October 26, 2006

"A Whole Lot a Shakin Goin On..."

I don’t know if you have seen the political commercial with Michael J. Fox gyrating strangely as he touts the necessity of voting for Missouri Democrat, Claire McCaskill. When Rush Limbaugh commented that Fox was either exaggerating his symptoms or he hadn’t taken his medication--to heighten the effect of the ad—public outrage followed.

Remember Solomon’s words—“Every man’s way seems right until another comes and examines him.”

Listening to the reports of what Limbaugh was said to have said, would make most civil people red. Problem is, the media rarely get such stories right and this is no exception. I heard Limbaugh, the day after, explaining his comments: They were not what was being reported. (Now there’s a surprise for you.)

As I am fond of saying, “Let’s get a grip.” The clear intent of the ad was to compel people to vote for a candidate who will support the murder of embryonic humans in hopes of finding cures for such diseases as Parkinson’s which afflicts Fox.

The science of the issue however is NEVER mentioned because the science clearly undermines any notion that there is even remote promise to such research. But liberals are never ones to let facts—scientific or otherwise—dissuade them from their position.

Now back to Limbaugh—In a book about his plight written by Fox, he admits that when he testified before congress, he purposefully refrained from taking his medication expressly so that his symptoms would be heightened so that all may see, not only hear, what the disease is really like.

Frankly, I don’t have a problem with Fox doing so and for those reasons. But the point which must be made is that it seems Limbaugh—like him or not—was right.

But right and wrong today have become essentially irrelevant. The only thing that matters is who can make the biggest impact, through whatever means, that will give the desired outcome. When I heard various outspoken liberals decrying Limbaugh’s comments about Fox and calling Limbaugh shameful, my stomach was churning. The very people using the word are exemplars of vile, filth and all manner of scurrilous conduct and comportment. Can we talk about what is really shameful?

Same Tune, Different lyrics

Sometimes I feel like a broken record. I know many of these commentaries have familiar themes or even identical themes played to a different tune. But I also know that unfortunately, the heart and mind of man is exceedingly quick to forget what happened just a couple days before.
So when we hear of incredible scandals, horrific news, and even major tragedies, it truly is “out of sight; out of mind.” I really believe that if we showed the morning of Sept. 11th 2 or three times per year, our resolve concerning many issues would be quite different. But that’s not the world we live in so I keep bringing new examples of the same old problems to show that nothing has changed for the better and usually something has changed for the worse.
That’s why I have to tell you about Luis Padilla—a Christian who works—uh, worked for Cargill. His offense? Apparently he had signs on his truck—his privately owned truck, in support of a proposed state constitutional amendment to protect marriage that will appear on November's ballot. The horrible signs read, "Marriage -- Vote Yes."
You probably could hum the tune from this point on. Other employees did not share his view and complained so the company ordered him to remove the signs—from his own vehicle. Padilla refused and was fired.
Now here’s what I love. The company spokesman said, "He was asked to do something relatively simple -- remove from his truck two signs that several employees complained about. He did not do that." “He wasn’t fired for his political views but for insubordination.” Nice try.
Well, I truly hope Padilla pursues this and if he does I am confident he will win—eventually. It’s not the final disposition that concerns me but the fact that it happened and is not uncommon. The Bill of Rights applies to everyone not just to liberals, homosexuals, criminals, pedophiles and perverts. So while we are Christians living in a country of laws, we have every right--dare I say an obligation--even under a Biblical rubric, to challenge such injustices.
So Cargill, get those pocket books open; first to pay your lawyers and then to pay Mr. Padilla because this one—even in our warped nation is a slam dunk—at least for the time being.

A Truth Few are Willing To Hear

Once again I want to reiterate with yet another example of how wrong the media are to portray the rise of Islamic Jihadists, as a result of American military action in Iraq.

We don’t hear much out of Ethiopia since Black Hawk Down—the story of 18 soldiers and two helicopters lost in Mogadishu but it’s worth paying attention to now. Muslim Jihadists have been training and in recent days, attacking Christians and churches. 31 Christians have been killed and churches are either burned down or converted to Mosques. 3,000 Christians have been displaced in less than a week of attacks according to a World article, Oct. 21.

But the violence is not simply against Christians but holy war has been declared against the Horn of Africa.

Do you understand the magnitude of what is going on here? We are being told day in and day out that all the world’s woes are a result of American imperialism when in reality many of the world’s woes are a result of faithful Muslims taking their Koran’s seriously and carrying out the teachings of their doctrine. Muslims do not hate Americans. Muslims hate anyone who does not share their faith including other Muslims of different sects.

Former victim of living under Islamic rule, Bridgette Gabrielle, speaking before the Heritage Foundation asked angrily, if it is true that these terrorists are “extremists who have hijacked true Islam, then where are the millions of Muslims protesting the hijacking of their faith by this counterfeit? That’s a paraphrase but the gist is accurate. She makes a big point.

Jesus in Luke chapter 20 speaks about the days of persecution to come. The Diaspora was soon to follow but He was also intimating of the days yet to be fulfilled. Those days, I believe are upon us. Life as we know it is going to change even more drastically than we can picture at the moment; partly because we are naïve and partly because we are blinded by a godless carnality suffering judgment for the same.

Our days are numbered I am convinced and how well we live these numbered days is important. A change of priorities in how we use our time and expend our energies and spend our resources is voluntary for the moment. But a rearrangement of our lives will become mandatory for survival. Doesn’t it make sense to pattern our lives for the future now, when we can make those calls, rather than later when they will be made out of necessity? Few do, and few will.

October 24, 2006

Values Voters Stay home? How Dumb Is That?

Unless you have trashed Satan’s one eyed electronic missionary (AKA the television) stay off the internet, are oblivious to the radio and refuse to gaze down at a news stand, you know that there is a battle raging that revolves around control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are prognostications of gloom and doom for the so-called, “values voters” with the revelation of the Mark Foley perversion scandal. This is oddly grounded in some peculiar notion that Foley was the last straw for “values voters” and we will be sitting this election out in disgust, frustration or just to “send a message” to the so-called “party of values.”

Now, as sick as I am of politics—and I assure you I am--and all that surrounds it, let’s take a chill pill, set aside our fleshly, irrational emotions, and remain clear headed.

If the local police department of your community was racked with corruption, and incompetence, would you advocate for dissolving the police force and simply allow the “natural forces” of the community to assume the duties of law enforcement?

The sane answer is “NO!” So let’s put out of our minds, any idea that, “We’re just going to sit this next election out.” The answer is indeed to send a message, certainly, but the clearest message to send is the one your vote expresses. If one bad apple spoils the whole bushel, isn’t the answer to remove the bad apple, not throw out the bushel and stop eating apples?

Believe me, I have a desire to just back out of everything and “Let them eat cake!” The main problem with that is I am not willing to pay the price for doing so as I too would be subject to the consequences of Philistine rule.

As much as I despise the hypocrisy, and deceit that has become part and parcel of American politics, God still holds us accountable to stem the tide of godlessness in the community in which we each live. We may not be able to change a thing, but God doesn’t hold us responsible for the outcome, only what we did or failed to do. “If salt loses its saltiness…it becomes good for nothing…”

So, I’ll see you at the polls on Election Day.

October 20, 2006

Mara Liasson Slips?

The impromptu interchanges between liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans have proven interesting confirming what many conservatives have said and have known all along. That the Republican party, on the whole, does make a claim to the moral high ground more fairly representing “traditional” (I would say “Biblical”) values than does the party of Democrats.

During past elections, the liberals would snit and fume vociferously refuting the claim, touting themselves as the party of virtue and values.

But being confronted with the profound hypocrisy in the way the party of Democrats has dealt with their own past scandals of a sexual nature, (Studds, Frank, Clinton) and their crying for the head of Republican bystander Dennis Hastert on a platter, some interesting admissions have come forth.

Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for NPR Radio, was asked by Britt Hume how come there seems to be such a difference in the way people have reacted to the Foley scandal demanding firings, resignations, and reprisals when the Democrats have had far worse scandals occur with far less uproar and consequence?

Maybe Ms. Liasson was unprepared but her answer is telling. She admitted that Republicans do seem to fare worse and have greater consequences in these sex scandals and stated that the reason was because the Republican Party is the party of values and morality whereas the party of Democrats is not.

I waited for her to back peddle after realizing what she said, but she never blinked. So there you have it from the mouth of one I consider a spokesman for the liberal cause.
Interestingly, Mara Liasson was not the only I heard say this but the same essential answer was repeated by several big name party officials.

Remember that the next time the issues are debated and once again you hear a godless liberal trying to claim moral equivalence, or superiority, to a Bible believing conservative. When pushed, they concede they are not committed to the same moral framework as the party accused of being in the pocket of fundamentalist Christians.

No party is beyond criticism that is for sure; but when you are looking for the lesser of two evils, the choices become much clearer.

Who Are the Poor?

Who are the poor? Sound like a simple question? Well I wish it was. I think I have a pretty good idea of who the “poor” are by the assessment of our culture but that’s not what I am talking about.

What I want to know is who are the “poor” the Bible refers to; don’t be too quick to answer. I don’t think it has much to do with gross or net income. I say that because there was a time—actually a fairly protracted time in my earlier years when I was just starting out as a family. I was in school, trying to work, trying to support that family and truly doing my best to make ends meet and with God’s blessing, I did. But according to the government’s standards, we were officially “poor.” But that was the only indication we had that we were so.

We had a decent place to live, plenty of food, we had medical care when it was needed, and frankly we even had a number of what I would call luxuries and treats. I certainly didn’t feel poor.

As I commenced my third career in pastoral ministry with a family of five, we were again “poor.” Or so we were told. Again, we didn’t feel poor.

So who are the poor we’re supposed to help out in times of need? Is it the person whose income is at the poverty level because he doesn’t work even though he can? (The Bible uses strong language about that person.)

Is the person who is on “disability” many of whom I have known are certainly able to do some kind of work but have a doctor’s excuse so they are poor?

Is it the person who has been utterly irresponsible with the income he has but finds himself poor because he lives beyond his means?

Is the person considered “poor” by biblical standards if they made a really bad or many bad life-changing decisions yet they were warned by scores of friends about making such decisions?

I would really like to know because I know many people who are in many of the situations I have mentioned and I just get all twisted over where does compassionate benevolence end and irresponsible enabling of sin begin?

I’m serious, I really want to know. Any ideas? Please post a comment!

October 17, 2006

Next Time You Want to Complain About the Weather...

In the life of a pastor we are used to hearing tales of woe, stories of sorrow and epochs of heartache. Some are truly gut wrenching, but not just a few are complaints about the daily disappointments of life. To the one going through an experience like not getting the job applied for, or having the car they had their eye on sold out from under them, is really a trial. But candidly, sometimes pastors want to slap the person and say quit your whining for Pete’s sake and put your life in perspective.

That’s what Sadie does for me. Sadie has been at our church since she was a little child; she is now a robust teenager. She was adopted out of a horrible family situation by two parents of our church who love Christ. Sadie came into the world with several strikes against her. Not the least of which is that she was born with spina bifada.

The pronouncements every step of the way were always filled with gloom and doom. “She will have limited capabilities” “She will be wheel chair bound for life” “She won’t be able to adjust to social settings and won’t be able to have a normal child hood.” “She won’t; she can’t; she shouldn’t; it won’t be possible…on and on the “support” from the professional community went.

Sadie’s life has been filled with pain, emotional and physical; she has had more surgeries in her 16 years than ten people I know have had in their life times. If someone has a right to complain it’s Sadie.

So last Summer I’m leaving the church one Saturday morning and some kids from our youth group were out digging and raking and planting bushes around their youth center. And then I saw her. Sadie, balanced precariously between her crutches—forget a wheel chair—with shovel or rake, I’m not sure which. She was helping improve the appearance of “her” youth center. And the tears welled up in my eyes even as they are doing as I write; not out of pity for Sadie, but out of disgust with myself and the nature of my life’s complaints.

So here’s to you Sadie B. for helping me to keep looking up. And here’s to your parents who are big part of the reason you are who you are!

October 13, 2006

Harry Reid Learns What Matthew 7:1 Really Means!

“Stop judging others and you will not be judged. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged.” Matthew 7:1

Although this is one of the most frequently misunderstood and misapplied passages in the Bible, it could prove a real bugaboo for Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid. We can only hope.

Reid, one of the most outspoken loud mouths demanding the resignation of Dennis Hastert for supposedly not doing enough in the Mark Foley affair, has been found to have made over $1 million on a shady land deal in Las Vegas.

The deal, which had something to do with crafty corporations and shady colleagues, was grounded in a government land swap. Not only did Reid make a quick million, but he hid the deal from Congress and Reid’s colleague, who essentially cut the deal, is a former Casino lawyer whose name was part of an organized crime investigation.

When Reid was contacted by the AP about the story, he hung up on them. And hear is my point.

Republican leader Hastert has been baked in the flames of liberal rhetoric as liberals hope to score in the upcoming elections. Hastert though, has not done anything wrong in the remotest sense as compared to what Reid has admitted. Now since, Reid has been the leader of the band insisting on Hastert’s resignation from his leadership position with the Republican Party, since he is unfit to continue in Reid’s estimation. It seems only proper and consistent that Reid, by his own belligerent and baseless condemnation of Hastert, offer his own resignation—uh, for the good of the party of course.

Yes, I have over simplified Reid’s predicament but unlike like Hastert who has not been shown to have done anything wrong—other Democrats have stated clearly that Reid should have disclosed the deal and was wrong for not doing so. Do you get it? “Judge not” Mr. Reid, for by “whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged.” By your own measure, that seems only good and right and fair, does it not?

Ah, the sweet aroma of justice. And it’s only a portent of REAL justice; ultimate justice, JUST justice when the Just One returns. All I can say is, Glory!

October 12, 2006

Father of Slain Columbine Student Speaks Out

After the unfathomable shootings of the little girls in Pennsylvania, Brian Rohrbough was given the opportunity to comment on the event. Why Brian Rohrbough? Because his son was shot and killed in the Columbine murders a few years back.

In answer to “How such a horrific event could take place,” Rohrbough responded. (This is only a part of is comments.)

“This country is in a moral free-fall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak, without moral consequences and life has no inherent value.

We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong. And I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children.

Suicide has become an acceptable action and has further emboldened these criminals. And we are seeing an epidemic increase in murder-suicide attacks on our children.

Sadly, our schools are not safe. In fact, we now witness that within our schools. Our children have become a target of terrorists from within the United States.”

Since this came on ABC’s News broadcast with Katie Kouric in a segment called, “Freedom of Speech” you can probably imagine the uproar over Rohrbough’s comments which were called repugnant. Reading Kouric’s blog about this father’s assessment, there were those who found him to be essentially as heinous, by implication, as Roberts, the man who shot the girls.

“The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty…” 24:4-6

To a large degree, people don’t want answers that are truthful; they want affirmation for their sins. Politics won’t change any of this; we should have at least learned this over the past six years.

Isaiah wrote again, “Only when you come to judge the Earth will people turn from their wickedness and do what is right.”

And then it will be too late…

October 01, 2006

Some Things Are As Easy As ABC

According to a World magazine article from this past week, U.S. aid to Africa has risen 67 percent which includes a $15 billion commitment over the next five years to fight AIDS. While that should be a feather in the President’s cap, where AIDS activists are concerned, it is just another failure.

The initiative of the administration is called the ABC approach to the deadly disease which stands for Abstain from sex; Be faithful to one partner; and use Condoms. In Uganda, where the program has been in full force for several years, there has been a rather remarkable decrease in the spread of HIV. But now that U.S. dollars—big dollars—enter the picture, from under the sheets creeps all manner of wretched contenders vying for those dollars and there is one consistent theme.

We demand you must help us in this crisis but “DON’T TELL US WE SHOULDN’T HAVE SEX.” Telling is the comment from locals of a Kenyan fishing village where AIDS is rampant. “Traditionally, among us Luo people most of our customs end with sex…whether it is planting season or when you want to harvest, everything ends with sex.”

Well, that’s wonderful—I say sarcastically but here’s the bottom line. If you want U.S. help for the problem, help which goes to the core of the problem, then you do it the U.S.’s way. Otherwise, you are making the choice—in freedom—to make your decisions, but do not expect the U.S. to fund your lethal habits.

For my liberal critics who will be incensed with such a remark as being a typical example of western imperialism, (or as one critic called it in the article—Neo-Colonialism) get a grip. No one is demanding they change their precious—and deadly—habits of worshiping their genitals. They are free to continue to do so. But IF they want our “neo-colonial” aid for the problem, they will have to adopt the medically sound concepts of

Compassion, humane consideration, and cultural freedom do not necessitate funding pernicious behaviors. That is not disrespecting cultures or shunning multi-culturalism, that is practicing good science and embracing responsible use of what is ours, not theirs.

Our generosity is available but enabling medically risky behavior is like funding the alcoholic’s addiction. Do it with your money, not mine.

No country is as benevolent as America—but that doesn’t mean we can be irresponsible with all we have been blessed.