Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why Did Charles Schulz Seem to Lose His Faith?

I've been a Peanuts fan since childhood. In addition, I had grown up being told that the late Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was a Christian believer once active in the Church of God (Anderson, IN).

Only in recent years did I discover that Mr. Schulz apparently began losing his faith later in life, and was even quoted in an interview saying he'd become a "secular humanist."

In this article, Dr. Russell Moore takes a look at Charles Schulz and offers up a sober reflection on what could have led to such a loss of faith after so many years of reflecting biblical values in his comic strip.

As Dr. Moore says, I hope Mr. Schulz was able to come to genuine saving faith at the end. But given what the biography says, and the testimony of his family and lack of any expression of faith in family life, one has to wonder what was there all along. If anything.

But rather than end on a grim note, I always like to note that God always has the last word. In the Peanuts TV Christmas special, Linus still reads the Gospel story from the book of Luke and the message gets out. Kind of like what happened in the Star Trek series and movie. I always got a chuckle at how the series (TV and movies) would tend to refer to biblical matters as "myth." But then when Spock dies in "The Wrath of Khan," they send Spock's body out to the "Genesis" planet with Mr. Scott playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.

God always has the last word.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Proverbs: A Foundational Sermon

If you remember, some time ago I did a book review of Pastor Dan Phillips' book on the biblical book of Proverbs, which was released last year. I said then—and reaffirm now—that it's among the best treatments of Proverbs that I have seen. I rarely recommend books for Sunday schools or small groups other than Scripture, but this would be one worthy exception. All the more so because it's focusing on a book of Scripture, treating it in-depth, yet in a user friendly way.

Dan recently preached a sermon, which serves as a foundational to grasp the whole book of Proverbs. Hint: "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom."

So please allow me to give the book another plug, but also Dan's sermon. In my humble opinion, our country (and world) could use a dose of King Solomon's God-given wisdom and discernment. Megadoses, even.

A New Twist on Abortion in Ireland

I have, as an ex-journalist, covered the abortion issue for years, both in secular media as well as Christian. This particular story from Ireland without a doubt has to be the most curious one I've seen yet. And more than a little disturbing.

It appears that Irish President Michael Higgins has signed legislation amending largely Catholic Ireland's restrictions on abortion. Apparently, one of the new law's provisions allows abortion in case of "life-threatening conditions." Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? However, the "life-threatening conditions" suggested by the new legislation includes if the woman in questions "threatens suicide unless she is allowed to get an abortion." Abortion by guilt-trip and blackmail, in other words.

This is a shining example of what pro-life proponents have said for eons about not strictly defining "health of the mother" exemptions from abortion restrictions. Most people would say that this means going through with giving birth would be physically fatal for the woman in question due to complications. But if one leaves "health" loosely defined, you can drive a Mack truck through such a definition.

I don't want anyone committing suicide. I don't want babies butchered in the womb either. But someone threatening suicide if they don't get to kill the baby in the womb is a bit much. Such an idea ought not to even be included in legislation like this. But now it is, and no doubt the new legislation will end up in court.

God help us.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Medicare: A Planned Catastrophe?

As the political battle over Obamacare continues at full throttle in the nation's capital, it's more and more evident that one Democratic Senator's description of the health care law as a "train wreck" is spot on correct. Not that it will make any difference to the president or his team.

Check out this Newsmax article on doctors opting out of Medicare. Obviously, if this trend continues, it will have an enormous impact on senior citizens and their families. My own 90-year-old mother is on Medicare and has supplemental insurance through AARP—which, by the way, continues to skyrocket in price every year.

One can't help wonder if all of this is not intentional. I tend to believe it is, as with most things done by the Obama Administration. The talking heads keep saying he's clueless, in over his head, incompetent etc. No, he is not. He knows exactly what he is doing. He wants to transform the country from the ground up, like he's said all along. And the level of destruction that will be meted out along the way is, well...just too bad.

I just wish the GOP would get a backbone, and that more Americans would wake up and see what is being done to this country.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Obama: "Phony Scandals?"

After 30 plus years of watching politics, you'd think I'd not be taken aback so easily. I've seen a lot of chutzpah and bold-faced lies through the years, and not a little braggadocio.

During a tiresome economic speech today, President Obama rapped the GOP for raising up phony scandals.

Phony scandals? I beg to differ. Even Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate (in which no one died) hasn't had the litany of things that have broken loose under the Obama Administration. Benghazi. The IRS being used as a political weapon to such an extent with ties pretty close to the White House. Overlooking the Black Panthers and voter intimidation. Ignoring border security to a dangerous extent. Bypassing Congress with unconstitutional recess appointments made when Congress was not in recess. I could go on.

If the GOP has the moxie (which I doubt these days), they could make Barack regret those words. I had hopes that the Republicans might do well in the mid-term elections. Right now, they're so feckless I'm not sure we can do it.

I'm about ready to declare myself a conservative independent.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Throwback Report: Wood Tennis Raquets

I am sure by now that most people who read my blog (that is, when I manage to get up a post) know that I'm an incorrigible throwback. Give me a Royal manual typewriter and I'm a happy camper. I might even be induced to use an old dip pen and inkwell. Seriously.

When I was younger, I used to play some tennis, and it irritated me to no end when I couldn't find wooden tennis racquets. If you're like me and wondered where they went, I found the answer for us. 

I salute Bjorn Borg for making a statement by using a wood racket as described by the article. Good for him! 

And don't even get me started on synthetic bowling alleys. I despise them. It feels like you're bowling on countertop. Give me wood. Real wood. I wouldn't even mind someone in back manually setting the pins.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Recalling "Not Ashamed Day"

Due to my lack of time for writing at the moment, I am going to dip back in the well for a post I made back in 2010, updated for reflection. 

Pictured at the right is Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury in England. Back in 2010, he helped to publicize "Not Ashamed Day" in response to what UK Christians believe are growing attacks on their faith.

I was glad to see this, and hope that this will be an ongoing event that spreads around the world as much as possible. I personally think we could do with a bit of it here in the United States. We are quickly approaching European levels when it comes to folks walking away from the "Faith of our Fathers." Here's a notable clip from a BBC article:

In recent years, Lord Carey said Christians had been penalised for activities such as wearing crosses and offering to pray for other people.

"Christianity is a public religion, always has been and always will be," he said as he launched the campaign outside the House of Lords. What we believe in is of paramount importance to our nation and were we to lose it, then I have no idea what will happen to the Christian faith in this country."

The former archbishop unveiled a leaflet warning that Britain's Christian culture was "under attack".

Back in 2010, the UK branch of Slavic Gospel Association was celebrating their 60th anniversary. In the video, almost as an aside, one of the individuals being interviewed from the UK office was harkening back to what Christian ministry was like during the communist years in the Warsaw Pact nations, comparing it to the freedom believers had in the UK. Then he added, "back then, at least." It was a quiet acknowledgement of how the tide has turned against Christian expression in England, and Western Europe in general.

It's a warning we'd do well to heed.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Crater of Diamonds Yields Another Big Rock!

By now, most of my readers here know I like to give Arkansas a plug when I can. Today I have another opportunity to do just that.

Looks like a Kentucky man found a pretty big diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, AR, on the southwest side of the state near the ARK-LA-TEX region. Nearly 3 carats!

I've been to this park a couple of times, but didn't find any diamonds. I didn't stay long enough, as usually they find two a day, on average. It's a unique place. The only functioning diamond mine in North America, but it's not open commercially. It really is a state park, and visitors are allowed to come in and dig for diamonds. And yes, you get to keep what you find. Some pretty big honkin' diamonds have been found there through the years.

So, if you're ever in that neck of the woods, check it out. Although be careful in summer. That field gets pretty, pretty hot in the Southern sun!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

The Seventh Sola wishes one and all a happy Independence Day. Ben Franklin said, "A republic, if you can keep it."

If things keep going as they have been, we may not keep it. As we celebrate today, may we remember what we've been given and not allow it to be taken away.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Getting Guns Right in Ill-Annoyed

Illinois is a really benighted place. We haven't had a reasonably decent state government since Gov. Jim Edgar (R) was in office. And even then, Chicago politicians and their like always caused issues. As goes Chicago, typically goes the state.

Governor Pat Quinn (D) is a great example of someone who really doesn't give a rip what the people who elected him think. On the issue of gun rights, downstate Democrats and Republicans are largely agreed and freedom/Constitutional-minded. We believe in the Second Amendment and our RIGHT to keep and bear arms. Chicago's mayor and related lawmakers do not (no matter what comes out of their mouths). Enter Gov. Quinn's latest action on the issue. Read the linked Fox News piece. The Mighty Quinn used his "amendatory veto" to change the bi-partisan legislation passed to allow for concealed carry, adding a bunch of stupid restrictions that make the bill meaningless.

Annoying. Infuriating. But totally expected. And I hope that the legislature will override this veto in sufficient numbers to send a clear message that our RIGHTS will no longer be infringed in this nanny state on steroids.

I mean it took forever to even legalize SPARKLERS here for the 4th of July. The name of the state really should change from Illinois to "Ill-annoyed."

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Mexican Cartels in Texas?

When I saw this headline yesterday,I was a bit surprised. According to the Examiner, the Los Zetas drug cartel based in Mexico has seized two ranches in Texas.

Two questions? First, what is Homeland Security doing, or going to do about this? That's uppermost on the list.

Second, will Governor Rick Perry step in with the National Guard if the Feds don't do their job? I hope so, but with the National Guard federalized since the days of Eisenhower, there may not be much hope of that.

I am increasingly of the opinion that National Guard federalization needs to be reversed. It never was the intent of the Founding Fathers that state militias be subsumed by the federal government. Eisenhower did it to enforce desegregation. A laudable goal, but in my view, an unconstitutional solution to the problem. The Founders never intended for the federal government to be the behemoth it is now. It will take a major miracle to reverse course. Once an entity gets power, it is very loath to give it up without a fight.

God help us that it never has to come to that.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Angry Atheists

Well, they're at it again. The militant atheists, I mean.

If you didn't see it on any of the TV newscasts, you can see what I am talking about here via this article.

American Atheists is raising funds to erect atheist "monuments" nearby other long-standing Christian or religious monuments across the country. Here's a clip from the article:

It's a bench engraved with quotations from America's founding fathers, a prominent atheist and the penalties for violating each of the biblical commandments that are displayed a few feet away.
Hundreds gathered in light rain on the courthouse square in Starke Saturday for the dedication. American Atheists, the organization that led the effort, said it's the first atheist monument on public property in the United States -- and it will be the first of many.
President David Silverman said they intend to start placing monuments next to every public religious display in America, and they've secured anonymous funding to build and place up to 50.
Silverman encouraged those in attendance in Starke to let the organization know if there's a public display in their community.
"American Atheists will work with them to ensure truth is placed next to the lies, civility next to barbarism," he said.

Truth and lies? Civility and barbarism? I haven't seen much of Mr. Silverman, but I do remember the former head of this organization, Robert Sherman. He wasn't the nicest individual you ever saw if you watched any interviews with him. But no matter who the head of the organization is, civility is not really what they have in mind. They're only doing this for one reason, and that is to be insulting and ugly.

It's fascinating. For a group of people so insistent that God does not exist, they sure seem awfully bothered by Him, and even more so people who believe in Him. To me, they seem like the real "haters" out there.