Monday, March 25, 2013

Dreaming of A White.....Easter?


T'WAS A LONG, SLOW BUT BEAUTIFUL WINTER WONDERLAND DRIVE to DC SUNDAY and this morning. One of the lovliest snowfalls I've ever seen for over 350 miles. Gosh, it's been a long winter, and clearly not over yet. Don't know what happens to the cherry blossoms when it snows like this. Guess they'll survive.

Now for a little nap---a late winter-spring nap---before being regaled with Washington (Post) politics....

PS--My intrepid host has disclosed that he now finds Obama a small-time, major bore of a politician.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday, Interview With Rosaria Butterfield

FOR THE PAST FEW SUNDAYS I've posted excerpts from Secret Thoughts of An Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield, formerly a radical lesbian English professor at Syracuse University. Her journey to now being the wife of a reformed Presbyterian minister (a man) is fascinating and extremely heart wrenching.

Here she is interviewed, talking about her unlikely conversion. It's over an hour long, but well worth the time to watch. By the way,  I think all conversions are unlikely and amazing. When people say and think that they can't change---they are what they are, especially with regard to their sexual preference---I believe they are mostly correct.  It is only with a supernatural relationship to Jesus Christ with the sanctifying, guiding power of the Holy Spirit that this kind of radical change can occur. 

Our God is a God of radical transformation and works in each life entirely uniquely. Praise God for his unlikely work in our lives!

Ship In A Bottle


Friday, March 22, 2013

Surprise! Google's Eric Schmidt Prefers Blackberry; And How Tennessee Will NOT Use Its Tax Dollars At UT

AS DOES THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT and me. Schmidt prefers the real keyboard. I do. Also like the light weight and size. To each his own, however, I'm a devoted Blackberry user.


IN OTHER NEWS, or should I say non-news, drummed up bya radical loud, obnoxious and 'proud' gay community---evidently desperate for attention in Knoxville--- the state of Tennessee will not, read that NOT, underwrite  a depraved sex week project designed to 'help' students advance their sexuality and bondage skills.  One of the favorite tactics of these folks is announcing that the wider community is fully supportive of this pathetic kind of event.  Not the case, and  never be.  These people will never, ever be satisfied with gay marriage---a reality in some parts of the country---and will never go quietly into the night if it becomes the law of the land.

Indeed these extremists will never be satisfied until they have mentally, if not physically, sodomized every last one of us and brow beaten America into saying we like it, and God approves of it.  

What people do in the privacy of their own homes is their business.  But what they purport to do in the name of 'higher' or should I say lower education at a state university sanctioned event using my tax dollars is another matter altogether. It's then my business.  I don't like it. Do these people have no shame?

With all the many slippery slopes we're on in this country, the moral relativism and spiritual decay, it's time for a wonderful song I love from England:  Just One Touch of the King:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Black Conservatives Discuss the Second Amendment and Founding of NRA

GUN CONTROL IS REALLY PEOPLE CONTROL. Without guns, without God and without the Constitution, America's end will be hastened.

History worth remembering from people who should know.

Monday, March 18, 2013

And The Winners @ CPAC Are?

IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE WHO THE BIG WINNERS AT CPAC ARE.  Politico has the story of those on the ascent and those politicos whom conservative voters are worn out with.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday: St. Patrick

GOOD ARTICLE TODAY ON THE LIFE AND WORKS OF ST. PATRICK, by Jonathan Rogers at The Rabbit Room via The Gospel Coalition.
Patrick lived at the end of the world. A Roman citizen, he was born and raised in Britain, the northern- and westernmost extremity of a Roman empire that extended (overextended, as it turned out) south to Africa and east to the Tigris and Euphrates.

I often run across people who are convinced that our culture is running hard toward rack and total ruin, but any sense of cultural doom that keeps you up at night is nothing to what a Roman Briton of Patrick’s era must have felt. The exact date of Patrick’s birth is unknown, but he was probably born within a decade of 410 AD, the year the Vandals sacked Rome. That same year the Emperor Honorius sent a letter to the cities of Britain putting them on notice that they were officially on their own; they could expect no more help from Rome. The letter was only a formality. The Roman army had withdrawn from Britain three years earlier; the Roman Britons were keenly aware of the fact that they were on their own.

Patrick’s real name—his Roman name—was Patricius, as in patrician, noble-born. A scion of a wealthy family, he grew up in a Roman villa, surrounded by British barbarians (the island was never very Romanized), who were themselves surrounded by Irish barbarians, Scottish barbarians, and Angles, Saxons, and Jutes on the continent. At the beginning of the fifth century, these barbarian tribes saw significant Roman wealth in Britain and no Roman army to protect it. You can probably guess what happened next.

Patrick was a teenager when Irish pirates kidnapped him, brought him back to Ireland, and sold him as a slave. He spent six years tending his owner’s sheep, often in very harsh conditions. Though he grew up in a Christian home (his father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Roman church), it was in the spiritual isolation of his Irish captivity that Patrick began to own his faith. He wrote, “I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time.” Six years into his slavery, Patrick heard a voice in the night suggesting that it was time to leave Ireland, so, to borrow a phrase from Raising Arizona’s Evelle Snoats, he released himself of his own recognizance. Through much hardship he made his way back to his family in Britain.

It was a joyous reunion. But Patrick hadn’t been home long when he had another dream-vision, in which he heard the voice of the Irish people saying, “We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.” You may not be surprised to hear that his family was not happy when he told them that he intended to return to the island where he had been a slave and preach the gospel to the people who had enslaved him.

After a few years training as a priest, Patrick got himself appointed to a post in Ireland and spent the rest of his life there. He didn’t actually “bring” Christianity to the island. There was a small Christian population when he got there. Patrick, after all, was one of thousands of Roman Britons who had been carried off to Ireland by pirates and raiders, and many of those people would have been Christians. Those Christians began to have families; no doubt they converted some of their Irish neighbors. On top of that, merchants and sailors coming back and forth from the Continent and Britain may have added to the small population of Christians in Ireland. In any case, by 431 AD, there were enough believers in Ireland that Pope Celestine gave them their own bishop, a man named Palladius.

So not only was Patrick not the first Christian in Ireland; he wasn’t even the first bishop.

Nevertheless, Patrick was immensely important in the spread of Christianity through Ireland. When his superiors sent him to Ireland, they were sending him to minister to the Christians who were already there, not to convert the barbarians. His insistence on reaching out to the pagans kept him in constant trouble with Church authorities. One Church official in Patrick’s time asked, “What place would God have in a savage world?” Another wrote “How could the Christian virtues survive among barbarians?”

By Patrick’s time—a century or so after Emperor Constantine gave official sanction to the Christian religion—a de facto orthodoxy had emerged that conflated Christianity with Roman civilization in much the same way that first-century Jewish Christians assumed that Christian practice would and should be shaped by Jewish cultural mores. By the end of the fourth century, the Church was as big as all the empire—but, it appeared, no bigger. It wasn’t obvious whether, in this close association between Church and state, the Church had conquered the empire, or the empire had conquered the Church.

As the Empire began to crumble, the Church took on an even more important cultural role. In Britain, as in many parts of Northern Europe where the civil structures of Roman authority had evaporated, the Roman Church was the only significant Roman institution left. In reaching out to the heathens of Ireland, Patrick was up against not only the hostility of the Irish themselves, but the hostility of his own Church.

But the very thing that drove his superiors crazy is what the Irish loved about him. In bringing them the gospel, this Roman Briton left their Irishness intact. He was making Christians, not Romans. In the Western tradition, at least, the Irish were the first people ever to submit to Christianity without first submitting to the Roman Empire.

We could hardly overestimate the uniqueness of Patrick’s work among the Irish. As a pioneering missionary, his only real precedent was the apostle Paul. When Patrick took it upon himself to make disciples among the Irish, he became, so far as we know, Western Christendom’s first missionary to the world beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire. Paul’s journeys were an astonishing achievement, but even Paul never ventured beyond the empire of which he was a citizen. For that matter, Paul’s travels rarely took him even a hundred miles away from the Mediterranean Sea, the center of the Roman world. In reconciling Jew and Greek, Paul already had his work cut out for him; the barbarians hardly figured into the equation for him. For Patrick to reach out to the barbarians as he did was almost as radical as Paul’s outreach to the Gentiles.

So raise a glass of green beer to St. Patrick, patron saint of the Emerald Isle and, more importantly, a man who loved the gospel enough to rebel against his culture–and in doing so changed the world.

P.S. If you need another reason to love St. Patrick, consider this: No Patrick, no Flannery O’Connor.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Billy Joel @ Vanderbilt Double Wows Students In Nashville Q&A, Student Triple Wows Back


TERRIFIC, TERRIFIC MOMENT. If you don't ask, how will you ever know? I love guys with major talent and cajones to match. Does it get any better than this?

I'm in a New York state of mind too.  Missing the little G's and going to see them soon, God willing. Now if we could just get Billy off carbs for a while....

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday--The Gospel, Calvin and Two Kinds of Accommodation and Popularity


SAW THIS PIECE BY JUSTIN TAYLOR AT THE GOSPEL COALITION this week and it struck a real emotional/ spiritual cord with me. Yesterday while hiking to the top of Holston Mountain outside of Elizabethton, I had some time to think about some of its salient truths in between dodging melting snow and slush on the absolutely beautiful trail.

It all boils down---as usual---to our heart's motives which are sometimes disguised to even us: are we seeking something like popularity for our own glory and cause, or for God's? A little question with huge, huge implications.

Tim Keller fleshes out the accommodation/popularity distinctions---one vainglorious, the other God glorifying---as it related to reaching people to share the Gospel message in a piece on the Redeemer blog, City-To-City:

Calvin draws an extremely important distinction. There are two very different motivations for adapting and accommodating our message to the sensibilities of a group of people. The first motive is 'ambition' -- we do it for our sake, for our own glory and approval.

The other reason we may accommodate people is for their sake, so that we can gradually win their trust until they become open to the truth they need so much. The first motive will so control us that we will never offend people. The second motive will help us choose our battles and not offend people unnecessarily. The Farels of the world cannot see any such distinction -- they believe any effort to be judicious and prudent is a cowardly 'sell-out'. But Calvin wisely recognized that his friend's constant, intemperate denunciations often stemmed not from a selfless courage, but rather from the opposite -- pride. He wrote of Farel to Viret saying, "He cannot bear with patience those who do not comply with his wishes."

There's a reason for gaining people's esteem that is not vain-glorious, and, at the same time, there's a motivation for boldly speaking the truth -- that is vain-glorious.
Ah, the need for acceptance again. We deal with it in every aspect of our lives, every day. Are our motives ever pure? Do we even know where they're coming from? It's a subject worth pondering in ourselves early and often.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Hill To Die On: Rand Stand

@ MATT DRUDGE: A NIGHT OF ENERGY SHIFT-- Paul and Cruz suddenly make Dems look stale and out of touch. DRONE WARS, INDEED! #StandWithRand

@ MATT: Obama busy courting Graham, McCain, yesterday's mashed potatoes. Shift tonight is to new generation. Stunning media skills #StandWithRand

LISTEN. HEAR.  PAUL REVERE. Can you imagine how we can let this current Obama administration take such liberties with our Constitution?As in  shredding it, actually?


 More power toSenator Rand Paul;   never mind it's about the nominee for director of the CIA, John Brennan. Could be about so many other things as well....drones, bailouts,religious freedom for Christians, sequester scare tactics, the Fed printing untold amounts of faux money, erc.

Carry on till you drop.   Listen, Hear.  Revere. Paul.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kid Reporter Interviews Kid Mila Kunis

THE INTERVIEWER IS NOT PART OF THE MSM.  Or is he? Utterly silly from start to finish. Two kids being kids although note how Mila eggs him on then skillfully changes the subject towards the end, as the guy continues to push the limits of rapport for his own personal fulfillment and goals---to be a hero with his friends.

Via The Daily Mail.

David Murray On The Most Essential Life Skill That Determines Successful People From Failures

GETTING BACK AFTER BEING AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER ALL WEEKEND, as I wandered with a good friend to Civil War sites in Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi. It's getting easier to walk away at times from constant connectivity with its often grand distractions and need to know.

Anyway, getting back has led me to a wonderful piece this morning via Tim Challies written by reformed pastor and teacher David Murray on the number one life skill that he believes is the essential determinant and predictor of success or failure in life: a teachable spirit. I love to post wisdom that I, myself, need to read, remember, pray about and cogitate on. When I think I've got it---anything---knocked, that's when I need to hear it most.  Hubris is something the fallen human spirit---without the Grace of God---does best. Murray writes:
There’s one characteristic that separates the successful from the unsuccessful in every walk of life: teachability. Those who are teachable, and remain so, usually succeed. The unteachable usually fail. I’ve seen that in business, I’ve seen it in the ministry, I’ve seen it among students, and I’ve seen it in my children.

No matter how much talent and gifting we have, if we are, or become, unteachable, we will never reach anywhere near our full potential in our careers, our callings, or our relationships.

The Distinguishing Difference Think of all the successful people you know, what is it that distinguishes them all? It’s teachability, isn’t it.Think of all the people you know that never really made the most of the gifts and opportunities God gave them. Unteachability is the common thread, isn’t it?

If there’s one thing I want to to teach my children and students, it’s teachability. When I speak to young people or students, I can usually tell quite quickly the ones who will do well in their lives and callings. And those who won’t. Teachability makes the difference. Teachability gets people to the top. But if you lose teachability at the top, you won’t be at the top for long..

Read his whole, wise piece.

Friday, March 1, 2013

D.C. Hysteria As Sequester Takes Hold of A Drop-In-the Bucket of Bloated Federal Budget



EVEN IF YOU HAD AN OUNCE OF RESPECT LEFT for our federal nannies of both parties, especially in the White House where the sequestration idea was hatched,  it should be all gone after  hysterical predictions of financial armaggadon with theatrical hand-wringing were screamed from the rooftops throughout the land. 

Never mind this was the Obama cabinet's (and his) idea in the first place, and never mind he's probably sleeping tight relieved that it's all coming down today in spite of   protests to the contrary,  you and I are still supposed to take the bait and think it is the end of the world as we know it. Nevermind Congress hasn't passed a budget in several years and our country is broke.  We are to believe we will never make it through security check points at airports again and all miss our flights until the end of time. We are also suppose to believe it's all the GOP's fault.

 But it not by a microsopic long shot.  It's the fault of both parties and years of federal over-reach and over-nannying for things governments were never designed to do.

Enter again my favorite fiscal reality writer, John Tamny, who is glad to put this whole  thing into perspective.  Not only does Tamny dispel our doubts in his RealClearMarkets piece,  he tells us what the  'unseen' tragedy of this whole thing really is:
This Friday marks the day that automatic federal spending cuts will take place thanks to an incompetent political class willfully blind to constitutional limits. Though reductions on the order of $86 billion are truly microscopic, politicians and their media enablers are predictably predicting economic Armageddon thanks to a tiny cut in planned spending increases.
As USA Today put it on Monday, "Coming soon, the lines at airport security might get longer, the hours of service [horrors!] at Head Start centers might get shorter and the FBI might have fewer agents tracking down bad guys." Fearful of "fewer teachers, reduced medical care, idle defense workers and other job-killing reductions in all 50 states," our economically obtuse President in Barack Obama has naively asserted that "The longer these cuts are in place, the bigger the economic impact will become."

First, let's all relax. If we ignore that even under the sequester that federal spending is expected to soar to $5.9 trillion annually over the next ten years, the hysteria is wildly overdone .Indeed, lost in all this talk if the economic burden that is our federal government is even slightly restrained is what it means for all of us who shoulder the aforementioned burden. Put plainly, can any reader honestly say he or she doesn't have better things to do with the income our federal minders take from us in order to run the favor factory that Washington has become? Might we have paid off loans, purchased for our basic needs, and possibly invested our disposable income in profit-disciplined companies that actually have a clue about productivity?
Do read the whole thing and note again that federal workers in Washington, D.C. are some of the highest paid workers in ths country, as Americans are taxes to the hilt so Washington can bail out the Wall Street banks and a host of other ill-advised solar energy companies. In other words, the feds are flushing our hard-earned money down the toilet and then wringing their hands about it. What a disgrace. What a lie. What a complete farce. Thanks again, John, for putting the real issues into perspective so we'll continue to know what and what not to worry about---no matter what the msm tells us.