Saturday, May 27, 2006

Reasons for war

On this Memorial Day Weekend this seems appropriate. I'm so proud of our young men and women fighting this historic, nobel and prophetic fight. This was written by a patriot in Wisconsin. I can only say Amen and Amen.

By Mervin Farmer
Appleton, Wis.

I should have written this letter two years ago, but I didn’t. I’m doing it now.

It seems that Cindy Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq, and others opposed to the war are unable to decide for themselves why we have invaded Iraq.

Here are some reasons for them to consider:

  1. Sept. 11, 2001. After Pearl Harbor, we attacked Japan. So whom do we go after this time-no one?
  2. Worldwide terrorism. The 2004 National Geographic has documented 28 terrorist groups, with Al Qaeda, the deadliest, operating in 68 countries worldwide.
  3. Prevention of future terrorist bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  4. *A way to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we mean business and need its help.
  5. A way to point out to countries that harbor and abet terrorists that they are no friends of ours and will be treated accordingly.
  6. The removal of a power-hungry, madman dictator who could, and would, be a potential danger to world peace.
  7. The setting-up, it is hoped, of a democracy in Iraq, to demonstrate to the people of the Middle East that freedom is possible for everyone.
  8. The prevention of Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia and controlling the Saudi oil fields.
  9. A way to enable the Iraqi oil money to go to the people of Iraq, instead of to Saddam Hussein and his nefarious projects.
  10. Israel. Need I say why?
  11. The removal of military bases from Saudi Arabia to Iraq. These bases in Saudi Arabia were a major sore spot to the Muslim terrorists.
  12. Any other reasons are secret and classified. The American people cannot be privy to confidential information that would compromise our ability to protect our country and our lives. Telling our enemy everything we know could very well tell them how we came to know it.
Twelve reasons why we went to war and nothing about weapons of mass destruction. Really!

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Really Funny Read

My Friend Jack Sunday posted this. It's hillarious.

His son sent it to him.

If you are a Republican or a Democrat there's something here for everyone.

Solar Indigestion

30 years ago I was stricken with serious sunstroke. Up till then I was Mr. Mo Sun. I spent the day on a Brazilian beach without protection of any kind.

By the end of the day I was one sick puppy.

Ever since then when it gets really hot and I'm in the sun all day I get queasy. Today was such a day. No hat. Dumb.

I'll pay tomorrow.

Some people don't know when to come in out of the rain, I don't know when to come in out of the sun.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

How Much is that Doggie in the Window - If you have to ask you can't afford it

We dropped into the pet shop tonite. Waiting for our take out Barbecue to be done.

Looked at the dogs. The sign said the cute puppy was called a Pappion. The sign said, $600 OFF. That means this is a marked down dog. FROM WHAT??

So I asked. Regular Price is $1399. For a dog.

The world has gone nuts.

I guess when I got Skipper for nothing I got the bargain of the century.

Laws of Large Numbers and Frog Kissing

Last Saturday night a fellow minister with the IPHC had his first meeting of his new Church Plant.  E-4 International Church.  It was a classic case of an implementation of the Law of Large Numbers according to a Pastor Dr. Barry Kolb.  I had heard about this but never quite as succinctly as this.
What the Church Plant had done is electronically contacted 40,000
people and asked them to respond to a short questionnaire. 
According to Barry, that 40,000 should have yielded 400 yes responses and 40 actual attendees. 
Turns out, that was pretty darn close. We had 300 who said yes.  120 who said they would come and about 30 who showed.
Then last night in a conversation with a friend about how hard it is for young people to meet someone (we're both not real young anymore, both married which means we did meet someone and that therefore makes us experts) the discussion actually came down to the same thing.  If you are going to find enough frogs to kiss, (you gotta kiss a lot of frogs if you want to find a prince) you have (watch me mix this metaphor here) to fish in a bigger pond.
To put it another way, if frogs are your objective in prince seeking you should avoid spending much time in the desert even if you dearly love the desert.  This is doubly important if you are looking for a particular type of prince which must meet a list of non negotiables.  Can't be this, must be that.
When we had the Church in Geneva honestly we had great worship, good preaching (even when I preached), good fellowship and lots of couples.  Singles who showed up enjoyed what was going on but didn't last long.  They were hunting for frogs.  We didn't have frogs.  They ended up the road at the big seeker church in town or way up the road at the mother seeker church.  Mass quantities of frogs. 
Theology be danged, where do you keep the frogs?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Non-Negotiables = Values

I recieved an email from a friend who was talking about a George Will collumn and was chiming in that people who are "Values Voters" are narrow and don't get it. This was part of her comment to me. That I had a

.....responsibility to understand others' ideas or reach common ground or compromise.


It's this part of your comment that demonstrates the lack of values. I have values. I won't outline them here. I don't think there is a question of for the most part what they are. You can probably tell me. That means I represent a clear set of beliefs and principles which you understand immediately. You may not agree, but you know where I stand. Values.

I have flown enough to know you have to have a good compass to get where I want to go. And good maps. And a clear idea of what the weather will be along the way so adjustments can be made enroute to get where I want to go.

Trying to compromise or reach common ground without a compass or a map or ignoring the weather means I will miss the mark or crash.

People who value peace more than justice (As in the word to justify, make straight, correct to a predetermined course, like adjust) are always conflicted, easily led, confused and in the end unsure of themselves. Oh and I think George Will is full of horsepucky.

Values Voters is obvious shorthand for people who see things as less gray and more black and white than do you. It's the whole idea where I am more OK if I am open-minded. There are lots of things I am NOT open-minded on. I have no intention of being open-minded on: Life (as oppoosed to killing children by abortion), Marriage and Family (as opposed to blatant homosexuality/gay marriage) and The Kingdom of God (as opposed to secular humanism and anti religious fervor). I have a aversion to open-mindedness when it comes to trying to decrease the capacity to reason. You see, when you have no position from which to reason other than open-mindedness you drift into mindlessness. That's why so much of the left's vacuous arguments about so many things are so astoundingly stupid sounding to those of us who are part of Will's shorthand.

If I am a Values Voter (I guess it fits so you have to convict not acquit) I will vote what I believe as opposed to the popular mainstream media pap bought without thinking by so much of the left and open-minded people.

My advice is: develop a strong compass of beliefs whatever you conceive them to be. Defend them. Live in them. Focus on them. Make them Non-Negotiable.

Most of what I hear from the left is Bush is an idiot, and other such. We're against everything. That's not values. That is just being contrary. If the left ever became refocused on what they believe as opposed to what they are against they might have a chance. They have no values (other than being against everything) ergo they can't be values voters.

So, ask yourself, what are the uncompromising values from which I will give no ground (common or otherwise). Live in those non-negotiable and you might become a values voter. Till then you are off course, no map, compass is broken, and there's a thunderstorm in your way.

That's a recipe for disaster.

Read this for a person with sound values regarding the War. She represents what a real values voter is. When discourse reaches this level I have hope. If you read the comments (and there are many) you will quickly see which side is reasoned and which side is just against everything.
Tell me what you are FOR, then stick to it. Don't just tell me what you are against.

In the end, you do have values. If I wanted to plant, buckthorn at Garfield would you be willing to compromise and reach common ground about it? See, you do have values. Just not in all areas.
Our values are different. We don't have to agree to be friends. We certainly won't agree on some. I have no interest in areas I hold dear to compromise at all. Nor do you.

If someone comes to you with an agenda that includes values you "Value" you will vote for them. In that you are a values voter. Values you Truly Value aren't open to compromise and common ground.

Get it?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Praise the Lord and Pass the Karaoke

Karaoke music in the church has been a topic of recent discussion. Turns out, this is a larger phenomena than I had realized.

How it works. A guy stands up in front of the congregation, guitar in hand, starts singing and suddenly a 40 piece orchestra and choir chimes in. It sounds great, but the visuals are missing. Technology will change that too. Holographics. You’ve seen Star Trek Next Gen right. It’s only a matter of time.

Do you really even need the guy standing up in front of the congregation? Nope. There is a karaoke hymn-leading machine that is being used in England. Oh, It’ll be here soon if it’s not already. I have been in some church services where the pianist, organ or whatever was so awful that “Fly Me to the Moon” on Karaoke would have been more spiritual. Bet you have too.

Now for you really traditionalist thinkers to whom this all seems so “out there”; Remember synthesizers, electronic pianos? I remember when in the late 70's First Lutheran in Fargo got one. There were people who were pretty sure that the wire from the back of that “machine” was plugged directly into the pits of Hades.

When I got saved and moved into charismatic worship the guitars were all acoustic. Fewer devils in that I guess. Then someone brought a Fender Telecaster. Yikes. Satan showed up for sure. Those were in the days when we were burning our rock records because they had satanic messages on them when you played them backwards. (Insert joke about what happens when you play a country western record backwards here). Then drums, then well, you know. It’s gone “Downhill” since. I love it.

So, get used to it. It will be better than Martha on the pump organ. I had a great time with a young man who is a worship leader in a church in Missouri last Friday night. He talked at length about the “Band in a Box”. How James Taylor uses this technology interspersed with the real people. They walk on and off but are still there. How that technology will change worship leading for years to come. He’s right you know.

Technology. It’s all the rage. Of course for those of you in ministry who read this, don’t get too comfortable. Why not Karaoke prayer or Karaoke sermons. I mean think of the money we could save.

From the article:
Even so, clergy might want to be forewarned: Among the Hymnal Plus' many talents is the ability to lead a congregation in prayer and in recorded sermons via an electronic voice box.
Ah yes, I can see it all now, it’s 2010. Sunday Morning. Mom, Dad and the kids all put on their IPOD’s and get down together in virtual worship. No getting dressed up for church, no $5 per gallon gas wasted. It’ll be so efficient. Or maybe Holodeck Worship. How long before you can find yourself at Crystal Cathedral in the front row holographically, or Lakewood, or Bishop Jakes Potters House.

Boogie down and never leave your couch.

I’ve always said that ministry would be much easier if we didn’t have to deal with people. (for those of you who are humorless, that’s a joke man).

Maybe we don’t if it all becomes virtual and electronic.

Is that better?


Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Joy of ...... WORK

Bet you thought I was going to say SEX. 
No, there's also the Joy of WORK.
I took several personality tests back in my Dale Carnegie days.  There was this need or desire to know who I was or am.  One of the things that came from the test was I have a need, maybe need isn't enough, a motivation to see concrete results in whatever I do.  I cannot long be happy doing unproductive (in my eyes) things.
The way it was described, I am happiest when I'm digging a hole because I can see the hole AND I can also see the dirt piled next to the hole.  Before and after.  Action and result.  I don't do well where there are no results.  This is probably why as a corporate executive I didn't get on as well as some.  Turn me loose, give me a desired end to get to, I'm unstoppable and passionate.  Create inert-dom (meetings to have meetings and conference calls and memos, and reviews and and and) I am like a caged tiger.  Stop already.  Let's do something.  I am results oriented to a fault.  I don't play well with others.
Yesterday I worked outside for much of the day.  It was wonderful.  I'm so sore.  I got so much done.  I put a new chain on my 25 year old Sears chainsaw and cut everything I could find.  There's more to come.  A standing dead tree is an abomination unto the Lord.  I will bring justice and the strong arm of God.
I always go thru a metamorphosis every spring.  I'm a lardo all winter long.  Then spring.  Lift tug push pull tear dig rip haul.  I'm so sore at the end of the day I virtually can't walk.  It feels wonderful.  Every muscle pains me.  I lose huge amounts of weight and get in shape again.  It feels so good.  I have a friend who has is a hiker and as a result she has lost a great deal of weight.  She would understand this pain and pleasure.
I have tried working out in a gym in winter.  There's no pile of dirt.  I don't make the connection with that machine or treadmill and work.  I know technically it's "work" but I don't know emotionally.  When I work I must have purpose. I wish I could stay in shape in a gym.  I wish I could but unless they have a hole needing digging or filling I'm not going to sign up.  Tried it, didn't like it.
I could blame this on my Germanic heritage "Arbeit macht frei".  Or as when I worked for the Fischer's in Germany "Arbeit Arbeit Arbeit".  That was the mission statement for the corporation.  Or as a nurseryman in Tennessee puts it, It's on the letterhead of his nursery, Workie Workie Workie.
Two things from all this.  I feel bad for a younger generation some of whom do not know the joy of pure work.  Pleasure of accomplishment.  Joy of the pain that goes with it.  Wonder of the response of the human body to effort.  We have robbed them of the dopamine rush that comes from really hard work.  That is a pity.
The second.  I know the day will come (and this is scriptural) when no man can work.  I am 61.  I want to work till I'm 75 if I can.  If my body allowed, to 85.  Retirement is a 4 letter word.  Actually 10 but you know what I mean.  I remember my brother John who loved to garden.  When he could no longer go out and work because of disease it ripped his soul.  I Know relatives of mine who at a cellular level need to be physically busy to have any fullness of life.  There is a supernatural effect from work that causes us to keep our perspective clear.
I could go on, there would be no result in that.  Gotta go.  I have work to do.