Wednesday, November 28

Not another day longer

A public school's "gender-bender" cross-dressing event, where boys were supposed to dress as girls and girls as boys, has prompted at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of students to flee the tax-supported institutions in Iowa. One parent, writing on a blog shortly after the cross-dressing promotion, hardly could contain the outrage.



Government schools are another reason I'm more libertarian in my political leanings than conservative.

Institutional schools and the institutional Christian church both seem to be going in the wrong direction. I know home schooling is the right direction. Home churches seem more in line with what should biblically be than the other but I haven't done the research yet to confirm that.

Tuesday, November 27

Making living illegal

A 13-year-old boy was arrested Monday night on suspicion of reckless endangerment after he allegedly pointed a green laser at a Phoenix Police Department helicopter, police said. The helicopter was struck with the laser around 6:30 p.m., police said.

“As soon as I saw the light, I tried to turn my eyes away,” said Phoenix police Officer Bruce Bates, who had been flying the helicopter Monday night. “If you see a light, you automatically look at it,” he added. “It's human nature.”
Reckless endangerment takes many forms. "If you see a light, you automatically look at it..." Yeah, gettin' hit with a green laser can hurt. Be careful what you do. The police are sensitive about these things.

Monday, November 26

Mostly dark tonight, with widely scattered light in the morning

The scare over global warming, and our politicians' response to it, is becoming ever more bizarre. On the one hand we have the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change coming up with yet another of its notoriously politicised reports, hyping up the scare by claiming that world surface temperatures have been higher in 11 of the past 12 years (1995-2006) than ever previously recorded.
This carefully ignores the latest US satellite figures showing temperatures having fallen since 1998, declining in 2007 to a 1983 level - not to mention the newly revised figures for US surface temperatures showing that the 1930s had four of the 10 warmest years of the past century, with the hottest year of all being not 1998, as was previously claimed, but 1934.

Global warming is a political fairy tale. Scientists can't even get it right without politics.
Two years ago, way under. Last year, way over. This year, still not right.

It's been a stormy few years for William Gray, Philip Klotzbach and other scientists who predict total hurricane activity before each season begins, which raises fundamental questions as the 2007 season draws to an end on Friday: Why do they bother?
It's about being important and getting attention. Scientists are a geekishly lonely bunch.

Sunday, November 25

The reason SCOTUS is irrelevant

The Second Amendment, which pertains to a citizen's right to bear arms, is about to become the burning civil rights issue of the new year, and possibly the decade, as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the case of the District of Columbia v. Heller regarding the constitutionality of a long-standing handgun ban in that city.

The argument is whether or not the Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms -- beyond membership in a militia. The high court's decision could be a watershed moment in this nation's history.

New Orleans citizens, who stayed to protect their property in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, have already had to defend their right to bear arms. New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III announced after the August 2005 storm that all privately owned firearms would be seized. What followed was the disarming of private citizens, leaving them defenseless against looters and other armed criminals. Compass never had the power to make that decision. Still, police officers and National Guard personnel searched empty houses for firearms and went door-to-door confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens.

The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation challenged the order in federal court. On Sept. 12, 2005, the court issued a restraining order against the New Orleans Police Department. No more guns could be confiscated, but the guns that had already been confiscated were not returned to their rightful owners.

"The gun-confiscation program in New Orleans may be an ominous indication of how governments will react to a future catastrophe, either natural or man-made," John Hay Rabb wrote in "Hard Times In The Big Easy," an article published in Guns & Ammo magazine last year.
Considering how the terms "terrorist" and "enemy combatant" have been redefined in recent years, can there be any doubt as to the terms "emergency" or "catastrophe" being suitably contorted to give government agencies permission to handle any threat to their power and authority however they see fit? I wasn't in New Orleans when Katrina came but read and heard reports like these...

Although I expect the SCOTUS will weasel its way out of a definitive ruling on the current District of Columbia Second Amendment issue it really doesn't matter what the court or the Second Amendment says. Police don't follow the law anyway.

Frontal lobotomies work too

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

As difficult as it might be for me to accept, Jesus died for these women too. Although they could do us all a favor and abort their brains.

Saturday, November 24

The joy of mediocrity

I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun. - Ecclesiastes 2:11

A friend of mine sent an e-mail around recently asking...

You were made with a purpose. What is your passion? What is your dream? What do you still want to do before leaving this earth?
Along with these questions was a link to a YouTube video of Paul Potts...

The story of Paul Potts is that of a shy, ordinary guy, who, while minding himself selling cellphones in England, had a longing to sing opera. He overcame shyness to enter the "Britain's Got Talent" contest, the across the pond counterpart to "American Idol", becoming a crowd favorite and eventually winning the competition.

I've watched this video several times, each time marveling at this man's great performance. Of course, he didn't just get on stage and sing as he did without some training, practice and effort. He prepared himself for the moment, surely. Such are the lives of those who become overnight sensations.

After thinking long about it, my friend's questions that is, I've come to a conclusion. The simple answer is, no, I don't have one thing I want to do with my life before I assume room temperature, or become horizontal in my attitude, at least not in the conventional sense. Now if we're talking in spiritual context, then of course it would be something along the lines of the Westminster Shorter Catechism answer to a different question...
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
I have a desire to do nothing more than learning to and becoming one who glorifies God. It may seem simplistic but there it is. In the final analysis, what else better or more lasting is there? It may also appear pathetic to some, but the scripture verse above, combined with the living, has taught me one sensible lesson: This life isn't all it's cracked up to be. The longer I live, the more convinced I become that Solomon, or whoever supposedly wrote Ecclesiastes, was right.

There is but one thing to gain that cannot be diminished. There is but one passion, one desire which gives meaning to living. This is why I gave up designs on achievement and undertook the dirty and gritty but wholesome life of mediocrity. Mediocrity is the course of those Type B personalities like myself I guess, not the Type A high achievers, seemingly striving from peak to peak in life while enduring the struggles of the dark valleys. God has purpose for those Type A's, I'm sure, and there's nothing wrong with that. There are many people like Paul Potts in the world with a driving passion, and each with their own difficulties and joys along their way. Some are rewarded as he. Some not. I realized a long time ago that I'm cut from a different cloth. To pursue the incorruptible was of more consequence than enduring the corruptible. There is no notoriety, wealth or fame without sacrifice and effort. It's just a question of the reward offered.


The president of Oral Roberts University, facing accusations he misspent school funds to support a lavish lifestyle, resigned on Friday, officials said.

Richard Roberts' resignation is effective immediately, according to a statement e-mailed from George Pearsons, chairman of the school's Board of Regents.
Who knows when it left or if it ever was "of the Spirit of God" to begin with, but maybe now ORU can get on with the redeeming work of God, rather than redeeming the mammon of man. Or maybe, years from now, the whole thing will be gone, nothing more than a bad memory in the annals of modern Christianity.

Can't say that I'm glad to see this because of the shame it brings but God has a way of revealing the truth and I am glad for that. I have to say that I'm more than a little relieved as well. When Christianity becomes as personality driven as it is, followers passively search out the scriptures and apply themselves to truth. Perhaps as more of these Christian personalities are found wanting, followers will want more than personality.

Tuesday, November 20

Don't they all?

Carole Simpson, a former ABC news anchor who is now a journalism professor at Emerson College, is on the hot seat after endorsing Hillary Clinton for president at a New Hampshire political rally.

Simpson said she immediately regretted her actions and offered her resignation the day after the rally last month in Salem, N.H., but Emerson officials refused to accept it.

“I know I made a mistake. It was definitely the wrong venue for my first foray into free speech,” Simpson told The Boston Globe in Monday’s editions. “But I’d really like to see her win. After being a reporter for so many years, where you wish you could do more than you can, it would be nice to make a difference.
From media darlings to media suck-ups, from the craving to the craven, they're all the same, wishing they could do more than they can and pushing the envelope to get it done. They give what they know to be the news, making their issues count, instead of counting the issues. And some, like Carole Simpson, become teachers, showing others how to do a job on journalism. The agenda is theirs, hopping on a political mainstream as the desire takes them.

I once heard a preacher during a sermon say, tongue-in-cheek, people should repent if they're not watching Fox News. I don't know whether it's my changing views or the network itself but Fox has distanced itself as far from anything called news as Michael Vick is from any place with a kennel. Fox or the rest of the alphabet soup networks are about the same thing, making ratings and money. There isn't anything distinctively conservative about Fox anymore than there is anything distinctively conservative about the popular political movement itself, and the same is true of the other networks or news media considered to be of the opposite political slant.

There is no conservative versus liberal or liberal versus conservative. There isn't "fair and balanced". There is just "us" versus "them".

Monday, November 19

Despite the drought, celebrate several times today

World Toilet Day is Monday Nov. 19th and while the message behind the day is serious we here at Layer 8 naturally can't keep it that way.

According to the World Toilet Organization, the underlying purpose of the day is to have people in all countries to take action, increase awareness of toilet user's right to a better toilet environment, and to demand for it from toilet owners. It also wants people to be aware that over 2.6 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation services. Founded in 2001 the WTO has 54 members in 41 countries dedicated to improving sanitation conditions around the globe. Hear them roar.
From the article, this is something worth considering as a business venture here in the states...
...According to a Reuter's story, the Modern Toilet Diner in Tapai is one of chain of themed eateries appealing to largely young clientele with a lot of toilet humor. All 100 seats in the crowded diner are made from toilet bowls, not chairs. Customers eat from mini plastic toilet bowls. They wipe their hands and mouths using toilet rolls hung above their tables, which may be glass-topped jumbo bathtubs. Managers say the restaurant's popularity shows that Taipei customers, who have a choice of theme-eateries that resemble jailhouses and hospitals, appreciate creative dining.
Can't you just imagine the confused looks on the faces of local Board of Health restaurant inspectors?

Thursday, November 15

On a clear day you can see her lips move

In Clintonista, Hillary makes it clear:

"As president, I will not support driver's licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration including border security and fixing our broken system."
Notice she's quoted as saying "undocumented people". Her turn of phrase is important.

But for the fun of it let's check this again in 2009 after she's sworn in. No matter what she says, if she said it, it means she's lying.

Tuesday, November 13

Mr. Liberty

No one else will do.

Monday, November 12

Revealing the Spirit

It's been interesting in Christian circles recently, particularly with those who may be considered leadership.

Televangelist Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday.

"It is my pleasure to announce my support for America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans," Robertson said during a news conference with Giuliani in Washington.

The former New York mayor backs abortion rights and gay rights, positions that put him in conflict with conservative GOP orthodoxy, and has been trying to persuade evangelical conservatives like Robertson to overlook their differences on those issues.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney recently announced that Paul Weyrich and Bob Jones III were on board with his candidacy.
Robertson seems to think nothing of supporting a pro-abortion candidate when I seem to remember in past elections some like him mentioning a sin by Christians if they did. While Robertson makes the excuse for throwing his support toward Guiliani based upon the nebulous Islamic radical threat, I wonder if he's conveniently forgotten the idea that our own moral corruption will do us in far sooner. Robertson's got a self serving strategy for this alliance but just a few months from now when he and others like Weyrich are making the "Anybody but Clinton" cry, maybe some will question their supposed leadership. Hopefully sensible Christians will turn a deaf ear.

Robertson's support of Guiliani further undermines his Christian credibility. Others in the months to come, no doubt, will follow Robertson in like fashion, with the same result.

Then a few days before, Sen. Grassley of Iowa sent letters of financial inquiry to some of the well known in Christian circles.
Acting on tips about preachers who ride in Rolls Royces and have purportedly paid $30,000 for a conference table, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday he's investigating the finances of six well-known TV ministers.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said those under scrutiny include faith healer Benny Hinn, Georgia megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and one of the nation's best known female preachers, Joyce Meyer.
Joyce Meyer is being asked about particular expenditures at the ministry, among which include a "$30,000 conference table and a $23,000 commode with marble top." Ken and Gloria Copeland are being questioned about, among other things, a transfer of church assets to a for-profit company and a $2 million gift to Kenneth to mark the ministry's 40th anniversary. Randy and Paula White of Paula White Ministries of Tampa, Fla are being questioned about the purchase of a Bentley convertible as a gift for Bishop T.D. Jakes. Creflo and Taffi Dollar, Benny Hinn and Bishop Eddie Long are also being examined for their financial records. And of course all this comes on the heels of apparent indiscretions at Oral Roberts.
A Beverly Hills house and country club membership. Vacations in Palm Springs and the South Seas. A closet as big as an apartment, stuffed with hundreds of pairs of shoes, suits, dresses and golf shoes.

People with close ties to TV evangelist Oral Roberts and his son, Richard, say they witnessed such extravagances years before a recent lawsuit accusing them of lavish spending engulfed the ministers and their debt-ridden university in scandal.

Harry McNevin said in a recent interview that he quit the Board of Regents at Oral Roberts University in disgust in 1987 after it became clear that the Robertses were dipping into the school's endowment fund for their personal use.

"We were dealing in millions," he said.
People are entitled to make a living how ever they choose but it appears to me that these have built something other than "ministries".

Creflo Dollar suggests that Grassley's investigation might "affect the privacy of every community church in America", and I agree. We've been traveling down the road toward revoking church tax exempt status for some time now, this is just another furtive step in that direction. Who knows but from the future they'll point to these as examples of apparent misuse of such "privilege" and it will be abolished. Suckle from the tit of mother government in any way and it will oblige to honor.

Something I see common to both the Robertson announcement and the Grassley inquiry is the Christian saw about being in the world, not of the world.

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. - John 15:19

Seems like some are enjoying the benefit of religious tax status while becoming entangled with government, and becoming entangled with government, in my view, is like dealing with the devil. Test the spirits, scripture says, whether they are of God. I see this as God bringing about these events and circumstances to further delineate the difference of the spirits, the spirit of God or the spirit of the world.

Monday, November 5

No problems

An airline crew faced a rebellion when they told passengers they were going to fly on a jet that had lost its wing tip in a runway crash.

The SriLankan Airlines customers had been on the Airbus A340 a day earlier when it sliced through a wing of a stationary British Airways 747 at Heathrow, delaying departure by 24 hours.

So they were amazed to be boarding the same plane next day for the ten-hour flight to Colombo.

When cabin crew then admitted there was still a 5ft wing tip missing, there was "a minor revolt" as seven passengers demanded to be let off the aircraft.
No big deal here. Just tell the airline to deduct the cost of the wing tip repair from the flight tickets and it'll be good to go. Whole plane, whole fare, partial plane, partial fare. It makes sense to me.

Thursday, November 1

Reductio ad nauseam

I believe that one of the best available resources to pastors is learning from other churches. But with an estimated 320,000 churches in the United States, it is not easy to determine which ones offer something worth learning. Obviously, there is no time to keep track of them all.

While some find it questionable to rank churches, I find lists valuable in helping me to know which churches are worth studying.
And so Churchrelevance ranks these as the top five of 22 churches in America

1. (Edmond, OK) :: Craig Groeschel
2. Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX) :: Ed Young Jr.
3. Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, CA) :: Rick Warren
4. The Potter’s House (Dallas, TX) :: T.D. Jakes
5. Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL) :: Bill Hybels

Great... The number one church in America isn't even a real church, it's virtual. This whole thing is so ridiculous on so many levels I don't know where to begin. Part of the problem is that the pop definition of church is so wacked out that it could include any grouping of people with similar interests in God.

It's a little surprising that Joel Osteen's Lakewood church serving 40 thousand a week, came in just 11th place, but a consistent thread in all of the 22 is that they each have a lot of people. Large numbers always make the difference for great churches. After all, what could you expect from a church of just 12?

That I may leave this way

"...My husband came in. We had been waiting tea for him, and I remarked: 'You have kept us waiting a long time. Where have you been?' He did not reply, but stood up as if to say grace. Yet no word proceeded from his lips, and he sat down in his chair perfectly upright and with a sublime air of resignation on his countenance, and did not attempt to a reply to our inquiries. That look was never forgotten, and I have no doubt he felt that his hour had come; for though he submitted to the doctors, who were immediately summoned, and who had not even reached their homes from the same vestry-meeting, yet his whole demeanour during his illness showed one who had taken leave of earth. He never smiled, and rarely attempted to speak, except in dreams, and then he wandered to those dreadful battle-fields. Once, when Agnes urged him to take some medicine, which he always did with reluctance, he looked at her and said, 'It is no use.' But afterward he took it. When he became so much better the doctor said, 'You must soon get out and ride your favorite gray!' He shook his head most emphatically and looked upward. He slept a great deal, but knew us all, greeted us with a kindly pressure of the hand, and loved to have us around him. For the last forty-eight hours he seemed quite insensible of our presence. He breathed more heavily, and at last sank to rest with one deep-drawn sigh. And oh, what a glorious rest was in store for him!"

- From a letter by Mary Custis-Lee on the passing of her husband Robert Edward Lee

Ain't seen nothin' yet

One year before Election Day 2008, most Americans are dismayed by the country's direction, pessimistic about the Iraq war and anxious about the economy. Two of three disapprove of the job President Bush is doing. Nearly a year after Democrats took control of Congress, three of four Americans say it isn't achieving much, either.

In all, 72% of those surveyed in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Oct. 12-14 say they are dissatisfied with how things are going in the USA while just 26% are satisfied. Not since April have even one-third of Americans been happy with the country's course, the longest national funk in 15 years.

"Don't get me wrong, America's a great country," says Lori Jones, 46, a medical assistant in Phoenix. But she worries about her family's finances and prospects for the next generation. "I think we've somehow lost our way."
We've lost the Way, Truth and Life, to borrow a phrase given to mankind about a couple thousand years ago. Gold yesterday breaks $800 an ounce. Oil is nearing $100 a barrel. The Fed cuts the lending rate 1/4 percent. The dollar goes lower while foreign currency goes higher. The Immoral War has no end in sight. The "forest" of terrorist attack fears loom while many can't see the trees on fire in California. If there was any moral conscience left it can't figure the difference between parenting and polygamy.

And it's only gonna get worse. I consider I won't be ready for what's coming but then there may be no preparation adequate to meet it anyway. We're a country bankrupt in almost every way, financially, morally and spiritually. All the signs are there, plain and easy to read. Getting out of Iraq, immigration reform and Social Security are among the least of our problems, but the media directs and distracts us to lend attention to so trivial matters.

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and be shaken violently in these times, especially the church. What appears to be the church now will not be left standing, and what is not seen as the church will appear.