Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I resolute to stick to my resolutions...again.



How does this happen? New Years Eve television goes from classy to brassy.

Okay, I weigh more than I did this time last year. No, I didn't start the book I plan to write. Exercise more? Eat better? No and no.

Wait! I did learn more of a foreign language watching Handy Manny and Dora the Explorer with my 1 year old. But...does Spanish really count?

Why can't we keep resolutions? A better question is why do we bother making resolutions we know we aren't going to keep? Albert Einstein defined insanity as 'doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.' Sound familiar? I've got a pretty good feeling I'm not alone...breaking resolutions has become...cliché.

But not this year (don't roll your eyes at me!). This time I mean it. Absolutely. I'll wear my Lance Armstrong 'Be Strong' armband thingy to remind me. Don't give up. Stay the course. Winners never quit and so on.

Wow, resolutions really are cliché. I'd better go take my crazy pills now.

Happy New Years everyone. Be safe and God bless.

Monday, December 29, 2008

These things never happen to me....

I'm a Christmas-crime victim! That's right...I've been bamboozled, burned, preyed on...egad!

My lovely, thoughtful wife gave me a car stereo for Christmas this year. She's always dead on like that with gifts for me. I've fumbled around trying to rig my stock radio to take an input from my iPod...to no avail. So, she saves me the aggrevation and gets me a Sony that accepts and controls not only my iPod, but also comes with a USB port on the front. I'm not sure what I'm plugging in there yet, but it'll be cool when I figure it out.

See how easy it is for guys to digress when talking about electronics. Anyway, I took my new stereo and car to an unnamed electronics store (initials CC) for installation Sunday morning before church. 'No problem,' they said, 'we'll put it right in for you.' My wife's premonition is also dead on when it comes to my preceived electronics installation skills and the actual facts of the matter, so she made sure installation was included. At this point, I'm pretty ecstatic knowing my Monday morning commute to work will be booming with Big Daddy Weave or maybe the latest podcast from the Economist (yeah right) straight from my iPod. Awesome! I have to admit, more than once during the sermon Sunday morning, my thoughts drifted to the new, blue glow of knobs and buttons akin to something on the main panel on the Space Shuttle Endeavor...

Houston: TC1, we need you to fade 4 clicks from rear to front speakers.
TC1: Roger that Houston.
Houston: TC1, we're detecting the db levels to be deficient lower tone volume. Could you adjust plus 4 to compensate?
TC1: Adjusting now Houston. Affirmative, that's much better here.
Houston: Roger that TC1. BDW is 5 by 5 by our board.

My excitement continued to build as we pushed through the masses and formalities of Sunday morning post-worship pleasantries. Time was wasting. I had a manual to read. Buttons to push...Get the kids honey, I'll meet you in the car!

But as we pulled into the parking lot of Circ...I mean the unnamed, fore-mentioned electronic store, I was greeted with the harrowing sight left by criminals who had pryed open my passenger side door with a crowbar to get inside. Shock and awe are only words I tell you...only words.

The technicians inside had little to no explanation. My car had only been outside for a little more than an hour according to them. The only thing missing...the new stereo's box that had THE OLD STEREO INSIDE... HA! You got nothing my friend! Nothing! In haste, the thief had left a gift card, change in my ashtray, my Bible (which I forgotten to get out for church), and the new stereo installed in the dash.

My commute this morning was filled with the smell of fresh ozone and sounds of melody streaming from my wonderful Christmas gift. It will be even more enjoyable when I get the 2 inch gaping hole fixed in the frame of the passenger side door that completely destroys the sound integrity of the cabin. Well, at least I know what riding in a stage coach must have sounded like.

Crook should have taken my Bible. I have several and it might have done him some good.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Joseph wasn't wearing Under Armour...




These guys didn't make the cut this year.


We completed a successful Live Nativity Drive Thru at church this past Sunday night. Although our main focus was bringing glory to God through our efforts, I want to add we had some real troopers this year. The weather took a nasty turn Saturday from mild and damp to windy and frigid. Temperatures plummeted into the upper teens by sundown with windchill in single digits. Ouch. Folks, it was cold in Tennessee!

A wonderful team effort brought everything together rather hastily on Saturday and Sunday afternoons after days of rain. We even managed a real miniature horse, playing a donkey, in the Mary and Joseph travelling scene. Academy Award winning stuff by Apple Jack.

There were 6 scenes in all with the grand finale being the manger scene (wow, am I a producer/director or what...genius!). Cookies and hot chocolate/coffee finished the tour for each car load with an invite to our candlelight service tonight and Sunday morning worship service. Several 'long-missing' church members driving through said they'd try to make it (eye roll).

The fellowship was tremendous, the experience a real blessing. Very few times did I even realize it was so cold. I don't deserve the gift God gave me over 2000 years ago. Shoot, I don't even deserve the church family he blesses me with today...but I'm most thankful for both.

BTW...there were no riots. We must have done something wrong...maybe next year.

Merry Christmas everyone...may God's smile fill your heart with warmth.



Friday, December 19, 2008

Quite on the set people...I said quite!

So, I'm directing a live nativity play at our church this weekend. Thankfully, I live in a part of the country where we can still do those things without creating a riot scene in the streets...at least I hope.

I did read today that parents attending a school 'holiday' play in California received a real treat. It seems we can't mention Jesus, virgin birth, nativity, etc. in our schools in case someone take offense, but these parents sat and watched their kids dancing around dressed as trees singing, 'I'm getting so hot,' and 'the oceans are drying up,' and 'if we don't stop global warming, we will all die.'

Man...sorry I missed that.

Apparently, several people were actually outraged that the program had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with Christmas...excuse me...Holiday.

(It is taking me several minutes to write this next sentence because there's so much I would like to say)

Enjoy the video. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I can do anything you can do better...



"It's just until my stinkin' computer is fixed! I can't live without MySpace!"







At the risk of preaching to the choir, I want to point out how important it is to know who your children or grandchildren are socially networking with daily and in what media they are choosing to mingle. On cell phones, chat rooms, MySpace, Facebook, Skype or a number of other popular sites, kids are typing/texting their hearts out at a mind boggling rate.


Alexa, a website traffic tracking company, puts Facebook at #5 and MySpace at #7 in overall website traffic rankings. The two sites have enough members when combined to be the third largest country on the planet. That's right...China, India and then Facebook/MySpace. Needless to say, there are a lot of people...not all innocent kids by far mind you...interacting on the internet.

At first, I was going to be a hard-line antagonist of what my wife refers to as 'the dark side.' Protect the sanctity of my home. Futile. It's the equivalent of my parents trying to stop me when I was a teenager from listening to 'that hippie music' or letting my hair grow out a bit...Peter Brady style...

Sweet...

I guess, as parents, there are times we have to compromise with what our kids want to do, as long as certain principles are maintained. After all...'kids will be kids.' But there are a lot of bad, ugly things lurking around out on the web, right? Yes, but...

Okay! My solution to this particular problem was simple. First, education on all the popular social websites and second, play the game. The results have been very surprising. Side note: It is both easy and inexpensive to both keep your computer from surfing in naughty waters and know exactly where it has been surfing. If you want to be really intrusive, key loggers and screen shot programs are also very easy to obtain and you'll see EXACTLY what's being viewed, read and typed on your computer of installation. Personally, I think the risk of alienation by not showing some trust outweighs the return here...but hey, that's for you to decide. Sometimes, drastic measures are required. A quick Google search for 'website content filter' or 'spyware' will provide a plethora of options.

What I have discovered is an unexpected benefit from playing the game. I opened a MySpace under the premise with my daughter, 'you have one...I have one...and we will be friends.' A very short time later, her friends started inviting me to be their friends, then kids from church, then their friends and now I have well over 250 friends...mostly young people. This really ticks her off, but that wasn't the goal. I just wanted to monitor her activity from a comfortable distance. So, I put Jesus all over my profile page (keep up... remember, education) and made it my personal testimony site. I also use it to send quick words of encouragement to a young person if I know they are battling spiritually or even just to say 'hi.' (I might add it's a great way to share picture of the baby too).

In a nutshell, adults need to be internet savvy...especially if you have kids. Know the game. Know your adversary. Satan is using the internet. As Christians, we need to battle him wherever he's working. It's the best defense short of total lock down. But, come on... we're all smarter than any problem our kids might get into...right?

Now if I can figure out how to keep that long-haired boy from calling my daughter... wanting to go to church with us...wait...never mind.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I like Starbucks too...but I still can't afford it.

As stated yesterday, I've been in a chemically induced funk the past few days. Even though I really didn't quite feel up to task this morning, I managed to get out of bed, take the kids to school, and trek off to work (at least for a few hours). I typically have one pit stop going to work, and today was no exception. It's a fairly busy convenience store with an enormous fountain drink selection...44 ounces for 49 cents kinda thing.

Today, I'm standing in line with my stinking orange juice listening to my wife's voice echoing around in my head lecturing on about free radicals and vitamin C and drinking too much soda. Realizing the wait was much longer than usual, my focus went to the check out counter. Apparently the hold up was a card processing problem on a purchase. Credit card? No...a welfare benefit card. The PIN was causing some sort of problem. Now I'm really focused. I'm not quite sure why it chaps me so much to see government benefits being used in a convenience store, but my irk was reinforced by what I witnessed. One lady was buying a quart size energy drink on the card. When it finally processed, she passed the card back to another lady who bought a specialty coffee from the fountain section... a separate transaction. The clerk, who obviously knew both ladies, completed the sale and handed the card back.

Did I really just see that? Over $6 on a benefit card for two drinks? Please believe me when I say I'm not a hater. Sometimes, people get down on their luck and need a little help to the next opportunity. But this...this madness...has got to stop. You might say, 'what's the big deal, it's only 6 bucks?' Well, I'm convinced the spending I saw is the pattern of spending for a lot of government supported people. Frivolous spending is not an option at my house when money gets tight. Recently, our dryer broke, and we had to purchase another one. No problem, that's why we have a rainy day fund. But, compromises are made until the money is replaced in the fund, so we drastically cut back on eating out for over a month (drastically cut back = not at all).

Isn't a person on welfare in a constant state compromise? When gas was near $4 a gallon, our household budget saw compromises to make up for the additional expenses. When my oldest daughter needed braces...compromises were made. If you are on welfare, doesn't $6 for two drinks sound a little extravagant?

Of course, letting your friend use your benefit card is a completely different matter/problem, but I have too much to do right now to write on that subject. I'm behind on a few things at work because I've been sick.

Sure hope the $1.39 orange juice helps.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

He's down for the count...


Okay, I admit it. I'm a big baby when I'm sick. For the past several days, I've been surviving on Nyquil the way Elvis kept going for years on uppers and barbiturates. Nyquil Daytime...Nyquil Nighttime...Daytime...Nighttime. Someone at Vicks deserves a Nobel Prize, Peabody or something for coming up with the stuff.
So, in my hallucinate haze, I've determined men only need a few things to get by in most any situation. Of course, there's the proverbial roll of duct tape...created by God Himself. Although scholars often debate the actual timeline of its origin, I'm pretty sure the gray miracle appeared immediately after Eve who wanted something fixed upon her arrival in the garden. God knew men would forever more need help thus...duct tape (in Hebrew סֶרֶט, רְצוּעָה; טֵיְפּ).
Next would be a pocketknife. Just a few short lessons from Angus MacGyver can properly equip a man to prevail in any situations. Locked your keys in your car? No problem...pocket knife. Need to slice an apple for your holiday salad? Pocket knife. Got a nuclear bomb needing to be deactivated? Pocket knife. Attacked by ninja monkeys? Pocket knife. It's the 'need all-be all' of portable tools.
Rounding out the short list would be Nyquil...but I took another dose...just a short...bye for now. Honey, where's my blue blankie? Good night...everyone.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The dots are where I say they are...

Just a short Friday clip for your viewing enjoyment. I wish this guy had a blog...it would be a riot! "Leaving his soul...leaving his soul!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

We're number 1...wait...You're number 1...wait...


"Why'd you go saying that?"





Normally, I won't blog about the sermons I hear on Sundays...it's too akin to plagiarism for me. Don't get me wrong. I have a Pastor very gifted at always leaving me with something to chew on each Sunday. This past Sunday was Youth Sunday at the church I attend, so the message was delivered by our Youth Pastor, also a gifted man of God. As he began speaking on commitment to God and putting Him first in our lives, it immediately connected with a blog I had drafted a few weeks back but never finished. The Sunday message was so attuned to the blog subject, I was certain my task was to finish and share it today.

I work with a man from China. He has lived here for about 7 years and 2 graduate degrees. His English is broken (at best), and he will often wander into my office to discuss the subtleties of our difficult, indigenous language. Always pleasant and mannerly, we jokingly exchange innocent jabs at each other's culture, which has been a field day for me of late with all the tainted products China has been shipping to the U.S.

One day at lunch, I asked what he observed to be the biggest difference between life in China and life in the U.S. After pausing a moment, he said the priorities of the people in each culture were very different. In China, the State/Party is first, followed by your job, then your family and finally your belief system...if you happen to have one. He elaborated and gave examples in each category, and when it came to belief systems, explained that most Chinese are atheist. He too is an atheist.

I was very interested to hear his comparison. He said that people here put their belief in God first, family second, country next and job last in this particular listing. My initial reaction was a bit surprised. We work with about 22 people from a variety of beliefs (to include none), most not from Godly perspectives. 'God first?' I did consider that his entire 7 years had been spent in the Bible Belt, but his exposure was uncensored from many other sources. 'God first?' Really?

It was both natural and comfortable for me to agree with his assessment about our country and give examples from my own life. But in doing so, I felt... a conviction. That conviction multiplied yesterday during the morning message.

'Tony, Am I truly number 1 in your life?'
Father, I'm not sure that my life exemplifies what my co-worker attributed.
'But, I have commanded you so.'
Yes, I know, I know...but work is so busy, and the new baby and the teenager...wow, and my blog...yes, my blog is important work for You...
'Making fun of Liberals? Hippies in a van? Freedom Rock?'
Yeah, sorry about that one. But liberals...well they hate You! They need to be put in their place!
'Tony, I love liberals too.'
Even San...?
'Yes, especially San Fransisco liberals.'
Aw shoot, I guess that means I need to love them too...I mean...I guess.
'Only if I'm truly first in your life.'

My conviction didn't stop at making fun or talking harsh about liberals though. Is God truly first in my life? Am I committed to Him completely in all that I do? Do I set a daily example that gives God glory in the way that I conduct my life? Am I an effective witness for Christ and the sacrifice He made for all of mankind? Do I take time from each day to spend with God and only with Him?

Even though I try very hard to make God first, I'm afraid I don't like the real answers to those questions. Actually...I'm quite ashamed.

Stupid Youth Sundays...where was our regular Pastor anyway?! And, how can he just leave like that?!

'Does that really matter... Tony?
No. He steps on my toes too.

I'm starting today...total commitment...right after lunch. Hey, how about Chinese take-out? No wait, aw man...I'm on a diet! Stupid diets!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Making fun of liberals? Well turn it up man!

After yesterday's downer post, I thought I'd lighten things up a bit with a couple of liberals living in a van down by the river!



And yes...the cassettes were in my collection at one time...thank you very much!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Too grim to be true...so painful that it is.



Picture of Abraham 'Andy' Biggs from his MySpace page.

Teenager Commits Suicide Online With Audience

My heart is absolutely broken today. I didn't know Andy Biggs, but I have a teenage daughter. I also attend church with dozens of teenagers whom I love and care about deeply.

Andy was a son. He also attended church with his family in Miami. How does this happen?

The horrifying and deeply troubling part of this story goes way beyond a confused teenager who felt no self-worth and took his own life. It goes well beyond the medical unknowns about the bi-polar disorder he suffered from in his life. The horror comes from the fact that dozens, maybe hundreds, watched him die via a webcam and all but a few did nothing...no, much worse...participated in play-by-play chatter that included vile, despicable comments while Andy struggled and died over several hours.

There are a number of things I could write about this today but won't. Instead with a heavy heart, I implore each of you to take a quick mental inventory of the young people you know, relative or not. If you feel the slightest hint of troubling in any of them, please take time today to send them a quick note or give them a call to let them know you are thinking about them. I keep a MySpace page for this very reason. It's a fast and easy way to not only communicate quickly but also to provide a positive example from my own page content.

I can't bring myself to write any more about this now, but I will pray for Andy's family and friends. Please join me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

At a time when we stood alone in the world...



"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government
of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Abraham Lincoln on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863

One of the greatest speeches for democracy ever delivered was spoken on this date 145 years ago. It was a time in the storied history of democracies that the United States solely carried the flag based on principles in Lincoln's speech. Europe had reverted back to monarchies and dictators and collectively laughed at the struggles of the lone remaining democracy as we fell, in their eyes, into anarchy. Government by the people...how ignorant a concept...destined to fail. After all, governing is a job for an elite ruling class...the only successful model.

Well, we have the fortune of knowing now how this story plays out. But at the time of President Lincoln, foresight was not so optimistic. History records that partisan politics (just as prevalent as today) caused the Gettysburg Address to be scoffed, even ridiculed, in print from coast to coast. Still, the country needed to hear those words...and would need to hear them repeatedly many more times long after Mr. Lincoln left us. To this day, the 272 word speech conjures feelings of pride and honor...encouragement and perseverance.

Celebrate with me today. During this season of Thanksgiving, be sure to stop and give thanks for the fortitude and wisdom spoken in a little over 2 minutes by one of the greatest men in our nation's history, President Abraham Lincoln. A nation in his words...under God.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Save my life, I'm going down for the last time.


What to do? What to do?

I'm sure it would come as no surprise to any who read my blog...I'm a free market kinda guy. Businesses are created and collapse daily in our country. We're capitalist...it's what we do!

Our big, fat government has stepped in and attempted to save not only insurance companies and investment banks in recent days but is currently working on a rescue for troubled mortgage holders. People, mind you, who took on mortgages they couldn't afford or wouldn't qualify to receive in a less covetous economic environment.

Up next? Detroit. The Big Three. The Heart of America. Today, the heads of Ford, Chrysler and GM go to Capitol Hill with hat in hand. Begging for help from the taxpayers because 'if we fail, America fails!' Baloney!

If the American auto industry fails, they have themselves to blame. Listening to talk radio on the way to work this morning, I heard caller after caller crying about Fair Trade Agreements and America First campaigns. As a nation, we need to step up and realize what made us great in the first place. It sure didn't happen because we whined for the world to buy what we made...absolutely not. We became a superpower and leader in the world markets by applying the fundamental principles of economics in a free economy. Make the best products the world wants for the best price...and they will buy them...and want more.

Detroit is in trouble because they have failed to realize and adjust to the global economy we all now live and work. Honda, Toyota and Nissan have all made moves to the U.S. and made them profitable because they build cars people want. The Big Three have become complacent and less innovative since nearly collapsing in the early 1980's. Unions have ignored the need for leaner, more productive work forces and focused on grabbing more and more of the profit share. Fundamentally, companies that don't adjust to market forces in the right directions fail...that's the way the free market works.

I personally work for a company dependent on the auto industry...it's what we do. If Detroit fails, will our company? Maybe, maybe not. We have constantly studied and updated our business plan to address the situation if the American auto industry does go under. That's all that we control in the situation. But from what I've seen from my perspective in dealing with Detroit...I'm amazed they've made it this long.

A short-term loan from American taxpayers will not fix Detroit. No, it will only delay the inevitable until their path is changed. A path that only Detroit can change. It won't be easy. It won't be quick. But if capitalism is to continue to thrive, businesses can't depend on the government to save them in tough times...that's the true path to socialism.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

How the Grinch (a.k.a. AHA) is trying to steal my Christmas.




American Humanist Association
Washington D.C., bus ad. Part of a $40,000 campaign during the Christmas season.




It's a free country and you have the right to say what you want...within clearly established parameters. God also gave mankind the privilege of free will, so who am I to try and force you to believe in Him or not...can't...doesn't work that way. But in a civilized society (such as ours) based on the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, there are a few 'unwritten' rules of respect.

December 25th is celebrated worldwide as Christmas, the date recognized by Christians of all denomination as the day celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. The same Jesus Christ, mind you, who is widely recognized by the vast majority of the world (religious and secular) as the single most influential man born in over 2000 years.

I don't celebrate Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, but I respect Jews who do. I don't buy ad space blasting them as Jesus killers. That's not my place.

I don't celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, but I respect those who do. I don't buy radio ad time making fun of a culture that still uses a lunisolar calendar, something we've not done in the West since the days of the Tudor Dynasty.

I don't celebrate Yule, the Wiccan Solstice Night, and even though I don't understand it, I respect those who do. You won't see me on a television commercial making fun or ridiculing those who think the longest night of the year is something to celebrate.

So my question to the American Humanist Association is this: Why now? The timing of this ad campaign in conjunction with the Santa Claus costumed model makes it painfully clear that Christmas is a sore spot with your group. Why?

Christmas is a time for joyous spirit and brotherly love. Christmas is a time when everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike, becomes a little less narcissistic and more giving in our nature. Call it what you like, but Christmas is a time we all become a little more Christ-like in our behavior.

If the Humanist want less God in their 'Holiday Season'...fine. There are plenty of opportunities for that to happen. As for me, please leave me alone to celebrate the December 25th as Christmas. Please don't ridicule, harass or coerce me for my ignorantly blind ways...and I'll politely return the favor (please Heavenly Father, give me strength).

Here's a Christmas message to all of you from me. Enjoy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

In God We Trust...at at least we should.

Since 1956, In God We Trust has been our official National Motto. The phrase is actually the nation's first National Motto because E Pluibus Unum was never officially adopted in that capacity, even though the Latin phrase (From many, one) was recognized de facto from the point of being approved by Congress in 1782 for the Great Seal.

Secularist would argue that it wasn't until the hysterics of the McCarthy era that God suddenly became an American thing. The contrast between the godless communist and democracy required the eminence of divinity to offset our vast differences. Good versus evil. Light versus darkness. This was reiterated during the height of the Cold War and personified by the wars symbolic victor at endgame...Ronald Reagan.

Secularist are, of course, dead wrong, and you can take that in a number of ways. Our country didn't just start becoming a nation of God-loving people in the mid-1950's. Some revisionist have tried mighty hard to erase God from our storied past, but to no avail. Making it even more difficult for them is the fact that 82% of American adults believe in God...82%. We are clearly a nation embedded in the belief of a Higher Power regardless of the efforts wielded by the other 18% .

So just how has the National Motto survived in our current socio-political climate dominated by political correctness, the ACLU, and 'Happy Holidays' greetings at your local discount retailer? The motto has survived the same way Proposition 8 passed by a popular vote in one of the most liberal states in America. As a general rule, the public just don't won't to mess with God. Plain and simple. The philosophy live and let live is okay, as long as, you're not dragged into Hell upholding it over the words from the best selling Author of all times.

Yes, a few hard-headed Californians and New Englanders might dabble in the death of the unborn or tear down a few 'misplaced' tablets from Old Testament days, but no way...no how...do they want to take on the Almighty directly. After all, most faux pas can be forgiven when the heart follows the conscience to correctness...but blasphemy? Better play it safe and steer clear of that one...just in case. Besides, they can define 'God' however they want, right? Say, maybe, a grand tree over watching all living things, or how about, the good experiences from all mankind, past to present, culminated to a single moment/entity...or some other made up crap like that.

Let me be the first to say 'Merry Christmas' to each of you as we approach the season. And by all means...pass it on.

Happy 233rd Birthday Marines!



Today is a special day for all Marines past and present. Today is our 233rd birthday. It's been almost 17 years since I left the Marine Corps, but it's 5 years of my life that is very much alive in me today.

If you know a Marine or a former Marine, be sure to wish them a Happy Birthday today. With tomorrow being Veterans' Day, go ahead and thank them for their service in advance too.

To all my fellow Marines, Happy Birthday Devil Dogs and Happy Birthday Chesty Puller...wherever you are!

Semper Fi

Thursday, November 6, 2008

If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candy and nuts...

One thing is for absolute certain...we became a different country this week. I don't mean that in a bad way either.

I didn't vote for Barrack Obama because of his politics. Pure and simple. I didn't get wrapped up in all of the mudslinging and hoopla. Deep down, I believe he is an honorable man who loves his country as much as I do. The Office of the President demands respect. If we stop respecting the office here, how can we expect the world to respect it...and ultimately us?

But there is another reason, as a Christian, that commands me to show respect (thanksgiving). The Bible clearly directs in I Timothy 2:1-4:

1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

I've read a lot of post the past few days and taken in what many have to say. Some I agree with and some I don't. I didn't vote for Barrack Obama, but regardless, I am going to start doing three things diligently beginning today:


  • First, I'm going to celebrate the amazing fact our country has changed for the better. Not because of who Obama is, but rather what he represents. Our country elected a black President on Tuesday just 44 years after passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That's in my lifetime! God surely smiles on us for that fact. The feelings of our Founding Fathers ring truer today than over 230 years ago when first written in our Declaration of Independence...all men are created equal.

  • I'm going to watch and listen. As citizens of this great nation, we must hold our elected officials accountable. Notice I didn't say I'm going to nitpick or belittle. That accomplishes nothing. When an issue comes up of importance to me, I will call or write my U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and express my view on the matter. They work for me and need to know how I feel. You need to do the same. Be precise, polished and polite and your words will not fall on deaf ears.

  • Last, I'm going to pray. God has blessed all Americans- young and old, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans. I will pray and ask His wisdom guide and direct our leaders in all their decisions. Now more than ever, we needs His hand on our country. Please pray with me for our outgoing President and our President-elect.

If you're an American, that's bigger than any political party or single ideology. I know... I feel the same letdown many of you do, but that's only because our side lost. At this time in history, the majority of our fellow citizens don't necessarily agree with what we feel to be the right course of action for our country. I respect that and will move forward. There's plenty to do for all of us...and future battles yet to be fought.

I didn't vote for President-elect Obama...but that became an irrelevant point Wednesday morning. God bless our new President... and our Great Nation.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Tuesday is very important to me...

I love my girls more than anything in the world, and I just want them to have the same opportunities I had when it comes to education, a career, a healthy life and financial security.

God will always take care of the spiritual matters (which are most important) regardless of the situation, so I don't worry about the Eternal for them. But, I do want them to live free to worship in the manner they feel lead to worship.

Before you vote Tuesday, and I hope all of you do regardless of your choices, please take the time to pray first. Ask for God to lead you in your decision, but also ask that He continue to bless our nation and guide our new leaders.

I'll be asking not just on my behalf...but also for them. I love you girls!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bill Clinton: The Last Great Fiscal Conservative.

Here's an excellent article from yesterday's Wall Street Journal by Arthur B. Laffer:

The Age of Prosperity is Over

Bill Clinton has been the most fiscally conservative President in my lifetime. I know that makes blind-following Republicans cringe, but facts are facts. The New Democrat was able to reduce the $5.7 trillion national debt by $360 billion and create the largest federal budget surplus, as well as, the longest period of sustained economic growth in United States history. Of course, he didn't do it alone. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich lead a Republican controlled Congress that supported and passed initiatives from the White House in a bipartisan effort to get spending under control.

Unfortunately, politics eventually took over, and the finger pointing started. It's a stupid Washington rule that R's can't let D's and D's can't let R's take credit for the few good things happening there...ever.

Here's where R's are going to start insisting that Clinton just benefited from what Reagan started. Really? Twelve years worth? I love Ronnie and all that he did for our country, but getting federal spending under control was not one of those things. By the end of Reagan's second term, the national debt ballooned from 26 percent of the GDP in 1980 to 41 percent in 1989. By 1988, the debt totalled $2.6 trillion. The country owed more to foreign countries than it was owed, and the United States moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the world's largest debtor nation. That's not fiscally conservative!

Republicans are quick to wave the flag of conservatism, but it's not always a talk-the-talk, walk- the-walk label. On some issues...sure. On fiscal issues...not so much lately.

If John McCain happens to somehow pull the election off next Tuesday, I hope he will walk the walk of a fiscal conservative. It would then be time for Democrats to return the favor to the White House their President received from 1992-2000.

Wow...those sure were the good ole days.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where have you been 'Cut Spending' McCain?


"Stop spending our money like it grows on trees."

Finally, with 8 stinking days to go, John McCain comes out and states what he should have been stating all along. Talking today about the difference between him and BO:

"We both disagree with President Bush on economic policies," McCain said. "My approach is to get spending under control. The difference between us is he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high."

If Senator McCain had pounded this message on the stump for the past two months instead of the publicly indifferent issues he has been spewing, he'd be looking back out BO instead of chasing him this final week.

You've got to believe that the majority of Americans understand what our Founding Fathers understood...a big federal government isn't good for our country or for us.

Let's face it. If the Republicans didn't bring spending under control the six years they controlled the White House and Congress, you can bet the farm Democrats sure won't given the same positions.

Unless Senator McCain and the RNC dump the mudslinging campaign that's having no effect on public opinion and focus on what he stated today (clearly and concisely), 2012 won't get here fast enough.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More stimulus rebate checks? My poor great,great grandchildren...literally.

I'm sure like most average Americans, I was glad to see a little of the income taxes I payed returned to me this year. Sure, I made cracks around the office and at church about how happy China must be that the U.S. borrowed money from them to give back to the people, so they could buy more stuff from, well, from China. In the end though, I did what the President asked me to do with my money (again) and bought a sofa and a few other nice things. I didn't squirrel it away in my savings or dump it in my portfolio...it just seemed unpatriotic to spend my money, sorry, the stimulus rebate check that way.

Now, here we go again in Washington. 'What was a great idea once must be a second time.' If it works with atomic weapons (i.e. Hiroshima and Nagasaki), surely it works with economic issues. Hmmmm.

Okay, a hyperbole at best...but the result could end up about the same. 'Screaming, burning Asian people running through what was once streets?' No, but a few of the screams could come from Asian/Americans running after being burnt on Wall Street...along with everyone else...as we continue to amass more and more debt.

Hey Washington, keep the check and apply it to the National debt. While you're at it, why don't you cut federal spending about 6% or so (to start). We'll all be a lot better off in the long run if we do that instead of making a $1 trillion deficit... $1.3 trillion.

By the way, I mean no disrespect to the Japanese or Asians in general, and my sofa was from North Carolina .

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yet another Christian killed in Afghanistan.



The story is a leading AP story -

Taliban: Aid worker killed for preaching






Here's her story - Gayle Williams


Please lift up a prayer for Gayle's family and celebrate she is in Heaven this day!

A break from politics...let's talk God.

Over the 18 months of managing the http://www.stickwithjesus.com/ website (sorry, no longer up), I received a number of interesting emails from both atheist and agnostics. For me, it's easier to relate and respond to the agnostics, because I've been where they are spiritually at a point in my own life. The arrogance of atheists, however, really bothers me (I know, that's not very Christ like…I'm working on it). I had a conversation of the atheist variety this past weekend.

Atheists always want to bring up Pascal's Wager in discussions. Of course, the lack of scientific evidence is also a popular point for atheists, but responding to the point that there is no proof God exists is too easy…"Prove He doesn't exist." I think Thomas Aquinas covered this best almost 800 years ago in Summa Theologica.

So what is Pascal's Wager? Here's a quick refresher for you:

Blaise Pascal was a famous French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher in the mid-1660's. People my age probably remember the computer programming language named after him in the late 70's and early 80's (and the only subject in college I made a D, thanks Blaise). Needless to say, he was a pretty smart fellow. His philosophy, however, took on a very rigid, structured matrix that didn't allow for more pliable principles and concepts.

In his Wager, Pascal attempts to provide an analytical process for a person to evaluate options in regarding belief in God. This is often misinterpreted as simply believing in God or not. As Pascal sets it out, the options are two: live as if God exists, or live as if God does not exist. There is no third possibility.
Therefore, we are faced with the following possibilities:

You live as though God exists (and follow His word).
  • If God exists, you go to heaven: your gain is infinite (best case).
  • If God does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing.

You live as though God does not exist.

  • If God exists, you go to hell: your loss is infinite (ouch, not good).
  • If God does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing (no time to gloat either).

With these possibilities, and the principles of statistics, Pascal attempted to demonstrate that the only prudent course of action is to live as if God exists. Now that's a nutshell version of the Pascal's Wager, but if you want more detailed information, click on the link above. For those mathmatically challenged, like me, best leave it here...just trust me.

Atheist, for some reason, rally around the Wager as the only possible explanation a rational person could believe in a 'fantasy' like God. When backed into a corner during a heated debate on God, it will come flying from an atheist out of no where…"You're just hedging Pascal's Wager on heaven and hell!" Then you'll get a 'top-that' look in their mind that surely closes the deal…well, not quite.

You see, my belief in God has little, if anything, to do with the fear of going to hell. Besides, you can't base your committment to God on just logic. He wants your love willingly and true. God knows your heart, so you can't bluff or hedge your way into heaven.

I love God because He is gracious enough, merciful enough to love me…yes me. That still blows my mind! The Creator of all that is, all that was, and all that ever will be cares about the most insignificant creation He made…me. Wow!

And how do I know? Because I talk to Him every day. I feel His presence in my life every day. I have His word that has stood the test of thousands of years to read from daily. I don't need the logic of Mr. Pascal and his mathematical equation to tell me to put my faith in God. Jesus took care of that long before Blaise…Hey, maybe we need a programming language based on His teachings.

It would at least be crash-proof.

May God bless you today in your walk with Him.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sorry... I don't carry cash.

$53 trillion. That number is absolutely staggering, and it's the old number representing our national debt plus all the unfunded promises such as Social Security and Medicare, which have no future tax revenues to cover them. In additional, the FY2008/09 projected number for a $1 trillion budget deficit equates to almost 7.5% on the Gross Domestic Product. Now before you hock-loving types start bantering about the ratio of y to z is less than k on the third Sunday stuff, let's put it into terms we 'normal' everyday simple folk can relate.

In 2006, the US Census Bureau estimated there are 111,617,402 US households (+/- 145,530), so let's round to 111,500,000 for those of us mathematically challenged. Stay with me, here come a lot of zeros.

That's 53,000,000,000,000 divided by 111,500,000 which comes to...cancel the zeros, carry the 2...and...475,386.32....okay, rounded to 475,386. That's dollars. For each household. Wow.

Can I get a bailout?

'I don't trust either of you...you dishonest politicians!' Joe the Plumber

Joe Biden, Joe Six-Pack and Joe the Plumber -
The plumber leads by 12 points in most polls.








Okay, Joe didn't really say that...but he could! Watching the debate last night was almost as painful for me as watching the Dodger lose in Game 5 of the NLCS. Almost. And poor Joe, he kept getting pulled in from both sides. 'My buddy Joe...' and 'Good ole Joe' references were used like cheap white paint trying to cover a deep red or deep blue wall. It's not working. Politics...no partisan politics painted the dark walls to start. I'm sick of hearing the D's blame the R's and the R's blame the D's and then both pandering to the few polarizing issues that divide us into D's and R's. I just don't believe either of them is willing to fix the real problems.


McCain talked out of both sides of his mouth promising to control spending and give tax cuts on one side then promising more entitlement programs on the other. How does that work John? In my house, if we act on wants and not needs, we end up spending more money. Since there's only so much money to go around each month, spending more means something gives somewhere else (i.e. food, clothes, charity giving, etc.). I can't just go to my boss and declare 'I spent more this month, so I need more pay this month.' Of course, there's always...don't say it...yes...credit cards (oh the humanity, the humanity!). More debt is definitely not the answer, and the biggest reason we're in the mess we're in today.


Then there's Mr. Debonair. Cool and sophisticated. At points in the debate, I was so enthralled by Obama's promises that I found myself opening my wallet and just throwing money at the TV. 'Take it...take it all!' Well, that's what it would pretty much be under his reign. God love 'em, Democrats are never going to give money back. No how, no way. Every answer BO gave seemed to start with 'The government...' Is that the answer to all our problems or the cause? Hmmmm.


Facts are facts. The R's had control of the White House and Congress for SIX YEARS. Did the federal government get smaller? Did the national deficit go away? Both got BIGGER. We all know the D's aren't going to make government smaller no sooner than fish are going to jump out of water everywhere and start walking to get around. It's just not going to happen.


Conservatives are being betrayed nationwide. Government has grown out of control for so many years, the obesity may be irreversible without major surgery. The surgeon needs to be us, the American voter (hey, I stay at Holiday Inn Express). What needs to be fixed is major - out of control spending, tax reform, campaign finance reform, and term limits for Congress just to name a few. It's the only option, and politicians needs to be held accountable to make it happen or be replaced... surgically removed. Washington has become too comfortable with incompetence and for incumbents.


I hate to use a Bill O'Reilly phrase (God forgive me please), but we have to stop drinking the Kool Aid...blind following. Republicans nominated the wrong guy. He can't beat Obama. He won't. Deal with it and start getting ready for the next fight. It's coming very soon. We need true conservative leadership in Washington...not big government politicians dressed up like conservatives. We have to demand the federal government not only be smaller, but also less intrusive in the free market and our free personal lives.


Let's get back to the basics of 1776, or even 1876, before we find our country being ran by only the special interest and a select few and not the 'We' in 'We the people...'


I hope we're not too late.






Monday, October 13, 2008

Senator Obama...please address this for all of us.


This is an actual photograph taken for a Chicago Magazine article in 2001. Bill Ayers was promoting his book Fugitive Days in the article.

I believe wholeheartedly in the First Amendment right of all Americans. In my days as a U.S. Marine officer or even today given the necessity, I would die to protect anyone's constitutionally guaranteed freedom to soundly, even rudely, disagree with my opinion on any given issue. To me, freedom of speech is a principle worth dying to protect. But this...this goes too far!

Ayers may have or may not have been your friend, Senator Obama, but you've got to publicly condemn this man for his radical views. As a potential (if not probable) Commander in Chief, you have to know too much blood has been spilled for our Standard...our colors...your flag. It's just as if Bill Ayers is standing directly on you, Mr. Obama, in disrespect. Please say it's just not right...because it's not, now and never should be.

Just say it for all of us and put it to rest.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Disagree without demonizing...brilliant Rick Warren...brilliant.

In case you missed the Saddleback Civil Forum in August, Rick Warren sat down with both presidential candidates and posed identical questions to each man separately. In light of the last debate this Wednesday already being twirled before the first word is actually spoken, I thought it would be refreshing to go back and look at Saddleback. The best website I found that was easy to navigate and use was on the CNN site. The link is below:

2008 Saddleback Civil Forum - Presidential Interviews

I encourage you to take the time to watch and listen. Rick doesn't go for a 'gotcha' moment, and both candidates seem relaxed and open. There are clear differences between the two in political policy ideology and views on the role of the President. Base your decision on those differences and not on mendacious junk emails that are circulated without personal consequence.

The 2008 Presidential election is too important for our country.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My vacation is over...but I've still been watching.



Okay. I've been off an entire week. Well, actually 9 days if you include weekends. In spite of the mother-load of material to blog away about over that time span, I was content to be a spectator and of no written sarcasms. I kept my barbs to a few close friends and family (which don't necessarily cross categories in this case) or snide remarks hurled at my television.


Scene from local support group meeting every Tuesday night at the VFW.

Tony: Hi, I'm Tony, and I'm a recovering Reagan Democrat with so many things to be mad about, I resort to yelling almost daily at whatever show happens to be on my TV at the time.

Group: Hi Tony (In unison from the 37 people in attendance).

Tony: I watched the Vice Presidential Debate last week...(groans from crowd)...yeah, I'm mad as heck too. But what do we do? What do we do? I've gotten to the point of screaming expletives at SportsCenter...both the 7am and 8am shows, which are basically just a repeat of the same highlights over again, kinda like Headline News used to do before Talk Radio people took over (more groans)...yeah, I know. I miss the repeating stories every half hour too with sports on at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour. That's where Van Earl Wright got his start, before American Gladiators, you know...

Group Moderator: Tony! You're rambling.

Tony: Sorry, I just can't bring myself to talk about it anymore. I feel so...helpless. McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden...I mean...well that's not even really a choice! What the heck now, come on! She uses phrases like 'gosh darn it' and 'golly geez' ..and Biden wouldn't know the truth if it ran over him. Don't even get me started on Oprah Obama or 'Is he is or is he ain't' McCain!

Group Moderator: Tony! Focus please!

Tony: (whining) I know...I know...where's Ron when we really need him! Please God, send him back...send him back! Just answer this one prayer. I take back the lottery prayer. Answer this one and I'll never curse at Glenn Beck again....I promise...on the TV or radio! Please, God please!

Group becomes completely unsettled and begin wailing and gnashing their teeth.


I'm researching something currently that I'll reserve comment on until after Tuesday night. That is, of course, if the world doesn't come to an end due to the black hole about to be created somewhere in Europe because we just can't leave some things well enough alone and have to spend billions of dollars to smash a few protons together...oh...sorry, I'm rambling again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

$700 Billion? That's all you need? No problem...




My grandfather used to tell me, "When you're hip deep in snapping turtles, it's too late to think about draining the pond." He was quite gregarious and most never subtle, and the obvious wisdoms he spewed were often lost in his happy-go-lucky demeanor. I remember this particular colloquial idiom because the words mentally echoed in the midst of a personal crisis which were, at one time, all to frequent in my life. According to my grandfather, "So what do I do now?" is best preceded by "That doesn't sound like a good idea" and can, in fact, lead to the complete unnecessity of the first statement all together.

To the subject at hand...So what do we do now? Since it's obviously and unfortunately moot for the latter of the two statements above, we (read Americans) are left anxious and near panic over the current U.S. financial crisis spirally completely out of control.

(Uncle Sam enters stage right...no left...wait, right) "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."


There would be a pause here in the production for audience laughter. To bad this scene isn't a line from a comedy, but rather a scene playing out from a tragedy of epic proportion.

I think most of us (again, read Americans) are just plain... mad. Maybe that's not strong enough. How about...angry. The prevailing hover of political apathy in the public air has been whiffed away by a strong high pressure system located over Washington DC that seems to be impacting everyone's local weather. On a global scale.

So, what do we do now? Okay, ignoring the question doesn't seem to make it go away. I don't know the answer, and I'm pretty sure the elected people who helped get us here in the first place don't have the answer either. No, they're too business blaming it on the Bush Administration, the Democratic controlled Congress..heck, they're too business blaming each other! All while floating plans to spend nearly a trillion dollars of our money.

Republicans: "We have a plan."
Democrats: "That might work. We can't vote for that!"
"How about this plan? OUR plan."
Republicans: "That might work too. We can't support that!"
Democrats: "This is your fault!"
Republicans: "No, this is your fault!"
Democrats: "Stop touching me!"
Republican: "You stop touching me!"
Both burst into tears.


Man, I miss my grandfather.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Hopelessness and Futility of Atheism (Repost)



From the blog of http://contemporarycalvinist.blogspot.com

Good stuff...funny...but also sad that people actually live under this very philosophy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Base your decision on substance...not tabloid.

The following article in a recent edition of Christianity Today breaks down both party positions on a number of issues. That's not to say that either candidiate for President agrees with the entire party position.

I thought it was presented in a clean, unbiased manner.

Comparing the Platforms
Where the parties stand on abortion, faith-based programs, religious liberty, and other issues.
posted 8/27/2008 11:00AM


At the end of the article is a link to the complete platform of each party as adopted at their respective conventions. The Republican platform is a completed draft not ratified at the time of the article, but an excellent source of information.

Take the time to read each...then decide who to vote for in November. Don't let talk radio or even main stream news media make that decision for you. Both of those sources are in business to SELL ADVERTISING and thus make money. It's about ratings to them...not truth.

Monday, September 15, 2008

SNL nails another one!

Unfortunately, neither one reminds you of Margaret Thatcher...the Governor or Senator... not the comedians.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dear Senators...thank you both for today.












U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) (R) lays a flower as he and Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) visit a memorial at Ground Zero to mark the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, September 11, 2008.REUTERS/Pool (UNITED STATES)

September 11 will forever be about more than just a single ideology. The people who died on that dreadful day in 2001 were not Democrats or Republicans, not liberal or conservatives...they were Americans. Much like the calm December 7th morning in 1941 that united another generation, our brothers and sisters were going able their normal routines. Acts of violence, thoughts of malice far from their minds.

I will never forget standing and watching the second plane barrel into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, forever changed, as we all were.

Today is about remembering those nearly 3000. Thank you Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain for demonstrating that and putting the dirty business of politics aside for this day...their day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stop, children. What's that sound?



You have to love Red State Update. Jackie and Dunlap manage to expose (through satire) just how ridiculously blasphemous we are at times, especially when it comes to politics.

All of these groups claimed to be God loving. Hmmmm. It's funny yet deeply saddening at the same time.

Sorry for the foul language in the video.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mt Everest? Sure, I can do that!


This is a repost of a blog I wrote over a year ago for the Stick with Jesus website no longer active. I wanted it to be a part of this blog because the subject matter is so important to me.



Music is such an important part of most people's lives today. It can lift our spirits, mellow us out, fire us up, drag us down…it pretty much always invokes an emotional response when we listen on one level or another.

Today while driving home from work, I experienced one of those emotions in a major way. You see, I was driving along in my own little private world of thoughts and images, where the sky is always Dodger blue and the mailbox is only filled with birthday cards. Yeah, and you always have ice cream in the freezer that has never been opened before…anyway…that's when Josh Groban's tenor voice filled my car with a very familiar song.

When I am down and oh my soul so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdens me
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit a while with me

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

My eyes filled with tears as I drove along heading directly for the person that embodies that very song for me. She will be waiting for me, glad to see me once again…wait a minute…she? That's a Christian song about Jesus isn't it?

There was a very difficult time in my life when that precise thought, about that very song, confused me. You see, I was separated from her, but she, just like my Savior, stood by me and kept me strong, faithful and focused. I would hear Josh Groban and feel equally emotional about the lyrics that described what both meant to me. So much…so strong.

Guilt would then lead to prayer and study in God's word about why I was confusing the two, when one day in reading I came across Ephesians 5:25:

Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…

That's when I clearly came to the understanding that I'm supposed to love her, yes my beautiful wife and soul mate, just as strong as Jesus loves me…meaning only He comes before her in my heart and soul. A wonderful peace came over me. I felt that peace today again on the way home to be with her.

Marriage is an important bond to God. He gave us so much in His word about what He expects in our marriages. I'm so glad I have a marriage built on the foundation of God. I'm most appreciative He blessed me with a wonderful woman who is only second to Him. She lifts me up…just like Jesus.

My wish is that God blesses you, as He has me, with an amazing spouse….or maybe He has already. Amen.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Now that we've heard from both sides...








..........

Every Presidential election year, the same talking-head complaint about low voter turn out crops up and how apathy is gripping our nation when it comes to politics. Hmmm. I can't imagine why now nearly two generations of the youngest voters are so uninterested when the subject of politics and elections are raised. Why wouldn't the very fiber that is destined to become the continuation of the greatest concept in the history of governments be ready to pick up the banner and march proudly forward championing the cause of Democracy? How is it a vast majority of Millennials (aka Generation Y) and even some Generation Xers have become so self-absorbed that causes for higher purpose (i.e. freedom, faith and sanctity of human life) have become lesser important talking points than the release of the latest version IPhone or whose baby will be cuter Brad and Angelia's or Tom and Katie's?

What happened to 'Of the people, for the people, by the people' and 'There is no greater sacrifice...'? Why do we tolerate the derogation of honorable men and women aspiring to become leaders of the greatest nation in the history of nations? How did we digress to meaningless, inconsequential finger pointing, name calling and flat out lying about the 'other party' to a debilitating result of ineptitude or incompetence that has left our government in an impassable (yes, impassable) quagmire?

That is a lot of guilt! But, come on, eventually one of two people will become our 44th President, and the two people backing them up will be a last breath away from 45th. Shouldn't there be some dignity associated with such a noble post regardless of party affiliation? Something has happened in our country that has turned the significant and completely relevant task of electing our leader, the arguably most important position (elected or otherwise) on the planet, into a distasteful travesty resembling Roman gladiator games, or still worse, a train wreck.

Here is my challenge, my prayer, to/for Christians. Rise above. Stop the madness. I'm so personally sickened by talk radio, websites and circulating emails that distort the truth to an unrecognizable point of smut and slander. Before Republicans start screaming, 'What about the liberal media?', I'm including them too. How does the liberal media exist? Never forget that the media is a business. One dependant on consumers, with a bottom line. So who do we blame for my initial examples at the top of the page? We are they! (Ouch. He gave an example from both sides didn't he? That means I'm one of them...doesn't it?). If you're having that self-imposed observation...GOOD FOR YOU! Stop the insanity! Don't forward that atrocious email about Obama being the antichrist or McMain be a closet baby killer. Look at the facts. Stick to the facts.

Let's get back to voting for a man or woman based on their politics and the issues...a platform. Who has a better plan (4 letter word) for our health care debacle? Pick a side. Who has a realistic vision of our continued role in the Middle East? Pick a side. What about securing our borders? If that's important to you, pick a side. In my experience, there is no 'One Size Fits All.' At any given time, great ideas originate in both parties. But, the polarized state of the union has resulted in a strategic deadlock that is paralyzing progress on the simplest of issues (read High Gas Prices here) making us the jesters of the world court.

If we can eliminate the Jerry Springer-like quality our political election process has become, get back to focusing on issue-based platforms of meaningful dialogue, and bring a sense of supported dignity back to the Oval Office (even when your candidate doesn't win), our country may see a renewed vigor of interest in the action that effects each of us the most outside our spiritual lives...electing and holding accountable our leaders.

I seriously doubt the Greatest Generation envisioned the America we've become when they suffered through 3 wars (2 World Wars) and the Great Depression. Think about that the next time you're about to forward that obviously fake, nude picture of Palin (wink, wink - you know who you are).
God Bless and Forgive Us All

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Is It Just Me? I Kinda Doubt It...

For several years on my website http://www.stickwithjesus.com/ (no longer operating), I've blogged about numerous personal experiences and observations that stayed within 'religiously correct' parameters to avoid confusing or offending any Christian who might read them. I'm a God-fearing, Jesus-loving Christian myself, but I often feel confined by the etiquette Christians are posed to adhere to when discussing personal views on religious theology and modern politics.

No more! I have a personal conviction for young people today who struggle with the normalcy of doubt and confusion surrounding their Christian faith. Or, the non-believer who is repulsed at the splintered factions Christianity has become but still feels the tug of a risen Savior on the heart. The one who loves the beautiful story of promise and hope in the life of Jesus Christ but can't always see the message in His followers today.

How about religion and politics? The perplexed Christian whose political views are far from Republican and feels alienated by a two-party all-or-nothing system of governing that leaves them as well as millions of others struggling to find an identity in the current U.S. political process. Or, the revisionist history of our country that has become nearly as fractured as Christianity and caused several generations now to lose faith in the founding principles our great nation was forged.

Let's discuss them all...and much more. I love God, and I love my country. But, I also understand that God is much, much bigger than any nation, denomination, race or generation. In an open, respectful forum, I hope to bring to light a number of politically and religiously avoided topics that Christians should think about and challenge. In doing so, maybe we can expose the message of Jesus as the truth it was actually meant to be. The true message of love and acceptance the way He practiced it in His life on Earth over 2000 years ago.

Keep an open heart and mind as you read.