Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bakers and Takers

Anyone who has listened to talk radio for any amount of time in the last twenty years probably knows who Rush Limbaugh is, and even if you have not, you probably have some idea of who he is.

People vary greatly in their overall impressions of Mr. Limbaugh, but one thing is for certain. The number of folks who he has not made some impression on is dwindling by the day.

Limbaugh is above all politically conservative, and he seeks to further the agenda of political conservatism in the United States. In this post, I am going to focus exclusively on how conservative principles apply in regard to economics and what some of the primary differences are when compared to the current administrations' economic philosophy which is generally referred to as liberal, progressive, or "big government".

Some of the primary concerns of the left/liberal leaning in the United States is the belief that wealth naturally flows toward those who have wealth already in a free market system unless the government steps in to make "adjustments" in regards to the economic playing field. This sounds on the surface to at least be plausible. They also believe that it is not fair for the wealthy to have such a large piece of the "economic pie" compared to the hard working people who are struggling. The wealthy have such a big piece of pie that we all must divide what remains. Or so they would have us believe.

However, conservative principles, which strongly hold to a much more "hands off" approach to the free market, do not hold to this view. Ironically, Limbaugh himself is a perfect example of this….no, not his speeches from his show, but Limbaugh's life itself serves as a great illustration of free market principles at work.

When Limbaugh began his talk career, talk radio was almost non-existent. Since then, there have been massive changes to the prominence of an entire band of frequency on your radio (AM) and a new phenomenon of FM talk stations has emerged in most major cities. Many, many nationally known radio personalities have been given opportunities to have careers that they otherwise would not have even had the opportunity to have without Limbaugh blazing the trail. Also, whether you agree with their viewpoints or not, I think most would have to agree that talk radio on the whole has made the general population more engaged in the issues of the day than any time in recent times. The spin-off from Limbaugh's success illustrates perhaps the most important fact of free markets kept primarily free(I say primarily free because of obvious roles for government like enforcing contract laws and protecting its citizens from any harm from commercial interests outside their control). The most important fact is that looking at an economy as an economic pie is only accurate when you have control from a central government doling out slices that originate from someone in the private sector generating the pie itself. A wiser way to manage an economy is to see that when individual initiative, creativity, and risk are allowed to flourish, we all become bakers of entirely new pies that simply did not exist prior to our own personal endeavors. The moral to this story is, "Be a baker, not a taker." J

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Wanted to address an issue I believe many Christians struggle with secretly. This is the issue of an assurance of salvation. How does one obtain assurance of salvation? Does not having an internal assurance mean I am not born again?

This post is going to be short and sweet, but I felt the need to post it because I know there have been times I have struggled with these questions, and I know from many personal conversations with close friends who are believers that they have struggled with it also. This is actually my first point to any who relate with this issue.

1. You are NOT alone.

I do not believe that simply wrestling with these insecurities means that one is not born again. However, let me share what has over time become my primary means of dealing with this issue, and, therefore, the number one piece of advice I will give to most I encounter who struggle with insecurities about their faith.

2. No one but God can establish this assurance.

What I mean by this in practical terms is simply that many are either in a position of being unwilling to question even the possibility that they are not born again, or they constantly question whether they are truly born again BECAUSE OF TEACHINGS OF MEN. We all need and CAN be helped by teachers and elders in the faith, but if you are overconfident in your faith because you’ve bought into wrong doctrine about this, the answer is not to simply place your trust in what can be an equally damaging wrong doctrine that causes many to be constantly insecure about their faith. The answer is to WRESTLE with God about this. How do you do this? We have a greater access to the scriptures than any generation prior to us. We have the freedom to cry out to God in prayer daily. These two exercises can NEVER be replaced by the “official” teachings of any XYZ denomination or teacher. “Work out you own salvation with fear and trembling.” I know this seems overly simplified, but I want to be clear that this process, though simple and straightforward, is most assuredly NOT the easy path. However, know that when you receive an assurance from God, your spiritual walk will take on a whole new momentum and intensity. This is a HUGE issue. Don’t ever settle for having anything less than His assurance through His Word and His Spirit!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Amazon Awareness

I am writing this primarily to raise awareness about what is sure to be a growing problem in regards to content that is not only available on the internet, but is also being made more readily available by large big named providers of web content such as I am speaking of content that is PROFOUNDLY objectionable to most individuals I know. Before I go any further, allow me to show you a couple of stories regarding Amazon.

Please take some time to read these stories before reading further into this blog post so that you will understand the points I’m about to make.

I am not a fan of government regulating even MORE than they already do, but things such as this will be used to justify a government control over internet content to the public. This lack of proactive controls by Amazon makes me sick, and even more than their lack of proactive control, their initial attitude and response to the how to pedophilia book’s presence on their site is far beyond sickening. It is infuriating. They equate removing a how-to book on pedophilia as being akin to censorship! The VAST majority of individuals who use Amazon do not know things like this are even available on their site, and the only way to simultaneously keep the government out of the overseer of content business AND keep scum bags like Amazon from using censorship as an excuse to give a platform to PEDOPHILES(!) is to be consistently alert and make our voices heard both by email and by withholding our money from them. Amazon is not the only company to engage in this kind of twisted justification, and we should choose to be as informed as possible about who we give our business to. I know we almost certainly cannot only do business with those whom we agree with; however, there IS a difference between doing business with those whom we disagree with in some issues and choosing to be completely blind to an egregious example like the one mentioned in these stories. More than anything, we should at least be aware enough to send them some sort of communication informing them of our intent to cease doing business with them unless they do not engage in such practices. As you saw in the above stories, the first response of Amazon was to defend their decision, but they eventually yielded to financial pressures that arose soon after. If all else fails, LEARN TO SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE. Refuse to shop til they drop.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beloved Conqueror

Just wanted to highlight a friend's blog. Please feel free to check it out, and if you like what you see, spread the word. I'll post a link here, and for future linkage, please see my blogs list on the right hand side of my blog. Beloved Conqueror will be there with many others.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Racist Tea Party??

There has been an accusation floating about for the past several months about the tea party movement. For those who do not know, the tea party movement is a grass roots movement that has been in existence since around April of 2009. In that time, this movement has grown to the single most powerful grass roots movement I have seen in my lifetime. One of the consistent accusations by those who are political enemies of the movement is that the people involved are racially motivated. The only thing even remotely resembling evidence they have had to offer has been a miniscule percentage of signs with racist statements on them caught by camera at tea party rallies.

Well, the results are in, and the question is this, "do the results of the elections seem to justify the claim that the tea party folks are a racist bunch or not?" Who was elected that would most clearly benefit from the tea party philosophy?

Republican Jaime Herrera became Washington state's first Latina representative in Congress.

Marco Rubio is the country's 7th Latino Senator and the first GOP senator since Mel Martinez resigned in 2009.

Tim Scott and Alan West became the first Republican African American members of Congress to enter the House since 2003 (both backed by Palin).

Nevada elected its first Latino governor in Brian Sandoval (Republican).

Susanna Martinez (Republican) is New Mexico's first female governor and one of the country's first two women of color governors.

Nikki Haley (Republican) of South Carolina became the country's second Indian-American governor, the state's first woman governor, and one of the first two women of color.

Also, three Senate candidates that were put forward by the tea party but failed to be elected were Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell, and Linda McMahon. Therefore, the representation by females in the U.S. government would have been much higher had some of the tea parties' female candidates won. It looks like they weren't a bunch of male chauvinists either.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Many, many folks have a problem with the concept of hell. I thought I would provide some of the best thoughts I've heard spoken in regards to the concept of hell.

1. This thought was contributed by a Christian talk show host I heard recently whose name I know not. In regards to the inequitable or overly punitive nature of hell when looking at it as crime and punishment he said(I'm paraphrasing), "consider that the same act is often treated differently when committed against different people. For example, two brothers fighting leads to one hitting the other, the father or someone in the family may simply step forward and separate them while they cool off. However, if one of the sons hits his mother, this will be handled much more severely, including possibly calling in law enforcement. If this same young man hits a police officer, he will most certainly go to jail, and if he even charges the President and attempts to strike him, he will be charged with a federal crime. The point is that the further up the chain of authority, the more serious the charge and, therefore, the more severe the penalty. Extrapolate that out to spitting in the face of the almighty God of the universe, and you will get my point."

However, to be clear, I do not subscribe to only or even primarily a crime and punishment reasoning for hell. I will now proceed to point 2 about hell.

2. This short and sweet point in regards to the existence of hell is courtesy of a Christian speaker and author whom I have much respect for, Winkie Pratney. Simply put, Winkie states that he does not believe that justice is accomplished in this life, therefore, there must be a means to accomplish justice after this life. When an innocent life is taken, or even worse many times, an innocent life is made to live through years of mental, physical, sexual, or other forms of abuse, even the taking of the life or the incarceration of the victimizer does not accomplish justice. Hell is a means to accomplish justice.

3. Finally, this is the insight into hell that I believe captures the most important element about hell, what it is, and why it exists. Imagine that a person consistently says they don't like water. They want no part of water in their lives, and they continue to speak of the evils of water in spite of the reality that they live daily with the benefits of a world sustained by water. In the liquids they drink, even if they don't realize they contain water, they depend on water. From an ecosystem that is completely dependant on the water that is all around us in our environment, they still curse water. Finally, they are are given what they claim to have wanted all along, a desert world without water. This analogy was also given by the nameless talk show host. C.S. Lewis puts it even more succinctly when he says, "Those who bend the knee to God and say 'Thy will be done,' will be allowed to enjoy Him forever, but those who stubbornly reject God's lordship and offer of love and pardon will be told, 'thy will be done.'"(paraphrase)

Hell is an eternal separation from God that God seeks to rescue all from. I don't claim these eliminate all misgivings about hell, but as I stated I think they are valuable insights into the rightness of the existence of hell.

In the words of Abraham, "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The colors of language

This is a very strange post for me to choose to make my reentry into the blogging world, but it is something I've been thinking of recently.....just goes to show you, you never know what's going on up here in my noggin.

OK...short and sweet. Have you ever interacted with a small child as they learned their colors? They learn the rainbow plus maybe a few more, and everything MUST fall into one of those categories. As we grow a little older we learn about pink, violet, teal, gray, beige, and we begin becoming aware of the growing number of possibilities for categories to place colors. Finally, we are sitting at some decorator's desk or at our local home improvement store, and we are confronted with an insane array of colors that include bizarre names like charred sage and robins egg. Most of us are annoyed at this level of color choice and have begun writing our congressman for some rainbow only legislation to be passed immediately.

My wife loves color. She's the arteest of the fam. She can capture whatever that quality is about some scenes that make them riveting and translate it onto a canvas. This is what I strive to do with writing. Language is like color, and words are like the growing spectrum of individual colors. I hope to capture something riveting and translate it into something unique that makes it my own expression of that something. Many times it is spiritual, social, political, or somewhat random, and sometimes it is a very obscure, personal rambling thought about something like color and language. I write because I enjoy it. It helps me process both the world around me and my own internal world. It is primarily a relaxing, organizing process that I occasionally place into a "bottle" on this blog and chunk it out to sea to see if anyone else can relate.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Part 1 Chapters 1-8

Begins with Joshua being told by God that Moses is dead. Joshua is to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. God encourages him and charges him to be obedient and courageous. The verse charging him to immerse himself in the book of the law and be courageous seems especially key to understanding God's initial interaction with Joshua.

Next is the story of the two spies being sent to Jericho. Rahab hides and protects them and saves herself and her family from destruction, and the Israelites learn that the people know of them and are terrified of them.

The Israelites cross the Jordan River in a miraculous fashion that seems to obviously mirror the also miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. They take 12 stones from the river bed to establish a monument to create a historical link to the event for future generations. The priests stand at the edge of the river while the rest of Israel crosses on dry land, and upon everyone else having crossed, they themselves cross over, and the river flows normally again. This would seem to insure that the entire nation of Israel individually had a clear awareness of God holding back the waters for them.

Upon entering the promised land, Joshua commands the men be circumcised because the generation that now exists had not been. Next he runs into the angel of the Lord who makes it clear that he is neither on their side or Israel's enemies side, but he is on the side of God.

Jericho story takes place. Jericho is delivered into the hands of the Israelites, and Rahab is spared along with her family as promised, but one of the Israelites takes some of the articles that they were commanded not to take. This leads to a defeat at Ai(the next city after Jericho) that should have been an easy victory. An interesting fact that dawned on me about Achan this time around is that his sin is not simply that of thievery or greed, but they were given explicit instructions before hand NOT to take anything "devoted to destruction." Achan knew what was at stake when he chose this. He knew he was placing the entire nation at risk from God's judgment. It was a supreme act of self-centered disobedience. I will still admit I don't understand why his entire family was judged for his choice, but I trust in God more than my own understanding in this. Finally Israel is given victory over Ai once they are purged.

Part 2 Chapters 9-16

The word gets out about Joshua and the gang and the Canaanites start reacting. The first response is the Gibeonites who choose trickery as their ticket out of being judged. The most interest thing about this passage to me is how obviously the phrase, "...they did not seek the counsel of the Lord..." appears to make clear the crux of their mishandling of the situation. Next the five Amorite kings unite and come against the Israelites. This seems to represent the most intimidating military challenge that the Israelites have faced, and God encourages Joshua as they begin the fight. A miraculous extension of the day takes place during this major battle. My favorite part of this passage is when it speaks of God hurling rocks down from heaven. It actually says the rocks killed more than the Israelites. Then there is a massive fight against many other kings and their kingdoms and a long list of victories for Israel. Chapter 12 is a list of the kings on both the east and west of the Jordan River who are defeated by the Israelites.

God tells Joshua that he is getting old, and there is still more land to conquer, but the land needs to be divided by lot among the twelve. The description of the borders of the various tribes begins to be spelled out geographically. There is also an account of Caleb inheriting his land(he and Joshua were the only two of twelve spies who returned encouraging the people to trust in God in regards to conquering the Canaanites). There is also an account of Othniel who wins the daughter of Caleb by brave exploits in battle. Note how often the tribes of Israel fail to drive out all the inhabitants of the land.

Part 3 Chapters 17 -24

There is a continuation of the border specifics of the twelve tribes. There is a story of Zelophehad's daughters. Their father had no sons, and they were promised to inherit land in their father's name. The tabernacle is established in Shiloh. Joshua sends out men to map out the remainder of the land for the remainder of the tribes so he can continue to determine the borders by using their information and casting lots. The remaining tribes are told their geographical boundaries.

The cities of refuge are established. The cities of the Levites are established(remember the Levites did not actually inherit any land because they were the servants of God and "...He was their inheritance...". However, the Israelites were commanded to give them cities to live in spread throughout their nation and fields for their livestock to be tended.)

Joshua dismisses the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the 1/2 tribe of Manassah to return to their homes on the east of the Jordan River. Upon passing back over the river, the men of these tribes build an altar that almost causes a huge war and tragic slaughter of these tribes by the rest of Israel. However, the men of Reuben, Gad, and the 1/2 tribe of Manassah explain that they didn't build the altar to sacrifice on it but as a witness for future generations to remember the connection between those living on both sides of the river.

Finally, Joshua gives a very solemn speech challenging the nation of Israel.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Protector??

There have been two big developments (among many, many major news stories) that have caught my eye. First, there is the new Arizona immigration law that has been a huge news story nationally. The link to this ACTUAL BILL is

I would highly recommend anyone who is genuinely interested in this bill take the time to read it for themselves rather than depending on the news or even our President for an accurate understanding of this bill.

Secondly, there has been the "Times Square Bomber" guy who successfully became a citizen recently and is now accused of being the culprit involved in this attempted bombing.

What do these two stories have in common? Bear with me and I'll illustrate the connection that is very disturbing to my mind......

In regards to the first story, the President has responded on Cinco de Mayo with this statement,

"We can’t start singling out people because of who they look like, or how they talk, or how they dress," the president said. "We can’t turn law-abiding American citizens, and law-abiding immigrants, into subjects of suspicion and abuse."

Speaking at the same function he stated his desire for a law to be passed at the federal level... "[I]t can be done. And it needs to be done... I want to begin work this year, and I want Democrats and Republicans to work with me because we’ve got to stay true to who we are-- a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."

These comments underline the key issues surrounding the law, 1) the belief that the law is simply legalized racial profiling, and 2) the belief that "the feds" should handle this.

I'm going to keep this simple. Read the law. It is specifically geared toward dealing with illegal immigrants, NOT racial profiling. I am not saying this naively. Consider that in a step that I considered overkill on the part of Arizona legislators, they have recently amended this law to specifically state NOT ONLY that race cannot be the primary factor for questioning and suspicion, but it cannot be a factor AT ALL used to justify reasonable suspicion. Considering we are dealing with immigration problems in Arizona and not Montana, I'm guessing the majority of illegal immigrants are indeed going to be of Hispanic descent, but these are the kinds of laws that must be passed in order to deal with hyper sensitivity about potential racial motivations.

"The feds" have NOT handled this problem for decades. This is THE primary reason this law had to be passed by Arizona. Consider these links:

I think reasonable people can disagree about this law, but there does not need to be a demonization of people seeking to protect its citizens from an exceedingly dangerous environment. This brings me to the second story.

At the same exact time the Obama administration is smack in the midst of pushing intensely for months to have the KSM terrorist mastermind tried in a civilian court, Eric Holder, Obama's Attorney General, has stated that he sees a need to limit miranda rights for terrorist suspects who are U.S. citizens!

The fact that this statement has not received more exposure and outrage than it has is fascinating to me. If George Bush or one of his representatives had stated this on a Sunday morning talk show as Holder did, the media would be abuzz with it by Monday morning. The truly bizarre nature of this move to me is the combination of fighting for the rights of one non-citizen who is a self-professed mastermind while seeking to limit the rights of another SUSPECT who is a legal U.S. citizen. This sets a precedent for all future cases of all U.S. citizens who are SUSPECTED terrorists. For the record, I'm not seeking to be conspiratorial about this. Please notice the lack of conspiracy theories. However, WHY, WHY, WHY is noone disturbed by the one single thread that certainly seems to tie these stories together. We currently have a President who seems much more interested in protecting non-citizens than citizens?? Please feel free to disagree. I always welcome all opinions including dissenting ones as long as they are offered without vulgar language and respectfully.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Pediatricians, schools, and homosexuality

I'm sharing this post with any who happen to venture to my random meanderings for many reasons. First, as with any post, I am writing about it simply because it is a subject of interest to me. Also, I believe many are simply not aware of the battle lines that have been drawn, and the conflict that continues to grow more intense in regards to the issue of homosexualityand people's beliefs about the nature of homosexuality. As people's beliefs about homosexuality continue to change on a large scale in our society are these changing notions based on truth or on conditioning?? I'll include the link to this letter sent out by the American College of Pediatricians which will allow you to access lots of other interesting links related to this topic. Please note the sources referred to in this letter for statements, information, and statistics noted at the bottom such as the CDC, the medical journal Pediatrics, Francis Collins, and many other reputable sources.

Letter to School Officials

March 31, 2010

Dear School Superintendent,

The American College of Pediatricians shares with you, your staff, parents, and other professional organizations the common goal of providing a healthful environment for your students. We are increasingly concerned, however, that in many cases efforts to help students who exhibit same-sex attractions and/or gender confusion are based on incomplete or inaccurate information. To correct this and assist you in establishing the optimal school environment, a Web resource, (Facts), has been created to provide important factual information about healthful approaches to students experiencing sexual orientation and gender identity confusion.
Among the important questions addressed on the Facts site are:

What are the science-based facts about the development of non-heterosexual attractions and gender confusion in youth?

What is a school’s proper role in dealing with students who are experiencing sexual orientation and gender confusion issues?

How can schools better assist a student and his or her family in dealing with these issues?

Adolescence is a time of upheaval and impermanence. Adolescents experience confusion about many things, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and they are particularly vulnerable to environmental influences.

Rigorous studies demonstrate that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25. In one study, as many as 26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation1, yet only 2-3% of adults actually identify themselves as homosexual.2,3 Therefore, the majority of sexually-questioning youth ultimately adopt a heterosexual identity.

Even children with Gender Identity Disorder (when a child desires to be the opposite sex) will typically lose this desire by puberty, if the behavior is not reinforced.4 Researchers, Zucker and Bradley, also maintain that when parents or others allow or encourage a child to behave and be treated as the opposite sex, the confusion is reinforced and the child is conditioned for a life of unnecessary pain and suffering. Even when motivated by noble intentions, schools can ironically play a detrimental role if they reinforce this disorder.

In dealing with adolescents experiencing same-sex attraction, it is essential to understand there is no scientific evidence that an individual is born “gay” or “transgender.” Instead, the best available research points to multiple factors – primarily social and familial – that predispose children and adolescents to homosexual attraction and/or gender confusion.

It is also critical to understand that these conditions can respond well to therapy.5 Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the Genome Project, has stated that while homosexuality may be genetically influenced, it is “… not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.” He also states [that] “…the prominent role[s] of individual free will choices [has] a profound effect on us.” 6

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) recently released a landmark survey and analysis of 125 years of scientific studies and clinical experience dealing with homosexuality. This report, What Research Shows, draws three major conclusions: (1) individuals with unwanted same sex attraction often can be successfully treated; (2) there is no undue risk to patients from embarking on such therapy and (3), as a group, homosexuals experience significantly higher levels of mental and physical health problems compared to heterosexuals.

Among adolescents who claim a “gay” identity, the health risks include higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, alcoholism, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and suicide. Encouragingly, the longer students delay self-labeling as “gay,” the less likely they are to experience these health risks. In fact, for each year an adolescent delays, the risk of suicide alone decreases by 20%.7
In light of these facts, it is clear that when well-intentioned but misinformed school personnel encourage students to “come out as gay” and be “affirmed,” 8 there is a serious risk of erroneously labeling students (who may merely be experiencing transient sexual confusion and/or engaging in sexual experimentation). Premature labeling may then lead some adolescents into harmful homosexual behaviors that they otherwise would not pursue.
Optimal health and respect for all students will only be achieved by first respecting the rights of students and parents to accurate information and to self-determination. It is the school’s legitimate role to provide a safe environment for respectful self-expression for all students. It is not the school’s role to diagnose and attempt to treat any student’s medical condition, and certainly not a school’s role to “affirm” a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.
It is critical to the health of your students that you and your staff rely on accurate information regarding sexual orientation and gender confusion issues. We urge you to review the enclosed information card, What You Should Know, and distribute it and this letter to your staff and to all interested parents and students. For more information, please visit or we invite you to inquire by email at

Tom Benton, MD, FCP

American College of Pediatricians

What You Should Know fact card
CDC Statistics
For further information, please refer to a statement by the American College of Pediatricians “On the Promotion of Homosexuality in the Schools.
References for letter
[1]Remafedi G, Resnick M, Blum R, Harris L. Demography of sexual orientation in adolescents. Pediatrics. 1992.89:714-721.
[2]Billy J, Tanfer K, Grady W, Klepinger D. “The sexual behavior of men in the United States.” Family Planning Perspectives. 25(1993),52-61.
[3]Centers for Disease Control. CDC Analysis Provides New Look at Disproportionate Impact of HIV and Syphilis among U.S. Gay and Bisexual Men. Press Release. Wednesday, March 10, 2010.
[4]Zucker K, Bradley S.Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents, The Guilford Press, New York, NY 10012, 1995 (p. 283).
[5]National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Report: What Research Shows: NARTH’s Response to the APA Claims on Homosexuality. For the summary see (accessed 3/3/10).
[6] Collins, F. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. New York. Free Press. 2007.p.260 and p.263.
[7]Remafedi G, Farrow JA, Deisher RW, (1991) Risk factors for attempted suicide in gay and bisexual youth. Pediatrics 87:869-875.
[8]Just the Facts Coalition.Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth. American Psychological Association. 2008. Retrieved from (accessed 3/3/10).

The following is the link I promised.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


This is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I think it's because you really get to hear Moses speak in this book. It is almost exclusively speeches from him to the people of Israel reminding them, warning them, teaching them, encouraging them, and passing along the last of some specific instructions from God.

He revisits the past tragic history of the previous generation's choices which has led them to this place and time. He also revisits the law by pointing them back to the Sinai experience that they shared and revisits the law itself.

Moses stresses the fact that they themselves saw the fire and heard the voice. They were fed the manna and witnessed his judgment on both the Egyptians and on rebellious Israelites.

I am struck by the structure of the governance of the people. They did have a hierarchy of the priests, levites, and judges that were the community leaders, but as best as I can tell they were to be a "self-policing" people. By that I mean, there seem to be many exhortations to act when laws are observed being broken. The person whose testimony was most central to the verdict was to be the first to throw the stone to kill the guilty. However, if a person was found to be bearing false witness against their neighbor, they bore the punishment that they sought to inflict on the person they were bearing false witness against. The people were to take a proactive role in knowing the law, integrating the law into everyday life AND conversation, and policing things like worship of other gods, murder, blatant disregard for the Sabbath, adultery, etc. They were to "sound the alarm" so to speak.....I think the idea is that sin like all cancer is dealt with most effectively and with the least pain when caught and destroyed early. Otherwise, what may appear to be an act of mercy from our perspective now, may have actually been opening wide a door for widespread corruption of the entire nation and thus a much more damaging problem.

Again and again, Moses spells out blessings AND cursings that would await the people of Israel depending on their choices to either cling to and wholeheartedly embrace God and His statutes or turn their back on Him.

I feel I know the personality of Moses much more because I've read Deuteronomy. Perhaps not the most deep spiritual benefit, but I like Moses....what can I say. Hope you enjoy reading it and will share any of your thoughts with me. 5 down and 61 to go.....Joshua here we come. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Boy

I was puttering through my four years of blog posts recently, and it occurred to me that I have never written a post focused on my son. I suppose I dream of a time when my kids will actually read at least some of these posts. I suppose, therefore, I'll start with why I think it has taken me so long to write a post dedicated to my boy. In a word, speed. Thangs got a tad crazy since parenthood, and we had the luxury of leisurely cataloging Ella in a way that we did not have the luxury of with Elijah. Just know that throughout life, there will be meaningful differences in specifics about you and your sister and the life that confronts you. However, never doubt the intense love your madre and I both have for both of you. I can promise you it is sometimes painfully intense. Nuff said....for now. :)

Okie doke, just a couple of quick thoughts. You have been a different ride altogether than your sister's arrival. From the day we suddenly discovered we were going to have a boy a few weeks early to this very day, you have added to the already wonderful insanity. You were nicknamed "Smiley" for the longest time during your first year, and you successfully balanced out the testosterone levels with the estrogen levels. It was nice to have someone to grunt with for a change. You and your sister have already begun to develop a primarily sweet and fun-to-watch relationship. You began loving the Veggie Tales early, and you literally jump and scream for joy at the earliest awareness that we are about to watch Incredibles (this is apparently during the previews according to a hilarious story told to me by mommy). I miss you, Ella, and mommy with a painful intensity sometimes because of work. Your favority word right now is probably, "no or NO!" But I'm not worried about that. You have a wild, fun side and a very gentle side, and you are so very, very bright just like your sister. I'm glad mommy is yo mommy.

That is some of the unique stuff for you, and now to finish with some stuff I have also told your sis at times in the past. I look forward to discovering you as you discover yourself. You are such a miracle, and God is the ultimate provider of twists and turns so don't ever think you know the next development He has for any of us. Your mother and I were given stewardship of you, but never forget your are ultimately His, and this is the best news I could ever inform you of. He is a better parent than we can ever be. Please avail yourself of his power and love in your life.
Til our next conversation. :) Yo, Daddy.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Preexisting conditions

I'm sorry if this is a boring topic for some who may read this blog, but I feel the need to put this point down on the record. Last fall when President Obama gave his speech to a joint meeting of the Senate and House, I witnessed one of the more disturbing scenes of the current attempts at "reforming" our healthcare system. It was the sights and sounds of politicians applauding the "no health insurance company should be allowed to deny coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions" portion of the President's speech. This moment was particularly disturbing because members from both sides of the political aisle were applauding. Let us consider this statement for a few moments. Just a few, I promise.....:)

Imagine using this logic in regards to any other insurance category such as homeowners or automobile insurance, or my personal favorite is life insurance. Why do health insurance companies reserve the right to deny coverage for preexisting conditions? Isn't it because the concept of insurance is for the insured to pay a small amount in the EVENTUALITY that something big and bad plays out? It is statistically calculated to be worth the risk of the insurance company to pay out in the few cases that the "big bad" happens and accepts the cash of everyone whom it does not happen to as its actual profit. If you force an entire industry to base its business model on the idea that they MUST allow people to be insured regardless of preexisting conditions the auto insurance premiums would go sky high because everyone would supplement the risk of the reckless drivers, homeowners premiums would rocket upwards as we all absorbed the risk of fraud and those who build and/or live in high risk areas, and I suppose we'd all be unable to even get any life insurance because death is the ultimate potential preexisting condition. I know, I know that is silly. However, this is exactly the rationale behind the belief that pushing for a law mandating health insurance for those with preexisting conditions will somehow create a better healthcare system. It will simply either cause existing health insurance companies to raise their premiums to offset the risk that has been forced upon them, or it will simply cause them to go out of this kind of business altogether.

A great example of this is the heavy handed regulations that currently force insurance companies in various states to include specific coverages in ALL of their policies. This was intended to be a consumer protection, but it has actually caused the most basic insurance policies to be more expensive. Guess who gets hurt by this. Yep, the poor downtrodden souls that the governmental do-gooders had supposedly intended to help. They can't afford the new, improved policies at even their most basic rates because they're now too expensive.

The one preexisiting condition noone seems to want to address is the growing involvement of heavy handed regulation in the formation and escalation of our nation's current many faceted economic woes. Did someone say free market?? Look again.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Louder with Crowder

I've been introduced to a great new link with a powerfully gifted comic genius who is also politically conservative. I highly encourage anyone who can and will to check out this link to Stephen Crowder. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cry cuz you're laughing so hard.... enjoy. :)

P.S. this link will find a permanent home under my political links section for future reference.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Being Strong

The notion of being strong is deeply ingrained in all of us. However, what it means to most people and what it means to a Christian are two very different things, and I, as many folks, haven't given that a lot of thought. We are told as Christians not to be worldly, but what does that mean. Unfortunately, most Christians think it refers primarily to not "drink, smoke, or chew and not to hang with those who do" or something along those lines. It seems to me that at least part of what "being worldly" refers to is thinking as if we are still primarily led and influenced by philosophies held by those who are unbelievers.

Being strong in the typical sense refers to diggin' down real deep and being a person who doesn't buckle under pressure. Also, we are to be stoic and unmoved in the face of adversity. We are to rise to the moment. Be all we can be. And so on and so forth.

I don't mean to belittle these notions. I think most who genuinely strive to live up to them (including myself sometimes) do so with the best of intentions. But whether the reason for our thinking in this way is simply driven by ego or some deeper sense of duty to those we care about deeply, there remains a problem. WE are NOT strong. Period.

I have faced a lot of stress and challenges in the last several years as I've taken on the responsibilities of husband and father, and I have many close friends that have faced much more intense challenges and tragedy than I have. I don't mean to make it sound as if I've learned to walk in this truth of being strong, but I see it more clearly now than ever in the past. I hope that will be a first step to walking in it.

The truth is this. "Being" strong, just as "being" anything for a Christian is found in the person of Christ and enabled by the Holy Spirit. The outer signs of being strong for a Christian may look similar to some of the things I described above, but the key to whatever, if any, strength that we possess is in direct proportion that we have recognized and acknowledged our own complete poverty of strength and whether we have chosen to seek to avail ourselves of His limitless strength(and righteousness and patience and mercifulness and self-control and humility and gratefulness get the idea). May we all simply make the one choice that is ours to make. Placing our trust in the one and only Strong one among us.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Good Way to Start the New Year

Many who know me know that I've had a whole lot of stuff go down since the last post. Starting about a week after that post to the present day, a lot has been topsy turvy and an unexpected roller coaster ride that I most certainly wasn't expecting. God is STILL good all the time, and I am always amazed at his desire to simultaneously shake me out of trusting in appearances (whether "good" circumstances or "bad" circumstances) and his ability to swoop in while shaking things up so intensely to use the exact same chronological stretch of time to show me how he is protecting and providing for my family. I want to live a life of complete trust regardless of circumstance, but I'm a whiny scaredy cat a good bit of the time, and I can only hope his patience continues. I just want to publicly say thank you to Him for both the painful, scary events as well as the amazing providential provision He has provided. I genuinely believe I need both in equal measure. Now that the lengthy half-baked explanation of my absence from blogoworld has ended, I will get on with this short, sweet, and to the point, main point.

This is simply one of the verses used by my pastor in his sermon tonight, and I felt that the this simple and powerful statement in Jeremiah was a great way to begin our new year. Hope it is a blessing to you. Be back soon...... hopefully. :)

"This is what the Lord says; 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.' " Jeremiah 6:16