Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

A REAL Declaration of Independence

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Here in the US we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July. That is the day that we signed a piece of paper absolving our ties with the British Crown. It was a hard day for those who signed that document. As Benjamin Franklin said upon signing the document, “We must all hang together because if we don’t, we shall surely hang seperately”. Many of these men died for their loyalty to their new “family”. THAT is loyalty and love that knows no bounds.

There’s a stronger bond however. That of a mother’s love for her kids. Mothers, whether human or any other animal, are the most violent creatures on the planet when it comes to defending their children. Human mothers have another problem though. They are almost as loyal to the father of their children as they are to their children themselves. Almost.

Should there come an event or a behavior from the father that endangers a mother’s children, the mother is faced with a problem the likes of which I am frankly glad I will never face. The love of a husband, lover, and friend set diametrically opposed to the welfare of her children. To maintain her relationship with the man she loved enough to share children with she must expose their children to a behavior that isn’t “child friendly”. She must make a decision. Many MANY women fail to make the right decision. Only a few extraordinary women and exemplary mothers make the right call.

This one has just made the right call. She has made her Declaration of Independence. God Bless and Protect her during the trials that will surely follow.

You get a Half Horse-Half Gator for this call BTW….this is an honor I don’t just hand out to anyone. 😉 Love you in that Boss/Friend/Platonic kind of way. 😉

Thankful

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Tonight while making another “last trip” to the grocery I ran into a couple representin’ the honored 101st ABN with jackets and caps. I had to ask…

“Excuse me, did you serve?”

“Yeah, I was a door gunner and now our son is in Iraq.” He said as his wife was selecting spices from the rack. Before I could thank him he continued. “He was shot yesterday but he’s going to be fine.”

His wife turned away from the rack and I could see the redness in here eyes. I was speechless. I shook the proud father’s hand and thanked him for his service and sacrifice. Looked again to the scared mother and simply said God Bless you.

I bet this Thanksgiving is one that family will never forget.

What am I thankful for? Obviously my family and extended family. Like Blackfive, I’m also thankful for the troops. Today, however, I am especially thankful for loving parents of boys and girls who stand ready to do violence on our behalf. The sacrifice these parents make, the tears of worry they shed, the holes in the heart created by two men in Dress Uniforms paying an unwelcome visit have to be as cruel as any battlefield. There are no ribbons for their personal war. No embedded reporters and for damn sure there isn’t a “time table for withdrawal”.

Thank you military Moms and Dads. It’s because of you we have the kind of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines that we have. God Bless you all.

“This Nation, Under God,…”

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Whoda thunk the LA Times would allow such an article as this to be printed in their OP/ED pages!

I present them here for safe keeping without comment…because no comment is necessary.

Lincoln’s words, our pledge
DAVID GELERNTER

November 18, 2005

THE PLEDGE OF Allegiance has been in legal jeopardy for years, all because it contains the words “under God” — a phrase Abraham Lincoln stamped on the American consciousness when he used it on Nov. 19, 1863, 142 years ago, in the Gettysburg Address.

The pledge originated in 1892, was modified in 1923 and again in 1924, and most recently in 1954 when the words “under God” were added. In 2004, and again in 2005, a California atheist named Michael Newdow filed lawsuits claiming that it was unconstitutional for children to be asked to say the pledge in public schools. In September, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled for Newdow. Inviting students to say the pledge violates their right to be “free from a coercive requirement to affirm God,” he wrote. Presumably the pledge — or at least the words “under God” — will wind up being vetted by the Supreme Court.

One of the tragedies in all of this is the attempt to remove history’s footprint from the pledge. The pledge asks children to state their allegiance to ” … one nation, under God … ” Lincoln spoke the words “this nation, under God” at the spiritual center point of American history. Today they remind us (or ought to) of how hard this nation has struggled and how dearly it has paid to move closer to its own sublime declaration that “all men are created equal.”

Lincoln hated slavery. But he led the Northern states into the Civil War for only one stated, official reason: to hold the Union together by preventing the Confederate states from seceding. At the start of the fighting, public opinion would not have supported a war to end slavery. But as casualties mounted, the public’s ideas shifted, and Lincoln felt them shifting. (As soldiers die in war, Americans raise their sights — as they have in Iraq. If Americans are to die, they must die for the greatest, noblest cause the public and its leaders can imagine.)

In September 1862, Lincoln dramatically changed the war’s character by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. As of Jan. 1, 1863, all slaves in rebellious regions of the country “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Lincoln saw the proclamation as a first step. Eventually all slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment in 1865.

The Emancipation Proclamation “lifted the Civil War to the dignity of a crusade,” wrote Samuel Eliot Morison, Henry Steele Commager and William E. Leuchtenburg in their classic history, “Growth of the American Republic.” But crusades can succeed or fail. When the proclamation was issued, no one knew whether the North could beat the South and enforce the president’s dramatic edict.

The question was answered on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of July 1863, in the bloody battle of Gettysburg. On the Union side alone, roughly 23,000 men were killed, wounded or missing. There was far more fighting ahead, but after Gettysburg there was virtually no doubt that the Union would win — and at last be in a position to free the slaves and start on the long, hard road to justice and reunification.

By delivering the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln built a sacred shrine out of words on the most important battlefield in American history — a small shrine, of wonderful beauty, that reminds us why an earlier generation of Northerners fought, bled and died to win the Civil War: So that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”

Lincoln added the words “under God” at the last minute. They don’t appear in drafts of the speech prepared beforehand. But he included them in copies he made afterward, and historians believe he said them in the speech. Lincoln had grown steadily more religious as he grew older. As his political and spiritual genius flowered, he re-conceived America as a nation where high ideals were not just words on parchment, they were marching orders, principles to fight and die for.

“It is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence,” he said, “and if I can learn what it is, I will do it.” He wished to be a “humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people.” He knew well that Americans are far from perfect. But he believed in their duty to make themselves better.

When we invite our children to say the pledge, including “one nation, under God,” we are asking them to repeat Lincoln’s phrase, and perhaps even to feel his presence. Children who were reared as atheists, whose parents are wiser than Lincoln on the subject of God, are free to keep quiet.

And even if children should feel coerced by peer pressure (as the lawsuits have argued) to say that terrible G-word, they won’t be magically converted into Christians or Jews or God-believers of any stripe. In fact, children who don’t believe in God might still like to be reminded how Lincoln saw this nation, might like to test drive the worldview of the man who saved the Union and set it on the path to justice.

If that’s unconstitutional, we have made a serious mistake somewhere along the line. If we have any guts, we will go back and put it right.

Pray. Hard.

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

From Reuters - Woman on I10 escaping New Orleans
[Reuters]

I took a walk tonight trying to figure out what I thought about this nightmare unfolding in New Orleans and environs. I have the same numb feeling I had watching the Indian Ocean Tsunami footage. The only thing I can do is pray. People often think praying is about talking with God. An actual conversation. How do you pray when you can’t find the words?

It’s easy really. God knows your heart. He feels your pain. As I walked around Shakertown tonight I carried a pen and pad waiting for the inspiration. Finding only a sunken, aching heart and that slight stinging sensation behind the eyes that comes before the tears, I sat down by the pond and just cried silently. I said nothing but I know God heard my cries of anger at Him for letting this happen. I know God heard my cries of help for those who still can’t be heard by the searchers. I know God heard my cries for Mercy for the injured, thirsty, lost, hungry, and the safe ones like Wizbang who can now carry all their worldly possessions in a small bag.

I’ll give my treasure to help the victims and feel just as guilty for not giving more as I did for the Tsunami victims.

I’ll also pray and know that God weeps too.

Verse 2:

This is for the widow, who now must sleep alone
When the memory of a kiss will have to do
Every night when she lays down, you can almost hear the sound
When God weeps too

Chorus:

God weeps too, God weeps too
Though we question Him for all that we go through
Still it helps me believe and my pain it does relieve
When I think that, God weeps too

Questions from the web…

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

[UPDATE: Joel said it was alright for me to publish his name here. The post that started this is here.]

Joel Esler posted some questions on his blog the other night about Christianity in general. I had started to respond on his site but thought I might respond to his questions here so I can refer back to them. They are some interesting questions…

This post will be an attempt at answering the questions from *MY* Christian Perspective.

Here are the questions…there will be a quiz tomorrow…

Things I am confused about

1. If Jesus is God’s son, how are Jesus, God, and they Holy Spirit, one person? Isn’t that physically impossible? And when Jesus died, he said “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”. So Jesus Died. Gave his spirit to God, who again, is a different person. But I thought they were one?

Ah yes, the question of the Trinity(No Joel…not Carrie Moss). I never attended Seminary so you won’t see those $64 dollar words here that I’m sure Singlemind will chime in with. 😉

The best Earthly analogy I can come up with for the Trinity is that of a Board of Directors. A Board of Directors are a collection of individuals that function as a single entity. When “The Board” says jump, the employees say how high on the way up. When a Board member walks through the halls of a company the employees offer that person great deference.

The Christian Trinity is essentially the Board of Directors for the Faith. There are three members and they are all “The Chair”. Every vote of the Christian Board of Directors is tallied and the totals come up as 1 FOR and 0 AGAINST. I know it doesn’t make sense. Why doesn’t it make sense? Because God created us and there is no way for the creation to ever fully understand the creator. When the created begins to understand the creator then the created BECOMES the creator…and thus capable of utterly destroying itself.

To think of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the human sense you are taking away the very thing that sets them apart from us…their divine nature. So when you say:

If Jesus is God’s son, how are Jesus, God, and they Holy Spirit, one person? Isn’t that physically impossible?

you are mixing two completely different realities. In our physical world, yes…it is impossible. But God CREATED the physical world and can do with it as He pleases. In Heaven it will be quite clear as to how the three entities are one Entity. As long as we are living and part of this world we have no hope of fully understanding what makes the Trinity the Trinity….but I think the Board of Directors is about as close as it gets. 😉

2. Who is the Pope?

I’m going to push this off for another post I think. Big HUGE things to comment on with this and I touched on them in the comments of Joel’s post.

3. Who is right?

This one is tough to deal with and stay Politically Correct…but since when have I concerned myself with being PC? Seriously though, the answer to this question is a matter of Faith. If you have two people arguing over their fate if they jump from the top of the Sears Tower and one claims he can start flying before he hits the ground and will land back on top of the tower while the other one claims she will fall to her very messy death and then bounce about 3 feet into the air…who is right? Clearly the wise lady is right. She doesn’t have to jump to prove it because she has total FAITH in her decision. Her friend may tell her that if her faith was strong enough she could fly like he can but it won’t shake her Faith because she simply believes.

The Christian simply believes that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus. Nothing will shake their Faith…not even a good rant by Tom Cruise! We believe we are “right” and try like the dickens to bring other people to Faith because we don’t want to see anyone go to hell. Some folks take this whole evangelism thing to the extreme and they are wrong in doing so. Our task as Christians is to be here with answers for those who ask. We can’t bring anyone to faith in Christ. All we can do is try to live life as Christ would have us live it and let the non-believers see Christ in our daily lives. While we believe we are “right”, we should ALWAYS defer to the “seekers” judgement because it is THEIR decision to make. If it were my decision to make for others then everyone I meet would become Christian upon my laying eyes on them.

To see just how strongly we believe we are “right” you should just read this(and in the spirit of Fairness, here’s an counter point to Cassie Bernall’s story that I have to admit is intriquing and makes the same point).

Now then…all that being said…I’m sure that you will find Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Pagans, and any other religion followers claiming they are ALSO right. Debating the “rightness” of a religion or faith can lead to big nasty fights so I try to stay away from that. If it comes down to it I’m willing to simply say, “Well, we disagree then.” and leave it at that. I would rather maintain the relationship than to have the friend thinking I’m a pushy little twit and then inflating that perception to apply to ALL Christians. Unfortunately, there are some who do not hold my view.

4. Should we stop interpreting the Bible and start following it?

This question is a personal favorite of the entire list and I have to answer with a RESOUNDING YES! When I read the Bible I follow a very simple rule. If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense. That way there is no interpretation to do. It has been said that the Bible contains many contradictions, that the Bible was written by men and therefore mistakes should be expected, that the Bible has many great stories but those stories have no real power. I disagree with all of the above because I have complete FAITH that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. No one is going to convince me other wise. My next post is going to be what we Christian’s like to call my “Testimony” or the story of how I came to Faith. I’ll give a little spoiler here I guess.

From about 1988 to 1998 I was a practicing Gardnerian Witch. I never killed a single baby or sacrificed a single virgin. Never killed any livestock for the purposes of a “spell” or anything silly like that. I didn’t believe in a “devil”, “heaven”, “hell”, or any of the other Christian concepts except for the idea of a supreme higher power. While a Witch I saw and experienced many MANY things that were of a “spiritual” nature. I watched over days as bones were healed well ahead of their normal healing time. I have also felt the power of Scripture holding me back and changing my behavior. Wild allegations? I can see where some would say that but I say it’s the truth.

Why the spoiler? I use it to illustrate how Scripture was used against me with direct and immediate effect. No hollywood special effects or anything but when that guy quoted Jesus my breath was taken away. He didn’t scream or make a wild gesture…he just said it. For those that say the Bible has no power I say bullcrap because I’ve felt it.

5. How does the Bible fit into modern society? For example, Abortion.. Bible says it’s wrong… Okay… Well Someone rapes your 11 year old daughter, and she becomes pregnant.. is it wrong then? If you say, “Well the Rape should have never taken place in the first place” Good point. I agree.. But it happened… what now?

To answer this one could fill a library. I’ll take a stab though.

The Bible is essentially a book on relationships. How we are to interact with other individuals. I think “society” has twisted the Bible into a harsh rulebook with harsh penalties for breaking the rules. There are a few, a very few, folks who read harsh rules and punishments INTO the Bible and they are ROUNDLY condemned by the rest of the Christian Faith. Those bone heads that kill doctors who perform abortions is an excellent example of those who read harsh rules into the Bible. It’s these people that give “society” a reason to pigeon hole the Bible and Christians in general. Pity that. I don’t believe we can apply the Bible to any social strata because, again, it’s about individual relationships and not how groups of people should function. Now, if an entire group of people BELIEVE then each individual will interact with the other individuals as the Bible would have us interact and therefore by extension the entire group will function in accord with the Bible. To my knowledge there has NEVER been such a group of people that could pull this off without some trouble coming from somewhere.

To answer your direct hypothetical situation I have to give my own personal opinion. The 10 Commandments say do not murder. Killing an unborn infant is murder. Therefore allowing the 11 year old rape victim to have an abortion would be murder. That’s very legalistic and I believe it is extreme. If it’s my little girl we get the abortion because she isn’t ready to be a mother and her mother couldn’t raise both the little girl and the little girl’s baby alone(with me serving multiple life sentences because I hunted the bastard down and slowly skinned him alive). I will have surely sinned in doing this(my feeding the rapist his own genitalia is obvious but the abortion would be sinful as well). The Bible would call me to forgive the rapist and therefore set an example for my daughter….but I just don’t think I could do that. If it’s me, I pray for forgiveness earnestly…probably while I’m removing the rapists spine one vertebrea at a time.

Okay okay…the bottom line to this is that at least in America we DO have to draw a line between our Civil and Criminal Law and the Scriptures. There is no way that I would expect my friend Deepa(from India and a Hindu) to bow to the laws of Deuteronomy in this life. I certianly will never bow to Sharia Law. The Bible applies only to CHRISTIANS as far as “Society” is concerned. As a Believer I would say the Bible applies to EVERYONE but ONLY in the sense of how people should relate to God and each other.

This whole flap about the 10 Commandments in public settings is a waste of bandwidth. It’s an attack on the Judeo-Christian beliefs that formed English Common Law and therefore the American system. I don’t want SCOTUS making decisions that effect EVERY citizen of America based on Biblical concepts. But I also don’t see a problem with recognizing the foundation of our legal system.

Air Force Academy and Christian Faith

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

There is some background here that is important to understand before we get to the meat of this thing.

I’ve been following the reports coming out of Colorado Springs for about 6 months. From what I have read and heard there does indeed seem to be something going on out there and the Academy, if not the big boys at the Pentagon, should be looking into it.

Unfortunately, the US House of Representatives decided to jump the gun today when Section 9012 of the Defense Appropriations bill which read in part:

Congressional Record for June 20, 2005 (See link on right column for the searchable Congressional Record)
[Page: H4759]

(1) PLAN.–The Secretary of the Air Force shall develop a plan to ensure that the Air Force Academy maintains a climate free from coercive religious intimidation and inappropriate proselytizing by Air Force officials and others in the chain-of-command at the Air Force Academy. The Secretary shall work with experts and other recognized notable persons in the area of pastoral care and religious tolerance to develop the plan.

(2) REPORT.–Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report providing the plan developed pursuant to paragraph (1). The Secretary shall include in the report information on the circumstances surrounding the removal of Air Force Captain Melinda Morton from her position at the Air Force Academy on May 4, 2005.

was read and quickly amended by Representative Duncan Hunter(R-CA) to read:

Amendment offered by Mr. Hunter:

Strike section 9012 (page 115, line 14, through page 117, line 5) and insert the following:

SEC. 9012. SENSE OF CONGRESS AND REPORT CONCERNING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND TOLERANCE AT UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY.–

(a) Sense of Congress.–It is the sense of Congress that–

(1) the expression of personal religious faith is welcome in the United States military;

(2) the military must be a place where there is freedom for religious expression for all faiths; and

(3) the Secretary of the Air Force and the Department of Defense Inspector General have undertaken several reviews of the issues of religious tolerance at the Air Force Academy.

(b) Report.–

(1) RECOMMENDATIONS.–The Secretary of the Air Force, based upon the reviews referred in subsection (a)(3), shall develop recommendations to maintain a positive climate of religious freedom and tolerance at the United States Air Force Academy.

(2) SECRETARY OF AIR FORCE REPORT.–Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report providing the recommendations developed pursuant to paragraph (1).

which essentially allows the Academy to continue their reviews and supply their recommendations to the Congress before any thing more was to be done. The original language of the bill would force the Academy to halt their ongoing investigation and comply with the “sense of the Congress”. Mr. Hunter was correct in suggesting allowing the Academy and the Air Force to continue their investigation.

During the ensuing debate Mr. Hunter clarified why he added the amendment:

[Page: H4760][emphasis added]

My point is this, there are a number of reviews that are ongoing right now at the Academy, and in this letter that Acting Secretary of the Air Force, Secretary Michael Dominguez, sent to me, I think the crux of our amendment is laid out and I think justifies. He talks about the work that is ongoing to make sure that the Academy has religious freedom and religious tolerance. He says, As this work progresses, and I am quoting the Secretary, our work and critics of that work will generate news stories. It was a news story that generated this base provision that is in the bill. I ask that you reserve your opinions on this matter until I can get to ground truth through the objective processes now ongoing.

That is what he asks for. He has got lots of reviews, and what we say is, we reestablish, revalidate that there should be both freedom of religion and religious tolerance, and we set a date for a report to come back after the reviews are done, for the Secretary of the Air Force to report back to us with the reviews and with recommendations.

Amen and Amen Rep. Hunter! We cannot continue to allow the media to determine policy for our military whether that is on the battlefield or the classroom. Unfortunately for the House this debate took a decidedly bad turn. Mr. Hunter took exception to the “coercive religious intimidation and inappropriate proselytizing” portion of Section 1 of the portion of the bill in question.

[Page: H4760]

The word “proselytizing” could possibly be applied to what they were doing in that battleground in Iraq[Pilgrim: A Church service Mr. Hunter was forced to enter during a mortar attack] . I have always thought that when I argue religion I am making reasoned judgments and the other guy is proselytizing, and the problem is with that word. With establishing that as a standard, that people in uniform have to adhere to, the average person in uniform is going to say, what does proselytizing mean? Am I proselytizing, and if they are not sure whether or not their statement is proselytizing, you know what they are going to do? They are not going to say anything, and we are going to put a chill on what we have heretofore for our entire history welcomed, and that is, expression of religious views by our uniformed personnel.

Representative David Obey (D-WI) entered into the discussion:

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, the language of the committee amendment does nothing whatsoever to discourage proselytizing. What it does is make clear that the Congress of the United States is opposed to coercive and abusive proselytizing. I think it would be good to go back and look at the history of this problem.

This is a classic tactic of the left, inserting some fairly harsh words(coercive, abusive) but still vague enough that ANY definition could be applied to them. Is inviting a fellow cadet to a Bible Study coercive? Is denying to laugh at a crude joke or correcting religiously offensive behavior abusive? We are so worried about offending Mohammed at Gitmo yet a Christian can’t say, “Don’t say that around me” when someone says “goddamnit!” because it’s coercive or abusive.

This is probably what set Representative John Hostettler (R-IN) off a bit later when he said:

[Page H4763]

Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, the long war on Christianity in America continues today on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. It continues unabated

[Page: H4764]

with aid and comfort to those who would eradicate any vestige of our Christian heritage being supplied by the usual suspects, the Democrats. Do not get me wrong. Democrats know they should not be doing this. The spirit of, if not the exact, language in the underlying bill added by the Democrat ranking member, the gentleman from Wisconsin was offered by a Democrat in the Armed Services Committee during consideration of the fiscal year 2006 DOD authorization bill.

The author of that language in the authorizing committee, the gentleman from New York, has suggested since that time that “extremist groups” are behind the removal of language similar to his. I and others who spoke in opposition to that amendment had never even heard of the notion of such an amendment until the gentleman from New York actually offered it during the committee markup. And so I am curious as to who these extremists are that the gentleman from New York spoke of.

Mr. Chairman, we may never know because that is the nature of this debate, name-calling of unspecified people and groups who hold a world view different than many of these Democrats. And, as I said, Mr. Chairman, Democrats know they should not be doing this. Following the overwhelming opposition voiced at the DOD markup, the Democrat ranking member of the committee requested the gentleman from New York to withdraw the amendment, which he did. *.*.*

The last sentence of Mr. Hostettler’s remarks were stricken from the record at HIS OWN REQUEST roughly an hour later.(Mr. Durbin, take note of this please) Mr. Obey saw fit to make sure they made there way into the record however:

[Page: H4764]

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I move that the gentleman’s words be taken down.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will suspend.

The Clerk will transcribe the words.

[Time: 16:26]

Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the last sentence I spoke.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Indiana?

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object, I think the House needs to understand why I objected to the language of the gentleman.

As I understand it, the language that the gentleman is saying he will withdraw is the following: “Like moth to a flame, Democrats can’t help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians.”

The reader will notice the time marker in the above quote. This denotes a suspension of the transcription while a minor brawl erupted on the House floor. No punches or the like of a Sumner-Brooks fight on the Senate Floor but rather a rhetorical brawl where Mr. Hostettler was threatened with censure if he didn’t have his own words stricken. To his credit, he didn’t take two days and issue a weak statement…he did the right thing and had his overly heated rhetoric stricken from the record. Not because he thought what he said was wrong, but because the work of the House had to continue and he wanted to be part of it. You can go to the Congressional Record and read Brer Obey’s attempt to extricate himself, and his party, from the tarpit Representative Hostettler had tossed them into. The fact remains that Hostettler was right in what he said but perhaps he could have used different words so he didn’t have to remove them from the record later.

There is a war against Christianity and the opposition uses veiled words with intentionally vague definitions. Any attempt to offer a Christian prayer at a public function is met with severe and immediate reactions by the opposition claiming the mythical “seperation of Church and state”. Let someone wish to offer a Muslim prayer at a public function and it’s called Diversity.

Memorial Day

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Every year when this day comes around I get alittle misty eyed. I confess I get alittle irritated by the focus on picnics, barbques, and parties. That’s not at all what this day is about. It’s about our fallen military folks.

I marked this year’s Memorial Day much like the original celebrants marked the day. By decorating and memorializing a fallen Civil War soldier. To make this day even sweeter, this particular soldier was surrounded by his living descendants who proudly served in his burial detail.

Corporal James B. Dooley served honorably in the 4th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, US. He joined Company G of said regiment in Mt. Vernon Kentucky following a local community leader, Richard Myers, who was elected Captain of the company. Corporal Dooley ultimately found himself at Andersonville Prison where, after his release, he began the long walk home back to Kentucky.

I was honored to participate in this memorial in ways that I can’t quite describe. This is the third such memorial I’ve taken part in and everytime I leave with more respect for these soldiers. While we were waiting for the ceremony to begin, one of the lads in the burial detail came to me and asked if he could sit out. I guess I should say I was “commander” of the burial detail. He said he wasn’t feeling well. I’m almost certain that this kid wasn’t at all ill but perhaps alittle bored. I looked back at the grave site and pondered how many times THAT young man had been bored and wanted to go home. Perhaps at Lebanon Kentucky in 1862 where the 4th had just settled into their garrison. Perhaps in the rain at Mill Springs wondering if the Confederates were ever gonna come over that hill. Definately at Andersonville Prison where he ultimately caught TB which after two years claimed his life. I thought, “You fellas were made of much sterner stuff than we.”.

Today, as I recovered from a freak allergy attack, I watched the history channel as they played show after show about the soldiers we remember today. The Marines at Guadal Canal. The men on the Oklahoma, Arizona, West Virginia, and other ships attacked and sunk at Pearl Harbor. The Seals and Rangers at Robert’s Ridge in Afghanistan. My friends in Camp Fallujah in Iraq. It’s silly and I laughed at myself often as tears of pride rolled down.

Thank A Vet. Praise a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, or Marine. Pay for their lunch. Mow the lawn of a wife who’s husband is serving YOU. Appreciate them.

Kingdom of Heaven

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

Not a bad flick. As with most Ridley Scott flicks the historical research was top notch. I’m not an expert on the material culture of the times(12th Century Europe) but I know alittle about the military history of the era and I have to say that it was pretty close to accurate.

The thing that really hit me, however, was what I perceived to be a great message in the movie. This isn’t a spoiler because it was in all the trailers. At one point the Hero’s “cleric” of sorts says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is here” pointing to his head ” and here.” pointing to his heart. This is a central theme throughout the movie and oh how true it is.

The reason for the Crusades, or so said those leading the Crusades, was to return the Holy Land to the Christians. To create the “Kingdom of Heaven” by setting a Christian King on the throne in Jerusalem. Bah. Rubbish. Christ didn’t demand that we conquer the world. Christ demanded the we share his testimony which is to say spread the Good News of his life, death, and Resurrection. Christ told us to love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. Those three words define the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. It is in the hearts, minds, and the souls of the believers. There is no wall that can protect it. There is no mortal King fit to rule it. There is certainly no enemy that can defeat it. This is a point the Hero of the movie makes plain I think.

Another thing that set me to wondering was the depiction of Saladin(phonetic). The Syrian King who turned into a legend among the Muslim people for his wars against the Crusaders. I hear the barbarians talk about Saladin and how they sometimes claim to mirror their “struggle” with his. Now, I don’t know much about Mr. Saladin but I intend to read up on him a bit. If Mr. Scott’s historical research is up to par in this movie then it may turn out that what I read about him is mirrored with the character portrayed in the movie. If that is the case Damascus trembles everytime the barbarians set off a car bomb as Saladin spins in his grave.

So…Kingdom of Heaven is a good flick and thought provoking for those of us who turn to history to discern future events. Award winning movie? Probably not, but the cinematography is fabulous in the battle scenes and the scenes are well presented. I didn’t see any GLARING military faux pas and the story was itself was well done.

Go see it.

Thoughts from SNL on Privacy

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

No no no…Lorne Michael’s isn’t getting into the InfoSec business. This is from Bruce Schneier’s blog today where he talks about Sandia National Lab’s press release from 3/17/05:

But the most chilling quote of all:

“The goal here is to abolish anonymity, the terrorist’s friend,” says Sandia researcher Peter Chew. “We’re not talking about abolishing privacy — that’s another issue. We’re only considering the effect of setting up an electronic situation where all the people in a mall, subway, or airport ‘know’ each other — via, say, Bluetooth — as they would have, personally, in a small town. This would help malls and communities become bad targets.”

Anonymity is now the terrorist’s friend? I like to think of it as democracy’s friend.

wow. This article has some very interesting notions but the above paragraph is just scary. I would love for Dr. Chew to explain how anonymity is a friend to the barbarians. Is it because anonymity means when the shooting breaks out or the bomb goes off the people in the mall won’t know who’s the good guys and who’s the bad guys? Or is it as blatant as it appears…tag everyone so the good guys know who they are?

John Whitley of ACG makes an interesting comment:

“Because their goal is to terrorize us, one point is to take the terror out of terror,” says John Whitley, another ACG group member. “Consider fire: At one time, fire was a major threat to cities and even burned a number of them down. Now we have fire engines, water hydrants, fire insurance. We live with the danger almost without thinking about it. We need to set up the same kind of standby mechanisms against terrorism, and do so in an affordable manner.”

Having mechanisms in place to combat the threats is a wonderful idea…wish he had thought of it first. The problem is we have no idea what to look for when it comes to identifying the attackers. We are fighting an ideology here and ideology knows no race or color. Unfortunately the barbarians are too cowardly to wear indentifying garb…except women and children as shields. {move away from that soapbox Pilgrim}

The idea that we can be made safer by electronically announcing our presence is hogwash. All that will do is make it easier to find the bodies after the gunfire stops and the rubble settles.

I guess when the rubble settles they won’t know if I’m a good guy or a bad guy then.

Revelations 13:16-17

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Revelations 14:9-10

9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Not worth it lads.

Trouble in the park last night…

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

Last night police moved into the park to apprehend a trouble maker. The suspect has been causing trouble since he arrived in town last Sunday. Rumors swirl around town that the suspect was claiming to be a “King” insinuating an attempt to overthrow the government. Much wilder claims have been made about this man and his band of miscreants.

In the small hours this morning Court was opened and all the Judges came in to review the case against the suspect. In the unprecedented hearing witnesses stepped forward condemning the man as everything from a demon to heresy for claiming to be the Son of God. Rubbish. He’s clearly nuts. Judgement was passed and the penalty would be death. An automatic appeal will be heard by the Governor of all people tomorrow.

For now the suspect has been placed in Custody of the Governor’s guards.

Matthew 26

Mr. McQueary responds…

Thursday, March 10th, 2005

In the comments of the previous entry Mr. McQueary responds. I have a few nits to pick Mr. McQueary…

You say:

The Bible NEVER says that God loves everyone and in fact states in places (Hosea 9:15, Malachi 1:3) that God HATES.

Your scriptures are quite correct in that they reference God’s hatred of the rebellious people of Israel(Hosea) and of Esau, son of Isaac(Malachi). The source of the hatred was the violation of the Law. The Israelites were worshipping wooden idols. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob and became profane. Both of these violated the Law.

Jesus came to fulfill the law and while He clearly says that not one jot or tittle will pass away until the Law is fulfilled, isn’t the law fulfilled at the crucifixion? I’m not saying the Old Testament is meaningless…far from it, it is the foundation of which the New Testament derives it’s authority. I am saying that the sins of breaking the Law of Moses can be washed away by the Blood of Christ at the Cross.

All that aside, Matthew 22:37-40 says:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The greek “Plesion” is used for neighbor. This doesn’t mean believer or sheep of the flock…no…it means anyone in close proximity.

As far as the kids are concerned…I would much rather them learn the LOVE of God and His Forgiveness through Christ than what you are preaching which seems to be profanity riddled judgements from a man as sinful and wretched as anyone else….self included.

And now for your bit that really climbed under my skin:

You know back 100 years or more, this was the same kind of gospel preaching that rang from every pulpit in America. That was before the fags took over and this became an immoral nation hated by God.

I doubt your brand of preaching is what was heard in the churches of America 100 years ago…at least not in the healthy churches. Your preaching only engenders hatred, anger, and a sense of self righteousness that can only lead to the fall. From what I could read on your page I found nothing in their about Salvation, about Christ’s Sacrifice, about the unending love of God for His creation. I’m all for a rousing Fire and Brimstone sermon but without the Crucifixion and Resurrection it only serves to scare people into the Faith rather than people coming willingly to Faith because they realize the love God has for them.

Lastly, I just can’t bring myself to believe that God has any concern for any country other than Israel and then I’m sure He is refering only to the PEOPLE and not the piece of paper signed in May of 1948 at the UN. God loves PEOPLE…His creation and wants us to love Him back with passion. I still don’t see how your site is furthering that goal.

Once again the christian is Christianity’s worst enemy

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Bart McQueary has run afoul of the Commonwealth of Kentucky by taking the new logo and using his First Amendment rights. Mr. McQueary can say whatever he wants using the logo and I don’t think the threats levied against him by the Commonwealth will ever amount to much. It’s odd that I agree with him on this because apparently there’s little else I would agree with him on.

His site (barely work safe and NOT appropriate for children) is nothing but unadulterated hate nicely shrouded in a veil of Christian rhetoric. I don’t know the man’s heart and can hardly judge his Faith but Jesus tells us:

Matthew 7:16 (Read the chapter here so you get the full context)

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Mr. McQueary begins his site with a bullet item list of ….stuff. Among them is:

God hates the sinner, not just the sin

Let’s go back and look at what Jesus said again…something about sin and stones…here it is…

John 8:7 (Read the chapter here so you get the full context)

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Now, Mr. McQueary, are you sinless? Jesus was talking about a woman accused of adultery asking the Pharisees to stone her to death if they were sinless. Also on your site you say about one Valerie Mullins:

She has committed adultery and thus violated a law that carries the death penalty.

Would you have tossed the stone at the adulterous woman by Jesus? In Jesus’ time there was a civil law prohibiting adultery and the penalty was death by stoning. I’m not aware of a civil law in Kentucky carrying that penalty…let alone a city ordnance in Danville.

*sigh*. What can ya do with people like this? When I talk with people about the Faith they sometimes bring up people like Mr. McQueary. How do you respond except to say that while they CLAIM the Faith, they certainly don’t live it.

Political discussions with another friend of mine usually come down to him saying “Jesus was a liberal” to which of course I counter with, “No Bryce, Jesus was a hardcore Red State guy”. Our jabs are casually made as friends will do but sometimes thing get more serious, particularly when it comes to social issues where Conservatives lean toward a harsher world where actions bring civil repercussions and Liberals lean toward a softer world where compassion rules the day. I usually get the question, “What would Jesus do in that situation?” regardless of the situation. I usually rip something off the top of my head that fits neatly into my own ideology but the fact is that I have no idea what He would do. I DO know that Jesus wouldn’t go about screaming at adulterous people how much he HATES them or homosexuals afflicted with HIV that it’s God’s judgement on them.

Come on Mr. McQueary….God’s love is going to get you closer to people than the lie that God hates them.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

My wife and I can’t have kids so the thought of actually having a son and surrendering him to MY OWN CREATION to be brutally sacrificed is so far beyond my comprehension that…well…no words. God WILLINGLY gave up his Son, heaped all my sins on His shoulders, and allowed him to be nailed to a cross. Not because He hated me for my multitude of sins but because He loved me IN SPITE of my ever growing multitude of sins. Jesus was killed as the supreme sacrifice for my sins so that in God’s eyes I am viewed as sinless. Jesus would make an incredible salesman if he can convince God that *I* am righteous.

Same is true for you Mr. McQueary. Even with all your hate God LOVES you. Let some of that love be reflected on your site eh? What kind of WITNESS of GOD’S LOVE is that garbage up there now?

Childless

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in….selfish, loathsome, disgraceful, and sickening are just some basic terms that describe how I feel. Not because I have no, and never will have, children of my own….but because of the gut reaction I have when I hear of terrible tragedies that beset folks who can have kids.

I just learned of a close friend who lost their unborn child. He was 4 months along…I suppose one might say B-5 months and counting. Mom and Dad are good people and I truely mourn for their loss. They are and will be in my prayers for a long long time.

The thing that upsets me is my unfiltered, immediate, and emotional response….it’s all the things I said above and more. I have no right to feel that way….just accept what God has dealt me as His Will. Right.

My wife had a similiar reaction the other day when we received word that a good…albeit distant…friend of ours discovering they were expecting number 2. The mother-to-be always said growing up that she didn’t want kids and it seems that now she gets pregnant whenever her and her husband are in the same room. The emotions my wife and I felt then were guilt, adolescent anger, and envy….much the same reaction I had to the terrible news of today.

As I said…I have absolutely no right to be angry with the proud soon-to-be-parents or the grief stricken mom and dad who just lost their son. I have no reason to feel guilty. And Envy is a terrible place to be regardless of the circumstances.

I don’t know…my heart weeps for Paige and Mark. I pray that they know their son is enjoying time with Christ and will be there for them when their time comes.

Father, without you I’m nothing…but sometimes I’m so pissed at you I try to hide from you. Why would you allow me to believe, hope, wait expectantly to be a father and then tell me no? *sigh*….

Your Will be done.

Jerry Falwell…sigh…what an example…

Friday, February 11th, 2005

As I sit here and listen to Hannity and Colmes on XM Radio(Sirius? what’s that?) and hear Mr. Falwell say, “You can’t be an evangelical Christian and vote for John Kerry” I cringe.

I’ve got a couple problems with this interview overall…they have Mr. Falwell and another minister debating Faith and Politics and how they intertwine. How friggin dangerous and disgusting is this?

Anyway, Falwell’s comments don’t surprise me. He’s much better when he has time to prepare. Like Pat Robertson, when he speaks off the cuff after getting alittle stirred up they can both say some incredibly stupid things. Remember what they said after 9/11? How it was God’s Wrath on America? Maybe it was…maybe it wasn’t. I’m sure I’ll know God’s Wrath if I’m ever in the midst of it but I’m pretty sure that the god who destroyed the Earth with a flood, destroyed two cities with fire, and gave up His only Son for my sins can do much bigger things in His Wrath than destroy a couple buildings. That’s a pretty harsh statement but I hope you, dear reader, understands where I’m coming from.

I’m a Christian, Saved by Grace and baptized by immersion. Everything I am comes from a gracious and loving God. Without Him, I am nothing. There are billions of others that believe the previous three sentences. Many voted for George W. Bush. Many voted for John Kerry. Many more didn’t and couldn’t vote for either man. For Falwell to judge the hearts of people based on what ballot they punched is nothing short of pure lunacy.