that's why Willie has branched more into the pop audience in recent years. Who knows.

The long and short of it is that I hope Nelson garners a huge backlash from this grotesque, insulting and yes -- blasphemous -- song and video. And now that I've expressed that hope, I will conclude with a question.

Do you think Willie will write and release a song/video about Muhammed smoking dope, or taking child brides to bed?

I think we know the answer to that one.