Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Hot Tub Moment . . .

Delaying my "hypocrisy" post a bit longer, partially so I could bring you the hilarious photo to the right. I saw it on Facebook, posted by guitarist Hadley Hockensmith (Koinonia, now part of Neil Diamond's band).

I figure we need a little respite from politics, don't we?

Monday, August 27, 2012

And They Charge for THIS????

I haven't gotten around to the hypocrisy post I promised last week, but I will. Eventually.

In the meantime, take a peek at the email advertisement I received to the right. What a bargain! Twenty percent off "new" school clothes! A steal, surely!

Look at the boy's jeans. Why in blue blazes would anyone pay good money to buy "new" jeans with holes in them and faded. Time will do that all on its own.

I really don't care what the fashion is, and I really don't care what's "cool." I guess kids should be thankful I am not a parent. My son or daughter wouldn't be seen walking out the door with clothes like this, especially on the way to school or church. I don't mind casual, but teaching kids that looking like Freddy the Freeloader is high fashion? Ridiculous.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jumping the GOP Off the Bridge?

I looked at my blog with a bit of surprise today, seeing that I haven't put anything new up since last week. Aside from being busy and a bit under the weather, I have to admit being a bit uninspired of late, especially watching the 2012 election season unfold before me.

No doubt many of you have been watching the whole kerfuffle over Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), and his um, rather unfortunate comments about rape. I'm disturbed about this on several different levels, but I'll only talk about two briefly. I think that's all I can handle tonight.

It bugs me—a lot—that a whole lot of media attention is being spent on this when there are a whole host of more serious, life-changing issues at stake in this election. By saying that, I don't mean to diminish anything about the subject of rape, abortion, or anything related. I am pro-life on the subject of abortion and that is well known. They used to punish rape with the death penalty, and while in recent years I have typically advocated that only for first-degree murder or treason, I am reconsidering this view due to the heinousness of rape—regardless of the victim's gender.

Having said all this, I think this story is being cynically hyped and manufactured by the left and a subservient media to help distract from national security, the abysmal economy, the looming fiscal cliff ahead of our careening national train, and a host of other things. When everything else blows up, how a Missouri Congressman and Senate candidate put his foot in his mouth is going to seem pretty minor.

Secondly, I can't help but wonder at the stubborn behavior of Congressman Akin himself. He is now on a national stage, like it or not, and he's damaged goods. His stubborn refusal to stand down given the high stakes of this election and the potential cost to the GOP ticket as a whole is beyond perplexing. It's no wonder that the Democrats—especially Akin's opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, want him to remain in the race.

Normally (or traditionally), I would cite the late Tip O'Neill's maxim that all politics is local. But I can't say that any longer. These days, especially when national issues and the very soul of the country are at stake, what would normally be a local gaffe becomes national news. And the Republicans' opponents don't need to run campaign commercials. The media do the dirty work for them. In this election, Republican candidates need to be at the top of their game, street-smart and media savvy. And they need to know how to hit back hard. Everything but the kitchen sink will be thrown at them in this election. Saul Alinsky and Chicago politics on steroids. We needed this ginned-up distraction like a hole in the head.

There is one other thing that I should say, because it bugs me too. I don't like the way that some of my pro-life colleagues are turning on fellow conservatives who have been urging Rep. Akin to stand down. I take a back seat to no one in my pro-life viewpoint, and have editorialized strongly on it for years when still on the air. But if we end up being so "purist" in this particular election cycle and hand re-election back to Barack Obama, I question if the nation will ever recover from the damage that will be done. When Obama said he meant to fundamentally transform America, he meant it. You won't recognize the country any longer.

Not only the GOP is being pushed off the bridge. So is our nation. Think about it a while.

Side Note: Later this week if time permits, I hope to have something to say about hypocrisy from the left on this issue. It's beyond interesting that a Democratic Congressman from Duluth, MN, is being accused of hanky-panky at a rest area with a 17-year-old boy, and not a peep do we hear from the media or the Democrats.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Hate to Point out Hypocrisy . . .

But I Must When Violence is Involved!

Far-lefty media personality Sally Kohn took to Twitter in the wake of today's shooting at the Family Research Council office in Washington, D.C. She proceeded to tweet the following:

 extremist rhetoric casting gay people as molesters, criminals, threats to children justifies bullying and violence.

Now, let's back up just a minute. Go back over the months and years to every high-profile public shooting there has been, from Gabby Giffords in Arizona to any other one you want to pull up. In some cases, the left-supporting media and liberal politicians flapped their gums prematurely to try and tie conservatives or the Tea Party to the shootings, but in all cases, condemned the violence. Such violence should be condemned and I can agree with that part, but not the lies, distortions and usage of violence for political manipulation. 

And here we have a prominent liberal not only wildly distorting the message and mission of the Family Research Council, but she also flatly says that the FRC's beliefs justify the shooting. Appalling, grotesque, and evil. NOTHING justifies such violence. Sally will regret this statement, because she completely undercut the liberal mantra on tolerance and non-violence. They love the words, but when the end justifies the means, no holds barred. 

The Family Research Council was born years ago through the efforts of the beloved Dr. James Dobson to represent a traditional Christian approach to social and political issues. Though Dr. Dobson is no longer affiliated with the organization (at least I don't think he is), they have largely kept their mission through the years. I would like to see the "extremist" rhetoric Sally is citing, and I have a hunch that if it is seen in context and in complete form, it would paint quite a different picture. But even if—for the sake of discussion—that I accept her allegations as true, it by no means justifies some crackpot going into an office and trying to shoot people dead. 

Shame on you, Sally. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pheh! Atheists.

The latest scene in the Atheists-Vs-Rest of Society Wars—Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. And here is the story in question via Fox News.

In the first place, I will say this much. If this guy with a public accommodation was going to offer discounts, such discounts should have been available to anyone, not just church groups. That is, unless there was some legal concern i.e. a nudist group. That seems to be the way anti-discrimination law is at the moment. As I understand it, when the atheist group objected to giving discounts to Christian groups, the owner of Willow Springs ended the discounts for everyone. Sad, but that seemed to him the logical thing to do.

But no. The uber-militant atheists still want to sue. Couple this with the obnoxious, rude, insulting billboards they are posting around the country etc, it's really become an exercise in self-immolation in public opinion. Even many who describe themselves as atheists such as S.E. Cupp and others decry these lawsuit-crazy, combative, ugly clowns and their tactics.

I would say for Christian businessmen as well as city governments and secular businesses - stand up to them. Don't let them cow you. The Rutherford Institute, The Center for Law and Justice and other legal organizations will help you. And in the event the court rules against you, I would almost be inclined to tell the court to stuff it as this was not how our Founders envisioned America and the jurisdiction - or the rulings - of courts that held our founding principles in their hearts. I would also hope some chief executives responsible for enforcement would remember that the executive branch is equal to the legislative and judicial. They are not subservient to the judicial. The legislatures should take action and by law remove this kind of crap from the jurisdiction of the courts, or abolish the court that does it. Play hardball.

And before someone chides me about the law of unintended consequences, believe me, I understand it. As a Christian and someone who believes in Romans 13 and the rule of law, that's a hard thing for me to say. But I see more and more our government becoming lawless. And under our system of government enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, we the people have the right to alter and put a stop to nonsense.

Maybe it's going to be time for this soon. But it will take brave lawmakers, judges, law enforcement heads etc. Don't have time to flesh this out more coherently and logically at the moment. Right now, I am writing from the hip and ask that you understand this. There may well be holes in this post that I am not seeing at the moment because I am too aggravated. So consider this post "thinking out loud," and I may eventually moderate my view somewhat.

But right now, I'm mad.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

God is Good and the Garden is Proof

Take a look at the above plants. It's no secret that Illinois and much of the Midwest is in severe to extreme drought. But the cabbage above is 10 lbs. With minimal watering. And the plant above it - funny story. We had intended to buy cabbages, and we did. These plants looked just like seedling cabbages when we pulled them out of the "cabbage" box in the greenhouse. Well, we planted them and they grew, and grew, and grew. We had no idea what they were. Until one day, we saw broccoli heads at the top. Then we knew. 

I had to look broccoli up then, and discovered that it is in the cabbage family. I didn't know that—embarrassing for someone whose family has an agricultural background. Oh, well. Live and learn. But the main thing is that things have been so dry, and as I have a well, I was concerned about running dry so I couldn't water much. But we still had produce - potatoes, cabbage, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, lettuce and onions. Even asparagus. We are harvesting much more than I thought we would. And we are grateful to God. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The Meramec Claims Another Child

Missouri's Meramec River. Looks serene in the picture, doesn't it? I am quite familiar with it and with its dangerous reputation. And sadly, it has claimed the life of yet another little boy.

12-year-old Christopher Marks disappeared into the river's currents after reportedly consuming a small amount of beer, and telling his family or friends he wanted to go across the river to swing on a rope swing. It wasn't long before he disappeared. They found his body today near a pier.

The Meramec has a storied history. Formerly one of Missouri's most polluted rivers, it has since been largely cleaned up and is a popular stream for paddling and boating. Up near its origin, it is a typical clear Ozark stream, with the water turning an aqua green the deeper it gets. But when it begins getting closer to St. Louis, the river widens, deepens and becomes much more murky. The river is known to have very strong undercurrents in this stretch, and the underwater terrain of the river can change daily. At the park where this child drowned, there are signs posted warning of the dangers.

I believe this is at least the 10th drowning in that particular stretch of the Meramec in recent years. Several kids from a youth group drowned a few years back near the same location.

I don't want to pile on to a grieving family. The articles that you can find and the various comments being made range from sympathetic to harshly judgmental. Obviously a 12-year-old has no business consuming alcohol, and that aspect is being investigated by the authorities. Regardless of this, the grieving mother, father, friends and siblings need our compassion and prayers.

Above all, I do wish there was something that could be done to keep kids and brainless adults out of this river as far as swimming is concerned. Paddlers and reasonably experienced canoe people should have little difficulty, equipped with the proper flotation devices. But this is not a swimming river, especially not in the location where all the drownings take place.

Sad, sad, sad.

Update to story: Christopher's body was found six miles downstream from where he went in. According to media, that appears to perplex the authorities a bit. Here's the story from local media.

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Perfect Smiley

A little humor to begin the week. I once saw the sarcastic smiley to the right several years ago on a T-shirt. I thought about getting it, but put it off.

Fast forward a couple of years, and the T-shirt seems to no longer be available, at least from what I can find on line. I love the expression. It fits me to a tee, especially after watching the news.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Conservative Profs Face Discrimination?

As Captain Renault would say, I'm shocked, SHOCKED! Have a peek at this newly released study.

I think it tells many of us what we already knew. Those who scream the loudest for tolerance and diversity are the least tolerant people out there.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Olympian Change in the Wind?

If you get a chance, have a gander at this commentary from Reason Magazine. It examines the ambivalence in London and in much of the Western world toward the 2012 Olympic Summer games.

The main thought seems to be that the absence of Cold War rivalries has played a role into this, along with a decline in "national pride," which is seen increasingly as unseemly in some circles. Economics also plays a role because of the current funding model for the Games. They often leave the host city/country deep in debt.

It's kind of sad, really. I believe in a healthy nationalism in terms of pride in one's nation and national sovereignty. But I can also see that the Games have really become more political than the founders intended. 1936 was an ugly example of this, and a few Olympiads in subsequent years also demonstrated it. Who can forget the vicious, evil, grisly murders of the Israeli Olympic team in 1972 by Palestinian terrorist thugs? (Murders still celebrated, I might add, in Palestinian and some Muslim circles)

If the Games are to return to their original intent and recapture some enthusiasm, some reform will definitely be needed. Things can't go on as they have been.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The New Atheists and Irenic Dialogue? HA HA HA!

A rather curious incident happened today over on my Twitter feed. I think it deserves a little wry comment on my behalf.

I made a Tweet about the ongoing kerfuffle over Chick-fil-A. Shortly after I hit the post button, a self-described atheist launched an attack on me and my fellow "theists," throwing out the usual ad hominems i.e. bigoted, ignorant, dictatorial etc. Then he proceeded to go after belief in God in general, which wasn't the original context of my tweet.

So, what should a conscientious Christian apologist do when someone aggressively throws down the gauntlet? I responded by asking for the discussion to take place via email rather than Twitter, which is a lousy place to have such dialogues because of the limitations in character length. Then, I answered one of his assertions and began asking him questions in the Socratic method.

It didn't take long for things to degenerate. He bobbed, dodged and weaved, and ended by calling me a troll, then accusing me of following him to provoke a fight so I could "look big to my followers." That gave me quite a belly laugh, as he was actually the one who chimed in on my original tweet. I didn't know him from Adam. He might have been reacting to a reply I gave someone else with whom I was in actual discussion, but I did NOT seek him out. I'm not even "following" him.

The final guffaw was when I went to reply to his last bit of ridiculousness, i.e. to point out that he had responded to ME, not vice versa. I then discovered that I had been blocked. Imagine the angry, thwarted kid who doesn't want to hear any lecture, poking his fingers in his ears and going "LA LA LA LA LA!" at the top of his lungs.

It really was funny. I have done a lot of reading about how aggressive the so-called "New Atheists" are. If this is their general manner of dialogue, they will do more damage to their cause than they will help it.

I guess if I had to be really honest with myself, I'm kind of glad the conversation didn't go on and on. I'm too tired these days for endless knockdown, dragouts with people who have no desire whatsoever to even hear and consider what you have to say. They're as bad as Jehovah's Witness cultists. They have their talking points, and aren't really interested in talking to you. They think Christians and other believers are the great unwashed. We're uneducated rubes who ought to be locked up with the key thrown away, or at minimum to be silenced completely so we don't upset the bogus little world they're concocting for themselves.

There are two wonderful Scripture verses that come to my mind in this first entry for August:

The fool in his heart has said, "There is no God" (Psalm 14:1).

 And then . . . Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:6).

 A brief comment before I close. Don't misinterpret the Matthew verse to suggest that you shouldn't talk to unbelievers and avoid sharing your faith. We should always be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies in us, as other Scriptures command. Bible scholar and commenter Albert Barnes puts it this way . . .

Give not that which is holy ... - By some the word "holy" has been supposed to mean "flesh offered in sacrifice," made holy, or separated to a sacred use; but it probably means here "anything connected with religion" - admonition, precept, or doctrine. Pearls are precious stones found in shell-fish, chiefly in India, in the waters that surround Ceylon. They are used to denote anything especially precious, Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:12-16; Matthew 13:45. In this place they are used to denote the doctrines of the gospel. 

"Dogs" signify people who spurn, oppose, and abuse that doctrine; people of special sourness and malignity of temper, who meet it like growling and quarrelsome curs, Philippians 3:2; 2 Peter 2:22; Revelation 22:15. "Swine" denote those who would trample the precepts underfoot; people of impurity of life; those who are corrupt, polluted, profane, obscene, and sensual; those who would not know the value of the gospel, and who would tread it down as swine would pearls, 2 Peter 2:22; Proverbs 11:22. The meaning of this proverb, then, is, do not offer your doctrine to those violent and abusive people who would growl and curse you; nor to those especially debased and profligate who would not perceive its value, would trample it down, and would abuse you.

I think that sums it up pretty well. I am happy to dialogue with those who desire genuine, irenic, open sharing and discussion. I am happy to do my best to answer any sincere questions people have within my limited time constraints. But I have little time and patience for people whose only intent is to be malicious and destructive, and to hurl nothing but mocking rage. If that's your modus operandi, go waste someone else's precious time.