Tuesday, August 31

35 Candles On The Modem

On September 2nd remember to celebrate the birth of a creation without which you wouldn't be reading these lines.

According to one 2002 report I read, of the 6 billion people worldwide 500 million have home Internet access. The U.S. accounts for over 42% of the worlds' Internet traffic and 60% of the U.S. population has Internet access from home, work, library or cafe'. High speed Internet access is also growing fast and along with it are the proliferation of web sites at an exponential rate.

The internet has changed our society, our culture, our politics and continues to alter our means of communication. The questions follow, "Where are we taking the Internet?" and "Where is the Internet taking us?"

In my view, current technology seems to have outstripped our moral capacity. Our ability to discern moral right and wrong has been obfuscated by our capability to do more through so many technological developments. There can be no doubt as to the impact the Internet has had on public opinion and even personal faith. This mass flow of information and ready access has changed our lives. How the Internet ultimately affects us all, I guess, is the work of sociologists and philosophers. But, Oh how it has.

Happy birthday. You don't look a day over 29.

Monday, August 30

Clinton's Telephone Pole

As we ramp up the rhetoric for the Republican Convention in NYC, former Pres. Clinton (with accent on the former) steps up to lend some "moral" support, jockstrap adjustments notwithstanding. Mr. Clinton speaking at the Riverside Church (apparently a spiritually astute congregation to have the likes of Clinton speak) in upper Manhattan declares, "Politics and political involvement dictated by faith is not the exclusive province of the right wing." He goes on to state...

"Speaking of Bush's religious beliefs, he said, "I believe President Bush is a good Christian. I believe that his faith in Jesus saved him. I believe it gave him new purpose and direction to his life. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't see through a glass darkly," Clinton said, quoting a biblical phrase for not seeing clearly.
In his inimitable way, his condescending eyes are staring right into a pole while trying to extract a twig from a political rival. Seems while Mr. Clinton is in church making references to biblical metaphors he's overlooked a rather important one.
It's interesting to observe the moral giant, Mr. Clinton, pass judgment upon Pres. Bush. That Mr. Clinton should make an allusion to 1 Corinthians 13:12, part of the great love chapter in scripture, seems a particularly poignant one. You see, this passage makes the point that we ALL "see through a glass darkly" because we are limited by our own emotions, failings, i.e. humanity. And that which we see unclearly, imperfectly, is love. We turned our backs on it at the beginning of man. We nailed it to the cross. We still shun it in these modern times. We haven't seen it for what it is because of the log in our own eyes.

Better Than I Could've Said It

"Let the American youth never forget that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, of property, of religion, and of independence. The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its compartments are beautiful, as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order; and its defences are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour, by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE. Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."

- Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Court justice, 1811 - 1845 "A Familiar Exposition of The Constitution of the United States"

Saturday, August 28

Grits!

Grits. No one can eat just one!

Git ya some!

Check out the recipe for Southern Sweet Tea.

Yes, Virginia, that's tea with sugar. Imagine that!

Friday, August 27

Man lay dead in bed for two years

In a world so technologically advanced and automated, the story comes of a man whose death goes unnoticed for almost two years. When asked about the man the president of the board for the condominium tells one of the other residents, "...the bank gets the monthly money so we don't worry about it." One of the more poignant quotes from the piece by Marcel Baril, executive director of the Family Centre in Winnipeg, was... "It's odd that we live in a society where technology can take care of our affairs like that, even if we passed away two years ago, and nobody's noticed."
How do we answer the same question asked at the beginning, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

Thursday, August 26

Federal Judge Rules Against Partial Birth Abortion Ban

It appears our justices have been coronated with supreme power and judicial wisdom, unbeknownst to me. This article on the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Casey suggests that Mr. Casey knows something the framers of the Constitution didn't.

After reading the following quote...

"While Congress and lower courts may disagree with the Supreme Court's constitutional decision, that does not free them from their constitutional duty to obey the Supreme Court's rulings," Casey said.


...I began to wonder. So I checked it out. The following is the oath administered to the entire U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate beginning every new term in January.

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."


Sorry, Mr. Casey, seems you missed civics class. I didn't see anything in the Constitution that says Congress is to obey the SCOTUS. Congress is sworn to uphold the Constitution, not some institution of pompous, self-righteous fools.

And by the way, the oath of office for the SCOTUS is as follows...

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.''


Mr. Casey, take a good read at that last sentence. You might do well by obeying His rulings.

Pardon me for thinking out loud...

This piece called Artist Treds on Flag makes me wonder if'n I might have backed off about my flag when I shouldn't have.

I remember the flag burnings in this country that happened during "Kerry's War In Cambodia" days. I remember the anger stirred in people over such revolting displays. I remember the voices of many calling for legislation to make flag burning illegal. Why?

Because there are many who regard that flag as a symbol of freedom. That flag stands for values which our founders envisioned would make this country great and which many today espouse as true. It reminds us of the multitude who gave their all in defending those principles first established.

Now, apparently, we are to regard the lives of tens of thousands of those who died in defense of the Southern cause as worthless. Their cause was wrong and their efforts worthy of derision. The Confederate Battle flag became a synonym for racism in the minds of some, ergo a symbol of hatred, worthy of a lynching.

I dissent from such opinions. The flag will still hold a place of honor within my household. I will teach my children not the lies of the federally subsidized, governmentally controlled, indoctrination centers called public schools. They will learn the truth. They will discover that although hatred and racial prejudice may exist, the South is not the only place to find it and many who raise such issues are not so guiltless of it themselves.

In reality, we're all prisoners of our own ignorance. Those who see the Confederate Battle flag as a symbol of racism don't understand two things. First, that the flag represents good and decent values as old as the human race, liberty and self-determinination, worthy of respect. Second, that racism respects no flag under which it plies its evil except the banner of darkness.

Wednesday, August 25

The Lincoln Nobody Knows

Linked from the Aw Shucks site...

Perhaps the Yanks are learning.

What's Bill Steigerwald's conclusion?

So Lincoln was no god. And the more you learn about what he did, not just wrote or said, the more you understand why liberal and conservative lovers of big government adore him and so many Southerners hate him.


Now if we could only get Bush & Cheney off the pedestal maybe some Republicans would wake up and listen.

Vote Peroutka.

Coincidence or Terrorists?

From the Instapundit regarding the two Russian aircraft crashes...

HERE'S MORE on the crashed Russian planes, one of which sent out a hijack signal.


There's also speculation that these hijackings were the signal to Al Qaeda terrorists elsewhere to commence the next wave of attacks. Speculation is all I'd call it, but it's possible. It's certainly a reason for people to be extra vigilant.


UPDATE: More here, from the sometimes-right Debka. Make of it what you will.


ANOTHER UPDATE: Some thoughts on the Russian government's response so far, and what the U.S. government should learn from it.

GOP To "Finesse" Immigration Issue

Sen. Frist lets the cat out of the bag. Tweak it here and there to make it palatable to the rank and file Republicans. Another attempt to keep the party base in line.
Take a good look at this quote from the article.

The problem for Mr. Frist, he acknowledged, is that, in order to avoid a possible convention floor fight, the platform's immigration plank has to be written in such a way as to reconcile, or at least appear to reconcile, the irreconcilable. That is, it has to oppose amnesty, but not oppose the president's plan, which includes a temporary amnesty that also, as some critics claim, can lead to citizenship for those granted amnesty.
"The document," Mr. Frist acknowledged, "has to reflect the president's principles and at same time the party's principles and policies."


The truth is the president has put the party between a rock and a hard place on this issue. But the president doesn't really care about the party platform. He's demonstrated that by what he's done his first term in office. This is just another piece of evidence that the party leadership cares nothing for standing up for principle. It's only "finessing" itself.

Tuesday, August 24

A Flag & The Truth

I've been having a Third National Confederate flag displayed on my front porch for some time. I guess I'm one of the few who believe that Southern Secession and the War of Northern Agression, as I consider it, was about Constitutional rights, not racism and slavery. Recently a church visitor remarked to my pastor about the flag and wondered if I was a racist. As I explain in the following e-mail, I've taken the flag down out of respect for the pastor but I also realize the misunderstanding that those who but little know me as a worship leader would misconstrue my intent in displaying the flag. On the one hand I was somewhat reluctant to take it down as I thought it might send a message that I am cowering to pressure and not standing on principle. I'll think this position over again but for now my flag is more a political issue than a spiritual one and so I'd rather leave it as it stands. I've written an e-mail reply which I post here, edited for sensitivities.


No need to speak to me regarding the flag. It has been taken down from public view in deference to you, not to the ignorance of others. It is sad that such a complaint would be leveled toward me. I would hope for better characterizations from those who know me.

But it does seem that people don't know me very well. I must be doing a bad job of marketing. If someone could make such an assumption, I'd like to think it's due to my uncommon political inclinations and not some perception of acrimoniousness.

It may interest you to know that a gentleman, also interested in the flag, came up to my door on a Saturday morning several weeks ago. He noticed that I had not had it out recently but expressed his appreciation for my displaying it. He wondered if I would like another to replace it. I accepted his offer and told him I would consider it an honor to display it. Now, I understand another individual, after seeing it, thinks the worship leader as a racist. Tell me, whom should I regard, the gentleman who appreciated my display of the flag and came to my door to tell me or a nameless, faceless individual who has not the courage to tell me but leaves an accusation before my pastor?

The truth is that I am no racist. To endeavour to prove this negative would be a waste of effort. All there is to offer in contrast is a life knowledge that God's infinite grace and mercy is for all His creation. My political understanding regarding the late Confederacy of the Southern States reflects my belief that our present day political and governmental establishment has diverted far from what was intended in our Constitution. The display of the flag essentially reflects my view that an out of control federal government needs to be checked before our constitutional republic is lost forever. If it should be then we will all find ourselves unwilling slaves to a nightmarish government our founders dared not envision.

The issue of racism will never be brought to resolution on this earth anymore than hatred, divisiveness, arrogance or greed will. All these issue from the same source and so long as there is a demon in hell and people without a heart toward God on earth there will be prejudice. Charges of racism arise from those who believe that the South, the Confederate States of America, was wrong on the issue of slavery. In reality, all that was accomplished almost 140 years ago in the U.S. was the eradication of the business of slavery. Slavery still exists; it exists here in the U.S. as long as there are those who are slaves to fear, slaves to anxiety, slaves to materialism, generally, slaves to sin. Racism is defined as, "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." I would that more were Godly prejudiced.

Brooks & Dunn Tops GOP Entertainment

After reading this piece I'm just not sure exactly where the entertainment stops and the campaigning begins...or maybe it's all entertainment.

Interesting quote from the piece about Gov. Riley of Alabama, "(he) told a Republican breakfast that President Bush's re-election will change the U.S. Supreme Court, described by the governor as "very liberal."

Change it? Now how would that be given the fact that 7 of the 9 current judges were appointed by...Republicans? And how would Pres. Bush expect to make the court more conservative after having supported the reelection of Sen. Specter of Pennsylvania?

"This is the greatest opportunity we will have to return to the value set that makes us unique in the world," Riley said.
Riley, a former congressman, blamed the "very liberal Supreme Court" for letting the country degenerate over the past few decades. "There are very few times in our country when you have a defining moment like we have now," Riley said.

It seems strange to read of a politician talk about making our value set "unique in the world" when we seem to be steered in the direction of taking on value sets like the rest of the world. Gov. Riley is right, though. The defining moment is now...to vote Mr. Peroutka president.

Monday, August 23

The Ugly Christian

My wife and I have been Christian believers for 26 years. We've known the blessings of church and the intimacy that is koinina fellowship. Over the years we've found the church to be a source of comfort in difficult times; a place of solace. There is the beautiful, glorious side of Christianity which is evident whenever Christians assemble together, whether at Sunday morning services or fellowship gatherings. A side which demonstrates the goodness and kindness in the nature of being a believer.

There is, however, another side of Christianity with which we've also become acquainted. When our relationship with Christ began we little considered that there was an ugly side of believers. In much the same way that a newly married couple views their relationship idyllically without regard to the negatives, so also did we not see the pitfalls of relationships with fellow believers, or apparent believers. As the saying goes, had we known then what we know now things might have been different. Perhaps it is the mercy of God that keeps us from such knowledge. God in His omniscience, I believe, knows that to reveal every turn and avenue in the journey of Christian living at the start would lead to misunderstandings or unbelief.

God, in his infinite wisdom, prepared us over time to meet those believers who carry baggage, as it were, from their past life in spite of the work of Christ available. Encounters can be ugly even to the point of unwarranted accusations being brought. Such things linger, and if not brought to resolution, are allowed to fester creating cynicism where trust once existed. These ugly christians, CINO's (Christians In Name Only) if you will, display the sort of characteristics typical of average believers, however the complete work of submission to Christ, making Jesus Lord as well as Saviour, isn't apparent. Issues such as forgiveness and trust become the focus as these individuals allow a base nature, the corruption of sin, to work in their interaction with other believers. As long as the relationship is superficial, personal issues are never threatened, ergo interaction is pleasant. It is when the superficial gives way to personal issues which touch this "baggage" that such individuals recoil or even attack.

I speak in general terms to cover those individuals should others consider they find them in these lines. Still, I find it necessary to broach this subject because I believe there are such individuals in churches and places of Christian fellowship everywhere. There are varying levels of committment to the Gospel of Christ just as Christ Himself had those around Him who were committed to varying degrees. The trite phrase, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven" certainly holds truth. A believer in Christ isn't a finished work but a work in the making up to the day one dies. Philippians 2:12 advises us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Some obviously have worked this out more than others. The issue I raise is not one of judgment of one's committment. It is the question of how to deal with offenses between those in fellowship and just what part and to what degree the local church should have in arbitrating such differences.

Christ brought us forgiveness with such clarity and asked that we forgive as He. To forgive is to free the individual from the past but issues of trust can linger because it deals with the future. The difference between Christians and anyone else living life on their own is being intimately acquainted with the Lord of mercy and forgiveness. His example has freed us from every hinderance. Even from the hinderance of self. Within the church it seems that there are those believers who still have want of a Lord even though they've found the Saviour.

Thursday, August 19

Bears Prefer Rainier

Some bears prefer beer, Rainier beer that is. Took one drink of Busch but preferred the other. After 36 of 'em I think this may give rise to new redneck competition. Beer drinking competition with bears. Somehow I see an ad campaign coming.

Wednesday, August 18

Truism of Traffic No. 1.

Living in Atlanta brings with it the undue burden of dealing with the local traffic. How to deal with the quirks and peculiarities of traffic flow is one of my favorite amateurish sociological studies. Over the years I've found some truisms which I will begin to share here.

1) When in interstate traffic during rush hour always avoid the left most fast lane. It will generally get you no where. Prevailing thought is that this lane will move fastest however it's precisely this common thinking which leads many to travel this lane and hence slow it down. The exception occurs when the far left lane happens to be HOV although there are many occassions when this type of lane will be occupied by some law abiding citizen who wishes to observe the posted speed limit in spite of the fact that those all around them wish they had the ability.

1a) Corollary: "Lane Changers", those individuals who have the irritatingly unreasonable habit of changing lanes to "jockey" for position, will invariably cause the flow of traffic to slow down most particularly in the fast lane as well. Look for them. Lane Changers will be dealt with more in depth in a future post.

Tuesday, August 17

Confession

In early March a man paid a very dear price for truth. He walked into a sheriff's office and confessed to the crime of murder in a case that had been closed as a suicide. His motivation? He viewed the film "Passion of the Christ" and became convicted under the burden of sacrifice made for him.

The report last Saturday that the man was sentenced to 75 years in prison, gave me pause to think. How much does the truth cost? Confronted with the truth of his action and God's relentless pursuit of relationship with mankind, this one chose to fall into His mercy rather than be crushed under the burden of his sin. Seems to me this man counted the cost and paid willingly. Weighed in the balance, though the price of truth was high, the cost of deceit could be offset with the purchase. For most of us the price is not so demanding and yet it seems so many are still unwilling to pay; selling themselves short into deceit and vanities. Scripture advises us to buy the truth and sell it not.

Many seem oblivious to the cost of falsehood and truth. Each has a price but only one has carries a value. It would appear that truth has little value but it is hidden in the price paid, not by, but for each of us. But for the mercy and patience of God many would suffer under the unbearable cost of deceit as it too demands a price. Just as we order our financial affairs, so too we choose the price we're willing to pay for truth. With lives in the balance, we choose to purchase the credit of truth or settle for the expensive debt of lies. Christ's "Passion" showed us that expense.

Sunday, August 15

Just An Average Sunday

At church this morning with a visiting minister from New York state. Interesting fellow; I would even say "edgy" by our standards as he used some terminology which would be considered street language, to put it kindly. This would certainly offend the average denominational congregation however we're not denominational nor are we average. He did make some valid points with regard to the present condition of our society and culture referring to a passage in Matthew 24. Perilous times are stressful times, he said. The love (agape') of many, as referred to in the gospel account, will fail in the last days. That love isn't love in the common, secular sense but the love of the saints of God. Due to the abounding lawlessness the very love of God within many of the hearts of the redeemed will falter. I can understand that because it's something I've known from time to time. With so much debauchery and lawless disregard for that which is good and decent in the culture, how those who don't have a realtionship with Christ carry on I don't know. Lawlessness isn't just crooked politicians or mass murderers. It can be as simple as lying.

Lying is like many transgressions which becomes more excusable the more the guilt threshold is crossed. As the guilt is silenced the transgression seems less painful and even becomes more acceptable. Fifty years ago children of divorced parents were an aberration, living under pain and shame. As he pointed out, we live in an age now in which divorce is commonplace and children are taught to deal with it as a normal fact of life. We've made sin acceptable because we think we can deal with the consequences. The moral? Let lawlessness drive us back to friendship with God. It is our only hope.

Went to a computer show this afternoon. Picked up a new M-board and CPU for my system which needs an upgrade. Later, youth worship team practice followed by young adults fellowship this evening. Late this evening a callout to replace a DXCS card. All in all a pretty typical busy Sunday. And then there's vacation tomorrow when I get to go back to my job.

Friday, August 13

McCain-Feingold Strikes

Anti-abortion ads illegal?

Tell me about free speech in America! This is just one instance of the effect from the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. And don't forget our champion of conservatism, Pres. Bush, his supposed misgivings notwithstanding, signed the bill into law. What other issues of the day will be considered untouchable?

Thursday, August 12

CA Supreme Court Voids Same Sex Marriages

I'm curious about what happens with Mayor Newsom now that the California supreme court found he overstepped his authority. Any sort of reprimand, sanctions or repayment of the expenses for this frivolity to the taxpayers in the works? I doubt it. This ruling only deals with the legality of the good mayor's actions and not with the legalities of same sex marriage, mind you. That court challenge will make its slow trek up to the California supremes and arrive hopefully sometime after the rest of the country has seceded from having anything to do with Mexifornia. Some pull quotes from the article...

"Del is 83 years old and I am 79," Lyon said. "After being together for more than 50 years, it is a terrible blow to have the rights and protections of marriage taken away from us. At our age, we do not have the luxury of time."


What rights and protections does she speak of? It's imagined in their minds but not in any official document I know of. Of course, it's just like liberal-think; imagining makes it so.

Newsom argued to the justices in May that the ability of same-sex couples to marry was a "fundamental right" that compelled him to act. Newsom authorized the marriages by citing the California Constitution's ban against discrimination


Again, a "fundamental right"? And he bases this upon the California constitution's anti-discrimination clause. So necrophiliacs and pederasts as well as the common, garden variety polygamists should be entitled to the sort of marriage they choose, hmmm? After all we wouldn't want to be discriminators as to what is acceptable behavior, would we?

A proposed U.S. Constitutional amendment is just a toy for the conservatives to occupy themselves and keep their attentions elsewhere while the liberal Republican agenda moves forward. Even should one pass (The 27th amendment took over 200 years to become ratified by the states), the Supreme Court has ensconced itself into a position of nullifying any such attempt to restraining the culture. I've doubted the effectiveness of this effort from the beginning.

Marriage is essentially a sacred institution not a secular one. It's only been in recent modern times that government has interjected itself into regulating it and sanctioning it with benefits and privileges. Keeping it as it has been traditionally will take a spiritual and cultural shift within society not more laws to enforce and behavior to monitor.

Wednesday, August 11

Sometimes Ya Just Have To Say It

Part of the reason I have this blog is to express myself. There are times and places to do so and this is one way to anonymously say what I want to say without the editorialization or correction of others. If it's wrong, then I apologize. If right, I have no regrets.
Some christians have this idea that Pres. Bush is above criticism. They quote me this Biblical passage referring to Saul and David saying, "Touch not the Lord's anointed." Now, I understand that the powers and authorities that be are ordained of God; I know that to be scriptural. But to make some claim that it would be sinful to say, "Pres. Bush is a jerk" when it's true that "Pres. Bush is a jerk" and it doesn't impugn his integrity is just ridiculous. The president is a jerk. There, I've said it.
If you're reading this and think otherwise then feel free to be offended, if you choose. I've been offended before and know what that feels like. You'll get over it. But take it from me you'd feel better knowing as I know that Pres. Bush is a jerk.

Voters voting with votes

Vote - 'vOt, noun - 1 a : a usually formal expression of opinion or will in response to a proposed decision; especially : one given as an indication of approval or disapproval of a proposal, motion, or candidate for office...

Opportunities to work the local precinct come my way from time to time and in the interest of gaining perspective and insight into the public political mind, I participate. This is not without some financial reward, mind you, but that becomes secondary to being around the voting faithful. Yesterday was no exception. I could recount the interjections of Joe, a poll officer among whose myopic observations were that poll work is dignified and not to be trifled with, this from a man whose idea of fun is dodging equine fecal matter. There were poll workers and voters whose political sentience extended no further than "Democrats/bad, Republicans/good" or vice versa.

It seems I have gotten either spoiled or indoctrinated by reading the likes of WorldNetDaily, Drudge Report, Southern Caucus, and Vox Day. While I'm no political pundit, based upon the typical voter I encountered yesterday at the polls, I've come to the realization that I may be more politically astute than I thought. People seem to have no realization of the foundation of this country. The Constitution was established as a basis of law for the country because of the first three words of the document...We the people.

The Constitution is no document framed to help those by life disadvantaged. It is the singular document meant to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Promoting the general welfare didn't mean taking tax money and funding programs to benefit a select. It does mean allowing the people to provide for their own benefit without the encumberances of government. How far we have come! Now it appears people believe that it is government's job to PROVIDE for the general welfare.

Our local precinct turnout was about 10% of those registered. Not much confidence demonstrated. Too much taken for granted in something so many gave so much to have some years ago.

Monday, August 9

Why Christians Should Not Vote for George Bush

Why Christians Should Not Vote For George Bush

Some cogent arguments against voting for George Bush this November.

And to all my Republican friends who imagine that by voting for Michael Peroutka I'm depriving Pres. Bush of my vote...read this.

This is not a zero sum game. Republicans are losing their base just as Democrats are losing theirs. The arguments each uses are those of fear not logic. And I agree with Vox. To assume I'm giving a vote to Kerry because I'm voting for someone other than Bush is ridiculous. If I had no choice other than Bush or Kerry I wouldn't vote for either.

Friday, August 6

Chain of Abuse

Lawyer: Evidence In Police Abuse Case Will "Shock And Horrify"

Tennessee Police and the Smoak Family

Gail Atwater vs. City of Lago Vista

Court Opens Door To Searches Without Warrants

Wisconsin Police Questionable Actions

I note these links as examples of the trend of abuse of authority by police and the courts for several years now. I could also mention the Ruby Ridge case along with the Waco Branch Davidians. Does anyone remember the government intervention into the Elian Gonzalez case? We've accelerated the decent into a police state by government surveillance (see CARNIVORE) and relinquishing liberties (see the PATRIOT Act, read the Electronic Frontier Foundation's analysis of the PATRIOT Act). There are provisions of the PATRIOT Act which require reporting home purchases to the government. It will only get worse before it gets better. I think it was George Washington who said that government is a necessary evil. Scripture tells us to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are His. There will come a day when Christians will be required to give their lives if they maintain a loyality to Christ. As my blog is titled, "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear", the day may be sooner than anyone thinks.

Wednesday, August 4

Vox Day

Vox's Blog gets Elmo's blog of the day recognition. Noteworthy pieces on...

Homeschool Growth
It's great to see the homeschool movement proliferating. Keep the government out of it and we'll do fine, thank you very much.

The Oshkosh Wisconsin gun seizures
If you haven't come up to speed on this one, you need to. Go to the Wisconsin Gun Owners website to get more on it. The Fourth Amendment continues to be disregarded. And to think that some people believe we should have PATRIOT Act II. Yeah, sure, uh huh.

and

Rep. Dennis Hastert and the income tax repeal trial balloon.
I saw this from the beginning as nothing but a way to hold Republicans and attract other conservatives to the party. This is an election year, for cryin' out loud! When the storm of campaigning is over in November look for Rep. Hastert and others to experience a sudden case of selective amnesia.

Voting Your Conscience

WND Managing Editor David Kupelian gives this line of reasoning in voting for Pres. Bush. I first noticed this on Vox Day's Blog as he comments on this editorial in his usually sound way.

Mr. Kupelian makes several points within his editorial and ultimately comes to the conclusion that "For me, despite whatever real or perceived flaws he has, I will vote for George W. Bush, a man who believes in freedom, stands for decent principles..." Pres. Bush may believe in freedom but he sure has a funny way of demonstrating it. His support for the PATRIOT Act makes me believe otherwise. From his November 2003 statement on abortion, to his de facto amnesty of illegals, to his support of the pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter, to the unconstitutional war on terror, to his signing of the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold bill in spite of his Constitutional reservations (quote, "I also have reservations about the constitutionality of the broad ban on issue advertising which restrains the speech of a wide variety of groups on issues of public import in the months closest to an election."), Pres. Bush has demonstrated his willingness to follow party politics and sacrifice principles and he will not have my vote in November.

To address a few of Mr. Kupelian's points:

"But before we divorce ourselves from the Republicans, take a moment to realize that your own churches – yes, I'm talking about the big, mainstream Protestant denominations, as well as the Catholic Church – have also become just as "half possessed by evil" as the Republican Party. If you disavow the Republican Party, just make sure you're holding your church to the same standard."

I am and I do. I would expect a committed follower of Jesus Christ to separate themselves from a church which sanctioned behavior or doctrine such as that "half-evil" which he mentions. The problem I have with Mr. Kupelian's point is that he seems to think the standards Christians have for politics and religion are disparate. This may be true for some in the age of separation of church and state. However there are some, like myself, who believe, as those at the founding of this country, that politics is wholly influenced by personal faith. If it's a matter of principle, then the standards are the same in politics as in the church.
"The race is not between those whose names appear on the ballot, but rather is between those who actually have any chance of winning. Nobody reading these words can reasonably believe that anybody other than George W. Bush or John F. Kerry will be president next January. And we, you and me, have the power to decide which of these two will be the "father of our country" for the next four years."

How is it that sports teams still play the game even though they mayn't have any chance of winning? Granted, political issues are more serious than a game but why dismiss a candidate as not worth a vote simply because they have no chance of winning? A vote is an endorsement and should be considered carefully based upon the character, political record and positions of the candidate. Whenever I read this argument I wonder if winning is really all that it's ever about. Isn't it about standing for principle, win or lose, regardless of the outcome? Do we evaluate the justification or righteousness of a cause by its success? Some may believe that the end justifies the means but Scripturally right is still right even if it costs us everything we have including our lives.
Want to know how America's cultural war will really be won? I'll give you my answer right now: If, guided by the Living God of wisdom, you fight for what is right, no matter what – you'll win your soul and those of your family.

Fighting for what is right except in elections, that is. In that instance compromise your principles and vote for the most viably suitable candidate. Mr. Kupelian seems to contradict the point of his article, voting your conscience, by compelling us to be principled in our faith but willing to accept unprincipled latitude in our politics. No, Pres. Bush won't get my vote this time around. I don't believe the "wasted vote" or the "lesser of two evils" arguments because they're simply meant to scare voters into staying in lock step with the party and pacify their consciences.
I'm unapologetically pro-Peroutka. Mr. Peroutka has eminent qualifications for the office and he would serve either of the two major party candidates instructively in his exercise of Constitutional authority were he to be elected. I wholeheartedly support his abortion position and call upon our current President to take note and summon the courage to follow. There are many other reasons I support this Constitution Party candidate not the least of which are those dealing with Pres. Bush's mismanagement, to put it mildly, of an out of control federal government in a post 9/11 environment.

Tuesday, August 3

Worship

"Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart ... And I (King David) will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight." - 2 Samuel 6:16,22

Many have approached the subject of worship before me. I don't pretend to have a great theological grasp of the subject, however reading the treatments of others, as well as my personal experience, has given me a great deal of understanding. As one of those who approaches worship as innate to humanity (Everyone worships something), I have a predisposition toward a more universal view, i.e. the qualities and characteristics of worship in mankind not only Christians. The worship of Christian believers is certainly dissimilar in many respects to unbelievers, the object of worship being the crux of the issue. However there are many similarities, I believe, in which the two exhibit a common attitude or behavior.

Recently, I reread the verses in 2 Samuel 6:16 - 23. Saul's daughter, Michal, takes offense at King David's behavior in worship to God as the Ark of the Lord is brought back into the city. In response, King David asserts that his behavior was before the Lord and not for Michal's consideration. Often times, it seems, verse 22 is read with the emphasis upon King David being undignified before the Lord. On reading the verse on this occasion I began to consider the truth of the latter part of the verse, "...and will be humble in my own sight."

In John 3:30 John the Baptist states, "He must increase, but I must decrease." King David's "undignified" behavior was to him a display of his "decrease" before his object of worship, the Lord. It mattered not how others might perceive this behavior as he humbled himself in his own estimation. I've heard it said that beliefs determine behavior. In the lives of unbelievers, their beliefs distinguish their behavior and will give evidence of the god of their worship.

Worship is essentially humbling in nature. The more deeply devoted an individual becomes to the one worshipped the more subservient they become, serving their respective master. In the case of unbelievers worshipful behavior is measured by the devotion to the objects of their worship, i.e. recreation, sports, possessions, etc. I've seen people do some crazy, outlandish things all for the sake of their "devotional pursuits". Many who are devoted to one sports team or another think nothing of painting their bodies in team colors or wearing team mascot animal outfits. The Green Bay Packers cheese heads just may be the secular answer to Gideon and his mighty men.

Christians measure their devotion by spiritual pursuits, i.e. Bible study, prayer time, corporate worship, etc. Unbelievers find it impossible to comprehend the devotion of Christians to the Lord as their god is of a different character. King David knew his behavior was undignified but also was aware that his Lord understood such behavior more than those around him and deserved total devotion. Undignified behavior in worship isn't a outward display as much as it is an inner work.

Monday, August 2

AT&T and MCI may compete for suitors

This from Wall Street Journal Online:

AT&T and MCI are shaping up for what could be a final battle over which company can be sold first, industry observers said. Both companies face a profit-sapping technology shift and a hostile U.S. regulatory environment. A price war has pitched sales into a decline. People who have worked the numbers on AT&T and MCI essentially value the consumer businesses at zero. The tricky part is assessing the value of their core operations: selling voice and data services to the world's largest corporations. MCI is caught in a bind. Its gross margins are lower than those of its competitors, which means it will have to cut more costs as its revenue continues to erode. A potential buyer could get all of MCI's vast assets and a solid client roster for about one-third of AT&T's value. - WSJ.com

Each company knows what the other is going through. They also know that there are few willing investors out there at this point in the juncture of changes in the telecom business. The long distance market is shriveling up by the day and the rise of VoIP is only making it worse. The trick for an investor is to know when these companies are about to reach critical mass to sell and wait. A prime buyers' market. There are many in the industry who expect a deal by one or both of these companies before the end of the year. I would tend to agree. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Some irony to be found should a Verizon or BellSouth step in, nes pa?

Sunday, August 1

Words...words...words

Webster Adds Words

Yes, I love words. The dictionary is my companion. Well, at least one of my companions. I generally like to read over my head, as it were, for the challenge of finding new and interesting words. Ilana Mercer's and Vox Day's articles in WND are very helpful in this respect. I might not understand all the points of Ms. Mercer's articles but what wonderful words and phrases she uses!
Terms like "MP3" are added to the vernacular due to their widespread usage and this phenomenon of their being added to lexicography gives legitimacy to that usage. This is nothing new as Shakespeare routinely added new words to the parlance of his day.
I once ran across a fascinatingly useful word for many Christians. It was "gambol" pronounced like "gamble" but meaning "to frolick". Now, in my circle of Christianity there are many who take the Psalms seriously enough to praise and worship the Lord with dancing and other sorts of very demonstrable displays of affection. The reaction I got when I told them they were "gamboling for Jesus" was priceless.