Friday, April 29, 2011

Best of the Week in the Blogroll

So, while we wait to see if anyone does old-fashioned forensics on the Birth Certificate (like whether the same typewriter was used for all the "changeable" info, or asks whether there's ever been an 18 year old newlywed who signed off like that (smart question))....
here are a bunch of superior posts from this past week by some of the sanest bloggers in the country:

Pat at SIGIS (aka And So It Goes In Shreveport) has been blogging up a storm this week. She started a lively discussion with her post "Homeowners Association Demands Removal of Sign of Support for Marine (UPDATED)". What do you think of HOAs? Head on over and join the conversation - I did!
Another post from Pat that deserves a slow, thoughtful read - and that is still going to be very relevant for quite a long time - is "Would You Be Friends With This Man?"

The Reverend David Wilkerson was killed in a car accident this week. I've had his blog linked from my sidebar for quite a while, and his messages are always a trumpet blast of REAL hope: the kind of hope that saves lives, and even more: saves souls. Pastor Wilkerson's final post "When All Means Fail" is as beautiful - and timeless - as his other messages. A fitting final word from this good man whose work reached out to the hopeless, the spurned, the rejected and made a profound difference that will live on after him. His son
Gary Wilkerson has made a beautiful tribute post about Rev. Wilkerson's life and work. My sincerest condolences to his family and all of his loved ones, including his spiritual children.

 JP at Texas for Sarah Palin has the video from Governor Palin's appearance on Special Report today. Interviewed by Brett Baier, "our Sarah" came right out and told the truth: "President Obama - and I'm going to say this with all due respect to the Presidency - doesn't know what he's doing when it comes to energy" Check it out!

I've been reading "Red Stick Rant" for so long that... well, the Episcopal Church was still Christian back then. Clifford's way with words is summed up this week: "Sitting In My Blind Waiting For The Perfect Shot, And...There It Was - An 8-Point Princess." See, and believe! More seriously, he also points to "Today's Required Reading: The Case against President Obama's Health Care Reform: A Primer for Non Lawyers, Cato White Paper No. 32". Access to this kind of info is what the web is all about. Yes,
it is a long paper but if you want to really understand the issues for yourself, so you can make up your own mind with reasonable confidence, this is a good place to start.

John Hawks Weblog is a simply marvelous and trustworthy source for the latest on Neanderthal research, "paleoanthropology, genetics, and evolution". One recent post highlights the degree to which the lack of genuine transparency via access to raw data is interfering with even paleo science: "Opening up paleontology". He notes, correctly, that there's a lot of talk, but precious little progress. And, if you are a history buff, he reminds us that congressional-mandated "Open Government" didn't start with the Obama
administration, but with President Clinton....

Political Junkie Mom is a recent addition to my blogroll and she does a great job picking up on the stories of the day. One of her posts this week excerpts a particularly outrageous opinion statement made in, of all places, Parade Magazine - not usually noted for controversy or cutting edge expose. PjMom makes the essential point that NO YOU CANNOT in her post "Michelle and Jill: We heart the troops and families even though we hate what they do!"

Alice Linsley is an amazing person, and Just Genesis covers her intense, ground-breaking anthropological analysis of the Book of Genesis. Her work is opening up new areas of research into the history of mankind as it really happened, without following the same old agenda-rutted tracks. An intriguing post coming out of Holy Week asks "Why Prejudice Against a Scientific Approach to the Bible?"  Why indeed? Much to think about, and a conversation opener that invites your own opinions.

And that's a wrap for this week. Have a great weekend - and keep praying that Texas will get more rain! We had sporatic rain in various places last weekend, but not enough and not everywhere that desperately needs it. So here's to more rain! :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bluebird Bathroom Remodel

This house is over a hundred years old, and when we bought it, we locked the door on the old smallest bathroom until we could get it redone. As it turned out, my eldest, Devin, took the bull by the horns and rebuilt it. What a wonderful thing a son is! :-)

Here's the finished product:

And here's the scary "before":

The old floor had rotted, except for that under the cast iron tub, so he took it down to earth and built a new subfloor for the main part of the room. While the floor was out, he also did some leveling and reinforcing.

Tearing into an old house is always an adventure. (Maybe I'll post pictures nexxt Halloween ;-) )The original wall is solid wood boards, and backs up on a bedroom. Not wanting to lose space in either room by messing with the wall, we made the choices to limit what we did there. Thus, the single high electrical outlet is still the only one; and the medicine cabinet hangs on the wall instead of being recessed.

The room is 3 feet wide by 8 feet long, not counting the tub enclosure/hot water heater closet. Replaced the toilet and added a small pedestal sink to free up as much space as possible, but removing half a ton of bathtub wasn't happening, so I refinished it (more on that later, in my next post).

The new window went into the same hole the old one came out of - again to avoid a cascade of consequences: the solid wood exterior wall, the exterior siding, and more important, the location of structural elements.

We did add a shower, which this bath had never had, and the window placement presented a clallenge there. The window extends into the shower enclosure past the edge of the tub, so there isn't a wall area to attach a curtain rod on that end.  We handled that by using a curved shower rod - worked like a charm!

Paul said "I can't believe you actually had a laundry bag with bluebirds on it!"  It has been in the laundry room for a while but it never really "fit" in there - this is a much nicer spot for it. It pays sometimes to be a packrat.

The pale baby blue and white are comforting in such a small room. The curtains are a pair of crisp cotton pillowcases with a rod pocket sewn into the top. The soft vintage embroidery at the wide hem is touched with blue.

These little sconce shelves are made of metal - iron, I think.

This little guy is from the 1960s heyday of ceramic and chalkware figural wall art. He's made of ceramic and I love his pretty googly eyes!

This glass Blue Bird of Happiness hides in the medicine cabinet, along with an antique Victorian Sunday School card and assorted pretty guest soaps,  ready to promote a smile from a visitor.

The bluebirds were a sort of accident - I didn't have to buy a single one. Who knew there were so many blue bird themed items lurking around my house?

The famed Bluebird of Happiness does live in one's own backyard... and kitchen cupboard... and desk drawer... and linen closet... and laundry room... Hee!

The entire project took Devin several days of hard work over the course of a couple of months  - rushing down here to work on his days off when he wasn't needed at home (he lives four hours away).  The demolition was the most difficult part. What an amazing rennovation once it was complete!

What an amazing son to do this for us. Thank you so much Honey!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He Is Risen!"

The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, excerpted from Luke 24:

"...In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”Then they remembered his words.
"While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

"They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.  He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and my feet. It is I m
yself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

"When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

"He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them,

“'This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.'”

"When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.  And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Image:  "The Three Marys at the Tomb" painting by Bouguereau, courtesy of

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Darkness Came Over All the Land"

An Account of Jesus' Death from Matthew 27:45-51,54-56 :

 "From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.  About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

 "When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

 "Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

 "And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

 "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.

 "When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

 "Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph,and the mother of Zebedee’s sons

O God, we look at the death that was,
look at the time - unthinkable time -
when God lay dead and earth lay dark
and in all of time was nothing.
Nothing! The Absence in which You Were.
The Empty from which You Brought.
The Void which only Your Voice can Fill
and Shatter and Open.

And in that Nothing, You Were;
and out of that Nothing, You Came;
and we will the Truth of Your Death,
that ever You Come.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Image: "Deposition", painting by Jean Beraud, 1892. Image courtesy of
Poem: "Holy Saturday" by Tina Howard

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Governor Perry Isn't the Only One Praying

At least two volunteer firefighters have lost their lives already. Whole towns have been evacuated. More than 400 homes have burned. And the wildfires in Texas, driven by continual high winds through a drought-stricken prairie landscape, show no signs of abating.

So, yes, we absolutely need prayer and are grateful to Governor Perry for his call for prayers on the next three days : Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday, to ask God for rain.

We've all been praying for rain for weeks. Where there aren't fires, the cattle need water... it gets worse: people need water. Some lake-side folks whose water comes from small, individual reservoirs (ponds/creeks) are having to haul water in for their home use.  At work, we receive daily updates on the critical condition and are prepared for evacuation if necessary. The dangers of fires that not only can burn the length of a football field in less than a single minute but that can turn into the inferno known as a "Fire Storm" is real and immediate.

The UK's Daily Mail has had the best coverage of the fires ( I guess most of the US media thinks it is just "local news" since the fires aren't on the West Coast).  A down-under paper, The Australian, has a fine and compassionate article as well. And Fox, of course, carried reliable coverage.

There's also excellent information on the Texas Forest Service's Inter-Agency Coordination Center site,  and on the Texas Forest Service's own main website

It was a challenge to find news articles about this that were not sneering and turning this into some political event:

Some guy at The Atlantic Wire had this to say " It's worth noting that a few days ago, Perry asked the federal government for help in fighting the wildfires. So it's not like a public call to prayer was his go-to here. Then again, is it the logical next step? The period he's outlining does fall between Good Friday and Easter Sunday--so it seems like if a miracle is going to take place, that would be the time for it. That may not offer solace to those troubled by the movement along the church/state line, though. We hope that rain and relief do come to Texas, however it happens."

Not only civil, but gracious, too. 

And Reuters couldn't resist a political dig in the 3 lines it deigned to give the thousands of people impacted by these fires. 1.5 million acres scorched, more than 250 individual fires stretching across a state bigger than any but Alaska, but Reuters wanted to be sure its readers knew that "Perry, a Republican, sought increased federal help in combating the blazes last weekend and urged Texans to ask the same from a higher power over the Easter holiday weekend."

 Thank you Governor Perry, for this proclamation. It shows that you are still able to see what all of us in Texas are already doing. We appreciate your willingness to do the right thing.

The media and the entrenched elites are still doing to Texas what they did during the OPEC Oil Embargo of 1974, what they did during the 1980's Oil Bust, what they did after Hurricane Ike: pointing and laughing.

In today's world, where the pictures and stories are instantly available worldwide, you'd think they'd have a little more human decency.  I guess that is another one of those rare-earth-minerals that only the Salt of the Earth still have in abundance.

[September 6, 2011 UPDATE: Here's the latest post on the fires that have burned 1,000 homes in the past week, and links to new information: Trying To Fight It: 62 New Fires, 2 Dead, 500+ Homes Burned Since Yesterday]

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday: The Beginning of Passover

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week, when Christians commemorate the final days before Jesus' death and resurrection. Jesus birth was a significant event, but it is the events of Easter on which our faith is established. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

The passage quoted below, Luke 19:37-48 (GOD’S WORD Translation), summarizes Jesus trip to Jerusalem for Passover. Passover celebrates, remembers, and tells of when God rescued the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. A devout Jew, Jesus observed the Law, worshipped in the synagogues, and taught in the Temple when He was in Jerusalem. Thus, all of these ancient Holy Days coincide with additional significance for Christians.

At one point in this summary is the second mention of Jesus weeping, and He weeps for Jerusalem. Realizing that few will recognize how His mission of deliverance will be fulfilled, He is overcome with sorrow for the suffering the Jews will have to bear in coming years, when the Temple is destroyed, their homeland laid waste, and the people killed or dispersed to wander the earth again as they did after their release from Egypt.

"When he came closer and saw the city [Jerusalem], he began to cry. He said, “If you had only known today what would bring you peace! But now it is hidden, so you cannot see it. The time will come when enemy armies will build a wall to surround you and close you in on every side. They will level you to the ground and kill your people. One stone will not be left on top of another, because you didn’t recognize the time when God came to help you.” (Luke 19:41-44)

It was this level of passionate emotion that lead him to force the trinket sellers and pawn brokers to take their booths and carnival atmosphere out of the Holy Temple when He arrived to begin His teaching. He showed that the ritual of cleaning before Passover had to extend past the physical cleanliness into cleanliness of our hearts and motives, cleanliness of purpose.

"Jesus went into the temple courtyard and began to throw out those who were selling things there. He said to them, “Scripture says, ‘My house will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a gathering place for thieves.”

"Jesus taught in the temple courtyard every day. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people looked for a way to kill him. But they could not find a way to do it, because all the people were eager to hear him." (Luke 19:45-48)

Photo: Antique Victorian Sunday School card illustrating Christ's arrival in Jerusalem to the acclaim of the people waving palms, as foretold in Old Testament prophecy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dear Veterans, Your Country Needs You Now

Bumping this post up from a longer version last year.... More than ever after these budget "deal" fiascoes, we need people who can remember the objective is to drain the swamp, and who won't try to appease the alligators:

Dear Young (and Older) Veterans,

When you come home, and have completed your military service and are a civilian again for good, please run for public office. Right away.

Because, gentlemen and ladies, we still need you. We need candidates for office who are tried and true neighbors of the ordinary American. We need representatives who put the welfare of the USA and its people before political expediency and personal gain.

From our first president, George Washington, to our local governors and mayors, America has always relied on her Brave to guide her safely through the calms as well as the storms.

We need people who will read bills themselves instead of taking the word of the lobbyists who wrote them. Who will debate bills honestly on the floor of Congress instead of rubber stamping the trade-off deals their aides made in the back rooms. Who will insist that voting on bills happen in Congress and not be polled in advance.

We need people who still have the capacity to notice and say out loud "That's not right!" when they get to Congress and discover the hidden suppuration and game playing and elitism and favoritism.

We need you.

Throw your hat in the ring for State Representative, or for Congress. Run for school board, or county commission or city council. Your political party has local offices that need strong leadership and integrity in one local party will empower others and spread throughout the state.

Run for office while you are still be able to hear the confident voice of your soul that sent you into battle prepared to defend the Most Exceptional Country that has ever been or ever will be.

Run for office and make use of the strength of will that brought you out conditioned to captain your part of the Most Exceptional Country that ever was, and prepared to guarantee it always will be.

So don't hesitate. Be yourself. Bring your bravery to bear on the government of these United States, our towns and schools.

Bring your clear-eyed humility to face down the scandalmongers without being deterred or delayed in your objective.

Bring your respect for the traditions and memories earned by those who went ahead, and your commitment to preserve "these truths" for those who will follow after.

Bring your understanding that sometimes failure is essential because capitulation is far far worse. And that falling down is just a signal to get up again. And again. And again.

Bring your confidence in a bright future for all hard-working Americans.

Bring your capacity for decisive action, your willingness to accept risk for the greater good, your visceral comprehension of what real discipline and honor are and how they are lived.

You are another Greatest Generation, and America needs you still.

Start now while you know what it is all worth.

Bring your true self.

How awesome would that be? A government of Americans who are all tried and true, who stayed true.

All it takes to make that happen is you.

(Originally posted here May 30, 2010 as "One More Request Of The Brave: Veterans, Please Run For Office")

April 17 UPDATE: Thanks to Pat @SIGIS for the link!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Musing on Walt Whitman, Sarah Palin & American Archetypes

Walt Whitman
wrote of America in this excerpt from "Song of the Broad Axe" in Leaves of Grass, the 1871-1872 edition. The Civil War had just ended.

Notice how modern the verse sounds.

After the describing new and independent, self-reliant civilization that was the building of America, after a cadence for the tribulation of civil war and an ode to Europe's bloody history, he began to speak of the future, and the rebuilding of America - and of the resurgence of archetypal American Timber itself:

"The voyage of those who sought a New England and found it—the outset anywhere,
The settlements of the Arkansas, Colorado, Ottawa, Willamette,
The slow progress, the scant fare, the axe, rifle, saddle-bags;
The beauty of all adventurous and daring persons,
The beauty of wood-boys and wood-men, with their clear untrimmed faces,
The beauty of independence, departure, actions that rely on themselves,
The American contempt for statutes and ceremonies, the boundless impatience of restraint....

" What do you think endures?
Do you think the great city endures?

"The great city is that which has the greatest man or woman;
If it be a few ragged huts, it is still the greatest city in the whole world.

"The shapes arise!
Shapes of the using of axes anyhow and the users and all that neighbors them,
Cutters down of wood, and haulers of it to the Penobscot or Kennebec,
Dwellers in cabins among the Californian mountains, or by the little lakes, or on the Columbia,
Dwellers south on the banks of the Gila or Rio Grande - friendly gatherings, the characters and fun,
Dwellers up north in Minnesota and by the Yellowstone river— dwellers on coasts and off coasts,
Seal-fishers, whalers, arctic seamen breaking passages through the ice.

"The shapes arise!
Shapes of factories, arsenals, foundries, markets;
Shapes of the two-threaded tracks of railroads;
Shapes of the sleepers of bridges, vast frameworks, girders, arches;
Shapes of the fleets of barges, tows, lake and canal craft, river craft.

"The shapes arise!
Shapes of doors giving many exits and entrances;
The door passing the dissevered friend, flushed and in haste;
The door that admits good news and bad news;
The door whence the son left home, confident and puffed up;
The door he entered again from a long and scandalous absence, diseased, broken down, without innocence, without means.

"Her shape arises,
She, less guarded than ever, yet more guarded than ever;
The gross and soil'd she moves among do not make her gross and soiled;
She knows the thoughts as she passes—nothing is concealed from her;
She is none the less considerate or friendly therefore;
She is the best beloved, it is without exception, she has no reason to fear, and she does not fear.
Oaths, quarrels, hiccupped songs, smutty expressions, are idle to her as she passes;
She is silent—she is possess'd of herself—they do not offend her;
She receives them as the laws of nature receive them — she is strong,
She too is a law of nature—there is no law stronger than she is.

"The main shapes arise!
Shapes of Democracy, total—result of centuries;
Shapes, ever projecting other shapes;
Shapes of turbulent manly cities;
Shapes of the friends and home-givers of the whole earth,
Shapes bracing the earth, and braced with the whole earth. "

I ran across this when trying to whittle down the bookshelves. Whitman personified the self-possessed naivete of the "can-do" American as the mythic mother, the queen that shares democracy with abandon: the Lady Liberty herself.

Walt Whitman would have loved Sarah Palin! The passionately patriotic "poet of the Civil War" was an expansive feminist of the old school:

"Where women walk in public processions in the streets, the same as the men,
Where they enter the public assembly and take places the same as the men"

He'd have loved her plain speaking, her artless assumption of her true place within our common life, her unabashed recognition of the unique magnificence that is America.

Walt would have understood why Sarah Palin resonates so powerfully with so many Americans: not because she is like us or stronger or braver or wiser (although she is all of those things), but because she reminds us all that we are too - that our American heritage is to be the archetype our own selves: this is who we are.

She's proved it. And if she can do it, we can do it too. We need not cast about for heroes: they are here in our own hearts.

What it means to be American is to be people who look within and find the shape of the leader that is in each of us. And then we go forward into a confident and egalitarian future for us all. That's the direction Sarah points toward, that's the continuing frontier that America will always win.

Yes, I think Walt would be very proud that America is still being shaped today by the likes of Sarah Palin.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Lazarus, Come Forth!"

This Sunday the readings recall when Jesus raised from the dead the brother of his friends Mary and Martha. Here is a condensed excerpt from the Gospel of John, Chapter 11:

"Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

"... Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. ....On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

"... When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

" Jesus wept.

"Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

"Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

" Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me..."

"When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

"Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

"Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

"But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

" Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

"...So from that day on they plotted to take his life. "

Go here to read the entire account, with all details.

John 11, Verse 35: "Jesus wept", is the shortest verse in the Bible. It is a profound statement of Jesus' grief for his friend, his empathy for Mary and Martha, his feeling for the pain of others. I wrestled with this one for a long time - I wondered why he felt the pain and loss of grief, since Jesus knew in advance that he would raise Lazarus to life again.

But Jesus was a human man, and grief is a human emotion that responds to the immediate condition. "Any man's death diminishes me" the poet and preacher John Donne wrote.

Christians believe that Jesus was the only "perfect" human who has ever lived - the only one of us who never sinned. Part and parcel with that is pure emotional health: Jesus was not insulated from his emotions, and felt and expressed himself honestly, innocently, and righteously.

Jesus wept because his friend had died.

Like real men everywhere, he was not afraid to love, and not ashamed to cry.

Image: "The Raising of Lazarus", Painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1896

Friday, April 8, 2011

Signs of the Times

Bumper stickers we've seen recently speak volumes:

It reads "Shut Up and Drill."

This one reads "Viet Nam: If you haven't been there shut your mouth." It sits beside a US Army sticker. There's one for Iraq too.

The country grows weary of idle chatter and armchair opining preventing the hard work from getting done. Whether it's taking away the government hot check book, drilling for oil, or fighting a war, it is time to let the people who are willing to do the job now go to work.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"King Jehoiakim Burns the Word of God"

As I commented last night on Christopher's post "Burning Holy Books" at Word Around the Net,

"...Pastor Jones' statement has prompted discussion of what the Bible really means to us, and has pushed front and center a deep secular question as well: are we still a nation of leaders and defenders, or are we a nation of capitulators and outright bullies?

"For it is the bullies & capitulators who leaped to condemn Pastor Jones without first declaring that the actual murderers owned full responsibility for their actions. However one feels about his actions or his motives, whether self-agrandizing, misguided or prophetic, there is no denying that it takes courage to stand against the mob that is the worldwide media industry today."

Christopher's post is one of many in which people are discussing why Christians do not riot over desecration of Christian beliefs and the Holy Bible, why Americans demand and will riot on behalf of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Religion.

I've written about this before, in a post last August titled "Failing Liberty for Afghanistan by Failing Freedom of Religion", and in another titled "Time Magazine has just earned my subscription".

By inspiration or coincidence, the antique Sunday School card pictured above illustrates a 2,600 year old event that resonates today. Here is a little insight into the authority and authorship of the Holy Bible, from the Bible itself, in the book of Jeremiah, the prophet, along with a story of a king who burned a Bible, and what happened because of it:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What Is It Like To Be A Christian? Thomas Traherne: "You never enjoy the world aright...."

What is it like to be a Christian? The poet and preacher Thomas Traherne described it like this in the 1600s, and it is like this still today:
You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins,
till you are clothed with the heavens,
and crowned with the stars:
and perceive yourself to be the sole heir
of the whole world,
and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you.

And here - here is the longer, fuller passage:

"Our enjoyment of the world is never right, till every morning you awake in Heaven; see yourself in your Father's Palace; and look upon the skies, the earth, and the air as Celestial Joys: having such a reverend esteem of all, as if you were among the Angels. The bride of a monarch, in her husband's chamber, hath no such causes of delight as you.

"You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you. Till you can sing and rejoice and delight in God, as misers do in gold, and Kings in scepters, you never enjoy the world.

"Till your spirit filleth the whole world, and the stars are your jewels; till you are as familiar with the ways of God in all Ages as with your walk and table; till you are intimately acquainted with that shady nothing out of which the world was made; till you love men so as to desire their happiness, with a thirst equal to the zeal of your own; till you delight in God for being good to all: you never enjoy the world.

"Till you more feel it than your private estate, and are more present in the hemisphere, considering the glories and the beauties there, than in your own house; till you remember how lately you were made, and how wonderful it was when you came into it; and more rejoice in the palace of your glory, than if it had been made but today morning.

"Yet further, you never enjoy the world aright, till you so love the beauty of enjoying it, that you are covetous and earnest to persuade others to enjoy it…. The world is a mirror of infinite beauty, yet no man sees it.

"It is a Temple of Majesty, yet no man regards it.

"It is a region of Light and Peace, did not men disquiet it.

"It is the Paradise of God. It is more to man since he is fallen than it was before. It is the place of Angels and the Gate of Heaven.

" When Jacob waked out of his dream, he said "God is here, and I wist it not. How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the House of God and the Gate of Heaven."

Thomas Traherne

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Who's to Blame?

Coincidence is a funny thing. Sometimes, it leads us from question to answer. Or from thought to confirmation.

Last night, I posted a reply to an article on Belmont club about the latest in the 2000 year old war against Christianity. The story is the monetization of a massacre by turning it into entertainment, effectively giving a media pardon to murderers who beheaded dozens of innocent people and like Pontius Pilot of old, asking the gathered crowd "Should we crucify Jesus the innocent or Barabas the known criminal?". The outcry is, of course, the same as it was then, and for the same reasons, the same as it always shall be until all have heard the Gospel, until Jesus comes again.

I wrote (links added here):

"The desperate rush to assign blame to the Nth degree is the most
anti-Christian element of the whole event. It was that, the endless and unavoidable debt slavery and retribution that Jesus' death and resurrection saved us from. He gave us freedom. Freedom to be forgiven not just for the deliberate violations of the lex du jour, but also for those acts that cause the greatest anguish: the unintended consequences of just being alive. Jesus
brought us Grace. Christianity is the only religion in the world that offers grace: this forever-and-ever pardon, this once-and-for-all-time Grace. Thank God!

"It is a great tragedy that we sent our soldiers to these wasted lands and our own government refused to allow them to carry and share the Good News, and the unimpeachable freedom it brings to every individual."

and then, this morning, I ran across an excellent Sunday talk on the same theme on a blog I haven't read before "Preaching the Lectionary". For today, the 4th Sunday in Lent, the preacher writes:

" A man has been born blind. Jesus’ disciples wonder whether this man’s or his parents’ sin has caused the blindness. Who is at fault? This is often more important to us than finding the remedy because it is easier to find fault. Jesus...healed the blind man. Notice, however, that His remedy had little to do with fault-finding...."

"... Pharisees are not just skeptical; they actually root for failure. They stand in the way of belief. They would rather disbelieve so that they may continue to indulge themselves in their fault-finding. Seeing and believing would require them to reevaluate all that they “understand.”

"...Pharisees go far beyond unbelief. They want to police the beliefs of others. After questioning the man healed of blindness, they drove him out of the synagogue. They could not abide by the truth because it was not their “truth.” "

Read it all by clicking here.

The story of the man who had been born blind, and the questioning of who caused it can easily be found in headline after today's headline, in speech after White House speech, in movie after Made For TV Movie.

But there comes a time, as I once wrote in a poem,

"...when you live like that
and life's just something you do,
the whole thing gets to be kinda mercenary.

And you look around for somebody to blame
but there isn't anyone
but yourself.

And after a while, you realize that you
can't even take it on yourself, so there's
all this sorrow
and no place for it to go.

And that's why Jesus came. "

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us! God bless you today, and always.


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