Saturday, March 15, 2008

Can Obama Take the Pressure?

This was on Newsbusters. In all the hoopla, the real question is, can Obama lead or will he fold. If this is how he deals with pressure he is really unqualified to lead.

Photo of Matthew Sheffield.
By Matthew Sheffield | March 15, 2008 - 17:47 ET

One of the arguments that Barack Obama has marshalled in his favor as a reason for Democrats to elect him is that he is cool and calm under pressure. He can, unlike Hillary Clinton, remain collected in the face of tough questions. Is that really true, or is it simply the fact that Obama rarely makes himself available for tough questions from the media?

That latter hypothesis acquired some evidence in its favor today as the presidential candidate appeared on Fox News to answer questions about his controversial long-time associate Jeremiah Wright. Watch the video and tell me what you think. Can Obama take a tough pitch or is he a minor-leaguer?

Maybe Julius Should have Listened

Today, March 15, a day that lives in Infamy, is the day that Julius Caesar was murdered on the steps of the presidium. 
He was warned.  He didn't listen. 
On that same day some 19 centuries later I was born.  No warning, no nothing.  Just Gene in Watertown SD 1945.  World War Two was coming to an end, death of Hitler, Peace in Europe, Hiroshima, Peace with Japan. My first year on the planet was eventful. But being born in South Dakota and living on a little place there means I flew under the radar.
I still do. 
I look forward to my 64th year on earth having now completed 63.  So, I'm 63 in my 64th year.  Math, who knew.
I know all of this.  I am more stirred by what God wants to do today than I ever was in the past. (I read his instruction manual).  What's even more amazing is he allows me to partner with Him to accomplish His purposes. That's the way I want to live.
I do.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"Kiss My Rear" Geraldine Ferraro

LaShawn Barber is a Christian Conservative Woman from TN with whom I agree a great deal. When I heard all the uproar over Geraldine Ferraro's comments I found myself in complete agreement with LaShawn.

Of course, if Obama were white he would have been toast months ago. This IS about race.
OH, and one other thing. LaShawn is BLACK. She hates the idea of being called African American.

My kinda Woman. And Kudo's to Geraldine. You go girl.

SO, Here is LaShawn's Column.

Geraldine Ferraro

Geraldine Ferraro, a one-time Democratic vice presidential candidate, recently said that Barack Obama was doing so well in the primaries because he’s black. As expected, it raised a s***storm. People called her a racist and demanded an apology.

I have nothing to say about the substance of Ferraro’s comments. I couldn’t care less who said what and whether the assessment is true. What I do care about is how timid and afraid people seem to become after they speak their minds.

The old saying “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” applies whenever you speak or write publicly. If you hold “controversial” opinions, be prepared to withstand the inevitable barrage of daggers. Or else keep your mouth shut.

In my case, some people are bothered by the very fact that I exist, let alone what I dare to say in public and write on this blog. I’m proud to say that in my four years of blogging, I haven’t lost one minute of sleep worrying about what people think of me, my words, or my actions.

Back to Ferraro. In a million years I wouldn’t vote for a ticket with her on it, liberal that she is, but I admire her. Race is a very divisive topic, mostly because the people who claim to want an “honest dialogue” about it really don’t. They want to bit** and moan about how racist you are and how you need to give them more stuff to make up for it. Ferraro dared to say what’s no doubt on the minds of many. And here is where it gets good:

Ferraro refuses to apologize!

I do love it so. In response to calls for an apology, Ferraro told the Daily Breeze:

“Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says, ‘Let’s address reality and the problems we’re facing in this world,’ you’re accused of being racist, so you have to shut up,” she told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, California. “Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?”

I’m with you, sister, and so-called feminists should be, too. Isn’t this what the cause is all about, strong women speaking their minds, rolling with the big dogs, and prepared to deal with the consequences? Hang in there, Ferraro!

This post is dedicated to people who stand behind their public words and actions and refuse to tuck tail and go meekly into that good night. To everyone asking Ferraro to apologize, here’s my advice, expressed in the gentlest way possible:

Locate Ferraro’s backside, and pucker up.

Addendum: I forgot to mention Ferraro’s letter of resignation to Hillary Clinton. An excerpt: (emphasis added:):

“Dear Hillary, I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what’s at stake in this campaign…

God Damn the USA - Vote for Obama ............ A bumper sticker that won't help

I wanted to write on this with understanding. When I read what this person wrote I decided I could do no better. It's a sad situation. If I were in a Church where the Pastor consistently said things I could not stomach I would leave. I have in the past over Abortion Rights and Homosexual Marriage. I would again. Sure there are doctrinal differences, but there is a time to vote with your feet. Obama didn't. That says a lot. It means he by tolerating this outrage means he accepts and even endorses them.

From Moderate Voice.

ABC is running a doozy of a story (with video) about now-retired Rev. Jeremiah Wright. There’s been quite a flurry of these in the last couple of days, but the kickback from this one, I think, is going to be massive.

For instance:

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

As it happens, I see his basic point here. Our criminal justice system, generally, and the drug laws specifically, have negatively impacted black Americans profoundly.

If you are psychologically what you eat then it’s fair to say that what he describes in the first part of the paragraph has been part and parcel of the African-American formative diet.

What Wright was referring to is a real problem.

But along those same metaphorical lines, Wright’s damning of America suggests he’s also been dining heavily on something toxic.

And then there’s this:

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda’s attacks because of its own terrorism.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation.

Wright’s statements that the US brought 9/11 on itself is hardly a unique view (though the depth of his historical connections are pretty unusual). Personally, I think it’s a radically simplified, linear, and ultimately unhelpful conclusion, but the fundamental basis for that type of thinking isn’t fiction.

So — inflammatory rhetoric from a sometimes racially-hostile preacher means what, exactly?

Normally nothing, but – he’s been the head of Barack Obama’s church for many years. To use the prior metaphor again, Wright’s world view has been part of Obama’s diet, and we (Americans) need to know how much affect this has had.

I firmly believe that Barack Obama’s feelings and views about race are precisely as he’s presented them — both on the campaign trail and in his books. However, I also think Obama’s going to have to draw very strong, clear distinctions between himself and Jeremiah Wright for the citizens of this country — much more than he’s thus far done.

And he needs to do it soon.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

my love's labor lost; Christ's wins

The above was the winning 6 word life's summary written by Harold Hein.

I have much to say about this man. He is what I want-to someday. Finishing well.

More later.

A Link that Humbles and I appreciate

I have Known John Armstrong for a long time. Since Tim Campbell came to Geneva in the late 90s.

We have disagreed but I find him interesting, challenging and inspiring. We have interests which we will jointly work on today. I have expectation that good will come from it.

Our collaboration has led to an appreciation for one another that I might have thought was not probable. He is a learned PhD with centuries of expertise I'll never comprehend. I'm a Lover of God with deep passion in 30 years of knowing Jesus.

So, when he linked to my little treatise on Pastors and Pornography I was humbled. And he said such nice things about me. Thanks John.

What I haven't told anyone except my Brother Steve about the composition of all that was that it was written in less than 10 minutes. I sat down at the keyboard and just allowed the Spirit of God to speak thru me. Because of my love for the Pastors I met with on Sunday Night and my love for the man or woman who sells out for Jesus in service and my hatred for the Devil it just rolled off the end of my fingers. It had been welling up in me all day. I guess 1 Corinthians 13 is true. My love for these men drove me by the Spirit of God.

When I read what I wrote, I figured out that what was said was better than what I'm able to say under my own power.

That's how the Prophetic sometimes manifests in my life and ministry if I write, preach or teach. I know it's God because it's so much better than I ever could have done it myself in my own strength or ability.

I have a book I have written on Evangelism. In re-reading the manuscript I recognize Gene and The Holy Spirit in the writing. I don't like the Gene stuff much. I'm hoping Holy Spirit will help me make the rest HIM. Till then, I'm sitting on it.

The REAL difference between MEN and WOMEN

I lifted this from Julies Blog this morning. I would have just linked it here but without the visual it loses something. So, in the interest of understanding the difference between Men and Women I post the following:

First, check out the rest of the images:

1. Doing the math.
2. Hazardous materials data sheet.
3. Charting the chances of a man winning an argument.
4. Man and woman on the same mission.

I've already gotten an email back from one of my friends regarding the last image. He had this to say: "The problem with this is no real man goes to The Gap to buy jeans. He goes to Mills Fleet Farm*."

The real problem between men and women is women imagine men think actual thoughts. They don't. I have been one for almost 63 years. We are very simple creatures with uncomplicated sentient awareness. Like Data (Star Trek) without the good programming.

If women understood what is really going on "Up There" they would turn down their expectation-o-meter and accept us for what we are or aren't. Not much going on with us other than looking for the remote and watching the news.

OOOPS, there I've let the cat out of the bag.

Instuments I never learned to play and BAGPIPES

Julie is taking up the Guitar.  I wanted to encourage her.  So I did .  She's a good musician and will do well.
While doing so I found myself on the bus to  yesteryear memories of instruments I never learned to play well or at all.
I play with some level of competence Trumpet, Guitar (and Bass which is kinda the same thing), piano and harmonica.
With less competence but some semblance of order, Violin, zither and mandolin (which I need to take up again). 
With attempts and no competence.  Cello, upright bass (fingering screws me up), saxophone (never figured out how to make it sound like anything) and Bagpipes.
Ok, the last one is a dream rather than an actual attempt.  I held a bagpipe ONCE in my life at music camp in North Dakota.  A guy had one.  I fiddled and peeped on it.  It didn't seem too hard but I never figured it out. 
With St. Patrick's day coming I will enjoy as much bagpipe music as possible.  I know that long ago they used bagpipes at the front of the soldiers who played the warriors into war.  If you were the English (who were always the bad guys in these wars) on the other side of the hill and this onerous harmonic drone came up on the other side with banners and drums it would intimidate even the most fearless soldier. 
Sometimes when watching a parade and one of the fine Chicagoland Bagpipe marching bands goes by playing some assembly or another it is a stirring sound. The hair stands up on my neck. 
I regret never having learned the bagpipe.  I know it's not too late.  I know all that.  I have lots of other things I'm doing.  We live in a small house.  Peggy still hears too well for me to take it up. 
Maybe later in life if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sin in Ministry

This whole Eliot Spitzer thing and 5000 dollar hookers has caused me to think about how God sees this.
I know that Spitzer is suffering from the reality of God's word that "whatsoever measure you use to judge others, the same measure will be used on you pressed down, shaken together and running over".  I'll bet you thought that verse was about money.  Not so much.
Look it up.
And there is the compensation thing.  Spitzer was hard on organized crime and corruption.  Over the top hard. 
Over compensation.
I remember the months before Jimmy Swaggart was exposed, he preached against pornography and prostitution huge.  Sweat blood.  And then it all came out.  You didn't hear much about that any more.  Over compensation.
Whenever I hear a politician or preacher come down hard on some issue or another and hammer it without relenting I suspect something is up.  Something is fishy.  What's behind that I wonder aloud. 
I know that if I am weak in faith I will preach about faith more intensely.  It's overcompensation.
I mention that because I had the opportunity to sit with a couple of dear pastor friends of mine a few days ago.  The topic was internet pornography and how pastors that are addicted to it feel unqualified to be ministers of God. 
Let me be clear, internet pornography is insidious.  It destroys relationships and ministry.  It is sin.  Pure and simple. 
I am also a veteran of this issue.  I have seen it's effect over and over again in the lives of great mighty men of God. 
Here is what I shared with my fellow pastor friends and want to share with you.  The real crime in internet pornography is the capacity of the Devil, the father of lies, the accuser of the brethren, the one who questions everyone's qualifications (He even questioned Jesus'.  If you ARE the son of God turn these stones into bread.  IF??)  There is no IF.  The devil knew full well who Jesus is.  He was casting doubt.
One thing that is certain, the Devil is no different today than he was thousands of years ago. He has no new tricks up his sleeve.
If porn addiction disqualified anyone in ministry, then 80% of the pulpits in America would be empty tomorrow morning.  That's a truth we must come to grips with.  We must also fight against it just like we fight against greed, anger, taking God's name in Vain (which preachers do all the time), Lust, lying, pride and a thousand other sins.
ANY SIN disqualifies you from heaven.  Even one.  Any.  So, the sin of Porn is no worse nor better.  IT IS SIN.
It has the same power to disqualify as Greed, anger, taking God's name in vain, lust, lying, pride and all the others.   The cure for sin is the Cross of Christ, his blood shed for you.  We have to hide ourselves in the blood of Jesus.  We have no hope outside of that.  Yet, we believe that somehow by our own strength we will overcome one form of sin by pure will power and devices. 
No, my friend, there is only one cure for Sin, even porn.  Draw close to him, he will draw close to you.  Find his presence and dwell there.  Seek him with all your heart till it displaces porn in your life.  Become single minded and single vision.  Chase hard after God and serve him with everything in you.
NOT ONE of the sins in my own life was ever overcome by my trying harder.  All of them were overcome by becoming a passionate lover of Jesus.  As I pour myself into ministry driven by love for HIM things just start to fall off. One day my language just changed.  I didn't try harder.  I just stopped. 
That's what I hope for all the sin in my life.  I get closer to him and those things fall off.  I know that in the eternal presence of God in Christ I will carry no sin.
My hope is for that eternal presence to live on this side of the veil. 
So, if you are a pastor, and if you struggle with Sin like I do, you are not disqualified.  You have been lied to.  God has not rewritten your contract since you sinned.  His purposes and giftings for you are without any repentance at all.  I know this because he said so. 
In the world there is no forgiveness.  Accusers reign. 
Even Swaggart, Bakker and others who have fallen as they have pursued the heart of Jesus have become useful in the kingdom once again.
So press on, in spite of your failures, your thorns in the flesh.  Paul in 2 Corinth 11 and 12 fought with this.  I believe it was a sin of pride.  Today it might have been porn.  He confesses in Romans 7 of his failure to stay where he wanted to be.
Yet to the day the Romans took his head off he never bought the lie that he was disqualified.  Neither should you.  You are as qualified as Paul despite your sin. 
Attack.  The enemy wants to render you fruitless and hopeless.  You have hope, it's not in your ability to behave, it's in your ability to believe.  Press on towards the high calling of God and ignore the voice of the accuser.  He's a liar.  If you hear accusations, it's a lie.  If you hear conviction for sin it's true, confess it, repent and press on.  1 John 1:9.  That's the only cure.  The Holy Spirit comes to convict so we repent, it would never be his purpose to render his servants impotent.
You can trust this word.  Test it.  For my Lutheran brethren, This is most certainly true.

So, maybe the Dentist knows SOMETHING

IF you are a steady reader of my "Rantings" you may well remember my "Experience" with a root canal.  Horrible.
Still a bad memory. It failed and I blamed the dentist.
He's still not off the hook completely.  BUT, yesterday I had two teeth filled.  Two things seemed to make some sense.
One, is he has an infrared device that explores and identifies carries.  It sings when it sees one.  The dentist used this device to root out and eliminate all evidence of decay before backfilling the hole with the filling material.  This gave me confidence that I was getting a good clean filling that would last me the rest of my life (which isn't as long now as 30 years ago). 
The other thing is the quality of what he put in for a filling.  It's all epoxy composite with an ultraviolet setup lamp.  I have a little experience with this and I trust that this is equal or better than what came with the original equipment.
So, I guess despite my fear of dental incompetence, this guy knows a little about filling teeth. 
My problem with dentistry is I read the Book McTeague long ago.  That'll make you swear off dentistry like Sweeney Todd will make you swear off Barbers.
I might go back again, maybe.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ventures in the R&R Hall of Fame

Long Long ago in a far away place called North Dakota a young boy and a band of musicians played songs of the times up and down the roads less traveled. I was one of those boys. I had hair and weighed almost half of what I do today. I remember well. We played songs of the day.

One of those songs was from a group of northwest musicians called the ventures. The songs they played were easy, 1-4-5 and loud.

They got older. They are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The discouraging part is we got our pictures back from the photographers today. Church Pictures. Who are those old people? Who are these old guys playing rock and roll? When did we all get older?

Time is not my friend any more. I know that when I strap on my guitar and stand up in a couple days I will be casting an image that is very much like these.

Old guys playing guitar remembering days of yore.

I think Yore forgot.

Not a pretty sight.

Monday, March 10, 2008

An example of Left Wing "Tolerance" - Wait I'm sorry, there's not such thing as left wing tolerance

Karl Rove tries to give a talk at the university of Iowa, a bastion of free thought and tolerance unless you are right of center then you are the Antichrist.

Universities are the armpits of America. Watch this and ask if you have a kid at one of these Marxist indoctrination centers where not only to they ruin your kid but they charge you to do so.

Hat Tip to Rob at Say Anything

Trying to Get Boys to Hunt Again and Say Goodbye to the Second Amendment

Unless things change Hunting will decline and become a thing of the long past. There are places trying to resolve this but it's an uphill battle.

When David Helms was in seventh grade, he would take his .22-caliber rifle to school, put a box of ammunition in his locker and, like virtually all the other boys, lean his rifle against a wall in the principal’s office so he could start hunting squirrels and groundhogs as soon as classes let out.

Now, when he takes his 8-year-old grandson hunting on weekends, Mr. Helms, 55, searches the boy’s pockets before sending him back to school to ensure that there are no forgotten ammunition shells. But most of his grandson’s peers never have to worry about that, Mr. Helms said, because they would sooner play video games than join them outdoors.

Hunting is on the decline across the nation as participation has fallen over the last three decades, and states have begun trying to bolster this rural tradition by attracting new and younger people to the sport.

There are reasons why the culture of hunting has been lost;
  • Access to hunting by hunters is much more difficult. Posted and closed lands.
  • Pay to Hunt has made hunting like Golf. OK to do but expensive and only for the wealthy.
  • Gun Law Nazis have made owning or carrying a gun nearly impossible for kids
  • the "People don't kill, Guns Do" mentality has demonized anyone who loves guns
  • Even though there is still a lot of wildlife to hunt, it's become hard.

I own several guns. I used to shoot a lot. My hearing loss reveals that truth. I haven't shot a gun in 3 years. I don't have much of an opportunity. We have laws in IL that are such that all land is considered posted. The catch 22 is that no one knows who owns that land. So the idea that like 40 years ago you could drive to the nearest farmhouse and find out to ask permission is gone. Believe me, I tried. It's a tangled web.

I think I am going to just sell my guns. There's not point in it any more.

When I grew up 50 years ago and was 10 years old my prize possessions were my single shot 12 gauge and my single shot 22. I would shoulder my 12 gauge and walk 2 miles out in the field near Ellendale and sometimes even bag a pheasant or a partridge.

In spring I would shoot flickertails for sport and the dime a tail we got. I was a pretty good shot. Those days are gone. I'll bet there aren't many 12 year olds traipsing out to the field with a gun over their shoulder to shoot a bird or a gopher today. The neighbors would complain and the cops would arrest him.

And, where would he hunt. He would be run off the farmers pasture or out of his slough.

I guess this hunting thing is lost forever.

We are all poorer for it. I would blame the Democrats but this happened slowly. Democrat and Republican. That Second Amendment thing is about to be neutered once and for all. And when it does it won't end with a bang, it will end with a whimper. When there is no reason to own a gun, owning a gun will be meaningless and laws against same will go unopposed.

A little taste o the Bubbly

I have been thru a few bubbles. Most recent being real estate. Too much money chasing too few goods.

We are precipitously close to one in almost everything. It's complex. I'm surprised how long it went.

I'll bet the tulip bulb speculators were too.

What goes up WILL come down.

If you want to sleep well tonight regarding Oil Prices, Wheat Prices, Gold and the Dollar read this.

Warning it is a little technical (I love saying that, it's an inside traders joke).

Blogging is harder than it looks

I don't want to crow or eat it. I blog because I like to. If you like to read it that's good. I do what I do because I want to. I write about what amuses me, irritates me or interests me.

So, if you read this blog, you get a flavor of who I am.

I have many many good and well meaning friends and associates who over the last few years have made attempts at writing a blog. What's interesting is when they DO write it's pretty well done.

It's just that they don't', write that is.

SO, because of all that they are unread.

I just read a pretty good article on why blogs succeed or fail. I agree with it all.

Particularly this:

6) They're not consistent enough. They take days off. Usually, the first sign that a blog is about to die is that the blogger takes time off without notice or for a longer period that expected. Then, it often turns into a vicious cycle. When you're off, you bleed readers and then when you come back, you're even less motivated than before because your readership is smaller, so you take more time off, you bleed more readers, rinse and repeat.

That doesn't mean you can't ever take time off, but what it does mean is that you should try to keep it to a minimum, get guest bloggers if you can, and be very clear about when you are coming back. If your readers start to think you may not show up tomorrow, they may not show up tomorrow either.

If you are a blogger there is good information there.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

What I think the whole Global Warming caused by Humans will lead to

I just heard that Australia has decided that we can't drive cars anymore. I know Al Gore wants a huge carbon tax. Kyoto treaty hobbles the world economy. People drive funny cars named Prius. Overall I hate pollution, want to live clean but don't believe that CO2 is pollution. It's byproduct and cycles up and down.

I also think we have nothing whatever to do with Global Warming and Cooling Cycles. Anything we do or try to do is as useless as the ancient Mayans did to encourage the Rain God to bless them.

According to 16th Century textual accounts, blue was the color of sacrifice for the ancient Maya. They painted human beings blue before thrusting them backwards on an altar and cutting their beating heart from their bodies

How far are we as a culture from sacrificing virgins painted blue and tossing them into a pit to stop global warming.

It's all bad religion.

See the Moon and Earth from the Planet Mars

From NASA. And you thought they were wasting your tax dollars. Seriously though, it gives you a flavor for what we are all alone out here in the cosmos. It's not about us.

If you have nothing else to do

You can always draw for a living - On Line Etch a Sketch

Sum up your life (to date) in 6 words or less has a clever idea. Asking otherwise wordy people to summarize their lives in 6 words or less.

Some entries.
  • didn't know there was a box.
  • will prophesy for food (or tattoos)
  • tired of lawyering; looking for fun
  • Seventy-five's not old as I expected.
  • I came. I saw. I napped.
  • Went according to plan. Now what?
  • They don't hear unless I yell.
  • Exited Hardees from the back, weeping
  • Surprisingly, only getting better and better.
  • What if the grapes weren't sour?
  • Luck. Charm. Disappointment. Effort. Compassion. Joy.
  • Lost: Ambition. Gained: Truth, Fun, Fulfillment
  • Oh no, not again. Again. Again.
  • "Does not work up to potential."
  • I never learned how to swashbuckle.
  • Can't sleep, clowns will eat me.

I found them pretty stirring, some pretty fatalistic and some sad. A few hopeful.

There are currently on this website 183 iterations. I know this isn't a huge forum, I invite my 3 readers to post this on your own website. But, it's a worthwhile thought process.

My first flush was:
  • hopeful lost found lost found secured

Any Takers? Post your 6 words in the comment field. I'll make a post of them later.