May 31, 2006

Hey Christian; Take Responsibility For Your Spiritual Journey!

Lately I have been getting my shorts in a knot over what seems to be an essentially incessant critiquing of “The Church” as it relates to various people groups the church is either not reaching, or not reaching well, or why this type of person or that type of person has bailed on church. Now what is really getting under my skin is that invariably the problem is always “The Church” and the solutions always fall on “The Church.” Which really means, the problem is that the pastors are not doing something they should, or they are doing something they shouldn’t. The express accusation is that if the pastors were just doing things right, everyone would be beating down your doors and if “everyone” isn’t, we need to change something(s).

Admittedly, I am not exactly unbiased in this given that I am the leader of a substantial church but that does not disqualify me from making some objective, Biblically astute observations. So let’s try and get a grip here and admit that as Americans, we are so entrenched in consumerism, that I’m afraid we don’t even see it when it is ruling all that is holy.

So last week, the latest installation in the “blame the church” game, is that men don’t come to church because it is “too feminine.” Uh, “HELLO!” There’s no gender confusion on this man’s part! And I’m sorry if men aren’t comfortable singing songs that use words like “love” and “beauty” and “kindness” but I haven’t heard to many songs of adoration that talk about sitting around and “…burping with Jesus, Cuz He’s the one Who pleases…” or “When I worship you I linger, Here’s a good one Lord pull my finger…” Words that convey ideas of reverence and praise tend to be emotional but guess what? God IS emotional, and its HIS language, HIS idea.

So here’s a wake up call to all who see themselves as a special interest group in the church. All you “Singles” all you “divorcee’s” all you “30 some things” all you “College and Career” types and all you men: One day YOU will stand before the Lord of all heaven and Earth and you will run by Him, all your lame excuses and whining about why you don’t come to church. And based on having read God’s word now about 25 times cover to cover, I don’t think God is going to be real sympathetic and blame “the church” because they didn’t cater to your special—All American—interest group.

In fact, I’m certain of it. Don’t say I didn’t tell you!

The Preferred Status of Islam???

We are all aware of the increasingly preferred status of Islam over and above all other religions but you’re probably not aware of the Islamic term for it called “dhimmi.”

When the Muslims were on their crusades to convert or kill, they actually allowed for the non-conversion of what they called “people of the book” referring to Christians and Jews. They were allowed to maintain their religion as long as they accepted the status of “dhimmi.”

Dhimmis are protected non-Muslims who must subject themselves to various humiliating regulations as well as paying a special tax in order to maintain that protected status. They were officially second-class citizens and while they could retain their religion, they were limited to what extent that religion could be practiced.

Well, dhimmitude is alive and well and growing in all the new “homelands” where Islam is becoming entrenched.

For example, numerous Western nations have enacted “anti-vilification laws” to prohibit offending Islam. This is done under the guise of multiculturalism, but is nothing more than dhimmitude and its growing.

Two pastors in Australia were found guilty of violating such laws because they had read parts of the Koran and talked about Islam being a false religion.

According to World Magazine a European jean company produces pants with derogatory slogans about Christians and Hindus but none are planned to ridicule Islam.

South Park—the wretched and vile cartoon popular with so many of our unsupervised Cretans called kids, and adolescent men stuck in arrested development--blocked out a depiction of Muhammad in one scene of the obnoxious cartoon but of course left intact, the disgusting scene with Jesus, an American flag and President Bush.

Dhimmitude is coming—or has come—to a town near you. Locally, we saw this played out in the Morning Sentinel when they recently ran a column by Colby Professor/transvestite J.F. Boylan poking fun at Christianity using the DaVinci Code affair allowing Boylan to muse about the sequel. It was tongue in cheek; and blasphemous.

The point being, such a column would NEVER be run about Islam. That’s dhimmitude and as the writer of the World article states, “Islam becoming a privileged religion over all the rest makes dhimmis of us all.

May 29, 2006

Anna Quindlen's Commencment Address Was Hideous

Tis the season of vapid, boring, cliché and useless commencement speeches—yawn, but while I’m on the subject, I am going to take Anna Quindlen’s advice from her address to this year’s graduates of Colby College. I am going to—as she commanded-- speak without fear!
Quindlen’s address as reported in the Sentinel was characteristically tripe. Worst still, she ripped off one little phrase, built her speech around it, and then showed her abject ignorance by telling everyone that her statement “Be not afraid” referred to speaking up and speaking out and that it came from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. “She called it ‘a simple directive, an old and honorable one ... really the secret of life.’"
Obviously Quindlens accomplishments have not included reading the Bible…

When the Scriptures admonish us to “Be not afraid,” it is in the context of having a righteous and holy God who is on the side of the righteous and holy people who love and worship Him. It has nothing to do--as she asserted—with blowing off everyone—including the parents who paid for their children’s opportunity to ingest this sewage; and, everything--including civility, honor, goodness, gentleness and Truth. Being your own person and doing your own thing is the supreme virtue in Quindlen’s world.

"’The voices of conformity speak so loudly out there. Don't listen," Quindlen admonished. "People will tell you what you ought to think and how you ought to feel. They will tell you what to read and how to live.’”

Which means every virile, male who has ever used and abused some young female and has abandoned the same leaving the young woman to bear the pain, the scars, and the products of conception by herself, can thank Ms. Quindlen for her wretched life counsel. They have done exactly as she advised.

Feminism rears its ignorant, wicked head yet again and the greatest victims of all, besides the aborted babies, are the ravaged young women themselves. How proud you must be Anna—or hadn’t you thought through the logical outcome of your evil advice?

Is it surprising that Quindlen’s advice is exactly what devastated the world? Adam and Eve lived precisely what she counseled; “No one is going to tell us what to do; not even God…”

I am glad I am not in Ms. Quindlen’s shoes for there will be a day of reckoning.

May 27, 2006

Congress is NOT an Authority Unto Themselves!

I trust you have heard by now about Democrat Congressman William Jefferson, who was videotaped receiving $100,000 of bribe money in an Arlington hotel.
After videotapes, and recorded conversations clearly hammering this corrupt ne’er-do-well, as is the routine, maintains he has done nothing wrong. Actually it’s even more extreme than that for he is irate that the FBI had the audacity to raid his office finding the money in his freezer. Talk about cold cash!
I get such a kick out of the chronically corrupt when they are caught in their corruption. They always manage to huff and puff about how virtuous they are and how deplorable and despicable those are, who caught them.
Jefferson maintains that the FBI had no right to search his office. And in a somewhat odd twist of political mischief, prominent Republicans are also decrying the raid on his office by the FBI maintaining that the constitutional separation of powers (which by the way aren’t in the Constitution) requires the FBI return everything and allow the Congress to take matters into their own hands.
I’m not a constitutional lawyer to be sure but after listening to various legal and constitutional experts and hearing what the various laws really say, Republicans and Democrats alike are both grasping at the wind and are making a mockery of American law and justice.
How have public servants come to the place of such arrogance as to place themselves in a unique and hallowed position where when it comes to criminal law, they think they are an authority unto themselves? Their explanations sound more like someone trying to cover their own turf than any reasoned interpretation of the law.
So I again, remind our legislators, “They don’t have any turf to cover!” That “turf” they fight so diligently to keep private belongs to the taxpayers; those they “serve.” Legislators are not little kings and queens operating their own self-defined fiefdoms.
Ya know I’ve never thought so before, but frankly, term limits and a wholesale cleaning of our government about every 5 years is looking pretty good.
It is time “We the peons, in order to form a more perfect union” take back our country from the self-impressed; self-absorbed; and self-adulating servants of government who now spell service, SERVE—US!

May 23, 2006

Agree or Disagree With War, Our Troops are Heroes--Remember That!

One of our “boys” from our church is over in Iraq. He sent me what I am going to read not knowing from whom it came but *[he said it] was from someone in the military who is a bit fed up with the criticisms of those who put on the uniform as well as criticizing the measures of security which some react to with disdain. Here it is.

*Be sure you read the comments at the bottom for an explanation of where the quote came from--kind of funny and a warning again about "stuff on the internet..."

“We live in a world that has fences, and those fences have to be guarded by security forces troops. Whose gonna do it? You, Johnny Public? We have more responsibility here than you could possibly fathom. You weep during traffic stops, and you curse having to show IDs. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know; that security requirements, while tragic, probably save lives. And that our existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. We know, deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want us on the fence line of democracy; you need us on that fence line. We use words like honor, code, and loyalty. We use these words to describe the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to people who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom we provide, then question the manner in which we provide it. We’d prefer you said thank you, and went on your way, otherwise, we suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand to post. Either way, I don't give a hoot what you think you are entitled to!” ~Unknown

If you are one of those who fall into the category of naively believing that peace and safety can always be accomplished through mutual understanding and dialogue, I have one great request.

On this Memorial Day weekend, do all of us Vets and all of our military men and women, and especially those who have fallen in battle of the decades a huge favor. Keep your sentiments of disgust to yourself just for this weekend; not because you agree with a word I am saying, but because you have the right to speak or not because of the very ones you despise. It is the least you can do.

Addendum—This past Sunday, May 21, we had one of our young men in attendance two months out of Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. His right hand was blown off by an IED along with numerous other problems. As he stood before me, I thanked him for his service on my behalf. I could tell he was uncomfortable with my praises. All he said to me was, “I’d do it again.”

Enough said.

May 19, 2006

Security of Our Borders Too Complex for Soundbite Solutions

On this prelude to Memorial Day weekend I am pressed to make comment on the wildly controversial and emotional subject of security at our borders and illegal immigration.

This matter hits much closer to home for me than probably to any of you for reasons which I’ll not go into at this time.

To be certain, the considerations surrounding the issue are more complex than the 30 second sound bites we are treated to by Fox News or CBS. So I will address the matter, only tangentially, from a perspective of which I am confident.

We are above all else, a nation of laws; laws which have been enacted through due process rather than fiat. And we pride ourselves on the laudable axiom that in America, no one is above the law. We have many examples of this seeing that even the men who occupy the White House are not above the law. In my short history on Earth, I have seen one president impeached, and a President and Vice President compelled to resign in scandal.

So for everything else that can, and should be said about illegal immigration, with certainty I state that we must remain a nation ruled by law not by caprice.

Given that premise, we must do one of two things. We must either change the laws of the land--which are flagrantly and habitually being trampled and ignored--or we must enforce the laws which have been duly enacted.

The long-standing pattern concerning illegal immigration, of half-hearted, inconsistent,
and confusing enforcement cannot be allowed to continue. Which means, like it or not, until and unless the law of the land is changed, the laws that exist should be enforced.

All the political manipulation of a hot button issue--at the expense of this rule of law--is tearing away the very fabric of a nation’s stability where no person and no group of persons is above it.

So while equality, charity and fairness demand wholesale revision of the subject matter, for the time being it is, “Lex Rex,” the law is king, and if we dethrone the king through personal opinion, expedience of preference rather than due process, we are only a breath away from anarchy. For if laws are allowed to be ignored in any arena they can be ignored in all arenas and that is a deadly precedent.

May 18, 2006

Dying to Get In Not Dying To Leave

As Memorial Day approaches I am thinking about the daily controversy regarding the security of our borders in the Southwest aspect of our country. It is not hyperbole to say that people are dying to get into the United States. Very normal people risk their lives—literally—and pay large sums of money for the opportunity to sneak across our border.

Now this is rather curious if all you ever listen are the liberal politicians who can’t ever seem to find a good word to say about the country—at least not while it is the control of conservative leaders. But the curious aspect of this is that if the United States is such a horrible place, with a tanking economy, where racism and prejudice, homophobia and bigotry are prevalent, where the nation is being run by a total incompetent who is a liar and a war lord, and where one’s association with America is to risk one’s life traveling abroad, why would anyone make the ultimate sacrifice trying to get into such a place?

Well, maybe it’s not quite the nasty US that many of our warped and wicked politicians make it out to be. Maybe they have such a low fiber of integrity that the only way they can possibly regain some of their “power” to keep millions in bondage is by portraying the America as corrupt, troubled, wayward, and wicked.

Maybe the United States, with all its problems and faults, is still a pretty nice place to live and is still the land of opportunity and is still the land of fairness and equality. Imperfectly to be sure, and we have some real dark shadows that had better be addressed, but the fact remains, people from all over the world would love to be an American even though they may not wish to be called that due to the duplicitous negative publicity already mentioned.

Nearly 35 years ago I volunteered to put on a uniform and was trained to fight in a foreign land called Viet Nam. Through gracious Providence, I didn’t make it there. The point is, should the need arise, I would do it again assuming there was strong, moral leadership. I didn’t say perfect leadership, I said moral leadership but some are under a delusion that Utopia is ever just an election away.

This land of ours is hurting in many ways, but I am free to go elsewhere and I choose not to; and so do millions of others as opposed to the millions who live elsewhere risking their lives to come here. Now why is that? Memorial Day is coming up; there is some light in our nation’s history. It’s about time many take the lamp out from under the bushel.

May 11, 2006

Tyrannical Judges End Up Hurting Everyone

It is no surprise to the listeners of these commentaries on our culture that the courts of our land have ruined not only the moral air we breathe but the very foundations of our tripartite system of checks and balances within our government.
Somewhere along the line, the judicial branch of government usurped the powers of the other two reigning supreme and essentially unchallengeable when the strained system of appeals has run its course.
These next two commentaries will illustrate that point to a nauseating degree. From the Pastor’s Weekly Briefing May 5--“U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White ruled that the Hastings College of Law at the University of California can deny funding as well as official recognition to a Christian student club that requires its members and leadership to sign a statement of faith.”
Now let’s evaluate this ruling in terms of general principles. This means that it is discriminatory for any club—ANY club—or organization to require any kind of requirement for membership. Does this Christophobic judge really want to make such a ruling? This means, that a club for Young Democrats, for example, cannot prevent a registered Republican from being a voting member within the club. This means that groups like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) would have to permit an evangelical Christian to be a member in every way in the organization; this means that Future Lawyers of America could not refuse an anarchist from joining and in the club if they expected to have standing on campus to freely assemble.
Do these judges ever allow anything more than hatred and animus toward everything religious to guide their rulings? I know this seems hard to believe, but the ruling gets worse.
“Judge White says there was no evidence that the Christian mission of the club would be impaired by the admission of voting members who were practicing homosexuals or members of different faiths.”
Again, play this scenario out with the other groups/clubs I mentioned. This should be an impeachable offense, and by the way it is, but the whole safeguard of judicial impeachment has been so long buried it is essentially nonexistent. So we are stuck with tyrannical rulings by autonomous judges whose judicial sensibilities are as bankrupt as their religious sensibilities and that is a guarantee of chaos. Welcome to the world of 2006 and beyond.

Tyrannical Rulings Against People of Faith

I mentioned in my previous commentary that another would follow in the vein of tyrannical rulings which issue forth from a vendetta against people of faith. From the same PWB (May 5) comes another ruling that should be infuriating to anyone regardless of their world view, or faith position. The precedent of such a ruling is hideous.

Private business man Tim Bono—owner of Bono Film and Video –received a job request from a lesbian activist to reproduce some films for her—films which are for the purpose of promoting lesbianism. Bono, being a private business man operating in what used to be a system of “free enterprise” politely refused. Gay and Proud and Second Largest Minority was clearly against his policy of what kinds of jobs he would and would not accept.

In true homosexual activist fashion, Lillian Vincenz filed a complaint with the Arlington Human Rights Commission. The Commission concluded that “even though the film company tells customers ahead of time that it reserves the right to refuse to duplicate material that runs counter to the company's Christian and ethical values,” Bono was violating the county’s ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and ordered him to complete the job.

Just as in my last commentary anyone with an IQ above gravy should be protesting this because such a ruling would be incumbent on everyone. Which means when the First Church of Arlington goes to the homosexual owned media company wanting them to make a thousand copies of their Sunday sermon CD telling the Biblical view of homosexual abomination, the company would also have to comply.

What happened to free enterprise? This is starting to sound like a nation of dictators or a totalitarian regime where the government runs everything and the people are subservient to the dictatorial despots. What is wrong with people today? Is this the great deception? Is this the setup for the persecution that Jesus warned about so sternly when He was here?

Stop and think Christian, for there to be a one world government, Christians are going to have to be “contained” for they would never stand for the types of principles that would be part and parcel of a world government. If this isn’t the set up for such a time, than I am without answers and without hope. But I know better because I know my Bible! Do you?

Parents Litigate Nikelodeon Over Junk Food Ads

Do you ever wonder how some people have their heads screwed on or whether they’re even attached? Some group called the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is suing the Kellogg’s Corporation and Nikelodeon for conduct that is harmful to the nation’s children. Sounds like a good thing right? Well, maybe but it’s not.
You see, the lawsuit contends that children are being enticed by Satan’s electronic missionary to the world of the chronically overweight—spelled U-S-A—due to all the junk food ads aired on children’s television. Maybe you’re thinking I should be all for this; after all, it’s true!
Well I suppose it is but—as I am fond of saying of late—let’s get a grip! I am thoroughly unsympathetic to this on so many levels.
First—The typical American—I am talking adult American—is overweight with obesity becoming an epidemic. Apparently, in the mind of most, that has no bearing on the eating habits of one’s children. Have you noticed the similarity in body types of parents and their children? That’s not ALL genetics…
Second—Are these defenseless and naïve children wayward orphans such that they can avail themselves of junk food at whim? Some act as if they are.
Third—If a parent can’t turn off the television, or at least change stations, why is the blame so easily placed on evil and nasty corporations?
Fourth--The litigants are concerned only about the threat to the health of their autonomous darling’s physique rather than their kid’s character. That is a bigger problem frankly.
Sponge Bob’s smart mouthed comments and outlook on life are far more detrimental to the nation’s children than the ingestion of a Ho-Ho.
But the lawsuit, filed in Massachusetts, once again, lays parental responsibility at the feet of corporate America.
One of the litigants, Sherri Carlson, apparently has a difficult time trying to get her three young children to eat well. Carlson said, "They turn on Nickelodeon and see all those enticing junk food ads. Adding insult to injury, we enter the grocery store and see our beloved Nick characters plastered on all those junky snacks and cereals."
Hey, here’s a newsflash Mrs. Carlson; you’re the parent! You’re supposed to be the one in control! Obviously you’re not and you’re children are still young! So stop whining and start parenting taking charge and responsibility for the nurture of YOUR children. And if you can’t, acknowledge you are simply not fit to be a parent. Lady, if you can’t control something like this, at this age, you have NO hope for the real issues of their lives as they grow a little older.

I am tired of our culture which has mastered shirking one’s responsibility finding someone else on which to lay the blame for failures of every stripe. This is just more of the same. I hope this suit is thrown out and pray for the nation’s children. If a parent cannot/will not control what their children puts into their mouths at age 5, they surely will not control what they put into their minds at age 12.
Most parents I know seem to think children just magically morph into creatures of wise choices and reasonable choosers. Look around; that’s is hardly the case. God gave children parents to wade through the swamp of infancy and adolescence—before them--clearing the way of alligators and snakes. He didn’t give them to send them out into the swamp only to sue the swamp director when their child gets bitten!
This one’s easy—Moms and Dads—start acting like Moms and Dads.

May 04, 2006

The DaVinci Code Frenzy

Ever heard of the DaVinci Code? Of course you have; and I am willing to bet that if you surveyed your church, you would find far more people who have read the Davinci Code than have read the Bible. And you’d probably find more people in your church who could tell you more about the DaVinci Code than about the book of Genesis.

So what’s the church’s answer? Special training to expose the DaVinci Code; telecast events; radio and T.V. lectures; DVD’s by various ministries and I am confident, a whole warehouse of mugs, hats, T-shirts, pins, pencils, stickers, iron on’s and you name it--geared toward debunking the DaVinci Code will be forthcoming.

And all of it is done with the most admirable intentions. But sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh--what are we doing?

The church of Jesus Christ, across the board, is Biblically ignorant. A recent Barna poll showed that 51% of those who describe themselves, as “very committed or moderately committed Christians” believed Jesus sinned while He was on Earth. Need I say more?

So while I believe in being able to intelligently discuss contemporary issues like The DaVinci Code, we have a much bigger challenge than just doing a fly-by on another crazy tangent of our culture chasing Hollywood fiction as if it were, well, Gospel truth. Honestly, I think we are taking this book and soon-to-be movie, a bit too seriously.

And then when the DaVinci Code has come and gone--remember the Celestine Prophecy-- what we will be left with is still an amazingly, overwhelmingly, Biblically ignorant church. Then when the next work of fiction that assaults our Christian senses comes along, we can run off on another tangent.

So here’s my challenge to Christian leaders; how about really teaching the Scriptures—I’m not talking about ripping some worn out passage out of context and throwing together some vapid, and frankly, elementary “sermon” that wouldn’t even challenge a 5 year old. Good exposition takes work and study and prayer and meditation and more work, but we are called to teach the Word, not tickle the ears of our churchgoers with lollipop sentimentality. Flip to any of the myriads of Christian broadcasts on television and you’ll see exactly what I mean. It’s a disgrace to the character and mind of God.

So do what you must, but at the end of this latest diversion, start truly equipping the saints by helping them to understand the wonders of God’s Word—all of it, even the hard stuff! If we did much more of it, we wouldn’t have to worry about any DaVinci Code.

Prayer in Public School? No way!

There is another move a foot (or so it is rumored) to begin putting pressure on the public schools of our nation to reinstate prayer. If this is true—and I have reason to doubt that it is—this may surprise you but I am against it!

Look, let’s use our heads for a few seconds and think about both the history and the current culture within our schools. If prayer was somehow allowed could you imagine how utterly sanitized of any and every semblance of truth any allowable would be?

Or maybe it would be a prayer after the fashion of one of my old Army chaplains who, leading us in prayer afternoon began by saying, “Let us each pray to our own God in our way…”

Is that what Christians really want? I don’t! Jesus warned in Luke 17 about stumbling blocks; stumbling blocks is anyone who leads someone down a path that is not biblically true.

Any allowable prayer in our public schools would serve only to confuse even more our little ones with impressionable minds and worse, lead them astray giving them the idea that any spirituality, any deity, any expression of religion or faith is just as good as another. Obviously Jesus didn’t agree with such a ridiculous and deadly notion. That is why He pronounces a “Woe!” to any and all who lead someone astray even if well intentioned.

Let’s a get a grip. Prayer is not prohibited in schools now anyway. I prayed in school regularly and frequently and, old as I am, prayer was banned in my day as well. But the very nature of prayer cannot be contained by an external force or written law. Sure the public, audible prayers over an intercom can be prohibited but no one can stop your child or you from praying anywhere anytime.

Prayer in the public schools; not on your life-- They can’t even get the simple, straightforward, incontestable facts of biology, and history right, why would you want to have some administrators butcher the mysterious and holy? I wouldn’t!

Moussaoui Sentence Shows Failure of Our System

Zacarias Moussaoui has been spared the death sentence and that is an outrage! You can say what you want about our system of justice and trial by jury and how the jury has spoken and sing the praises of America’s trial system but at the end of the day, it failed.

Experts in prosecutorial law were even baffled by the sentence of life in prison rather than the penalty of death since he was convicted of crimes that were capital in nature. But even though the jury is screened concerning any possible ideological opposition to capital punishment, the fact is it only takes one person—one ideologue to lie in the screening process—and this is the result. Some believe this was nothing more than someone’s ideological opinion about the death penalty.
At his sentencing last Thursday Moussaoui, said “God save Osama bin Laden'' and, “We will come back another day.” It is that last statement that is the very reason God implemented the death sentence in the first place. It was an act of mercy toward civilized society to rid itself of uncivilized people who would “come back another day” and do capital harm to innocent people.
To make matters worse, France is already talking about trying to have the United States hand Moussaoui over to serve out his sentence there. (Remember this is the country that effectively fought against the United States every step of the way in bringing mass murderer Sadam Hussein to justice and cut secret deals with Iraq for oil.)
So now, the American people get to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars caring for this man for the rest of his life. It is God’s job to judge this murderer; it was our job to arrange the meeting and we failed.
Some have said, “But, he has been deprived of his martyrdom.” I am not impressed by such a consideration nor do I find any consolation in this. If he was given what “he wanted” it seems some tend to forget that as soon as he leaves this Earth, he will not be greeted by a harem, but by a holy God.
Sure, in the grand scheme of things, justice will be done; it’s just too bad in this case we have to wait.