Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday At River Crossing--Day of Decision


Friday, July 24, 2015

Blue Angels Fly Over Jackson Hole This Week


THE BLUE ANGELS, the United States Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, flies over the Teton Range on Tuesday afternoon. The aerobatic team, consisting of six aviators from the Navy and Marines flying F/A-18 Hornets, made three passes over the range for a photo op on their way to an air show in Fargo, N.D. LINK.

Thanks Judy for sending this stunning Wingman photo.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fascinating Lawsuit in the Culture/Religious Wars---As Nuns Intensify Fight To Prevent Sale of Convent to Katy Perry


ARE THERE ANY FASCINATING LAWSUITS THESE DAYS?  Well yes, actually: My ongoing legal proceedings with Abe's Garden.

Aside from that, there are a few others I think are well-worth following as Sisters Rita Callahan and Catherine Rose Holzman (pictured above) fight to block Katy Perry from buying their beloved, old convent in LA. The sisters do not like her, her lower cash deal or anything about her offer. They're revving it up with a top  LA law firm to play hardball with Perry, some of their other convent sisters and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.  Gosh, this sounds familiar.

This from the NY Times article Monday:
Poverty, chastity, obedience — and they are still barring the door to Katy Perry. 

In a pair of legal filings on Friday, two nuns who object to Ms. Perry's proposed purchase of their order's convent on eight acres here disclosed an email describing any sale to the saucy pop singer as a breach of their sacred vows.

"In selling to Katy Perry, we feel we are being forced to violate our canonical vows to the Catholic Church," Sister Catherine Rose Holzman wrote to an official of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on May 22, as competing deals for the property, valued at about $15 million, were being considered
Whether the Los Feliz-area Mediterranean villa and acreage go to Ms. Perry or to her rival, the developer Dana Hollister, may depend on a decision by Judge Robert H. O'Brien of Superior Court in Los Angeles County. Judge O'Brien is expected to consider arguments in a case filed against Ms. Hollister by José H. Gomez, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, at a hearing on July 30. 

Friday's filings by Sister Catherine Rose, 86, and Sister Rita Callanan, 77, include a memorandum opposing the archbishop, and declarations peppered with intimate details about church dealings. They add heat to a dispute that is already complicated by a possible clash between canon and civil law, and the decision by the nuns to reveal their distaste for Ms. Perry in public interviews late last month.

The court papers include claims by several of five surviving nuns in the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the archdiocese is betraying them and bullying them into supporting a sale other than their preferred transaction with Ms. Hollister. That deal would pay about $10 million for the convent, but with little cash up front, while giving the archdiocese more than $5 million to buy out its long-term lease on a retreat house for priests that also occupies the hillside plot on Waverly Drive. Under its terms, the nuns contend in their filings, they would directly control the proceeds, rather than having them administered by officials of the archdiocese. 

Their rejection of Ms. Perry's slightly lower cash offer — under diocesan control — now borders on schism. (It appears the Catholic hierarchy much prefers Ms. Perry's upfront cash deal and the control it gives them rather than the more money later deal.) Their filings included a letter titled "How the Chancery Stole Waverly," which was sent to the archbishop on June 13 by Sister Jean-Marie Dunne, 88, who previously filed a declaration supporting the sale to Ms. Perry and did not join in Friday's action. 

After a litany of objections to the archdiocese's attempt to assert control over the nuns' civil nonprofit, Sister Jean-Marie's letter concluded: "All of the above would and should have been avoided if the chancery personnel possessed a modicum of humility and honesty." 

Instead, she added, "they seem obsessed with their misconception of their sovereign, ecclesiastical canonical importance." (She later suggested that the archdiocese "even the score" by putting $3 million in the Immaculate Heart bank account.) 

Representatives of the archdiocese have argued that their only concern is to get the best deal for a now-dispersed group of aging nuns, who would continue to own the proceeds of any sale. Under the terms of Ms. Perry's deal, those would include a new priestly retreat house in the Pasadena area — though Sister Rita and Sister Catherine Rose say they view ownership of that house as a liability. 

"I would like to reiterate my continued commitment to all of the Immaculate Heart sisters that the archdiocese will take care of them and ensure their well-being now and in the future," Archbishop Gomez said in a statement on Saturday. 

Like Sister Jean-Marie, Sister Marie Victoriano, 88, and Sister Marie Christine Muñoz Lopez, 82, have filed declarations in support of the archbishop. But Sister Rita and Sister Catherine Rose, in a filing prepared by the lawyers from the Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtingher law firm, a Hollywood powerhouse, have questioned the validity of at least the Dunne and Lopez declarations.

Sister Jean-Marie, they noted, expressed opposition to the sale both before and after signing her statement, and Sister Marie Christine, they said, was observed to be "woozy" and under the influence of morphine at about the time church officials asked her for a declaration of support.Sister Marie Victoriano said in an email on Sunday, "I have great confidence in the archbishop's decision and have no concern whatsoever."

Sister Jean-Marie did not respond to an email query on Sunday. Sister Marie Christine could not be reached at her home in a Los Angeles care facility. The five nuns have been living separately since leaving their convent, which was acquired from a benefactor, Daniel J. Donohue, in 1971.
J. Michael Hennigan, a lawyer for the archdiocese, disputes claims that the declarations of support were improperly secured. 

Judge O'Brien is now being asked to decide whether the archdiocese relied too heavily on canon law in taking control of the nuns' temporal affairs, without meeting the demands of civil law. Mr. Hennigan said the archdiocese in no way neglected civil requirements. The Vatican, he added, has clearly decreed that no sister or group of sisters should be involved in the governance of their nonprofit. 

It is clear that several of the nuns do not trust the promises of care. Sister Rita and Sister Catherine Rose say the archdiocese misappropriated a final bequest of $250,000 from Mr. Donohue, who died in 2014, and has failed in its obligation to maintain the existing retreat house.
Fascinating fundamentals and cast of characters. While I certainly identify and sympathize with the plight of Sisters Rita and Catherine Rose, I still don't know enough to make an intelligent guess about the validity of their claims. It seems some of the dispute might be settled within the church hierarchy as far as possible, with what's left settled within the civil courts of Los Angeles. I wish these gutsy ladies well and plan to follow their case closely.

Gay Baker Jesse Bartholomew Chastises Fellow Gays For Wanting to Force Anyone to Do Their Wedding Cake Who Doesn't Want To

THIS GAY BAKER JESSE BARTHOLOMEW IS 100% CORRECT:  No one should be forced to bake a wedding cake or do any preparations for a gay wedding who doesn't agree or want to.  There are plenty of other people who will gladly do it. Can't embed it, but link to Jesse's rant is here.

He can't tell his fellow gays and lesbians how disgusted he is with them and their bullying. Shame on them, according to Bartholomew.

Radical gay Nazis are wrong to try to force everyone to agree and celebrate gay marriage. It will never work and just another form of forced religion. The backlash will be not be pretty.

Truth is,  citizens in our country are free to object for religious reasons or for no reason at all.   Or. For. No. Reason. At. All. Would gay bakers want  hetero conservatives to force them to do anything they don't want to do, including being dragged to church to  'get religion'?

Of course not. But radical gays want a double standard.  They want their cake and eat it too.

Thank you Jesse Bartholomew for speaking truth to nonsense.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

John Piper On Romans 9:20: Who Are We, Mere Mortals, To Question God?

OUR POSITION IS TO BE THAT OF UTTER SUBMISSION TO GOD. We can humbly ask for God's help and guidance however. Of course, this submission is easier said than done, and always involves a serious inner struggle.

The End of the Road For Cosby and Trump

I KNOW IT'S SUNDAY AND I INTEND TO DO ANOTHER POST SOON AFTER THIS SHORT ONE. Still I'd like to take a minute to say how painfully obvious it is that both Bill Cosby and Donald Trump have completely lost whatever vestige of reputation each of them had left in the public eye.

With the publicity surrounding Cosby's newly released 2005 deposition admitting he used drugs to seduce vulnerable women, there's no doubt that Bill's career has come to the end of the road, not a minute too soon.

It didn't take Donald Trump nearly as long to self-destruct with his latest arrogant stunt comments on Senator John McCain not being a war hero. Terrible and shameful, especially since John refused his prison release until all his fellow POWs were let out with him. This opened him up to additional torture and extreme suffering. BTW, I am no great fan of McCain but have to take his side in this one whether he did anything heroic on the battlefield or not. Rod Dreher has a short piece up on Trump's demise.

All I can say now to both is Good, Good Riddance. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Chattanooga's Darkest Days

SATURDAY UPDATE CHATTANOOGA IS WITHOUT DOUBT MY FAVORITE CITY IN TENNESSEE, IF NOT THE WHOLE COUNTRY. Smart, conservative, affluent, outdoorsy, beautiful and brimming with opportunity, Chattanooga has managed to hold on to its exquisite quality-of-life and unique character in  ways that Nashville is losing at warp speed.

Nashville has become just another too-big, generic city taken over by developers. But that's another blog post for another day. The sadness I, and we all, feel for this terrible lone-terrorist shooting of four---now five---unarmed Marines in Chattanooga Thursday cannot be exaggerated. It is especially painful knowing it will happen again and again because this country seems to be hellbent on liberal and insane policies of niceness, political correctness and turning a blind eye to the obvious: Marines and soldiers should be armed, anyone named Muhammad who travels to the Middle East needs to be on a terrorist watch list and the US needs to declare war---REAL WAR--- on ISIS and radical Islam as well as illegal immigration---just to name a few.

The deterioration of the moral and political fabric of our country---and the accelerated speed at which the race-to-the-bottom is occurring---sometimes leaves me speechless.  Learning of a video of a little Muslim boy beheading an adult infidel---which I could not watch---is almost the last straw.

Anyone who wonders why Donald Trump, brash and uncouth as he sometimes comes across, is rising in the polls needs look no further than Chattanooga, or El Paso or even New York for answers.  People are getting fed up fast and grasping for bold independent leadership.  God help us if we don't find it soon.  Irregardless of politics,  I like Trump because he's not afraid to say what he thinks, mean what he says and let the chips fall where they may.

God bless all those families and citizens in Chattanooga who are suffering and may our country make some quick adjustments to policies long-overdue for revamping.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Amphitheater Lake: Going to the Top of the World

MY HEAVY-HITTER HIKING FRIENDS in Jackson Hole who live here mostly year-round think nothing of doing a 12-mile hike with 3,000' altitude gain. After all, they have all those coveted red blood cells that pick up every morsel of the scant oxygen floating around in these higher atmospheric realms.

But me,  just here from lower lands, I have to wait patiently for my body and blood to acclimatize and make more reds as I heavy breathe my way up mountains. It gets a little better every week, but in truth, complete acclimatization doesn't happen for months---about the time I have to go back to Tennessee.  Still, every new red helps.

Yesterday, a patient friend invited me to hike up to Amphitheater Lake assuring me he knew I could do it. I couldn't turn him down though I knew pain and suffering lay ahead up that trail.

When hiking,  there are three things I pay attention to:  Shortness of breath, energy and joint pain.  My energy and lack of pain were terrific all the way up, but I had to stop  often for 30-60 seconds to catch my breath.  Coming down energy and breath were fine...but the knee pain began and got worse as we worked our way back down 20 switchbacks before taking the last, long  ridge down to the parking area in GTNP. Going down can often be the hardest part in some ways.

Long and short,  I should have taken an ALEVE in my pack and downed it at our lovely rest break at Amphitheater Lake before starting back.  It's amazing how much it helps.  Next time, for sure.

Last night I took an ibuprofen before going to bed and it's amazing how energized and pain-free I am today---though I will take it much easier for a little while.

In the beginning, middle and end, it's all Grace that enables me to get up and walk up to almost the top of the world again this year.   I am so fortunate to have friends to do these gorgeous hikes with.

I am deeply grateful, more so each year.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday: Tim Witmer Shares the Apostle Paul's Antedote to Worry

THIS IS A WONDERFUL MESSAGE TO REMIND US WORRIERS---AREN'T WE ALL THERE SOMETIME?---WHAT TO DO WHEN WE'RE IN A DARK PLACE. Essentially, it's about how we can stop digging ourselves deeper into the grave of negativity and despair. It works every time. It's a message I need to hear early and often from the Apostle Paul through this article by Tim Witmer:

What? Me Worry?” Those of us who are old enough remember Alfred E. Neumann’s mindless approach to worry. Similarly, Bobby McFerrin’s smash hit “Don’t Worry Be Happy” resonated with millions of people who just hoped that it could be that easy. It isn’t.

All of us wrestle with anxiety. After all, there are lots of things to worry about: money, health, family, career—you can fill in the rest.

One of the more popular approaches to addressing worry these days is the suggestion to set aside a thirty-minute period of time to do your worrying. Have you ever tried this? It doesn’t work. Trying to confine worry to a time slot is about as doable as herding cats.

The good news is that the Scriptures give us clear direction when the burdens of life press in upon us. Paul was a man who had a lot to worry about. There were all those struggling new churches, his concern for those who had not yet heard the gospel, not to mention his own health and safety. But it was while he was under confinement in Rome that he wrote some of the most memorable words on worry and anxiety, words that God has used to encourage His people ever since.

These remarkable words are found in Philippians 4:6–8. In these verses we are given two antidotes to anxiety that we will explore below. Instead of Worrying, Pray In vv. 6-7, Paul writes: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. These are amazing words.

We are told not to worry about anything but to pray about everything. There are several different words for “prayer” in v. 6. The first is a general word for prayer but the second two words refer to specific prayer requests. We worry specifically, so we need to pray specifically. Worried about that unexpected bill? Pray specifically for the Lord’s provision. Worried about that diagnosis? Pray specifically for wisdom for the way forward.

Remarkably, we are promised that when we pray, the Lord will give us peace instead of anxiety. It is a kind of peace that defies the circumstances that we face. God’s peace is not the absence of conflict but a settled security grounded in our relationship with Him. Paul writes that the resultant peace will safeguard our hearts and minds.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones described it this way: What will happen is that this peace of God will walk round the ramparts and towers of our life. We are inside, and the activities of the heart and mind are producing those stresses and anxieties and strains from the outside. But the peace of God will keep them all out and we ourselves inside will be at perfect peace. Don’t forget to pray.

But Paul doesn’t stop there. He gives us another antidote to anxiety. Think about What You Think About. There is good reason that v. 8 follows vv. 6–7. In vv. 6–7, we are told that prayer is the place to begin. In v. 8, we are told what to think about instead of worrying. To be honest with you, I don’t know anyone who can pray all the time. Paul gives us some important principles to think about instead of worrying. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (v. 8) Essentially, we are being challenged to think about what we think about. Each of these words represents a brand-new vista to replace the worry weeds that can crowd into the landscape of our minds.

Just take the first phrase, “whatever is true.” This is the foundation for all the rest. We are blessed to have the truth of God’s Word, which includes all His wonderful promises. Worried about finances? The truth is that “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (4:19). Worried that you won’t have the strength to carry on? The truth is that “I can do all things through Him that strengthens me” (4:13). If you are feeling lonely, isolated, or neglected, the truth is that “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Instead of worrying, spend some time plumbing the depths of this new way of thinking. You will notice that these antidotes to anxiety take into account your vertical relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Remember to look up to the One who hears you when you cry out to Him and who has given you His amazing promises to reflect and meditate on in the midst of the storms of life.
Please note, this is not about secular 'positive thinking' It's about focusing on the truth and beauty of the glories and promises of God and what he's done for us through his son Jesus Christ and what he's yet to do. SOURCE: Tim Challies

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bill Whittle: History Lesson On Democrats---Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey

SATURDAY UPDATE: TRUMP WINS WHITE HOUSE DOSSIER POLL DON'T BELIEVE ANY OF THIS? LOOK IT UP. Good job, Bill. This is worth the time it takes to watch and learn (or relearn) 10 times over. From PJMedia Afterburner: The Dems want to pin the Confederate Flag, KKK, Great Depression, urban decay, and harsh marriage laws on the GOP… pin the tale on the Donkey instead, shouts Bill Whittle in response. Review the truths about the 16th, 17th and 18th amendments. Don't believe any of this? Look it up on the Internet.

Then listen to it again.

 Growing up in small town American, my father was a big Republican and businessman who employed hundreds of people in our town in Tennessee. I never, once, in my entire life heard him say one racial slur or racist remark----ever. Speaking the n-word  in our home was completely verboten. My father employed more than his share of blacks---or colored people as we called them back then---in our town and many of them prospered.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

UAL, NYSE, WSJ, ZH Have All Gone Down This Morning---Is This A Concerted Cyberattack?


After a series of cyber failures involving first UAL (United Airlines), then this website (ZeroHedge), then the NYSE which is still halted, then the WSJ, some have suggested that this could be a concerted cyber attack focusing on the US. So we decided to look at a real-time cyber attack map courtesy of Norsecorp which provides real time visibility into global cyber attacks. What clearly stands out is that for some reason Chinese hackers really are focusing on St. Louis this morning.

I suppose we won't know for a while, but it certainly looks like these failures are no coincidences. But NYSE says it's nothing more than a technical glitch that's frozen the floor.

Mother Raccoon Teaches Kit to Climb a Tree


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday--- Recharging Our Imaginations With A Sense of Adventure and Supernatural Power

AND AGAIN.... Enemies will unite that seek to corrupt all goodness, steal the light from this world.....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Over Togwotee Pass: Coming Into the High Country This Week

MY FINAL DESCENT INTO JACKSON HOLE TUESDAY EVENING was over the most beautiful highway of all: the almost 10,000' continental divide known as Togwotee Pass. I had driven almost 3,000 miles from Nashville via Houston and Laramie. This view was a sight for sore eyes.

As I drove over and down the pass, I stopped to check water levels and fishing conditions of some of my favorite tertiary tributaries of the Snake.  Then I called Marty. Water conditions up high all looking good. He, of course, already knew this and wondered, Where you been?

I replied, It doesn't matter,  I'm here now.

When I got  into the Valley, to my place, I was so tired, I fell into, onto the bed and went fast asleep with all my clothes on.  I must have slept for 10 hours without moving.   I'm just now beginning to come back to life again after two days.  Altitude adjustment and time-zone change are always a challenge.

I thank God to be here. I thank God too for the past several days of real down time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Two Link's: Sexual Chastity In the Modern World and Greece's Fiscal Folly

AFTER BEING IN LARAMIE FOR THE PAST TWO DAYS,  I reluctantly soon leave people and conversations I have grown to love as I head for Jackson Hole through the Great Divide Basin.  Symbolism abounds in this last leg.  These people have truly become part of the fabric of my soul.  While some of us don't always agree on everything,  it's clear we respect each others principled stands enough to have broad, and more importantly, deep repartee on human sexuality as a part of the collapse of the family and also the relativism now so rampant in every aspect of our modern, post-Christian society.

Truly, if you're a social conservative, as I am,  you are witnessing the pulverization of the rocks of civilization into the shifting sands of anything goes-isms.  Everyone I talk to here knows a day of reckoning is coming and is deeply concerned. It won't be pretty.

I know that the decline of the family began decades ago with the so-called sexual revolution (abortion, no fault divorce and sexual permissiveness), and that gay marriage became a fait accompli years back.  Still,  I continue to mourn both our collective and individual follies and look for new, creative ways to go forward.

My new favorite writer on much of this is Rod Dreher whose book,  How Dante Can Save Your Life, I have bought, read and given to several others and also linked to him recently on Webutante at The American Conservative.

Today Dreher writes on a column by David Brooks on Sexual Chastity, a concept our fallen world deems as madness.  But it's not and never will be.  An excerpt:
Christianity, properly understood, takes a more holistic view of the human person. David rightly causes us to think of how few conservative Christians consider the role that economics and economic policy plays in breaking apart families and communities. But liberals, Christian and otherwise, fail to appreciate the extent to which abandoning sexual restraint results in broken families and broken societies. “Different beliefs about the universe lead to different behavior,” Lewis writes. The Sexual Revolution teaches something different about sex, the body, desire, and identity. Christianity opposes it — and Christian chastity cannot be isolated from the overall Christian conception of what the body is and who we are as incarnated eternal beings.

The point is, there is no way for Christians to undertake the task of nurturing stable families, as David correctly wishes for, without making the teaching of Christian chastity part of the mission. This is the one thing the world cannot accept — and in fact, finds a form of madness, indeed of bigotry.

I’m writing this moments after finishing a seminar discussion of Canto V of Dante’s Inferno, which is about lust as a distorted version of love. Because Francesca and Paolo construed lust as love, their sin led to violence — Paolo’s brother, discovering that his brother and his wife were sleeping together, killed them both — including the breaking of the family, and to the damnation of them all. Lust is one of the least bad of all sins in Dante’s conception … but it is enough to earn hell all the same.

The romanticization of sexual love is no new thing. But it continues to seduce us and to confuse us, and, along with economic individualism, has become on of the two dominant ideologies of our civilization.  This bad idea has consequences. The destruction of the family and the sundering of social bonds are among them.

ites on Sexual Chastity, a concept our fallen world deems as madness.  But it's not and never will be.  An excerpt:

Please read the whole thing. Next up, my friend John Tamny of Real Clear Markets and Forbes has a piece today on Greece. It's one of his best and, as always, he goes against conventional group-think and hand-wringing:
That Greece has been in default mode at least half of its modern existence reveals as silly the view that its debt troubles are scaring markets. If anything a default would be healthy in a normal world for it forcing investors into real ideas over government consumption. Instead, Greece's troubles scare investors due to bank exposure to the debt, Greece's anti-growth response to what is a slow-growth problem, and then the comically obtuse idea that the near-term answer to Greece's troubles is a departure from the euro. Not only will Greece never fully exit the euro, to do so would be as silly as Arkansas exiting the dollar in favor of a local Peso. RealClearMarkets.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Dramatic Statue of Chief Washakie of the Eastern Shoshone on the University of Wyoming Campus, Laramie

THOUGH I AM SHORT ON TIME TODAY,  IT'S FUN TO BRIEFLY POST ON one of the most renown historic figures of Wyoming:  More about Chief Washakie.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

God Has A Sense of Humor When I Don't


SO HERE I AM UNDER THE FLATIRONS OF BOULDER CATCHING MY BREATH after a long, long drive from Houston (and Nashville) on my way to Jackson, Wyoming with a lot of sadness in the aftermath of the SCOTUS same-sex ruling on Friday.  At this point I am content  never to hear about any more of this news  of the past few days again....I'm sick of worrying about the Constitution,  the death of federalism, the over-reach of the federal government, the politicization of the silly high court and the potential loss of religious freedom...sick of it all at the moment.

But then, here comes God with His own brand of irony and sense of humor choreographing my next few days in a way I can't escape.  I'm hemmed in. God knows I've tried to escape...but so far to no avail.

So where am I heading later today?  To meet with my new best friend and gay author of The Book of Matt, Steve Jimenez in Laramie for the next several days.   There's no denying it---he's a man I have grown to love and respect since we met almost two years ago. We are meeting again to discuss our mutual friend Russell Henderson who's currently in a Wyoming state prison for two consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole for allegedly killing Matthew Shepard. It was Aaron McKinney coming down from a meth bender who killed Matt in a drug deal gone terribly wrong.  Henderson, who was in the truck and was also beaten up by McKinney when he tried to intervene, never got a trial because the town of Laramie ran out of money and forced him into a plea bargain under threat of the death penalty. You can read all about it, if you choose.  The Book of Matt.


Meanwhile,  I left Steve a message yesterday that I didn't want to discuss gay marriage at all over the next few days--even over a glass of wine....or two...or a bottle (just a joke).

Why does God put me in these sort of untimely situations?  It's not funny and I still don't have my sense-of-humor back. But OK,  I'm going to see my great new friend and surely we can find something to talk about.... we're also going to spend time with Russell's dear, invalid grandmother and shower her with love, care and lots of attention.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sunday: John Piper On Lamenting the New Same-Sex Calamity



Beyond this,  we can only pray without ceasing for this once-great country now in warp-speed decline and the horrendous judgment that's coming our way  Those of us who truly fear God, know it's coming and pray for mercy and salvation for all.

Piper writes:

Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy.

His will is that a man might leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6–9). In this union, sexuality finds its God-appointed meaning, whether in personal-physical unification, symbolic representation, sensual jubilation, or fruitful procreation.
For those who have forsaken God’s path of sexual fulfillment, and walked into homosexual intercourse or heterosexual extramarital fornication or adultery, Jesus offers astonishing mercy.
Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
But today this salvation from sinful sexual acts was not embraced. Instead there was massive institutionalization of sin.

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

The Bible is not silent about such decisions. Alongside its clearest explanation of the sin of homosexual intercourse (Romans 1:24–27) stands the indictment of the approval and institutionalization of it. Though people know intuitively that homosexual acts (along with gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, boasting, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness) are sin, “they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:29–32). “I tell you even with tears, that many glory in their shame” (Philippians 3:18–19).

This is what the highest court in our land did today — knowing these deeds are wrong, “yet approving those who practice them.”

My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us. The new thing — new for America, and new for history — is not homosexuality. That brokenness has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man. (And there is a great distinction between the orientation and the act — just like there is a great difference between my orientation to pride and the act of boasting.)

What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.

My main reason for writing is not to mount a political counter-assault. I don’t think that is the calling of the church as such. My reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man.

Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way. Sin carries in it its own misery: “Men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:27).

And on top of sin’s self-destructive power comes, eventually, the final wrath of God: “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5–6).

Christians know what is coming, not only because we see it in the Bible, but because we have tasted the sorrowful fruit of our own sins. We do not escape the truth that we reap what we sow. Our marriages, our children, our churches, our institutions — they are all troubled because of our sins.
The difference is: We weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We don’t institutionalize them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We cry to Jesus, “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

And in our best moments, we weep for the world, and for our own nation. In the days of Ezekiel, God put a mark of hope “on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 9:4).

This is what I am writing for. Not political action, but love for the name of God and compassion for the city of destruction.
“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136)

Tennessee Lawmakers To Introduce Pastor Protection Act In Special Session of Legislature


ANYONE WHO THINKS THE SCOTUS RULING ON GAY MARRIAGE handed down this week will not affect religious liberty in this country is living in a dream or drug world. While it may not be apparent immediately, this ruling could have ripple effects on every aspect of our culture and religious lives in the months and years to come.

That's why two Tennessee lawmakers, anticipating this week's Supreme Court ruling, have been working hard over the past few months on the Pastor Protection Act. They plan to call a special legislative session in the House in the next few weeks and get it passed without delay.

Good for them. It will pass in Tennessee.

For the record, I am a traditional marriage woman and no matter what the Supreme Court has handed down, that will not ever change. That is a part of my bedrock Christo-centered belief system.

I would have much preferred to see SCOTUS rule in favor of government sanctioned gay unions which I could have at least stomached, especially in the state legislative process. But this I mourn.  I mourn for what's coming  for our country.  I mourn because I fear/respect God. The high court doesn't really have the right to tell religious organizations what they can and can't believe or do.

In effect, we now have a new federally-sanctioned religion of gay rights which is being crammed down all our throats. Actually, there is no stopping the moral decline of our nation at this point. From here---the federal legalization of same-sex 'marriage'--- we will see at warp speed the legalization of polygamy---the slippery slope begins--- then animal husbandry or people who demand the right to marry their children and gerbils.

 Dark times indeed are ahead for the relativism we are engulfed in.

Meanwhile,  let the freak show and confustion begin.

So, good for Tennessee for starting the ball rolling. It certainly won't be the only or last state to try to protect people and pastors from the heavy hand and over-reach of the federal government and judiciary. More.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Backyard Baseball In the PeeWee 7 League Of West U, Houston

THESE LITTLE GUYS---ALL WHO'LL BE 7 THIS YEAR---WORKED HARD THIS SPRING AMID MASSIVE RAIN DELAYS AND FLOODING to come back and take home the Pee Wee 7 League championship trophy for the Hammerheads.

Way to go guys!  Below is one of the Hammerhead's biggest, little fans.

A PeeWee coach teaches on the importance of keeping your eye on the ball.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

William Wilburforce: Persecution and Authentic Christianity

WILLIAM WILBERFORCE   EXPERIENCE TELLS US THAT PERSECUTION OFTEN HAS THE OPPOSITE EFFECT IT SEEKS TO PRODUCE. As Milton said in Paradise Lost, 'Her devilish engine recoils back upon herself.'  Authentic faith has always thrived under persecution.  During such times, it is not easy to be a Christian.  There are no lukewarm  believers, or half-hearted followers of  Christ in times of great difficulty.  The battle lines are clear during such times, and it becomes evident that the kingdom of Christ is not of this world.  The greater the difficulty, the closer it drives us to Christ.  Only in Him do we find refuge.  We truly become pilgrims and strangers.  We carefully examine and cling to the basics of faith.  They become an anchor in the storm.

Ironically, peace and prosperity have the opposite effect.  When all seems to be going well, we seem to forget we are engaged in warfare. The intensity of faith that gets us through the tough times tends to languish when life is easy. The Church tends to become assimilated into the culture and cultural Christianity replaces authentic faith. The distinction between Church and culture become blurred....

.....In times like we are now living in, ideas of radical obedience (to Christ) and self-denial fade into the background.  Even faithful Christians become soft and more tolerant of the moral decline of the world around them.......Only those principles or doctrines that fit with the general tenor of the culture are observed as common practice.  The truths that stand in stark contrast to the systems of the culture are almost totally forgotten.  This is especially obvious when these teaching confront the problems of pride, luxury and conformity to the culture.  Even the clergy seem afraid to tread too heavily on these subjects in their preaching for fear they will be regarded as fanatics....Christianity has become a  mere system of ethics which we do not embrace anyway.

-----William Wilberforce,  Real Christianity (Published in 1797)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Brooks Lake Creek Dreaming



Thursday, June 18, 2015

YIKES! Could This Be the New Female Face On the Brave New $10 Bill?

WELL. IS IT SO FARFETCHED? In my opinion, the new face will be a black woman, but not a black trans-racial woman, if you know what I mean. Still, I think it would be kinda fun to have this image on a ten.
Below, please welcome Jack Lew, current Treasury Secretary explaining why Alexander Hamilton is getting the boot.   Lew makes absolutely no sense to me except this:  As the value of the dollar goes down,  our money more and more looks like monopoly money.

 More at Zero Hedge.

Charleston Victims' Families Need Our Desperate Prayers


THE ALLEGED GUNMAN IS IDENTIFIED AS a 21 year-old kid who used meth, cocaine,  psycho drugs and mixes them with large doses of hate, ignorance  delusions of grandeur,  low-class hate and a desperate need  to be notorious.  This is not just a hate crime motivated by race,  it's an act of maximum evil.

We need to pray for mercy for the victims' families and friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and also for the terrible downhill direction our country is sliding.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jeb Slow Jams the News-- Bushwhacking Jimmy Fallon

FUNNY AND A BIT RISQUE. Proving nothing....except Jeb is fluent in Spainish---as he should be---and that with an interminable political season ahead and a gaggle of GOP candidates, it's good to turn off our brains and laugh a little before racing for the door and a good night's sleep. I'm completely neutral on Jeb at this point. BELOW, don't know why on earth the jamming-the-news video above made me think of Barry White. It's a mystery. Still without further ado, I give you the late great Barry White singing one his greatest songs:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Vanderbilt Beats Fullerton 4-3 In A Game That Started Last Night But Ended Today

WHAT A GAME!  What a turnaround! Vanderbilt beat Fullerton today in a College World Series game it was certainly not winning last night before lightning and rain shut it down.  The Dores got a reprieve today.  Details below:
MAHA, Neb. -- All it took was a little rain to keep Vanderbilt’s reign as defending national champions alive.

That, and some late-inning magic in the form of Jeren Kendall walk-off home run.

After trailing by three runs to Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, the game was suspended due to rain and lightning in the bottom of the sixth with a runner on third, two outs, and a full count on Zander Wiel.

“Certainly coming into today was a reset situation for us, and we kind of set it up that way,” said head coach Tim Corbin, who had his team switch from black uniforms to white uniforms. “We knew it was going to be a different scenario on mound and we knew we needed to attack and we responded very well.”

Read more.

Governor Cuomo's Massive Ego Overreach in the Still-Unfolding NY Prison Escape Caper

THIS TODAY FROM THE NYPOST--- Don't you just love that way egotistical leaders don't know when to stop micromanaging things that are not for them to do?  In the process, they cause failure after failure when all they wanted was to bask in their own glory before their adoring public.

Meanwhile, the escapees are taking full advantage of the mayhem Cuomo has helped created:

The massive manhunt for two escaped murderers from the Dannemora prison has been hampered by State Police secrecy, inter-agency rivalries, and the disrupting involvement of Gov. Cuomo on the first day of the breakout, law-enforcement sources have told The Post.

Cuomo’s surprise arrival at a still-unfolding escape scene a week ago Saturday generated considerable national publicity for the governor, but distracted investigators at a time when the full facts of the escape were not yet known, the sources said.

“Cuomo actually disrupted the early search efforts when he arrived at the ‘command center’ on Saturday and refused to enter the room until everyone was removed except state employees,’’ said a longtime law-enforcement figure who has regular contact with many involved in the search effort.

“Cuomo’s aides came in and threw out the US marshal, the sheriff [David Favro, like Cuomo a Democrat] and others who were there to help coordinate the search effort.

“And they did it without even saying ‘Thanks for your help,’ or such, just, ‘Get out so his highness can enter.’

“The State Police are trying to make sure that they’re the ones to catch these guys, that they get all the credit, and as a result, they’re not making full use of the assets that are available to them,’’ the source continued.

Several sources said they believe Cuomo had subsequently given orders that he be allowed to rush to the Dannemora area to take part in any press conference if the fugitives are caught.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Photos With No Commentary Needed---What a Difference 8 Years Makes In Iraq


John Piper Discusses the Theologically Difficult and Controversial Mystery of Election From Romans 9



Today most nominal Christians believe that all religions lead to the same God and in the end, all people will be saved.

Real Bible-based Christianity begs to differ with this false doctrine. There's nothing any of us can do to be good enough to earn salvation which comes by Grace alone, rather than works (though works come). In the beginning, middle and end, it is all God's sovereign choice as to who's elected (born-again) and who's not.  The eternal destination of each and every soul is God's choice alone.

 Even with this, the doctrine of election is shrouded in mystery and extremely difficult to grasp.  I surely don't grasp it all. Many people believe that a loving God would never send anyone to an eternity of hell.

Still, if we read the Bible, it's there over and over again, like it or not.

Piper: “God chooses who will believe and undeservingly be saved in spite of their sin.”

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Revolution! Seizing and Energizing Kurdish Culture Against IS---- Diva With Balls/ Bling, Guts and, Oh Yes, Sex Appeal



ARBIL(IRAQ) (AFP) - HIGH HEELS, fatigues and gold rifle-shaped rings -- singer Helly Luv's blend of bang and bling has made her the most popular cheerleader for the Iraqi Kurds' war against jihadists.

She visits peshmerga forces fighting the Islamic State group, which overran a third of Iraq last year, and says she filmed her latest music video in Al-Khazr, not far from the jihadists' lines. "I want to give something to the peshmerga because I consider myself one of them," the 26-year-old singer told AFP in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil.

"I wore peshmerga clothes in the song to support them." Her latest music video, for a song titled "Revolution," opens with a peshmerga fighter looking at a picture of himself with a young boy, presumably his son, as shelling and gunfire are heard in the background. He tucks the photo inside his helmet and goes to fight. A child screams and residents flee, but Helly Luv -- wearing golden high heels with a white and red scarf covering her face -- strides the other way to dramatic music, unfurling a banner before the tank that reads "STOP THE VIOLENCE." She sings and dances next to a car with "END WAR" spray painted on its side, but footage that includes peshmerga forces counterattacking and lyrics such as "We gon' keep on fighting" make clear she means the violence will stop once IS is defeated.
The music video hits on many themes that the peshmerga have sought to emphasise since the anti-IS conflict began last June, showing them as the brave, secular defenders of the innocent threatened by jihadist brutality.