RECENT STUFF- 2013- B
1818- WHO IS BARRY?
Last night I was channel surfing the news shows- and I caught Lawrence O’Donnell doing another one of his ‘anti Mormon’ critiques.
Yes- MSNBC has an ongoing narrative where they speak about Romney as a ‘strange- weird- cult member’.
I saw this months ago- and they have been faithful to their task.
So anyway O’Donnell is covering the ancient teaching of Brigham Young [the co-founder of the Mormon religion- a follower of Joseph Smith] and he’s quoting all the racist teachings that he held to.
Specifically that mixed marriages are wrong.
Now- I could quote the actual Christian bible- yes- the Protestant/Catholic bible- and find this teaching in there.
Yes- the bible O’Donnell believes in!
But that would solve nothing.
Many old time preachers did teach this doctrine- from many various denominations.
Do we [I] believe that mixed marriage is wrong?
But you do have some fundamentalist groups who still teach this.
So O’Donnell is fulfilling his task to portray Romney as a cult guy- and he spends a big portion of the show telling everyone that Romney’s religion is racist.
Now- you could find stuff like this out- with all the other candidates- even the President- yet this network is really not a news network- they are simply Obama devotees.
Axelrod- the presidents campaign guy- a few weeks back tweeted that Romney’s religion does not allow women to enter the temple when they are menstruating.
He left the tweet up for a little while then pulled it.
I have heard other Mormons say this is a false charge- I really don’t know if the church ever taught it- but it’s possible.
Again- you do have certain health standards in the Old Testament- that if you read them- they speak about ‘uncleanness’ when a woman is menstruating.
We find verses on Dwarves not being able to serve God.
People [men] whose ‘stones’ are crushed not being able to serve God [testicals are stones].
So if you wanted- you could trace all these things- not just to Brigham Young or Joseph Smith- but you could also tie them in to the Christian faith.
Now- do most sane Christians believe these ‘strange’ teachings are still in effect?
Thank God- no.
But if your goal is to simply slander the opponent- then have at it.
Over the last few years- as a news watcher/reader- you pick up on certain clues along the way.
Maybe a story won’t make it into the mainstream [for various reasons- to cover up for a person- etc.] But as you read the other columnists- you see little pieces of the puzzle.
So- one of the charges that the ‘right’ has made against Obama is that he had a different name when he grew up- and went to school.
Some say he held the name ‘Barry Sotero’.
They claim his identity is in question because he might have been legally adopted by his stepdad- thus throwing the whole citizenship issue back into play.
Now- I have never read/heard a ‘mainstream news’ report on this- so I never brought it up [to me- it’s just as bad as raising the history of Romney’s church up- a belief he- and most Mormons do not hold to].
But as an avid reader of all stripes [both Liberal and Conservative writers].
I noticed something about a year ago- Maureen Dowd- a liberal columnist who writes for the N.Y. Times- she started referring to the president as Barry.
She gives no reason for it- she does not try and defend her use of it- she simply knows that he did indeed use this name- from what I can tell- all the way right up into his years in college.
Then why would you have never heard about this until now?
Because the media have a narrative- a story they want to tell [and also believe in].
They tell one that has the opponents of the president as a bunch of weird cult members- people who reject mixed marriages- people whose women can’t attend church when they are on their period- who have houses that have elevators for their cars [Romney].
These same media people were so entranced by a particular image of a man- an unrealistic messianic image- that they were so taken captive by- that one of them quit their job as a reporter- right on the spot- to simply join the most ‘transformative presidency’ in the history of man [Linda Douglas- who was reporting on the 2008 election].
You had another reporter [George Stephanopoulos] who admitted on national TV that he cried- very loudly [I guess like when you can’t get a word in type thing?] when he watched the inauguration of the president.
Chris Matthews famously said a thrill goes up his leg when he simply hears words proceeding from the presidents mouth.
Now- I don’t hate the man.
I don’t even like Romney.
But as you attempt to navigate between what’s best- what’s true- what’s fake.
For us to get treated to the 200 year old teaching of some strange leader of a religious sect- and yet for us to not even know that the current president never even came to the mainland of the U.S. until college- is striking.
Yes- the president lived in Indonesia- spent time in Kenya- visited the African continent- wrote about the anti Imperial mindset of the African colonies.
He was influenced by stories and people whose view of America was negative.
He lived among them- went to school with them.
Wore their Muslim garb [yes].
Prayed the Muslim prayer.
Used the name Barry.
And never stepped on the lower 48 until college.
Now- does this mean he’s a bad man?
But for us to know that menstruating Mormons cant attend temple- and to not know any of this- well that’s what you call media bias.
That’s not journalism.
Being its Passion week- I do at least want to recommend everyone try and read Isaiah 50.
This chapter speaks about the willingness of Christ to bear the reproach of the Cross ‘he gave his back to be whipped- his beard to be pulled out’.
In Christian theology we call this the Kenosis [Philippians] it’s the willing act of Jesus to empty himself of all the Divine privileges- his glory- while at the same time retaining his deity.
Many of the early church councils struggled with this division- that is how to understand that Jesus always was God- and yet he ‘gave up’ the unique privileges of that deity when he hung on the Cross.
The bible says he ‘emptied himself and became obedient unto death- even the death of the Cross- therefore God has highly exalted him and given him a name above every name- that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord- to the glory of God the father’.
Yes- this is what distinguishes the Christian faith from all the other religions of the world.
That’s not to say that the other world religions have no value- they do.
Many teach good virtues- loving your fellow man.
Others hold to the traditional belief in God and hold to the same apologetic arguments that the Christian church uses.
But the distinguishing factor is we believe that Jesus died for our sins- the founder of ‘our religion’ didn’t just give us good precepts- or examples.
No- we believe he actually died for us- and redeemed us back to God the father by his death and resurrection.
The epistle to the Romans says ‘we therefore have peace with God thru our Lord Jesus Christ’.
Amen- and amen.
Okay- now a few notes.
2 or 3 posts back I mentioned how we should get ready to see a new narrative- how the media will begin telling us a particular kind of story about the Supreme Court and the political wrangling going on over health care.
Sure enough- to my surprise- the next day the President cane out and took on the court in an unprecedented way.
Many legal experts- on both sides of the aisle- were shocked.
The president used language like ‘a bunch of unelected judges overturning the will of the people’.
He said how there were many judges and legal experts who believe that the law [health care] is constitutional and should not be overturned.
He used language that was kind of deceptive- making it sound like the possible overturning of the law would almost be an illegal act.
I mentioned this in the other post- that if you carefully followed this law getting challenged in the courts- it split about 50-50.
And as I listened to the various arguments- to me it is not a stretch to think the law will be overturned.
But the president made it sound like the overturning of it would be political judicial activism.
I don’t think he actually knows what that means- when the term political activism is used it’s referring to judges who ‘legislate from the bench’.
That is they make new law- law that has not been in existence until their ruling.
A good example would be the Roe v Wade case [abortion].
The court found a ‘new’ constitutional ‘right to privacy’ in their ruling.
Now- however you believe about the ruling- the point is that’s what ‘judicial activism’ refers to- not the possibility of the court finding a new law unconstitutional.
The president also said if the court overturned his law- that it would be unprecedented.
The court has declared around 150 laws to be unconstitutional since the late 1700’s.
This would not be unprecedented in any way.
The day after he made these charges- he got so much criticism for overstepping his boundaries- there are 3 branches of govt.- Judiciary, Executive and Congress- and for any president to try and influence a decision like this is usually considered way out of bounds.
It is true that FDR had battles with the court- as well as other presidents- but for a president to use the language Obama did- well it was way over the line.
So yesterday he back peddled some.
I mean it was so bad that one of the other challenges to the law- taking place right now in the 5th circuit court of appeals- the judge interrupted the lawyer for the govt. and asked her if the president believes the courts have the right to rule against the law.
He told the lawyer for the justice dept to bring back a 3 page- single spaced- explanation form Eric Holder to explain their position.
This judge basically let the administration know that the courts are not going to put up with such a public attack on their independence.
So anyway that’s where it stands as of now- hopefully some things will settle down and we will see what happens when the ruling comes out in a couple of months.
Okay- try and read the chapter I mentioned today- maybe read Philippians chapter 2 as well- that’s the chapter I quoted from- and mediate on the death and resurrection of Jesus- he died for the whole world.
When Jesus was born the angels said ‘peace on earth and good will towards men’.
Christ came into the world to bring peace- to offer to all mankind a new and living way.
As Christians- it’s not our job to condemn all the other religions of the world- but to show them the difference between the Christian faith and the other well meaning faiths- and to let them know that Jesus died for all- all are welcome.
1820- WHERE THE GRAPES OF WRATH ARE STORED
Let’s end the week with a look at the death of Christ.
Today- Good Friday- is the day we remember the Passion.
In Psalms 22 we see a Messianic prophecy- the words king David spoke thru the Holy Spirit.
These are the words- feelings- that Jesus had on the night before he was crucified- he went to the Garden of Gethsemane [literally- The Olive Press] and was in extreme anguish.
In this Psalm we read ‘I am a worm and no man’ ‘all that see me laugh at me- they think my cause is hopeless’ ‘I cried and prayed and you never heard me- I have no rest day or night’.
Read the psalm later today- see the pain he went through.
The garden of Gethsemane was an Olive garden at the base of the ‘The Mount of Olives’.
It was a place where olives were crushed- the process allowed the oil to come forth- which was a picture of what Jesus was going thru- he was ‘being crushed’ so the oil [Spirit] would come forth to the world [Acts 2].
In the prayer he says ‘Father- if it’s possible- remove this cup- never the less- not my will but yours be done’.
Many of us are familiar with this phrase ‘thy will be done’ but we miss the cup part.
What was the cup?
The cup stood for ‘the cup of the wrath of God’ it was a symbol of the judgment of God coming upon the sins of the world.
When Jesus said ‘take away the cup’ he wasn’t afraid of dying- but he ‘feared’ the separation that was going to take place from God.
As he ‘drank the cup’ [the sins of the world] he would become ‘the container’ of the wrath of God- he would be cursed from God as a ‘sinful’ thing.
The apostle Paul says ‘he- [Jesus] became sin for us- who knew no sin- that we might become the righteousness of God in him’ [Corinthians].
So Jesus struggled with the cup.
In the book of Revelation chapter 14 we see an image of the cup and wrath.
There are angels coming out from the throne- we see Jesus sitting on a cloud and angels all around.
The angel says ‘thrust in your sickle and reap- for the harvest of the earth is ripe’ and we see the ‘Winepress of wrath’.
The picture is this angel reaping the earth- gathering the ‘grapes of the earth' [Steinbeck- the Grapes of wrath] and casting them into a winepress [another type of pressing- like the olive imagery].
The Winepress is ‘outside the city’ [very significant image] and the blood from the press goes out for 184 miles.
This is a scene of judgment and wrath.
During the civil war the north used this verse as their theme song- The Battle Hymn of the Republic ‘mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord he is Trampling out the Vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored’.
Yes- the winepress was an image of where the grapes of wrath waited for the pressing- when the blood would come forth.
Now- this next part really deserves a full study- but let me do a brief overview.
The writer of Hebrews [probably Paul] speaks about an altar that sits ‘outside the city’ where the animal’s bodies were burned.
In Old Testament Jewish law- some of the animals bodies were not fully burned at the time of the offering- the blood that was used for the Day of Atonement was not a complete burnt offering- the animal blood was used.
So- the Jewish people had a spot- outside the gate of the court [outside the city] where the bodies were burned.
Now- the writer of Hebrews says this is a type- a picture- of the final sacrifice of Christ that took place ‘outside of the law’.
That is Jesus established a New Covenant in his own Blood- not part of the Old animal sacrificial system.
Okay- his death took place ‘outside the gate’- that’s important to see.
Now- as Jesus struggled with his impending death- he came to a point where he sweat drops of blood- he then said ‘if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it- then so be it’.
He drinks the cup ‘of the wrath of God’ and in a sense he becomes the place ‘where the grapes of wrath are stored’.
He himself becomes the final sin sacrifice for humanity- the place of pressing- where the ‘wine/blood comes out’.
As we finish this Holy Week- getting ready for the resurrection celebration this Sunday- let’s not forget that Jesus drank the cup- he became sin for us who knew no sin.
Yes- as the North sang ‘mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord he is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored’.
They weren’t seeing that the place where the grapes of wrath were stored were inside the Son of God- he drank the cup ‘to the dregs’ and was ‘trampled on’ by God’s wrath.
Yes- Jesus said ‘I am a worm and no man’ he was in anguish for you- and me.
Amen- and amen.
1821- TRAYVON REDUX
I know it’s a little late- but I hope everyone had a good Easter.
I ‘enjoyed’ seeing all the media reports of the towns that canceled their Easter egg hunts because of past violence- by the grown ups.
Yes- they showed video of people trampling each other- pushing kids out of the way- and one video taken by a bystander showed the start of one hunt.
As they rang the bell they were off. One mom falls down and the amateur videographer gives ‘play by play’ coverage- in the classic style of Howard Kossel.
Remember ‘Down goes Frazier- Down goes Frazier’?
Yes- we heard ‘down goes mom- down goes mom’ as the other ‘adults’ were about to trample her.
It was just such a wonderful way for us to remember the resurrection of Christ.
And then as I watched the ridiculous ‘media’ coverage of MSNBC [and NBC].
I couldn’t get over the nonstop talk about Mormons being a cult.
I mean show after show was talking this way- question after question about Romney’s involvement in the church- how he was a lay elder in the church- over and over and over- from this network.
So Orin Hatch- a long time senator who is a Mormon [like Harry Reid] says that he believes the Obama campaign and the media are going to attack Romney on his faith.
Now- guess what network could not believe that this charge was made?
You got it- NBC-MSNBC.
Yeah- they did entire programs [Hardball] asking the question ‘do you think the media/Obama will attack Romney’s religion’?
I couldn’t believe it- it might be the first time that the actual network who is doing the attacking- nonstop- at the same time will try and spin ‘no one is attacking Romney- how anyone even dare think it’!
It would be funny if it were not true.
Even David Gregory- the lead news guy for the Sunday morning NBC show [Meet the Press] had on a panel of various reliogus people- and he too brought up the question ‘why would Hatch- or anybody make such a false charge!’
On the panel there was a Mormon congressman- he said right there ‘your own network is the major offender- Lawrence O’Donnell even said the Mormon church was founded by a guy who simply wanted to have sex with more than one wife’.
I mean it’s ridiculous- the actual network who is the chief offender- is at the same time trying to spin a fake story that ‘how dare anyone even think that the media are attacking Romney’s faith’.
It reminds me of the time when one of the news magazine shows [20-20 ?] did an ‘expose’ about cars exploding on impact.
In the piece they indeed showed you these cars getting hit- and Walla- they blew up like a bottle rocket on the 4th of July.
Now- the actual car makers- they watched the show and could not believe their cars were blowing up like this.
I mean it made the classic Pinto look like a fire proof space ship.
So the car makers had an expert look at the video and they discovered that the news show actually placed exploding detonators right at the point of impact.
They had some bomb specialist off to the side and he was detonating the device at the point of impact.
You know how the news channel reacted when they got caught?
After they couldn’t hide what they did- they said ‘oh yeah- sure we blew the cars up with our own bomb- but it was made to simulate what was happening on the street’.
They actually tried to get the public to believe that what they did was just.
Yeah- go ahead NBC- be outraged over anyone ever even thinking that the media would attack Romney’s faith- and oh- keep playing the MSNBC pieces that smear the guy nonstop- we will never figure it out.
And last but not least- last night George Zimmerman was arrested in Fla.
Yes- the special prosecutor made the arrest.
I have written on this case a few times- and I have basically taken the side of Trayvon.
Now- as a media watcher- I do realize that there was some unfair reporting on both sides.
Initially they showed pictures of Trayvon at the age of 12-13.
He looked like a little boy.
Then they made it sound like this ‘little boy’ was just buying skittles and tea- for himself [as opposed to his little brother at the house] and Zimmerman attacked him.
Okay- if you look at the more recent pictures of Trayvon- he was a big kid- looked in good shape.
I will tell you- at the age of 13 it’s not easy to beat up an adult- but at 17 it’s not hard at all.
So it is possible that Trayvon was pissed about being followed- and maybe did throw the first punch- I don’t know.
But whenever you have an unarmed teen shot to death- and the armed person was the initiator of the confrontation- even if the final confrontation was Trayvon coming back to the car to approach Zimmerman- then you at least need an arrest.
I know the media- the right and the left- have now turned this into a political debate- which is sad.
Every time I hear the parents speak- especially the mom- she is a sincere person who lost her son.
She has never called for vigilante justice- and she has prayed to God for the right thing to be done.
Like I said- I have heard both sides- and I have seen media bias- on both sides.
But in the end- I think Zimmerman did indeed cross a line- how the last 2 minutes of the incident happened- we don’t know yet.
But if that’s the voice of Trayvon crying for help- and not Zimmerman- then the man needs to do some prison time.
1822- CHOSEN BY GOD
Good morning to all my on line friends.
Today let’s cover the book of Ephesians and John 17.
I stumbled on them this past week- not realizing the similarity of themes.
In the past I have taught complete bible studies- both on radio and at the same time on the blog.
It took a little longer- because I would write on a chapter- then take 2 or 3 radio programs [15 minute shows] to cover it on air.
I’m not even sure- I think I might have already done a full Ephesians study on the blog?
Ephesians is written by the apostle Paul- though some scholars believe it was written by one of Paul’s disciples- they think it might be more of an elaboration on Paul’s other epistle to the Colossians.
There are various reasons that some scholars do stuff like this- won’t go into all the reasons- in my mind when a bible letter says within the text that Paul wrote it- then I go with that.
The short letter [6 chapters] starts off with a declaration that God chose the believers before he even made the world.
That God had a predestined purpose for them to have become children of God and for this new people of God to reveal the ‘manifold wisdom of God’ to everyone one [thing] else.
One of the verses says that even the angels and powers in heaven ‘learn’ the things of God thru the church.
This really is an amazing statement- that God uses the church to reveal Divine truths to the whole universe!
This theme of God choosing us [them] before the world- to fulfill a purpose that he planned before the world- is a major theme in the first 4 chapters of the book.
He wants them to see that this calling- this place where they are at at the present time- it is a sort of Divine appointment with destiny- that God had planned this before the creation of the world.
And it is now ‘in time’ that they are living out this Divine plan.
In John chapter 17 we read the prayer of Jesus.
Jesus says that he has 'finished’ the work that God gave him to do- which was to reveal God to these disciples that God has given to him.
He says ‘all mine are thine- and thine are mine- and I am glorified in them’.
Jesus also hits on the theme of this being a work of God that he pre-planned before the world was made.
He prays ‘don’t take them out of the world- but keep them from the evil’.
The same theme that we see in the ‘Our Father’.
I find it interesting that one of the more popular ‘end times’ teaching of our day is the Rapture.
Tim Lahaye has popularized this idea in his very successful series of books about the end times.
In the 1980’s- the number one best seller among Christian books [I think it was actually number 1 for all categories?] was Hal Lindsey’s ‘late great planet earth’.
He too took the same line as Lahaye and taught the idea that God was going to take all the Christians ‘from the earth’ and that the world would wonder where they all went.
I have covered this in the past- how the church came to teach this- how the historic church did not teach it- and why I believe the Rapture- as a separate event from the 2nd coming- has no real biblical basis.
The point for this post is part of the prayer of Jesus is ‘I pray not that you would take them out of the world’ which on its face seems to be the opposite of what the Rapture doctrine teaches.
Okay- Jesus revealed the Father to his men.
The apostle Paul told the church ‘God chose you for this before the world was made’.
Jesus believed that these disciples [and by extension the church] were ‘given to him’ by the pre ordained will of God.
What all this means- in a nutshell- is that where you are at right now- all the things you are going thru- God knew it before it ever happened.
And he still picked you for the job!
The Apostle tells them to be strong in the Lord- to pray always- and put on the whole armor of God.
Yes- just because they were chosen- did not mean they could sit around all day doing nothing- they were chosen for a purpose- and it was up to them [by grace] to walk in that purpose.
I would encourage you to try and read these chapters this week- Ephesians is short- but has a lot of good stuff in it.
As you read- look for the theme of God choosing the church before the ‘world was made’.
Notice how often this idea ‘pops up’ in the writing of Paul- and how it plays a major part in the life of the church.
Read- and apply- the instructional aspects of the letter [on family- husbands and wives- children- workers and bosses].
And practice- as much as possible- the ‘put on the armor of God’ teaching found in chapter 6- that section ends with ‘pray for everyone’.
That- in my mind- is the most important part of the instruction.
Last night I had my wife search for some old friends on Facebook [she’s better than me] and I had one old firefighter buddy that kept coming to mind- Buddy Renninger.
I met Buddy about 10 years ago- he attended one of the fire/ems schools that my Dept. was putting on.
Every so often when a neighboring city puts on a class- the other depts. might attend.
Buddy was a ‘rookie’ from the city of Alice- about 20 minutes from Kingsville- where I retired from.
Buddy was my age- though I had already put in about 20 years- he was a new comer to the job.
We got along good- went out for a few drinks a couple of times- shot some pool.
And yes- Buddy ‘picked my brain’ on Christianity- he was eager to learn.
I lost touch with Buddy after I retired- actually before that.
So when my wife looked up the name- to my surprise she told me ‘John- Buddy died’.
I was shocked- I mean he was 48 years old.
The on line article just said he died at home- no other info.
They actually have a little tribute to him on line- look it up if you want- just Google his name and the city of Alice- he was a Lieutenant.
He died a couple of year’s back- sad to see him go.
By the way- for those of you who just got ‘friended’ by me this week- as I was searching for some old friends- I found the search where it says ‘you might know this person’ and I went down the list and sent out about 50 requests.
Some names I thought sounded familiar- others I knew- others just had that good old Italian last name- so if you’re a new friend- that’s the story.
Alright- I still need to do one last post on this never ending Philosophy study I have been on.
But in the last post when I mentioned the book of Ephesians- I came across a verse in chapter 6- it says for workers to ‘obey’ their employers in all things- with FEAR AND TREMBLING.
That short phrase reminded me of something that I did not cover in the philosophy posts.
In a few posts we covered 19th century thinking- and we hit on Soren Kierkegaard- the 19th century father of Existentialism [will not repeat it all- you can find it somewhere on the blog].
Soren wrote a few books- one was called FEAR AND TREMBLING- he looked at the story of Abraham in Genesis chapter 22- where he takes Isaac to be offered as a sacrifice to God.
Soren [it’s easier then repeatedly spelling the last name!] examined the process of God telling Abraham to do something that by all accounts seemed contrary to God- and to what Abraham believed to be right.
Yet- at that point of the journey- faith became more than just an intellectual exercise- it became a man [or woman] who passionately embraced God- even beyond the point of his own understanding.
Yes- Abraham did this with much Fear and Trembling- and he never had to sacrifice Isaac- it was a test- a test that the patriarch passed with flying colors.
Next week I will try and finish that last post on philosophy- and try and review the short letter of James [in the New Testament].
This letter is the only ‘wisdom’ literature we find in the New Testament [wisdom literature refers to a specific genre of writing- in the Old Testament we have about 5 books in this category- Proverbs, Psalms, Job- etc.]
So if you get a chance- try and read the letter- it’s a short read.
Okay- that’s it for now- to all my new Facebook friends- glad to see you.
And to Buddy- sad to see you go my friend- may God bless your soul.
1824- LAST TRAIN TO VICTORVILLE [a dog [man?] eat dog world]
As we wrap up the week- we have had some serious [and silly] discussions going on in the country.
Yes- a few weeks back the Obama team decided to make the ‘dog on Romney’s car’ a story.
His campaign people began talking about the way Romney treated his dog by making him ride on the roof on a trip to Canada.
Oh yes- you even have on-line sites- by dogs- who are criticizing Romney.
Now- when you do stupid stuff like this [on both sides] and make it an issue- then beware- they will find a dog story about you.
Sure enough- the ‘right’ found a quote from Obama where he admitted he dined on Dog meat while a 7 year old boy in Indonesia.
Oh yea- sweet.
You saw all the on line pictures of Obama chomping on a hot dog- but in place of the wiener you saw a cute pup with mustard on his head.
You had the Pres chasing after his dog at the white house- with a spatula in hand- ready to plop him on the grill.
Yeah- we spent a week with the dog wars.
Well- we did have the vote on the Buffet Tax go down in flames.
This is where my friends on the left don’t seem to get it.
As an independent- I try and see the middle ground- the real value [if any] behind the things the President wants to do.
I don’t hate the man- see him as a commie- but he does do [say] things that are really disingenuous.
Okay- the tax on millionaires.
The president- and his cronies- keep saying- nonstop- that millionaires need to pay ‘their fair share’ and that they pay less than the average working stiff.
The famous quote about Buffet is ‘he pays less than his secretary’.
Now- this has been said so much- people actually now believe it.
What John- aint it true?
The tax rate on millionaires [income tax] is around 38%.
That’s the highest you can go.
So why does the Pres keep saying they pay less?
He’s talking about the tax rate on investment income [Stocks].
This rate- called Capital Gains tax- is 18%.
Now- if you’re a millionaire with no regular income- and you live off your stock income [dividends] then your only paying 18 on that.
John- do most millionaires do this?
There are more millionaires who pay both rates- income tax at 38- and capital gains at 18.
In reality- if Obama passed the ‘millionaires’ tax- it would raise about 4 billion a year- which is nothing compared to a 15-16 trillion dollar debt.
But the president has said this tax would fix the debt- and do a host of other things which is simply not true.
It is only a political game- that’s it.
So- when you do stuff like this- waste all this time going around the country claiming that this millionaire’s tax is some sort of solution- then we know he is not serious about really dealing with the major problem the country is facing- dealing with entitlements.
Okay- being we are in another possible economic slowdown [things are not looking that good- the European crisis is rearing its head- and some housing and jobs numbers are showing bad signs].
What does the president have on the table as a jobs plan?
I have mentioned this a few times in the past- but his plan right now [besides pouring billions into a hole called solar energy] is to do High Speed Rail.
Yes- the president has talked about pouring billions of dollars into high speed rail projects- while at the same time cutting billions form other real programs.
The train from Victorville [80 miles outside of downtown L.A.] to Vegas.
The govt. has a program [RRIF] where we lend money to rail projects across the land.
Now- the main purpose of the program- is to either fix or upgrade existing rail lines.
The president has been stopped with the stimulus money- congress is not going to give him any more.
The only chance of getting more ‘fake money’ into the game is if the Fed Reserve does a Qe-3 [prints another batch of money] and puts it on the table.
So- the president knows if he can simply spend more govt. money- in any way [like extending the ‘payroll’ tax cut- all this does is starve the Social Security fund for another year- so people have more money now. This is not policy- per se- its simply saying ‘we won’t have people pay into the system while I’m president- so they spend more in the market- and I won’t look so bad’].
Now- the only way the pres could get the money for these silly rail projects- is to use an existing govt. loan program to fund it.
This rail line will fulfill one major purpose- it will transport tourists from the L.A. area to Vegas- to the casinos [Harry Reid’s pet lobby- that’s why he as the majority leader in the senate will pass it].
Yes- this project is the brain child of the casino moguls- what Obama terms as ‘the fat cats’.
The train departs from Victorville- goes nonstop to Vegas- at a cost of about 100 bucks.
It takes about 4 hours to drive- once you’re on the train- 80 minutes.
You have to drive from L.A. to the Town of Victorville- Park your car [for a charge] and when you get to Vegas- either rent a car- or ride the taxi.
The rail line has no real purpose for those coming to L.A. from Vegas- because you would be stuck 80 miles outside of town- and have to rent a car for the day- plus get back on the train on your way home- and pay the car rental spot to pick up your car- and drive home.
Okay- you could fly round trip from L.A. to Vegas for around the same price.
Their already is a private bus co. [probably more than one] who will take you and a crowd for 99 bucks- plus feed you on the way.
But no- the real pressing need of the country- at a cost of 5 billion tax dollars [one years worth of the Buffet tax]- is to build this high speed rail- after all- look at all the jobs it will create.
The so called benefits of these rail lines are they create less pollution and auto traffic.
Because everyone will abandon their silly cars and ride the rail.
In most places [if not all?] where this has been tried- the govt. has to step in and underwrite the loss at the cost of the taxpayer.
These projects just don’t work- or you would have had the casino moguls get funding for it thru the banks.
So- the rail line plan- the presidents main plan for jobs [he said this in his state of the union- remember- our Sputnik moment?]
Is doomed for failure.
It will also shut down the private bus services that now do this.
It will compete with the round trip ticket from the private plane companies.
It will cost jobs in the end- not create them.
All at a cost of 5 billion tax dollars.
The govt. loan company that makes these loans has never spent this much before.
Yes- I’m not talking another single loan- no- they have never spent this much in their entire history of making loans- total.
So Obama is simply using them as a cover to get stimulus money for the project.
A project that would basically cost you- and me- 5 billion tax dollars- all so tourists could ride to the casinos.
Okay- this is what we mean when we say the president simply does not have the experience for the job.
That he has made bad business decisions- and continues to make them- time and time again [Solyndra].
No- I’m not mad at the president for chowing down some fine dog cuisine while in Indonesia.
I’m just worried that Dog meat might be the meat of the future- because if this high speed rail plan is what’s gonna bail us out- then we all might be eatin it soon.
1825- PHILOSOPHY [conclusion]
Today let’s wrap up the last philosophy post for now.
Over the last 6 months or so I have posted around 25 posts- covering the pre Socratic thinkers [800 B.C.] and we made it all the way up to the 19th century.
The main philosophical thought of the 20th century was called Logical Positivism.
This idea said there were 3 stages to Western thought/culture;
First- Infancy [religious/myth]
Second- adolescence [philosophy]
Third- adult [science/empirical]
This idea said that man in the 20th century has finally advanced beyond the silly stages of religion and has now moved into a stage where the only true things are empirical in nature.
That is- for something to be true- you must be able to show it scientifically [or mathematically].
It did not take too long before the critics figured out the major flaw with this idea.
This philosophy states ‘the only truth is empirical’ this statement in itself [as well as all the books written on it] is not an empirically proven statement.
Therefore- according to its own criterion- it is false.
This particular aspect of the philosophy was called The Verification Principle [had to be proven/verified scientifically to be valid].
Pragmatism- this is the only home grown philosophy that had its roots in the U.S.
Founded by Dewey and Peirce- this thought denied objective reality and states that ‘whatever works- use it’.
Of course being ‘pragmatic’ in a practical way is fine- we do want things to work.
But at its core Pragmatism says there are no real ethics- no right or wrong- just things people do.
In the beginning of the 20th century you had the British thinker/mathematician Bertrand Russell.
Russell was a good man- raised as a Christian.
But as a young man he read a book by John Stuart Mill [19th century] that questioned one of the classic arguments for the existence of God [the argument from first cause].
Mill said ‘if everything has to have a cause- then why not God- who caused him’.
Russell accepted Mills claim- and became an influential atheist/agnostic.
The main flaw with this argument- that everything ‘has a cause’ is that it’s false.
The law of Cause and Effect [Causality] does not state that everything has a cause- it says that ‘every effect has a cause’.
That is- there is nothing in existence- an effect- that came from nothing.
Some argued that there was no initial cause- but an infinite series of ‘little’ cause and effects that go on forever.
This too is wrong- it leads to another problem called the Infinite Regress.
If there is no First cause- then logically you can never arrive at ‘Now’
There had to have been a starting point somewhere [Einstein has since proved this] and the starting point [Big Bang] could not have come from nothing.
This too is a very common belief among many well meaning people- that somehow science has taught us that all things came from nothing.
This could not be further from the truth- this is referred to as Creation Ex Nihilo- which too is scientifically false.
The only other option- beside the Infinite Regress- and the creation out of nothing- is there had to have been some type of first cause- who is not limited to the material realm.
By nature this being would have to be Metaphysical [outside the physical realm] and would have to be self existent- having no beginning.
To have a First cause- who himself is infinite- is indeed consistent with the principals of logic- and at the end of the day is the only reasonable explanation for the existence of all other things.
Okay- as we end our posts on philosophy for now- why did I cover this?
Thru out the history of the church Christians have grappled and challenged the other world views- and have done a good job at it.
The Christian perspective is not some silly religious way of life that has no real proof.
To the contrary- the church has had the upper hand in all these debates down thru the centuries.
But in today’s ‘media market’ Christianity- the proliferation of self help books [everyday day a Friday?]
The nonstop talk about becoming rich- or sending your money to ‘my ministry’ as a ‘seed faith’ to become rich.
In this environment- many outsiders see the church as an irrelevant- never ending drum beat that they can’t wait to switch to another channel.
This is not the history of the church- and the church has historically won the debate on the reality of God.
It’s just the average person does not know it.
So- for the Christian to be learned in these fields- to have a working knowledge of the opposing world views- is a good thing.
Why do so many believers avoid a field like philosophy?
The apostle Paul warned the Colossians ‘beware of the philosophies of men’.
He also wrote to his protégé Timothy ‘beware of the oppositions of science- falsely so called’.
The word for science in this text is Gnosis- the Greek work for knowledge.
In the early days of the church there was a Christian cult that rose up- called Gnosticism.
More than likely- Paul was not saying that all science- as we use the term today- is bad- but he was warning against a particular from of science- called Gnosticism.
The same with the warning on philosophy- while you could apply it to all philosophy- that is to say that we should be careful when people try to give us opposing ways of thought- yet in context it seems like the apostle is dealing with the philosophies that oppose Christian thought.
For the first 1500 years of the Christian church the study of Theology and Philosophy went hand and hand.
After the Protestant Reformation [15th century] many Protestants avoided the field- which I think was a mistake.
So- as we close up this subject for now- maybe review a few of the posts on the blog that I did these last few months- become more familiar with the apologetic arguments for the existence of God.
Christians do not have to argue- or oppose atheists- or other religions that hold a different view than we do.
But we should be able to give a defense for the faith- to explain to society around us why we believe the things we do.
At the end of the day- we really do have the winning argument.
This past week I have been reading the letter of James found in the New Testament.
James has always been a favorite- it was written [more than likely] by the brother of Jesus and it is the same James we read about in Acts chapter 15- one of the 3 main church leaders at the Jerusalem church.
Note- to my Catholic friends- when I say ‘brother’ Protestants believe that Mary had other children after giving birth to Jesus.
We both believe in the Virgin birth- conceived by the Holy Spirit- but Protestants believe Mary had other children by Joseph.
Okay- not a big deal in my mind.
To defend the Catholic position somewhat- even though James is called the brother of the Lord in scripture- brother can refer to close cousins and also ‘Christian’ brothers- so that’s how our Catholic friends interpret it.
Okay- Just this morning I read the last chapter- and thru the week I tried to meditate on one chapter each day.
Key themes- defend the poor, praise the humble- and rebuke [warn] the rich.
Beware of the tongue- what you say ‘it is a world of sin’ and can start a great fire- just like a match starts a forest fire.
Works- was not ‘Abraham our father JUSTIFIED BY WORKS’ ‘Rahab the harlot was JUSTIFED BY WORKS’.
To my scholarly friends- I believe a right understanding of these verses can bridge a 500 year old split between Protestants and Catholics.
I have tried my best to explain this in the past- and it takes time.
Suffice it to say that the normal Protestant interpretation does not do justice to the text.
Most Protestants try their best to say that James WAS ONLY saying ‘the faith that saves is working faith’.
While this is true- if you simply re-read the portions I quoted above- you can see there is more to it than this.
In a nutshell- Justification, Salvation, Righteousness [all words that speak about ‘being saved’] are not only static terms [one time events] but also fluent.
James uses the example from Genesis 22- when Abraham offered his son Isaac on the altar.
The apostle Paul uses Genesis 15- when Abraham ‘believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness’.
I believe if we see that James is speaking about the ongoing relationship that God has with his kids- and when these kids do right- obey God- it pleases God.
And God can continue to say ‘well done son- did well’ and in the mind of James- you can say ‘Abraham was justified by works’ God said ‘good job- you’re just’.
There is more to it than this- but I think this explanation is more in keeping with the text than simply seeing James thru the lens of Paul- James does not contradict Paul- but is simply coming at it from a different angle.
Okay- James deals with the 'rights of the worker’ yes- this is a biblical issue- workers rights!
That’s why historically the church has sided with labor movements.
Many of my conservative brothers seem to equate all union movements with ‘the left’ but to be honest to the text- James [and in this case- Jesus] can be called liberal!
James is chock full of good stuff- try and read it this week if you haven’t all ready.
One of the key themes that I always see ‘jump out’ at me is the theme of defending and honoring the poor- and rebuking the rich.
Now- to my friends who are ‘rich’ its okay- the warnings are along the lines of what the apostle Paul told Timothy [1st Timothy 6] to simply keep wealth in its proper context.
Honor God with it [by helping the poor- not by making TV preachers rich!] and be humble.
This theme is important for our day- because there are many well meaning Christians- and movements- who have gone off track with the wealth issue and have made it a goal of faith.
James- Paul- and Jesus all had strong warnings for the rich- and had great praise for the poor [they inherit the kingdom- James and Jesus said it].
For more on this subject- referred to as the Prosperity gospel- I will post a few posts from the blog right below.
These are from the February posts of each year.
During the year when I write individual posts- I put them in categories and stick them in the February posts at the start of the New Year.
So these are from the Prosperity gospel section.
Also- if you go to the blog [or are on it now] look to the left and you will find my first little book- called House of Prayer or Den of Thieves- I talk about this issue there as well.
Okay- that’s it for now- might do another politics post in a few days- not sure what’s next.
Don’t forget to try and lift each other up in prayer- help someone who’s down on their luck- share with the less fortunate in some way this week- give- but give for the purpose of helping the poor- don’t always see it as ‘an investment with a return’ but give out of love- God will reward you for it.
1827- SCHOOL LOANS AND HOW MANY TIMES DID THAT ROOSTER CROW?
I want to try and do both ‘politics and religion’- lets start with politics.
This story is a couple of days late [the big one this week is the anti Romney ad that the Obama campaign released- saying he would not have killed Bin Laden].
This story is last week’s fight over keeping the cost of federally funded student loans from doubling in July.
Basically in 2007 congress passed a law to keep the interest rates low- and it expires in a few months.
Now- both sides of the aisle actually agree on this- they just disagree on how to pay for it [around 6 billion in cost].
The Dems in the senate want to ‘tax the rich’ yes- they are not afraid to keep going to this pool- even though eventually this pool will run dry [not saying all the rich will become poor- but ultimately you drive the wealth from the country- people put their money where it won’t cost so much to keep!]
The Dems in the house want to tax the oil companies.
The Repubs want to pay for it by taking some money out of Obama care.
Okay- as the battle lines were drawn- the Repubs control the house- so they passed it- with about a dozen Dems on board- with the money coming from Obama care.
The President threatened to veto it- and the Dems began accusing the Repubs of waging ‘a war on women’s health’.
Boehner [speaker of the house] actually got mad and said the Dems are waging a phony fight.
Okay- as an independent- there are some points on both sides- but the ‘war on women’ is a stretch.
The fund in the health care law that the Repubs want to use- is a fund for preventative care- less than 1 % of this fund is targeted for women’s health.
The President and the Dems were the first ones to tap into this fund- as sort of a slush fund- when they needed the money for- of all things- a tax cut!
Yes- in the recent fight over extending the payroll tax cut [Social Security] the Dems came up with the idea to tap into this same preventive fund- and they used the money [billions] to give people a tax cut.
Now- when they did it- it was not a ‘war on women’ it was a ‘good thing’.
When the Repubs did it- it was a war on women’s health.
So- this is gridlock- this is why our country is becoming more and more dysfunctional as the days go by.
I have said this over the past few years- if we don’t actually elect people who will deal with the real issues- the big one being the cost of Medicare- which at the current rate will consume around 50 % of all federal spending in a few years- if we don’t elect people who will do this- then all the other little ‘campaign’ talking points will mean nothing.
Okay- this past week I went thru a course by Professor Bart Ehrman.
He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He teaches Christianity and the New Testament and has been popular the last couple of years because he had a N.Y. times best seller- Misquoting Jesus.
Whenever I study a course- I usually do a parallel teaching on the blog.
Not word for word- I usually have a background in the subject already- and if the course goes too ‘off course’ I dump it and just finish the blog study by memory.
This time I never planned on covering the course from the get go- because I knew Ehrman was what you would call a Liberal scholar.
Now- Liberal and Conservative- in the field of Theology- are not political matters.
Liberals are those who hold to the critical view of the bible that was developed in the 19th century- primarily out of the German universities- men like Rudolph Bultman were leaders in the field.
This ‘way’ of interpreting the bible- called Higher Criticism- had some good points to it- but at the end of the day they came to reject the historical accuracy of scripture- and said that the Gospels were written by unknown men who wanted to simply convey spiritual truths that Jesus taught.
Conservative teachers [like me] hold to the belief that the bible is indeed historically accurate- and the ‘Inspired Word of God’.
Okay- as I went thru the course- I honestly expected Bart to make a better case for his side.
I really learned nothing knew- I was already familiar with the critic’s points- and he made the same ones that the conservative side has already refuted.
Now- let me give you a few examples.
When I first started reading thru the bible as a new believer- I did find some of these ‘discrepancies’ myself.
I noticed that in Matthews’s gospel the story about the denial of Jesus says Peter will deny Jesus 3 times before the ‘rooster crows’.
In Marks gospel it says ‘before the rooster crows twice’.
When I first saw this- it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me- and one time I mentioned it to my Pastor- a good Baptist man who was trained in a Fundamentalist school- and to my surprise he was not aware of this.
I also noticed a few more things like this over the years- and my pastor simply was never trained in these areas.
Now- I mention this only to point out that if you get a well rounded education- it really should include some of these so called discrepancies.
Some of the Higher Criticism is helpful- some not.
But to avoid these textual problems- simply because you’re a Fundamentalist- does more harm than good- especially when your parishioners are learning the stuff on their own!
Okay- I ‘solved’ the problem of the denials by simply seeing that even though one gospel says ‘before the rooster crows’ and the other ‘twice’- that at the end of the day one writer is simply giving you more detail.
It really is not a contradiction- if Matthew said ‘before the roster crows once’ then yes- that would be a problem.
But he simply gave less detail than the other writer.
Okay- after becoming familiar with Ehrman- and knowing that he is famous in the field of liberal scholarship- I thought for sure he would come up with something better than this.
But in actuality- this was one of his main examples of why the bible is not historically accurate.
I couldn’t believe it.
Now- to be fair- there are other things like this that do happen- but they are all minor details of the story [John’s gospel seems to indicate that Jesus was crucified on a different feast day than the other writers say].
But all these minor details in no way justify rejecting the gospels as historically accurate.
Let me just hit on a few things that the higher critics have right.
They do point to the fact that the early followers of Jesus lived in an Oral culture- things were passed along by word of mouth for the most part.
The writing of books [scrolls] did take place- but it was not an easy- or cheap trade.
We live in a day of books and internet access and all sorts of ways for the printed word to be distributed- but in the early church it was not like this.
So- the gospels were probably written about 20-50 years after the death and resurrection of Christ.
Yes- this is true.
The more conservative scholars go with the earlier date [some go as early as 15 years after Christ] but no one claims that the gospels were written at the same time as Christ walking the earth.
Yes- the stories were transmitted orally [oral culture] but they were written later on.
Now- the ultra liberal scholars say ‘see- how could they have known all the facts if they were written so much later’- and Ehrman uses the example of the game ‘telephone’ [or something like that?].
Where you have one person in class tell something to the next in line- and at the end of the line you get a different account.
Ehrman says ‘see- we have no idea what/who Jesus really was’.
Okay- the main discrepancy that Bart used- was the rooster crowing.
He actually sounded mad on the C.D. [I listen while I work!] and he said ‘well- which is it [damn it!!] did the rooster crow once- or twice!’
And then he jumped to the conclusion that the gospels were really fake stories that were made up by unknown men- well meaning men- but they had no real historical truth to them.
This my friends is what I call a ‘leap of faith’.
Geez- if we did this was all other biographies- we would have no ‘factual’ histories about anyone.
I’ll end with a note to my Catholic readers.
A couple of years ago I read the Popes book- Jesus of Nazareth- I did a brief review on the blog and I really liked the book a lot.
One of the things the Pope deals with [remember- Benedict was a priest from Germany- where the whole school of higher criticism arose] in the book is this whole debate over the historical accuracy of the bible.
At one point- as he graciously- yet boldly defends the conservative view- he is talking about the liberal view that the gospels were written by these unknown men who basically made the stories up.
The Pope asks ‘and just how did these men manage to write the most popular books of all time- books that came to be revered and known and loved by generations and generations- and yet no one even knows the names of the authors?’ [I did ad lib a little here]
The bottom line is- if the gospels were written by a bunch of anonymous men who simply wanted to convey some spiritual truths about Jesus- and they managed to stay hidden for all these centuries- this theory has more holes in it than say- a rooster crowing once or twice.
1828- CLEVELAND BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN
So we had the 5 guys- described as ‘anarchists upset with corporate greed and the govt.’ who got caught trying to blow up a Cleveland bridge.
Yes- they had the fake plastic c-4 that the undercover FBI agent gave them.
They planted the stuff at the base of the bridge- and they entered the code that they thought would blow it up.
Nothing happened- and they got busted.
As I read the article [actually a couple] I found it interesting that these men did call themselves part of the Occupy Wall street group.
They held to the same beliefs [absent bridge bombing] and by all accounts were what you could reasonably describe as ‘Occupiers’.
Now- I know that all occupiers do not hold to these views.
But the article went on to state that part of the motivation of these men was the downright unwillingness for the ‘regular’ occupiers to engage in violence.
Yes- not only were these 5 musketeers not ‘really’ occupiers- but part of their motivation to bomb the bridge was their frustration that the regular occupiers are so darn non violent!
I remember when the media covered the Tea Party crowd- you had accusations that they were Terrorists- even though they actually did not engage in bridge bombing.
When there was an accusation that one of them said ‘nigger’ or possibly spit on a Black man- did the media report that these offenders were not really Tea Partiers?
Did they say part of the motivation was the ‘downright unwillingness for regular tea partiers to engage in racial prejudice’.
No- even though the tea party made it clear that they did not hold these views- if you had anyone associated with the group engage in bad behavior- then the media simply reported it as tea party activity- which would be right.
When the crazy guy shot the Arizona congresswoman Gifford’s- the media spent a week debating whether or not the phrase ‘target’ used by Sarah Palin might have led to the shooting.
Now- we have had the president going around the country- making speech after speech about how the rich are not paying their fair share- how corporate big wigs are screwing everyone else.
You have the class warfare card that the president has been using- inciting real anger and frustration in people.
Do you think this language- this constant drumbeat- from the president himself- do you think it might have played a role in the general anger that you see in the occupiers?
Have we spent a week [or even 1 day] asking the nation ‘do you think this 99 versus 1 % language might have played a role’?
No- no questions like this are being asked.
Not only that- but the media have reported that one of the reasons for these bridge bombers anger- was the absolute non violence of the occupiers.
Yeah- if a guy who was a member of the tea party- who had tea party associations on Facebook- who held to all the views of a tea partier- yeah- if he lynched a Black guy- I’m sure the media would report ‘he lynched him because he was so upset with the true love that the real tea partiers have for Black people’.
Yeah- I’m sure that’s what they would say- aren’t you?
1829- A CHINESE LAWYER AND LIVING STONES
I want to try and teach a couple of things from the letter of 1st Peter [in the New Testament] - but 1st a few comments.
Today the big story is the Chinese dissident- Chen Guangcheng.
Chen is a blind lawyer who has been under house arrest for years by the govt.
His main fight against the repressive communist state is their 1 child policy.
In China- because of the population growth- if a woman gets pregnant more than once- they force the woman to have an abortion.
This practice has not only killed many innocent kids- but also causes the parents to voluntarily abort the first child if it’s a girl.
Many of the families prefer a boy if they can only have 1 child- so the moms often abort the first [or 2nd- or 3rd] if it’s a girl.
So anyway- Chen miraculously escaped house arrest and made it to ‘safety’ to the U.S. embassy in China.
Here’s where there is some contradiction.
After a couple of days hiding out in the embassy- he left of his own ‘free will’ and the U.S. escorted him to a hospital [he suffered some inures during his escape].
Then we left him there- and he came under further persecution by the govt.
He called for help- and begged the U.S. to take him and his wife and family to the U.S.
Now- Hillary Clinton just happens to be there for talks this week- and she played down the case at first- and Chen says the U.S. rep’s told him if he didn’t leave the embassy that the Chinese officials would harm his wife.
Now- both sides agree that the threat was made [Chen and the U.S.] but we are denying that we related the threat to Chen.
Either way- the man left the protection of the embassy because of fear for his family- and he is now in danger.
This incident has now overshadowed the original reason for Clinton’s visit- and all the hype this week over the Bin Laden death anniversary.
Actually- it did look bad- as I was flipping the news channels- I saw the re-run of the NBC ‘coverage’ [more like an hour long free campaign ad].
They just did a special on the lead up to the death of Bin Laden- and it showed play for play coverage of the president and his team- I mean I do give the president credit for the death of Bin Laden- but they do seem to be overplaying the hand a bit much.
Even some of the elite Special Forces guys are complaining about his politicizing of the event.
So as I’m seeing clips about ‘we made the call [to kill him] it was a risk- but that’s what the job of president is- taking risks’ on and on- talking about how much of a risk it was for Obama to make ‘the call’.
And then on the next channel- we seem to be throwing this heroic Chinese dissident under the bus- and it seems like ‘the risk’ of actually saving the guy and his family- against the will of China [our bank] who does not want the U.S. to interfere- might be too much.
It is sad- I don’t want to politicize the thing- but for the media campaign to be harping on how much of a risk it was for the president to ‘make the call’- and at the very same moment- we have a crisis that needs him to ‘make a call’ it’s a bit much.
Okay- this morning I read a little from the letter of Peter.
In chapter 2 Peter uses the imagery of Jesus- and of us- as being stones- spiritual stones in a ‘living temple’ who offer up spiritual sacrifices to God thru Christ.
I always liked this imagery- the apostle Paul also uses it in his writings [Ephesians].
Peter says Jesus was a tested corner stone- a tried stone- rejected of men- but approved by God.
We too- as living stones- will be tested and tried- and yes- rejected by men.
This is part of the process.
He will later say ‘don’t think it a strange thing- the fiery trial you are going thru- it is not only given to us to believe on Jesus- but to also suffer for him’.
This is one of the main themes you see run thru out the New Testament.
Peter even says ‘if any man suffers as a Christian [by the way- this term is only used 3 times in the New Testament] let him glorify God’
Yes- suffering and difficulty are part of the package- and the apostle tells us not to ‘think it strange’.
There are so many well meaning believers in our day who have been taught that suffering- hard times- lack of wealth- that all these things only happen to people who don’t have faith- who haven’t yet learned how to ‘claim their covenant rights’.
Now- while most of these teachers mean well- they leave out the other side of the coin.
And if you only hear the ‘happy’ side- then when the tough stuff hits- you ‘think it strange’ you say ‘geez- I guess I’m just not as good as so and so- after all- why would I be suffering’.
So Peter warns us to be aware that the trying of our faith is an important aspect of the Christian life- and there are times when believers are called upon to share in this Cross experience.
In chapter 2 Peter says that Jesus was a tested stone- one that went thru the process of being chipped and honed and shaped into the vessel that God wanted.
Part of the shaping was the rejection process.
God uses ‘tested’ stones in his temples.
In the Old Testament- when they were building the temple- the bible says they prepared the stones away from the building site- so there would be no noise of the hammers chipping away at the temple site itself.
But after the stone was ready- it would be brought to the site and placed into the building.
Often times God allows us to have ‘down time’ a place of being prepared- getting chipped away at- but when he thinks the stone is ready- it is then brought to the site and put into the building.
The apostle John- in the book of Revelation says ‘I John saw the holy city- the New Jerusalem- coming down from God out of heaven- and there was no temple in it’.
John was describing the new kingdom community [the church] that would be absent ‘the temple’ [the old system of law and temple] and would be a new people- a living temple- a kingdom of priests and kings.
These new people would offer up spiritual sacrifices to God- no longer the animal sacrifices of the law- and this would please God.
Yes- we are the people of God- kings and priests unto God.
John also says this in Revelation.
‘thou art worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof- for you were slain and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every nation tribe and tongue- and have made us KINGS AND PRIESTS unto God- and we shall reign on the earth’.
Yes- kings and priests- a new community- a living spiritual temple.
All wonderful things- but the only stones that make it into this temple are tried stones- rejected stones- stones that got ‘chipped’ at for a long period of time.
Yeah- these are the precious stones.
1830- DO CHRISTIANS SUFFER?
This past week I read the 1st letter of Peter [in the New Testament].
I read a chapter a day- and meditated on some key points.
I marked all the verses that dealt with the Christian doctrine on suffering. This teaching- found thru out the bible- has been neglected in much of the modern type Christianity.
Many systems of preaching and belief in our day have developed an idea that because Jesus suffered for us- therefore we need not suffer.
I’m sure some of my readers/friends have in some way been aware [affected?] by this- it’s almost impossible to have not been.
Many of the number one bestselling books [Wal mart] have these themes- most of what you would call ‘TV Evangelists’ teach this type of thing.
And many of the most popular Mega Churches of our day have some form of it within their ranks.
So- in the old style of actually writing out each verse- here we go.
‘For this is thankworthy- if a man for conscience toward God- endure grief- suffering wrongfully’
‘But if you do well and suffer for it- and take it patiently- this is acceptable with God’
‘For even hereunto were ye called- because Christ also suffered for us- leaving us an EXAMPLE that ye should follow his steps’
‘But if ye suffer for righteousness sake- happy are ye’
‘For it is better- if the will of God be so- that ye suffer for well doing rather than evil’
‘For as much then as Christ hath suffered in the flesh- arm yourselves likewise with the same mind’
‘If any man suffer as a Christian- let him not be ashamed- but let him glorify God on this behalf’
‘Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing- as unto a faithful creator’
‘But the God of all grace – who hath Called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus- after that you have suffered a while- make you perfect- stablish- strengthen- settle you’.
Okay- that’s the jist of it.
‘So why John are there so many teachings that leave this out’?
Many of the teachers are well meaning people- and they do have one side of the coin.
There are many verses in the bible that do speak about God blessing us- meeting our needs- delivering us out of trouble.
But none of these verses ‘do away’ with the ones I just quoted.
Peter himself said that Christ not only died to bring us back to God [redemption] but he also suffered for us- leaving us an example that we were to follow.
Peter says it’s better to suffer for well doing- then for evil doing.
Yet both are redemptive in nature.
Peter’s most famous suffering recorded in the bible is his very famous denial of Jesus.
The bible says after he did this he wept and was broken.
He went thru pain because of his sin- and even this suffering played a role in shaping the apostle.
Later on- we read in Christian history that when Peter was put to death in Rome- he requested that he be crucified upside down because he felt he was not worthy to die the same way as his Lord.
Geez- you would think he never got over the guilt.
Yes- the bible is clear on the matter- there are times when we are called to suffer.
We can’t ‘confess’ our way out of it- or ‘create our own world’ out of it.
We can’t rebuke the devil ‘out of it’.
There are simply times when we are called to suffer.
Now- this does not mean we sit around every day and wait for the thing to happen- no- we are commanded by God to take up our Cross daily and to follow him.
But the actual phrase ‘Take up the Cross’ carries with it the idea that there is a price to pay.
Okay- what’s my goal in covering this?
Am I trying to ‘put’ a bad confession on you?
No- but I’m trying to show you that if you are feeling guilty because in your mind things might not have turned out as well as you hoped.
Maybe years ago you started well- had good Christian friends- some who went on to ‘fame’ [Yikes!!]
Others had ‘good’ lives.
And maybe you have questioned God- ‘what did I do wrong- why am I different’.
That’s the point.
One of the verses I left out was Peter saying when you go thru these trials- don’t think it strange- but understand that you have many brothers and sisters in the world who are also experiencing the same pain as you feel right now.
Yeah- that’s the jist of it.
If we hold on to the ideas/teachings- that come to us by well meaning people- encouraging people- I mean who can dis like Joel Osteen!
But we need to balance it out with the Word.
Yes- many of these teachings go by the name ‘Word churches’ or ‘word people’ and I’m glad that they do quote the word.
But the Word also contains all these verses as well.
The Word shows us that there are things we will go thru in life- and we should not be taken by surprise when this happens- God told this to us from the start.
Okay- I was thinking I might throw in a few more things about the writings of Peter- some Non Canonical writings- the Gospel of Peter- and the Revelation of Peter [apocalypse].
Being I just ended a study form a liberal scholar- these writings came up.
They are early Gnostic writings that fall into the category of Pseudopigraphy [writing under the name of another person- note- I rarely use this word because my spell check does not have it- but I wanted you to see it- just beware I might have a letter or 2 off!].
I wanted to cover a few interesting tid bits from them- and to explain why we do not have them in our bibles today.
But I think I'll let that wait for another post.
For today- re-read these verses on your own- if you haven’t read the book of Peter in a while- read it the next few days- look for these key themes.
The other day I mentioned the book of James.
I read it a couple of weeks ago.
I realized that I also mentioned ‘off the cuff’ that James was a leader at the first church we see in the bible- the Jerusalem church.
In Acts 15 we read that Peter, James and John are Pillars of the church.
They were spiritual ‘support beams’ if you will- what they said [and say] is very important.
If you remember- when I mentioned James I shared how he praises the poor- and warns the rich.
Here in Peter we see the biblical doctrine of suffering.
When I get to John [probably will do 1st John] I’ll hit on some key themes as well.
The point being- these key figures- these ‘Pillars’ they seem to be ‘out of touch’ with many of our modern day teachings.
I wonder who’s right?
1831- TEA PARTY?
So the other day we had a few more primary elections- and the big news was the Dick Lugar loss [Repub from Indiana].
Lugar was the longest serving senator in congress- 6 terms.
He got booted by a Tea Party guy- and the media made it sound like D day.
I mean the nonstop talk about the country being taken over by the extreme right- that Lugar was such a fine man- who was punished because he voted [often!] with Obama.
It’s funny- whenever the Democrats have a big win- a ‘take over’ it gets described as a wonderful choice that the country has made- a true generational paradigm shift.
When the President got elected- and the Dems took the house and the senate- by huge majorities- you even had conservative media Folk describing it this way [Cokie Roberts].
Yet when the right side of the aisle do a sweep- it’s the country throwing a ‘tantrum’ [yes- the main line news described it this way when the Repubs took back the house in the mid terms].
I’m not a Tea Partier- or an occupier- but from what I see the Tea Party folk are simply people who want fiscal restraint.
They have no ideological social agenda- just for the govt. to not spend more than it takes in.
Okay- sincere people might have a disagreement on this- but to describe any organized grass roots group- who are simply fiscal conservatives- to talk about them as a dangerous movement that might bring the Republic down- well that seems to be a bit much.
Well- I hate to say it [not really] but I ‘told you so’.
Yeah- if you go back and read my posts over the last 6 months- I felt like too many financial guys were hyping the chances for a strong recovery this year.
I even mentioned that Larry Kudlow- a straight shooter [business guy] was talking 3% growth for this year.
I said I thought it would be more like 2.
Now- both of these numbers are actually terrible!
But 3 would be better than 2.
Last night he changed his prediction- yeah- 2.
To me there really should be no surprise- when the Dow was at 13,200- I simply thought people were ignoring the reality on the ground.
This morning it opens at a little over 12,800- and I think the ‘real’ number should be in the low 12,ooo’s.
When we kicked off the year- some analysts were hoping for new job growth to be at around 250,000 jobs a month.
You need this many- every month- for a few years before the economy can truly recover.
So- we did have a few months at this number- and there was some good economic news as well- so I thought maybe I was wrong- maybe the E.U. crisis will not be as bad- and if everything goes good- more power to ya.
But then the month before last something happened- the new jobs number was a little over 100,000- not good.
All the talking heads gave their views- and it was possible that the number was a fluke [Sandra?]
But no- the number for last month has come out- again- a little over a 100,000.
The reason you need around 250,000 a month to really move the needle is because every month we have over 100,000 new people enter the job market.
These are people that just turned working age and are new to the market.
So- if you are barley covering jobs for them- or are a little under- in reality the unemployment goes up- not down.
But we have seen the number go down [from 8.2 to 8.1].
How can this be?
The way we calculate unemployment is by the amount of people who are actually looking for jobs.
So- if 300,000 people drop out of the hunt- then the number goes down on paper- when in reality it should go up.
So- it looks like we might be stalling again.
The E.U. zone problems are still there- and they are our biggest market.
As a matter of fact- the 17 nations that make up e.u. are the biggest economy in the world.
So- if they are our biggest customer- and if they are in trouble- we are too.
Just this past week 2 E.U. countries voted out the leaders that wanted austerity [cut spending] and put in guys who want to spend money they don’t have.
What does this mean?
It means if they keep going down this road they will be facing a depression- and it looks like the ‘cut back spending’ people are all on their way out.
So- as we see a slowing down in our country- and a continuing disaster with our biggest trading partner- well these things are not the recipe for a real recovery- and the insiders know it.
‘John- do you think we will be able to deal with our debt/deficit’?
These past few weeks as I have flipped the news/business channels- I have seen the Dems go point by point thru the Repubs budget- and at every point where they wanted to cut- they said ‘they want to cut your kids from free lunch- the elderly from their food [meals on wheels]’.
I just heard Matthews [MSNBC] say ‘how can you vote for cuts that when someone’s mother goes to the hospital for an operation- and you cut their Medicare and the doctor says- sorry- because of the Repubs- you must die’.
Now- if the Dems keep playing this game- if they do not try and deal with a very real problem- if they politicize it like this- then yes- we will be just like Greece in a few more years.
Now- I’m not saying I support the Ryan plan out of hand- but we need something fairly close.
Some say his plan does not cut the debt fast enough.
Either way- the number 1 crisis facing the country right now is our exploding debt- and the most notable organized group- who has actually organized around this problem- is the Tea Party.
While I am not a hard right type of guy- and do have some social justice issues that I support [I do not want to kick kids and grandma out on the street] yet- if the most prominent ‘right wing’ group is actually nominating people who will do something about the number one problem our country is facing.
Then maybe we should stop throwing up our hands and talking about the end of the world- maybe- just maybe- it might be what the doctor ordered.
1832- BIDENS REVENGE?
As we end the week- once again- we have had some ‘real’ stories- things that are important- and silly stuff.
First- a few days back the Obama administration spiked the football over the Bin laden killing and we had a few days of back and forth on it.
One of the things they did was released some of the secret memos we found at the time of the raid.
Now- you must understand that Obama makes the call- along with the intelligence people- on what to let out.
So- as I watched the various media outlets repeat- over and over again- the top lines- I could not stop laughing- very loudly- as they reported one of Bin laden’s desires.
Now- I did not laugh at the first part ‘we want to kill the president of the U.S.’.
No- not funny.
But the next part ‘and whatever you do- don’t hurt Biden! We need him to survive- because he will become president and he does not know what he’s doing- he will bring the U.S. down’.
Now- you must see that Bin laden's final plot- the mastermind of 911- his plan was to get Biden in the top seat and watch him bring the country down.
Okay- to me this was funny- to see the reporters doing this story while trying not to laugh.
How do you think Ole Joe took it?
Okay- this is my conspiracy theory- obviously he’s watching this story over and over again- knowing that the President made ‘the call’ to release this very intriguing tid bit.
And who knows- maybe Obama did it out of some hidden anger about Biden making so many gaffs in the first term.
So Biden’s response?
He goes on national TV and says how much he supports gay marriage- a position that the Pres did not make yet.
Now- the president and his people have to scramble to get the story under control- they at first try to ignore it- but after a few days Obama comes ‘out of the closet’ and makes the call- yes- he too is for it.
Now- some think this was all planned- that they wanted to orchestrate the pro Obama stance and contrast it with the next story- how Romney is a serial gay bashing bully- with a pair of scissors.
I don’t know- I think Biden just did what he does best- and spoke before he thought.
Anyway- as I’m watching the media coverage of the most serious story of the day.
The terrible Syrian bombing that killed many?
The very troubling revelation that J.P. Morgan/Chase [the countries largest bank] took a 2 billion dollar hit in the first quarter?
I’m talking about the most important story of the day.
That in 1965 Romney stalked some kid with blonde hair in his prep type high school- and he cut his Goldie locks!
Yes- as I’m watching this breaking worlds news- the news also comes out that Biden trotted on over to the White house and apologized to the boss.
Wow- they actually had to report this.
‘John- do you really believe Biden did this to get even’?
No- not really- but just know- it was Bin laden’s wish for Joe to get 4 more.
Okay- J.P. Morgan.
Yesterday morning I posted about my belief that most financial guys have tried to down play the Euro debt crisis- that they are not seeing the real danger it plays for the U.S.
Then during the day I caught the story that Jamie Dimon- the CEO of Morgan- held a conference call and let the cat out of the bag- that they made bad investments and lost 2 billion.
As I watched thru out the day I thought ‘I bet it has something to do with the E.U.’
Sure enough it did.
It looks like this bank made the same gamble that Jon Corzine and his investment group did.
The same thing that began our ‘great recession’ at the end of 2008 when Obama came into office.
They made certain types of investments- called Hedging- and they bet that the European bonds would get bailed out and all would go well.
Now- the fact is things look like they might go downhill- and that some of the E.U. countries will default on their debt and that the Euro currency might even go bust.
Okay- J.P. Morgan still did the kind of thing that led us into the huge financial problems we have been dealing with these past few years.
So the fact is ‘too big to fail’ is still out there- it can in fact happen again.
The reason we bailed out the big financial institutions was because all the insider guys who worked for Bush [and Obama] convinced the presidents [Bush and Obama] that this was what needed to be done- or else the global financial system might fail.
Now- after we did the bailout we were supposed to put in place checks and balances that would never allow a huge bank- that has FDIC insurance- which means if they fail the govt. bails out the depositors- to get into a spot again where we might have to do it again.
But we did not fix the ‘too big to fail’ problem- and once again we see that these huge banks are still ‘making bets’ with money.
Okay- in the morning I saw that the Washington post ran a 3 page story on Romney’s ‘wicked ways’.
Yes- when I was in high school we used to beat the hell out of people- in the school building.
We bought drugs- and used them- on school grounds.
And we engaged in all types of illegal activity during our high school days.
So- as the campaign heats up- the Washington Post did their due diligence and went and tracked down 5 of Romney’s classmates- from 1965- and confirmed the story that Romney was a serial bully back in the day.
Okay- as the article went on- it portrayed Romney as the ring leader of a group of brief case carrying youth [the article did say this] that were upset about this kid who wore long blonde hair at the school.
They said that Romney teased this boy- who might have been gay- and even called him a girly name.
So- after a period of time- Romney just could not take it anymore and he lead this group of fellow students to go and get the blonde kid.
Yea- the article states that as the boys held the kid down- Romney- armed with a pair of scissors ‘repeatedly’ [geez- not one snip!] cut the boys hair- as tears arose in the boys eyes.
Okay- did we really need to know this?
Did it really need to be a top story- right up there with all the real news going on in the world?
Look- I don’t want to say bullying is not a problem- but in 1965- if the worst thing you can find on Romney is this- then this guy is a goody too shoes!
I find it funny that the media were able to go back 50 years for this silly story- and they never managed to find the drug dealer who sold coke to Obama when he was in school [Obama admits using ‘blow’ back in the day].
Now- do I want to know who the president bought the cocaine from- not really.
But I sure did not want to know that Romney ‘packed scissors’ back in the day.
So you see what the next year will be like- a very sad thing indeed.
So as the week comes to a close we had some important stuff- and some not so important stuff.
We had a few apologies [Biden- Romney apologized too- even though the blonde victim died a few years ago- you know- those Mormons do have continuing relationships with the dead!]
And we had some serious stories as well- the Syrian situation is bad- many people are dying over there- and I do hope we can do something about it.
All in all it was a busy week- lets all try and take a break this weekend.
I’ve been getting together with the homeless guys these past few days- I haven’t seen Henry in a while and I thought I better check up on the guys.
Henry- who I have written about a lot- is one of the close friends from the street.
He grew up in the north east- Mass. - so we have ties.
Henry is a true bible scholar- I mean I might mention a verse and Henry will quote the entire chapter- it’s kind of like a Rain Man type thing- but instead of remembering the gambling numbers- he does it with the bible.
Anyway we had a good fellowship- we went for a nice ride over the causeway and headed towards Rockport- just a chance for Henry to see the area.
I went to pick him up at the boat dock where he works- but missed him- caught him at the mission.
I gave Henry some money- he doesn’t drink or get drunk [or do drugs] with the money so it’s not like I’m contributing to the delinquency of a senior.
When we got back to the house I cooked a few things for Henry- though he did not want me to- yet he ate well.
He likes to catch the sports on my Direct TV- he’s a sports nut- knows all the latest stats- reads the scores in the paper- or catches a coffee at the Mexican restaurant and watches the sports on the tube.
From what I have picked up over the years- I think Henry used to be one of the top wrestlers at his high school- till this day- Henry looks to be in top physical shape- like he works out- he’s a few years older than me- 52?- yet he’s a health nut.
So he likes being able to catch the multiple sports channels on my TV.
Henry had a good day- and for a real homeless guy- looks the part- you would never know what a straight shooter he is.
One time we were sitting at the homeless mission and they were gonna do the Lords Supper.
I said ‘great- I'm in’ Henry did not partake- he later told me it would be a violation of the apostle Paul’s order to the Corinthians not to partake with sinners- and yes- some of the guys were drunk.
Yeah- he was right- I just felt like I needed to partake at the time.
The next day I took a ride to the bay front area of our city- one of the most beautiful downtowns you will ever see- many post cards have the area highlighted.
I just took a walk by the bay- and spotted a homeless girl- I was surprised- I rarely have seen them in that area.
I talked to her a little while and gave her some money- she was a Black girl.
About a mile down the road I also saw a Black kid sleeping on the bench- obviously homeless too- I think she might have been with him.
The other day I mentioned that in the next few weeks I will try and read/study 1st John.
He is the 3rd ‘pillar’ in the 3 main church leaders that we wanted to cover.
Even though I barley started reading the letter- I know one of the main themes from John is ‘he that obeys Gods commands is from God’.
John hits this theme a lot.
And then he says the command is ‘he that sees his brother in need and does not help him- how can Gods love be in you?’
This theme is repeated over and over again in John’s letter- and it’s the same message Jesus gave when he was asked what the great commandment was.
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and might- and your neighbor as yourself’.
Jesus said ‘on these 2 hang all the law and the prophets’.
Yeah- this is the major emphasis that we will look at when we cover his letter.
I think I will try and see the guy’s today- maybe go down to the mission for a little while.
Not all of the homeless are like Henry- Henry works- does not get ‘a check’ [if you knew how many young guys- perfect health- are all getting govt. checks it would make you sick].
No- Henry- like some of my other friends [Tim] does not live off of the welfare system.
They do eat the free lunch at the mission [which I do not- I don’t take the meals that are intended for the poor] yet I see retried/working people drive up in the cars- or on their motorcycles- and they simply come for the free food.
The mission even has said to me ‘John- eat- because the more people who sign up- the more money we get’.
Geez- I know they mean well- but it’s like when I worked at the fire dept. - we tried to use all the money in our budget- even if we didn’t need it- just so they wouldn’t cut our budget the next year.
So we need to keep these things in mind when the accusation is made politically ‘they want to take food from grandma- kids’ in some of these cases its food from people who have it- but they prefer the free meals instead.
All in all I focus on the truly needy- the guys who have lived their entire lives on the streets.
Yeah- John said if we see our brother in need and don’t help him- then how can we say Gods love is in us?
1834- HOW LOW WILL IT GO?
This past week I spoke with my Liberal friend from the North- yes- a real person- not a composite!
I always try and take the middle ground in these talks- showing my friend that to be too partisan clouds the mind.
One example- this friend has bought the whole media line that Romney- because of his wealth- is unfit to serve.
That his wife does just sit on the couch all day and does nothing- and they are unable to speak about real issues because of this.
Now- this person voted for Kerry a few years back.
I told my liberal friend ‘say if you found out that Romney actually never earned his money- but he married his wife- who also never earned it- but she inherited it from a rich father’.
And say if Romney was spending all of his wife’s money on yachts- expensive vacation homes- and all the ritzy stuff that Romney has [elevators for cars].
Of course my friend would be even more mad.
Yet this is exactly what happened to John Kerry.
He simply married a woman who was heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune.
Okay- does this make Kerry a bad man?
But this shouldn’t make Romney a bad man either- yet I never heard one story about Kerry being a free loader off of his wife’s money.
The point being we get mad at the other side- even though we allow those same things to slip by if it happens on ‘our side’.
Now- the other day I posted on the economy- that I felt we still had a ‘long hard slog’ ahead.
Others had too rosy of a picture in my view.
Now- economics/finances is like anything else- you look at the data and make the best ‘guess’ possible.
When I looked at the data at the end of last year- we had some bad signs ahead.
This year- the states and local govts [cities- towns] were not going to have anywhere near the revenue that they had for the past few years.
The federal govt. has cut back much of the funding that they gave to the states.
Obama care has also put a huge burden on the states.
One of the ways it ‘covers’ the uninsured is to simply mandate that the states put millions of more people on the Medicare rolls.
This is a tremendous cost to the states- money they don’t have.
Housing prices have gone down- in some places more than 50%- and the way most states/cities pay for their local expenses [schools] is this way [property tax].
So you basically have the states and cities having to come up with more money- and in reality they have nowhere to get the money.
Now- last night I watched the governor from Cali. say that the state is in almost double the debt that they we were expecting.
California is 16 billion in debt- not 9 billion as was projected.
Governor Brown- a smart guy- he once studied to be a Jesuit priest- they are top of the line intellectuals among Catholic priests.
[just as a side note- this order rose up during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. A soldier by the name of Ignatius Loyola was wounded and recovering in the hospital.
He read about the life of Christ and dedicated himself to the Lord.
The Jesuits were the order he founded.
They evangelized all the way into Asia- an area that the Protestant missionaries avoided.
The Jesuits played a major role in the scientific revolution- as a percentage of how few Jesuits there were- they had a huge impact on the development of modern science.]
So governor Brown said his state has lived beyond it’s means for too long- they spent money they did not have- and now the chickens have come home to roost.
Brown is a liberal Democrat.
The governor of N.Y. said the same thing a few months back.
When he got elected he actually worked with the unions in the state and worked out a deal where they were going to cut the huge expenses that the retirees managed to bargain for over the years.
Cuomo- another Democrat- said it was impossible for the state to continue to pay out these lavish benefits.
After the union leaders made the deal- the rank and file rose up [like Greece] and simply elected new leaders who would fight the changes.
I heard a clip from Cuomo- he was yelling ‘we can’t keep making the rich/businesses pay- they are all leaving the state’- just like Cali.
So- with unemployment at historic highs- with state and local govts having to lay off tons of teachers and cops and firefighters.
While the cost to the states is going up- a lot [Obama care].
With all these things in the hopper- besides the ‘unknowns’ like the banks [Morgan Chase] still making risky bets.
Yes- in my view I could not see how some financial guys were talking a huge recovery- some have said they thought the DOW would be at 17,000 next year- nuts!
As I spoke to my liberal friend- they said ‘so- do you think Romney would have been able to create more jobs than Obama’!
They were mad- I said I’m really not a Romney supporter- but being I live in oil state I know from firsthand experience that Obama has cost us jobs.
When he got in office the regulations and the EPA came down hard on the state- they cost lots of jobs.
I saw a clip- video- from Obama the other day- it was from January of 2008- he said he wanted to see the cost of opening up coal powered plants go so high that any sane business person would simply choose not to do it.
Okay- if you have said these things- and have actually done them- then yes- there have been very real jobs lost because of these things.
I assume Romney would not have done this- at least not as much as Obama.
So yes- it’s quite possible that the president’s agenda has cost jobs.
I also explained to my friend that many business owners have put off hiring for 3 years now- because if Obama care passes many of them will be mandated to pay the health care- or a huge fine- for each worker.
Now- as noble as these things might be- they cost real jobs.
My liberal friend- who is a nice person- has lived off of govt. programs for a long time- has only worked a real job for a small part of life.
This person simply had no idea how the private sector really worked- they just listen to the media talking points- and the real world is so much different.
1835- PREACHERS AND MONEY- WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
Let’s try and cover a few basic principles today.
For some reason the past few weeks I have kind of hit on the money/prosperity gospel somewhat.
I really did not plan this- but it is such a major part of today’s church that the issue comes up a lot.
When I covered the verses in 1st Peter the other day- one of the ‘suffering’ verses went on to say ‘the elders [church leaders] that are among you I exhort… take oversight of the flock among you…not for filthy lucre [money] but of a ready mind’.
You see this theme all thru out the New and Old testaments.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church and said ‘he that does not have a job- get one- so you can have to give to those in need’.
Now- he applies this principle to the leaders as well.
In the book of Acts- chapter 20- he calls the church leaders from the city of Ephesus to give them some final words before he departs.
He tells them ‘the whole time I was with you- I worked to provide for my needs- and the needs of those who were with me- I coveted no mans money’.
He said he did this to leave THEM [the church leaders- ministers] an example that they would follow.
The basic principle is church leaders were not to ‘go into ministry’ with the idea [goal] of ‘reaping a financial harvest’.
Now- this teaching runs all thru out the bible.
So how come so many modern themes violate this teaching?
We all have a tendency to ‘see’ what we want to see- and throw the rest out.
You can find verses that speak about providing for the needs of those who are feeding us the word of God.
The apostle Paul said ‘don’t muzzle the ox that treads out the corn’.
Support those who are feeding you the word.
Okay- got it.
Jesus said to his men ‘when you go into a city and they give you a place to stay [for the night!] and feed you- then take it- the worker is worthy of his hire’.
So we see the basic principle of helping those out who are teaching us Gods word- while at the same time the warning- and example that the Apostle Paul gave us- that you are not doing this for the money.
Paul told the Corinthian church that when he was with them he preached the gospel free of charge.
In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah- he was used of God to restore the city of Jerusalem that was broken down and he became the governor during the rebuilding.
He asks God to look upon him and bless him because he did not take the regular salary- that he had the right to take- but was giving the other leaders an example that they are not in this for the cash.
The same type of thing that Paul did.
So if we take a balanced view- from the whole bible- we come up with a teaching that says ‘yes- it’s fine to support your teachers/preachers- but- they are not to become rich from this support- and we also need some of them to do it for free- to work a regular job as well- to give an example to others that they too should work- and not see ministry as a career choice- from which you become wealthy’.
Now- this type of teaching will simply be rejected by those who don’t like it- they will continue to justify a ‘I’m in this for a financial harvest’ type thing- and simply by pass all the scriptures that seem to be contrary to their personal desire.
When we recently overviewed the book of James I showed you how one of the main themes from James is the warning [rebuke] of the rich and his praise for the poor.
Many years ago- when I used to listen and get into the Prosperity gospel- I remember one of the main teachings came from the letter of James.
It focused on James’ writing about the tongue- a good confession.
As well as his exhortation to not be double minded.
But these verses were actually used in contradiction to the main point of James.
They were used to say ‘maintain your confession of wealth- if anyone tries to tell you anything different- you must reject it- don’t be double minded- keep the wealth confession and you will receive a 100 fold harvest’ [which by the way is another distortion from the teaching of Jesus].
So even though James says ‘beware you rich- your money and riches are rotting- they are fading away- they are a witness against you in the Day of Judgment’.
Or ‘Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom’.
‘Do not the rich call you before the courts and blaspheme that holy name by which your are called’.
I mean this theme is all thru out the letter- yet the teaching among the prosperity group managed to bypass all these themes- and simply pick a few verses out and turned them into a modern day financial scheme.
Okay-enough for now- I guess I’ll paste my first little book at the bottom of this post.
I wrote it years ago and eventually put it on a disc and sent it out.
It really is amateurish in a way [in my view] but there are lots of verses I reference that might help those who are interested in this subject.
Okay- that’s it for now- read and enjoy.
1836- IT WAS THE PARENTS FAULT
I read an article the other day that got me mad.
It was a news story about a prisoner of war- one of our guys- who was taken captive in Afghanistan in 2009.
He has been held in Pakistan by the Taliban/Al-Qaida for the past 3 years.
As I read the article it was ‘slanted’ to make it sound like it was the parent’s fault that their son was still captive.
The article stated that the parents just came out and finally ‘broke their silence’ which finally ‘freed the hands of the President to work to free the man’.
Now- as a media critic- it took no time at all to see that this journalist was simply lying to make it look like Obama was just- and the parents themselves were to blame for their son’s imprisonment.
What do you think would make the parents ‘keep silent’ for all those years?
Obviously they were told that some type of negotiations were going on- and to keep the thing private.
Then why do you think they would come out now?
Because they probably felt like the administration was dragging their feet.
So later in the day I saw multiple stories about the case- and that’s exactly what happened.
The parents have been trying to meet with the President for a couple of years and he has refused to meet with them.
They spoke publicly because they feared for their son’s life.
Okay- this particular media bias upset me more than usual because they printed a nationwide story- that blamed the parents for their sons fate- all in order to spin the story to benefit Obama.
The other day I heard a montage of statements from an NBC news man.
These were various statements made over the last couple of years about the President.
‘His I.Q. must be at least 160’
‘That smile is worth 5-10 points alone in the election’
‘His body is in great shape- just look at that lean body’
‘I feel a tingle go up my leg when I hear him speak’
‘A star is born’ [after the election]
Okay- I’m not one of those ‘far right’ guys who thinks the President might actually be the anti Christ [or the Messiah- false].
But what would posses any news man to talk this way?
I have gay friends- I don’t condone the lifestyle- but I have never even heard them speak about another man like this.
When the media does this- when they are willing to slander the parents of a POW- and make it sound like they were the very ones who 'tied up Obama’s hands’.
Then it’s very difficult to trust anything they say.
The N.Y. Times just did a poll that said over 60% of the American people believe that Obama’s ‘new’ gay marriage stance was a political calculation.
Now- believe it or not- I don’t hold this view.
I wrote on this a few posts back- and I do believe that Biden simply did what he does best and forced the president’s hand by blurting out that he himself was for gay marriage.
So why do over 60 % believe his decision was political?
A day or 2 after the decision to come out in favor of it- the Washington Post [or times?] put out that now infamous 5 page- front page story about Romney being an anti gay bashing bully- who packs scissors!
Okay- this was a 5 page story- they obviously didn’t just come up with the thing in a day.
They were sitting on the story- probably waiting for the best time to deliver it- and because Obama just came out with his pro gay stand- they might have thought let’s do it now to contrast Romney as being anti gay.
Either way- the timing looked coordinated- people are not dumb- it’s an insult when the right or the left treat people like this.
It’s an insult to make it sound like the parents of a POW were ‘tying up the hands of the President’ and they were the ones who were putting their sons life at risk- as the President was sitting in the Oval Office wringing his hands over it.
Yes- media bias exists- we all want to give people the benefit of the doubt- but after a while people become suspicious- they see so many news stories that lean to one side- that they simply begin believing the worst.
Very rarely do I post more than once a day [sometimes once a week!] But as I sit here watching the news- some news shows [absent Fox] are going ballistic.
A story has hit the air that some conservative Pac [political action committee] is going to run a ‘negative campaign’ [could this be?] associating the president with Rev. Wright- his former pastor.
Now- whether a person agrees with this or not- both sides do it- and will continue to do so.
The description by the media is ‘a billion dollar campaign to bring the president down’.
I have never heard any other negative campaign described like this.
It has been reported that the Obama campaign plans on spending millions to attack Romney’s character.
Yet- the media simply describes it as ‘there you go- that’s modern politics’.
2nd- there is another story that has hit the air today- it is a TRUE story about a past literary agent for the president.
This agency- with the president’s obvious approval [knowledge] listed the president as being born in Kenya.
Now- some media people are ready to explode.
They are not reporting that the story is actually true- not that he was born in Kenya [I don’t think so personally] But that he had his own lit. agent represent him this way.
For various reasons- in the past the president has used ways to define himself as having an international persona.
He himself has used this characterization.
So- how do we explain his own agent speaking [actually putting it in a promotional book] about him being born in Kenya?
I don’t know.
But the story is not fake- the book actually exists [until they burn the last copy].
But instead of the media reporting that the story is true- that this literary agent represented the president this way [in 1991].
No- they are making it sound like the story is fake- and that anyone who believes it is a birther.
Even the conservative sites that broke the story DO NOT BELIEVE HE WAS BORN IN KENYA- they say so in the coverage.
They simply are reporting the factual part of the story- that an agent for Obama represented him as being born in Kenya.
A while back I had a conversation with a friend- this friend is a liberal.
I informed the person that one of the media Fables was that Sarah Palin said ‘you can see Russia from my house’.
In actuality she never did say this.
She said ‘you can see portions of Russia from some spots in Alaska’.
Tina Fey [SNL] made the other quote famous.
After not being able to convince my friend of the truth- I then realized that either way this person still thought Palin was an idiot.
Because ‘who thinks you can see Russia from Alaska!’
Actually- you can see Russia from Alaska- for real!
But on most maps- they show the Western half right up until Alaska- and the Eastern half ends at Russia.
So- any thinking person would think ‘gee- I guess if you put the 2 ends together [called a globe?] you might have Alaska and Russia side by side’.
Yes- and this is why Alaskans find it necessary to often inform people that you can indeed see Russia from Alaska.
But the media [and my friend] were laughing so hard- they never heard the message.
[The purpose of this post is not to condone negative campaigning- or to engage in Birtherism- But to simply show you how we respond to things differently.
Instead of the media going ballistic ‘how dare anyone say the president was born in Kenya’.
They could simply report that a past agent for Obama described him this way- and they can say the agent was obviously mistaken.
But instead- many people- good people- will never know the truth about the story.
They will go on for years with the mindset ‘wow- can you believe some people think you can see Russia from Alaska?’]
1837- DID THE HILLS CLAP HANDS?
I usually end the week with a ‘week in review [news]’ type thing- but being I posted 2 political things yesterday- let’s do something spiritual.
The other week I mentioned I just went thru a course [again] on early Christianity.
The teacher- a famous scholar of the day- came from a liberal background in scholarship.
I do like the man- though I come from a different view- I believe the bible is inspired by God- and is ‘the word of God’.
Now- that statement can be expanded on- and at times I have done that.
There are Fundamentalist positions on biblical inspiration that at times leave much to be desired.
The bible has various forms of literature within it.
Poetry- Apocalyptic [Revelation, Daniel] - Symbolic- etc.
So inspiration- or reading the bible ‘literally’ simply means when you read those portions- literally- you read them as you would any other form of literature in the same class.
In Psalms [poetry type category] you read that ‘all the hills clapped their hands and sang’.
Okay- did the writer ‘literally’ mean this?
No- he was using poetry to describe the majesty of God.
But some people do think these verses should be read ‘literally’ and that in some way nature ‘clapped hands’.
The same with the book of Revelation- when we read about the Dragon- or the number of the beast- we realize these are symbols- or riddles- that we need not take ‘literally’.
Will there be an actual number- or code- that some future govt. will stamp on people’s heads or hands?
Have there been teachers/preachers who have taught this kind of thing- who have said ‘we live in a day like never before- where you can actually mark someone in the head/hand thru computer chips’.
So you have people who refuse to get social security cards- or avoid using the computer marker at the grocery store.
But these ways of looking at the bible are too simplistic- and don’t fit the actual style of the writer.
Is this the only time in history when we have the ability to mark people on their bodies?
Of course not- we read in the bible itself that in the Old Testament they actually ‘branded’ slaves- had ways to bore a hole in a person’s ear to show he belonged to an owner.
But we never think of this- we simply accept what we hear and that’s that.
The other day I was talking to a very knowledgeable man in the bible- he has read it [like me] hundreds of times over the years.
One time I mentioned to him the debate [among scholars] over the days of creation we read about in Genesis chapter 1[and 2].
I gave him various ways people interpret the text.
I said ‘you know- Genesis one says God created the Sun on day 4- but he made light on day 1’.
Now- I mentioned this as someone who does take the bible ‘literally’ but who also leaves room that the earth is much older than 6 thousand years.
To my surprise- my friend never thought of this ‘problem’.
He asked ‘what day was the sun made?’
Now- I know he has read the text a lot- but it never dawned on him that the Genesis account has this ‘problem’.
How do we solve it?
Some say ‘God made another source of light for the first 3 days’.
Okay- I don’t go for that.
But I do ‘go for’ the possibility that God is not giving us a scientific account of the creation of the world- be he is giving us a way we can grasp it- being everyone who reads the text is not a scientist.
One interesting view is God was using the 6 day  ‘form’ to categorize the order of things.
Day 1- light. Day 3- luminaries [things that give light]
Day 2- sky, water. Day 4- fish- fowl [things that fill the sky- water]
Day 3- land- vegetation. Day 5- animals, humans [things that eat the stuff]
So it seems like the first ‘3 days’ correspond to the things created on the last ‘3days’.
Okay- is this the only way to see it?
But it shows you that sometimes there is more to the story than meets the eye.
You say ‘John- I will just take it like it says- the bible says it- that settles it’.
Actually I’m fine with that- but the ‘super’ literal way does force the reader to come up with another source of light for the first 3 days- so that interpretation has its problems as well.
Just because we have symbol- poetry- prophecy- and various forms/styles of literature in the bible- this does not mean the bible is wrong- or ‘full of holes’.
No- it means when we come across these various styles we leave enough room to interpret them in the style they were written.
Okay- there’s obviously much that can be said on this subject- maybe I’ll do more over the next week or so.
Like how we got our bible- the development of the Canon [how we know which books are in- and which are not ‘in’].
There were other writings that the early church debated over.
Some of these other writings were considered out and out lies.
But not all- some of the other books were considered okay- but for various reasons they did not make it into the bible.
And a few that made it in were disputed- for various reasons.
The church did not have a ‘complete’ canon until the 4th century.
It is true that the early Christians had a basic unanimity on what was in and what was out.
But not until the 4th century was it decided for sure.
So maybe I’ll do a few posts on that.
I do come from the ‘conservative’ view on this- I do believe the bible is ‘the word of God’.
But that does not always mean you take every verse ‘literally’ in the sense that the ‘hills clapped their hands’- Got it?
1838- YOUR SO BAIN
About a week ago I noticed something.
The media began running with a story that said ‘the austerity programs in Europe did not work- look- their economies are collapsing’.
Now- at first there were just a few people saying it- Paul Krugman from the N.Y. Times.
He is a liberal economist who has advocated for more stimulus spending.
He has said that 800 billion was not enough [the 1st stimulus] that we needed about 2 trillion.
Of course if your whole career is based on teaching this principle [Krugman is a Noble Prize winning economist] then instead of admitting you were wrong- you will say ‘they did not spend enough’.
So he just put out another book [how to spend our way out of this depression] and some others have jumped on the bandwagon.
These people know that we will never know if 2 trillion would have done the job- because we will never agree to another trillion in stimulus.
So- after hearing inklings of this over the past couple of weeks- I saw a report on the presidents meeting with the G-8 nations [top economies of the world] and the news report showed Obama and the U.S. on one side- and the E.U. nations on the other side.
They then said how Obama- and the stimulus- brought our country out of the recession- and that all these other E.U. nations tried austerity- and it failed.
The E.U. nations that are suffering their own ‘great depression’ got into this situation by spending more than they had.
Greece was the first one to see trouble- and others followed.
This is why we saw the Greek riots and stuff like that.
Now- out of the 17 nations that make up the common currency group- the Euro- Germany is the most stable of the bunch.
Germany has practiced austerity [spend less than you have] for years- they saw the writing on the wall and cut back their spending years ago.
They are also the strongest nation in the Euro Zone [note- there are 28 nations in the European Union- but only 17 are in the common currency called the Euro- Obviously Great Britain has the largest economy in Europe.]
So- after some of the ‘overspending nations’ got into trouble- they wanted the banks in the E.U. region to bail them out [U.S. style].
The banks- and the other more stable economies told Greece 'if you want the bail out- you must show us you are serious about getting your house in order’.
And this led to cutbacks in spending in Greece and a few other troubled nations.
Okay- the Greeks did not like the new cut back measures [called austerity] - many of the retired people lost half their pensions- other benefits were lost.
Greeks retire in their 50’s- with full benefits.
They gave too much over the years- and got in over their heads.
So Germany said ‘look- our people retire at 70- if you want our tax money to bail you out- then you need to retire at the age we do’!
Sure- they were mad- they were not going to subsidize another countries young retirees.
So all this played into the call for cuts.
Did the cuts work?
They never had a chance to.
The recent elections in Greece kicked out all the ‘cutters’ and put in new people who vowed to tax the rich.
In France- the new leader is calling for a 75 percent tax on the rich- 75!
So- the Euro Zone nations have not even been able to see if the cutting worked.
There spending went up the last few years- from 44 to 49 %- as compared to their GPD.
So- when the media reported ‘the Obama spending worked- and the E.U. cutting did not’ that’s really not the full story.
I find it funny how quick the media and the Obama people began running with this message- in no time at all they saw a political advantage in making it look like the Krugmans of the world were right.
Remember- the strongest economy in the Euro Zone is Germany- and they did not spend like the other weaker nations- or like the U.S.
They are the strongest because they reigned in spending- not increase it.
The U.S. economy did gain some benefit from the 800 billion stimulus- because much of the money that went to the states was used to simply prop up the states budgets- but that money is now gone.
Overall- the cost per job from the stimulus money was not worth it- and many of the programs [Solyndra] that we spent money on was lost.
So all in all- to say ‘the U.S. has proved that stimulus works- and the E.U. has proved that cutting does not’ is really not true.
Also- the other day I posted about the danger of the President going around and using the class warfare language.
Sure enough- we had 2 more incidents of anarchists [people mad at govt. and rich folk] who were arrested for planning terrorist attacks.
These guys [5 in all] were at the NATO meeting in Chicago and supposedly were planning bad stuff.
Some say they were set up by undercover agents- so how serious they were we don’t know.
But this happened just days after Biden went on a rage at some union event.
I’m sure you saw the clip ‘they don’t get us- they don’t know who we are!’
The ‘they’ are the rich folk [opps- Biden just happens to be one].
Now- he went on for a few minutes- in a rage.
The Obama campaign has continued to hit private enterprise hard- they are gonna wind up sinking Bain Capital.
Bain is the private equity firm that Romney ran.
Bain has gone in to businesses in trouble has done one of 2 things.
Sometimes they close the business and pass the profits off to the stock holders.
Other times they save the business- and create jobs.
I must admit- as media critic- I even began becoming influenced by the nonstop campaign against Bain.
Just recently I saw the stats- they actually have helped/created more jobs than they lost.
I never knew this.
Just yesterday Bain had to start putting out statements in defense of their business.
You must understand that the president’s choice to basically throw this private group under the bus is sad.
If you work- or have money invested in Bain- you are in trouble.
Look- private companies hire Bain to come in- and at times- help the company.
Now- if you are an employer- and word gets out ‘the boss hired Bain’! The Union guys will revolt!
You say ‘well John- that’s good- they will save their jobs’.
The company will simply avoid the media publicity from Bain and hire another firm.
So- the decision to blast Bain is an attack on jobs- in a way.
Even Cory Booker- the mayor of Newark- went on the defense of Bain on Sundays Meet the Press.
He had to back track later because he is a supporter of Obama.
But he too realizes that to attack private equity is stupid.
Private equity just bailed out Newark a year or so ago.
Mark Zuckerberg [Facebook founder] gave around 100 million to Newark to help with the schools.
Yeah- Corey had a dog in the fight- and it wasn’t Obama!
Okay- I think will end with this- I was gonna throw in another thing or 2- but let it wait.
Rarely is one side always right- and the other always wrong.
But when you see the trend of a false story develop in the media- and the concurrent Obama campaign narrative- then you need to be aware that this in not journalism.
It is simple advocacy.
Yesterday I went down to the local mission- I usually catch up with my homeless friends there.
Yesterday I went down to the local mission- I usually catch up with my homeless friends there.
I didn’t see Henry- but Michael showed up.
I met Mike around 20 years ago.
[ just a note- on my blog- under the Feb. posts of each year I have a category called ‘Homeless’.
I write about my friends in these posts.
I came to Corpus in 1992- most of the guys I met the first year or 2.
So you might read a post that says ‘I knew this guy for 20 years’. Then maybe in another post ’15 years’.
I don’t keep exact numbers- just realize I have known most of these guys since 1992]
The last time I saw Mike was around 2-3 years ago.
He was living on the other side of town- actually- more in the Mexican type area.
Now- I’m ‘at home’ in the Barrio- just like in the ‘white boy’ part of town.
Over the years I have been to the Govt. housing- visiting families- wives- kids- of my buddies that were in jail.
Lots of them were members of the church I started years ago.
So to me- race means nothing.
[Like I told my daughters friend one day ‘I’m not racist- I think Whites are only a little bit better than the other races’ Joke!]
But Mike- well- he was in the ‘bad part’ of town.
So he told me he moved back to ‘the Bluff’ and has a weekly room at the Plaza hotel.
A lot of the ‘homeless’ guys do have places- non permanent- where they stay on and off- this is Mikes thing.
He is working as a cook at the Golden Corral- a famous buffet in Corpus.
We caught up on old times.
Mike asked if I was gonna be around for a while- I told him yeah.
He walked back to the hotel- about 3 blocks- to show me his latest art work.
Mike is an A-1 artist- he has painted for years.
He even painted the signs for the apartments my wife manages [about 15 years ago].
He told me he just painted the for sale signs down the street.
The owner of Floyds Christian Restaurant is selling some land- Mike did the signs.
So he comes back with about 7 paintings- I mean beautiful stuff- all originals.
He paints ‘free style’ he doesn’t look at another picture- just from his mind.
I loved the paintings.
They were different than what I saw before.
Lots of birds- flowers.
Shore line- boats- fish.
He used to do lots of gory stuff- skulls- Mega death stuff [rock group].
I asked him if I could buy one- he does not sell them- but he told me he would let me have one for the cost of the materials.
I bought a beautiful scene- some fishermen pulling in their nets by the sea- a huge pelican on the dock- and these great sunflowers peering over them.
I gave Mike a ride back to the hotel- he did carry all these pictures by hand.
We talked- for about 4 hours.
I have found the guys- who have mental challenges- like Mike- they really benefit just from having a friend to talk to.
It was funny in a way- I must have quoted 50 individual verses that fit the exact scenario that Mike was communicating.
I really don’t ‘preach’ much at all when I’m with the brothers.
They know I’m helping them out [we often go out to eat] and they know I do ministry stuff.
But all these friendships are just that- these guys are simply friends I have made over the years.
But this day was different- I really taught Mike a lot of stuff- in a way that never really happened in the past.
He was telling me how he simply does his art on his own- most people don’t even know his talent.
When he brought the paintings to the mission- everyone was shocked that he actually painted them.
They have known Mike for years- yet they never saw his work.
So Mike told me that he likes doing his work in private- and simply enjoying the satisfaction of the paintings.
I told him that Jesus taught this ‘when you do your good works- don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing- do it in secret- and God will reward you openly’.
He said ‘yeah- that’s it!’
One painting he had sitting by the sink- he did not bring this one to the mission- was Christ on the Cross.
Mike showed me the nails in Christ’s hands.
He made them crooked on purpose- he said ‘my dad always told me I couldn’t even drive a nail in straight’.
He did this on purpose- in a way it was prophetic.
The painting of Christ- and the words that hurt Mike- the words he never forgot thru out his life.
He told me that in the past when he did artwork for various people [he has done portraits for hundreds of dollars- though he does not sell his own stuff].
That sometimes people take out their faults on the artist.
If they are dealing with problems they tend to pass them off to the artist.
As we sat there- with the painting of Christ- and the crooked nails.
I told Mike ‘this also is in the bible’
I went on to tell the story in the Old Testament of the Scapegoat.
Yeah- the Scapegoat comes from the bible.
In the Jewish religion at the time- you had the priest bring 2 goats- on one he would lay his hands- symbolically saying ‘we put the sins of the people on you’.
The one goat- the Scape goat- would then run away.
But they took the other- and sacrificed it.
I told Mike- this is what the Scapegoat is- Jesus himself bares the guilt and problems that the people bring to the table.
Mike once again said ‘yeah- that’s it’.
This went on for around 4 hours- I felt it was Gods way of communicating to my old friend- in a way that I never really was able to in the past.
He showed me an art book he bought from Barnes and Noble.
He really liked the way the author drew.
It was a teaching guide for artists.
It had quotes of all the famous painters of the past.
One from DaVinci said ‘the greatest mastery of all is the mastery of one’s self’ [paraphrase].
I told Mike ‘this too is in the bible’.
I quoted from Proverbs ‘he that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls- but he that rules his spirit is better than he that takes a city’,
Once again- it clicked.
I took pictures of the paintings with my cell phone- I told Mike if they come out good I’ll try and post them on my site so my friends can see.
I looked at them later- they did not come out too good.
The one of Christ with the crooked nails- that came out good- I have that as my Wall paper on the phone.
Maybe my daughter will help me post it on the site?
I have known Mike a long time.
His dad was in the Navy and they moved to the city years ago.
Mike is from upstate N.Y.
I have written about Mike before- he seems to have burned himself out on some type of drug over the years- you can tell he has mental problems.
But he is very talented- he has always worked- as long as I have known him.
And he has been on and off the streets for years.
I think the story about the scapegoat really made an impact.
Mike is smart- he asked me lots of stuff this day.
About creation- and science- things that other Christians have told him to reject.
I told Mike it’s okay to believe in certain scientific ‘proofs’ and also be a Christian [he knew a lot about the natural world- and I have taught lots about this over the years].
So he not only ‘saw’ a lot of things from the bible that he never saw before.
But I also was able to show him how the bible does not go against science [I actually just posted a note the other day on this].
I told Mike ‘why don’t you title the Cross painting- The Scapegoat’.
Every time you walk in the room- look at the painting and realize Christ has taken all the guilt and pressure and stuff that others have put on you- he is the Scapegoat’.
Sometimes its easier to remember a story when its connected to an image.
That’s why Jesus told parables- stories that people could ‘see’ in their minds.
Yeah- the scapegoat- with the crooked nails- yeah- how can you forget that?
1840- DAVID’S TENT
The other day I went thru the gospel of Mark.
Of course there’s a whole lot in the book- but I came across a story that I liked a lot.
In Marks gospel Jesus is with the disciples and they are going thru the fields picking the ‘ears of corn’ [note- you did not have corn- like we think- growing in the land at the time. They were picking grain. But the King James Bible- 1611- which I use- did translate the term corn].
Now- when the Pharisees saw this- it was the Sabbath day- they accused Jesus and his men of breaking Gods law.
Jesus responded by saying ‘have you never read the story of David when he was fleeing Saul- how he and his men ate the sacred bread- that is not lawful for men to eat- only the priests’.
I always liked this story because there is so much to unpack- let’s try to do a little.
Was it unlawful for the disciples to have done this?
Not really- the Pharisees were a group of religious leaders that rose up during the time of the captivity of the Jews a couple hundred years before the time of Christ.
They did serve a noble purpose at the start- they wanted to retain the culture and religious beliefs of Gods people during a time of displacement from their own land.
So this group established the synagogue system [sort of a Jewish ‘church’] and they would gather around on the Sabbath day and read the scriptures and be reminded of their heritage.
Okay- what happened to these brothers- like many other good things that meant well at the start- was after a while they became elitist.
They saw themselves as better than everyone else- they became judges of all other groups- and they developed a Tradition- called ‘The Tradition of the Elders’ which was an expansion on the law of God.
This is what Jesus often fought against in his day- the Tradition of the Elders [not all tradition in general!]
Why is this important?
It is common in our day for many well meaning believers- Born Again Christians- to disdain all Church tradition.
Many people [like myself] come from a former Catholic background- and one of the first things you normally hear is ‘look at all the bad traditions that the church taught’.
This mindset is often justified by Jesus condemnation of the ‘Traditions of men that make void the Word of God’.
Jesus was not throwing all tradition under the bus- he was rebuking THIS specific tradition.
Okay- the reason I said ‘sort of’ [at the top] was because the defense Jesus gave said ‘didn’t you read what David did- when he ate the bread that was unlawful to eat’.
So Jesus really did not mind the ‘you broke the law’ accusation- but instead placed himself in the situation of King David and said ‘I too have authority over the Sabbath’.
In the Jewish mind of the 1st century- the statements like this that Jesus made [Moses said this- but I say this] these statements meant more than meets the eye.
They meant that Jesus saw himself as being equal with God.
If you carefully read the gospels you see this.
To the first century Jew- this was indeed a violation of what they were taught.
‘The Lord our God is One’.
So- Jesus defends himself and his men by saying ‘I am Lord over the Sabbath’
Strong words indeed.
The story of David is found in the book of Samuel.
He’s running from king Saul at the time- and he goes to the ‘House of God’ and needs food.
The priest [Abiathar] tells him he only has the sacred bread- which is reserved for the priests.
David makes up a story and says he’s on a special mission from Saul and the priest gives David the bread.
He eats- and gives to his men.
Now- when Jesus uses this story in the gospel- he does mention that David and his men both ate.
I find this interesting.
Because Jesus will sit down with his men at the last supper and do the same thing.
He tells them ‘take eat- this is my Body- drink- this is my Blood’.
How could Jesus ‘eat himself’?
The Bread and Wine represent the Body and Blood of Christ.
Jesus said his meat [bread- the thing that sustained him] was to do the will of God and finish his work.
He was sustained too by the mission he was on- he lived to ‘give his Body and Blood’.
This mission was his life’s purpose- he too ‘ate the Bread’.
Jesus also came from the lineage of king David- he was a ‘son’ of David.
In the above verses- it said ‘David came to the house of God’.
We often see this as the Temple.
But remember- the temple was not built yet.
David’s son Solomon will build it in the future.
So what ‘house of God’ did David come to?
It was the tabernacle [of Moses].
This was a tent type system that God gave to the children of Israel during their wilderness journey.
It became the central place of worship and sacrifice when they entered the promised land.
Eventually the main piece of this tent system gets taken by Israel's enemies [They stole the Ark- the box that held the 10 commandments].
And when David becomes king he gets it back.
As the Ark eventually winds up back in the hands of David- he builds another tent thing- called the Tabernacle of David- and he places the Ark under this tent.
Now- David is king at the time- the bible says he put on a Linen Ephod and worshipped God before this tent [he operated as a priest- which was unlawful for kings to do- normally!].
Understand- at the same time the Tabernacle of Moses still existed- it just did not have the Ark in it- David’s ‘new’ tent had the Ark.
This was symbolic of the New testament King/Priesthood of Jesus.
He in essence would usher the people into the presence of God- absent the Veil of the Temple- a covering that existed in the Tabernacle of Moses- which represented separation from God- but was not in the one David made.
So you see- when Jesus used David as an example- there was more than meets the eye- much more.
[Jesus is the New Testament King/Priest that died on the Cross- the Veil of the temple was ripped on that day- and he now represents us before the throne of God- absent the veil- the thing that separated man from God].
1841- ATHEIST SUNDAY SCHOOL?
We had an interesting news week.
I saw a clip from Penn Gillette- the comedian/atheist/magician.
Yeah- he was raging against the President.
Because Obama supports tough laws against pot smoking- and he at the same time was a pot smoker.
Now- at first I did not understand the ‘guttural’ anger.
That was until I read some of the reports about Obama’s past.
Like most people- I knew that he toked a joint or 2 in high school, and I just chalked it up to growing up in the 70’s/80’s.
Sure- we all did stupid stuff.
I thought the high heels on my shoes were cool- I still remember how proud I felt when my dad painted my room with red, white and blue stripes and stars- ‘just wait until the girls see this!’
But after I read some of the articles on Obama- I was actually surprised that he basically was the biggest ‘pot head’ at his school.
Look- it wasn’t just a toke or 2- it was the whole image of the Cheech and Chong thing.
The reports said how he coined the term 'T.A.’ Total Absorption.
He had this thing that of you wasted the ‘precious Hawaiian weed’ you were looked down on.
He also started a trend where you all light up- and sit in the car- the car fills with pot and you do not roll the windows down until all the pot is gone- consumed by the guys in the car.
There were many pictures of Obama with a joint- scenes where the car is pot filled- they showed the ‘pot van’ they all used.
Obama even coined another term ‘interception’ when they guys were passing the joint around- he would grab the joint out of turn and say ‘intercepted’.
Now- does all this mean he should not be Pres.?
Not really- but I had no idea he was the biggest pot head on the Hawaiian Island!
I mean I now see how his old buddies must be laughing about the whole thing.
They really pulled a fast one on the public.
I read this from a liberal news site- Huffington Post- as well as more conservative ones- it seems like the story is true.
There were lots of pictures and names- and even the nicknames they used- all pot head type stuff.
Now I see why Penn was mad- he ranted on his on line Sunday School program- he is a libertarian- against the drug laws- and he said if Obama was ever caught doing this stuff he would have been arrested and had a record and would have never been Pres.
But then he still supports tough pot laws- that- in his mind- are ruining the futures of many other kids.
Yeah- got it.
Facebook IPO- a mess.
Okay- to all my Facebook family- Dad [Zuckerberg] had a bad week.
As most of you know- Facebook went public this week.
For the first time- you can now buy stock in the company.
The opening price was 38 dollars a share.
I think today it’s around 31- not good.
Lots of stuff.
The Nasdaq- the tech arm that lists most internet/computer stock- messed up.
On opening day the purchasers [and sellers] were delayed for a couple of hours during trading.
If you think your buying at say 34 dollars- and it takes 2 hours to go thru- and you find out you bought at 40- not good.
So you have lawsuits being filed as I speak.
Also- it’s kind of complicated- but the way Morgan Stanley [the bank that financed the initial offering] went about offering stock- they seem to have blown the deal.
Right up until the day before the stock sale- lots of institutional investors had their bids in.
These are the big hedge fund guys and all.
Now- they expected to get so many shares for the money they put down.
When the actual sale went thru- to their surprise- they had lots more than they thought.
It spooked them.
The reason for this was Facebook and the bank decided to put more shares for sale than originally thought.
This caught the investors off guard and added to the fear.
There are a few more things that went wrong- all in all in was not a good day for Facebook.
I like Facebook- I try not to criticize it- it gives us all a free venue to ‘vent’- but this thing went bad- fast.
Some thought the company was valued too high for the projected income- that other tech companies that went public [Google] were bought and sold at a much cheaper price- compared to the amount of projected income- so there were lots of things wrong with this offering.
I was surprised to see the president loosing over 40% of the Democrat vote in some of these primaries.
Obama is running unchallenged- and yet he is losing lots of the vote- to either unknown candidates [they simply vote- other] or to guys in prison!
Yes- a guy sitting in jail here in Texas got over 40% of the vote- amazing [and this was a primary in another state!]
Alaska, Kentucky and West Va. all had a huge percentage of Dems vote against Obama.
I do think the odds of him suffering a loss- maybe a big loss- is very real.
James Carville- the ragin cagin Dem strategist has warned about this- he thinks the Dems are taking this election too lightly.
He sees the writing on the wall.
He’s asking ‘what are you all high or what’.
No Jim- it’s called total absorption.
1842- BAD CAMPAIGN IDEA- YOU THINK?
Well it’s been a long Memorial Day weekend.
Late Friday one of the big banks of Spain asked for a 40 billion dollar bailout.
Bankia is strapped with billions of dollars of failed mortgages- and the S and P downgraded them to junk status.
Spain- like many of the other European nations- is in big trouble.
There unemployment rate is 25 %.
Yesterday the Dow closed over 12,500.
There was a mini surge in the market.
The Dow is funny- it is not always an indicator of how well the economy is doing.
For example- the jobs numbers for April came out- late Friday [we try to release bad news on Fridays- after the markets close- so people have to sit and wait until Monday [or Tuesday] before they can respond.]
Yeah- the numbers were not good- total jobs for the month were around 115,000.
So- this makes investors think ‘geez- the economy is in trouble- maybe the Fed. will print more money’.
And the big investors will add that into to their calculations- and Walla- the Dow goes up.
As we hit the middle of the year- after 3 months of bad jobs numbers [they need to be around 250,000 a month] it sure looks like we are not recovering well from the Great Recession.
Yes- once again it made headlines.
There were reports of lots of civilians killed again.
Many of them kids.
Assad [the leader] denied it was his men.
The killers were indeed militia men- in uniform- not standard govt. fighters.
But it seems as if they are working for Assad.
Russia at first questioned it- they are strong supports of Assad.
They thought maybe it was Al Qaida- who are operating in the country.
They bombed a military hospital a few weeks back and killed civilians.
But Russia seems like they might be changing their tune a little- they are also speaking out more forcefully against Assad.
I watched Tom Freidman on the Charlie Rose show.
Freidman is a writer for the N.Y. Times- he’s usually right on.
He’s calling for a No Fly Zone in Syria.
I must ask these guys ‘what do you mean’?
Assad is not using planes to attack the rebels- just like Gadhaffi in Libya.
So what would a true no fly zone accomplish?
The term ‘no fly zone’ has come to mean ‘we will go in to your country- under the guise of NATO- but the U.S. will pay for most of it- do most of it- and we will bomb the hell out of your leader’.
Oh- then after were done- Al-Qaida- or any radical Islamist group- will rule the land.
So- because of our action in Libya- this is the new definition of a no fly zone.
I don’t want to sound like I support Assad- I don’t- but this strategy has failed.
In Egypt- where we forced the leader to step down [Mubarak].
They just had their election- and it’s a runoff between a former govt. man and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The president has supported the Muslim Brotherhood [our president!]
He had them at the White House a few weeks back.
This gave them an aura of support from the West- for a U.S. president to invite one of the groups of an upcoming election to have a personal sit down in the White House is showing favoritism.
So the actual protestors who gave their lives in Tahrir square- their voices are not being heard.
The moderate candidates did not win.
The Muslim Brotherhood might not be as bad as Al-Qaida [Might!] but they do advocate for Shariah law.
Egypt was not an Islamic run state in the past- we ousted out Mubarak and now it looks like they will become one.
Why is this bad?
Let’s see- gay folk- yeah- we catch you in the act- we kill you.
Women- caught cheating- we stone you.
Christians- if we think you blasphemed Allah [like witnessing for Jesus] your dead too.
Should I go on?
Yet the president and many in the western media hail the recent elections as a great victory for Democracy- after all it is a real vote.
I wonder how many of these same reporters would think the same if some Western nation elected a bunch of radical Christian fundamentalists who wanted to kill gays and women.
We see the double standard- and it’s huge.
And let’s end with politics.
Yes- the lines are drawn and Obama has made it clear that his strategy to go after Bain capital is going to be their campaign.
Okay- Bain capital is the financial firm that Romney ran.
This firm used PRIVATE MONEY to go into hurting companies and provide cash.
In some cases- not all- they had to downsize.
They laid off workers- cut back- and even closed some businesses down.
In other cases they saved the company- and the businesses went on to become great successes [Staples- the office supply chain is one example].
So- the President is criticizing Bain because in some cases they lost jobs.
Let’s look at his record for a moment.
One of the things that Obama likes to do is invest PUBLIC TAX MONEY into private business- businesses that have direct ties to him and his friends.
Yes- he sunk tons of money into Solyndra [a solar energy company].
This company- now famous for having gone under [yikes- you mean you invested money into a private company- TAX MONEY- and it shut down- sounds like Bain to me].
And when the company was on the verge of going under- it was right before the midterm elections- the president changed the govt. loan- against the law- and made it favor one of his top money guys.
Yes- this is fact- it all came out- in the news- on a bunch of Fridays no less.
The loans that the govt. makes to these private companies has a law that says ‘if the company ever goes bust- the taxpayers get paid back first- before any private investors’.
The law puts the tax payer over the ‘private equity money’ that is- Bain money.
Okay- the law protects you and me- and it makes the Bain’s of the world get paid last.
So what did the Pres do?
His campaign guy- who had invested money into the company- told the Pres ‘look- I will put more money into Solyndra- to keep them afloat before the election- but if they go bust- I want my money back first- before the taxpayer’.
Now- this is against the law that governs these loans.
So- after all this came to light- an email/memo came out that said ‘it looks like your wanting to change the law to benefit your friend might be illegal’. This was an internal memo from Obama’s people.
Yeah- Obama’s own people wrote this.
They advised ‘you need to get the approval of the justice dept. before you change this loan’.
He never did.
He changed the loan- his top campaign guy got his money first- and you and I got the short end of the deal.
Now- after all this- the presidents main campaign message is ‘look at Romney- he has a past of using private money to bail out companies- his dealings with private money are bad’.
You think with a history like Solyndra the last thing you would want to bring up is private money deals versus the U.S. taxpayer.
1843- BEIBER DID WHAT?
I want to try and do some spiritual stuff- but I have a few news things first.
Okay- the headline read ‘Beiber wanted for questioning’.
The story was short- and sweet.
Some paparazzi called 911 and quote ‘complained of being roughed up by the pop star’.
Is the actually possible?
Why would anybody ever admit this?
Okay- more important stuff.
A while back I wrote a post on the train debacle in Cali.
Yeah- the President wants to sink billions of dollars into High Speed rail.
This was one of his main ideas to produce jobs.
You hear the same mantra on MSNBC- day in and day out.
They keep talking about spending billions on schools [buildings] bridges- ‘shovel ready’ jobs.
And after 3 years- we have thrown billions of dollars down the drain.
So last night I caught an expose on CNN.
Cooper did a good job critiquing the latest fiasco in California.
Now- you must understand Cali is dead broke- billions in the hole- cutting everything from school funding to cops and firefighters.
Yet they are still determined to go forward with the high speed rail thing.
Cooper detailed how the state has struggled to keep the vision alive.
The guy in charge of the project- to build the fast trains- came out recently and changed the entire route.
The new route goes thru a number of different cities- the train goes much slower- and it will now make stops at more cities.
The initial idea of ‘high speed’ meant the train would not stop a lot- it would go- well- fast- and it would service this ‘need’ to transport folk who for some reason disdain cars.
But now- it’s simply a train- a regular good ole U.S. of A Amtrak vehicle.
O- I forgot- the initial cost for the whole project was around 30 billion.
Obama has already given the state 4 billion [money we don’t have for ‘stuff’ like this].
But the new price is now around 130 billion.
By all estimates- California will never finish this project.
They already passed some type of bond money- but to get the voters to approve 130 billion- to put in a regular train- which no one will really ride- this will never happen.
And to do this when you’re cutting Medicare- food stamps- schools- I mean the people will never approve the rest of the money.
So what is the state determined to do?
The guy in charge says they are going to spend the 4 billion- no matter what- on the first part of the project.
The ‘foundational’ section will cost 4 billion- it will simply be rail track going from one town to another.
It’s supposed to be ‘high speed’ so this track is expensive.
It will take around 15 years to finish.
And there will be no train- no depot- nothing- but a stretch of track sitting in the middle of nowhere- costing the taxpayer 4 billion.
Okay- this is what you call waste- inexperience- bad vision.
These are the types of things that people in the real world don’t do.
But if you mean well- have some distorted idea that you can convert the nation- in a few years- to a solar energy world.
If you think building these trains all over the country is going to be the answer to lost jobs.
Then you are a well meaning guy- but you do not have the experience for the job.
One last example.
Last year the President went to Brazil.
By the way- Brazil just passed Cali as the worlds 8th biggest economy.
While there he guaranteed U.S. taxpayer money to Brazil’s national oil company.
So they can drill all types of new oil rigs- off shore.
Why did we give them U.S. money for this?
Because the President said if they can really develop their oil production we will buy lots of oil from them- at a high rate.
There was no deal to get the oil cheap.
Okay- at the same time Texas [as well as other oil producing states] has gone thru the ringer trying to survive at a time when the federal govt. has come down hard to stop new oil production in the U.S.
Many in the oil field have lost jobs because of the very ‘environmentalist’ agenda of the President.
The guy who was in charge of our area- recently was fired [or quit] because he was caught making the famous ‘crucify them’ statement.
He was the Presidents man overseeing our region for the E.P.A.
He said their tactic was to go into areas in the south- find certain oil producing companies that have any types of violations- and ‘crucify’ them.
I recently read an article from a former commerce guy in the town I retired from [Kingsville].
He wrote a piece in the paper after the ‘crucify’ them guy was let go.
He said for the last 3 years this guy has done everything possible to kill jobs in the state.
He gave examples of how Obama used this guy to virtually attack the oil industry in Texas.
Now- at the same time we gave loan guarantees to Brazil to ‘drill baby drill’.
This was federal tax money- that many of the oil people paid into the system.
Does this make any sense to you?
About as much sense as calling 911 and saying ‘Beiber roughed me up’
Amen [I told you I would try and get something spiritual in- this was the best I could do].
1844- POPES HOMILY
Got with the homeless brothers yesterday- found out Football Jim died a few months ago.
Sad to see him go- will write more on Jim another time.
Spent another few hours with Mike [few posts back- Scapegoat].
Mike shared more of his story with me- serious [bad] stuff- he knows I’m chronicling it on the site- he’s fine with it.
I will tell more about this also- but not today.
What I want to do today is a post for my Catholic friends.
Note- I have Protestant friends who get offended when I use examples from the church- or when I watch [or every so often attend] the Mass.
There are reasons they get upset- and it takes time to explain why I think it’s important for me to keep in touch with ‘the ancient church’.
For the most part- I have been a student of church history [and the early church fathers] for the past 25 years.
It’s impossible to read deeply into church history without having an appreciation for the older more traditional churches.
Over time you begin to view these churches [Catholic, Orthodox] as sort of older relatives- like an uncle or grandpa- maybe they don’t know all the current techniques and all [like using computers!]
But over time you realize they know more [or are right more often] then you thought when you were younger.
So this has been my experience on the journey.
Okay- this past Sunday I watched the Mass on TV.
Every so often if the church is celebrating a special memorial they will broadcast the service from Rome.
This past Sunday was Pentecost Sunday- so I watched the Pope give the homily from Rome.
Let’s cover the main verses he used.
The homily was good- but you have to pay attention to the verses/chapters to get a full understanding.
The chapters quoted from were Genesis 11, Psalms 103, Acts 2, John 16, and Galatians 5.
Because it was Pentecost Sunday the message was on the story we find in Acts chapter 2- when the Holy Spirit came to the church.
We read that the believers were gathered at Jerusalem- waiting for the ‘promise of Jesus’ that he would send them the Spirit [John 16].
When the Spirit came- all the disciples in the upper room began speaking Gods word to the multitudes that were gathered at Jerusalem for the special holiday.
They spoke ‘in tongues’ [unknown languages] and the people were amazed because they all heard the message in their own native tongue.
This was a Divine miracle that enabled the message to spread to all the different ethnic groups that were at the city.
After Peter preaches the gospel to them they repent and believe and are baptized- and the ‘Lord added 3,000 SOULS’ to the church that day.
The Pope contrasted this with the story in Genesis 11- The famous Tower of Babel.
This records the time when God divided the people by giving them different languages.
The people were building a tower and city that would reach ‘unto heaven’ [a symbol of mans efforts to reach God- or be like God- on his own- Humanism].
The bible says they ‘wanted to make a name for themselves’.
They were more interested in ‘leaving a legacy’ then in glorifying God.
God looked down and realized they were going to unite- in a wrong way- to build this city of man.
The bible says he came down and divided their languages in that day.
They were unable to communicate with each other and left off ‘building the city’.
This is where we get the term ‘babble ’ from- when you can’t understand what a person’s saying- he’s ‘babbling’.
In Galatians 5 we read about the fruit of the Spirit- and how we ‘thru the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness which comes by faith’ [a main theme of the Apostle Paul’s writings].
And in John 16 we read the promise Jesus made- that he would leave them and send ‘the comforter’- the Spirit- and he would guide them into all truth.
So we see the contrast of the biblical stories about language.
In Genesis 11 God divides the languages of men because they are rebelling against him.
In Acts 2 God ‘reverses’ this division by allowing them all to hear again in ‘one language’.
The Cross allows humanity to be united again.
The apostle Paul writes the Ephesians and says Jesus reconciled both groups [Jew and Gentile- which represented the major division of the time] by dying on the Cross for all men.
And that all men [who believe] now have ‘access to God by one Spirit’.
All in all- it was a good message.
The purpose of the gospel is to unite men- not divide them [I know Jesus said he came to bring division- families would be divided- mother- father against child. In context he was saying there was a reaction to being a follower of him. Sometimes families will even reject a child because they choose the Christian faith. We see this today among various religious groups.]
But the overall work of the Cross unities men- in Christ [2 become one- Ephesians- One New Man].
And we once again can share ‘a common language’.
The language of the Cross.
I was going to take a few days off- but yesterday’s news was big.
Actually- in the morning when I was about to post I almost gave a warning about the market [for real].
Not because of the terrible jobs numbers- I mean nobody saw that coming.
But because of the overall bad data that came in thru out the week.
Then sure enough the May jobs numbers came out- 69,000.
It was a disaster to say the least.
The Dow went down about 250- and the spin doctors were on call.
I really found it funny [amazing] to hear the spin.
Julian Epstein- an Obama guy- talked about the job loss at the end of the Bush years and the start of Obama’s term.
The loss was bad- about 800,000 a month.
Yes- it was a real recession.
So- Epstein noted that for the first couple of months of this year the jobs were positive- created a couple of hundred thousand a month on average.
So- he says ‘Obama has turned the jobs numbers on average to a positive 900,000 jobs a month’ [my paraphrase].
Yeah- according to him Obama has actually ‘created’ 900,000 jobs a month.
He said this was the most amazing job growth in our lifetimes.
This on a day when the numbers were the worst in a year.
Then I saw an interview with some Chicago big wigs.
Rahm Emanuel- another Obama fan- and a few talking heads were eating some Chicago pizza.
They said that the economy under Obama is actually great [not good- but really good!]
They gave a few numbers.
Then they said the problem is the media only play sound bites- and the public gets ‘fooled’.
I have heard this accusation before- that the insiders who surround the pres actually say this- that the true message of how well he is doing is not making it into the minds of the average person.
That the people who ‘cling to their God and guns’ are actually ‘less than intelligent’ and that’s why they don’t appreciate his presidency.
Then old Bill [Clinton] made the rounds- and he pulled a Cory Booker.
He said that Romney’s business record was ‘superb’.
Geez Bill- how bout he simply didn’t do shaky schemes? [Like the Chicago pizza crowd- Rezko- shady real estate deals. Jobs ‘created’ for the wife of a senator- making around 400 thousand a year. And after the senator leaves town and becomes president- the job never gets filled again. Or Rahm sending a dead fish to a political opponent- doing a cheap replay of the dead horse head in the God Father movie].
No- not only was Romney a good guy [according to Bill] but ‘superb’.
I bet Biden was jealous over this gaffe.
So the week was not good at all for the president.
Where do we stand?
To be honest- for the May jobs number to be that bad- was a shock.
You were hard pressed to find any market Bulls running yesterday.
I do think we are now in a major slowdown- and if we get any worse- we might see a double dip recession.
And it’s not just the U.S. economy- the far east is also slowing down.
China’s economy is not as hot as we hoped either.
‘Well John- then why are oil prices better’?
One of the reasons oil [gas] goes up- is because you think there is a demand for the stuff.
If you think the global economy is slowing down- then you think ‘maybe the demand for oil will be low’.
So that plays a role in the thing.
I found it sad to see the spin.
I watched most of the news shows during the day.
And on MSNBC- Matthews [Obama cheerleader] I did not even hear him mention the number one story of the day- the jobs numbers.
Matthews spent most of the show accusing Repubs of wanting to jail women who terminate their pregnancies because of gender bias.
Now- should women ever abort their kids because they wanted a boy instead of a girl?
But if you watched hardball- that was the story of the day- sad indeed.
The ‘real’ story is not that Obama actually has one of the ‘greatest job turn abounds in the history of the nation’.
Or that the media have tricked the gun toting God believing lemmings into thinking his presidency is not historic.
No- the real story is the hopes [on both sides] that this year we would see a real economic turnaround has now faded.
So- this year will not be a ‘superb’ year- by any means.
All the gains in the market for the year have now been lost.
The unemployment rate has ticked up to 8.2%.
And the economy is doing badly.
Yeah- the spin doctors were out in full force.
One particular dose of spin intrigued me.
It was a report on the Brewery companies.
They said this was one of the few businesses that has- for some strange reason- excelled.
I will quote you a verse- maybe it will shed some light.
‘Do not give strong drink to those who are doing well- but give it to those who have no hope- then they can forget about all the bad news and pass out’ Proverbs.
Yeah- I think that tells it all in a nutshell.
1846- FOOTBALL JIM
I’ll probably get with the homeless guys today- so let me pick up where I left off the last time I spoke about Mike.
Every so often- I might be friends with one of the brothers for 20 years- and as fate [God] would have it- I might spend more time with one of them at set times.
So the last few weeks this is what’s happened with my friend Mike.
For years I have seen Mike walking the streets where I live.
He sought of reminds me of the story of Cain and Able.
Cain killed his brother Able and Cain was ‘marked’.
The story is found in the bible- it is sort of strange in a way.
The curse of Cain was no man could kill him- but he would be condemned to wander the land and never settle.
When I saw Mike over the years- him being a friend- I would stop and see if he wanted to do lunch- or spend a few hours at the house- get off the streets a little.
But I wondered how Mike got into this situation.
He’s about 8 years younger than me [I’m 49] and he seems like such a nice ‘kid’.
The other day Mike was at my house and he looked up his daughter on Facebook- she’s up in Austin.
Mike told me more of his story this day.
Mike grew up in an abusive home- his dad was [is] an alcoholic.
He has 2 brothers.
One day- when Mike was 16- his dad came in the room and yelled at him for something.
He told Mike ‘you think you’re ready to take me on- go for it’.
Mike gave his dad a mean look- and that’s what his dad told him.
Mike got up- grabbed a bat by his bed- and almost killed his dad.
He told me that after he hit him the first time- his dad held Mike’s face- and you could see he felt like he was going to die.
Mike said he knew one more hit would kill him- and he stopped.
His dad went to the hospital and from that point on Mike lived in the garage.
Over time he moved to the streets.
He did marry a girl from school- had a daughter- and eventually divorced.
Mike told me his mom and dad still live here in Corpus.
I never knew that.
I thought it must be strange seeing your son living on the streets.
The last post I wrote on Mike- he was staying at a local hotel.
He’s back under the bridge where we live.
He’s working every day- and has asked the boss to save his checks until he saves up enough for a better place.
Yeah- Old ‘football’ died.
I just found out the other day- he was a friend for lots of years.
Football wasn’t really homeless- he lived with his bachelor brother for years.
They had a small apt. where they split the bills.
But football [all the guys have nicknames- Carpenter Tim- Painter bill- etc.
Tim [carpenter] told me a funny story one day. His family knew he was on the streets in Corpus.
So one year they told Tim they were going to come visit him.
Tim is a straight up guy- a good friend- and works his tail off.
But he lives in the brush- by the way- he builds the best camps out of all the guys- he is a carpenter after all.
So anyway- he tells them ‘when you get to Corpus- you can find me at this spot- all the guys know me- just ask for Tim’.
He finds out later- after he met with his mom and dad- that they asked ‘where looking for our son Tim, do you know him’.
One of the street guys said ‘oh yeah- Drunk Tim- yeah I know him’.
Obviously this is another Tim- but his folks did not know.
Tim got a real laugh out of that.]
Okay- Jim was part of the street crowd- and he would go to the buffets a lot.
One time I took the guys to the buffet- and sure enough Jim was already there.
It was funny- one of the close friends who was with me- painter Bill- also was friends with Jim [they were both in their 70’s].
So at the buffet [Sirloin Stockade] Bill goes right to the pecan pies.
He’s mad- there already all gone!
The guys like those the best- so if they get a chance- they grab them when they can.
On our way to get a seat- sure enough- there was Jim- with about 6 pecan pies slices on his table.
Yeah- the guys have no pride.
So Jim died- kinda sad.
I did speak with Jim over the years- he kept more to himself.
One time I heard Jim was in the hospital- he had some problem.
So every week or so I would ask at the mission ‘how’s Jim doing’.
They would fill me in.
When Jim got out- he came to talk to me.
I could tell he heard I was asking about him.
The guys want to know some of their friends were worried about them.
So they must have told Jim ‘yeah- John was asking about you’.
Jim- who never talked about the Lord- told me a short testimony.
He was a believer- and that being saved was accepting Jesus.
I told him ‘yes Jim- your right’.
It was funny- even though I knew Jim for years- he never told me this until he realized I was concerned about him.
Yeah- Jim was a good man- he loved keeping up with the football scores [thus the nickname] and I was sad to have heard he died.
The bible says ‘it is appointed unto men once to die- after that the judgment’.
Jim kept his appointment.
1847- WE FIX FLAT
I was going to cover Exodus chapter 4- but let’s see how much time we have.
Last week I noticed a bump on my right arm- and I was familiar with the feeling.
I told my wife ‘damn- a got bit by a brown recluse- again!’
Yes- many years ago in Kingsville I had a bite on the leg.
I didn’t know what it was at first- so I ‘self treated’.
I had some leftover antibiotics and sat in Epson salt.
The bite got big- red- and really ugly [won't give you the gory details- look on line if you want].
It eventually left a hole in the middle of the infected area.
Years Later I realized it was a brown recluse spider.
So- when I showed my wife the bite- she kinda doubted at first.
But after a couple of days she was like ‘when are you going to see the doctor’.
Of course- I self treated again [it’s in the final stage- why go now?]
That brings me to another thing- I don’t have health insurance.
When I retired from the fire dep’t we did not have a contract deal like the northern depts.
Today Wisconsin holds their recall- it looks like Walker will win.
One of the reasons for the recall was Walker ‘recalled’ bargaining rights for some public service employees.
He left the Cops and Firefighters alone.
But these guys do indeed have ‘Cadillac’ retirement plans.
They get their insurance covered- in some cases- 100%.
Not here in South Texas.
So- after I retired I got my kids on a plan [they are on their own now] and I applied for my wife to get on with the V. A.
We were both in the Navy [I did not get on- made too much money- but not enough to buy my own in the private market].
So- I self treat- or pay cash [around 120 on average] for a doc visit.
This is what some people don’t get.
I had a conversation with a liberal friend of mine.
They get free coverage for themselves and a family member.
The ‘son in law’ also got on the plan.
None of them work- the daughter and the sons are drug addicts.
And the state they live in [N.J.] considers ‘drug addiction’ a disability- they all get free coverage.
Now- I don’t judge them- or complain [too much].
But one time they were arguing with me about how everyone who was complaining about Obama care were deadbeats who didn’t want to help pay for those in need.
I told them that I not only pay for myself [when I have the cash] but I also will now pay the fine [if the Supreme Court doesn’t strike it down].
I explained to my friend that my daughters will also pay the fine- except my daughter who is a teacher.
So my household will be paying a couple of thousand extra bucks a year- a fine- because I have no insurance- and I still don’t have coverage.
So- for people who don’t work- who get the free coverage like my friend- they don’t understand why some of us are ‘miffed’.
One time at the fire dept we ‘self insured’.
Every year the city put out bids for our insurance.
And every so often our plans would change- you would go in and get briefed on the new plan and all.
So one year they decided to do the self insurance thing.
The city hires someone to administrate the plan [Entrust] but they only do the clerical work- the pool of money is simply the money the city collects from the workers.
Risky indeed- one guy with HIV and the pool is empty.
So we had a bunch of disgruntled fire fighters to say the least.
It didn’t help much that some of us veterans kinda teased them a bit.
They would ask ‘what’s self insurance’.
We told them ‘whoever is on duty that night- they will provide the health care for your family’
Yeah- at our fire dept we also ran the EMS service [ambulance].
Over the years we had various medical criteria that we had to meet.
For most of my time I was an EMT.
Some of the guys were Paramedics.
Others held something called ECA.
This was truly the bottom of the line certification.
It was basically a glorified first aid thing.
Most of the Captains held this- eventually it was done away with all together.
So- we told the new guys ‘yeah- that’s what self insurance is- we will be providing the care to ourselves- just hope you don’t get stuck with the ECA when you call for help’.
Needless to say- they were livid.
You know- kidding around breaks the ice at a job like that. LOL
One more from the fire dept. and I’ll be thru.
The town I worked in was a great little city- Kingsville.
My retirement comes from that job.
We would drive around often- whether a fire or simply doing maintenance on the fire hydrants.
So we would see all the little FIX A FLAT shade tree mechanics all over the place.
We would get a kick out of the signs that said ‘WE FIX FLAT’.
I mean we didn’t expect the guys to be geniuses- but at least put an S at the end of flat.
So one time I told one of my buddies ‘man- you’ll never guess what happened- I brought my truck to the tire guy- and had a couple of flats’.
He fixed one and said he was finished.
I told him ‘man- what about the other flat’?
He said ‘can’t you read the sign?’ Nuff said.
1848- WISCONSIN AND THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR [OR DOCK?]
Let’s cover the recall election in Wisconsin and a few other news events.
I read an article the other day- by the AP.
It said ‘the Republicans could extend the tax cuts if they wanted to- but they don’t want to help the President so it’s unlikely to happen’.
I’m sure many unsuspecting folk believe this- even though it’s a lie.
The Republicans have actually said they want to extend the cuts- the President is threatening a veto if they do.
The Pres wants to let the Bush cuts expire at the end of the year- all of them [except for those making under 250,000 a year].
Some Dems [Pelosi, Schumer] want them to expire on millionaires and over [because they have a lot of rich folk they represent- and they don’t want to raise taxes on their people who make over 250,000 a year].
So- the lines are drawn.
Yet- the paper said ‘the Repubs don’t want to extend the tax cuts and help the Pres’.
Okay- that’s what you call ‘the main stream media’ they lie often- and could care less.
Now- Walker won his recall challenge and the media also went nuts.
Ed Shultz- the nut on MSNBC- has been a strong supporter of the unions and has followed the recall closely.
Now- for full disclosure- I am a member of the IAFF [international firefighters union].
I was involved with collective bargaining my whole life- I know the scoop.
When Walker became governor he dropped the right to bargain for some union people.
They still had their unions [something Rachael Maddow needs to learn- another MSNBC person who is misinformed. She thinks that dropping bargaining is losing the union- wrong].
The Unions in Wisconsin got mad and did a recall election.
After walker won- the exit polls showed that 38% of union households voted for walker.
Schultz was incensed- he said ‘how could you vote for him! He hates you- he wants to destroy you!! I guess Obama was right- you folk who cling to your God and guns- you never learn’.
Why liberals allow the liberal media to trash them- and keep watching- is beyond me.
What’s the MAIN reason Walker won?
Some say lots of outside money came in and swayed the vote.
Others say the people are ignorant.
In Wisconsin- like many other states and cities- one of the major expenses is the pension benefits for retired public sector workers.
In some states [Rhode Island] it’s almost half of the entire budget- they are on the verge of bankruptcy.
Yesterday San Jose and Sand Diego were in the news- they too have cut the benefits for their retired workers.
In San Jose- the union is suing the mayor- a Democrat- over this.
In these cities/states- when you look at the budget- you have no other choice but to reign in the cost of the benefits to the retirees.
Now- many in the media said ‘Walker is balancing the books on the backs of the average Joe’.
But- if this is the largest expense to the city/state- then you have no other choice but to cut there.
Some say ‘just raise the taxes on the rich/corporations’.
Actually Cali and N.Y. and other places tried it- and many businesses left the state- they lost more income then they made by doing this.
So- the people in Wisconsin saw this- and they voted for Walker.
Okay- there are other ‘side reasons’ too- but for the most part they saw the numbers- and are not stupid.
But when the media says ‘they must be stupid- that’s why they voted the wrong way’. That’s just condescending.
This same media- who thinks you are dumb- reported about a Japanese dock that landed on the shores of California yesterday.
Of course we have all the debris from the Tsunami that’s been making its way over to the U.S.
We have had lots of cases of stuff already washing up.
So the report [CNN?] said ‘mystery dock- will the mystery ever be solved’?
Yeah- they went on to show the dock- they explained that some people who have been following the aftermath of the tsunami have said things this big should not have arrived yet.
There have been reports of Japanese boats also showing up close to our shore- wrecks from the disaster.
Now- they went on for about an hour talking about this ‘mystery’ as in if it was an alien spaceship.
What’s the mystery- we have debris floating from Japan- it’s been landing on our shores- and this is debris from Japan.
After about an hour I’m sure some producer said ‘get that stupid headline down’!
Yeah- the mystery has been solved.
Now- these are the same media that think you are stupid- that you [some of you] voted for Walker because you cling to your ‘God and guns’.
I’ll end with Jack Cafferty [CNN].
I kinda like old Jack.
I grew up in the local media market where Jack got his experience.
So last night he did his rant about the debt- yes- he’s mad that we have a 16 trillion dollar debt and ‘nobody wants to fix it’.
He talked about the real threat- and he said we are in an election year- and therefore both sides wont act.
Now- I’m not a conservative nor a tea partier.
But let’s do a little history here.
When Obama came into office- for the first time in memory- we had one party controlling everything [White house- Senate and House].
You also had what’s called a Super Majority- in the senate.
They had a 60 vote majority- a filibuster proof majority.
So- after the first year being wasted on Obama care- as they ended their session a reporter asked Harry Reid ‘are you going to pass a budget being you have the majority all the way around’?
Reid's response was- no- let the Repubs do one and they can get the blame for it.
What? The Repubs were a minority- in both houses.
It seemed ludicrous to think this way.
Then we had the midterm elections- and it was a blowout- the Repubs took the majority in the House- the Senate held.
So the next 2 years the Repubs passed budgets in the house- actual budgets that made tough choices- they did cut the growth of entitlements and made an attempt to balance the books.
The Dems simply used the budgets as political attacks- they did exactly what Reid said 'let them get the blame for it' and they were the chief 'blamers' [anybody remember the Dem ad that had Ryan throwing grandma off the cliff?]
Okay- we have had 4 years of a Democrat Presidency- 2 of which the Dems held the majority in both houses.
They never passed a budget.
The Repubs came to bat the last 2 years- even though they are still a minority- they simply have a majority in the house.
Yet- they still passed a budget- and it was shot down by the Dems. in the Senate.
Okay- to Mr. Cafferty- one side has made an attempt to fix the thing- the other has not.
As we end the first term of Obama- after 4 years of ‘kicking the ball down the field’.
He has said ‘if you elect me once more I will pass a budget- this time’.
If you had 4 years- and by law are required to pass one- and you did not do it with a super majority- how do you expect us to believe you will do it now?
The odds of losing the Senate are possible.
You will never get the house back.
And you had 2 years of a super majority to do it.
The only possible solution- in my mind- is to elect a majority of fiscal conservatives [some Democrats fit this too- look at all the Clinton 'gaffes’ these last few days].
I mean if you made excuses- when you had one of the greatest majorities in the history of the country- then there is no way you will do it now.
So- people are not stupid- they see the debt- the writing on the wall.
They saw it in Wisconsin- they see it in San Jose- San Diego and Rhode Island.
They are making the tough decisions- even the Democrat mayors and governors [Cuomo in N.Y.]
It’s not that we hate the unions- or that we are clinging to ‘our God and guns’.
No- it’s simple common sense.
Or you can still keep listening to the main stream media- you know- the ones who can’t seem to explain that mystery dock.
1849- SHREK- A CITY- AND WATER FROM A ROCK
I want to end the week with at least some bible stuff- but let me share a few more homeless stories.
I have been getting with the guys the past few days and have not written about it every time.
A few notable things.
I heard that Chris- a homeless friend for many years- drove to Louisiana with another friend [a former ship captain- a Greek].
And Chris actually got a machinists job making 15 bucks an hour.
I was happy to hear the great news.
I have written about Chris before- he always told me he was a machinist- I think from the classic Youngstown area [Ohio- Springsteen’s famous song].
One day I had Chris over at the house.
My dad gave me these antique boxes of his father’s machinist tools many years ago.
As I kid I used to go thru the boxes in my garage [for any of my old friends who read the site- do you remember these tools?]
So when Chris saw them- he knew them like a carpenter knows a hammer.
So I knew he wasn’t making the whole ‘I’m a machinist’ thing up.
But I also could tell that Chris- like most of the street guys- has some type of mental problem.
So I never knew if he really was as good as he made it sound. But after hearing that he got hired- I was glad.
Dirk [another long time friend- a good friend] has been messing with the radiator on his van the last few days.
He lives in the van- I see it parked in the various parking lots on a rotating basis.
Dirk claims to be ‘a winter Texan’ sort of like he’s a retired tourist guy.
But the truth is- he is homeless- has been for years.
Anyway- he needed a ride to the other side of town to buy a new radiator- I obliged.
Henry went with us- Henry loves the fellowship- he’s the scholar friend- homeless too- but he picks my brain lots.
Dirk offered to give me 5 bucks for gas- it was about a 10 mile trek.
But I told him ‘no way’.
About half way back- he realizes he left his cell phone at the shop.
I was like ‘how did you do that- I never put my cell phone on a table at a store- when I’m done- it goes in my pocket’.
Any way- I told Dirk ‘don’t worry- we’ll get it’.
I kinda felt like taking the 5 bucks now- but let it slide [I have been giving the guys change from 20’s the last couple of weeks- I try to ‘spread the wealth around’ Obama style!]
Yesterday I helped Tammy [I do usually give Tammy a few dollars every time I see her].
Tammy is a ‘working girl’.
Her and her boyfriend [Shrek] are Meth addicts.
It’s funny- I have been giving Tammy a few dollars for years.
Someone gave her a girls bike yesterday- but she had to pick it up [a lady at the mission gave it to her for some yard work she did- Tammy was going to give it to a friend’s daughter for an upcoming birthday].
So I told Tammy ‘I’ll pick it up for you and put it in the truck’.
She was going to walk over and ride it home [home- her and Shrek are staying in some broken down trailer].
I do realize it looks like I’m a ‘customer’ I mean I give the girl dollars- and then a ride.
I don’t really care to be honest- but I do see how people could talk.
Anyway- when we dropped the bike off- I saw Shrek [he’s a big kid- around 35 years’ old- 300 lbs].
He’s really a nice kid.
I gave him and Tammy a nice tent once.
They were living in the brush at the time and the tent was a 2 person size- a nice one I bought from wal mart.
They never forgot that.
Shrek was glad to see me- it’s been a while.
Okay- let me cover Deuteronomy chapter 4.
I have been reading it this week [it was a chapter from the Mass this past Sunday].
Moses is going over the story of the Jewish people right before they enter the Promised Land.
He tells them that God did a great work by leading them out of Egypt and being with them all this time.
A few points.
Moses tells them that God was angry with him and because of this he will not ‘go in and take the land’.
This 'anger’ moment was when God told Moses to speak to the Rock when the people were complaining of thirst.
For you ‘non bible readers’ this would be when Charlton Hesston delivered the people form Egypt and they went thru the Red sea and were in the wilderness.
At various times Moses loses his temper with the Jewish people.
This Rock incident was the one time God said ‘okay- that’s it Moses- you blew it one too many times- you can’t go in to the land’.
Moses was to speak to the Rock and water would come out.
He got mad- and struck the Rock- twice- with his famous rod.
The water came out.
Which was a type of ‘God striking the Rock’ [Jesus was punished for us on the Cross- Isaiah 53 says it pleased THE LORD to bruise him- God punished his Son on our behalf- Jesus was ‘the rock’ that the water flowed from [a symbol of the Holy Spirit]. On the Cross a soldier put a spear in the side of Jesus and water came out].
So the striking of the rock was a symbol that God would use- but striking it twice ruined the symbol.
The book of Hebrews says Jesus was struck only once for sin- not repeatedly.
So because of this Moses could not go in to the land.
Okay- to my bible scholars out there- I found a verse where Moses makes it into the land.
No trick [not really].
In the New Testament Jesus was transfigured before the disciples- the Mount of Transfiguration.
At the time the bible says Moses and Elijah appeared with him.
Of course- they were in the Promised Land at the time.
One more thing from this chapter.
It also talks about the cities of refuge.
These were cities  that God set aside- if someone accidently killed another person they could flee to the city for safety.
At the time- if you killed someone- the family of the dead person had the right to ‘avenge the blood’ of their relative.
But if it was an accident- you could run to the ‘city of refuge’ and find safety.
You had to live in the city until the death of the high priest.
After he died- you could go back home.
The 'city of refuge’ is a type of the church- the community of God [not the building!].
We are all guilty of the innocent Blood of Jesus [he died for us].
We can ‘flee to the city of refuge’ and find safety from our guilt- as long as the high priest lives [Hebrews/Romans says we are saved by his life- he lives].
We also can ‘inherit the promise’ enter back into the land- after ‘he dies’.
Jesus died- and rose again- so we too could partake of the true inheritance- not a ‘city made with hands- but an eternal one in the heavens’ Hebrews.
1850- I AM JUST A COWBOY- LONESOME ON THE TRAIL…
This week we were treated to the singing cowboy- I think from Texas?
I’ll admit- I don’t watch American idol- or any of the other shows like that.
But because the cowboy made the news- I saw the scoop.
What happened was you had this talented singer- who stuttered.
He was interesting- fit the Mel Tillis style.
When he was asked about the stutter- he said he got it when a grenade injured him in action in Afghanistan.
Of course the judges- and the audience- loved the story.
The only problem was- he made the whole thing up.
So last night I saw a news report- he seems to have been faking war injuries for years.
Though he did serve in Afghanistan- for a month- yet he seemed to have some issue with his hearing- and was sent home.
As he was being interviewed- after the story came out- he was crying- yes stuttering- and he said ‘this is my truth- this is what I have believed’.
Sort of like truth is relative- if the story ‘helps’ you out- then it’s ‘your truth’.
I remember the old days of listening to classic rock on those vinyl albums.
Yeah- you put them on the ‘turntable’ and the technology was so advanced- you even had that little lever that you pulled to make the Album replay- all on its own!
I still remember the cover to my Thin Lizzy album- I mean those guys rocked.
You might remember the hit song ‘the boys are back in town’ there was another song on the album- called ‘The Cowboy Song’.
Yeah- our stuttering cowboy knows how to sing- and tell tall tales at the same time.
There have been a few news stories of importance this past week.
One of the top ones was the leaking of all the national security info.
I was surprised to see both Dems and Repubs calling for an investigation.
Diane Feinstein- the Dem senator form Cali- she said she has never seen the level of leaks this bad in her 11 years on the Senate Intelligence committee.
What are the leaks?
These are leaks that show the president in tough situations- doing all he can to fight terror- and basically making him look like a tough guy.
The pres denies- in a Clintonian way- that he ‘authorized the leaks of classified material’.
When I first heard the denial- I thought ‘he knows about it’.
As someone who really liked Obama at the start- I have followed him these last few years- and he has done lots of ‘tricky’ stuff- that at first I brushed off- but after a while I realized- well sometimes ‘cowboys like to tell stories’.
As I listened to both sides- McCain, King- a few other Senators and congressman have showed that some of the leaks had to have come from inside the White House- from the small group of people around the pres.
They were detailed accounts of what Biden said- or what Obama did [shuffling the cards that have the names of terrorists].
They brought out the fact that much of the detail- that came out in the N.Y. Times- were things that only a few inner circle people would know about.
While it is true that many people knew about some of the other info- like the Stuxnet virus.
Yet only a few- inside the White House- would know the details of what Biden said- when there were only 5 or so people in the room.
Also- the paper that reported the leaks- said the sources were from the White House [as opposed to the FBI- or CIA].
Now- some of the leaked info is bad- we ‘leaked’ that both the U.S. and Israel were indeed responsible for the Stuxnet computer virus that ruined the nuclear centrifuges in Iran.
Last year Iran had their nuclear facilities damaged- at the time they did not know for sure that it was a virus- and they did not know- for sure- who did it.
Now they know- someone leaked it.
There are a few other things that came out- details of the Bin laden killing- stuff about the underwear bomber.
The thing that makes people question whether or not Obama [his political team] are actually behind it- is all the leaks put Obama in a good light- a terror fighting man.
He even had some movie makers who were covering the Bin laden raid- in some secret meetings- when they were discussing the aftermath of the raid.
It was reported that the Intelligence people were shocked that they sat in on the meetings.
Okay- more than likely he [his team] are behind the leaks.
It was done in a way that if it comes out that he did know about them- that he could say ‘I denied authorizing the leaks of classified materials’ and simply say when he gave the go ahead to release it- he ‘declassified’ it.
Now- like I say- I have watched/heard the pres these last 3 years- he does do this stuff- lots.
Just a few quick examples.
It came out this week that Obama was indeed a member of a political party in Chicago called ‘the new party’.
This is a left leaning group- socialist- that advocate for a European type govt.
Okay- in 2008- a news reporter- Stanley Kurtz- reported that Obama was associated with the group.
He vehemently denied it- it was all lies from some ‘racist guy who hates Blacks’.
The whole thing- you’ve heard it before.
So now we find out- that he was indeed a member.
It came out in an investigation of another group- Acorn.
It was in the minutes of the meeting where he joined- pledged allegiance to the group’s ideals- the whole 9 yards.
Are they denying it now?
What’s the big deal?
If you are running for pres  and a top candidate is known to have been a member of a socialist group- that usually would kill your chances.
So he simply lied- not a big crime- but one of many.
Obama wrote 2 books- autobiographies no less- in his early 40’s [late 30’s?]
Now- for your only 2 books- at a young age- to be about you- does say something.
In the books there were ‘cowboy stories’ if you will.
Of course- when writing the books- you think ‘who will ever go thru them with a fine tooth comb’.
But when you become pres- some will.
So- some people on the right did indeed do this- and they found lies.
The pres denied it.
Yet now- after many years of denials- a biographer who is currently doing a friendly book on the pres- well he ran into some trouble during his research.
He could not verify some of the stories that the pres told.
Just one example.
Those who critiqued the original books- the president’s critics- said he made up stories about some White girl he was dating- that the places and events that he said took place- were actually fake.
These same events were told earlier- by a man named Bill Ayers [who the pres has tried to distance himself from].
They said Obama simply made the whole thing up.
He adamantly denied it ‘how dare you say he lied- you must be a racist’.
Okay- the new biographer- David Marranis- found out that the pres did indeed make the woman up.
Then they spun the story to say ‘he made a composite woman from various women thru out his life’.
Then you had the Obama defenders- like historian Doug Brinkley- saying ‘the purpose of biographies are not to be factual’.
Wow- thanks Doug.
The point is he denied making up the story for years- now he says it was not true.
This is one of many- I don’t want to give them all.
But after seeing this happen a lot- I simply doubt the things he says.
I don’t hate him- I’m not a racist- but this has happened- a lot.
When the president had to distance himself from his former pastor Rev. Wright.
He said ‘he didn’t know the man held to these extreme views’.
That he was shocked to find out all the stuff Wright said- for 20 years.
When he threw Wright under the bus- he told the country that this was a man he did not really know [like Bill Ayers].
Yet the president had written/spoken about Wright- that he was one of [if not thee] most influential men in his life.
He said Wright baptized his kids- performed ceremonies for their family- he even titled his book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ after a line from Wright.
He attended the church for 20 years.
He had lots of wrights’ tapes and C.D.’s that he listened to.
He even said [before he threw him under the bus] that he could no more disown Wright than he could his own Father or family member.
His own testimony was that he knew Wright- loved Wright- was influenced by him- more than other man alive.
Then he said ‘I never really knew the man’.
How can this be?
I guess I’ll end with Ayres.
Bill Ayer’s was the terrorist that blew up a bomb in the 60’s, 70’s- I think a cop got killed by the bomb.
Anyway- he was a radical left wing guy- involved with a lot of the social unrest at the time.
The bomb case was thrown out of court because the govt. messed up some way in the case- Ayres has never denied his involvement.
Okay- Ayers and Obama were said to have been friends.
People that knew them knew this.
But during the campaign Obama denied knowing the man.
He sat on a board with Ayers- but said ‘people sit on the same board with other people all the time- that doesn’t mean they know them’.
He lived on the same block.
The excuse was ‘Chicago is big- you might live on the same block and not know someone’.
Then it was revealed that when the pres launched his political career- it was from Ayers house.
How did that happen?
It just happened to be some strangers house on the block that had lots of room.
I mean nobody would ever get away with doing stuff like this- not when your running for president.
Yet- till this day- Obama says he barely knows the man.
Okay- when the critics went thru Obama’s books- to find the stuff.
One story was Obama walking down to the Hudson River one day- he saw some kid and said ‘see how the mighty river flows in and out’ and he went on to give a sort of parable about life.
This same exact event is in Bill Ayres book- but it happened to him years before.
The same exact event- with the same words.
Many people have said that Ayers Ghost wrote the Obama book.
Yet the pres does not know the man.
I’m sure our singing Cowboy meant well when he said ‘this is my truth’.
But after you tell ‘your truth’ one too many times- it becomes questionable.
1851- IS THE PRIVATE SECTOR DOING FINE?
The other day I posted about the ‘new narrative’.
I talked about the argument that austerity [cutting spending] in the Euro zone- as well as the U.S. - is the new reason to blame for the globes economic woes.
I won’t re-post my rebuttal- suffice it to say I don’t agree.
So- when the president made his recent gaffe ‘the private sector is doing fine’ the right went nuts- and the left ran with the new [false] narrative.
With all the talking heads out there- you would think that they would have put these things together- after all they get paid lots of money.
I mean even though I’m a regular critic of MSNBC- I do see them as family.
When the Nielsen ratings come out- and Chris Matthews rating is 2 people- at least he knows his wife watches the show [or has it on mute?].
And I’m number 2.
So let’s weave the web here.
When Obama kicked off his campaign year- he had some very rough starts.
The Bain capital thing- well that didn’t work too well.
Then they jumped to the Massachusetts job record of Romney- when he was governor.
Okay- that’s fair game.
But the argument they were making was Romney was a failure while overseeing the state.
Yet when he left office- unemployment was under 5 %- under Obama- we have 8.2.
Yeah- they dropped that line too.
So- the new story is that the Repub led congress [house] are to blame for the unemployment rate.
That Obama put a ‘jobs bill’ on the table- and the Repubs refuse to sign the thing.
Thus ‘the private sector is doing fine’ but because the jobs bill- which is geared towards providing around 250 billion dollars to the states- and union and govt. workers- that because the Repubs won’t pass it- therefore the ‘public sector’ is dragging down the economy.
This is the same argument that says austerity measures are the cause of all the worlds woes.
Last night as I was news surfing I saw some fill in for Maddow on her show- he seems to be a nice kid- have heard him before [Ezra something?]
He did the whole show based on this argument.
He said Romney and the Repubs are hypocrites because when they are in charge they are for public sector workers [cops- firemen- teachers].
But now that Obama is in charge they are cutting them back [note- they were never for trillions of stimulus- as a regular means of providing jobs. They were for the regular fed money that would normally go to the states].
Of course- this is the attack on the dumb [it was dumb] Romney line ‘we don’t need more firefighters and teachers and cops’.
What did Romney really mean?
He is arguing the conservative view that says the jobs market really isn’t a function of spending more federal money.
That even though the fed does provide money to the states [teachers] yet in the long run it’s the local and state economies that will decide whether or not to hire more of these ‘public’ sector workers.
As a firefighter- we did not get federal money to hire new guys- but if our city was doing well financially- then we had the tax revenue to hire new guys.
That’s Romney’s point.
Last year- the govt. did distribute billions [yes- with a b] to the states to stave off the laying off of many teachers and cops and firefighters.
Basically the original 800 billion stimulus simply paid the checks for another year.
But in reality you can’t keep propping up the jobs like this.
For one thing- it’s not ‘fair’.
Look- any president can say ‘let’s spend another trillion- during my term- to simply pay people so they stay employed’.
If the majority of the money- like in this case- is going to workers who give your party lots of money [unions support Dems] then it would be like Bush giving money just to oil field workers- during his whole term
Second- we already have spent a little under 2 trillion fed dollars- propping up the economy.
We had the 900 billion dollar bail out of the banks- and the 800 billion dollar stimulus money.
Obama is blaming the Repubs for not passing his ‘jobs bill’.
Is this really a jobs bill?
It was simply another 250 billion dollars of ‘stimulus’.
We- as a nation- can’t keep doing this.
Overspending is what got the Euro zone in deep trouble- not austerity.
Our very high debt is what is getting us in trouble- as a nation.
Right now- 40 cents of every dollar the govt. spends simply goes to pay the interest on the debt.
Imagine if almost half of your household income was simply interest on your credit card.
Would the answer be ‘lets get another card’?
So- the pres- and some progressive economists [Krugman- and the MSNBC crowd] are saying ‘let’s get another card’.
The Repubs are saying ‘no- let’s start paying the card down’.
You can decide which road is better.
While the president does have some truth to the argument he made the other day- the ‘macro’ picture looks much different.
What was he right about?
When the terrible jobs number came out last month- the 69,000 new jobs- part of the bad number did have to do with govt. layoffs.
The private sector created a little over 80,000 new jobs.
The govt [public sector] lost around 20,000.
So he was trying to make the point ‘see- if the Repubs let me spend another 250 billion- then the govt. would not have laid off folk- and the economy would be fine’.
This argument is being made right now- on both sides of the pond- but it is really not the full story.
In our country we have millions of people without work- the unemployment rate is 8.2%.
And the small % of govt. jobs that are being lost is not the reason why the country is in trouble.
And the solution- long term- is not to keep getting the country in debt.
Anyone can say ‘pass this jobs bill’.
If they simply mean ‘let’s spend billions more- to keep people on the job- just until my election [or term] is over’ then it really is not a jobs bill.
It’s another 250 billion in stimulus.
I think we already spent too much.