Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Fly Fisherman For the Supreme Court

WHAT CAN I SAY? HE'S A GOOD GUY. I see rising fish in the water behind him.. Five things we should know about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday---Lest We Forget Who's Really In Charge Of Everything

Psalm 24

Of David. A psalm.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.[a]
They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob.[b][c]
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

March For Life Friday

 WHEN ROE VS WADE WAS DECIDED BY THE SUPREME COURT IN 1973, American citizens soon discovered it was never intended to be the end of the story. It was just the beginning of our country's willingness to enable behaviors many of them didn't believe in and found reprehensible. Early-term abortion was soon extended to mid-, then late-term abortion which was essentially murder. On top of that, tax payers were supposed to pay for this as well as all woman's contraception products. Then American taxpayers were expected and committed to paying for abortions in foreign countries for heavens sake. Women demanded the 'right' to be enabled without shouldering any of the cost or responsibilities of their actions.

Taxpayers and lawmakers have continued to enable this nonsense and infantalizing of women for decades.

Today the pendulum is thankfully swinging back in the direction of life and personal responsibility as it should have long ago.

While I doubt abortion will ever be outlawed across the board, perhaps now a woman's right to choose can be extended to choosing  more caution and knowing she will have to pay for the outcome if she doesn't get what she wants.

This week, a Tennessee legislator has introduced a heartbeat bill which makes abortion illegal if a fetus has a heartbeat. It would make the window for that procedure smaller than the 24 weeks (six months) now proscribed by law. Abortion on demand in Tennessee used to be a national destination  for anyone in the country who wanted a quickie. Hopefully that is ending soon though many legal challenges will be ahead.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why Trump Was Compared to the Old Testament Prophet Nehemiah During the Inauguration

IT MIGHT BE INTERESTING AND INSTRUCTIVE TO GO BACK TO OLD TESTAMENT TIMES and see why a pastor at Trump's presidential inauguration this week compared our new president to the OT prophet Nehemiah.

Nehemiah, you recall, was an Israelite living as an exile in Babylon in 444 BC and cup bearer to the king, whom God directed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall surrounding the Temple which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC. While I think comparing Nehemiah to Trump at this point is a bit of a stretch, it's still interesting to recall the ancient wall that Nehemiah rebuilt against all odds. It remains to be seen if President Trump follows in Nehemiah's footsteps, but I certainly hope and pray he does.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Liberal Puts Her Extreme Fear of Trump On Paper With Byron Katie

FASCINATING, TRAGIC AND FUNNY HOW WE HUMANS CAN TAKE OURSELVES INTO SUCH MENTAL HELL AND CRAZINESS. Doing this work is better than a woman's march on Washington, in my opinion.  Again, most of our suffering is all about our thinking and has nothing to do with what's happening in reality. We play fake news tapes in our head, often over and over again. Amazing how this woman transforms her thinking and starts to give up her suffering. Laughing at ourselves and our utter insanity is healing. This is a brilliant session and well worth the time to watch, whatever your political leanings.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Magnificent, Peaceful Transfer of Power In the United States Today

A TRULY STUNNING DAY FOR AMERICANS. It is a time for celebration, but not for complacency.
May God's Grace rein in our country and this new administration. God have mercy on America. God bless America.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sorry, Mr. President-Elect, The Dollar Is NOT Too Strong

EVEN SOME OF Donald Trump's biggest critics have bought into the weird narrative about how his rhetoric represents the feelings of the "forgotten" and "dispossessed." That's kind of odd stuff in a country as rich as the U.S., and it's especially strange when Trump's talking the very tariffs and currency devaluations most inimical to the economic prospects of those with the least.  Mercantilists and witless economists talk up the falsehood that devaluation stimulates exports, but even if true, it would still defeat the sole purpose of work: to import from across the street and around the world.  To import is why we get up each day, and devaluation by definition shrinks our ability to do just that.

---John Tamny,  RealClearMarkets.  

This is a good piece by John Tamny on Trump's false economics of devaluing the dollar to improve the economy.  I agree that this is a silly idea.  To wit:
Do the average people (that Trump wants to help) realize that Trump wants to devalue the dollars they work for each day? Where’s the media coverage of this? Trump, the alleged populist, is out to devalue the dollars earned by common people who frequently lack the hedging knowledge to mitigate government’s theft of their earnings.  Some would call it a scandal.
While the president-elect talks a good game about the importance of economic growth, talking down the dollar measure amounts to fakery.  To believe it works is as silly as a real estate developer believing he can command more for his properties by devaluing the square foot.  This is not the stuff of a serious country.
I confess,  I have to agree with Tamny on this: Trump is commiting a big boo boo to talk down the dollar and it hurts the middle class worker he purports to help because they're paid in dollars.   Why, praytell would he want to devalue their paycheck so it will buy less, rather than more?

Hopefully, Trump will come to his senses about this soon.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday---Four Reasons to Slow Down

I SAW THIS ARTICLE BY JON BLOOM SEVERAL DAYS AGO, and for some reason it really impacted me.  We live in faster and faster lanes always intending to slow down----some day.  I want to post this today, calling attention especially to the fourth point:  We can only love what we linger over.....I have come to believe that this is one of the wisest and truest points I've ever learned.

But first, the link to Bloom's article here. Please take time to read it, because it reiterates that more is not the same as quality, depth and transformation. I need to hear and remember that again and again. It's one of the reasons I've taken some time off writing this week.

While the points that we Christians are pursuing transformation and not just more information and real growth takes time and patience are foundational,  I think the one about lingering over the things we love is the most salient for me.  Bloom writes:

4. We cannot love what we do not linger over.

And we cannot know what we do not comprehend. Lingering, by definition, takes time. Comprehension requires time-consuming concentration and meditation. This is true in nearly all areas of life. And the implication is that the real or perceived societal pressure we feel to get more and more things done, and process more and more information, can be an enemy to real love and true learning.

  I will be meditating more next week on this wisdon.  And focus more on quality rather than quantity, slowing down and contemplating things that strike me as important.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday---Becoming A True Christian

ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN MUST BASICALLY SURRENDER TO THE UNKNOWN AS MARY AND ABRAHAM DID. Becoming a Christian is not like signing up for a gym; it is not a "living well" program that will help you flourish and realize your potential.  Christianity is not another vendor supplying spiritual services you engage as long as it meets your needs at a reasonable cost.  Christian faith is not a negotiation but a  surrender.  It means    to take your hands off your life.  John Wesley's "Covenant Prayer" expresses it well:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing,  put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or  brought low for thee.
Lee me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

....The call to theologically grounded, willing, glad, surrender is the most radically countercultural summons possible in the modern Western world that values personal autonomy over all things.  Readers, therefore might feel overwheolmed at this point....

The pentiultimate is to recognize that if we commit ourselves to God, we can trust that he is committed to us.  Jesus once asked his disciples, "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a smake instead." (Luke 11:11) He then reasoned that God is infinitely more generous than earthly fathers and will "give the Holy Spirit" to anyone who asks. (Luke 11:13)

----Timothy Keller,  Hidden Christmas, pg 93-94

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The White House Today


Excerpt From U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander's Latest Email

January 6, 2017 - 

I’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU some of what I’ve been working on in Tennessee and Washington recently:

January will be a busy month in Washington. The committee that I chair will be holding confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees for Secretary of Education and Secretary of Labor. We are moving immediately to provide relief from the Obamacare emergency that has the Tennessee exchange “near collapse” and is forcing Tennesseans to pay 44 to 62 percent more in health insurance premiums. I believe Congress and the Administration should work to repeal and replace at the same time, and to avoid the historic mistakes of Obamacare, replacement should be implemented step-by-step to minimize disruptions and make sure the changes in the system work well. 


A good, brief report on the things that matter to Tennesseans. We are especially concerned about out-of-control health care premiums and the 'near collapse' of the state exchange.  We all need and want relief from this terrible law as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bye Bye Megyn, Hello Tucker

WHATEVER THE REAL REASONS FOR MEGYN KELLY'S MUCH HYPED DEPARTURE FROM FOX NEWS,  I sincerely wish her well.  She's been a feisty, talented, great loooking  news host/anchor who's become perhaps too much of a star in her own right over the past year to be just a plain old TV journalist anymore.

But never mind. She says she wants better hours so she can spend more time with her family.  I certainly don't fault her for that.  Still, her going  away from prime time at Fox and onto daytime at NBC is unfortunate for her fans.

I for one simply don't watch daytime TV and can't remember even turning it on before 6 pm over the past 35-40 years.  Never watch the morning shows, though I do listen to early morning radio----WSM---for news, weather and country music thrown in.  Actually,  I watch very little television. I sure won't be turning it on for Megyn.  So from my perspective,  she's peaked, career wise, and will have to scrounge up a completely new audience to boost her ratings at NBC.  I keep reading that daytime TV is brutal and I can see why.

Good luck to her as I say goodbye.  And best wishes to clean cut Tucker Carlson who looks like he came straight off the cover of the St. Albans School Alumni Magazine.  Have seen him a couple of times and like what I see just fine.  Should be an interesting rotation.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Few Hellos and Goodbyes For 2017



FIRST AND FOREMOST,   THE DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU GOING OUT AWARDS GO TO..... President and Mrs. Barack Obama,  Secretary of State John Kerry,  former President and Mrs. Bill Clinton, investor and perpetual liberal agitator George Soros and various other lesser-known, assorted poupous like former Rep. and Mrs. Anthony Weiner,  to name a very few.

In their place, please welcome fans of the Trump Wedge Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing as a first course.  Please also welcome the more elegant but greatly pared down Inaugural Day Festivities and Parade participants, so the movers and shakers in the new Trump Administration can get down to business from the Get-Go on Day One.

Beyond that, here are some other predictions I have to add:

***Expect the stock market to go up  a little longer, then down and stay mostly down for the rest  of 2017 by Inauguration Day on January 20, as all the good news has already been factored into the political and economic equations and markets will be waiting for the implementation of  many of Trump's campaign promises.

***Expect Obamacare to be partially repealed. Still, voters will have many more options for health insurance and health care across state lines.  Patients with pre-exisiting and hard-to-insure conditions will be subsidized with taxpayer monies, rather than by healthy people who are hog-tied in health exchanges for the purpose of subsidizing others.

***Expect illegal immigration to slow to a trickle.  It will be first on the agenda of the new Trump administration.  Immigration from countries that foment terrorism will be shut down completely until a process is in place to insure these people can be documented and kept tabs on while in the U.S.  A Wall/Fence of some kind---physical or electric---will begin to be built.

***Expect tax breaks for corporations to allow for the creation of more jobs which will in turn create more taxable income from the newly employed.  In many cases this will create more tax revenues on all levels of government.

***Expect the unwinding of many of the massive regulations binding taxpayers both on the federal and state levels to all aspects of government.

***Expect the Middle-East  to continue to be the globals inferno though the Trump regime will pick its battles and allies carefully.

***Expect a complete and continuing media meltdown as President Trump circumvents the normal channels of news and communicates directly with the people via Twitter and YouTube. Expect Paul Krugman at the NYTimes to have at least 10 nervous breakdowns over the next year-and-a-half.

There's more, but for now, have a happy, healthy 2017!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome to the New Year Sunday: Resolutions Are Not Enough

THIS IS A GOOD FIRST-DAY-OF-JANUARY PIECE ON WHY NY RESOLUTIONS ARE NOT, ARE NEVER ENOUGH and how we can make a dent in our desire to change and grow.

By David Mathias @ Desiring God
 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS  can be an important first step, but they are a far cry from real, lasting change. The ringing in of a new year brings with it the possibility of a fresh start, or at least a fresh reminder to turn the page on some (or many) ways we’d like to grow and mature in the next season of life.

But haven’t we all tried this enough times by now to know how futile mere resolves are if not accompanied by more? Whether it’s eating and exercise, or Bible-reading and prayer, the God-created mechanism we call “habit” is vital for seeing our earnest resolutions through to enjoyable realities. If we really are resolved to see our hopes for 2017 become life-enriching habits, we will do well to keep several basic truths in mind at the outset of a new year.

1. Focus on a Few, Not Many.

Better than big emotional, private resolves about the many things you want to “fix” about your life is dialing in just one or two realistic, and really important, resolves with a concrete plan and specific accountability. The excitement of a new year, and ease with which we can desire change, often leads us to bite off way more than we can chew for a new year. It’s much better to focus on just a couple new habits — even better, just one. And if you’re going to narrow it to just one (or maybe a couple or three), you might as well make it count. Identify something important that will give your new-habit-forming particular focus, even while this one resolve will reap benefits in other areas of your life. Soul-strengthening “habits of grace” are precisely this. Going deeper in God’s word, prayer, or your local church will produce an invaluable harvest. Consider a specific focus for the new year, or just the first three months of 2017, or even just January. A year is a long period of time in terms of habit-forming; typically we would do much better to just make one resolve at a time, and do so every few months, than to attempt many things and for so long a period as twelve months.

2. Make It Specific.

Bible intake, prayer, and Christian community likely are too broad in and of themselves. Give it more specific focus like reading the whole Bible this year, or not just reading but daily meditating on a short passage or verse, or even just a word or phrase (in context). Don’t keep it general at “prayer,” but make it more particular: private prayer each morning, or bedtime prayer with your spouse or family, or punctuating your day with “constant prayer,” or some new prayer initiative as a community group or church.

Perhaps as the old year is coming to a close, you’re realizing how spotty your church commitment has been, and how thin your relationships are as a result. You might resolve to deepen your commitment to not neglect your meeting together “as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25), whether that’s making Sunday mornings more nonnegotiable or prioritizing your midweek investment in life together in community group. Resolve in 2017 not to let silly last-minute excuses keep you from faithfully gathering with the body of Christ, which will be a priceless, long-term means of God’s grace both to you and through you, to others......

Read Mathis' full article.

Biggest Movie Duds, Best Films of 2016


Meanwhile, writer and movie critic Rex Reed gives his Best Films list, starting with Casey Affleck's highly acclaimed Manchester By the Sea and ending begrudgingly with a half nod to the musical La La Land.

Rex Says of Manchester: This is haunting, life-affirming filmmaking you will not forget. The details, the observations, the nuances, the revelations—they all add up to a masterful narrative structure and a beautifully textured reality I cannot praise highly enough.

Reed pens:  I had high hopes that 2016 at the movies would be like every other year—they’d save the best for last.  Sadly, no miracles occurred and it went down in history as one of the sorriest years ever. Blame free internet streaming, pretentious critics who abhor anything with a plot, new kids on the block who don’t know how to make movies with flair, focus or narrative continuity, the death of style, the growth of alternate TV programming, or any of a number of other alarming factors. The fact remains, movies are no longer what they used to be and nobody cares. Some observers predict the cultural force that informs our development from the advent of childhood is already a thing of the past. The year that just passed is such convincing proof that I found it a challenge as daunting as a degree in aeronautical physics just to form a 10 Best List. You won’t find such critical favorites as the deadly Moonlight or the seriously overrated mediocrity Toni Erdmann on it, and my begrudgingly last-minute inclusion of the flawed, uninspired, unoriginal and creatively disappointing La La Land  is merely a half-hearted attempt to support the rebirth of movie musicals. So it was a penurious year....