May 30, 2008

My Swan Song...

Well this is it--my Swan Song! After five years--that's over 700 commentaries--dealing with "everything pertaining to life and godliness" to use Peter's words, I am hanging it up.

Life as pastor of a church that is much larger than our staff can handle, means something has to give way and these commentaries were one of the only things I can really afford to eliminate. I have enjoyed writing them as I am certain that as Christians we need to be informed and we need to be able to converse with the culture in which we live. Too few Christians are able to do that.

My commentaries were designed to inform people of current events that demonstrate the level of decline of the culture at large (that's no surprise) but also the level of apostasy (that is, the waywardness) of those who wear the name of Christ. It was and is my belief that our culture has declined to the point where it is, in part, due to those wearing the name of Christ either being apathetic toward the condition of their own community, or being unable to converse with their community due to a lack of A. common sense and B. knowledge of the Scriptures and
. biblical wisdom (which in my book means Scriptures applied).

My commentaries were not particularly intended to be an "evangel" each and every time I wrote but in many instances were to be pre-evangelistic in the sense that it is difficult to accept a plan of salvation when you don't even realize you have a need. I know from many testimonies from people, that my method of dealing with the real world in which we live opened a door to their hearts that had never been opened. They had no place in their head for "religion" but as one man told me recently, "I made so much stinking sense, that [he] had to listen." Praise the Lord--it is His Spirit that draws people.

But fact remains, the very purpose of the Law and the whole sacrificial system was to underscore the hopelessness of man to make himself right with God. It was to drive people to a point of despair seeing the impossibility of pleasing a holy God thus compelling them to be open to a "better way" the way of Grace--when the Messiah appeared.

Then of course there were those who wished I had somehow entered into the great controversies of election, sovereignty, and free will (or lack thereof) all in the span of my allotted 120 seconds. It just became exceedingly wearing.

The cure for mankind, for our culture, for the planet is nothing more and nothing less than Jesus. But even that message has been so perverted, warped, and twisted, you cannot even be sure what people are understanding of words that used to have common understanding. Talking about salvation, sin, heaven and hell and even the person of Jesus takes explanation and qualification in our culture of designer religion and biblical ignorance.

So if some have been challenged to at least pause and think rationally for a moment, and if some have been spurred on to do something within their own sphere of influence and ultimately if some have come to Christ or a better understanding of the profound love of God and the lengths He has gone to get our attention, then it was well worth the time spent. Only eternity will reveal the answer to that.

This is pastor Bill Cripe signing off still and always looking up for a heavenly perspective!

May 23, 2008

Global Warming or Global Con?

Are you ready for the new religion? It's not really new; just a new sect of Darwin's religion of evolution called Global Warming. I understand why so many are being sucked in to this new faith system. It is hard not to succumb when there is an incessant advocacy and ever growing acceptance of the new dogma. It is a great example of how effective constant repetition can be especially when you mix a little bit of truth with a big helping of non-provable speculation.

If you are informed by listening to the main stream influences of our day, global warming is as much a proven fact--as Evolution. Therein lays the problem. It is anything BUT a proven fact and even if the warming aspect was proven, the cause is anything but. But that's not what we are led to believe.

So here this well! From the Pastor's Weekly Briefing of Focus on the Family, "More than 31,000 scientists across the U.S. — including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s in fields such as atmospheric science, climatology, Earth science, environment and dozens of other specialties — have signed a petition rejecting "global warming," the assumption that the human production of greenhouse gases is damaging Earth's climate."

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate," the petition states. "Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

But isn't becoming "more green" a good thing and consistent with God's command that we be good stewards of what He entrusted to us? In other words, even if global warming isn't caused by humans in a significant way, isn't it a great thing to protect what we have?

The answer is an emphatic NO, not if the measures taken to be "more green" substantially decrease the quality of human life around the globe. And that is exactly what would happen if the ludicrous elements of the Kyoto Treaty became international law.

Don't get me wrong; while my wife and I despise the whole "green" terminology we were "GREEN" long before it became a fashionable hypocrisy. So do some leg work instead of being a lemming following the "green" crowd over the cliff.

And for further reading here is the entire article from PWB.

More than 31,000 scientists across the U.S. — including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s in fields such as atmospheric science, climatology, Earth science, environment and dozens of other specialties — have signed a petition rejecting "global warming," the assumption that the human production of greenhouse gases is damaging Earth's climate.

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate," the petition states. "Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

The Petition Project actually was launched nearly 10 years ago, when the first few thousand signatures were assembled. Then, between 1999 and 2007, the list of signatures grew gradually without any special effort or campaign. But now, a new effort has been conducted because of an "escalation of the claims of 'consensus,' release of the movie 'An Inconvenient Truth' by Al Gore, and related events," according to officials with the project. In fact, in just the past few weeks, there have been various allegations that both shark attacks and typhoons have been sparked by "global warming."

Why the concern? The late Professor Frederick Seitz, the past president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and winner of the National Medal of Science, wrote in a letter promoting the petition, "The United States is very close to adopting an international agreement that would ration the use of energy and of technologies that depend upon coal, oil, natural gas and some other organic compounds. ... This [U.N.] treaty is, in our opinion, based on flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide in environmentally helpful."

Knee-jerk reactions with good intentions are causing more harm than help. The recent increase in the cost of food is one example of the consequences of diverting crops, such as corn, to the production of ethanol as a fuel source. The impact that steep corn price increases have had on food distribution to third-world countries has been profoundly negative, according to the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Art Robinson, spokesman and founder of the Petition Project, said the U.N. "global warming agreement," written in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, and other plans "would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage both the health and welfare of mankind." The list of scientists who have signed the Petition Project includes 9,021 Ph.D.s (which is 15 times more scientists than are seriously involved in the U.N.'s campaign to "vilify hydrocarbons"), 6,961 at the master's level, 2,240 medical doctors and 12,850 carrying a bachelor of science or equivalent academic degree.

Meanwhile, evangelical pastors, scientists and policymakers have launched another petition drive, We Get It, intended to spread the truth about global warming: That Christians should be good stewards of God's creation and that government policies and regulations based on "faulty science" will hurt people who should be helped.

"The 'We Get It' declaration speaks for me, and I believe it speaks for the vast majority of evangelicals, who are as tired as I am of being misrepresented by people who don't bother to get their theology, their science or their economics right," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.). "Consequently, they put millions of the world's poor at risk by promoting policies to fight the alleged problem of global warming that will slow economic development and condemn the poor to more generations of grinding poverty and high rates of disease and early death."

The campaign, launched last week, hopes to gather one million signatures supporting the declaration that says God created the world, and that men and women, as Christians, have to take responsibility for that creation; that billions of people will suffer if careless environmental policies are put into place; and that Christians as a group need to take action to help the poor and protect the planet based on biblical truths, not political correctness, according to the Cybercast News Service.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, one of the founders and supporters of the We Get It campaign, said, "You can be green without being gullible. ... I'm afraid that the image that my children will remember is the image of naïve Americans who surrendered our national sovereignty [to U.N. demands] and the income of families to pursue environmental threats and science that are speculative at best."

May 21, 2008

America is Down With Divorce Being Up

"'…I hate divorce,' says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.'" Malachi 2:16

Like so many principles of "LIFE" which are ignored wholesale by even those who wear the name Christian, divorce is gaining acceptability.

According to Gallup's latest poll, 70% of Americans believe divorce is morally acceptable. "That is an 11 point increase from seven years ago." 11 points in 7 years--that is huge.

Another black mark against this once great nation is that 40 million children are shattered by the selfish ambition of one parent or both. That is 40 million future adults who will have a tainted view of marriage themselves thus perpetuating the ease with which divorce is obtained as a solution to one's "imagined happiness."

According to Citizen Link, "Mike McManus--Co-founder of Marriage Savers--said the 'Church is not doing its job.' 'The Church hardly ever preaches on the issue of divorce or cohabitation or marriage,' he said. 'It’s God’s first institution, but it’s often the Church’s last institution.'”

I have to agree with McManus to a big degree but fact remains, Christians--not churches--are responsible for their own actions and for their own spiritual integrity. The church is there to assist, not to take over. That being said, I DO believe that most churches have a very sloppy view of marriage and divorce and an even sloppier application of such principles.

Church discipline is virtually unheard of these days and when a church does attempt to actually observe the principles of Scripture regarding such discipline, the church--meaning the pastor--can take quite a hit even losing his position.

I say, that's no excuse for not acting on what is biblically proper. After all, at the end of the day, we will answer to the God who said, "What I have joined together let no man separate."

The least churches should be doing is making pre-marriage training mandatory. It's pretty straight forward at Faith; if you won't do the training, you won't be married by us.

McManus speaks in exaggerated terms when he says, that you can "divorce proof" marriage with the proper training. But I know first hand that in over 20 years of weddings which I have performed, I have had only one couple get divorced and they didn't complete their training. Maybe McManus isn't exaggerating after all…

May 20, 2008

Judges Ruling Makes Her An Accomplice To Crime

What on Earth is she thinking? I am referring to Justice Michaela Murphy who seems to have lost all manner of judgment concerning 59 year old William Donald from East Wilton.

Donald befriended a 14 year old boy (stop me if you've heard this one) and for a span of one year, Donald introduced this child to S & M along with all that goes along with sexual abuse.

This child's life is now altered for ever. As a pastor who has dealt with many of these situations, this child will now face a lifetime of dysfunction and will in all likelihood spread the infection to others. That just tends to be how this plays out.

So what "just" sentence did William Donald receive for ruining a little child's life? Judge Murphy--appallingly--gave Donald 6 months in jail. Judge Murphy "ordered" Donald not to have contact with anyone under the age of 16. I wonder if she sounded real fierce when she said that. We all know how effective such edicts are to the pedophile…

So why such a light sentence? Apparently Donald's minister wrote on his behalf extolling what a wonderful man he was noting his generous nature and charitable work. I can't believe Murphy swallowed that one. The same thing was said of Al Capone. In his neighborhood, he was known for his generosity and charity; sweet old mass murderer that he was…

I do not exaggerate when I tell you I am nauseated even writing about this. Honestly I would love to know who the pedophile's minister is. I would give him my counsel about civil process, punishment, rehabilitation and the horror of sexual abuse that pilfers the very life out of a person.

And in so far as Murphy's sentence is a mockery of her role in society and is a heinous miscarriage of justice, she shares in this child's life-long scarring and debilitation. I seriously hope that this 14 year old visits Murphy later on in life--after his second or third divorce, or after he has HIV or after he has been caught peddling kiddy porn and thanks Murphy for the impact she had on his life. With her offensive ruling trivializing his innocence and vulnerability she showed "compassion" for the real criminal and disdain for the innocent.

Skowhegan Schools Debate the Debated

Looks like the Scopes Trial is about to happen again--well sort of.

Skowhegan School administrative District 59 Director Matthew Linkletter wants to ban the teaching of evolution from the science curricula. Linkletter's basis for his ban is that evolution is unprovable theory and so should be withdrawn.

This may surprise many of you who know my absolute biblical world view and that I categorically reject Darwinian evolution out of hand. But Linkletter's attempt to do this on the basis that the theory is unprovable is not the right course of action. How many other "theories" are unprovable? Shall we discontinue to teach Einsteinian physics because they are theory? Actually every theory--by definition--is unprovable; if it were not, it would no longer be a theory but a fact.

Instead, Darwinian evolution should be withdrawn not simply because it is a theory but because it is a particularly BAD theory which not only is missing key supporting evidence, but there is abundance of evidence that mitigates against the very theory. It is such a bad theory that an objective scientist must--if he has any intellectual integrity, admit that any commitment to Darwin's version of origins must be done so in the arena of faith, not science.

The Central Maine newspapers cite David Connerty-Marin of the state's the Department of Education saying "Evolution must be taught because, in the state's view, it's a proven science." If this is an accurate statement the Governor should appoint a new education chief immediately because this man obviously has no idea what constitutes proven science. Honestly, I know of no one of any stripe--Christian or Atheist who would go that far.

Connerty-Marin's next statement is equally troubling: "Evolution", he says, "is not just a belief, or based on faith, it's based on scientific evaluation. The worldwide science community supports it."

If he truly believes that, he is woefully uneducated and need not be leading our state's educational system.

The informed truth reveals that many, very respected, scientists have disavowed Darwin's version of existence. The late Harvard, Paleo-anthropologist, Stephen J. Gould debunked Darwin's theory in virtually all his writings. Gould was an Atheist but a good scientist recognizing the difference between fact and fancy.

But evolution is indeed a religion and when trying to confront religious dogma--well watch out; no matter whose dogma it may be.

May 10, 2008

Not Involved, Don't Complain!

I received word that one of our musicians was going to be late for our Wednesday evening rehearsal for Sunday's service because she needed to attend her son's elementary school to preview a movie they were intending to show to the students of the school. The movie is titled, "Personal Body Safety." Given our day of lack of restraint, lack of common sense, and lack of common decency, I agreed this parent NEEDED to preview this film.

She showed up to worship practice a little late as she mentioned and I asked her how the film was. She replied that it was actually "O.K." And then she added, "There were 9 parents there including the people who were doing the projection. She paused and said, they mentioned how they were thrilled with the good turnout!"

I asked her how many were in her son's class. She said, "This was for the whole elementary school."

It actually was worse than it looked because there was a PTO meeting after the preview of this movie which means some of the people there would have been there anyway. Apparently, the last time something like this was done there were only 2 parents concerned enough to be there.

Let's get a grip here parents. We snit and fume and go on our tirades when we find out--after the fact--that the school our children attend has shown something or assigned something that incenses our sensibilities and yet our presence in the schools has been virtually non-existent for several decades now. So how on earth can someone complain about the nature of public education? And yet we do…

My children all graduated from Waterville High School. The school had its issues believe me but I or their mother or both were known--well known--by the administration and teachers of the school. And I trust they were thrilled when our children had graduated which meant no more Cripes!

A year or two after our youngest graduated, time and again someone would ask me if I was going to get involved with thus and such that was going on in the school system. Right or wrong, I said, "Nope. It's someone else's turn to take up the cause for their own children." My statement, I could tell, was not pleasing to the ones asking; and therein lies the problem; parents who are willing to abdicate their God-given responsibility for their children to someone else. And in my experience, Christians are no different.

Rev. Sharpton Needs Lesson in Race

The demand for justice is a God given attribute present in the soul of every person born.

Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes that God has set eternity in our heart and part and parcel of that is the innate desire for true justice. The problem with it all is that sin has tainted every fiber of our being such that true justice is sometimes hard for us to comprehend.

Enter, Sean Bell, a young black man who was gunned down by New York police as he and his buds were leaving a strip bar on the morning of wedding day. 50 shots were fired in all and his buddies were wounded while Bell was killed. As it turned out, the men were all unarmed and therein lies the outrage.

The pain is understandable and the outcome tragic but let clear thinking prevail and there is no reason to believe that anything but justice--as best as imperfect, fallen men can exercise it, was accomplished.

Three officers charged in the shootings were all found innocent of the charges of manslaughter. Protests commenced under the direction of the Rev. Al Sharpton with his obligatory cries of racism which is what fueled the outrage. There are just a few problems with Sharpton's ire.

First, the police officers' stories were corroborated and the stories of the witnesses were not. Just representation was exercised on behalf of Sean Bell and the judge found that the police officer's version of events was credible and the other's were not. The acquittal was legally proper. But what is more outrageous to me than the actual event is that Rev. Sharpton as always, first assumes guilt of the police and worse, always plays the race card. The problem in this situation is that two of the three police charged--were black.

Truth be told this country has an extraordinary record of justice for all. Justice for Sharpton though apparently means that if you're black--you must be innocent. What some cannot accept is that humans are not omniscient and knowledge of any given situation is always more astute after the fact. Our system is exemplary but not infallible.

Sean Bell and his buds may have in fact been "innocent" but their drunkenness, actions, location and time of night compelled those responsible for protecting others, as well as themselves, to take decisive, lethal action. In this case, the decision was apparently wrong, but it certainly was not the result of bad cops--worse still--racist cops flaunting their authority. It is an imperfect world and we should not expect perfect justice until the day of His return.

The world Is On The Brink--Again

What in the world is going on? I have written this same basic commentary before and that in itself is instructive. Since Jesus rose from the dead and returned to heaven, Christians throughout history have believed that they would see the return of the Lord in their lifetime. Just remember that as you continue to read.

Japan was rocked with a 6.8 magnitude earthquake last week and that was following the cyclone with an expected death toll of 100,000 amidst 1 million people are left homeless and fist fights are breaking out over supplies of food etc.

There have been 23 earthquakes around the world of greater than 5 magnitude and that has been only in the last 162 hours.

Last week in Chile, a long dormant volcano erupted causing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Israel announced that Iran will probably have nuclear capabilities by the end of this year and Iran has been working on cruise type missiles that can carry nuclear warheads without detection and which are impervious to anti-defense systems. If the significance of this escapes you, remember it is Iran's crazed leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has vowed the annihilation of Israel.

Currently they do not have the ability to do so. That little "problem" will be resolved if they obtain nuclear capabilities. Also be reminded though that Israel has a long standing "first strike" policy when it comes to verifiable threats against their nation. That is not because they are war-mongers but because they are so small that they could not sustain a first strike. They have shown that they mean business where this policy is concerned.

And if you thought the price of gas is obscene, wait until you see what the future holds. Forecasts are for oil to top $200 a barrel within the next two years. Gasoline is one thing; but what you can't heat your home in the dead of Maine Winter, we're talking real trouble.

What are we to say?

"Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me." Psalm 31:2-3

He is the Rock that is mightier than I!

May 01, 2008

More Spurious Rulings From the Nation's Favorite Court

It has been a time since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has made one of their bone headed, non-constitutional rulings asserting their own social agenda rather than interpreting existing law. So here ya go as I read verbatim from the source.

"The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that a roommate-finding Web site cannot require users to disclose their sexual orientation., which offers more than 100,000 rental listings on its site, receives over 50,000 visits per day.

In its 8-3 ruling, the court said that inquiring electronically about sexual orientation is no different than asking people in person or by telephone if they are black or Jewish before conducting business."

Okay whenever the 9th Circuit issues an edict you have suspend rational thought, and you have to poke yourself in the eye with a pencil three times to prepare yourself for their ingenious sculpting of imaginary legislation.

My first point is that this private company has a business to line up perspective roommates and I trust compatibility and comfort is big reason someone would utilize such a website in the first place. I doubt that anyone wishes to obtain the most intimate of living situations only to find out that you are grossly incompatible.

My second point is that there is no similarity between someone who defies natural selection, natural biology and natural law, with someone who is black or Jewish. If I were black or Jewish I would highly offended. Furthermore, shouldn't a black person know if they are signing a contract to live with the Grand-dragon of the KKK?

"Attorney Timothy Alger, speaking in defense of the Web site, said that 'This decision represents a significant departure from what has been settled law across the country. We believe the government has no business regulating the selection of roommates or advertising for roommates.'" Not in a sane world but then we are talking about the 9th circuit Court right?

The next decision by this panel of over-educated social engineers will probably be telling the myriad of match-making web services they can no longer ask the sex of the inquirer? Sound crazy? You just wait and see!