Saturday, July 30, 2011

[1701] DON THE DUD

Well this morning I was at least hoping for some wind- got nada. For those of you who have never lived in the gulf- or a hurricane area- every year the local [and national] media have a tendency to ‘hype’ any type of disturbance in the gulf.

As Don developed into a tropical storm the other day- our local media began the regular routine of tracking the storm- ‘will it hit here- what are the tracking routes showing’ as I watched I said to myself ‘self- they don’t realize that the graphics they are using- the whole cone of danger- look exactly like the graphics they use for a cat. 4 hurricane’.

I realized that even though the actual satellite imagery is obviously different- yet the ‘narrative’ surrounding the entire event stays the same- and to the average grandma- glimpsing the local weather report- well yes- it looks like a hurricane is on the way!

Last night I watched the stupidity of the media- the Repubs passed their bill- finally- and it was off to the Senate- and of course the Senate has already said it would be dead on arrival. As I listened to the media- many Dems were sort of treated like they were the enlightened folk- and the reporters were like ‘and when will the Tea Party quit holding the whole country hostage- and purposefully stop trying to destroy the country’.

And the Dems would say ‘okay- they played their little game- in the House- and when will they stop playing these games- and really come to a solution’.

I began to realize that the Dems were really not presenting a totally honest picture- and with the help of the media- were actually positioning themselves for going past the Aug. 2 deadline.

Now- I’m not a tea partier- in any way, shape or form- I’m talking narrative here [remember Don] the story they are trying to tell- is not really as bad as they are making it sound like. I’m not saying the threat of default is not bad- it is very bad. I’m saying the story behind why the Dems [and Obama] won’t actually sign any of these Repub bills is not what they’re making it sound like.

The Repubs in the house have passed 2 bills- and sent them to the Senate. Both of these bills have cuts to go along with the increase in the debt limit- they also- now- have included a future vote on a constitutional amendment to have a federal balanced budget.

These bills have one more thing- the Repub bills have the House and Senate revisiting the whole thing again- in 6-9 months.

This is the main thing the pres. does not want. Why? The hard right says it’s for purely political reasons- the pres. does not want to have this fight again in the midst of a re-election campaign. The left say a 6 month plan would cause the rating agencies to drop our rating- because they think we will be on the brink again soon.

Both of these have some truth to them. But the facts right now- on the ground- are the Dems in the senate have already agreed to just about everything the Repubs have said- the Reid bill cuts 2.2 trillion- along with a debt limit increase- but it takes you past the election.

So now- why are Peirs Morgan- and Fahreed- and all the other talking heads saying ‘the tea partiers are driving us over the cliff- its Armageddon’ why? A bill with a promise [not an actual mandate] to have a future vote on a fed. Balanced budget is not the end of the world. Geez- it would take 2/3rds of the house and senate to pass it- then it would be sent to the states to get ratified [probably would never pass].

49 states already have it [and it doesn’t work so great- California is one of them]. So- why not appease the 80 tea party ‘nut jobs’ and sign the thing? I mean you already agree to the whole concept- because that’s the same basic plan that Reid has put out- except the Repub bill makes you do this again before the election.

Now- for the media to be saying ‘why have the tea party terrorists taken us to the precipice- why!’ geez- why not ask Obama- heck- we know you tried to compromise- and you did take some heat from the left- but geez- are you going to let the nation default- mainly because you don’t want to have to do this again in the middle of an election’?

I mean- the bills on the ‘table’ are very close- swallow the promised future vote on a fed. balanced budget- and ‘save the world’.

The media has simply decided to run with ‘the tea partiers are destroying the country with their proposals’ actually- the proposals are conservative- I’ll grant you that- but there are really no big differences- certainly not big enough to cause a default- to threaten a veto.

I saw a story one day- whenever I see something on evolution- I like reading it. You usually can see the bias right at the start. The story was about this new potential missing link. They found this ‘monkey’ tribe that mastered the use of tools- they made hammers and chisels and used them regularly in these caves. Wow! What a find.

The story showed how these caves had these monkey bones [skulls only] and these caves had these make shift tools in them. The skulls were all in a pile- and the tools around some table like device [these monkeys were obviously very skilled in the building trade].

The article said that this was scientific evidence for evolution. After all- who can deny that the skulls and chisels are real! I found it interesting- that the skulls were all in a pile- that there were no other bones- just skulls. Okay- according to the article- I have to believe that these advanced monkeys- either were all killed at one time- while huddling in the corner- or as they aged- they had a strange tradition- as they felt the big one coming on [you know- Fred Sanford- I’m coming home Elizabeth] they ran to the corner of the cave- laid down just in the right spot- placing their head over grandpa- and died.

Or could there be another narrative- another view of the actual evidence- don’t deny the evidence- just quit adding ‘your narrative’ and telling everyone it’s the only real way to see it.

In many parts of the world- the indigenous tribes do in fact eat monkey brain. These tribes make chisels/hammers to crack the heads open. Is it possible that they were simply getting the monkey heads- one or 2 at a time- having a ‘man cave’ moment- watching the super bowl- and after a fun night of monkey brains and beer- they tossed the skulls into a pile. That’s why you have skulls only.

The other view has some dogs coming into the cave- taking all the other bones- and not touching the skulls- okay- 2 views. I like to crab- after we have a crab boil- I guarantee you- you will find a bunch of crab shells in one spot- did they all naturally die in that spot- and did they actually craft the nut cracker and the table that it sits on- come on.

So as we close the week- the media is warning ‘Armageddon is here- the tea partiers have driven us over the edge- the end is near’ I guess the only person that comes out looking like a rose is sitting in some hotel on the left coast- listening to all these warnings and saying ‘see- I told you so’ you sure did Harold- you sure did [Camping].

Friday, July 29, 2011


Once again I feel like I’m in a bind- I just had a dream [actually- 4 hours ago] and I felt like I should talk about it a little. I usually don’t like doing stuff like this- because of the abuse that many have engaged in with stuff like this- you know ‘God told me/you to test him with giving me a thousand dollar offering’ the whole deal.

Okay- in the dream I was up north [N.Y. /N.J.] in a busy/populated area. I was being pursued by some type of authority figure- and was actually innocent- they thought I committed a crime. As I was on the run I realized I was being recorded- and after I got caught I saw the recording- and I was in the image of a woman. Now- I really hate sharing that- maybe I’ll get to why in a moment- but that was the dream.

After I awoke I thought ‘geez- I don’t think that one means anything’ and I felt like the Lord wanted me to read Revelation chapter 12. I did know that this chapter spoke about the woman and her seed [kids].

In the chapter you see a woman that gives birth to a ‘man child’ and the dragon [satan] persecutes the woman and her child. The woman has 12 stars on her crown- the dragon has 7 crowns [various heads and horns] the crowns denote authority.

In John’s gospel Jesus talks about child birth- he says when a woman is in labor- she’s going through so much pain- she just wants the whole thing to stop. After she gives birth- she’s so happy- she forgets the pain.

Okay- all these images are speaking about the difficulty and persecution Christians go through. In the bible- the thing that has value- is the church. The church is described as a bride. She is the ‘virtuous woman’ of Proverbs 31. Her price is far above rubies. The thing of value in our lives are the actual people ‘you birth’ by speaking Gods word to them- they are ‘birthed’ into seeing the kingdom of God in new ways.

This people group [the man child that the woman gives birth to- which of course is a symbol of Jesus- the church is also called The Body of Christ] are the thing of value. The woman [a symbol of natural Israel and/or the church] has authority- God gave her authority because of the things that she went thru. That’s the crown with 12 stars.

The dragon [satan] who goes after her- he too has authority in a sense [the 7 crowns] theologians debate whether its real or contrived- the point I would make is he’s been at this game for a while- he does take prisoners- and even kills a few every now and again [you know- Jagger sang ‘I’ve been around for many a year- a man of wealth and fame. Made damn sure the Pilate washed his hands- and sealed his fate. Made tracks for the Troubadours who got killed before they reached Bombay. Stuck around St. Petersburg till I saw it was a time for a change. Won’t you guess my name?]

These past few weeks I have been reading verses on the value of the people themselves- ministry is not you convincing people to support some type of good work your doing- it’s you sacrificing your life for others- and when they too give of themselves for others- sharing Gods word and love- then you have started a real process- a real ‘church growth’ movement- the way Jesus taught.

And of course- when you’re in a position of influence [the woman giving birth] then you become a target of attack- your on the verge of giving birth to this ‘son’ and the dragons mad as hell.

Okay- could say lots more- but let me get to the example.

Many years ago- when I first started our little Kingsville church- I had all types of people attend/join. One of the guys was a sorcerer converted to preacher brother. He told me [and showed me] all the books and stuff he used to be into. He also manipulated people a lot.

He would call you up out of the blue and say ‘f—k you’ and hang up. He also did worse- lots. One time one of the church members told me that ‘brother so and so is telling people you are both gay- and sleeping together’. Now- I knew this person [the sorcerer/preacher] was gay- and had a past history that was really screwed up. He did start rumors like this with other churches.

So that night I took the church member who he said it too- he sat in my car with the window down- and I knocked on the accusers door. He was surprised to see me- I said ‘Manuel- did you tell Emmet that we were gay lovers?’ He looked at me like he was in shock ‘of course not- I would never make something up like that’ and then after he denied it over and over again- Emmet got out of the car and Manuel knew he was caught.

I had to ‘expel’ Manuel from the church meetings after that. It’s not that I couldn’t forgive him- it’s just the fact that he was there only to destroy churches. This was part of what he was taught during the witchcraft days.

This began a few years of nonstop assaults on me and my family. False calls made to the fire house. My car getting windows smashed/tires slashed. People showing up at my house- when I was on duty- at 2-3 in the morning- trying to get in.

It was bad. Now- I have had problems in life- but the gay accusation- well that was never my thing. If it were- I would either not tell this story- or just admit the thing- but the truth is- that’s just not my thing.

Have I ever messed up in other ways? Yes- my temptation [like most men] was the woman, substance abuse- so yeah- I’ll admit that. But I wanted to tell this story so you can see how the ‘dragon’ attacks people by making accusations against them- that’s how he works.

I eventually had to move my family out of Kingsville- and that’s how we got to Corpus.

Over the years Manuel did admit what he did- and he admitted he did lie. I forgave him- prayed with him when he came by the fire house- and did the right thing by continuing to help him- even after all this crap.

I did get mad a few times- even got into some ‘I’ll kick you’re a…. if I catch you on the street’ type stuff. I did blow it with the anger thing- I’ll admit- Hebrews says ‘Moses rejected the pleasure of sin and chose to suffer with Gods people’ the bible says sin has pleasure for a moment. Yes- these few fights I had during this season- I asked the Lord to forgive me later- but they were indeed very pleasurable.

Okay- if you want to be used by God to influence others- to ‘birth people groups’ then you will become a target. The accuser has a degree of authority- like Jagger says- he’s been around for quite some time. He knows how to play the game.

But the woman [the people of God- the church] she has authority too- she has ’12 stars’ on her crown- a crown you receive when you go through tuff stuff in life.

Revelation also says the dragon opened his mouth and cast a great flood- to get the woman [a type of the accusations the devil brings up against people]. The bible says the earth helped the woman- it opened up and swallowed the flood.

As I sit here and type right now- of course there’s a tropical storm in the gulf- will be here tomorrow- heading straight for Corpus. Yes- the flood/rain/storms- there all a part of the journey. As CCR says ‘as long as I remember- the rains been coming down’ and as Jagger says ‘pleased to meet you- wont you guess my name’ yeah- I guessed it a long time ago- but Revelation also says ‘the accuser of the brethren was cast down- and they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony’ at the end of the day- we win. But sure- it’s gonna rain, even flood- every so often.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The week is winding down- and as far as I know- as of last night the president and congress have not been able to reach an agreement on the debt crisis. I do think the president has put himself in somewhat of a corner. In his speech he continued his argument that the deal needs to be balanced with ‘revenue increases’ [which I agree with] and he spoke about the ‘rich’ having to pay their fair share [though they do already pay for most of the taxes in the country- the big corp. loopholes are another matter].

Yet the 2 plans on the table right now- Reid and Boehner- neither one has tax increases. Reid’s is around 2.2 trillion in cuts [over 10 years] with the corresponding debt limit increase. And Boehner’s is 1 trillion- with the same basic plan. Reid's takes you past the next election- Boehner’s doesn’t. Can the president really say ‘I rejected the plan- the country defaulted- all because I wanted a 13 month plan- instead of a 6 month one’.

That just seems untenable to me.

Okay- what about compromise- is it a bad thing? Let me try and tie this in with some comments I made in the last post. In the last post I spoke about the difference between ‘Sola scriptura’ and ‘Solo scriptura’. Sola was the Reformation belief that when the Protestants and the Catholics couldn’t come to an agreement- then at the end of the day- the bible ‘alone’ settles the matter. That’s what Sola [alone] scriptura [scriptures] meant.

Over the centuries many Protestants began to embrace a view of Christianity that said ‘we don’t need/listen to what the traditional churches have to say- or what the Christian church fathers have to say- we have the bible alone to tell us’.

And even though the bible does give us instruction on all areas of life that are pertinent to the Christian experience- yet the bible actually contains within it stories about how the church should regard ‘tradition’ or how they should look to both scripture- and past history- when trying to come to solutions to problems.

In Acts chapter 15 we have the record of how the early church dealt with the problem of Gentile believers coming into the church. The first believers were all Jewish- so when they accepted Jesus as the Messiah- they also kept their Jewish heritage and their observance of the law.

Yet when the gospel started going out to the Gentiles [Acts 13] initially there was no need for converting fully to Judaism in order to be considered part of the church. Yet at the main church in Jerusalem [Acts 15] many Jewish leaders insisted on the Gentiles having to become circumcised and fully put themselves under the entire law.

So Paul and Barnabus- who were the main missionaries that worked with the Gentile believers at the time- they disagreed with the leaders coming out of Jerusalem- and determined that they would all go up to Jerusalem [from the city of Antioch- where these gentile believers were living at the time] and they would bring the question before the leaders- Peter, James and John.

During this discussion [which is the first church council] they listened to Peter’s experience where God showed him to not judge the gentile believers- but to accept them the way they are- as fellow believers in the Lord.

Peter had this experience in Acts chapter 10- God showed him a vision and taught him not to reject the gentile believers.

Then James [who seems to have been the main leader at the Jerusalem church] quotes form ‘the bible’ [the bible they had at this point was the Old Testament] and he quotes a passage from the prophet Amos that seems to go along with what Peter said- that God would raise up gentile believers too.

So after the discussion- James stands up and makes the final decision- with the agreement of the other leaders- and they write a letter and send it back to the gentile believers at Antioch- and they tell them they don’t need to fully convert to Judaism- but simply keep a few important commandments- don’t eat blood- don’t commit sexual sin- and a couple of things like this.

So at the end of the day they came to a position of compromise- they listened to all sides- and didn’t simply rely on the ‘bible alone’ that is they sought guidance from the book of Amos- and added that in with the other things that God was showing them at the time.

They were a community of people who were flexible enough to leave room for others who were not exactly like them- yet they did insist on belief in Jesus as the Messiah as the important thing.

As I watch the current debate- I see stubbornness with some- and I see political posturing with others- no one side is totally right- while the other totally wrong.

Last night I saw a shameful thing on the news- Lawrence O’Donnell showed a clip of a teenage girl who had killed herself because she was picked on for being gay. As I watched the story I of course felt sad for the girl’s mom who was talking about the bullying that her daughter endured- and of course it’s wrong to make fun of people- or bully them in any way.

Then they put up a quote from the mother- who said her daughter killed herself because of the ‘conservative’ district she had lived in. At the bottom of the quote- it said ‘Michele Bachman’s district’. This is no longer reporting- unbiased journalism- its people who have agendas that they are so attached too- that they can’t even see how doing this- associating the tragic death of this girl- with a presidential candidate- is so out of line.

The other day I heard a male ‘progressive’ news person talk about Bristol Palin getting ‘knocked up- [like a little slut]- while drunk on wine coolers’. Now- this girl is 20 years old- this happened when she was 16. Can you imagine any news person- speaking publicly like this- about the presidents beautiful daughters in a year or 2 from now- when they are the same age?

When we only see one side as the enemy- when we demonize peoples kids- accuse people of murdering gay kids- simply because they lived in your district- when we get this low- then compromise seems impossible- because you now view the opposing side as the real enemy.

I hope and pray we can get a compromise- for the sake of our country. I hope we can be open to what others are saying- people who have been around longer than us- ‘spiritual’ fathers if you will. Even though we seek God- have the bible- and do our best to determine what’s best- yet it’s also important to respect the opinions of others- don’t demonize everyone who is not just like you [or me] at the end of the day we need each other- even the ones who don’t fit our mold.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


These past few days I have been reading scriptures on the influence of the church in the nations- that is God’s original purpose for the church- to have a people/nation that he could reveal his glory though. This morning I read Zechariah chapter 8- it talks about God restoring Jerusalem and that there will be old men and women dwelling in it- little boys and girls playing in the streets once again.

The impression you get is a sort of ‘block party’ atmosphere- all types of people enjoying life once gain- after a season of captivity. As I read the verse on the old men and women- I thought of Aunt Bee.

Bee was the aunt of one of our original church members. Emmet [Senior- I have also talked about his son on the site- Jr.] became a church member early on. I don’t remember if I met him while preaching at the county jail- or through Elias- another friend who struggled with addiction. Both of them were long time drug addicts.

I would pick up Emmet at his Aunt’s house every week for church- and just visit him every so often. The ‘church’ was a little home group I started from scratch. I fixed up my 2 car garage- and the guys I met from the streets- or at the jail- would become the core group.

Over time Aunt Bee- who raised Emmet- started coming to our meetings- and as an older lady- in her 70’s- she would tell me she was learning the bible for the first time- she really liked it.

I was basically filling the slot that she missed out on- the bible study aspect of Christianity. Bee was a good Catholic lady- and she told me her friends said ‘why do you go to brother Johns’ church- your Catholic’ she would tell them ‘because I learn things’.

I never tried to ‘convert’ Bee- she stayed Catholic- and that was fine with me. Many Protestant bible churches do fill a need that some of the historic churches lack- simple bible study. Yet many of the Protestant ‘bible’ churches lack what the historic churches offer- a historic connection to traditional Christianity.

During the Reformation of the 16th century- the Protestant reformers [who were all initially Catholic] fought with the Roman church over doctrinal issues- and during this fight the reformers stated a few main principles- one of which is called Sola Scriptura- which means ‘the bible alone’.

What they meant by this was on issues where the church could not come to agreement with the dissenters- that at the end of the day- the bible would have the final say.

Now- the common mistake many Protestants fall into- is thinking that this principle means ‘Solo Scriptura’ is a belief that all Christianity is simply a process of reading/organizing your life around the bible. That is the view that the bible is all there is.

This is not the historic Protestant position- the reformers themselves [Calvin. Luther, etc.] referred often to the early writings of the church fathers [Augustine] in trying to prove their points.

I have found it helpful over the years to spend time reading/hearing the voice of the historic church- as well as being up on the bible. The other day I moved a few books from my office into a shelf in the living room- I read an article on how people are selling books ‘by the inch’ just to decorate their homes. What types of books- that didn’t matter- they were just for show [ouch!]

So I figured I’ll move the real McCoy- classics that I have read and re-read over the years.

I was glad to see that I still had the Confessions of Saint Augustine- a classic from the 4th century. Augustine was a Catholic bishop from Hippo- North Africa. He is often associated with the doctrine of Predestination [which he did believe in] and is loved by many Catholics and Protestants alike.

The major reformer who launched the reformation was Martin Luther- a German Augustinian monk- Luther was also a strong believer in the doctrine of predestination- though its common to associate the doctrine with John Calvin, Luther too was a strong believer in it.

One day Aunt Bee shared a story with me- she used to visit her daughter who lived in Alaska- her daughter sort of felt like her cousin Emmet was taking advantage of her mom. I was familiar with the environment- my older sister- who has also been a drug addict for many years- has lived with my mom her whole life.

When addicted people live with their parents [aunts] as they age- they fall into an environment where they manipulate the guardian to get what they want [money- borrow the car, etc..]

So Aunt Bee’s daughter felt like Emmet took advantage of her mom. Aunt Bee told me about an Indian she saw one time while visiting Alaska- he was panning for gold in one of the freezing streams- and was wearing an Indian loin cloth and was in the ice cold water. She said how interesting it was to see how other cultures learn to adapt to their environment.

Bee was an educator- she taught at A&I university [Kingsville- Tx.] for many years [now called A&M] and her students were some of the most famous people in Texas- Senators and congress people. I found it interesting how an influential person like Bee- would wind up learning the bible from some Jersey boy- preaching in a garage [I was around 25 at the time].

Bee was a good person- she died many years ago- as has Emmet. Emmet eventually broke the drug habit and married another church member- Janie. She was s single mom with lots of kids- they made a very nice couple. Emmet died at around the age of 50- his liver went out- too many years of drugs eventually got to him. As a matter of fact- Elias- who I think first introduced me to Emmet- he eventually became a preacher and pastored his own church. He started with me- was the song leader and filled in on the days I had to work- and eventually took a position with a church called Victory Outreach- a ministry to addicts.

One day while working at the fire house- I was riding on the ambulance that day and we got a call. As I got to the house- I realized it was Elias’s house- he had a brain aneurism that day- he went into a coma and died a few days later.

I met Elias around 8 years earlier- preaching to him at the jail. Gave him his first bible- which he would always remind me about- and walked with him for a few years. He was ex-air force. He did at least 4 years before he got out and got hooked on hard drugs- mainline addict.

We had lots of good times together- I see his boys every so many years when I venture into Bishop [a small city around 40 miles from where I live]. I think his wife- Janie- still lives there.

The bible says Gods city [a symbol of the church] has old people having fun in the streets [the aunt Bee types] and little boys and girls playing in the streets [too many names to mention in this one- Elias & Janie alone had around 6 kids- Janie & Emmet too- different Janies!].

God’s church/family is a great one- it consists of the great church fathers [men like Augustine] and it extends to the little kids playing in the streets of some small town in South Texas- it even includes those who society has rejected- those who have failed many times in life- and they know it- more than anyone else.

I read a verse the other day- in Psalms ‘sins prevail against us- yet you will save us from our transgressions’ I thank God that he helps people- people who have things that ‘prevail’ against them- he often uses these people to help others- Gods ways are sometimes very hard to understand- his ways are not ours.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Last night the president spoke about the looming crisis of default. He tried to explain why we are at the precipice- and he gave what he felt was a balanced approach to the problem. Let me just hit a few high points of this debate- and try and clear up some confusion I see in the media on how they are reporting the story.

First- lots of news guys are saying ‘the Tea Party Repubs are voting for a default’. Is this true? Actually no. Now- their actions might very well lead to a default- but to say they are outright voting for one- that’s not true.

Technically a default would be if the U.S. govt. did not make good on its payments to those who hold our debt. When bonds/treasuries mature- and when the interest is due- if the govt. did not meet these obligations- on time- then that’s a default.

Are the Repubs voting for that? No. So why is the media [and the pres. last night] saying this? The tea party guys are saying ‘look- we got elected by people who wanted the out of control spending to stop, that was the main promise we made to them- and we will not vote for a debt ceiling increase- unless we cut an equal [or more] amount of spending to go along with it’.

This has left the Dems and the Repubs bargaining over these last few months. There are legitimate differences between the 2 sides- and they are at a stalemate. Now- the reason we need to raise the debt ceiling is because the govt. cannot ‘rack up debt’ [by actually paying the monthly bills] without congressional approval. In August we will bring in around 170 billion dollars- the bills are around 230 billion- and the interest payments and maturing bonds come to around 25 billion [estimates].

To not raise the debt ceiling- as a strictly financial decision- does not mean your voting for default. The govt. can pay the 25 billion first [which the constitution demands] and then would have to deal with what gets paid next.

Is it responsible to try and make up the difference in one month like this. No. It’s just too much to cut in one month. Yet technically voting against a debt ceiling increase is not the same as voting for default.

Next- was the president totally ‘honest’ in the speech last night? No. What? Are you calling the president a liar! Look- like everyone else- he fibs every now and again. In the speech he really hedged his bets. He said the reason he’s against a short term increase in the ceiling [6-9 months] is because the credit rating agencies [Moody’s, S& P] would more than likely drop our credit rating if we don’t do a long term ceiling limit lift- just long enough to get the president past the next election.

If you follow the story closely- and listen to the non biased financial gurus- they are saying that the rating agencies have already told the insiders that in 6 months the rating will drop. So Geithner and all the president’s men already know this. So when the president says ‘look you Repubs- if you don’t raise it in one shot- into 2013- then the rating drop is your fault’ ah- the games people play.

And of course both sides play the game- most of the time.

Now- the Repubs floated a few budgets over the last year- different plans- put down on paper- that hung them out to dry. Basically Harry Reid has been not doing his job as majority leader [last year he was asked ‘why don’t you raise the debt ceiling before the election- and the Repubs get in?’ He replied- ‘let them do it and get the blame- not us’. He basically has done this with every important issue- even though the majority party are the ones responsible to float budgets and raise ceilings and everything else- he blatantly admits that he wants the other side to do it- so he can blame them] and has said ‘let the Repubs go on record’ then like a bunch of novices- that’s what the Repubs did!

They took the heat- floated a very unpopular plan [Ryan] and the Dems attacked- all out- grandma over the cliff- the whole 9 yards.

Okay- what did this signal to the credit rating agencies? It told them that yes- indeed- the congress more than likely will not deal with the debt problem [not just raising the ceiling] and because of this fear- they realize now that they might have to drop the rating.

All the European nations who have lost their good ratings [Greece] and who are in trouble [Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland] are in trouble by the rating agencies- not because of a false debt ceiling- but because of the actual debt..

The rating agencies are not going to drop our rating simply because the ceiling won’t get raised- they have said this. They are going to drop it because they think the govt. is not really going to deal with the structural problems of the debt.

Reid’s recent plan says he will cut around 2.7 trillion of debt over 10 years. No new taxes- and the ceiling gets raised till 2013. Problem? He’s claiming that 1 trillion of it are cuts to the wars winding down over the next 10 years. Geez- are we really that simple? [these are cuts that are going to made anyway]

Gimmicks like this are why the rating agencies are going to drop our rating- not just a debt ceiling vote of no.

If the final plan- no matter whose it is- if it doesn’t deal with Medicare in a structural way- then it’s not dealing with the debt. Medicare means well- but is has the govt. on the hook to cover the expenses of a private industry- the health care industry. This industry- for whatever reason- is going up in cost at an astronomical pace- and that’s the biggest future problem of our debt.

Social Security simply takes in present money- and then gives it out on a monthly basis- overall that plan can be made whole- not like Medicare. So to overlook the real problems [like Reid's recent plan] will also contribute to a credit rating drop.

So yes- the president is also hedging his bets- saying ‘look- if you don’t extend the ceiling beyond next year- then it’s your fault if the rating falls!’ Ah- he knows the rating is going to fall- they have been told this. And he knows it’s because of all these other things [he’s a smart man]. So he is ‘counting on’ not getting a long term deal- he sees the writing on the wall- and he’s told the country- ‘see- I told you what the Repubs are going to do will hurt our rating’ and sure enough- the rating is going to go down.

Political posturing- by whoever- is not problem solving. I do not side with the hard right- or left- on this issue- and I think not raising the ceiling- right now- is not good. But both sides have to make some hard choices- when the pres did recognize that real changes do need to be made to entitlements- he took heat from his left.

And when Boehner was left standing at the altar [or walked away- depending on how you lean] after agreeing to 800 billion in new tax revenue- he took some heat. But at the end of the day we will need to put politics aside and deal with this very real problem. Make no mistake about it- not raising the ceiling by August would be a mistake- but it’s not an outright vote for default- and when the credit rating drops- it will be because of a lot of reasons- not just because they did a short term deal.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


The other day we saw the tragic story of the little Jewish boy who went missing on his way home from summer camp. This day he was without a ride, and his mother thought it would be okay for him to walk home the few blocks. After he didn’t show up she called the police.

They eventually discovered that he had been abducted by a member of their own community- and was tragically killed. The Jewish community in this area of Brooklyn is known as an Hasidic community. My mom was born and raised in Brooklyn- and as a boy I remember going to the city and seeing these strange looking guys with funny looking hair and dress.

This community dates back around 2300 years or so. During the Intertestemental period [the time between the last Old Testament book- Malachi- and the book of Matthew] you have quite an interesting history. It was during these 400 years that we saw the rise of the Greek world under Alexander the Great.

In the Greek world you had some very influential philosophers; Socrates most famous student was Plato- Plato’s most famous student was Aristotle- and his most famous student was Alexander the Great.

Alexander sought to implement the ideals of his teacher- he wanted to unify the known world under one people/culture- a belief that Aristotle held- a sort of ‘unified theory’ [Einstein] that would seek to bring all learning/knowledge together under one supreme [Divine] principle.

Alexander’s experiment was called Hellenization- which was the Greek worlds attempt to impose Greek culture/language on all their conquered enemies- and at the same time allow them to hold on to the their own culture too. Alexander did amazingly well at this experiment- at the young age of around 24 he had accomplished most of his mission. The cities were a sort of composite of Greek culture mixed in with their own culture- this is where we get the modern term Cosmopolitan.

Alexander died young and his kingdom was divided between 4 generals- one of them- Ptolemy- would himself make it into the history books because of his keen intellect.

The system of cosmology developed under him would last [and work!] until some 17-18 hundred years later when it was overthrown by the Copernican revolution during the time of Copernicus and Galileo.

Alexander’s generals would do their best to carry on the system of Hellenization- and other nations generals would keep the system going even after Greece fell. One of them- Octavian [Roman general] makes it into the history books by another famous name- Julius Caesar.

Alexander established a great library in the Egyptian city of Alexandria [named after him] and many of the great writings were preserved during this time.

The writings of Aristotle would be discovered again during the time of Thomas Aquinas [13th century Catholic genius/scholar] and this would lead to Scholasticism [a peculiar school of thought developed/revived under Aquinas] and give rise to the Renaissance.

Okay- before the birth of Christ- the Jewish people resisted the imposing of Greek culture upon them- you had the very famous resistance under the Jewish Maccabean revolt- where the Jews rose up and fought the wicked ruler Antiochus Epiphanies- and till this day the Jewish people celebrate this victory at Hanukah.

Eventually Rome would conquer the Greek kingdom and the Jewish people were allowed to keep their culture and temple- yet they were still a people oppressed. Hassidism [getting back to the beginning] developed during this attempt to not lose their Jewish roots- the Pharisees of Jesus day came from this movement.

Alexander was pretty successful in his attempt to unify language- even though the bible [New Testament] was written by Jewish writers- living under Roman rule- yet the original bible is written in the Greek language.

Bible scholars till this day study the Greek language to find the truest meaning of the actual words in the bible [I have a Greek Lexicon sitting right in front of me].

It would take a few centuries before a Latin version appeared on the scene [the great church father- Jerome- would produce the Latin Vulgate].

Yet it would be the re- discovery and learning of the Greek texts [under men like Erasmus- and the Protestant Reformers] that would lead to the Reformation [16th century] and other movements in church history.

Of course the tragedy of the little boy lost is very sad- and the roots of Jewish culture are noble and good- Pope Benedict refers to the Jewish people as ‘our elder brother’ because of the Jewish roots of Christianity. The original church was made up of Jewish believers- people who were waiting for the Messiah for centuries [actually Millennia] and they were convinced that this Jesus- this Jewish itinerant prophet- was indeed the one that was to come.

When you read the sermons in the book of Acts- you hear Peter, Paul- and especially Stephen [ Acts 7] relating the person of Jesus to the prophecies that were spoken about the Messiah in the Old Testament- these early Jewish believers were convinced- in no uncertain terms- that Jesus was the Messiah who was foretold to come.

At the Jewish trial of Jesus- the high priest asks ‘are you claiming to be God’s Son’ Jesus- one of the few times he did this- said ‘you said it’. The priest throws up his hands and says ‘what more need do we have of witnesses- he himself has said he claims deity’.

In John’s gospel we read when Jesus said ‘Abraham saw my day- and was gad’. They asked him ‘how could Abraham see your day- you’re not even 50 years old’ Jesus replied ‘BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS- I AM’ They were incensed- the words I AM were the words used to describe God. The bible says they took up stones to kill him.

The great Christian writer- C.S. Lewis- spent many years as an atheist- yet as an intellectual he read all the great writings of history- and he said that no matter how hard he [and other atheists] tried to reject God- that history was filled with writings- both pro and con- about God.

As a matter of fact- there was no other underlying theme- some scarlet thread- woven thru out the entire history of man- that even came close to this testimony of the reality of God.

Many agnostics of Lewis’ day said ‘we believe Jesus was a good person- even a Rabbi- Prophet- great messenger of God’ Lewis said Jesus did not leave this option open to us. Jesus said he was indeed the Son of God- Deity come down- born from a virgin- crucified- died and was buried. On the 3dr day he rose again- according to the scriptures- he is seated at the right hand of God and will come again- to judge the living and the dead.

Yes kingdoms have come and gone- great men and despots have either honored this Jesus- or despised him- but today we still talk about Jesus- King of Kings and Lord of Lords- we have only one option- either we confess him as Lord- or we call him a madman- which one will you choose?

Friday, July 22, 2011


The other day I mentioned how believers have a habit of getting caught up in certain ‘religious’ views [tithing was the example I gave] and over time these views develop to a point where they take precedence over the things Jesus actually placed real value on.

In the 1st century when Jesus showed up on the scene- the religious practices of Gods people were centered around religious meetings [holy days] prayer, fasting and tithing- mainly to be seen of men- that is religion digressed to a point where what seemed to be the most important thing- was actually not important.

So how did Jesus respond? He spends the 3 very public years of ministry- healing the sick, telling the poor they are the blessed ones who will inherit Gods kingdom- and blasting the rich- and those in power- by telling them that their day was coming too.

In essence Jesus was the ultimate prophet- he followed the long line of Jewish prophets who took these same positions. The prophet Isaiah told the people ‘God is tired of all your religious activities- your church meetings- your special ‘sacrificial’ offerings- these things are a stench in his nose!’ then he would go on and say that God wanted justice for the poor and widow.

Amos also rebuked the rich and defended the poor- Ezekiel said the shepherds [religious leaders] were fleecing the sheep- they were leaders who were making a financial killing off of the people.

All of these things- in today’s world of ‘ministry’ are making a comeback- it’s just we don’t see it because they are dressed in a different way. But at the end of the day- for the most part- American style Christianity is usually measured by how much money you give [or take in] how faithful your are to attend religious meetings- and how famous your ministry is- are you a really gifted speaker? Or do you give a great ‘stage’ performance.

And in the mind of the average Christian- if you ask them ‘when was the last time you gave of your goods to your neighbor- reached out to the poor- showed your Christianity thru charity’? Often times they will answer that that is not ‘their ministry’ or that their giving to some Christian organization/church is their role- and it’s up to ‘the church’ to actually help the poor.

But these responses miss the main point- Jesus [and the prophets] were saying that’s the mistake- thinking that ‘religion’ consists in these outward religious acts- which are really for show- while the true acts of mercy and love are all too often neglected. People today have made the same mistake as the religious observers of Jesus day.

The letter of James- written by the brother [half] of Jesus- tells us that Pure religion- is to keep yourself unspotted form the world- and to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. That’s it. No mention of religious holy days? No. No mention of special tithes/offerings? No. But what does he have to say about the modern religious view of the accumulation of wealth? Let’s not even go there [believe me- it’s pretty bad- go read the letter- its short].

This week in Somalia the estimates are 11 million people are on the verge of starvation- 2 to 3 million are kids. The world at large has had a hard time getting the food/resources in- because the country [like many other African nations] is in a sort of civil war.

The militant Islamic group fighting the govt. [Al Shabbab- I think that’s the name?] are made up of children. Yes- the kids have taken up an armed resistance against the leaders- and they are killing each other. I saw a news report on Mosaic world news- and the kids were in the streets- sort of like any kids on a block- but they had guns.

One young kid [10?] was pulling on the rifle of an older boy [15?] and the older boy got mad- like some school yard thing. The older boy just pulled away- and pointed the gun at the ‘opposing kids’- at the same time- they were playing in the street- throwing rocks and waving sticks- and pointing loaded guns at each other- it was like it was a game- they were used to shooting each other if they had to.

There are many things happening in our world today- things that matter to God. Many Christians- though they mean well- seem to leave these other things up to others. They feel that if they can just make it through another week- attend religious meeting on Sunday- put in the tithe- that if they live up to these outward religious standards- that they have done well.

Jesus taught a different way- the apostles tried to follow in his way. The apostle John said ‘if you see your fellow man in need- and don’t actually help him- do what needs to be done to defend them- then how can you say Gods love is in you’ [my paraphrase].

The apostle Paul wrote the Colossians- he said ‘I’m worried about you- you are observing days and times and other outward religious rites- I’m afraid you are falling away from the true faith’.

There was always a danger that Christians would fall into this rut- this thing where they unconsciously make the least important things- the most important. When the religious leaders of Jesus day were conspiring to kill Jesus- they had a problem- if they killed him on the wrong day- it would mess up their religious festival going on at the time. If they had to deal with the dead body- on the wrong day- they would be technically unclean according to Jewish law- and it would throw off their game.

So they worked it out where they would kill Jesus- and leave the body alone on the Sabbath- and they had it all worked out. One problem- they were violating the most important commandment of all- given to them by their most important law giver [Moses] that said ‘thou shalt not kill’ but somehow- over a period of time- they saw these things as the most important- their special observances of holy days- keeping themselves ceremonially clean- not ‘unspotted from the world’ as James said- but religiously clean- so they could put on a good public show.

I just finished praying for a bunch of stuff- of course I prayed for the kids in Somalia- those dying and those killing. Yes- I also send money every month to the starving kids- but these things are not enough. I [we] need to also engage those around us- those hurting and dying and struggling in real ways. We need to make the most important things- important again.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I have part of the famous speech of M.L.K. jr. written here on my wall. He gave the speech the day before his death- and he said that God permitted him to go so far along the journey- allowed him to see the beginning of ‘the end’ and he came to peace with the fact that he himself would not make it all the way.

He said ‘I have been to the mountain..and I might not make it into the Promised Land with you..but I don’t mind.. because I have seen the land- and we- as a people- are going to make it’ [paraphrase].

After King’s death we heard stories about his personal failures in life- things he struggled with- yet he also tried his best to finish the course that God destined him for.

I often wonder if this is what King saw- if he realized he had kind of passed a personal point of no return- and he came to peace with it. That he was at least privileged to see the ‘promised land’ though he himself would not make it in.

This story comes from the bible. It’s the life story of another great man of God- Moses. God called Moses [Like Rick Perry?] when he was young and gung ho- Moses initial start was rocky- he got mad and killed a man in anger.

Moses fled to the wilderness for 40 years and God showed him a burning bush- it was time to go back home. The next 40 years were really not that much better. Sure we had the Red Sea incident- and Moses had one of the great actors of all time play him- Hesston.

Yet the next 40 years were spent in the desert- with a bunch of people [who initially voted for the guy!] and they whined about the journey all the time. Moses did his best- he led them through some tough stuff- and at the end of the 40 years [the real journey should have only taken a few days- the maps show us that they walked in circles for those 40 years] God says to Moses ‘Son- you’re not going in’.

What? God told Moses that he blew it one too many times with the temper thing- and that for that reason he could not go into the promised land. However- Moses was permitted to go up ‘to the mountain’ and look in. Yes- this was the mountain that King was referring to the day before he died ‘I have been up to the mountain- I have seen the promised land- I might not make it in with you- and I’m okay with that because I know now that you guys will m make it in’.

I think King- like Moses- came to terms with his own failures- no excuses- just the reality that he went a little too long down some bad roads- and it just wouldn’t be right for him to have gone all the way.

Yet- how could King [and Moses] be okay with it? There’s a theme that runs all thru out scripture that deals with God using you thru out your life to ‘reach’ a certain generation of people. You might never see these people in the flesh- you might not have any influence in their lives for most of the journey- yet you knew from the start that this was indeed part of the mission.

So you do your best with the other parts of the mission- always hoping and praying that the future day will arrive before you ‘call it a day’. There will be many times during this ‘wandering’ that you will deal with issues- real life failures and successes- and at times- during the hard times- you fear that you might have gone too far this time- and will never ‘see the promised land’ you might never fulfill what you knew from the beginning was a big part of the plan.

Then one day [year] you see a bush- some type of sign that comes from God- and he’s saying ‘lets give it one more shot’ at that part of the journey your usually too tired to go for it- you often think ‘geez- why now?’ Yet you’ve been around long enough to know you really have no option- just do the thing.

King [and Moses] went through stages where it looked like they might never see the promised land- never mind enter in to the thing. And God did them a favor- he said ‘son- go ahead up- look over into the finished product- it’s going to happen one day- know that for sure’. They seemed to be able to be grateful that they made it far enough to look in- to see that they did indeed make it far enough down the road that after they departed- the vision would live on.

These last few weeks- as an avid news junkie- a strange thing has happened [those of you who read these posts can pick up on it]. I have come to side in a way for an underdog- a hated man- yet an underdog never the less. As I watch Gadhaffi- day after day- stand on the tower/building overlooking Green square- I see him defying the nations of the world- saying ‘bring it on- you will never kill me’ in one of the speeches he said ‘you can never kill me- I live forever in the hearts of millions of people’.

Now- whether this be true or not- I have no idea- but the principle is biblical. Ultimately your ‘promised land’ is the generation of people that you have planted Gods word into throughout your life. The privilege God gave you to affect people- for good- during the journey. Gadhaffi was saying that you might kill him- but his ideals would live on beyond his life- this is true for all of us.

After the death of King we heard a lot about his personal failures- things that some people knew about- but not everyone. When we all learned about them- then took a second look at the Memphis speech- we can see that King was grateful for the ‘Moses moment’ that God was gracious enough to let him make it up to the mountain- to a point in the journey where he now knew that his destiny was sealed.

I’m sure he felt some sadness over the reality that he alone knew- that he did indeed go too far down some wrong paths for too long- but God was gracious enough to let him make it to the mountain- I do thank God for that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The last few days the media has inundated us with stories- so called ‘news stories’ that border on the absurd. First- we heard the reports on Michele Bachman’s husband’s clinic. He apparently has this business- where he does outpatient treatment. Okay- I guess these types of treatment clinics are a dime a dozen.

As an evangelical- he obviously gets patients who want to overcome what they feel are addictive personality traits. So he has Christians come in- who feel like they are struggling with homosexual tendencies- and because of their own choice- they are seeking ‘treatment’.

Now- this ‘reparative’ therapy has come under criticism- and there are questions over whether or not this type of therapy can hurt someone. Either way- for something like this- to have made it into the top news story- on the major networks- is ludicrous.

Then yesterday you had the media running with the migraine headache thing- yes- some insider leaked the story that Bachman has migraines. I heard Anderson Cooper [I think it was him- they all ran with it] ask ‘can a person run the country if they are incapacitated for days on end’?

Sounded like Mubarak’s lawyer- like the lady goes in and out of comas every few days. Ridiculous.

We have a real story- a story that should be covered- but gets very little coverage on the major networks- because it can hurt the president. It’s the scandal of our Justice Dept. - along with the ATF- selling guns to drug runners in Mexico- then finding these guns at the scene of murdered Border Patrol agents. Mexico actually suspected us of this in the past- and asked if we were indeed selling guns to drug cartel guys.

Our govt. - under president Obama- said no. We lied- we sold the guns- these guns killed many people- including our own law enforcement officials- and this is deemed an unworthy news story. These stories are things that bring down officials- things that rank so bad on the scale of ‘news’ worthy- that every news network should be covering it.

Yet we get migraines and ‘pray the gay away’ coverage- and no time for coverage of our justice dept being in the illegal gun running trade- and these guns actually having killed our own guys- it’s hard to believe- but believe it you can

I read a small report- hidden in the back pages of the paper. Human rights watch has been reporting that the Libyan Rebels- who we support- have been going into cities- with our air support- and killing civilians- Raiding homes- burning them down- looting businesses- of citizens who are on the side of Gadhaffi. These are not soldiers of Gadhaffi- these are actual citizens who do not support the Rebels.

How can we be supporting these Rebels- while they are doing this- and at the same time be accusing Gadhaffi of war crimes? Out of all the foreign countries that have fought the U.S. in the various fields of war we are engaged in- the number 1 country that sent Al Qaeda fighters to fight against us- came from Libya.

These fighters were not coming from Gadhaffi- he hates them- these Al Qaeda were coming from the same group of Rebels that we are supporting. The Rebels who are killing civilians- looting their shops and burning down the homes of civilians- these Rebels who we just recognized as the new ruling govt. of Libya.

Have you heard this story? No- it would take away too much time from the migraine scandal.

Why are we enamored with the absurd- the stuff that does not matter one iota- and yet the real injustices going on- many of them being perpetrated by our own govt. these things get little attention? I don’t know what the final outcome will be over the ‘gun running’ story- but someone needs to be fired- if not prosecuted over this.

If there are human rights groups- telling us that the Rebels we are supporting- are actually engaging in war crimes- then we need to stop supporting them- now.

I read a report on why the Arab league voted to remove Gadhaffi- they never liked the guy- he was a loner. So when the Arab league met- they figured they would vote for his expulsion- at no cost to them- and they would manipulate the U.S. into being ‘mercenaries’ who would go in and be the puppets of the world.

The report also said that they would not take a stand like this against other oppressive Arab rulers- because those rulers were deemed needed. They mentioned Assad of Syria as one example. Sure enough- last week the U.S. came out and took a hard stand against Assad- they attacked our embassy in Syria.

The Arab league responded by saying no country [the U.S.] has the right to say whether or not another countries leader is legitimate. The Arab league played us like puppets- got us to go to war against an Arab leader they didn’t support- and then told us ‘Hands off’ when we tried to criticize another one who is just as bad- if not worse.

These things are important- we don’t want to side against people- while supporting Rebels that are committing possible war crimes. We don’t want our guys being manipulated into being mercenaries- at no cost to the Arab League- because we got tricked into acting.

As a people- we should be informed about the important stuff- we should be aware- so we can make informed decisions- so we can know the facts on the ground. But instead we are treated to the secret recording of Michele Bachmann’s husband telling a fake gay patient that he can help him overcome what he thinks is a problem- no wonder the woman has migraines.

Friday, July 15, 2011


This year we ‘celebrate’ the end of an era- Harry Potter. I caught an interview last night with the publisher who put out her books. He explained that he was the only one willing to take the risk- because kid’s books- at a time when computer games and high tech stuff are all the craze- that trying to get kids into books again, well that seemed like a tough sell.

Yet J.K. Rowling went after it- and the rest is history. Some [most] preachers/Christians have been against Rowling’s fables- why? Of course she is introducing ‘soft witchcraft’ into her themes. The church has traditionally been against all forms of fortune telling. Horoscopes, astrology and the like.

And I have been surprised about how many friends over the years have asked me about whether or not doing the Palm Reading thing is okay for a Christian. The fact is the bible condemns- in no uncertain terms- all of these practices. But the bible does speak about spiritual gifts- prophecy, dreams- etc. These types of gifts are different from all these other forms of sorcery and witchcraft- these gifts originate from God- and they are acceptable.

Okay- having said all this- is there any good that come from Potter? Actually- there is. Even though Rowling has used these other forbidden themes- yet you also need to look at the overall theme of the books. For instance- do they have ideas about good versus evil? Yes. Do they introduce kids back to the lost art of reading? Yes.

So overall I think its okay for kids to read her stuff- with the parental warning of ‘

Little Johnny/Suzie- you know there is really no such thing as White Magic- all good comes from God- and evil from satan [and mans sinful nature]’.

I have sitting here a bunch of new teaching series from various scholars. I’m going thru one on the origins of the church- taught by an ex Benedictine Monk [Luke Timothy Johnson] who is an accredited scholar. Has lots of degrees and teaches at Harvard. The other series is an entire overview of the bible- with all the historical and theological data mixed in.

This series is also taught by a scholar- R.C. Sproul. Why mention this? One of my homeless buddies was over a few days ago- he loves learning- he walks thru my study [we usually hang out in the yard] and he says ‘who needs a university- you have everything right here’. Well- I have lots of great stuff- but a university I’m not.

The point is- we should try and do our best to learn from people who know stuff- people who are educated. Way too much of what is produced today from the ‘church’ is really at a low level. Now- I know I have been hard on ‘preachers’ in the past- and have criticized the abundance of TV/radio stuff that is simply ‘God is the answer’ which of course is true- but must we spend billions of dollars every year- for the simple exercise of having ‘our pastor’ say the same thing- that everyone else is saying- at a charge of millions of dollars?

We need to re think this stuff.

I had a talk with a friend the other day- I was discussing some of this with him. I told him how we [Christians] have taught people ‘if you don’t give 10 % of your money into the basket on Sunday- you are cursed- you are robbing God’. This teaching comes from the Old Testament Tithe- primarily taken from a proof text in the book of Malachi.

I said ‘now- when we use this verse- this way- we are usually telling the people that this teaching is mandated by God- to support his work’. Okay- I have been taught this over the years- but the part we usually leave out- is the actual teaching- from the bible- on the Tithe.

In the Old Testament the Jewish people were required to Tithe- it was more like an income tax than an offering [like the way we think of offering]. This tax was used for 3 things. A third was used to support the Levitical priests, a third was used for banquets and feasts [and wine!] and a third was used to meet the needs of the poor [a welfare system].

Now- the part that went to the priests- none of it could be used for personal wealth growth. The priests were not permitted to have personal wealth. They were taken from the tribe of Levi [one of the 12 tribes of Israel] and they were forbidden to own their own land/inheritance.

So if we taught the ‘biblical’ tithe- it would be using a third for the poor- a third for parties, and the rest went to ‘the preachers’ who were forbidden to own real estate [have personal wealth].

Now- after all the years of people teaching the Tithe- all the many hours of telling believers ‘you are robbing God if you don’t Tithe’ how hard can it be to simply do one teaching on the actual Tithe?

I mean I just taught the whole thing- and it took a few minutes.

But the contemporary church is consumed with practical stuff- and to many- it’s not practical to say ‘oh- and by the way- the preachers/pastors- according to the Tithe system- are not permitted to own stuff’ that lifestyle just doesn’t fit the modern picture.

Okay- my point today is not to condemn giving money to churches- but it’s to nudge us towards a more ‘enlightened’ Christianity- a church that asks- and seeks for truth.

A literate people- who read!

So today I think we can commend Rowling for re introducing a lost art- the art of learning. Though we as Christians do have difficulty with ‘sorcerer’s stones’ yet the fact that kids are reading again- well that’s a good thing in my book.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

[1691] GREAT EXPECTATIONS? Warning- this post is graphic

The other week we celebrated Fathers day. I was getting ready to buy a new computer and figured- wait- let me just tell my daughters [4] that instead of getting me different stuff I don’t need, just by me the PC.

They kinda scoffed at the idea- my wife said ‘John- computers are expensive’ I said ‘Okay- I’ll pay the balance- whatever they want- they can put down- I’ll cover the rest’. I really wasn’t expecting a free computer- I just thought it was a good idea. I even told them ‘hey- my birthdays coming up- just count this as a combination present’ look- I tried my best.

So as the week wore on- I would drop hints- you know- trying to see if they made the purchase. I am notorious at this kind of stuff. Every year around Christmas time I would always trick my girls into confessing what my wife bought me. I mean I would do what needed to be done- as crass as ‘hey Debbie- want to make 10 bucks’ yes- I go low.

Of course my wife would get mad ‘I’m gonna bring the presents back if you keep doing this!’ I swore my scheming days were over. Then one year they asked what I wanted- I said ‘I know- get me a BB gun’ what? Yeah- I want the classic kids toy- that toy that kids from all cultures and races covet- the toy little Ralphie shot his eye out with- yeah- that’s the one.

So the weeks went by- I tried my best to get the girls to confess- their older now [around 10 years ago] they know how to spot my tricks. So after weeks of doing my best bargaining- I gave up.

Then my wife comes home from work- and as soon as she walks in the door- I say ‘They told me you got me the BB gun’ boy was she mad- she looked at them [and me] and said ‘I told you not to tell him!’ They replied- ‘we didn’t’ ah yes- I still had the skill.

So as Fathers day approached- they wouldn’t budge- the day arrived and I even gave them directions on where I wanted to set it up in the study- I spent a couple of days running the cord and all.

As the day wore on- I realized that this time it was no game- they simply decided to not get me a gift. I kidded them about it [one of the girls did by me a nice plant] and we really never do stuff for Father’s day to be honest- I don’t like doing birthdays [for me] or stuff like that. Sure- maybe order out for dinner- nothing big.

My girls were kind of feeling a little guilty- far be it for me to put a guilt trip on them. Becky asks ‘hey dad- what do you want for your birthday’. I said ‘I know- do they sell any type of medication at the store- maybe some natural home health remedy- something that can help a person overcome a feeling of depression- the type you feel when you get nothing for Father’s day’.

Yes- the schemer still lives.

Okay- let me try and cover a few things. Last week I was talking to my homeless buddy Henry- we got into a discussion about the buzz on Perry possibly running for Pres. I told him I really wasn’t too excited about it- I can see it now- the media portraying him as a whacky evangelical- and Obama of course is the candidate that you should never question about his church beliefs.

Sure enough the talk has started. The MSNBC crowd has already said they think Perry is a Marjoe [the story of the fake boy evangelist] and of course Bachman’s ‘pray the gay away’ clinic has made it to prime time news.

These stupid arguments usually leave carnage on the floor. Stephen Tyler’s [Aerosmith] bio has been on the best seller list for a few weeks now. He tells the story of going to an abortion clinic with his 5 month pregnant girl friend. As they go in for the procedure- he thinks it’s a simple procedure that makes the pregnancy just go away. You know- this is a woman’s right!

As she lies on the table- the doctor sticks a needle into her. She begins going into forced labor- and the baby comes out- alive and screaming. Tyler stands in shock as he sees this tiny human- this person that he thought was just a blob of cells- crying for help- love- life.

They all stand there- seeing this beautiful 5 month old preemie struggling for life. Eventually the baby goes silent- the damage done. Tyler’s friends will later say that he became a different person after that- much more violent and angry. The story is simply the true telling of the life of a rocker- and Tyler has no behind the scenes agenda- he just told the truth- the shock and feeling of disgust over what happened.

The reason I’m leery about possibility of the ‘Texas Evangelical’ versus the ‘enlightened liberal’ is because these real life tragedies get lost in the debate. One time former senator Rick Santorum showed a picture of an unborn child- around the same age as Tyler’s kid. He was on the floor of congress and had it up there. I mean there is no way you could deny that what was on the screen was human. He asked Senator Barbara Boxer if what she saw was a baby or not. Boxer replied that it was beyond her pay grade to make that decision- that she did not see it as her responsibility to judge whether or not her consent to the killing of these babies was humane.

Yet this same congress can judge ‘crimes against humanity’ when a leader on the other side of the globe threatens to go after those who have raised up an armed insurgency against him- a civil war.

Sometimes our expectations are too high- we expect more from others than what we get. As these debates move forward this coming year- we need the integrity to do what’s right- not what’s politically expedient- but what’s right. I have never- ever- been able to justify the deaths of these preemies- after seeing the actual pictures of the babies- real little babies- being mutilated- this act is atrocious- it is equal to the slaughter of the innocents under Hitler’s regime- yes- it’s that bad.

I don’t expect too much out of our leaders- but I at least would hope that when they see the body of a beautiful little baby- perfectly formed- lying on a table- screaming for its life while the mother and father and doctor watch- that we can at least say that this is no surgical procedure- no ‘right to privacy’ being carried out- this my friends is murder- pure and simple.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Yesterday I saw the news- I caught Mitch McConnell on cspan- floating some convoluted plan that would allow the pres. to raise the debt ceiling in 3 separate steps. As I listened- it seemed like he was saying [giving room] for the tea party guys to vote no on taxes- while giving the pres veto power to push it through.

McConnell said- in frustration- that after working with the White House for the past 2-3 years- that he wonders whether or not they will ever get a real budget with this administration. He said it in a way like ‘I don’t think he’s serious about putting out a budget’. Do you know when our govt. last worked under one?

It was April- 2009. Yes- over 2 years now. It is surprising that a majority party [Whoever it be] who held the house, senate and presidency would fail to pass one- but they did.

Then I watched the new CBS guy- Pelley- do an interview with the pres. He mentioned- over and over again- that Mitch McConnell [the minority leader in the senate- Repub] said- quote ‘we will never pass a budget as long as this man is pres.’ He kept making it sound like a threat- a promise that he would never allow the pres. to pass one. Now- I know McConnell has said in the past that he wants to make the pres. fail- but in this serious time- during talks where it actually seems like McConnell is floating a plan because he wants Obama to be able to raise the ceiling- its times like this where we don’t need ‘advocacy journalism’.

You know- like when Dan Rather saw fit to float a fake military report about Bush. The average college student realized the document was fake- and even after Rather finally got the boot- he still said ‘whether it was fake or not is irrelevant- the point is Bush probably got special treatment’.

The other night CNN spoke about Palin/Bachman as- quote- ‘MILFs’- for those of you who don’t know what this means- it’s a slang way of saying they are ‘mothers that they would love to have intercourse with’. On CNN.

I’m beginning to wonder whether or not we are really heading for a national calamity.

Okay- let me talk about Sudan a little. In feb. of this year Sudan had a referendum that passed- it officially split the nation in 2. Sudan is a nation on the continent of Africa that has had brutal civil wars- and has engaged in acts of genocide- real genocide [not like the Libya thing] for a long time.

This past week the 2 nation deal went into effect- and the majority Muslim/Arab north has in fact engaged in aggression against the south. The history of Sudan is one in which the Muslim north has slaughtered the Christian south for decades. Some estimates are over 2 million have died in these ‘civil conflicts’. Now- the southern Sudanese are primarily Christian- and Black.

That’s where the genocide charge comes in- they were killing Blacks- because they were Black.

Now- in another infamous spot- Darfur [western Sudan] the majority non Black Muslim leaders of the north- are killing once again- but this time they are killing fellow Muslims. Why?

The Muslims in Darfur are Black. There is simply a racial hatred that has existed on the continent for decades- and non blacks have killed Blacks- because of their skin color. Also in the Nuba mountain region- Blacks are being killed.

Why is this important for us to know? Right now we are engaged on the African continent- siding with the Rebels who are in a civil war with Gadhaffi. As I have written before- Gadhaffi has embraced the Black Africans for 40 years- He has chosen to help them- and they actually love the guy- for real.

Many of the mercenaries who are fighting on Gadhaffi’s side are Black fighters coming from the Sub Sahara- when reporters ask them ‘why are you doing this’ they will freely admit that Gadhaffi has helped them a lot- even though other non black Arab leaders have killed them- yet as a non Black leader- Gadhaffi has supported them. Now- I’m sure he had ulterior motives- but the point is the Blacks support the man. [Like Trump says ‘I get along with the Blacks, they love me’. Seth Meyers said ‘I can believe that- that is if ‘the Blacks’ are the last names of the white family living down the road!’]

So today we find ourselves- engaged on the African continent- supposedly doing a noble thing- preventing ‘genocide’ from taking place. Even though Gadhaffi has a history of not siding with other Arab leaders who hate and kill Blacks- others who are doing it right now in Sudan- yet he has been targeted as the genocidal risk that must be taken out.

This is why- right now- you have Black leaders in our country- who hate the pres. They have actually said he will not fire a bullet at Black haters- yet he will kill those who have helped the Blacks- these are political insiders who know the scoop.

I don’t know what role the U.S. should play in these conflicts- we obviously can’t go into Sudan in a military way- that would be a huge mistake. But we can try and at least get the accusation right- if we choose to ‘oust’ a leader- a leader who does indeed have the support of Black Africans- whose enemies are killing Black supporters of the man. Then let’s not pretend we are engaged in some type of effort to prevent ‘crimes against humanity’ crimes that were not committed- but had the ‘potential’ of being committed. Why engage in the prevention of possible future ‘crimes against humanity’ when you have another nation [Sudan] actually doing the stuff?