Saturday, September 30, 2006

Religion: Rated PG!

Well, now we know. The gallant efforts of Sherwood Baptist Church of Albany, GA, have brought a "PG" rating for the honor of being "accepted" by Hollywood! Religious faith is now rated "Parental Guidance" recommended.

The new film, picked up by Sony Pictures, is Facing the Giants, opened in theaters Friday. My brother is a member of Sherwood Baptist, but surprisingly I had not heard of the movie before it was featured on the local news the day AFTER it opened! Any way I am not the only one incredulous of its rating:

Narrow focus draws 'PG' rating for Baptist-backed film

Scripps Howard News Service

The Motion Picture Association of America is crystal clear when it describes why its "PG" rating exists _ it's a warning flag.

"The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance," states the online explanation of the rating system. "There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. ... The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw."

Disagreements are a given. The Christian moviemakers behind a low-budget film called "Facing the Giants" were stunned when the MPAA pinned a PG rating on their gentle movie about a burned-out, depressed football coach whose life _ on and off the field _ takes a miraculous turn for the better.

"What the MPAA said is that the movie contained strong 'thematic elements' that might disturb some parents," said Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, which is owned by Sony Pictures. Provident plans to open the film next fall in 380 theaters nationwide with the help of Samuel Goldwyn Films, which has worked with indie movies like "The Squid and the Whale."

Which "thematic elements" earned this squeaky-clean movie its PG?

"Facing the Giants" is too evangelistic. (more)

Providentially, I will be in Albany this week! I have purchased tickets to see the nationally released movie in its HOMETOWN.

Friday, September 29, 2006


As they were tearing down an old mill locally (there ARE a lot of those in the upstate!) workers found a man's wallet. Everything BUT the money was still there. The wallet had been stolen 22 years ago from a worker in that mill. Needless to say, if that had been more recently, that man would have shown up buying things all over the southeast! But in those days money was all that mattered.

About the same time that man had his wallet stolen, my wife's purse was stolen while she ran into the CHURCH to get something one morning. That purse showed up in the Reedy River which runs nearby. The creep had stolen money and, for whatever reason, pictures of the children! How low can you go.

Even longer ago, when I was a teenager, I lost my wallet in Providence Canyon in Georgia. We had been sliding down the canyon walls (sandstone slope). The sand and rock had claimed my wallet while it tore my pants apart! Months later, a soldier from Fort Benning, GA, found the wallet and mailed it to me. Nothing was missing.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Vacation Plans

Well faithful readers, after three months of non-stop blogging, I am going to go on vacation. I probably will leave my laptop at home (it is a vacation to get away with my wife!) so there will be an eight day hiatus as I travel the tri-state area visting family and touring the beautiful southeast USA.

I hope to visit the homes of former presidents, see wild animals, and some of man's greatest
acheivements. All in the space of eight days (a total of about 18-20 hours in the family car)!

I will hopefully keep a journal and get some good pictures to post starting October 8. I will be leaving Oct 1, so there will be posts up through Saturday of this week. I guess I will see if I am really a blogoholic. Does Dr. Anonymous make house calls? :-)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

RINOs in the "Republican led" SC Legislature

Well, the big news in SC politics this week is that retiring state senator Verne Smith (R) is supporting the Democrat running against our incumbent governor Mark Sanford (R). Meanwhile, we wonder why Gov. Sanford can't get legislature through a "Republican" legislature.

Well, the Republican candidate for State Superintendent of Schools, Karen Floyd reprinted an article from the Wall Street Journal that highlighted the effect of just a "handful" of left-leaning Republicans can have on a very partisan legislature. In part it read:

"The good news is that the Palmetto State may be reaching a tipping point that could upend the public education establishment. Reform advocates have been building grassroots support for vouchers, tax credits, charter schools -- almost anything that will give parents more options on where to send their children. Governor Mark Sanford, a Republican, is already a supporter of broad-based school choice. The problem has been the Republican-controlled legislature. A handful of GOP members (many from districts with good schools) have lined up with Democrats to oppose anything that might empower parents over the system's bureaucrats."

. . .

"South Carolinians for Responsible Government, a non-profit advocacy group in Columbia, estimates that in November reformers could pick up the seats they need in the house to pass education scholarships and tax credits for parents with kids in failing schools. These reforms failed this year by seven votes."

I added the emphasis. These "Rinos" figured that they could not get re-elected in districts that were beginning to vote Republican in national and state elections. So they switched parties. Even Verne Smith, an "icon" in SC politics, switched a few years back (in 2000, I think). But these politicians are figuring out that we Carolinians don't like wool in our eyes. Let's hope that we put "real" Republicans in their places as soon as possible.

My problem is . . .

Sometimes something crosses your desk that must be passed on. I think I have found what my problem is!

A Cautionary Tale

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then-- just to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's. I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't help myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau, Muir, Confucius and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

One day the boss called me in. He said, "Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confess, "I've been thinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently.

She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

"I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn't open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye, "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.

You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers Anonymous poster.

This is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed...easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking. I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today I took the final step............ I joined the Democratic Party.

This was emailed to a friend that emailed it to me. Thanks, Mary Lynn.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Providence at Second Church

God moves in mysterious ways. But He also moves in remarkably well timed ways.

Sunday was our Senior Pastor's last day in our pulpit. He has been with us about the average for our pastors at just short of fifteen years. Atypically, he is leaving without a call to another work. We join him in prayer for the Lord's timing to be as good as it has been this past year.

Our associate pastor's has experienced the gamut of life experiences this year. His two daughters were married, and his first grandchild was born. Then, he turned fifty with a surprise birthday party! And finally, last week, he lost his youngest child to complications from a three-year battle with brain damage. He has been a very busy man.

But now, all these cares have been lifted from him. Just in time for him to lead us through the transition to a new senior pastor. Now that is providence at work!

And another piece of the providence of God at Second Church is the change in our Music Director. Our new director had been with us only since the beginning of the summer. His "other job" was a music teacher in a local school. When the school year began, he found that the demands were too great, and so he had to resign. But alas! We did not have to search far to feel the position. That story is perhaps even more of a "miracle" than with our pastors.

A prominent music professional -- a professor at two Christian Universities in the last four decades -- had retired to Greenville when his beloved wife died. He was living with his daughter and her family. One of his sons had once served as music director with our church. God certainly provides for His own, doesn't He? Any way, his daughter's family was moving overseas for three years, and he was scheduled to go with them. But two things intervened: Cancer and Love.

The cancer was treated and is in remission. An old friend and associate of him and his wife had helped him in his convolescence, which developed into a beautiful later life romance! This man, who had served as our interim music director, has graciously stepped in to fill the vacancy permently!

God moves in such wonderful ways.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More of Jett Martin, at 5 1/2 months

I was going to upload some video I took of Jett while we were babysitting yesterday.

But alas, I can't figure how to get video to load on blogger. I went over to "YouTube" only to find that my video footage is too big. I have to figure how to edit snippits for view there. Once I do, I will publish links to YouTube.

BTW, I received my "business cards" showing me as a Servant of God, working for the Kingdom of God. The Web Friendly version is pictured here:

I took off my local address and phone number. Friends in Greenville will get the hard copy. Others can email for a copy that includes that local info. I made an electronic copy that I hope is "printer friendly" (I haven't tried it yet).

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I fancy myself to be a writer. My only published works have been in self-published anthologies done y the local writers' group, The Writers' Guild of Greenville. One of the things all writers will tell you is that you must be a reader before you can write.

And so, Jessie at Who Are We has reached out and challenged me ("tagged" me) to consider the books I have read. And so, here goes:

  1. One book that has changed my life. Though I am tempted to put "the Bible," that is perhaps a "cop-out" since it is actually a library of God's literature preserved for mankind. Therefore, I will go with a book by a theologian-philosopher who ably interpreted the Bible, applying it to the world in which we live. The author is Francis Schaffer and the book is Whatever Happened to the Human Race. He co-authored it with Reagan's Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. This book revealed how utterly wicked mankind can be when God is left out. It helped be to solidify my views on the sanctity of life.
  2. One book you've read more than once. I suppose the only "book" that I have read through more than once would be the Bible. Of course, there are some books in that divive library that I have read numerous times. My favorite book, I think, would be the earliest of the New Testament books, the epistle of James.
  3. One book you'd want on a desert island. If I could only have one book, I would probably bring Robinson Caruso by Daniel Defoe. I would hope that I would have read and studied the Bible enough for it to be a "part of me." I choose Robinson Caruso because it would give me practical incite into the predicament into which I had fallen!
  4. One book that made you laugh. Well, one that comes to mind is Rush Limbaugh's first book, The Way Things Ought to Be. In this book, written just as his talk show was becoming an influence in America, reflected his irreverent humor well.
  5. One book that made you cry. I think Gale Sayer's I Am Third, about his friendship with Brian Picollo, was a very touching book. It was made into a TV movie, Brian's Song way back in 1971. I read the book later. I don't think I watched the 2001 remake of the movie, though.
  6. One Book you wish you had written. My choice here is one I have not read: The Silence Before the Dawn, by Henry Martin! The obvious reason is - this guy in New Hampshire has published in my name first! Uggh!
  7. One Book you wish had never been written. Two books come to mind, one ancient and one recent. The ancient book I wish had not been written is the Koran. This chronicle of the prophet Mohammed has been used for unspeakable evil in the past 1,200 years or so. The recent book is The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown, because it has popularized a very destructive line of thinking that dates back a thousand years or more itself. One book? The Koran.
  8. One Book you are reading right now. Back to Francis Schaffer, for I am trying to go through my copies of The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaffer. I am presently in the second of five volumes, reading Genesis in Time and Space. His is a combination of exposition and philosophy and not a "light read."
  9. One Book you have been meaning to read. Well, as a "committed Calvinist" I have been meaning to dive into Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin. I have a two volume version in my library but have rarely sought Calvin's insight on doctrine as I probably should.
  10. Tag five others. Rock, Aaron (NC), Robert, Aaron (IN), and Steve.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ego de lego - making words count

It goes without saying... well, maybe.

When Jesus considers the spoken word, he equates it with the one speaking it. He, Himself, is "THE" Word. And we know we can trust Him. It does no good to "back up" your statement by raising the name of God in vain. As believers we must realize that our authority is ultimately in God Himself.

Therefore, Jesus tells us, we are not to invoke God's name, or any of His attributes, in our daily petitions. This is because we are PART of Him now! When we speak, we have the whole of heaven on our side. When the body works together, then wonders can and will happen!

Our word is our bond. When we break our word, we are acting in an unchristian manner. Therefore: "let your yes be yes, and your 'no' be no! Otherwise, you will demonstrate that you are a fool!

For more information, check out Matthew 33-37.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

In record time

Remember Barry Allen? He was the fastest man alive in the "silver age" of comics. That is, in the 60's through the 80's. Then they did some funky things with multiple universes and changed a lot of things in comic land (at least at DC). Well, I think I may be related (my mom's an Allen)!

On Tuesday, I had permission to leave work to attend a graveside service and following memorial service for David Spears. However, since no one could do my "main route," I had to get the bulk of it done in the morning before 11:00, which I figured was do-able. I had not stopped to count the stops, though, so it was probably wishful thinking. It did not help that we were late getting out.

And so, counting drive time to the first stop (20 minutes), we completed SIXTEEN stops in just over two hours. We didn't make the 11:00 deadline, but my driver dropped me off at the church downtown for the memorial service at 12:00. I was only about five minutes late.

In some way, we covered twice the ground we would have on a "normal" day. I am not at all sure that my driver didn't break (or at least bend) a few speed limits of his own. On my part, I must have AVERAGED less than three minutes in any one place. All my stops were on one road, at the end of which was the cemetary where I needed to be at eleven. I popped in, signed for thousands of dollars, and moved on to the next stop. At only one stop did I even have to wait on a customer (and that one is new).

I am surprised I didn't collapse.

After about two hours I "rejoined the program in progress." Other routes had absorbed the stops that I normally would have done in the mean time. I finished with three of my regular stops and one added which had been missed by someone else.

And so, that streak you saw Tuesday morning on Wade Hampton was me, "The Flash."

Remind me not to do that again anytime soon! :-)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It should be simple ...

Well, I thought I would make my computer a portable library. All I wanted to do was run an encyclopedia from the hard drive. But for some reason I can't get the copy I made of the disk to run from the disk. The program asks me to insert the disk!

Help me, anyone! This whole disk won't take up more than a gig of space on my 40 gig hard-drive. Why can' t I make XP substiture the path commands?

I am NOT a GEEK. So someone let me know if I can copy a disk to my hard-drive in order to USE the data without turning on the CD drive. I would like to have a working encyclopedia with easy access.

It should be simple!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

BTW - Happy Birthday Debbie!!

We celebrated Saturday, and today was a day of mourning for our young friend David, but it WAS my wife's birthday. She stopped counting, but she is YOUNGER than me.

Why I vote Republican

The old saying goes: "Follow the money." Just by looking at who supports whom, it is easy to see why I vote Republican. In the battle for life, the pro-death folk are outspending the pro-life guys about two to one. However, the big spenders over at the NRA are clobbering the "gun control" extremists eight to one!

These charts come to you courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ego de lego - the battle rages

Jesus was as pure as you can be. But he was certainly aware of the problem of sexual sin. His family tree was noted for it - and it can be assumed that the stories surrounding his birth had been turned into really juicy gossip!

And so when he says, "you have heard it said: You shall not commit adultery," one of the ten commandments, you can be sure that it is going to get serious. We have seen that "murder" can be boiled down to anger. Well, lust is behind all adultery. Jesus does not hold back.

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Adultery is a heart attitude. One must be unfaithful in mind before they can be swept away into an adulterous relationship. Lot was made to be drunk before his daughters could seduce him. But in their hearts they had a lustful plan. Judah, a widower, sought the comfort of a prostitute (he assumed) when he had lost his wife. David looked upon a fair maiden and planned his unfaithfulness well.

This tendency, especially among men, to have wondering eyes, should be treated as a social "cancer" which needs to be surgically removed in order for the victom to survive. A spiritual adultery had plagued Israel for centuries. How much different that is than in the public media of our day. "Sex sells." In fact, a lot of leg and a little cleavage has been used to sell everything from razors to cars.

And it does not help that women feed this tendency with their attire and flirtous behavior. A "little fun" can sometimes split longstanding relationships. And "women's lib" has co-opted the politics along with the "need" for recognition. Divorce has become way too easy. And Jesus insists that divorce is indefensible - unless there is unfaithfulness.

It all boils down to trust. Our mates are "one flesh" with us. We should have no secrets between each other. Jesus has that relationship with each believer. How can we keep anything from Him?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Passing into glory

This morning David Spears was promoted. He had fought hard in his last assignment here among us, but now he is in the presence of the King! I thank any of you that may have read Wednesday's post concerning prayer for David and his family. Be assured, your prayers are still needed as David's family adjusts to his change of residence. Though we know he is in a far better place, our hearts ache at the loss of this young fighter.

Yes, I am referring to his death. I use these other terms not to avoid the concept, but rather to accentuate the reality of his continued existence apart from his body. It has been five years and three weeks since my son took the same journey. Today is the anniversary of his birth, so this is an especially hard time as we remember that day. I was reminded today that Kathy Stafford, a good friend ours age, passed away last year on September 15. The flowers in church today were in her memory. We miss you, too, Kathy.

But consider things from their perspective. Though they don't have the "physical" bodies that will come at the Resurrection, I am pretty sure that they do have a recognizable form in which they are experiencing the glories of heaven. Time is not the same there. The scriptures refer in a symbolic way the concept: "a day is as a thousand years" to God. If this is taken literally, which taking into account time dilation this COULD be, then Jim has been there all of 7.2 minutes! He has hardly had time to take in the "opening prayer" of heavenly worship! And now his friend David has entered the sanctuary.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


This weekend presents me with a cluster of birthdays that spans generations. Back when I was very young (lest anyone guess her age), my wife was born on September 19. When I was still young, I had my second baby brother, born on September 16 [Happy birthday, Doug!]. And then, on September 17, 1978, my firstborn son, my namesake, was born.

Well, 270 days ago weren't we in the midst of Christmas vacation? I wonder if this week holds any records in western cultures for birthdays? . . . Hmmm. Just wondering. I haven't the time to check it out.

Today didn't quite go as I planned it, but I did get to try out a good restaurant in downtown Greenville. It has the unassuming name of "Diner on Main." We give it at least 3 stars! I had Blackened Chicken Alfredo. Delicious. But you had better eat the chicken with the noodles. Spicy!

Anyway, the blue arrow marks the spot (approximately). We highly recommend it for its food and atmosphere. My Greenville readers, tell them I sent you. They will look at you strangely, and nod politely. :-)

Googling myself to death?

Just for fun, and not orginal to this blog, I decided to google myself tonight (Sept. 15) and before I knew it, it was "tomorrow"!

Anyway, I found out I am an artist, a composer, and a writer! Well, I can draw, and I am a writer. And I actually did compose a song once. However, my blog profile finally showed up on the bottom of page six!

Well, here are the other "Henry Martin's" that have made their mark on the world: This is the website for professor and composer Henry Martin. He is at Rutgers University. This is not me! This is the site for artist Henry Martin. His art is "unusual," to say the least. His studio is in Edinburgh, UK. A distant cousin in the old country? Here we find cartoons illustrated by Henry Martin, Princeton Grad of 1948. A pretty good artist for a cartoonist. Still not me, or my dad! This is the guy I'd love to be. He is a "writer and sometime poet" who lives in New Hampshire. He has written one novel and just had a book of poetry published. Maybe I could have HIM speak to the local writers guild of which I am a member! Also at This is another artist in the UK. He has illustrated Sermons4Kids. He is vicar St James, Higher Broughton, Salford, UK. I am an ameteur artist myself, so I can see myself doing his work.

And then, there is the Scotish folksong about a pirate, "Henry Martin," sang by Burl Ives (Whom I resemble according to one person I met today) on Wayfaring Stranger. Here are the lyrics:

Henry Martin

There were three brothers in merry Scotland
In Scotland there lived brothers three,
And they did cast lots which of them should go, should go, should go,
For to turn robber all on the salt sea.

The lot it fell on Henry Martin
The youngest of all the three,
That he should turn robber all on the salt sea, the salt sea, the salt sea,
For to maintain his two brothers and he.

He had not been sailing but a long winter's night
And part of a short winter's day,
When he espied a lofty stout ship, stout ship, stout ship,
Coming a-sailing along that way.

'Hello, Hello,' said Henry Martin,
'What makes you sail so high?'
'I'm a rich merchant ship bound for fair London Town, London Town, London Town,
Will you please for to let me pass by?'

'Oh no, Oh no! cried Henry Martin,
'That thing it never can be,
For I have turned robber all on the salt sea, the salt sea, the salt sea,
For to maintain my two brothers and me.'

With broadside and broadside and at it they went
For fully two hours or three,
Till Henry Martin gave to her the death shot, the death shot, the death shot,
Heavily listing to starboard went she.

The rich merchant vessel was wounded full sore,
Straight to the bottom went she,
And Henry Martin sailed away on the sea, the salt sea, the salt sea,
For to maintain his two brothers and he.

Bad news, bad news to old England came,
Bad news to fair London Town,
There was a rich vessel and she's cast away, cast away, cast away,
And all of her merry men drowned.


I guess I'll have to go by the pen name of J. Henry Martin to keep from being confused with the others. Or maybe I could start going by "Jim."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ego de lego - the campaign

I ordered 250 ''free" business cards tonight for only $5.25. Now we all know that postage on a couple of ounces of cardboard doesn't cost five bucks. And a box to ship them in can't bemuch either. But I "saved" twenty bucks.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a screen shot of the card, so I will have to just tell you about it.

Across the top is a picture of clouds in a sunset. Under that is "Kingdom of God" as the comapany name with the phrase "Ego de ll[1ego" ("I, though, say ...") along with the reference to the passage known as the "sermon on th mount." My job title is "Servant of God."

And so, today begins a series of thoughts on "ego de leo"

Matthew 5:
21 ¶ Ye have that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Ego de lego. "If you are angry..." It is not worth it. There are so many things that can go wrong, and it's literally "killing" us. Calm down and be like Jesus!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pray for David

It has been said that time heals all wounds. But for some, time just complicates things.

Back on May 22, 2003, just days from highschool graduation, David Spears was a passenger in a pickup truck that ran off the road and into a pond. A fence post pierced his skull, and he lost almost half his brain. He also lost an eye and the hearing in the ear on the right side of his head. The most serious injury, though, was the trauma to his brain stem.

In the months that followed he slowly recovered his cognitive abilities, and within six months could talk. He regained use of his right arm and even made some progress on the effected left side (he had been left-handed). But, because of the nature of his injury to his brain stem, he has been subject to seisures. His seisures lead to respiratory and cardiac arrest earlier this week. He was brought back to life, put on a respirator, and eased into an induced coma to allow his brain to recover. If indeed the loss of oxygen was not too great.

Early reports are not good. There has been sporatic brain activity, but even as I write this he may have slipped away. This brings back painful memories of my son's own passing. His heart had stopped in routine surgery, to be brought back immediately. However, the doctors did not know he was bleeding internally (his blood pressure returned to normal). He died in the midst of seisures hours later. By the time I saw him, his brain had quit (from lack of oxygen). The next day he was officially pronounced dead. Jim went quickly; David has been fighting for over three years.

And so, pray for David. But especially pray for his parents and family who have been his care-givers 24 hours a day for these past years. Pray for decisions that must be made in the next few days. Pray for wisdom; and pray for grace.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Well, Duh!

News Flash: Theology influences believer's views

Well, an article in USA Today has one of the most "duh" obvious headlines:


When I read that headline in passing today I knew I just had to look the article up! The survey was of over 1700 Americans from across the spectrum. Seventy-seven questions with almost 400 answers were able to discern the worldviews of the respondents.

Well, duh.

The survey found four "types" of God as believed by the over ninety percent of the people polled:

1. Authoritarian
2. Benevelent
3. Critical
4. Distance.

Predictably, those that hold a belief in an authoritative God are more than likely to approve of "legislating morality" [though that designation is next to meaningless]. The views are said to overlap. That is expected of a balanced Biblical view of God. Views 1 & 2 are shared by most evangelicals (about a third of those surveyed). Here is a breakdown of categories:

Since we are created in the "image of God," we know what it is like to have authority. We also know how it is to use that authority for the betterment of mankind and the planet upon which we live. Authoritative AND Benevalent. That is my attitude these days concerning concerning God and His image within me. The founding fathers wrote that the system would only work for a righteous people. As more and more people realize this, this nation may yet turn around!

Monday, September 11, 2006

2000 years, and then 9/11/01 ?

Well, it has been five years since terrorists struck the USA in a big way! The official count is 2996, I believe. Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed over 2,000, launched us into war against a people not afraid to die for their cause, so now we faced the same kind of foe.

We are in another "world war" which doesn't seem to be anywhere near over. We may have kept a new Hitler from arising. But that is not to say that another such evil personage will not raise up it's head in the near future.

Some are accusing our President of fabricating the war for political gain. I don't buy that theory, but I don't think it really matters what the USA does. The terrorists are not nationalists as were the Japanese. They are religious zealots. they have a world-view that opposes the secularism that has come to mark Western civilization. And western civilization is more and more looking like America.

On September 11, 2001, we may have observed a point in mankind's history when God has removed His hand from his "favored" people around the world. If you count years like the ancients did, then you are faced with twelve months of 30 days each per year. If you add two thousand of these 360-day periods up (360,000 days) from a starting point of Pentecost, AD 30, you arrive at September 11, 2001! There is good evidence that AD 30 is the year that Jesus died, was buried, arose and ascended (though I prefer the AD 33 date).

If we reckon a day as a "thousand years," and give the firstborn son (Jesus, and his "body" the church) a double portion, then we arrive at the present situation. "He that restrains" may be letting history play itself out! Are we ready for the rise of the "real" antichrist?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where were you when . . .

September 11, 2001. A day that will go down in infamy.

It is one of those days that we will always remember. I will use this space to remember each of those who died that day. I will remember it by linking it to my own life. Otherwise, it will be just something that happened hundreds of miles away.

Where was I when the attacks happened? I was on my way to work when I heard that a plane had hit the first tower. As I got to work everyone was talking about it and listening to the radio. I believe the computers were tuned to the news as well. And then the day went on.

But since I am in the money handling business, it was no regular day. Many of the banks with which we did business closed their doors to the public. Some of them even closed to us. The uncertainty of what was happening in our peaceful world was so great that we didn't know what to do with all the information coming our way.

About mid-morning we got word over our two-way radios (on group alert) that the twin towers had collapsed. And then the announcement that the Pentagon had been hit. Estimates were upwards of 10,000 casualities since the attacks in NY came as people were already at work. We were "relieved" that the count was "only" at around 3000 when all the dust cleared.

After work, we were glued to the tv until late at night. The puzzle came together and we began to realize that we were at war. A war that may last until the end of the world as we know it.

And so, let us remember those that died, and the ones that risked their lives to save others. And let us not forget the nearly 3,000 that have died since in the battle against terror.

May God have mercy on us for we don't want His justice!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I "passed" the political test!

Actually, the authors of the test claimed that there were no "right" answer, I think they leaned toward libertarian positions themselves. I base this on the wording of some of the questions. Anyway, as you can see, the leadership of the civilized world falls into the "right authoritarian" quadrant. I fall very close to political center, though I am in the same quadrant with most of today's leadership.

In the questionaire, I answered very few questions "strongly," choosing instead simply "agree" or "disagree." I encourage you all to click on the link ("the test") and find out where you stand.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Come 2008, a possible scenario

Of late, the possible candidates for president 2008 have been making a lot of noise. The Democrats, mostly, have attacked the lame duck president, hoping to damage the Republican party by association. The Republicans, meanwhile, are listening to has-been politicians concerning strategies to hold on to the Whitehouse.

I am afraid that there will be a continued slide to the compromising such as that of John McCain. The Republicans will probably shy away from a good conservative like Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas (yep, Clinton's replacement!) in favor of a moderate like the very popular Rudy Julianni.

Meanwhile, the Democrats lean toward former Arkansas co-governor Hilary Clinton. I am not sure if the good Senator is ready for the challenge (it has only been six years since her co-presidency). She may need another term as Senator to ready her for the task of president of the New World Order after the "cosmic event" of 2012!

However, I am going out on a limb here to predict a scenario for 2008. There will indeed be a New York challenge that will make last years Mets/Yankees world series look like little league! And we in the south will not take kindly to such choices. So many questions arise: who will the viable third candidate be? Which of the many "third" parties will rise to the occasion? Will it be the Constitution Party? Or the ever-present Libertarian Party? Is there a politician out there up to the job?

When all is said and done, the south will experience de je vu with visions of George Wallace or maybe Barry Goldwater. Or perhaps the ghost of Strom Thurmond will haunt our ballot boxes!

And a very devided nation, having seen two consecutive razor-thin races, will see one more. Regardless of the candidates (say Clinton vs. Julianni), the moderate Republican will win by the slimmest of margins due to old Dixie's defection.

And then comes 2012!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What's happening Bob?

I know it is probably a lot of hype about necessary compromises. But really, Rep. Inglis, what is happening with your strong convictions? In your first six years you would never have signed a pact with GenderPac. Heck, you shunned all PAC's like the plague. You just voted your conscience, and easily won re-election. And now. Well?

Your opponent likes to point out your low score with the John Birch Society. Well, I would probably score about the same if it came down to it! But what's with your voting for moneys to go to Planned Parenthood (even as a rider)? Though they are a legal group, they are no more deserving "public" moneys than are faith-based groups that the courts keep throwing out!

I just pulled up your website. You seem to be saying all the right things, so what gives with your softening your stands against PP and homosexual activists? I looks like you probably have more than enough support to win re-election.

Are you looking to replace Senator Graham?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

44 years

In January, 1962 I turned nine years old. Later that year two men on opposite sides of the world were born.

This week sees the end of one of their stories and a new chapter in the other. Often I wonder why I am wiling away my days in a job I was not "born" to fill. I am where I am because it is what was available. This was not the case with either of these men.

Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter," was born of parents that were animal conservationists. That was his life. And he embraced it! He lived the life of he jungles and swamps, the prairies and the oceans, of the natural world. He cared for the animals with which he worked. He was loved the world over. My blogger search yesterday of his name yielded over 6.6 MILLION hits.

Filipe Calderón was born of political parents and has been "in politics" since his youth. He seems to have been "born to lead." He has won the presidential election by a margin much closer than either of the last two US presidential elections. His was a victory made harder by a third party in a country that elects directly. The loser, though, is not as gracious. We think the noise made by Gore and Kerry is annoying. That of López Obrador will be so much more so! My blogger search tonight yeilded only 66 hits. That is 0.001 %

Steve Irwin, 1962-2006. Rest in peace.

Presidenté Filipe Calderón (PAN), 2006-2012. No rest, no peace!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A VERY looong HARD day

This has been one of those days! The real problems was that I just had too much to do at work. I ended up on the clock for almost 13 hours!

I got home after 9:00 pm, but I had to get online to help my son who is now in Florida (Embry-Riddle Areonautical Uninversity). I found a folder of computer stuff on a portable hard drive and emailed it to him! I was surprized how easy and how quickly the zipped file was transmitted.1

And then, I worked on fixing some things on the old computer (now my wife's PC). I even "uninstalled" a program that she will never use. I have the updated version on my computer.

In the process of trying to move a shortcut, I opened Outlook Express! As a result, all the unopened mail at Bellsouth got transferred to Outlook on my wife's computer. I had been using that program when Bellsouth's email was messing up on storage space. That problem went away, and now we are back to using the online space to store our email.

And so, here I am, midnight and having to get up in six hours! But I had to blog. It's addicting.

[Oh, sorry Sam. This is a boring blog.]

I encouraged my son to look up the blog! Actually anyone who happens upon this blog is quite welcome to scroll down and check out the musings of my mind.

I didn't have time to prepare a tribute to the "Crocodile Hunter." I only saw a few episodes of this entertaining conservationist. But I enjoy all things Australian. Perhaps I will post concerning Mr. Irwin tomorrow night [Wednesday]. The link takes you to the New York Times Obit.

Man, this blogging stuff is addicting! Good night all.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Okay, so this is not an "original" title. But I want to say a good word for those who get the work done around the world. Not just here in the USA, but around the world.

We live in a global economy and here in America we don't produce much more than food and services that are home grown. And even some of the food is imported in the off seasons. But we cannot be isolationists. We must learn to appreciate the hard work that goes into those inexpensive products we use -- be they electronics or clothing, or whatever.

My only concern is for the welfare of the producers. How can we assure that they aren't virtual slaves? Or children? The developing world has different standards, but often their leaders are the ones that benefit from all our trade. Let us use the "world wide web" to our advantage. Information is power. Perhaps we can change things through our buying habits. Or through trade terriffs?

I am for FAIR trade, apart from "free trade" if need be. My question is: "What are the living conditions behind the product I am using?" Second to that, "What would my lifestyle be like if I paid a "fair" price for all the gadgets that make my life so much easier?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Playing God

Back in the beginning God gave a command that mankind has never had much of a problem obeying. He said "Be fruitful and multiply." And so we have. By natural means mankind went from the original pair to maybe a billion (I've done the math), and then started over again with six after the first batch "didn't take"!

It has taken about five thousand years, but we've passed six billion folk in this ol' world. In some places that rate is increasing, in others it is actually decreasing, but we keep on producing that "fruit." And for all of that six thousand years or so, we have "allowed nature" to take it's course.

Not anymore. Now there is an increased use of diagnostic tests to choose which babies to keep! Though it is quite expensive, in vitro fertilization is being used more and more. Now, for infertile couples it is a viable choice. Except that it entails the destruction of unused embryos. That is a problem for many.

But I am on the fence here. While I strongly believe that life begins at conception, I am aware of the science that favors emplantation as the most important milestone for an embryo. Some naturally formed embros (some estimate 2 out of 3) never make it to that stage. The formation of nerve cells that become the personality center of the brain form soon after emplantation. A very good alternate definition of "life" that might form as a good compromise.

However, the new developments in testing a single cell of an eight-cell embryo -- which if it passes will be emplanted and become a baby -- are going beyond the obvious birth defects and into genetic testing for potential diseases -- notably cancer. Parents are chosing to pay for embroyo cells to be tested for more and more conditions that MIGHT happen in middle age! This is very close to eugenics, a practice condemned by civilized peoples generations ago.

Though this precludes abortions of developing babies of recognizable human form after tests showing defects, it nevertheless encourages the god-like decisions of life and death among those that can afford it. Meanwhile, the rest of us keep obeying God in the old fashioned way!

It is so much better just to depend on God to make those decisions. It is He who will work in the lives of the strong and the weak to work His good will. If you can't have children, there are plenty that are "unwanted" children to go around. And many diseases, especially cancers, are treatable or even curable even today. In thrity years they may all be just a bad memory.

Even for the poor who were just doing what God has commanded.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Can Demons Die?

I read Matthew's account of the Gergesene demoniacs today. Actually it was yesterday AND today since I am "translating" as I read. Something struck me as odd.

Demons are spiritual beings that don't die. So why would a possessed herd of pigs kill itself? Well, the swine certainly didn't know what was bugging them. So I don't think it was the demons that "made them" do it. It was the confusion in their little heads.

When suddenly met with an alien presense, they were spooked. They ran around and over a cliff because their keepers could not control them. Their keepers were miffed! So they went into town and a bunch of their friends came running to see the disaster. Funny how people never change.

And so, the newly disembodied spirits found a waiting audience of unbelievers to possess. At least that is one explanation for a whole town rejecting Jesus. Of course, it was just as true that God just didn't have any people in that town. Yet.

Matthew does not mention the task that the men (or at least one of them) was given by the Lord:

Mark 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

And so, these men who so wanted to follow Jesus as members of the crowd were commissioned to evangelize this village of beligerent (and maybe demon-possessed) unbelievers!

I wonder why Matthew was so short on the details here. Mark, who usually gives a briefer account, pours on the details. It probably has to do with the audience who originally received the written gospels. The Jews were not so concerned about the details, but instead needed spiritual guidance. The Romans were stronger in their faith, but were further removed from the culture of the land of Israel.

Another explanation, though, is that these particular demons challenged the wrong rabbi! They acknowledged that Jesus was the son of God, but they thought they could outwit him. They knew their final fate would be in the pit, but they didn't want to go there any time soon. So, Jesus agreed to their compromise, knowing that the swine would immediately deprive the demons of bodies. And then, they would prematurely be cast into the fires of Gehenna to await the final judgment in torment!

Friday, September 01, 2006

"Illegal" Immigration

I am a conservative. But I am NOT a nationalist. The nation that now exists between the oceans is one made of immigrants. People have come from all over the world to have a better life here on the USA. The only thing that makes it "illegal" to come across our borders is the laws we have set up to prevent "undesirable" immigrants to come and live among us. To fight against their rights to better themselves is NOT A CHRISTIAN stand to take.

The criminals among us are the employers that employ people at a lower wage while not reporting it to anyone. Much of the labor force in the USA is not even reported. It is under the table. Of course, those that take such payments and don't report them are partaking in illegal activities themselves. However, many of them probably don't know this.

Consider our history as we conquered this continent from roughly the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande (points which form borders from which to draw a line to the sea). We came as either religious pilgrims or mercenary adventurers. We encountered the indiginent population with our odd ways, eventually pushing them to less desirable wastelands among hardier tribes that didn't want them as neighbors! And then, we took THAT land as well. Now we acknowledge them as legal entities with land of their own, allowing them to rule themselves. But only within land we allow the to keep.

They didn't have "laws" against OUR immigrating into THEIR land, did they? It was "social darwinism," survival of the fittest. The Europeans won. "Might makes right," or at least that's what "THEY" say (see my first post). Our fight to preserve our "sovereignty" is not a Christian virtue either. We are called to live in the world -- at peace if at all possible. Who knows what would have come of this continent if Christian virtures of LOVE and PEACE had prevailed?

And what does this have to do with the current "problem"? Well, if our employers did not exploit these desperate folk, then they would not flood our borders in such numbers. But when even minimum wage is, say, eight times what many in the developing world make (in Peru, for example), then it is no wonder they come. If we let the market run correctly, with employers paying ALL workers a decent "living" wage, then jobs will be filled by the most competent workers no matter where they are from.

I don't know if this will ever happen, but it is the ideal. How do we manage the influx of "aliens" in a Christian way? We love them. We assist them when they are down. We help them fit in here, or else we assist them in returning to their homelands to affect change there. We stand against "slave labor" in developing lands. For example, we don't pay such low prices to China just because they have manufactured goods using under-compensated workers (keeping their costs WAAYY down!) What is their living standard, and what of their workdays? Are they using underaged children? We "flex a little muscle" as the worldwide church -- a nation without borders!

Remember" "Ego de lego." What has Jesus said?