Saturday, September 09, 2006

George Bush Doubles Down

That was the headline from the top of the Saturday Wall Street Journal. It's a reference to a blackjack hand that is a winner and you want to go for the whole thing. Played right it's not a risky bet. But it is Gutsy.

That's what I love about our President. He is of more courage than anyone in recent history.

Paul Gigot who wrote the article says as a president he is more Truman than LBJ. My opinon is he is superior to both. George W Bush is without comparisom.

If you have the time and the courage to read the whole thing you will see a president in full charge of the situation, in full command of the strategy, in full understanding of the situation and without wavering ready to double down.

Here are a few key lines from the article posted on Opinion Journal today:

"Now, my view of the country is this: Most people want us to win. There are a good number who say, get out now. But most Americans are united in the concept--of the idea of winning."

Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni. Mr. Bush says partition would be "a mistake," though he does add that "the Iraqi people are going to have to make that decision." But he says Iraqis didn't vote for partition when they approved their new constitution or new government, and "this government has been in place since June; 90 days is a long time for some, but it's really not all that long to help a nation that was brutalized under a tyrant to get going."

Iraq is the first real test of the nation's commitment to this ideological struggle. . . . I believe it strongly. One way for the American people to understand the stakes is to envision what happens if America withdraws." He has been hitting that last point hard in his recent speeches, and it is the linchpin of the argument Mr. Bush will make through November against the Democrats who insist on pulling out immediately.

Intriguingly, the president broke a little news on the subject of Iran, acknowledging that he personally signed off on the U.S. visit this week by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. The trip has angered many conservatives because Mr. Khatami presided over the nuclear weapons development and cheating that Mr. Bush has pledged to stop. Why let him visit?

"I was interested to hear what he had to say," Mr. Bush responds without hesitation. "I'm interested in learning more about the Iranian government, how they think, what people think within the government. My hope is that diplomacy will work in convincing the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions. And in order for diplomacy to work, it's important to hear voices other than [current President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's."

've interviewed Mr. Bush at length in the last eight years, going back to his time as Texas governor. One of the notable things about him is how similar he seems. He has always been supremely confident in his decisions and focused above all else on pushing forward, not looking back. If he is tortured by doubt, he doesn't show it to journalists. Some see this as obstinance, but he sees it as firmness of conviction.

Whether or not he's right about the elections this fall, you have to respect his willingness to put that conviction on the line. "I said in my Inaugural Address, we should end tyranny in the 21st century," he says. "And I meant that."

He's quite a man, my kind of man, my kind of President. I'm prepared to make my prediciton now. House and Senate stay as they are. In fact, it's possible the republican's pick up an additional seat in the Senate.

I'm always thankful for the Liberals in our country. They have a bullseye painted on their feet and never miss in crunch time like elections. Oops they did it again.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I am NOT Pro Choice (in some areas)

When Peggy and I lived in Germany one of the things we were impressed with was the grocery stores. They weren’t large, the selection was limited but the quality of the goods was excellent. Shopping was a pleasure.

When we came back to the USA after a couple years in the early 90's we had to be reacclimatized to the cereal isle.

There were too many things to choose from. Too many choices. Too many options.

It's like the Medicare thing Pres Bush came up with. No one can figure it out because there are too many choices.

I don't love a one size fits all program, I do want some choice but too much is too much.

When I bought my last cell phone, I went in and said, "I want a simple phone that I can make and receive calls on".

They kept trying to sell me on phones that danced, sang, had 500 ring tones, did games, took pictures and scratched my back. I just wanted a phone that made and received phone calls. They thought I had arrived from mars.

I got the simplest phone they had, it still works, it still makes and receives phone calls. I still don't want my picture taken.

Same when I bought the digital camera I did. I wanted to take pictures and load them onto my computer. Nope. It had to do movies, features and who knows what. I am confident that it does more than I am doing with it. I don't care. I just want to take pictures.

Same with software. Some years ago I told a software engineer friend of mine that I was convinced that a simple software package that allowed me to write letters and didn't try to help me with that stupid assistant I constantly try to assassinate helping me.

I mostly use word pad now, then I load it into word and let the spelling correction take place. I just hate all the features word has. This is from an op ed piece I read in the Tribune today:

It's counterintuitive, but marketing researchers have discovered what I (and many simple-minded people) have known for years: Too many choices can suppress sales.

In the book "Blink," Malcolm Gladwell describes a very simple study in which shoppers at a grocery store were offered the chance to buy one of six specialty jams. Thirty percent bought a jar. When the choices were increased to 24 varieties of jam, only 3 percent bought.

So all you folks who dreamt up all these options, Cell Phone Plans and 100 other complicated things, simple is better. It really is.

Somehow I think this applies to all of life.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

French and Muslim humor

This is a Humor Check. In our out of control Politically Correct World any joking about France and their Military that is now going to monitor the UN Peace in Lebanon requires some level of perspective.

My favorite French Military Joke (Other then Themselves) is

"Why do the French plant Sycamore trees along the roads in France? So the Germans won't have to march in the Sun."

Some Others of note.

"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me."
--General George S. Patton

"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion."
--Norman Schwartzkopf

"As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure."
--Jacques Chirac, President of France
"As far as France is concerned, you're right."
--Rush Limbaugh

"The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee."
--Regis Philbin

The AP and UPI reported that the French Government announced after the London bombings that it has raised its terror alert level from Run to Hide. The only two higher levels in France are Surrender and Collaborate. The rise in the alert level was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively disabling their military.

"I don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get Hitler out of France either."
--Jay Leno

"The last time the French asked for 'more proof' it came marching into Paris under a German flag."
--David Letterman

"War without France would be like World War II."

"Raise your right hand if you like the French, raise both hands if you are French."

"It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us."
--Alan Kent

"They've taken their own precautions against al-Qa'ida. To prepare for an attack, each Frenchman is urged to keep duct tape, a white flag, and a three-day supply of mistresses in the house."
--Argus Hamilton

"Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day -- the description was, 'Never shot. Dropped once.'"
--Rep. Roy Blunt, MO

French Ban Fireworks at Euro Disney (AP), Paris, March 5, 2003. The French Government announced today that it is imposing a ban on the use of fireworks at Euro Disney. The decision comes the day after a nightly fireworks display at the park, located just 30 miles outside of Paris, caused the soldiers at a nearby French Army garrison to surrender to a group of Czech tourists

Doesn't all this make you feel so much better about having the frogs in the middle east to keep peace. Who thought this up? Oh yea, the UN. That explains everything.

And the Muslims:

So that no one feels left out, here are Some Jokes about Muslims. OOOOOOO
You can't say that. I mean it might offend someone. REALLY? I only wish I had more. When did we start fearing our mortal enemies so much they shouldn't be made just a bit fun of? Remember the fun we all had at Hitlers Expense in WWII?

Time to roll out the barrel again.

How many Palestinians does it take to change a light bulb?

None! They sit in the dark forever and blame the Jews for it!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What do you call a first-time offender in Saudi Arabia?


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Did you hear about the Muslim strip club?

It features full facial nudity!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What does the sign say above the nursery in a Palestinian maternity ward?

“Live ammunition.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A man goes into an adult entertainment shop and asks the assistant for an inflatable doll.

“Would you like male or female?”

“Female, please.”

“Would you like Black or White?”

“White, please.”

“Would you like Christian or Muslim?”

This question confused the man, so he asked,”What has the religion got to do with it? It’s an inflatable doll!”

“Well,” explained the assistant,”The Muslim one blows itself up!”

How deep does that Rabbit Hole actually GO?

In the movie The Matrix Morpheus tells Neo that if he took the red pill he would see how deep the rabbit hole really is. Neo takes the pill and discovers he's living in a dream world of a structured controlled environment where everything seems OK and normal. In fact it is filled with control and evil intentions of THE MATRIX.

The Church of Jesus is living in just such a Matrix. We who minister have believed that if we just do things a certain way, read each others books, listen to each others counsel and just hope harder things will get better somehow it'll all work out. Our intentions are right, our outcomes are wrong. We are failing. We have bought the lie and the devil laughs.

Only when men and women of God get sick and tired of being beaten down by circumstance and stand up to the enemy's attack will things change. We believe that by incrementalism and moderate tweaking of the system that things will get better. That's exactly what the devil wants us to believe. The Matrix.

In describing the Matrix Morpheus says, "It's everywhere, when you go to work, when you go to sleep, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes, you think you are living your life when in fact you are being manipulated and controlled living a lie".

What caused me to think of this was a Post from this morning on John Armstrong's blog. John is a good man, I am softly critical of him often because of his moderation driven by a pastor's heart and his attempts to intellectually comprehend thru study and teaching the deep truths of God. He depends on the soulish part of his being to try to apprehend spiritual truth. If you read the book of Second Corinthians you will see that is a failed strategy.

What he says today however in this post is sobering and should be a wakeup call for all Church leadership. Most of these are statistics we knew of in the past, none are really new, but compiled together they frame a Church in America (and in the Fox Valley Area) that is desperately sick. Maybe sick unto death. In his Post he says:

1. In proportion to population there are less than half as many churches in the U.S. Today as there were in 1900. Since 1950, there are thirty percent fewer churches for today's population.

2. Approximately 4,000 churches are begun every year, while 7,000 close!

3. North America and Europe are the only continents in the world where Christianity is not growing.

4. In 1991, 21 percent of all adults were unchurched, and in 2002 the number reached 34 percent.

5. Amazingly, giving per person in the church is less today than it was during the Great Depression.

6. The U. S. is the number two missionary receiving country in the world behind only Brazil. Christians outside of North America increasingly view us as a mission field filled with churches that are spiritually asleep.

7. The Association of Church Mission Committees (ACMC) says 250,000 of 300,000 U. S. congregations are stagnant or dying.

8. Both Catholic and Protestant (both evangelical and mainline) churches face the crisis of declining numbers.

9. The percentage of those church members who profess to an experience of the new birth who will be involved in a divorce is higher than that of non-born-again adults, 27 percent to 24 percent.

10. The average attendance at a Protestant church is 90. This is down by ten percent from 1997 and by 12 percent from 1992.

These institutional numbers are a reflection of a deeper and more serious problem, spiritual malaise and sleepiness. How can anyone seriously doubt the need for a general spiritual awakening in the land of Great Awakenings?

SO, what will bring that great awakening? Not more preaching, you can't talk people into revival; not more programs, you can't structure revival into do these three things and you will have revival; not more buildings, kind of the build it an they will come mentality (you need buildings but form follows function); not more structure and organization, not more tradition, even Jesus said we make his word of no account when we live in tradition; the one thing that can and does bring true revival is hearts of passion in Love with Jesus and desperate for more of him.

Read a hundred books on revival and they will all say, The Key to Revival is Prayer. That is the truth but it is also a trap. We think that by saying words on our knees we cause things to happen. There is a time to prepare our hearts for action by prayer. That's why Jesus went aside early and often. Intimacy with God created in prayer is the key to power in action. The Church loves to pray but then doesn't do what he asks us to do in the quiet times. We don't because we have a fear of man. The Matrix wins again.

The key of prayer in revival is that you are part of the answer to every prayer you pray. You must follow thru on what God tells you to do. If you do he will release more and more truth in action for you to follow. Your obedience will propagate more action. You must be completly submitted to his purposes. Your passion for him must outweigh the fear of failure and the fear of man that holds you back.

One you have captured this passion, the next step will be even more exciting and challenging. Bringing those who see you as a spiritual leader into a greater passion for Jesus.

SO, HOW, you ask? What causes passion? How does that happen? When does that take place? What does it look like?

There is an answer. You can't cause it. You can only release it. You can't program it. You can only create an environment where it can be expressed without restraint. Anything less than being totally sold to this out will fail.

And, reading John's compilation of statistics we already know how to fail.

It's time for a change.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What True Revival Must Look Like to be True Revival

There is much concern in the Church today regarding the need for true revival. There are books, conferences and sermons spoken on the topic. Time for some straight talk.

I have distilled these pronouncements, this is precisely what true revival must look like to be genuine:

  • People return to church who used to but don’t any more
  • We must sing at least 2 old hymns every Sunday to be spiritual
  • The people must listen in rapt attention as the pastor reads his sermon to them (It should contain a joke or two)
  • People must give 10% of their net income after taxes to be members
  • It must look and feel like it did 50 years ago when I was a kid growing up. That was revival.

If you know much about me you know I am kidding.

Here’s the problem with people trying to tell God how to bring the next revival they will accept:
  1. God Laughs
  2. They (Church Leadership) get frustrated

It is the epitome of arrogance to try to define what revival might look like in the next wave. Oh, I believe Revival is come, has come and will come. I just don’t think it will look anything like what the church at large thinks it will. For that reason when the visitation of God comes they will miss it complexly, try to explain it away, wait too long, and lose their congregation to Churches that embrace revival as it flows thru and close to become a disco when the new buyers buy that old building.

I have been reading with some interest and amusement this blog linked above on the topic of revival. I don’t mean to pick on this nice man but his take on what revival might or should look like is a human framed reference point God is far from.

We have had revival break out in various places around the world and even in America. I have seen and experienced them. They were never conventional. They changed me. Some died after several years. That’s what happens in revivals, they take us from Glory to Glory according to the scriptures and we begin to see Jesus. They never stay the same. You can’t put God in a box and tell him to stay there.

When we have had these true revivals in the past many people in evangelical traditional religion have rejected, questioned, poo pooed, visited and pronounced judgment, or ignored them and hoped these revivals would go away. When they did these critics remained in their deadness and said, "see, that didn't last". Never mind that it changed in a small way the face of Christianity that 100 years of tradition never could have.

The net result is Jesus showed up and they didn’t see him. Exactly as happend to the Jews in the first century. Eventually what God was doing changed and he began a new thing. These evangelical traditionalists continue to try reviving revival in the mode of what happened 150 years ago in Wales.
When God says, "Behold I do a new thing, if it's new to God it's new to you".

What about what happened in the 80’s with the laughter outbreak (discounted as ungodly), Pensacola (lots of repentance but too emotional), Toronto (too much weirdness) or with the prayer movement (too inward) has always been critisized. Every revival has its persecutors and critics. Luther did. The early reformists were burned at the stake. Every move of God has been missed by the established church, critisized by church leaders, and not recognized until well after it had run it's course. Look at Azusa Street. Only in the last 20 years is it become accepted. They just missed Jesus showing up.

It still goes on today because it doesn’t fit the man crafted idea of revival. What in the world makes us think we can tell God how to do anything?

Until man repents of keeping God in a box, revival can’t come. We as Christians must be prepared to say, “God, whatever you want to do or change in this Church you called me to, I’m ready to go”. Further we must be willing to say, “I will not touch or criticize your anointed. If you are doing a new thing, I will reach for you in it and see if I can find you there”.

This means nearly every sacred cow in the church must be subject to becoming hamburger. It’s big talk to say that, it's another thing to do it. God can only move as he wants to if we are prepared to kill off the revered bovines wandering around in our theologies.

Every single thing sacred in every Church Service must be subject to change. It’s all man-made anyway. Only that which is activated by the Spirit of God is real. The rest is all temporal. Worse, the idea that PEOPLE might object if we did or didn’t do this or that is so bogus spiritually that it needs to be called what it is, BAD RELIGION.

Arrogance is telling God what to do and being offended if he doesn’t do it your way. I have lived most of my life as a born again spirit filled Christian. I have instructed God several times on how to do thus and so in my life. He has always been quite amused. He never does it the way I tell Him to. He always does it right however. In fact, in the areas I defined how He was supposed to do it, if He had been foolish enough to do it my way it would have been a disaster. I have learned not to tell Him how to do things. I have learned to trust Him.

Why do we think it’s any different in our Churches? We somehow don’t think it arrogance to tell God how we believe Church should look to be "real" Church or to tell him how revival should look to be "real" revival. God is still amused. We frame our reference paridigm by being traditional, according to our denomination, Biblical, or classical. The problem is, all of these are interpretations and manmade. I know of Churches in Tennessee where to them being Biblical is not having any musical instruments in the Church. They have Bible verses to prove this. Or a church I’m very familiar with where the women NEVER cut their hair. They point to 1 Corinth 11.



Man Made!!

What if the next revival to break out was Rap Music? All the service, sermon, and sacrament was to the beat of a rap given by a guy dressed in black and an earring? What if Eminem and Fifty Cent got saved and became the next mass evangelists. What if thousands of rap fans came to Jesus at rap concerts and expect to be rapped to about Jesus in our Churches because that’s how they came to Jesus. What will the Church do with them? Start a Saturday evening service for rappers because the dying generation of old people can’t accept the rap revival in regular services? We would lose these people because they were marginalized. People who are new believers passionate for God, turned on, fired up, ready to act, full of energy, and then marginalized. Oh, God would find them a place, then as conventional Churches died they would try to have a Rap Service for those who wanted it. It would be watered down, anemic and empty. The fire went out on the altar.

So, the true new revival generated believers are abandoned because of tradition. God is not mocked. He will judge a Church that doesn't tend his sheep. Even if they love rap music.

Right now, according to John Armstrong, 8000 people per day are deciding to quit going to Church. That’s 56,000 per week. That’s nearly 10% of the population of the USA who no longer go to Church. I don’t know of the veracity of this statistic but I do know that the number is high. Why? Something no longer connects.

What ameliorates this somewhat is some people actually get saved and begin going to Church.

I narrowed this down into bite sized pieces. In the geography of the Fox Valley where I have received the Vision of what God wants to do, there are about 180,000 current residents. That means that 50 people within 15 miles of where I live decided to stop going to Church Today. This last week 400 stopped going to Church in the Fox Valley areas I live in. I’m confident that with all the churches together, we didn’t add 400 people. They just quit. The church in the Fox Valley I attend has about 500 attendees. That means that one person this last week in our Church decided not to come back to church this again and stay home permanently on Sunday. That means we lose about 4 people per month. That means that to keep just even we must add 4. This explains a great deal. By the way, that's about the statistics. Treading water.

Something is wrong and must be fixed. The fix isn’t in the hands of man, The fix is in the hand of God. But we must be ready and willing to go with him where he goes. You lead I’ll follow we sing, but we may be holding our fingers crossed behind our backs.

What we really mean is, Lord, you lead and if it doesn’t violate our image or traditions too much and if our people accept it I’ll follow. God smiles a wry smile and says, "If I have to let you all die and come to heaven to destroy what you have worked for so I can rebuild it as I wanted to, I will do it". God is not mocked.

I submit it would be better if we let him lead and we follow.

Oh, and I am not predicting a rap revival. It's just a way of testing your ability to think a little outside the box you placed God in. I have heard real rap music worship and thought it was OK. If that’s where he wanted us to go, I’m ok with it.

Let's let God arise and his Enemies be Scattered.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

…………Said the Porpoise to the Tiger

Yesterday I had one of those times. I was at the Fox Valley Folk Fest. I don’t normally go to those things but a friend of mine, Art was there so I stopped out to see him.

While shooting the breeze and talking politics a long time acquaintance from a previous church stopped by. Charlie. Charlie and I had a great talk not about OLD DAYS but about what God was doing right now in the Church of Jesus. We talked about our hopes and beliefs in his purposes. It went on for a half hour or so it seemed to Art.

For clarity Art knows about Spiritual Things, actually is reasonably well versed in one way. Like a lot of people who grew up in church, are well read, probably read the Bible but have no understanding of who Jesus is. He can talk the language in fact. I think he was raised catholic.

We have talked, I have been open but he has always been dismissive of the whole thing. I don’t get my Bible out and pound it. I care about his soul but I learned long ago I am not the Holy Spirit. I am just Gene. He has to be attracted by the Spirit of God and not of Gene.

Our (Charlie and my) discussion intrigued him. He started asking questions. Not about salvation. Not about who Jesus is; but about Pentecost. He focused right in on speaking in tongues. What is so tragic is that is a stumbling block for so many who know just a little bit that it keeps them away from entering in. This is true even of those who know Jesus. They are fearful of going deeper. They have put God in a box and tell him to stay in his place; they’ll just take a little, dabble around the edges and hope it’s enough. The problem is it’s not for them about salvation. It’s about experiencing all there is to know of God, Hs Gory and Grace.

I have a good pastor friend who writes a newsletter by email. He mails one every week. Many times they are scholarly. But, they are always careful, analytical, distant and keeping of God in his place. I got just one such today. He tried and failed to differentiate the Mystical (Pentecost) in the spiritual realm. Talk about the Kitty Cat on the edge of the pool trying to describe what swimming is like even though he has never been in the water.

Art called this morning. He was upset that I didn’t explain all the nuance of Pentecost to him. I only said to him, this is not something that can be explained, it never was explained in the book of Acts as many times as people experienced it over the many years portrayed in the book, it could only be ministered and experienced. His response was, if it can’t be explained then it’s not real. Poppycock.

If it could be explained it wouldn’t be supernatural now would it?

I have struggled to give a metaphor for why this can’t be explained. I think I get it. If I were a porpoise who swam at great speed thru the sea, leapt from the water, twirled, dove, did that wonderful tail thing they do, and laughed all the time as they seem to I would have a very hard time explaining to a Tiger on the seashore what it is like, how it works, what it feels like, how to do it. Unless he becomes a porpoise himself, gets in the water and lets it all fly he can’t read enough books, listen to enough tapes or hear enough explanation as to what it’s like to be a porpoise. He will be a Tiger, probably a good tiger. But without getting in the water and being born of the water and spirit of a porpoise he will be a tiger now and forever.

Unless you experience it you can never understand it, and here’s the truth, once you experience it you will never want to leave the water. Being a porpoise is like that. It’s so freeing, it’s so safe, it’s so joyful.

A tiger in water is never going to be a porpoise.

I'm Still Reeling

Sunday Night we attended the church we often do on Sunday nights.  It’s a great church and I have a hope and a promise for a church of equal quality in our area.  God said he would do it so I stand on the promise.


Something happened Sunday night that set me back a bit.  There was a guest speaker.  He was a pastor from one of the larger churches in Uganda.  His name is Jackson Senyonga.  He came to visit and speak. He was trying to raise money for an orphanage they built in Uganda.  His congregation runs about 16,000 in Sunday attendance.  A typical offering is less than $2000 total for a Sunday.  They are poor people.


The government was about to shut down this orphanage that house several hundred AIDS orphaned children.  They needed to put in a sewage system shut down.  Fear of disease.  A valid fear.


The orphanage needed $200,000 immediately to do this work.   He contacted 4 churches in our part of the country and asked to come make an appeal.  That’s why he was in Rockford last Sunday.


Sunday night was the 3rd service he spoke at in the church we were attending.  Pastor Lyon got up, made a simple announcement, he said, “I know we need a new building, but I promised the Lord that in building and paying for these things I would never abandon our commitment to supporting the work he calls on us to support.  We will cut our own expenses and postpone our own desires to do the work God puts in our hearts”.   With that the plate was passed.


By the end of the night, with fewer than 500 in attendance and with about 1200 attending the morning services, the total cash contributions for the day were $35,000.  There were pledges of another $11,000.   Pastor Lyon felt bad that the Church could “only” contribute $46,000.  I’m sure the other $4000 will come in.  That orphanage offering was the second offering in addition to the regular tithes and offerings of the night.


What astonished me was the ease and passion with which a simple offering became overflow.  No pressure.  No pain.  No emotionalism.  To be honest I haven’t decided what I will give so whatever I decide to do isn’t even in the total yet.  I know I am not alone in that decision to pray over the offering I might make.  Pastor Senyonga will get all the money he needs.


What astounded me as well was the relative wealth of the people in attendance.  Most of those who attend this Rockford Church are not wealthy, high placed, big earners, or elegant.   Compared to where I live they are actually kind of poor.  They are regular Joes and Janes of all colors, shapes and sizes.  They just do what God tells them to do.


I have always felt that lovers of God make better givers then those who are passive or nominal about Jesus.  I remember about a year ago attending a missions meeting with about a hundred people and raising $50,000 in an hour for missions.  I was blown away.  The people were so happy to be part of this.  I'll never forget that night.


That’s what I love so much about Pentecostals.  You don’t need to beat people up, just lay it before them and they will give and give and give.  They are willing to kick in time and treasure without pressure.  They see it as a privilege to be partnered with the work of God.


That’s the reason I have such a desire to see this kind of Body of Christ in the Fox Valley.  If God could get hold of the hearts of the people in the Fox Valley the world could be changed.  This is a serious challenge and is on the heart of God.  I know it like I know anything.  Nothing less than totally sold out is satisfactory.


Close circuit to some of my readers.  

Olfunso, this is the partnership that is possible, don’t lose hope.  I know you are a key to this.  Steve, yes, this is the church you attended it’s so much more than you ever saw they’ve had a breakthrough.

Charlie, I thought about you.  You have dreamed with me for this.  It’s time.

Cass, spirit filled believers staying home Sunday in our area need a home.

Mike G, Rod H, and Curt F.  There is true revival in our area.  We just need to move it 50 miles southeast to the Fox Valley.

Todd - Breakthrough is on the way, wait till Friday night.


There is release when the Spirit of God is at work.

Monday, September 04, 2006

100 Days of Summer - Legends of the Fall

Labor Day; The last day of unofficial summer. Stop wearing white.

Labor day is Day 247 on the calendar.

Memorial Day is the first day of unofficial summer. The Saturday before Memorial Day was day 147 on the calendar. That means we have experienced the 100 days of summer.

Yellow Jackets have been ferocious
It was warm for 10 days otherwise it has been a cool summer.
Memorial Day weekend is downright cold and wet.
Things grew well at first, stopped but the fall flush is great.
It got dry but it’s funny what a few inches of rain will do.

I’ll miss summer but I really enjoy the 80 days of fall. From Labor Day till Thanksgiving is unofficial fall. 80 days.

Then begins that long “cold” Illinois winter (It can go below zero two or three times a year for up to a whole day and we can get up to 8" of snow at one time). 117 days will come and go From Thanksgiving to the first day of spring, about March 20.

Then, at last spring begins.

We always have vernal witchhazel blooming then, some crocuses, and a few brave tulips poke their head up. Spring starts to spring. 70 days of Spring goes by too quickly, blooms too fast and moves relentlessly to summer. Spring and fall are like diamonds, rare and beautiful. Winter is like Coal (dark) and Summer like Granite (hard and too much).

Bring on the fall.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good Cop Bad Cop

In my "spare" time I blog on Say Anything. I like it because it's North Dakota Based, Rob Port is a decent man, and he has more readers for me to rant and rave at. So I do. Sometimes I hit a nerve. This was just one such a day. I postulated that like vouchers for education, perhaps our legal system and police force should be totally privatised and held accountable. Well, I drew fire. A cop from down south somewhere took me on. It wasn't pretty. I imagine that under other circumstatnces we might have got along fine. But, I guess he's just one of those fellows who can't imagine paridigms different from his own. See all the fireworks here.

Here's the post anyway.

I have from time to time expressed a personal opinion that is becoming more and more persistent in my thinking. Not a good conservative value. Probably more a libertarian one in nature than anything.

I am convinced that our police forces in America have been completely Barney Fifed. You remember Barney. Andy of Mayberry and all that. He was always arresting the wrong people, a stickler for absurd detail and ready to use force at any time (which is why Andy only gave him one bullet).

Andy is no longer on the force in America. Our police force in America has become a bunch of bullies, in my opinion.

And not only in my opinion, either. Joseph Farah wrote a piece on police incompetence worth reading.

He says inhis piece:

But, like it or not, at the end of the day, police are just not serving the people. Maybe their job has become a mission impossible. I'm willing to acknowledge that. But, from my vantage point, our experience as law-abiding citizens with police officers is getting worse all the time.

The rule of law is breaking down in America. It can hardly all be blamed on cops. But policemen and policewomen are on the front lines. They are the people who are most likely to have direct, face-to-face contact with we the people. And, whereas that contact in the past has often been a positive experience, it is becoming increasingly negative for many of us.

We had such an event in Chicago in the last few weeks. A young woman, a student, who was on medication caused a ruckus at O’Hare airport. The police were called. She told them she was on medication. They locked her up. She became disoriented. She began to throw herself against the jail bars. After a few hours of this, they decided they couldn’t hold her any more and at 3:00am in one of the most dangerous parts of town she was turned lose without escort by the cops. She was disoriented. A black man picks her up, rapes her repeatedly and then to hide the evidence takes her up a 4 story building and throws her off. She survives but now is in a permanent vegetative state.

Her parents from California were in touch with the cops when they had her in custody and plead with them to hold her until they got there or release her into the custody of someone as a protector. This was a horrid situation and now a lovely 20 year old girl will spend the rest of her life, whatever life she has, unconscious because the police did not serve or protect her.

Chicago Cops are tough. In one way I like it. Chicago is a very safe place (except for certain neighborhoods). But they have conducted torture, they recently beat up a diabetic man having an insulin reaction and if certain Chicago cops arrest you as a drug dealer, your money will be taken and your drugs will be stolen and resold by the crooked cops.

This is a system badly broken. In Chicago for sure, but I know this kind of excess goes on all over America. Barney Fifes set loose with extra bullets.

Take a look at an article reprinted in the Wall Street Journal today from the BBC. It talks about the excessive use of SWAT teams. We have militarized the police to the point where the mission of protecting and serving is no longer part of the purpose of these para-militaristic thugs.

From the article:

Professor Peter Kraska, an expert on police militarisation from Eastern Kentucky University, says that in the 1980s there were about 3,000 Swat team deployments annually across the US, but says now there are at least 40,000 per year. "I have no problem with using these paramilitary style squads to go after known violent, armed criminals, but it is an extreme tactic to use against other sorts of suspects," he said.

Dr Kraska believes there has been an explosion of units in smaller towns and cities, where training and operational standards may not be as high as large cities - a growth he attributes to "the hysteria" of the country's war on drugs.

So, what is the answer? Some are starting to ask the question whether or not the police should be part of our government at all. They're asking if maybe it shouldn't be privatized. Currently there is no incentive for police to solve crimes as they get paid regardless, and it’s hard to hold bad cops accountable because it’s hard to sue the government.

Here is a typical argument in favor of privatizing the police in this article:

In To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice, Bruce Benson argues for privatizing the American legal system (including police, courts, and prisons) and adopting a revised version of the old Anglo-Saxon system under which crime victims have a right to restitution from criminals. Benson describes the pros and cons of some measures that would reform the American legal system to allow more privatization. He also explains the fully privatized legal system that he advocates, which would require changes in the law to allow individuals to sell some or all of their right to restitution and to allow private ownership, management, and policing of roads and all other "public" property. Benson’s restitution-based legal system fits well with the system promoted by Randy Barnett in The Structure of Liberty.

Compared to the current legal system in America, which imposes the costs of investigations, trials, and prisons on innocent taxpayers and does little to compensate victims of crime, Benson’s victim-restitution system is more fair and more libertarian because: (1) it eliminates all victimless-crime laws, (2) it helps victims of crime to recover from the losses inflicted on them, and (3) it makes criminals bear most of the costs of crime investigation, court proceedings, restitution, and incarceration. With regard to preventing and negating crime, Benson’s privatized justice system is more efficient than the current legal system because: (1) victims can receive compensation quickly by selling all or some of their right to restitution to agents who are in a better position to capture criminals and extract restitution from them, (2) competition and the profit motive made possible by the markets for these services will lead to improved methods of crime prevention, crime investigation, court proceedings, restitution, and incarceration, and (3) the prospect of compensation gives victims more incentive to report crimes and to cooperate with the private police and courts.

I don’t know if I buy his whole argument, but we have drifted badly from the original mission of our police departments. I’m tired of the Barney Fifes. I know they aren’t all like that, but far too many are. Too many are corrupt. Too many don’t care enough to protect. Too many are para-military wackos. It’s time to revisit the Hill Street Blues. Remember what they did with the nutcase cops? The balance of power seems to have gone to the bullies. It’s time for a change in my humble opinion.

I may not have the conclusive answer to these problems, but I can say that the police no longer serve or protect.