Sunday, April 29

Conferate History Month

As Confederate History...Heritage Month comes to a close, it's good to remember the sacrifices Southron soldiers made.

A stirring rendition of "I Am Their Flag" given by none other than H.K. Edgerton...

...I'm proud to be a Southron. Deo Vindice

Saturday, April 28

Being the church

One of my kids turned me on to Brant Hansen's blog, Letters from Kamp Krusty. It's his often funny outlook that grabs my attention, but on some occasions, such as this one, he uncovers some blindness, as a caller to his radio show reveals.

"Well, American churches are doing everything they can to fight poverty in Africa."

Everything we can?

Caller: Yes. But we're called to take care of our own first.

How so?

Caller: Well, you gotta understand: There's only so much money, and it's really expensive to try to offer the programs we need to lure the world into our buildings. It's very, very expensive, and there's not going to be much left.
I've been going to church for a lot of years now; accepted Christ and baptized in a church building. I've been involved in church programs to one extent or another for most of my adult life. The older I get the more convinced I become that a large portion of it is worthless, just so much window dressing on a decadent culture.

The post-modern church is institutionalized. People compartmentalize it. 501(c)3 tax status, big buildings, small buildings, buses, sound, lighting and projection equipment, employee and pastor salaries, not to mention the maintenance and utilities to keep it all going, and the list goes on. That's what contemporary America thinks church is.

A pity; it can blind us to the obvious.

Likewise greet the church that is in their house...- Romans 16:5

Friday, April 27

Shehecheyanu

Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam shecheyanu v'kiy'manu v'higyanu lazman hazeh. Amen

Thursday, April 26

Fighting wars and learning nothing

What are we fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan? Freedom? Protecting the "homeland"?

Doesn't seem as if we've learned much in the last 60 years or so since fascist dictatorships the likes of Mussolini were defeated. Seems to me the country is being fed a line that the radical Muslims are the "Islamofascists" when the president and his administration are the ones of which to be skeptical...

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."
The shredding sound you might hear is that of Constitutional freedoms lost. The U.S. isn't united and hasn't been for some time. Autocratic rule in America masquerades as provider, helper, caregiver. It wraps itself into the fabric of society and strangles.

The South may have been identified with "the Lost Cause" from the War of Southron Independence, but there was a cause lost in that war more than most understand.

Tuesday, April 24

Unutterable adjectives

I loathe the post-modern version of Christianity. Evangelicals eagerly imitate, with often disappointing quality, the current pop fanaticism. Surely God must loathe it too, knowing that His originality and creative resourcefulness goes untapped in favor of a dry decadence. Celebrity tantalizes, and the church seems to move toward that unrequited devotion.

It seems, all too frequently, something like Unscripted 2007 comes along to demonstrate how far some will go to create a "draw". From the website...

Unscripted2007 is a combination of pro wrestling, music, and of course....porn. Unscripted is basically that...totally unpredictable. This isn't your ordinary pro wrestling event. The action in and out of the ring will be in your face. The event, which will take place the night before WWE’s Backlash PPV, will feature some of today’s biggest names in professional wrestling. Leading the pack is, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, who is best known for his wrestling skill as a WWE Tag Team Champion, the manager of Steve Austin, a commentator, and the backer of the nWo. Aside from great and exciting pro-wrestling matches, reality and adult film star, Ron Jeremy will be in the mix as he challenges XXXChurch.com founder, Craig Gross to a "Porn Debate” And to top off the night, Stryper will be bringing their style of metal to the stage.
There is a charge for this ticketed event, so in that respect there's a limit to who'll show up, but just who would be interested and what does XXXchurch plan to accomplish by doing this? Moreover, where is Jesus in it all? Sounds more "pointless" than "unscripted".

The church I'm a member of did a wrestling event some time ago, not of this magnitude, granted, but something staged on church grounds to draw a crowd. Some I know made anecdotal points afterward to rationalize having it but I could never reconcile going to the effort to have grown men stage a fake fight (with a real verbal quarrel between them afterward, I might add) just to throw in the perfunctory plan of salvation and call it Christian. Somehow it smacked as irreverent, just as I couldn't imagine some analogous Roman wrestlers fighting it out in the Apostle Paul's era to assist him in the delivery of the Gospel's message. In my estimation, it's nothing but a gimmick and I've seen a lot of them. I'm quick to admit that I'm not without some chagrin as I've attended feats of strength events with men tearing telephone books in half for Jesus. Looking back on it, though, there's a point that comes when one realizes the unadulterated Gospel needs no "help".

There are those, like Pastor Gary Lamb who are part of the Christian groupie crowd, imagining it to be, and I quote, "...like I died and went to Heaven early! I will be there in all my redneck glory!" I suppose he expects to be entertained. On his blog he describes his church as "...known for it's passion for innovation, creativity, and reaching those who are disconnected from church. In it's two years of existence, RSC [Ridge Stone Church] has grown from 6 families to over 700 people in weekly attendance." I'm impressed with the pragmatism of church growth tactics and strategy. The contemporary church model expects to enlarge the aggregate through those methods to draw even more increasing numbers. The greater the gathering, the greater the curiosity, the greater the attraction, the greater the gathering and so on. Whether those ever hear the Gospel and God adds them to their numbers doesn't seem to be in the script, to turn an analogy.

Whatever happened to trusting the purity and simplicity of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives? When will there be an acknowledgment that it's not the flash in the pan, staged events that changes lives, but the longevity of obedient, faithful lives devoted to Christ that does?

Monday, April 23

Butt her CD makes a nice coaster

Fame must go these celebrities' heads. Sheryl Crow thinks she has someting to say about something she knows nothing about, particularly restroom visits.

Crow (4/19, Springfield, Tenn.): I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming. Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of forest conservation which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.

Friday, April 20

Sense and Sensibility

Kennesaw is a good place to live. I know, I live there, although not within city limits, but still within the mailing address. I've known of the "Gun Town" reputation Kennesaw had before I moved there. Some interesting facts I didn't know were...

Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available – for the year 2005 – show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189.

By comparison, the population of Morton Grove, the first city in Illinois to adopt a gun ban for anyone other than police officers, has actually dropped slightly and stands at 22,202, according to 2005 statistics. More significantly, perhaps, the city's crime rate increased by 15.7 percent immediately after the gun ban, even though the overall crime rate in Cook County rose only 3 percent. Today, by comparison, the township's crime rate stands at 2,268 per 100,000.
The "gun" community grows and the "anti-gun" community shrinks, but their respective crime statistics do the opposite.

I had a discussion with someone recently about the incident at Blacksburg, VA, Virginia Tech. In raising my point about the greater safety of allowing people to carry, he suggested that greater access to guns may increase safety but also increases the risk of someone using a guns for the wrong reasons.

I'll paraphrase the trite old phrase by saying guns DON'T kill people, criminals do. As we have seen repeatedly over the last few months and years, anyone with a devious, demented mind will find a way, and have the means, to do what they want. The risk is always there in our society for someone to do badly. But making guns legal for those who want nothing but to defend themselves from psychotics like Cho Seung-hui WILL cause THEM to think twice.

Tuesday, April 17

Experience is a demanding teacher

"Experience makes us see an enormous difference between piety and goodness." - Blaise Pascal

Monday, April 16

Carry 'em

News today of another shooting incident on a school campus, this time at Virginia Tech. Including the alleged gunman, 33 are dead.

The question of what can be done to make schools safer for everyone involved repeatedly rises after incidents like this. Police and the like always reply they are doing everything they can to make it so. I don't believe it.

It seems there was a particular opportunity in Virginia to enable people to make for a safer campus last year.

A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.

House Bill 1572 didn't get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.

The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill's defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
I'm sure glad of the law there to keep the gunman from bringing guns on the campus and laws to keep them from using them. One student, properly trained to carry and use, could've taken this scum out.

Safe campuses? Police can't do it. Why not allow students to carry and protect themselves?

Friday, April 13

I suppose all is as it should be

Half the people are angry...

Lawyers for three former Duke lacrosse players are considering suing the district attorney who pursued rape and sexual assault charges against the three men, who were declared innocent this week by the state attorney general.

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's issued a carefully worded apology to the players on Thursday, but it may not have been enough to prevent a lawsuit.

So far, attorneys for David Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty have not said whether they plan a civil action against Nifong, but they have not ruled it out.

Prosecutors generally have immunity for what they do inside the courtroom, but experts said that protection probably doesn't cover some of Nifong's more questionable actions in his handling of the case -- such as calling the lacrosse players "a bunch of hooligans" in one of several interviews deemed unethical by the state bar.

"I see what he has put our family through, let alone the other families," Kevin Finnerty said. "I feel like we're a religious people, and yet, in this case, I have little room in my heart for forgiveness for the D.A.


The other half are apologizing...

Don Imus had a hot seat on the other side of the microphone Monday, appearing on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show and enduring more criticism for his offensive comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Imus issued another apology for referring to members of the team as "nappy-headed hos." Sharpton called the comments "abominable" and "racist" and repeated his demand that Imus be fired.

And God must wonder how it is that the hearts of men drift so far from the sensibilities of truth. Though it seems we hold a tight grip on our lives, the finality of death is the great equalizer. We think we know, but we don't. We are all on borrowed time, graced to us by God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy.

Sunday, April 8

What was that again...

...about global warming?

The numbers don't lie but Al Gore does.

Friday, April 6

Life And Death

There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come. It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace–but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

- Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775, before the Virginia Delegation assembled at St. John’s Church, Richmond, VA

On the occasion of this upcoming Resurrection Day, I find it good to remember Henry’s words which inspired those of his time to fight for liberty. Why? Because it reminds me of the battle Christ Jesus fought to liberate us from the chains and slavery of sin. There is a similarity even though one battle was against flesh and blood and the other against principalities and powers.

Patrick Henry’s contemporaries knew what they were up against; a British empire with a military strength far greater than their militia numbers. Yet his question Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” should resound in the ears of Christian believers today. Are we living life or just existing, day to day? Are we just getting by or is our life filled with the hope and purpose of God? Do we get up in the morning in despair, oblivious to the powerful life Christ died to give us or are we living life abundantly? In the film “The Shawshank Redemption” the character Andy put it this way as he presents the choices to his friend Red, “You get busy living or you get busy dying.” Just as Patrick Henry presented the choices to those at St. John’s Church, similar choices are ours to make today.

Christ rose from the grave, victorious over death itself, but not only a victory for Himself but for all who come to know Him as Saviour and Lord. Patrick Henry presented his choices as liberty or death. In the face of overwhelming odds, there could only be one or the other. Christ Jesus’ victory was so complete He chose liberty and death to redeem all mankind.

Rejoice! Because He lives, we shall live also!