Thursday, December 31, 2009
DAWN'S EARLIEST LIGHT ON MORAN
THERE'S NOT THAT much snow there now, but there will be. Though I'm happily elsewhere at the moment, my mind often wanders to this wild and wonderful place I've grown to love and also call home.
Many people around the Internet rave on about what a terrible decade this has been, and granted, it's had it's ups and downs. Still when I look at the past ten years in review, my many blessings clearly out-weigh the difficulties and pain. I hope the same for you. While our country remains under attack both inwardly---through our moral decay and the insidious creeping of government into our un-enumerated affairs---and outwardly through Islamic fundamentalism and godless forces that ridiculously believe our greatness just happened without our strong Judeo-Christian bearings, I believe the greatest days of our country remain ahead of us, and that we, as a free people, are strong, resilient and tenacious beyond even our current understanding....
Just finished making homemade chicken/vegetable soup and black-eyed peas that I'll take to a friend's tonight. May post some food pics later. Meanwhile, Happy and Prosperous New Year to you!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It's long and somewhat laborious reading, but well worth the efforts for keeping our feet solidly on fiscal ground and learning from our many mistakes of the past decade. I agree with most everything he says. A sampling follows but hopefully we'll all read the whole thing:
As the ‘naughties’ (what a perfectly descriptive name for the 2000-2009 period) come to a somewhat anti-climactic close, it is important for those of us in the investment community to take stock of what new lessons have been learned, what immutable laws have been reinforced, and what changes in policy, strategy and execution need to occur in order to avoid a repeat of the booms and busts of the last decade. The reason I think such an analysis is critical is that I do not believe most investors are cognizant enough of the dangers lurking in the world’s financial markets. Memories are very short and despite suffering through a number of serious market downturns over the last 10 years, I worry that we have already started a snowball rolling that has the potential to cause even more lasting damage than the dot com bubble or the real estate bubble and subsequent financial collapse. Therefore, it may be true that only by understanding the past can we hope to avoid such a fate.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
ROBERT SPENCER: Flight 253 and the Failure of Counterterrorism
IOWAHAWK: NOT-TO-BE-MISSED PARODY
THE CIA WAS tracking a nameless man called "The Nigerian" whom it suspected of being a potential terrorist attacker to the United States as early as last August, but they didn't have a name for him.
The connection between the nickname "The Nigerian" and the person named Farouk Abdulmutallab was still not made, even after the 23-year-old's Nigerian father contacted the U.S. embassy (in Nigeria) in November to warn them of his son's radicalization.
Sometimes after that the CIA connected the dots enough to give "The Nigerian" his real name. Around that time, he was then listed on a large database watchlist of some 550,000 individuals, called TIDE (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment). However, he was still not listed on America's NO FLY LIST (which would not have allowed him to board a plane to enter the country) which has only 4,000 names on it.
I cannot imagine that the CIA and American intelligence could have acted more slowly or recklessly in this grave matter. The fact that he was allowed to board flight 253 in Amsterdam is astounding. Again, it's a miracle that this airliner wasn't blown to smithereens on Christmas day over Detroit and with it hundreds of passengers.
It's time the Feds expand the NO FLY list by thousands, if not tens of thousands of names. We've been warned and warned and warned.
It's time for various federal agencies to share critical information to secure this country and its travelers.
It's time Congress and the president filled the head job at TSA with an American patriot qualified to head the agency who takes the threats of radical Islam and jihad seriously.
And finally, it's time that the U.S. government get serious about this--as commenter Tregonsee pointed out in a previous post--- and start profiling passengers---especially Muslims wanting to enter the U. S. from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for religious reasons--- to screen out the most likely terrorist suspects, instead of over-reacting by treating all U.S. citizens like criminal terrorist chattel on domestic and international flights.
BULLISH FORECASTS FOR 2010 including markets up, unemployment down, dollar rising and the need to restock depleted inventories worldwide. Not sure what I think of this, nor does Kudlow after the first quarter. Nevertheless, it sounds rather interesting for now.
Monday, December 28, 2009
IT'S A BIRD....IT'S A PLANE.....IT'S.....IT'S....
......EXPLOSIVE UNDIE-WEAR MADE WITH P.E.T.N. FOR Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab BY THOSE EROTIC YEMEN TERRORISTS KNOWN FOR THE SOFT TOUCH IN ALL THINGS JIHAD
BECAUSE I DON'T FEEL long-winded tonight, I'm going to give you the 'secrets' straight up tonight as I see them. It is only by the Grace of God that this plane wasn't blown to smithereens on Christmas day no matter what Ms. Napolitano said about the system working, before she un-said it:
1. The Fruit of the Loon terrorist evidently was allowed to board the plane, Delta/Northwest flight #253 with no passport. This from Larry O'Connor at Big Government:
While waiting in the holding area in the Amsterdam airport, in a room designated for only the passengers of Flight 253, Mr. Haskell saw a well-dressed man of apparent Indian descent accompany a young, poorly attired man of African descent to the boarding gate. What Mr. Haskell saw and heard next is of seemingly great significance:
“I could clearly hear the conversation… the Indian man said: ‘This man needs to board the plane, he doesn’t have a passport….’ The ticket agent responded, ‘you’ll need to see my manager…’. That was the last time I saw the Indian man and it was the last time I saw the black man until later in the day when he tried to blow up our plane.”
2. Farouk had severed ties with his family in Nigeria and his father had been concerned enough to contact U.S. authorities warning them of his son's growing radical tendencies. Evidently U.S. authorities did not take these warnings seriously until it was almost too late.
3. At least two terrorist prisoners recently released from Gitmo to Yemen in 2007 helped plan the foiled attack.
4. The Amsterdam Schiphol airport is notoriously lax in its security procedures which al-Qaeda operatives undoubtedly are aware of. Our enemies also knew chances for U.S. federal marshalls to be on this international flight were small to none.
5. In the year since Obama was elected president, he has failed yet to appoint an administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) the agency charged to weed out potential terrorists seeking to fly into the United States to do us harm. This is inexcusable and undoubtedly a fact that has not gone unnoticed by our Muslim radical enemies.
6. Our Nigerian Undie bomber's name was not on the United States' terrorist “no-fly” list, which to date has fewer than 4,000 names, though he had already been barred from entering Britain last year.
His name is, however, on a larger database of some 550,000 individuals, called TIDE (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. But it seems it was only entered here a month ago, even after his father's warning that his son had become a radical fanatic potential terrorist. Why was this man allowed to enter the United States at all? And why are there so few names on the NO FLY list?
These and other 'secrets' have yet to be revealed in the MSM because they seem insignificant. Furthermore, Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano said the system worked fine before recanting and saying it didn't work. This is a farce and only points to the unprofessionalism of the current administration in protecting our homeland which is one of the enumerated powers of the Constitution.
More is forthcoming to be sure.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
NOTHING IS MORE COMMON
The seventeenth-century English minister David Clarkson preached one of the most comprehensive and searching sermons on counterfeit gods ever written. About idolatry he said, "Though few will own it, nothing is more common." If we think our soul as a house, idols are set up in every room, in every faculty." We prefer our own wisdom to God's wisdom. our own desires to God's will, and our own reputation to God's honor. Clarkson looked at human relationships and showed how we have a tendency to make them more influential and important to us than God. In fact, he showed that "many make even their enemies their god......when they (we) are more troubled, disquieted and perplexed at apprehensions of danger to their liberty, estates and lived from men" than they are concerned with God's displeasure. The human heart is indeed a factory that mass-produces idols.
Is there any hope? Yes, if we begin to realize that idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced. If you only try to uproot them, they grow back; but they can be supplanted. By what? By God himself, of course. But by "God" we do not mean a general belief in his existence. Most people have that, yet their souls are riddled with idols.
What we need is a living encounter with God.
More on this next week.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Will post more pics as I can.
Monday, December 21, 2009
John 8:12 (KJV)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Photo H/T Space Weather
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Idolatry distorts our feelings. Just as idols are good things turned into ultimate things, so the desires they generate become paralyzing and overwhelming. Idols generate false beliefs such as "if I cannot achieve X, then my life won't be valid" or "since I have lost or failed Y, now I can never be happy or forgiven again." These beliefs magnify ordinary disappointments and failures in to life-shattering experiences.
A young woman named Mary was an accomplished musician who once attended my church. For many years she had battled mental illness and checked in and out of psychiatric institutions. She gave me permission as her pastor to speak to her therapist so my pastoral guidance to her could be well-informed. "Mary virtually worships her parents' approval of her," her counsellor told me, "and they always wanted her to be a world-class artist. She is quite good, but she's never reached the top of her profession, and she cannot live with the idea that she has disappointed her parents." Medications helped to manage her depression, but they could not get to the root of it. Her problem was a false belief, driven by an idol.
She told herself, "If I cannot be a well-known violinist, I have let down my parents and my life is a failure." She was distressed and guilty enough to die.
When Mary began to believe the gospel, that she was saved by grace, not my musicianship, and that, "though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord shall take me in (Psalm 27:10), she began to get relief from her idolatrous need for her parent's approval. In time her depression and anxiety began to lift, and she was able to reenter her life and musical career.
There is legitimate guilt that is removed through repentance and restitution, and then there is irremediable guilt. When people say, "I know God forgives me, but I can't forgive myself," they mean that they have failed an idol, whose approval is more important to them than God's. Idols function like gods in our lives, and so if we make career or parental approval our god and we fail it, then the idol curses us in our hearts for the rest of our lives. We can't shake the sense of failure.
When idolatry is mapped onto the future---when they're threatened---it leads to paralyzing fear and anxiety. When it is mapped onto the past---when we fail our idols---it leads to irremediable guilt. When idolatry is mapped onto the present life---when our gods are blocked or removed by circumstances---it roils us with anger and despair.
Coming soon: How we discover what our idols are? I'd say there's no better time to start the search than during the Christmas season when expectations and those Norman Rockwell pictures in our minds are at their most powerful. This is why this book is more a handbook for growth than just a book.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Mr. Obama: Calling A Miserable Flop A Success in Copenhagen Only Continues to Diminish His Dwindling Credibility
Calling Mr. Obama the man who killed the treaty in Copenhagen, the New York Post writes this morning:
After a day spent frantically darting around Copenhagen trying to locate world leaders, getting snubbed by China's premier and crashing a meeting where he had initially been kept out, President Obama heralded a last-minute, largely toothless UN global-warming summit deal that drew fast fire from all sides as a sham.
Almost no one was happy with the outcome of the two-week confab and even the president, who was slammed by liberals and Republicans alike, along with other world leaders, admitted that the pact doesn't legally commit any of the nations involved -- the point of the summit in the first place.
Obama may become known as "the man who killed Copenhagen," said Greenpeace US head Phil Radford, one of many activists to rap the president for the flimsy agreement with India, South Africa, Brazil and China, which thwarted the president throughout the conference.
The deal, which would have to be accepted by all nations to be adopted, asks all parties to list how they'll cap emissions by set amounts, among other general goals.
But critics say it pushes any legally binding steps into the future.
It was roundly blasted as a farce from all quarters. The president has wrecked the UN and he's wrecked the possibility of a tough plan to control global warming," said Bill McKibbon of the progressive group 350.org. "It may get Obama a reputation as a tough American leader, but it's at the expense of everything progressives have held dear."
Thursday, December 17, 2009
SOMETIMES LIFE SPEAKS for itself and best unfolds in greater silence, without much explanation. Prayers, however, are never optional and always appreciated in my corner of the world. For the next week or so, I'll be posting with some daily photos though with far fewer words. I'm allocating my energies elsewhere for now. God bless as we come into the darkest hours of the year before the dawn begins anew, yet again, by His Divine Grace.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
YOU KNOW, I've really wondered about Tiger Wood's father and what he must have modeled to his son in the arena of martial fidelity/infidelity. Wondered whether Tiger had learned some of his philandering tricks from Daddy Earl who died in 2006.
Now, it seems, there are reports that Tiger was indeed hurt by his father's serial unfaithfulness when he---Tiger---was a teenager. Former high school girl friend Dina Parr is telling news sources that Woods used to call her from the road and confide about how upset he was that his daddy was with another woman. Woods would call Parr when he was away during high school and college tournaments.
Somehow this doesn't surprise me at all in view of this awful scandal, though I'm disappointed. We don't realize how we carry those wounds from childhood, or model some behavior we think our children will never notice yet later mimic. Then years later the pattern is repeated amplified in the next generation and the next, like alcoholism. Very sad and a lesson that should be well taken.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
UMBRELLA STROLLS MAN along walkway with lighted Christmas trees in Skopje, Macedonia, earlier this week. Love this photo from WSJ photo.
Feel like I just came up for air after much activity this week. When not in motion, I was deep within a very intense book that I could not put down. Will write more about it at some point. Lighter than usual blogging during this time because I leave soon to go cross country for the holidays and will be reporting in as I can.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
As textbook for true and enduring change, it's not a book to be read once and discarded. Rather it can be read, re-read and accompany each of us in prayer, therapy---wish I'd had this perspective 20 years ago though I might not have been ready for it--- and go through trials and tribulations and the inevitable relationship difficulties that plague us.
For me, it's the mother lode of psychological and spiritual direction and plunges me deeply into the roots of my sin and suffering. Want to know why bad things happen to good people? Look no further as Keller shows how 'good' people make good things into ultimate meaning and then sooner or later suffer hellish consequences from putting them in the place of God.
I've said it before, this is not the prosperity gospel of health, wealth, happiness and getting all our wishes gratified in ten easy steps. It's not a recipe for a quick fix. To the contrary, the book undoes our wish mentality and sets us on the difficult path towards the only real hope that can sustain us----a living relationship with God The Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
Idolatry in all its infinite forms blocks, distorts and distances us from the Grace of God. And only by beginning to identify, then dismantle our idols can we come back into right relationship with God first and then each other and the outside world.
According to Keller, idols (materialism, power, romance, family, group, work, our moral performance and good works) can distort our thinking and emotions and blind us to ultimate reality. In speaking of idolatry and its effects on our lives, he writes,
Idolatry distorted Jonah's thinking. He goes on a tirade that most people would think insane. How could Jonah be furious that God is a God of compassion and love and patience?! For the same reason that lovesick Jacob could be so easily dupeed and greedy Zachaeus (the tax collector) could betray his country and everyone around him. They were all blinded by their idols.
When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redifines reality in terms of itself. Nearly everyone thnks that an all-powerful God of love, patience and compassion is a good thing. But it, because of your idol, your ultimate good is the power and status of your people, then anything that gets in the way of it, is by definition, bad.....
In the end idols can make it possible to call eveil good and good evil.
More next week.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tonight I went with a friend to see The Blind Side--- a wonderful and true story----and this same book was read by the Tuohys in Memphis to their children. Then to their adopted son, Michael Oher. It was one of the highlights for me. BTW, this is book makes a great Christmas gift idea for your child, grandchild or any wide-eyed kid youo might know.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Meanwhile, was Hillary right saying last year that Mr. Obama was not ready to be president?
AND IN ONE FELL SWOOP, John Nolte's review at Big Hollywood ruined any last hope for me of magic for James Cameron's mammoth, half-billion dollar production of Avatar. It took me one loooong week of press-pummelling to rethink Tiger Woods, and only ten minutes of reading Nolte's review to realize one big, amazing thing: Nevermind! No way, Jose!
All the money, special effects, blue-skinned aliens, political correctness and 3-D in the world don't buy this love in my book.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
IT'S ALREADY GETTING OSCAR BUZZ for best picture, but I think it's just another film that George Clooney gets to play George Clooney----hip, handsome, depraved as ever--- for fun and profit..... I'll have a little more to say about it---and what it says about our equal opportunity, gender-neutral moral decay and Gotcha! mentality----later.
LATER: While some women may cheer uproariously that the plot-line here is one of infidelity and recreational sex which now puts the proverbial shoe squarely on the other foot and this is vastly entertaining, I say, that foot and its mate are nonetheless so diseased and depraved they're maimed beyond recognition.
In fact, so crippled are the glamorized feet that star in this movie I can only add wrong is still wrong is still wrong is still wrong. Wrong is wrong no matter who does the wronging and who is the wrongee or how beautiful they are; it's an equal opportunity de-moralizer. Same song, umpteenth verse---airport security-blackberry-board room-to bedroom edition. This movie is entertaining and no doubt we'll see ourselves in the traveling scenes as well as those of people getting fired by the cool hand of Clooney the tough-love professional jerk who always has the I-get-the-last-word/please hand over your office keys then hurry up and get on with your life upper hand.
Still, I shudder to think how many kids will go to this movie, not recognizing the desperately sad isolation and detachment it glamorizes and pursues. It's a movie of the compassionless lost leading the compassionless lost to even greater lostness. A movie where people meet, interact and never change, grow or grow up. Rather, like rats on a wheel, they seem to go on endlessly imprisoned into taking the easy, quick fix way out, digging themselves deeper into graves of their own making. This is not freedom, folks.
Slavery and depravity, thy 2009 movie is Up In the Air. It will be wildly popular this season. My nomination for What-Goes-Up-Must-Always-Come-Down-with-a-Thud award.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
If Congress succeeds in destroying free markets for medical care and insurance here, a black market will explode, fueled by bribes and under-the-table deals. Medical tourism is and will also blossom even more into a growing industry for people willing to go to abroad for treatments and surgeries sometimes at a third the cost.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
TRUE BELIEVERS FROM 192 countries got the man-made climate change propaganda Monday in Copenhagen. But mostly this conference is preaching to the choir. Meanwhile many mainstream Americans are defecting and turning their backs on the religion of AGW. However, that does not mean we are turning our backs on being good stewards of the environment and the earth. It also does not mean we don't think the earth may be going through a warming cycle. On the other hand, some think we're moving into cooling temps.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Gender-Neutral Silliness: Female Therapists/Writers/Lawyers Hoped To Make Tiger Woods Into A Kewpie Doll of Male Victimhood
MANUFACTURING GROWN MEN INTO VICTIMS OF GROWN WOMEN'S PHYSICAL BRUTALITY IS THEIR PARAMOUNT GOAL---THE SOONER THE BETTER FOR BUSINESS
A DAY OR SO AFTER Tiger Wood's infamous run-in with a fire hydrant and wreck into a next-door neighbor's tree, pieces of circumstantial information were pieced together by the rumor-gossip mill that came up with the story that poor Tiger had been run outta his house terrified by his violent and abusive Nordic wife wielding a nine-iron.
Their story continues, so weak and unhinged was Woods that he subsequently wrecked his car trying to escape her wrath. Several days later after Tiger took responsibility for the accident, the rumor mill already decided Tiger was covering up for his wife's spousal abuse out of fear. (A little projection going on here?)
Gender correctness hoped to make Woods into the poster boy male victim overnight and worried that he might cover up for Elin, only to return home and get into battered man syndrome. They yammered that Elin needed to face the kind of justice, even jail time that any of her (equality of all gender outcomes!) male counterparts would have to face. Some of them opined gleefully that Tiger had erroneously saved Elin from being carted away in hand-cuffs. They demanded gender-neutral justice. And they wanted it now, even though none of the facts had even begun to come clear.
Give me a break.
One of the real kickers was when a well-known female therapist/ blogger wrung her hands in over-concern on her site and asked with a straight face the weightiest of questions:
"I wonder if Tiger Woods will get the same treatment Rihanna got when it came to domestic violence? Somehow, I doubt Diane Sawyer will be interviewing him on Good Morning America about his injuries--at least, not with any sympathy."
If I were a man, I'd have been insulted as hell at her patronizing question.
Glad she went on to answer it in the very same breath so the rest of us don't have to: No, we guess Diane Sawyer would not be interviewing Tiger with any great degree of over-sympathy now or ever. And to be brutally honest, it's doubtful that Tiger would be interested in submitting to Diane's form of public inquiry for less money than say a billion dollars up front.
Actually no self-respecting man I know, or have ever known would want to be interviewed as a victim by Diane Sawyer,or any by any other of the maternalistic elites of daytime TV.
Most self-respecting men I know would rather do jail time than be on Oprah or Diane's shows. And I admit that's just the men I know. It appears that there's a growing slew of put-upon men flocking to sites like her for validation and justification. I'm sure there is a need out there and that's fine and good.
This therapist on a later post---still operating under the same hoped-for illusion wondered again with all seriousness: Was Tiger hiding something?
Well yes, my dear, we think he was. Only not what you hoped for. Not by a long shot down a long fairway with lots of hazards.
In the aftermath of all this silliness, I want to say a few things that are gender and politically incorrect.
I believe male and female physical violence are very different and should be treated differently no matter how politically incorrect it is. That does not mean that I'm advocating for physical violence against men. No man nor woman is outside of the rule of law. I also think domestic violence comes in many, many forms other than mere physical violence and abuse: violent silence and cut-off, violent infidelity and the possibillity of infecting one's spouse with STDs , violent nagging, violent gossiping and emotional unfaithfulness. Most people never learn how to deal with normal anger---which can get rough at times--and inevitable conflict, fleeing instead from it until it becomes violent for lack of venting and normal expression.
I also make a huge distinction between sex inside and outside marriage---and a covenant relationship with God. That too is not correct in the secular world, but that is what I think. Infidelity within marriage has much more serious consequences in the eyes of God and the church.
Life and marriage---even the best ones---are messy. And they need the space to be messy outside the confines of the thought and equality police who want to remake society into their busy body image.
I'm done now. I pray for Tiger and this family now in deep crisis and distress.
2009 HAS YIELDED A BUMPER CROP OF chumps doing very embarrassing things, if not down-right despicable damage to themselves, their reputations and to others. None of us is immune to bad behavior and all of us have done embarrassing things we regret. Still this year's field is so crowded with indiscretion that we'd be hard-pressed to choose a winner who's managed to bring the greatest destruction and shame to himself, his family and career in the least amount of time.
From Gov. Mark Sanford's, John Edwards' and David Letterman's sordid marital infidelities to Kayne West's music-award hijacking, Carrie Prejean's ups then fall from grace after the Miss USA contest, Levi Johnson's baby daddy publicity stunts and finally the couple who broke through security at the White House state dinner recently---just to name a few---our heads spin as we see ourselves and our own cultural and moral depravity paraded before our eyes 24/7. The Daily Beast today gives a graphic panoramic slide show of this year's top contenders, most notably leaving out David Letterman (Why?).
For me however, 2009's hands down loser-winner is a no-brainer. The main contender has to be someone I basically liked and respected in the first place, even from a great distance. Since many contestants are people I simple didn't know existed much less cared about, most of these embarrassing people can be eliminated quickly---though not for their lack of trying.
But if there's one person that takes my breath away this year, whom I've lost all respect for as a man, a husband and father and finally a professional, it's Tiger Woods. He has managed to so out-do himself in shattering his own image so drastically that I cannot imagine his life will ever be the same again. Some say the public has a very short memory and he'll be fine long-term. But I doubt he will with me. Or I should say, he can only recover in some way by the painful process of the Grace of God. My heart goes out to his wife, his little children and to his family. Can't imagine that daddy Earle isn't twirling in his grave, though I don't know much about his own lifestyle choices back when he was raising Tiger.
Whether you're surprised or just sad and disgusted, Tiger is my loser chump of the year, decade. His life is clearly out-of-control and I can't read any more. Shallow, devoid of integrity and most of all devoid of sex appeal---that's what I think of this golfer named Tiger Woods.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Will be back next week to continue writing about Tim Keller's new book on idols, Counterfeit Gods. Meanwhile, a small clip from Keller on why he wrote the book. There needs to be far, far more of these YouTubes from this fine pastor and teacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that his teachings can be heard and seen farther and far wider than New York City and blessed enclaves of the PCA church.
I'm extremely fortunate I can attend Redeemer when I'm here in the city. God bless on this second Sunday of Advent as we wait to celebrate the birth of Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Light of the world.
Friday, December 4, 2009
IT'S HERE AND I'M THERE---- happy and grateful---during Advent, one of the most wonderful and difficult and intense times of the year!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Oh well, guess we'll have to let Jerry Lee the first, last and greatest shake man of all time step in to console us as best he can. Take it away Jerry:
FOR A MAN LIKE AL GORE---who's been prepping for several years to speak and appear at the grand Climate confab on AGW in Copenhagen--- to suddenly cancel and throw in the towel because of unforeseen circumstances...... it really tells us how severe the climate fraud scandal really is.
We're in major climate meltdown and heads are rolling everywhere.
NOT SURE WHICH is more embarrassing: Tiger Woods caught red-handed with his pants down or AGW scientists caught with their pants off---buck naked with no place to hide. WOW, what a week of bare behinds.
It seems that the tables have turned for the self-proclaimed inventor of the Internet, Al Gore. As "climategate" exposes the lies of man made climate change, the complete mess, Al Gore has cancelled his appearance and speech at the highly anticipated event in Copenhagen on December 16th. Gore cited unforeseen changes in his schedule as the reason for the cancellation. Yup, the event Gore's been preparing for over a year suddenly has a scheduling conflict.
It's more than evident that the "climategate" issue is causing some panic for the people that would reap billions from any laws based on the phony science of man made global warming.
THIS DVD IS NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING. Even people who don't think they want to watch it---who think they know all there is to know about how the world came about---come away almost speechless and not nearly so convinced of Darwin's theory of evolution. And it's made in its entirety by scientists.
Something that I've always wondered: Everything we use on a daily basis--- chairs, hair-dryers, computers, airplanes, cars, toothpicks etc----each and every one of them had some intelligent designer who thought it up, drew it out on a drawing board, engineered and re-engineered it before finally bringing it into existence. Not one of these things just sprung up or evolved on its own from nothing without a designer and a builder.
Was a chair I'm sitting on just an ottoman before it spontaneously evolved into my Pottery Barn catalog, then my house? Was an ottoman just a stump of wood before it evolved into a footstool on its own? I'd be considered a lunatic to make such an argument with a straight face.
Yet, we modern sophisticates have the audacity to think the intricacies of the universe and man evolved from amoebas and salamanders without a designer! We not only say it, we say it with dour conviction and reverence. We say it with the same conviction that we say that the science of man-made global warming is overwhelming and closed to further discussion. I mean, how utterly ridiculous it that? How arrogant? How realistic? In my book it's the silliest of sillies.
I'll take my Holy of Holies any day. He's the Ultimate Designer of everything and the Ultimate Designer of me. Unlike all those dark, dull darwinians, My Creator has a wild sense of humor.....after all he made me! He made laughter and he made the French roast half-and-half coffee I'm charging myself with right now.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to run brush my teeth with that tooth brush of mine that just evolved from a racoon's tail totally on its own. But I need to hurry before it morphs into a broom too big to fit into my mouth! We won't even talk about where my toothpaste evolved from.....way too early in the morning to go there!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
COME ON IN...PULL UP A CHAIR, make yourself a cup of coffee and watch every minute of this, then watch it again if you haven't already. The only problem with this video is it's too rational, sane, simple and inexpensive for our spendthrifts in Congress to take seriously. All they know how to do is complicated and laborious. But that doesn't have to stop the rest of us from promoting health care sanity and sobriety.
With CVS and Wal-Mart now getting into the routine clinic business, market-based solutions for affordable health care have never looked better or been within reach of so many, many people.
THIS IS GOOD NEWS for swing state Tennessee and conservatives everywhere. While, Tanner is a blue dog Democrat and mostly fiscally conservative, there is new blood in the wings that many of us are excited about. How about a farmer and gospel singer going to Congress? I kinda like the ring of it:
Tanner was almost certain to have a tough election. GOPers are thrilled with the prospects of Stephen Fincher (R), a farmer and gospel singer who raised more than $300K in his first several weeks campaigning. Though Tanner has nearly $1.4M in the bank, he may not have wanted to deal with what would have been his first tough race in years.
An open seat has the potential to attract big fields on both sides. Fincher may have the benefit of a strong head start, but he may soon find company in such an attractive race for the GOP. Still, GOPers believe he's the real deal, and his warchest may scare others away.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I SHOULDN'T BE SURPRISED Tiger Woods has clay feet, but am deeply sadden nonetheless for his wife, Elin, and their wee children. She obviously married a cad when she thought she was getting more or less a grown man who plays very good golf. I can't image the confusion, sense of abandonment, betrayal not to mention the public humiliation she must be going through right now. Oh wait! Maybe I can. Yes I can, even if just a little. Meanwhile, the song below is for Elin this Christmas. In spite of it all, she will make it through this hell and hopefully be better one day and even laugh. With God's help. Still someday can seem a very long time away.
Hopefully Elin already knows that the minute, the second, she's sure she's lost total respect for Tiger---she'll probably never stop loving the cad and maybe one day will forgive him--- it's totally and completely over, cause men need respect from women as much, if not more than they need sex. When respect goes out the window, there's very little hope for real reconciliation in a marriage. It's up to her to search her shattered heart and ultimately come clean with herself about this. May God help them---and us--- all right now. The depths of our moral, national and societal depravity and arrogance is shocking and seemingly without bounds these days.
MEANWHILE, LARRY KUDLOW TO TIGER: FESS UP, MAN. OWN IT CAUSE IF YOU DON'T, YOUR BOTTOM WILL BE LOWER THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE! Larry knows of what he speaks.
Monday, November 30, 2009
.....U.N chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on (man-made) Climate Change and 2007 Nobel laureate lately? He can't be having the best of days there at the IPCC cause he already has a first-class ticket with extra leg-room to Copenhagen. What mankind might have made just got un-made. Or should I say, got made up. Anyway, maybe he could use a big scoop of vanilla ice cream with that hug.
His name is Rajendra Pachauri---I call him Darth for short----and he thinks all the flack over tampered and leaked climate records and emails is a crock.
The Guardian reports Pachauri's position on fraud-gate as follows:
There is "virtually no possibility" of a few scientists biasing the advice given to governments by the UN's top global warming body, its chair said today.
Rajendra Pachauri defended the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the wake of apparent suggestions in emails between climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that they had prevented work they did not agree with from being included in the panel's fourth assessment report, which was published in 2007.
Aren't you glad this man is working for you and me towards a new carbon economy and one big happy One World Government family in spite of growing evidence to the contrary? Like I said, have you hugged your Anthropological Climate Change Authority Figure lately? I haven't, and don't think Roger Simon has either.
They're hell-bent on telling us all what to do, ruling us and everything that lives, breathes and pays taxes. They don't want to hurt us....they just want to help us....and they're not going quietly into the night, either. They think our life styles are unsustainable. They planned to sock it to us in Copenhagen next week, but now they're just looking for more hugs and a few cookies.
For the record, I wouldn't let this man tell me where to get my hair cut and styled either. So there.
UPDATE: Clive Crook changes his tune on ACC and writes about it honestly in The Atlantic. The crux:
Remember that this is not an academic exercise. We contemplate outlays of trillions of dollars to fix this supposed problem. Can I read these emails and feel that the scientists involved deserve to be trusted? No, I cannot. These people are willing to subvert the very methods--notably, peer review--that underwrite the integrity of their discipline. Is this really business as usual in science these days? If it is, we should demand higher standards--at least whenever "the science" calls for a wholesale transformation of the world economy.
But White House press secretary presses on towards the goal of ACC for all. Like I said, these people aren't going to let some pesky scandal get in the way of the One World train they're driving to Copenhagen.
WHAT PART OF THE 10th AMENDMENT AND ENUMERATED FEDERAL POWERS DON'T WE GET?
John Tamny writes today at Forbes.com: Taking nothing away from the good that comes from cuts in the rate of taxation, when we ask Congress to pass them we are blindly handing both political parties the power to tax us in order to fund spending the vast majority of which is unconstitutional.
If we really want lower taxes, it's time for us to demand that politicians adhere to the Constitution's 10th Amendment which greatly limits the power of the federal government, and which if read properly, would render most federal initiatives unconstitutional. If so, individuals could once again choose their policy bliss on a statewide basis while no longer being captive to high rates of federal taxation that pervert the intentions of the Founders.
Let's face it, eternal economic growth and universal health care, to name only two, are not the federal government's responsibilities even though we act as if both are our divine right. Congress is more than willing to oblige our every whimsical desire to give itself more power, meaning, purpose at the sad cost of our freedoms with responsibilities. Great liberties are now being taken with our ever-rising, yeasty Constitution and nouveau enumeration of federal powers.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
God knows we tried to make anywhere, anytime sex imbue our lives with meaning. We thought we had found the key eternal fulfillment.That our parents and grandparents were repressed fogies and prudes, while we attempted to write the definitive books on Love with no Limits or Wait Times, and Sexual Satisfaction without End.
Coitus uninterruptus. Where modesty, propriety and the labors of true love and sex within committed marriage finally came to die.
Some haven't given up on trying even to this day. They're still looking to making love/ romance enshrined at the center of their lives. Sadly many of the sex and romance gold medalists of yester year who elevated love pursuits to the pent-ultimate, are now just aging sex/ love addicts or users, with shorter hair, cleaner clothes, a respectable career and a trail of failed marriages and romantic relationships to show for it. Searching for mysteries without any clues. Yet, like Pavlovian dogs, they're desperately seeking a love hit--- from anywhere----without being electrocuted.
Who can deny the promises of the Me for All and All for Me generations have failed to deliver the ultimate things promised? Nobody says it better than the poster boys of sexual freedom without responsibility Mick or Paul.
We fell for the goods back then---many still do--- that promised forever happiness that never delivered. Unless we're talking about the goods of broken lives, shattered families, confused children, rampant sexually transmitted diseases and the big business of abortion-on-demand and pornography-without-end. We won't even talk about the world-class guilt and self-esteem/self-absorption businesses born of our sexual willfulness which has sought to repair our confused and broken lives while making many a psychotherapist/ new age-guru rich and famous.
I'll be back later with more from Keller's book and the Bible story that we might have read before embarking on our rebellious journeys into the sexual revolution. It's still salient today and with Keller's astute commentary, very, very wise.
We forget, God created sex. And he gave us the instruction manual. But past and present generations of cultural elites just couldn't be bothered with such trivia. After all, weren't we put here to show God a thing or two about sex and gender of equality?
JACOB AND HIS APOCALYPTIC ROMANCE ADDICTION
Pretend for a moment that you have met the woman of your dreams. Thundersrtuck from the start by her beauty, great figure and charm, you go to her father and offer to work for him for seven years in exchange for her hand in marriage. He considers and agrees. Time passes quickly because you're in the throes of such emotional and sexual longings for her. Because you never quite had your father's love the way you wanted it, and maybe your mother loved you imperfectly too, now you face the possibility of a love that will set your heart right again and instill in you a once lost sense of significance.
It's called apocalyptic romance (which hopefully leads to apocalyptic sex) and you hope it fulfills in you the deepest sense of meaning, transcendence and redemption from all past hurts and losses. This love is now enshrined at the center of your heart as God has been jettisoned to some peripheral place in your life.
This is the story of Jacob, son of Isaac in Genesis, who tricked his father Isaac out of his brother Esau's birth right before running away to another land and ultimately meeting the woman of his dreams---Rachel (the daughter of Laben, and younger sister of Leah). From the moment Jacob laid eyes on Rachel, he put all of his hopes and longings into fantasizing about a relationship with her and how it would heal his despair on a myriad of fronts On his wedding night with Rachael, Jacob went to bed besotted and woke up devastated only to discover he had instead been married to and just spent his wedding night with Leah, Rachel's unattractive sister whom he had zero attraction for.
Keller writes of Jacob's obsessive love:
Jacob's inner emptiness had made him vulnerable to the idolatry of romantic love.....Jacob's behavior was that of an addict. There are many ways romantic love can function as a kind of drug to h elp us escape the reality of our lives.....Our fears ad inner barrenness make love a narcotic, a way to medicate ourselves and addicts always make foolish, destructive choices.
Rachel had become Jacob's "savior." He wanted and needed her so profoundly that he heard and saw only the things he wanted to hear and see....That is why he became vulnerable to Laben deception. Later, Jacob's idolatry of Rachel created decades of misery in his family. He adored and favored Rachel's sons over Leah's, spoiling and embittering the hearts of all his children, and poisoning the family system.
In the end, God made sure that Jacob's romantic interests, wives, children and great wealth never were enough to permanently capture the center of his heart in spite of his (Jacob's) best idol-making efforts. In the end Jacob finally turns to struggle with God Himself and gets His blessing and new meaning in the process.
If you've ever struggled with obsessive love and romance/sex addictions---and who hasn't?--- I strongly urge you to get Keller's book and read and re-read the chapter Love Is Not All You Need. It's filled with wisdom for our troubled relationship times and ways to begin to turn away from making romance and sex into ultimate things rather than just good things in God's time and way.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
MONDAY: Tiger Woods is not Princess Di, he's a professional golfer for heavens sake!
SUNDAY UPDATE: Statement from Tiger Woods. Good for him: "Embarrassing" crash was his fault and he takes full responsibility for it. This is exactly as it should be and ought to be the end of the public spectacle, since it's absolutely none of our business. The Woods---Tiger and the elusive Elin---owe the public, with its insatiable, desperate need-to-know, nothing. Repeat: they owe us NOTHING. They owe each other and their children a very great deal which can only be worked out in private.
UPDATE: It's reported that neither Tiger or Elin Woods are ready to talk to highway patrolmen about their domestic altercation and his subsequent car crash into a fire hydrant in the compound where they live outside Orlando. The truth is, to the extent they can, from here on out, they're so wise to keep this as far from the public eye---from our morbid curiosity and the orgasmic press--- as possible, if for no other reason than their children. They need the best publicist money can buy to protect them, and then should work out their problems over time in as low profile, private ways as possible. Who cares anyway? None of it is any of our business anyway even though we may demand to know every detail so we can jammer endlessly about it. I wish them well and pray they can save their marriage and their family. Mega-success and fame like Tiger Woods has attained comes like a loaded gun with a mind blowing number of temptations and challenges.....Just ask Denise and Alan Jackson and so many, many others who have been there and come to the other side, only by the Grace of God.
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE in the known universe who's heard about Tiger Wood's "freak" accident, I've wondered how in the world a man could leave home at 2 am, have a wreck in his front yard, then another in front of his neighbor's house, and it not have anything to do with alcohol or drugs. Color me incredulous.
Until now. Even as we heard that Wood's wife Elin helped "rescue" him from the car with a golf club, things were still not adding up. Police said, charges were pending. But pending for whom? The fire hydrant? Nothing made sense to me, at least. Until now.
It's starting to come out that Mr. and Mrs. Woods had a frightful domestic altercation the night of Tiger's accident over the possiblity of another woman. He fled to his car with Elin in hot pursuit wielding a driving iron. And the rest is history.
There are now denials by this other woman that she has only met Tiger but is not involved with him. In any case, it's a sad situation with children involved. Sometimes success and mega-money is harder to endure than the opposite. I hope they will weather this storm intact, and be better for it all in the process.
Friday, November 27, 2009
SEVERAL IDEAS FOR REFORM for a better health-care system:
1. Make health insurance more like other types of insurance.
You don't buy car insurance to cover your purchases of gas or tune-ups or home insurance for a quick paint job, but health insurance is now supposed to be for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g from a physical exam to cancer care. This is unrealistic and unsustainable; it covers far too much. Health savings accounts which passed as part of the Medicare reforms of 2003, were an important first step in separating smaller, routine expenses from the costs of catastrophic events. However the legislation is overly rigid. Congress must expand and revise the structure of health savings accounts.
2. Foster competetion.
American health care is the most regulated sector of the economy. The result? A health-insurance policy for a 30-year-old man costs four times more in New York than in neighboring Connecticut because of the multitude of regulations in the Empire State. Americans can shop out --of-state for a mortgage; they should be able to do the same thing for health insurance.
Greater competetion is needed in all medical consumption to lower prices.
3. Make it as easy as possible for people to get coverage.
It's difficult for small businesses to make health-insurance decisions for their employees. Elected officials in Washington should make things easier by allowing association health plans---where different businesses can work together to buy insurance. And health insurance exchanges could also be useful, but should be implemented at the state level.
4. Directly help the uninsured poor.
While the issue of the uninusred is much more complicated than typically presented and presumed---roughly 9 million so-called uninsured are not citizens and another 10 million uninsured have the income to buy insurance but opt not to buy---some Americans do indeed fall through the cracks. Presently the federal government spends billions on uncompensated care by funding hospitals. THAT MONEY SHOULD BE TURNED OVER TO THE STATES TO LET THEM EXPERIMENT WITH DIRECTLY HELPING THE UNINSURED POOR WHO CAN'T PAY (as opposed to the uninsured who can pay but don't), for example, through voucher programs for private insurance or to pay their deductibles for private insurance. States could also use the money to help establish high-risk pools for the chronically ill.----David Gratzer, Why Obama's Government Takeover of Health Care Will Be a Disaster
Thursday, November 26, 2009
1 MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless his name 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
(Above, a side table to the scrumptous main Thanksgiving spread. It could not have been better!)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
GOING HOME TO THE COUNTRY THIS YEAR TO A THANKSGIVING GATHERING with my oldest, dearest friends. Everyone is bringing something. I got to roast vegetables. Our hostess and her hubby are cooking the turkey.
Just pulled everything out of the oven. Tomorrow I'll add some Parmesan cheese to the tomatoes and put more herbs on the radichio before putting everything in the car. I also roasted fresh asparagus which I'll take up with mock hollandaise. Will be away from my computer for a day and night, but be back with some pics late Friday or Saturday.
Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. God bless.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Nancy is always turned out well with the help of the Four Seasons Salon in Georgetown. Tonight is no exception. The only thing that bothers me here is what's going on with her hem, or hems. Think this dress would be snappier cropped a little shorter towards the ankle. Other than that, she looks good in black here with her husband Paul.
I'M NO MOVIE critic, nor deep, intellectual elite thinker. I'm a small town girl at my core. As such, I can smell manure a mile away. So take what I think with a grain of salt. No doubt it says more about me than anything else.
Having said that, I went to a movie early this evening with a friend that has to be among THE WORST movies I've ever seen. This is going to be a short post because frankly it was so bad, so nothing, ridiculous, inane and lifeless that it doesn't deserve my time or attention. Except to warn you not to bother.
Rather than us paying Clooney et al to watch and endure this flabiness, I think we should have been paid to be utterly bored for two hours in the most ignominious way. Frankly, I'm embarrassed we sat through the whole thing. I kept thinking it would get better. But it only continued to go nowhere at zero-miles-an-hour.
It's called Men Who Look At Goats or Men Who Stare At Goats, something like that. Who cares. It's with George Clooney and Jeff Bridges. Were they stoned or drunk while writing and filming this? While I've never found Clooney particularly attractive, I always thought Bridges a great leading man. Until now. Clooney sank to new lows of appeal and Bridges shattered any last myth of my thinking him attractive in the first place. What a complete and utter slob!
I've never seen such unappealling men doing such unbecoming no-things. As far as I could tell there was no plot, no character development, no point, no resolution and no redeeming values, unless you had taken mind-altering drugs before going into the theater. There was not one character in this melange of nothingness that I mildly cared one hoot what happened to.
The only thing I can figure was Clooney got so bored drinking and motor-cycling his way through Europe with Brad Pitt such that he, Clooney, decided to entertain himself by making a movie and seeing how inane he could be with all his so-called sex appeal and still make a few bucks off his crazed and adoring fans towards his next house in Italy. Count me out from here on out.
This is liberal presumptuous Hollywood hokey---60s Boinged-out Berkley meets the Iraq War---and believe me, unless you're truly stuck in that sad by-gone era, which bores the stew out of me, then run for your life. Don't give Clooney et al the satisfaction of making a dime on this dismal ditch of black humored despair.
I ran over my word limit, but gosh I feel better.
On the other hand, this is one we both want to see soon. Know we'll walk away at least a little if not a lot more inspired:
Monday, November 23, 2009
THE WAVE OF UNENDING SPENDING AND DEBT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND CONGRESS is piling on on our country should gravely concern each and every one of us. I don't want to sound like Chicken Little in continuing to sound the alarm, but from my perspective, it looks like the U.S. Treasury et al is playing Russian roulette with all of our lives, especially the those of our progeny. Seems like wanton, wreckless, not to mention unsustainable, fiscal policy to me.
The continuing fall of the U.S. dollar and rise in gold (I was wrong about gold, we're in unchartered territory here and where this gold bubble will end nobody knows) tells me to pray for the best but prepare for much worse.
None of us should be fooled into thinking the economy is improving because of the rising stock market. Nice as it is, it's temporary as money flees the bond and currency markets and takes short-term refuge in stocks.
When the U.S. Treasury issues debt like there's no tomorrow just to make interest payments rather than pay down principle---we better know we're living in a ponzi scheme and house of cards that's going to come tumbling down.
It's not a matter of if but when.
William Goss of Pimco gives us a simple explanation of his take on our country's wreckless spending:
What a good country or a good squirrel should be doing is stashing away nuts for the winter,” said William H. Gross, managing director of the Pimco Group, the giant bond-management firm. “The United States is not only not saving nuts, it’s eating the ones left over from the last winter.”
This is serious, folks. To make matters worse, China owns a great deal of our debt. Which means they are becoming our masters and we enslaved to a communist economy. We can not know the long-term consequences of this. But no matter what any one says, how this administration spins it, there is much adversity ahead for this country and its people.
And no, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing if we can survive it, though it's gonna be painful, really painful.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
JONAH AND THE NINEVITES: WHEN GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE
AT A TIME OF UNPRECEDENTED POLITICAL, FINANCIAL AND CULTURAL upheaval in our country and world --- as people of all stripes become more polarized along national, ideological and religious and even racial lines---it might behoove those of us professing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and even those who don't, to review a chapter from Tim Keller's recently released book called The Hidden Idols of our Lives.
Here, Keller unpacks the staggering story of Jonah in the Old Testament. Be forewarned, it's not your 1st grade Sunday school myth of a man who falls out of a boat into the sea during a storm, spends three days in the belly of a big fish and is finally belched safely onto dry land after disobeying a direct order from God. No, the story speaks to the reasons for Jonah's disobedience and to the deep idols in his heart that caused him to run from God in the first place.
Jonah had been commanded to go preach God's impending judgment to Nineveh, the world's most powerful city and seat of the Assyrian Empire, so its people might repent and be saved. This didn't suit Jonah's idea of how things ought to be. How dare God do such a merciful, kind thing to Israel's enemies!
Jonah would have none of it so he ran away in disobedience. Needless to say, God stepped in to discipline Jonah in supernatural ways. Jonah's illusion of control, his clannish superiority and desire to leverage God's will to suit his own little agenda was soon turned upside down several times.
But the story doesn't end there. A great struggle ensues between Jonah and God after Jonah goes to Nineveh and the people there end up repenting. Jonah gets furious with God---furious enough to die--- because God, the God of the Jews, would dare show such compassion and mercy on the Ninevites whom he hated. His religious and national pride, all good things in and of themselves, had become ultimate things---idols---which Jonah had put before obeying and loving God.
Jonah is a large, deep book of the Bible which could aptly be titled Advanced Idol Worship of Grownups--- or When Good Things Happen to Bad People--- which under Keller's eye-popping commentary takes a piercing look at both the personal and national idols that intersect every human heart, including yours and mine. Jonah had multiple idols, and God dealt with all of them, albeit very slowly over time.
It's a shocking and poignant tale for today's turbulent times and us arrogant peoples when Keller gets his skilled hands on this famous Bible story.
Keller writes of Jonah: His fear of personal failure (of preaching and ministering to the Ninevites), his pride in his Jewish religion and his fierce love of Israel had coalesced into a deadly idolatrous compound that spiritually blinded him to the grace of God. As a result he did not want to extend that grace to an entire city that needed it. He wanted to see them all dead.....
Racial pride and cultural narrowness cannot coexist with the gospel of grace. They are mutually exclusive.....Because of the self-justifying nature of the human heart, it is natural to see our own culture or class characteristics (or our own political or economic ideologies, I might add) as superior to anyone else. But this natural tendency is arrested by the gospel.
This is not an over-night job for God with either Jonah or you and me. Keller quotes Richard Loveless on spiritual life preservers from The Dynamics of Spiritual Life:
Those who are not secure in Christ cast about for spiritual life preservers with which to support their confidence, and in their frantic search they cling not only to the shreds of ability and righteousness they find in themselves, but they fix upon their race, their membership, their familiar in a party, their familiar social and ecclesiastical patterns and their culture as a means of self-recommendation. The culture is put on as through it were armor against self-doubt, but it becomes a mental strait-jacket which cleaves to the flesh and can never be removed except through comprehensive faith in the saving work of Christ.
The story of Jonah is a story I can identify with. It convicts me of the multiple layers of my idolatries and asks me to examine my heart early and often for racial, political and ideological pride that would cause me to look down in superiority and marginalize people with differing views. It calls me to do what I can in any situation yet know in the depths of my heart that in the beginning, middle and end, God is in control. There's a much bigger picture unfolding than I can see. I, like Jonah, may not like what I see unfolding in our country. After all's said and done, I'm called to obey God and leave the results up to Him without taking on a false sense of superiority, thinking my position is always right or that I'm in control.
More in the weeks ahead. Love this mighty little book! It has the potential of being a searing flashlight in the heart of anyone who reads it and is willing to look at their own depravity. Again, not for the faint-of-heart.
(Please note, I intended to write today about the idols of family---my personal favorite--- in Keller's book, but with the news late last night the health care bill ( which I oppose on many grounds) passed its first hurdle in the Senate I decided this was a more timely subject for me to focus on today. It's something I need for continuing to look at my own idol of moral superiority of being a fiscal conservative on the political right. We often read and write what we need to learn. )