Friday, December 26, 2008

Cheer Up — It’s Christmas!

Cheer Up — It’s Christmas!

Posted By Elizabeth Scalia

On December 25, 2008

The year 2008 is when things got totaled up, bills were presented, and markers called. We close the year hearing stories of staggering corruption, fraud, and mismanagement on the economic front, and in a social climate so broad-minded it allows every identity group to call itself “victim” and commence whining.

You can count on one hand the folks who feel contentment or hope these days and still have five fingers left.

Into this tumult arrives Christmas, and so convulsed is society that the season can find only a grudging welcome made by a distracted people. Christmas is costly in uncertain times. It is religious, when the “sophisticated” world is post-belief. Christmas is one more thing to feel victimized about, no matter who you are.

And it is so much damned work, too.

But then there is the story, and it has something for everyone.

An angel sent by God proposes an outrageous venture to a virgin Jewess who — at some personal risk — agrees to play her indispensable part. A quiet carpenter is enlisted to protect her and she is off — first to visit a cousin who is having a bit of an adventure of her own, what with her priest-husband suddenly struck mute and her aged womb alive with a rambunctious prophet. He makes his first pronouncement in utero, and the young Jewess launches into one of the greatest songs ever written. Then a census is called; heads must be counted so that taxes may be levied. The carpenter and his young wife travel by rough road to an obscure town, where they discover that obscure towns surrounded by bad roads are generally short on lodgings. They put up in a cave where, surrounded by oxen and asses, the woman gives birth to a son. She lays him in the manger, the food bin. In the starlit night, angels appear for a big musical number with a timely message: peace on Earth. There are shepherds and astrologers and even a king, but he’s a cynic.

Billions of people believe this story, which is only the prologue to a longer narrative. [1] They suffer for this story. [2] They survive for it. Sometimes [3] they die for it. For believers, this story brings tidings of comfort and joy.

But in these difficult days, perhaps even non-believers can take some comfort in the story of Christmas. Certainly they can find inclusion in a narrative that showcases the speech-impaired, the doubting, the empowered women both young and old, the he-man protector-types, the showfolk (two songs!), the policy wonks, the farmers, the friends of animals, the professors, the privileged, and even the service industries.

With only a little effort, one can find even more: wonder at a mythology that departs from any other mythology to introduce not a god, but God-made-man; esteem in the notion that humanity is so valued and beloved of its Creator that he would want to set his tent among theirs; joy in a story of stars and angelsong and new life, and most of all — hope: that what has gone wrong may be made right; that frightening realities can be borne and incalculable debts paid down, that darkness may be pierced and shelter may be found.

We do not always understand a story at its beginning, or even in mid-narrative; endings are not always obvious.

Like the story of America, the Nativity of the Christ is a story of people drawn together from disparate lives, toward something brand new, something troubling to some and mysterious to most. But it is only a prologue. The story goes on, with dreadful twists — slaughter of innocents, flights of refuge, prophecies, intrigues, trickery, and stupid mistakes that no shepherd or king or mute old priest could ever have dreamed up. The ending breaks your heart, until three days later it reveals its secret — that the story does not end at all, that it goes on and on, still. It makes all things new.

The ringing-bowl emptiness of 2008 would appear to be the conclusion of the American prologue; but the story of Christmas is an invitation to hope for all who feel hopeless, or whose optimism has run dry. Even if one chooses not to believe, it reassures us that mid-narratives are always full of conflict and chaos and traps and treachery, but the story goes on. Merry Christmas.

Faith in Madoff, Faith in Barack, Faith in Government ---- all Cheap Imitations for in Faith in God

Examples of faith abound at this time of year. There is the faith children put in Santa Claus to bring them stuff that magically no one seems to have paid for. Call it a "bailout" for kids.

There is adult faith which believes that a Bernard Madoff can do what no one else can: guarantee a consistent rate of return on money invested with him while others who invest the legal and old-fashioned way experience the normal ebb and flow of the stock market.

Then there is the messianic-like faith many have placed in Barack Obama, the faux messiah of our time, who has been sent by the political gods to deliver us, if not from our sins, than at least from George W. Bush. Those who place their faith in Obama see him as god-like and Bush as the devil. These metaphors serve them well as substitutes for the genuine articles, in whom they either do not believe or have re-created in their own image.

A Broadway play and film called "Doubt" has won fans, many of whom probably do when it comes to God. Bill Maher made a movie about faith, mocking those who believe in God and ignoring the warnings, "The fool has said in his heart 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1) and "the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" (1 Corinthians 1:18). If Maher thinks the Christmas story is foolish, isn't that evidence he is perishing?

Shoplifting increases during the Christmas season and so does its spiritual equivalent: those who want the blessings of Christmas without paying the price. Laura Miller, a staff writer for Salon, engaged in this practice in a New York Times column, "It's a Narnia Christmas." Miller said about the C.S. Lewis classic, "That I'm not a Christian doesn't much hinder my enjoyment of either the holiday or the book."

Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia" series was not meant solely to entertain, though entertaining it is. The books are metaphors for great truths. Elsewhere, Lewis writes that those who claim Jesus as just a great teacher have it wrong. Lewis said Jesus is either who He said He is -- the Son of God -- or a liar, a fool, or deranged. Call him anything you like, said Lewis, but don't call Him a great teacher. That is an option He does not allow. Besides, how can anyone be a great teacher if he teaches something that is not true?

The mockers and doubters, like the poor, have always been with us. They have nothing new to say. Their unbelief is as familiar as it is predictable.

Faith is a gift, the ultimate gift. It is of far greater and eternal value than anything to be found under a Christmas tree. While clothes and toys wear out or are forgotten, faith lasts. It has the additional benefit of already having been bought and paid for by Someone else. It is the "substance of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith cannot be taught (though teaching plays a role). No one is argued to faith, which is why it is fruitless to debate those who lack it. Better to demonstrate the faith one has than berate and belittle people who do not yet have it.

Christmas offers an opportunity to again consider what matters most. Especially this year with the anemic economy and multiple challenges to our misplaced faith in prosperity and politicians, now would be a good time to consider the song lyric: "Fame, if you win it, comes and goes in a minute. Where's the real stuff in life to cling to?"

The answer to that question is to be found where it has always been: Start in the manger and then move to the cross and the empty tomb and consider the carol, "where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in."

From Cal Thomas

You don't have that kind of faith? You asked someone for a Christmas gift, didn't you? Ask God for the ultimate gift.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Take on Three Kings and Jesus

I know, I Know. There is no evidence for there being three, they weren't actually kings, they weren't any wiser than anyone else, they never went to the manger in Bethlehem, the manger creche scenes are all wrong. I read the Bible too.

But there is a truth in the story that is profound and helpful at this time of year.

First two stories:
One is a friend of my Son Tim. John was lost in a bad storm near Minot ND. Couldn't find his way home. People in the car with him. He feared he might be stopped, stalled and not be found again except dead.

Suddenly, an old farmer type who apparently had driven up in some kind of vehicle knocked on the window. He said, "Are you lost" Yes said John. The man said. The man said follow me I'll get you back on the road. So, he said follow me, I'll walk you out. He walked ahead of the car for a ways, perhaps a mile and then waved them on. They turned onto a main road and began driving. It went find for a while, then all at once they realized they were lost once again. They knew their driveway was near, but they couldn't find it. If they drove past it they would not get turned around. Such is the nature of a blizzard in ND. In a quandary once again, once again a knock on the window. Same old man. Did he have a snowmobile? How did he find them once again? He told them, just follow me, It's only a few hundred yards. So, they did. Suddenly their mailbox came into view and they were safe. The man disappeared. John wanted to thank him. Since they were right where they wanted to be, John jumped out of the car to look for him. No vehicle. No snowmobile. No footprints from someone who had been there not a minute before. He was gone. Vanished. John believes an angel from God led him home. Of course there is a practical no supernatural explanation. Right? This is a man with an address and a phone number, John. You could verify it if you chose to.

Or how about this story about an angel appearing in a hotel corridor shortly before the remarkable recovery of a young woman. Angel? I don't know. I do know they believe so.

I mention all this because the story of the wise men has a message of hope missed by most.

Here's what we know for sure, the wise men knew of the prophecies in the Bible. They knew a king was about to be born. There was a manifestation in the constellations that indicated it was about to happen. So, they set out to follow the stars and seek for the new king.

It led them to Judea. They went to Herod and asked if he knew of this king's birth. Then they discover that the King was to be born in Bethlehem. Now, timing wise, this had already happened. Jesus had been born, perhaps a year or two before. The stars announced the event as it happened. They arrive after. Jesus, Mary and Joesph have already moved back to Nazareth.

So, how is it that a STAR led them. How did it lead them not to Bethlehem, but to where Jesus was as a toddler. It was the intention they had in Seeking the True King that caused God (now the rest is my opinion) to send an angel to lead them. He came as a shining star. Like the pillar of fire by night. This angel manifested himself as a bright star. They followed him from Bethlehem where they must have gone first since that was the prophecy. And of course the slaughter of the innocents (those two and under male children) in the city of David.

That angel star led them directly to and hovered over the house where Jesus lived. They came into the house and upon encountering the Manifestation of God in human form fell on their faces in worship. They gave him gifts of great value.

It was an encounter with God by the leading of Angels.

There are several references in the Bible where Angels are referred to as Stars. Revelation, Jesus says so, Isaiah 14. Many.

So, the word used as star and angel can be interchangeable. I would suggest that the star that led them to Jesus was in fact an angel.

They lead people. They led John. They led the mom and they led the Wise Men.

But then that's just my opinion. I like it. It's as good as anyone's.

The message of hope is this, If you seek Jesus with all your heart, God will even send Angels of all kinds to guide you to truth. I have known some.

Christmas 2008 at the Redlins

This would be almost 5 decades of Christmas as celebrated last night in Ellendale ND. They are not all the same. They are always fun. Interesting. Full of personalities.

Last night was no different. A few observations.

This was the first Christmas for the new Mrs Sam. It's always tough for wives or husbands who show up at these deals for the first time.

People come from a very long way. Jenny was there from Scottsdale AZ. Long way.

Lots of carols sung ending with the friendly beast song. Much food eaten. Way more presents changing hands than makes any sense at all.

What made this fun was all the cousins playing games. good games. Fun games. It was fun to see them all siting around.

Overall there were 26 of us there.

I know things will change. Life does that. We have maintained this for almost 50 years just like this. It's quite amazing. Someday it will all end.

That will be a shock to the system. To me too.

But Christmas never changes in our hearts and memories are more than pictures on a flash card.

Merry Christmas.

PS: One Christmas eve in 1968 we all sat around the TV and watched and listened as the Astronauts from Apollo 8 read from the first Chapter of Genesis from the orbit of the moon in space. I remember it well.

This is so Incorrect Politically, and so funny you must read it.

My Triumph Over Kwanzaa!

It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga, aka Dr. Maulana Karenga. Karenga was a founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers and a dupe of the FBI.

Kwanzaa itself is a nutty blend of schmaltzy '60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. Indeed, the seven "principles" of Kwanzaa praise collectivism in every possible arena of life -- economics, work, personality, even litter removal. ("Kuumba: Everyone should strive to improve the community and make it more beautiful.") It takes a village to raise a police snitch.

This is a holiday for white liberals -- the kind of holiday Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn probably celebrate. Meanwhile, most blacks celebrate Christmas.

Kwanzaa liberates no one; Christianity liberates everyone, proclaiming that we are all equal before God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Not surprisingly, it was practitioners of that faith who were at the forefront of the abolitionist and civil rights movements.

You have to read this whole thing. It' absolutely hilarious and will disturb you just a little. Just like Ann Coulter always does.

Worst Bailout Idea EVER - Protest Stupidity

Abortionists are looking for Government Money to kill more Children

12.18.08] An ambitious $1.5 billion plan, signed by powerful advocates of the abortion industry and submitted to Barack Obama’s transition team, is being dubbed the “Abortion Industry Bailout” by the head of a Washington-based watchdog group that tracks abortion legislation.
“After a decade of commonsense restrictions on taxpayer funding, the abortion industry thinks it deserves a bailout from President-elect Obama,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBAL), which earlier this week launched “Stop the Abortion Bailout” grassroots campaign.
The 55-page manifesto titled “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration” and posted online by Obama’s transition team outlines 15 priorities for Obama’s first 100 days in office. It is signed by more than 60 pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU and the Sierra Club.
The goal of the SBAL campaign is to secure the 41 votes in the U.S. Senate necessary to filibuster any congressional action seen as a promotion of federal taxpayer funding for abortion.
Highlights of the plan’s marching orders include: de-funding abstinence programs; repealing the Hyde Amendment; increasing federal funding for abortions to $700 million; providing funding for UN-backed abortions abroad; and appointing only judges who support abortion.
Said Dannenfelser: “President-elect Barack Obama spoke of finding ‘common ground’ on abortion policy, but abortion advocacy groups clearly see an open door.”
Though the door may appear open, the abortion advocacy groups notably left one divisive item off their top 15 list—the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would federally codify Roe v. Wade and potentially make abortion legal even if the renowned case was ever overturned. Obama has indicated in the past that one of his first orders of business in the White House would be signing FOCA into law.
One SBAL staff member told Charisma a top priority for the pro-life community in Obama’s first 100 days in office is preserving the Hyde Amendment, which was enacted in 1976 to restrict Medicare and Medicaid funding for abortions.
“To repeal that would be a major, major setback,” said Joy Yearout, political director of the Susan B. Anthony List. “It would just open the floodgates [to dramatic increases in abortions].”
It is unclear to what extent President-elect Obama will be willing to compromise on the issue of abortion. Pre-election rhetoric and his voting record suggest his position is firmly pro-choice, yet he appears committed to a reputation he’s developed that is known for inviting input from both sides of an argument.
A miraculous change of heart will be necessary though if the pro-life community is ever to find an advocate in President-elect Obama, according to Lou Engle, a prayer leader and prominent pro-life voice.
“[When] I consider that 50 million babies have been killed since the ruling handed down in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion and that the incoming president plans to ensure the ongoing legality of this march of death, I cannot live in peace,” he wrote on his blog after last month’s elections.
“In this election we have bowed the knee to Baal and chosen prosperity over posterity. Abortion is a spiritual battle. The blood of babies is not another socio-political issue,” Engle wrote. “We must pray for Obama. He is not our enemy.”
On Thursday, the Bush administration issued the pro-life “right of conscience” regulation, which allows medical staff to refuse abortion-related work that they object to on moral grounds.
Yearout, who reported thousands already taking action in “Stop the Abortion Bailout” initiative, said SBAL and others worry that restrictions on abortions enacted during the eight years of the Bush administration could be reversed.
“The abortion industry and President-elect Obama are looking to overturn many of those restrictions and expand direct taxpayer funding for abortion through a myriad of federal programs,” she said.
The Christian Defense Coalition sent a letter to Obama on Wednesday appealing for a private audience with the president-elect.
“In a spirit of openness, dialogue and diversity,” wrote Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, “the pro-life community seeks a first time face-to-face meeting with you to establish a foundation on how we can all work together to build a ‘culture of life,’ which honors equality and human rights, and ends abortion.” —Paul Steven Ghiringhelli

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

People staying away in droves

Growth? What Growth?

Last week the Ministry Report highlighted a New York Times article stating that the current economic downturn was resulting in a nationwide church growth trend. But pollsters from Gallup say not so fast.

According to a massive review of almost 300,000 Gallup interviews in 2008, the bad economic times aren’t affecting church attendance in the slightest bit. Data from the fall months—including part of December—shows that 42 percent of Americans attend church weekly or almost weekly, which is exactly the same percentage as last year (and, coincidentally, 1 percent lower than early 2008).

“It is … possible that certain specific churches or even types of churches (such as the evangelical churches featured in the New York Times article) have seen an increase in attendance,” says Gallup’s Frank Newport, “but that on a percentage basis, these represent such a tiny part of the universe of all churches that this increase is not reflected in broad, national church attendance percentages. … If there has been some alteration in church attendance caused by the economic bad times, it does not appear to have been of sufficient magnitude or scope to have altered ongoing church attendance patterns in the overall U.S. population.” [, 12/17/08]


This might be true in many churches, but in the ones I am well familiar with it's not. I was with the Pastor of a Church from Batavia during a social event Sunday Night. He has seen a significant increase in attendance. 5 people have made brand new confessions of Christ in the last month. This in a church of 130 people.

Churches that flow in the fullness of the Holy Spirit are prospering. In a time when people need something secure and real, the Holy Spirit is all there is. He is a comforter, He is the Paraclete as he comes along side, he is a guide, he is the presence of God in your life. If you don't know him well it can get pretty lonely out there.

Churches that keep busy introducing Him to their people are growing. Those who are like the Ephesians in Acts 19 churches are dying. They need what Paul brought to them:

Acts 19:1-7

Paul in Ephesus
1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."

3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?"
"John's baptism," they replied.

4 Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

(New International Version)

This was about 20 years after Pentecost. So much for Cessasionist teaching. When did it cease? It didn't, still hasn't, won't!

Jeff Blackman says what do we do now?

I get an email from Jeff Blackman. He is an encourager. That's what he does. I thought it might encourage you.

"Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don't turn up at all."
- Sam Ewing, American writer / humorist

"The price of greatness is responsibility."
- Sir Winston Churchill, British statesman / prime minister

"Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out."
- James Bryant Conant, American chemist / university president


Jeff, when it comes to the future...I'm trying to hope for the best, but I'm anxious and concerned. How can I change my perspective? (italics provided)
Hope. Change.

Two simple words. They can bring the promise of a new tomorrow. A fresh start. A bright beginning.

They are words that work.

They helped get Barack Obama elected, the 44th President of the United States.

He proved, anything is possible!

This is NOT a political message. It's a business message. About how to capture attention. Stir emotion. Generate enthusiasm. Create action. And profit!

As I travel the country as a "business-growth specialist"...there are three common messages I'm hearing from CEOs, executives, leaders and salespeople:

1. "Business stinks. Sales are down. We’re laying off people."

2. "We're hanging in. We're holding our own. It's tough, but we're breaking even or still profitable."

3. "Business is actually up. We're adding people. Last month, this quarter... broke new sales records."

While there are of course nuances to the preceding, these are the mantras I'm hearing. In varied regions. From all types of businesses.

The consistency…is the inconsistency!

Yet, there's ONE constant.

These folks remain "hopeful."

And, they know "change"...(even if things are good), is required.

However, hope and change come with high expectations.

Because, hope and change alone...aren't enough to secure the "dawn of a new day."

YOU better make intelligent decisions and take meaningful action.

To get you headed in the right direction, here are fifteen strategies:

1. Focus on training, development and productivity enhancement

2. Plan and prepare, better to be pro-active vs. reactive

3. Establish "teams"

4. Have defined goals that are realistic, but that "stretch"

5. Monitor progress and modify

6. "Pilot" change before expanding

7. "Empower" your self and others...before, during and after the change

8. Link "change" to rewards

9. Find ways to improve, enhance or upgrade your products and services

10. Make "value" your differentiator, not price

11. Get closer to your prospects, customers or clients...ask them better questions, discover how you can improve their condition

12. Make referrals a part of your pipeline; ask for 'em, get 'em, convert 'em (Your customers already know you, like you, love you and trust you. It's a dis-service, not to ask, who else you can help!)

13. Pay close attention to your receivables and cash flow

14. Stay optimistic

15. Be patient

Your future...

Starts with "hope." It's your "wish list" for something positive to happen. It seems possible. Plausible. Likely. It's that gut-feeling, that desirable outcomes, are just around the corner.

Your future...

Then requires "change." New choices. New skills, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

Your future...

Then demands "action." To "get" must "do" something.

May you transform hope, change and action...into results.

And may you too prove, anything is possible!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Left Wing Tightwads - Generous with Other Peoples Money - Stingy with Their Own

From Shannon Love:

In the NYTimes, Nicholas Kristof asks why leftists give less to charity than do those on the Right. Why do the people who collectively advocate redistributing wealth from producers to the poor donate so little as individuals to the same cause?

I think the reason simple: Leftism isn’t about compassion. Leftism is about control. Leftism is about freeing the individual from personal responsibility for anything, including charity.

Redistribution via government coercion enhances the power of leftists in two ways: First, it takes from the productive segments of society, reducing their freedom of action and forcing them them to kowtow to leftists in order to try to avoid even harsher confiscation. Second, it creates a large population of individuals who depend on leftists for the necessities of life. A poor person in America today relies on government for food, shelter, jobs, medical care, transportation, etc. They can’t be defined as “free” in any meaningful sense.

The surest indicator of leftist true motives can be seen in the specific mechanism they seek to employ to redistribute wealth to the poor. Whenever possible, they employ a centrally managed system that takes the power of choice out of the hands of beneficiaries, and they wage open warfare on any type of redistribution mechanism that might let beneficiaries make their own independent choices. For example, leftists oppose voucher systems across the board. Voucher systems seem like the ideal solution. People get the money they need for things like health care, education or housing, and they have to spend on the need mandated but still retain personal choice and benefit from the efficiency and flexibility of the free market.

Yet, leftists oppose vouchers-based redistribution with a passion. They base their arguments against vouchers almost entirely on the premise that individual citizens are simply too stupid to make their own decisions about their own lives. Instead, they advocate systems in which benevolent leftists will use other people’s money to force others to behave as the leftists wish.

Coerced redistribution also allows individual leftists to escape personal responsibility for making the world a better place. To receive accolades and garner self-respect a leftist doesn’t have to do anything more than verbalize support for the leftist cause du jour. If I were a leftist, I would feel that merely by writing this blog post (on a different subject, naturally), I would have engaged in an actual compassionate act. I could feel as good about myself as someone who, you know, actually helped another human being. Leftists off-load their responsibilities to care for others onto the state, leaving themselves free to pursue a narcissistic lifestyle with a clear conscience.

For the religious conservative, charity and community involvement become matters of deep personal obligation. They believe that each individual must account for their own efforts to make the world a better place. They don’t believe they can “outsource” that obligation to a third party. Secular leftists, by contrast, don’t even talk about their own personal, individual obligation to devote their own resources to help others. Instead, they blame everyone else for the evils of the world and demand that those people sacrifice.

Leftism always comes back to the power, status and freedom from responsibility of the leftist. Actually writing checks to the poor, serving on juries, being foster parents, donating blood, etc. don’t contribute to their power, status or freedom from responsibility, so they don’t bother.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stupid Commercial ----------------- Santa is not coming to town, he's dying but environmentalists to the rescue

Jesus is NOT the ONLY way to Heaven....That's the message of our cuture today

Just in case you think I'm some sort of reactionary pushing against the new evangelical culture of today, in case you think this is all so much smoke without fire, I want you to see what Christopher Hitchens has written about Rick Warren. I have had issues with Rick Warren.

One he has stood firm on is the truth that Jesus is the Only way to Salvation.

It's a tough position to take, and the culture all around you hates you for taking it.

But, it's either true or we are all frauds who name the name of Jesus.

Here's what he wrote here in part:

That's all in a day's work for the wonderful world of the American evangelical community, and one wishes them all the best of luck in their energetic fundraising and their happy-clappy Sunday "Churchianity" mega-feel-good fiestas. However, do we want these weirdos and creeps officiating in any capacity at the inauguration of the next president of the United States?

It is a fact that Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., was present at a meeting of the Aspen Institute not long ago and was asked by Lynda Resnick—she of the pomegranate-juice dynasty—if a Jew like herself could expect to be admitted to paradise. Warren publicly told her no. What choice did he have? His own theology says that only those who accept Jesus can hope to be saved.

A president may by all means use his office to gain re-election, to shore up his existing base, or to attract a new one. But the day of his inauguration is not one of the days on which he should be doing that. It is an event that belongs principally to the voters and to their descendants, who are called to see that a long tradition of peaceful transition is cheerfully upheld, even in those years when the outcome is disputed. I would myself say that it doesn't need a clerical invocation at all, since, to borrow Lincoln's observation about Gettysburg, it has already been consecrated. But if we must have an officiating priest, let it be some dignified old hypocrite with no factional allegiance and not a tree-shaking huckster and publicity seeker who believes that millions of his fellow citizens are hellbound because they do not meet his own low and vulgar standards.

Now, this all from a man who is an atheist in spades. Why is he worried about if or when he might find salvation. I mean according to him there is no God. Why worry Chris? You'll be OK. Right. There is no heaven, no hell, no nothing, so when you die there's nothing to worry about. RIGHT?
Bailey Smith, one of the deputies of the late Jerry Falwell, claimed that "God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew," I was in complete agreement with him. This is because I do not believe that there is any supernatural supervisor who lends an ear to any prayer.

Or, is that nervousness I hear in all the big talk.

What're........wrong about all that.......

Hell is very dark, cold and lonely.

You'll have a long time to regret your choices.


This would have been the 20th anniversary of the Orphaning of our children

20 years ago today Peggy and I were scheduled to fly from Frankfurt to New York on Flight 103.

I don't recall why, but we changed our reservation and flew back a day earlier.

Then the plane we were supposed to be on blew up. Pan Am over Lockerbie Scotland was bombed 20 years ago today. I was 43 years old. Peggy was a day away from her 41st birthday. That might be why we came back early.

In any case, we didn't die.

No one knows the day nor the time.