Cripple America

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My opinion: Obama and his team are in waaaaay over their collective heads. They believe the world is basically good, and because Obama is in control of the White House, the world will warm to them and we will all live together in harmony.

Except that’s not the world. Putin will outmaneuver the clueless Obama. The middle east will continue to shun American and call us the Great Satan. China is waiting for the right moment when they own all our assets before they invade Taiwan. Our response will be every bit as lame as our response was against Russia’s invasion of Georgia.

The only way Obama can make it worse is to cripple our GDP for years with excessive liberal pet programs and inflicting a nationalized banking and health care system on us while completely destroying our economy with massive deficit spending and liberal pork spending.

Operation Cripple America now in progress.

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Russia Will Get Away With It

Posted on August 11, 2008. Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , |

President George W. Bush and Georgian Presiden...Russia invades Georgia, and we’ll make mewing-like complaints. Russia will conquer our ally Georgia and we will do nothing useful to stop it.

Georgia, once part of the Soviet Union, has become a strong ally of the US. Three quarters of their country voted to join Nato. That must gall Russia.

So they weighed their options, and decided to invade. Because it’s Russia, because they have so much of Europe’s energy supplies, because Georgia is so small, Russia knows we will do nothing except watch and complain.

This letter from the Georgia president, Mikheil Saakashvili, will document the historical and future significance of this invasion. And then he and his government will be replaced with former Russian KGB agents.

We are losing an ally and doing nothing except lobbing opinion articles at Russia.

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Pride and the Lord God

Posted on June 11, 2007. Filed under: Bible Study | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

We’re continuing our study of the minor prophets today with Obadiah. Obadiah. When I found out this week’s lesson was on Obadiah, my first obvious question was, “Who in the heck is Obadiah?” Isn’t he one of the Beverly Hillbillies? “Let me tell you ‘bout a story ‘bout a man named Obadiah.” Or is he the subject of that famous Beatle’s song, “O-bla-di, O-bla-dah, O-ba-di-a! Lala how the life goes on.”

Well, it turns out Obadiah isn’t either one of those two choices. Obadiah is the smallest book in the bible, a single chapter of 21 verses, probably a single page in your bible. But don’t let the small size fool you; God has a powerful message in this little book.

First, let’s look at the history. Who is Obadiah? The answer is, we really don’t really know. There are at least 12 people named Obadiah in the Old Testament, but none of them seem to be this particular Obadiah. “Obadiah” mean “servant of Jehovah,” and in Obadiah 1:1 it begins, “The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign Lord says about Edom.” Perhaps Obadiah’s anonymity in itself is meaningful; if we are a true humble servant of the Lord, then it doesn’t matter if we become famous and our identity is passed along through generations. Obadiah simply appears and announces the vision of God that he has received. Edom will be destroyed.

So who is this Edom? Let’s back up to Genesis 17 where God promises Abraham to make him the father of many nations. Abraham has to wait 4 chapters, all the way to Genesis 21 before Sarah bears him a son named Isaac. Three chapters later in Genesis 24, Isaac is all grown up and falls in love with Rebekah, and in Genesis 25, Rebekah has twin boys, Esau and Jacob. We are told these boys fought in their mother’s womb and they continued to fight their whole lives, from Genesis 25 to Genesis 33. You may remember that Esau sold his spiritual birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. While this doesn’t say much in favor of Jacob, it says a lot about Esau who would rather satisfy his hunger than obtain his birthright. Jacob eventually begins the nation of Israel; in Genesis 36, Esau begins the nation of Edom by defying the Lord and taking two wives. Esau was the father of the Edomites.

Edom and Israel never got along, even though they shared a common ancestry in Isaac. Edom makes another appearance in the book of Numbers. Moses is finally ready to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, but they have to pass from the desert of Sinai through Edom to get there. Was Edom helpful? No, they were not. When Moses asks permission to pass through, Edom replies in Numbers 20:18, “You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.” Israel was forced to go around Edom.

Now, Israel spent some time defying the Lord for the rest of the Old Testament. God made incredible promises if only Israel will follow God’s laws and be faithful to the Lord. Israel was about as successful at that as, well, we are today. When Israel falls short, God punishes Israel. In 586 BC, Jerusalem is defeated by Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews are brought to Babylon in exile. Now, Edom is a large country to the south of Jerusalem, and they share a common ancestor with Israel. Do the Edomites help their sister country when Nebuchadnezzar attacks? No, they do not. They sit in their fortified cities on a hill, brag about how big and strong Edom is and how weak Israel is, and when the opportunity arises, the Edomites sweep in and loot whatever is left of Jerusalem. Not exactly the kind of neighbors you hope for in tough times.

In the book of Obadiah, the prophet tells Edom that the Lord is not amused. While Israel is being punished because they do not follow all of God’s laws, Edom isn’t following any of God’s laws. Edom feels they are invincible, powerful, and mighty. In Obadiah 1:3-4, the Lord says to Edom,

The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks
and make your home on the heights,
you who say to yourself,
‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’

Though you soar like the eagle
and make your nest among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,”
declares the LORD.

What was Edom’s great sin? Pride. Let’s read Obadiah 1:11-14 and see what Edom did instead of helping their neighbor:

You should not look down on your brother
in the day of his misfortune,
nor rejoice over the people of Judah
in the day of their destruction,
nor boast so much
in the day of their trouble.

You should not march through the gates of my people
in the day of their disaster,
nor look down on them in their calamity
in the day of their disaster,
nor seize their wealth
in the day of their disaster.

You should not wait at the crossroads
to cut down their fugitives,
nor hand over their survivors
in the day of their trouble.

Apparently Edom laughed when Jerusalem was in trouble. Not only that, but they helped themselves to the plunder, and when they found Jews fleeing the city, the Edomites killed them or handed them over to Nebuchadnezzar’s army. Sort of like coming across an old lady trying to cross the street who is obviously bewildered and confused. Edom pushes the old lady into traffic and steals her handbag. And all of this behavior and attitude rooted is in the pride of Edom.

Before I continue, I want to ask a couple of questions about the most offensive sins. What is the most offensive sin to you personally? Either when you commit a sin, or when somebody else commits a sin in your presence. Murder? Adultery? What’s another really offensive sin?

Here’s 3 examples. Imagine you see a Sunday school teacher at a wet t-shirt contest. Imagine you read about a church deacon that was arrested for breaking into a convenience store. Imagine a prayer warrior proud of the number of people he’s led to Christ.

That last one doesn’t seem so terrible, does it? Our human perception doesn’t rate “pride” very high on the scale of serious sins, but God’s perspective is not the same as ours. In God’s sight, pride is worse that stealing. It’s worse than drunkenness. Imagine saying, “He’s a good man but proud.” Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Now imagine saying, “He’s a good man but a thief.” Pride is the sin of sins, and all the more devious because the nature of pride is so hard to recognize in ourselves. We’ve probably heard Proverbs 16:18 before that says, “Pride goes … before a fall.” We’re less familiar with Proverbs 16:5, “The Lord detests the proud of heart,” and Proverbs 6:16-17 that basically says God hates pride.

What is pride? Simply put, it’s a belief in one’s own importance and superiority. It’s a reliance on self instead of God. It is the attitude of a life that declares an ability to live without God. Pride says we don’t need God. Pride, therefore, is the root of unbelief, and that’s why pride is the sin of sins. In Obadiah, we can see how the pride of Edom led to other sins. In verse 10, pride led to violence against Israel. Verse 11, Edom “stood aloof” while Israel was being destroyed. This is the sin of omission; it’s the sin of saying, “Don’t get involved.” In verse 12, Edom looks down on Israel and rejoices over Israel’s troubles. To feel superior to Israel, Edom boasted and rejoiced over Israel’s troubles. Feeling good because somebody else is suffering misfortune is a symptom of pride, and if we put them down, it is a symptom of pride.

Verse 13, Edom looted Israel during their disaster. After a disaster; a tornado, a hurricane, a flood, what’s the appropriate Christian response: help or loot the victims? Verse 14, pride leads to betrayal. As the Jewish survivors fled, Edom helped the enemy kill the Jews. Pride can lead us to stab another in the back just to improve our own situation.

That’s why pride is the sin of sins. By itself, pride doesn’t seem so bad to us. God knows, though, that pride is a reliance and a dependence on one’s self instead of relying on God and will lead to a multitude of other sins. Human pride denies God the honor due Him. Human pride rejects the need for our Savior.

In Matthew 11:25-26, Jesus tells us that pride makes us “know-it-alls” and that it pleases God to hide things from know-it-alls. He says, “At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”

When we are self-reliant and proud, we are often not even aware of it. We tell ourselves we are being obedient to the Lord while living a disobedient life. We become a “practical atheist” – one who attends church and bible study and openly confesses Jesus as lord – but then lives everyday as though God does not exist. And we all do that, each and every one of us, every time we sin and fall short of God’s mark.

Benjamin Franklin had a list of 12 virtues he practiced that he said led to moral perfection:

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11.TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

One day a Quaker friend told him that Benjamin Franklin sure took a lot of pride in his moral perfection, so Ben added a 13th virtue: humility. Here is what Benjamin Franklin wrote about pride:

My list of virtues contain’d at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show’d itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc’d me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list).

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Pride is something we all suffer from. If we think we do not suffer from pride, then it is possible pride is blinding us to our pride. Pride is real easy to recognize in others, though, isn’t it? It’s because when we see pride in somebody else, we’re smugly saying, *I* don’t suffer from pride like *he* does. Like Benjamin Franklin, we are being proud of our humility.

C.S. Lewis has this to say about pride:

According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is pride. Unchastity, anger, grief, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea-bites in comparison; it was through pride that the devil became the devil; pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind… In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that- and, therefore know yourself as nothing in comparison- you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see Something that is above you.

So how do we recognize pride in ourselves? How do we know when our own pride is blinding us to our own pride? Jacob, the Archbishop of Nizhegorod of the Russian Orthodox Church, wrote this about how to recognize pride within oneself:

“In order to understand and recognize [pride], notice how you feel when those around you do something against your will. If within you there arises not the thought of meekly rectifying the mistake of others, but discontent and anger, then know that you are extremely proud. If even the smallest lack of success in your affairs oppresses you, so that the thought of the participation of God’s Providence in our affairs does not cheer you up, then know that you are extremely proud. If you are wrapped up in your own needs and cold towards the needs of others, then know that you are extremely proud. If the sight of others’ misfortune, particularly that of your enemies, makes you merry, while the unexpected good fortune of those around you makes you sad, then know that you are extremely proud. If you are offended even by the slightest remarks concerning your shortcomings, while praises of your imaginary worth seem wonderful and admirable to you, then know that you are extremely proud.”

Pride is being “full of yourself.” Pride is saying, “it’s all about me.” Pride is saying, “I am better than you” or saying “you’re worse than I am.” The opposite of pride is being full of the Holy Spirit. The opposite of pride is saying, “it’s all about God.” The opposite of self-centered pride is humility.

The opposite of pride is not, as some people seem to think, low self-esteem. Pride is thinking too highly of yourself. Low self-esteem is thinking too lowly of yourself. Humility is not thinking of yourself at all; humility is thinking of others.

How do we replace pride with humility? God provides the answer with the fruit of the Holy Spirit which includes humility. Ask the Lord to show you your own pride. When you speak to others, do you speak down to them? Are you focused on your own feelings, or are you focused on the feelings of others? Do you belittle people and tell them what’s wrong with them? That’s pride talking. Instead, lift up people with your words and actions. Tell people about their strength and what you admire about them instead of what you don’t like about them. Don’t try to put them down or put yourself up; leave that to the Lord. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

So where is Edom today? No, really, where is Edom today? You don’t know, either? They soared like eagles, they built their nest among the stars, but in Obadiah 1:5, the Lord says he will obliterate Edom and there will be nothing left. If thieves break into your house, they steal what they want but they still leave something behind. But the Lord says of Edom nothing, nothing at all will be left. Where is Edom? By the time we get to the book of Malachi, Edom is gone. In the book Malachi, God tells Israel that He loves them even though Israel deserves punishment. Malachi 1:2-5 says

“I have loved you,” says the LORD.

“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” the LORD says. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”

Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD -even beyond the borders of Israel!’

In 164 BC, Judas Maccabeeus overthew the nation of Edom and by the time of Christ, Edom no longer existed. The last recorded Edomite in the bible tried to kill Christ as an infant. Herod, descendent of Edom, still suffering from pride.

God’s will is not subject to man’s will. Pride tells us we can tell God what to do, but God will do as He pleases, and God invites us to participate. God always fulfills His promises. He promised to demolish Edom, and Edom is no more. God is sovereign, God is all powerful. Obadiah in the first verse recognizes this by calling God “the Sovereign LORD” or “Lord GOD” depending on your translation. The Hebrew is “Adonai Yahweh.” Adonai means “Lord or Master” and acknowledges that God is the Lord over all creation. Yahweh or Jehovah is the personal, covenant name for God, and means “the one who is”. God is absolute and God is unchangeable. By putting “Adonai” and “Yahweh” together, Obadiah recognizes God both as ruler of the universe as well as the personal ruler of the people of Judah.

Adonai Yahweh. Adonai Jehovah. Everlasting, unchanging God of Creation, and everlasting God of me. God hasn’t changed. When God says he hates pride, God still hates pride. And God will defeat pride. Those that ignore God and consider themselves superior to God, they will have their Day of Judgment. For believers in Christ, Christ will deliver us from our pride if we trust in Him. Obadiah 1:17-18 says,

But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy,
and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance.

The house of Jacob will be a fire
and the house of Joseph a flame;
the house of Esau will be stubble,
and they will set it on fire and consume it.
There will be no survivors from the house of Esau.”
The LORD has spoken.

Our deliverance has come if we put our trust in Jesus. Jesus is our deliverance. What is keeping us from acknowledging Jesus as Lord? Some believe that becoming a Christian will restrict their freedom; they will no longer be able to party like they want to. The irony is that it is the Christians who are free, and those that want to party are slaves to that desire. They do not want to give up their freedom because of selfish reasons. They – we – believe we know better than God. We are full of pride.

As we have learned from our study today, God hates the pride that is in each and every one of us, the sin of sins that tells us we can go our own way. Practice today serving humbly and lifting up each other, for it is in humble obedience to the Lord that brings us wisdom. And above all, rest in the sovereign promise of the Lord God that He will deliver us.

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Washington D.C.

Posted on April 3, 2007. Filed under: Personal Stuff, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Last week I wrote about Christian Submission to authorities so it seemed only right that a trip to Washington D.C. was in order. The wife & I planned a little mini-vacation to stay with a Russian friend in Alexandria, Virginia, just a piece up the ways (man it feels good to speak Texan again) from the capital. Capitol? Kapital? I’m pretty sure it’s “capitol” but that was one of those words I stumbled over every time in English papers.

We arrived Friday afternoon and unpacked and went to the Russian friend’s grandmother’s house for homemade something. I don’t know what it was, it looked like a gigantic chicken pot pie but it had ground beef and potatoes and Russian spices in it. Babushka (the grandmother) didn’t speak a lick of English, but she sure was a lof of fun, full of smiles and hugs. Afterwards, the Russian friend (let’s call her “the ex-wife of somebody named Boris” or TEWOSNB) took us to a Russian disco with her friend Igor. We didn’t particularly want to go to a Russian disco, but she was driving and was determined we should go. This sort of set the tone for the weekend as TEWOSNB was apparently ex-KGB or Russian mafia or something and made unilateral decisions frequently about how we were going to spend our time. We tried to make the best of it, but if you were going to Washington D.C. for the weekend, would disco dancing with Russian people who did not speak English be high on your sightseeing wish-list?

The next morning, up and out early to see the Smithsonian which of course cannot be viewed in a single day. Lot’s of activity going on; there was a kite festival on the Washington Mall as well as the Cherry Blossom Festival, so parking was scarce. We parked in Baltimore, I think. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History took most of the day; we saw the ice age exhibit, the geological exhibit and the Hope Diamond, and a fabulous orchid exhibit with hundreds of live orchids. I don’t know how they keep them all alive and blooming simultaneously. And then quick visits to the Mammal exhibit and the Sikh exhibit.

On the way back out, a walk around the White House which is no longer open to visitors except for pre-planned tours, so we had to setle for looking through the fence. I asked the security guard which was the best fence for jumping over, and he said the north side. Good information to know. I saw a few protestors outside demanding our troops be brought home from Iraq; out of a few thousand visitors during a festival week, there were maybe a half-dozen protestors. The mainstream media makes it seem there are thousands of protestors all the time.

A stop at the Post Office to ride to the top of the tower, the 2nd largest structure in Washington D.C. after the Washington Memorial, and then our day was complete. We walked back to Baltimore to fetch the car and home for dinner, then out to a play called Condensed Mikado, a shortened version of the comedic libretto Mikado. It was only an hour long and absolutely hysterical, I thoroughly enjoyed it. TEWOSNB slept through it, I think.

Sunday, breakfast at Babushka’s for Russian pancakes and then to church at the National Cathedral; the (priest?) gave a sermon on the horrors of war. I guess he was protestor number seven. I don’t know what denomination thich church is and I’m too lazy to look it up, but the structure was like a Catholic Church without the word “Catholic” written anywhere. Episcopalian? Lutheran? I don’t know, but the wafers weren’t as good as the Catholic Church and the wine was real wine but very bitter.

Afterwards, we walked around the Washington Mall, and a long walk it was. We started at the Lincoln Memorial, walked around the lake to enjoy the cherry blossoms, through the Vietnam Memorial and Korean Memorial, then the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial and then the Jefferson Memorial. Anybody that tells you that this nation isn’t founded on a belief in God has never visited these memorials; these great men praised their creator for His great gifts.

Then out to dinner with TEWOSNB and a different friend, Mark. Mark was an absolute delight; he was friendly, funny, knowledgeable, polite. Not at all a good fit for TEWOSNB, but since she was Russian and he worked from some secret government agency (he avoided even direct questions about it), it was like being out to dinner with international spies. Dinner was fabulous; TEWOSNB complained the wine wasn’t expensive enough.

Mark joined us Monday morning and took us up to Arlington Cemetery, and Mark turned out to be quite the military history buff, explaining various military events when we saw famous tombs, explaining the various insignias and so forth. Then up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (which actually says “known but to God” on the side, not “unknown”) to watch the changing of the guards and the changing of the memorial wreath. Amazing precision and I was quite impressed. TEWOSNB said her feet hurt.

Mark then took us on a special treat – he had a security clearance for the Pentagon and could escort visitors, so he took us to lunch *inside* the Pentagon. Wow. We felt incredibly privileged when the couple in front of us were turned away, but *we* had an *escort* and were permitted entry. TEWOSNB said restaurant wasn’t up to her standards and wanted to leave, but we were having none of it. OK, so lunch wasn’t exactly haute cuisine, but hey, it was inside the Pentagon. We even got a tour of the various halls and saw were the 9/11 attack occurred (all repaired, of course). Department of Defense newspapers, the Pentagon newsroom, the office of the Secretary of the Army, very cool.

And back home again. And even though I didn’t get to vote on anything while I was there, I had a fabulous time.

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Iranian Embassy

Posted on January 12, 2007. Filed under: Iraq War, Politics | Tags: , |

Apparently Iran doesn’t care for the US military action and has listed Russian support for their position. Apparently US troops raided an Iranian office in the Iraqi city of Arbil and are holding 6 Iranians in their role of assisting terrorist in Iraq. Iran claims they are diplomats (or will eventually claim they are diplomats) and says the US is violating international diplomacy protocols

I can understand Iran’s objection. I propose the US detain 47 more Iranians to bring the total to 53, and hold them for at least 14 months. Isn’t that the standard Iran set for detaining US diplomats?

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Boycotting and Protesting "The Da Vinci Code"

Posted on May 16, 2006. Filed under: Faith, Movies and TV | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The protests are getting louder. Christians aren’t yet rioting in the street a la the Muslim cartoon jihad, but if they were, would mainstream media be more sympathetic to Christians?

Meanwhile, controversy is raging worldwide. Legislators in the Philippines have petitioned for the film to be banned from that country; hundreds of protesters took to the streets in India to call for similar steps on the subcontinent; Christian orthodox leaders in Greece, Romania and Russia blasted the film from the pulpit; and religious officials in the U.S. announced a wide-reaching interfaith coalition that will call for a boycott of the film just two days before its Friday release.

“We are committed to exposing the movie’s offensive and misleading content and are calling for a boycott,” said Don Feder, president of a group called Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, part of the U.S.-based interfaith coalition. “This film is a clear attack on all religions.”

Read the rest of the article, it goes on the describe protests and boycotts worldwide.

Me, I plan on blogging about how offensive the book and movie is. I won’t be seeing the movie, I’m not giving $1 toward that piece of crud and the anti-christian producers that made it.

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World's Easiest Quiz

Posted on November 16, 2005. Filed under: Fun Stuff | Tags: , , |

Passing only requires 4 correct answers; answer are below. No peeking!

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get catgut?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7) What was King George VI’s first name?

8) What color is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

All done? Check your answers below!
(more…)

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Good Reading Links for Monday

Posted on October 24, 2005. Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Baldilocks does a little Jesus-preaching and quotes liberally from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I love to read about people who take yet another step of sanctification and realize something about themselves needs to change. I’ll be working on the same thing for, oh, the rest of my life.

The Bible says that Satan is the Father of Lies; these progeny include the lies that you tell yourself. And once you get into the habit of lying to yourself about yourself, it becomes almost instinctive. But when reality butts against your instinct, it interrupts the play of the little DVD of self-serving scenarios running in your head and you scream “no!” and try to turn your “truth” into reality…if you’re really far gone into self-delusion, that is.

A genuine conversion to Christianity throws cold water on all of that fantasy and shows you what you are and were on your way to becoming and points you in the opposite direction. You still fall short sometimes but you know you have broken the rules and you don’t try to cover it up or rationalize it away. Simply becoming a Christian doesn’t put Big J’s approval on everything an individual Christian does. We still sin and, if the conversion is true, we feel the sting of guilt even more keenly because we know what the rules are.

But also we know that we are incapable of sticking to the rules perfectly. And, most importantly, we know that our adherence to the rules isn’t what has saved and will save us anyway.

Yum, good stuff.

Some bad stuff – take a look at these cute little girls:
Lamb and Lynx Gaede
ABC News reports these twins, Lamb and Lynx Gaede, have formed a band called “Prussian Blue” to encourage white nationalism:

Lynx and Lamb have been nurtured on racist beliefs since birth by their mother April. “They need to have the background to understand why certain things are happening,” said April, a stay-at-home mom who no longer lives with the twins’ father. “I’m going to give them, give them my opinion just like any, any parent would.”

April home-schools the girls, teaching them her own unique perspective on everything from current to historical events. In addition, April’s father surrounds the family with symbols of his beliefs — specifically the Nazi swastika. It appears on his belt buckle, on the side of his pick-up truck and he’s even registered it as his cattle brand with the Bureau of Livestock Identification.

Gadzooks. Cute little things taught to hate at such a young age. And I’m sure they don’t even realize they’re singing about hate.

Let’s see… apparently 73% of conservative bloggers oppose Harriet Miers. I sort of feel at home since I opposed her last week. I have to add the following phrase for Truth Laid Bear to pick up my vote: I oppose the Miers nomination. I actually like her as a person and I think she would make a fine … um, cheerleader, I suppose. But we have so many more qualified conservatives that are better qualified. I don’t think we ought to settle for mediocre.

I stumbled across that little tidbit reading about God’s Grace and You. While most people question why there is evil in the world, La Shawn Barber questions why there is good in the world, given man’s scriptural and inherent depravity.

Common grace is distinct from saving grace in that the believer and unbeliever alike share in God’s earthly blessings. Also, since the Bible tells us man is not as evil as he could be, something must be restraining evil. That restraint is also God’s common grace.

Good reading there.

Lions and Lambs is taking some sabbatical time to grow closer to the Lord. Many daily posts full of reading, contemplation, and just a good old plain recognition of the blessings around us. Good reading there, too.

Pamibe is in the eyewall of Hurricane Wilma and yet somehow continues to blog. Amazing. Apparently what she misses most is coffee. :P

On a lighter note, Sand in the Gears does his best impression of Spider Man:

And then I looked down, and saw him crawling up my chest.

You know how in the movies, when somebody gets some kind of icky crawly creature on him, he slaps hysterically at it with both hands, making distinctly unmanly sounds?

This is exactly true to life. Hollywood, I salute you for getting this, at least, dead to rights.

The spider, rest his soul, was killed by my flurry of self-inflicted judo chops. He lay crumpled in a little heap on the carpet, to what would have been the endless fascination of the two older boys, had the youngest not tried to eat him.

There. That should give y’all plenty of good stuff to read today. :)

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Tom Delay's Ethics

Posted on April 12, 2005. Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , , , |

The New York Times and Washington Post have been relentless on attacking Tom DeLay lately on a variety of ethics charges. Now, I’m all in favor of removing unethical politicians when their heads get too big, but is that what’s happening here? The National Review gives a rundown on the charges and asks if they’re fair or partisan. Here’s a quick summary:

  • The NY Times noted that Tom DeLay’s wife and daughter were on the payroll for his relection campaign. Not only does this comply with House rules, but many other politicians do this as well, including Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The NY Times only mentions Delay.
  • Washington Post says Tom DeLay traveled to Moscow in 1997, paid for by private Russian companies. DeLay says the National Center for Public Policy Research paid for it, and the National Center backs him up and says the reports are false
  • A similar trip to South Korea was paid for by the US-Korea National Exchange Council (KORUSEC). If it’s a domestic organization, apparently it’s legal, but not if it’s a foreign agent. KORUSEC was registered as domestic when DeLay accepted the trip, then days before the trip, KORUSEC changed it’s status to foreign but neglected to tell DeLay. The NY Times doesn’t mention the Democrats on this trip, including a staff member of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
  • Three former Delay associates have been indicted for taking corporate contributions to fund candidates in the Texas State house, but DeLay hasn’t been indicted. The prosecuter previously indicted Kay Bailey Hutchinson when she won her Senate seat, but courts threw all the charges out in a single day. If DeLay is simply indicted, even if he’s not guilty, House rules forces DeLay to step down. So far, he hasn’t even been indicted or accused of wrongdoing.

Until I see something more concrete, this looks like partisan thuggery to tarnish Tom DeLay.

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Kerry, the French, and the Germans

Posted on September 27, 2004. Filed under: Iraq War, Politics | Tags: , , , , |

John Kerry said that he would build a coalition to help out in Iraq. Since Bush has already done that(with the exception of France, Germany, and Russia), Kerry must have some sort of sooper seckret plan to get these countries to help.

French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

Any idea what Kerry’s plan would be? Force the French to help at gunpoint?

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