Thursday, January 31, 2008

Drop Outs

I was just thinking about - - -

News and current events is being dominated by political debate and the aspirations of those seeking the office of President of the United States. Some of the candidates have begun to "drop out", but one wonders why they ever decided to "drop in"! Some of their views were mind-boggling - from one who has seen UFOs to the somewhat "flim-flam" of another who has supported "liberal" causes and points of view attempting to convince a "conservative" base that he is really one of them. It reminds one of the somewhat trite saying: "Are you going to believe what I am saying or what your lying eyes are seeing?"

The Brothers Grimm identified their representations as "fables". Today, we are told that it is political conviction and core value. The bottom line in all of this is believability - what one is hearing, is it accepted as being true representation of what the Candidate believes, has practiced, and will implement if elected. The redeeming fact in all of this is the Sovereignty of God and the reality that He is totally in control of all things.

In Daniel 2:20-23, King Nebuchadnezzar had a perplexing dream and wanted an understanding of its meaning. Of all those who were assumed to have "wisdom", none could satisfy the King's quest for meaning. Then Daniel is summoned: "Daniel answered and said: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter..." The key phrase is: "HE removes kings and HE sets up kings..."

Another important fact is recorded in Proverbs 21:1-3, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice..." We can move blithely along in our nation. Obviously, all too many have sought to remove "God" from the public square and as a subject for public discourse. When will we come to our senses and realize that God is relevant and must be a part of our history, culture and lifestyle?

A sad and obvious truth pertains to the heritage of this nation. In Washington, DC - the historic monuments make mention of the consciousness of God throughout the various phases and periods of our history - until two of the more recently erected Memorials. The FDR and the Viet Nam Memorials omit and ignore the reality and dependence upon the Almighty God and offer no reference point to the foundational commitment of this as "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

A question that needs to be pondered and perused is: Why have the Media chosen to single out that one candidate is a Mormon, another a Christian leader, another with Methodist leanings, another with some Baptist inclinations, and yet another with a view of variance that has no connection to a definable spiritual statement of faith or commitment. The only "evangelical" and one who professes to be a "born-again" follower of Jesus Christ, is dissed by the media and political pundits. They choose to misrepresent how and why he governed as he did. At the same time, he is shrugged off by the Christian community as being some kind of an anomaly. Those who supposedly are the "watch-dogs" for the "Christian Right" are strangely silent. Vacillation seems to be the standard on this day and hour.

We need to have some old-fashioned gumption in this important hour of American History, and period where we need to have clearly defined purpose and mission for our world.

Think about it - and - pray earnestly.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Perception and Reality

I was just thinking about - - - -

A saying that "perception is reality" is a fascinating proposition - but - is it true?. It might be more accurate to indicate that - we do not react and respond to reality itself, but to our own - or shared - perception of it. It falls into the Philosophical dilemma with which Plato struggled, namely, that one could never come to know reality itself but merely a distorted shadow of it. His illustration was of a man tied in a chair in a cave facing a wall. Images would pass by a fire and reflect shadows on the wall, and that perception of reality was all that could be known.

In our political climate these days, candidates proclaim loudly their views of the "Change" that's needed in government. In their perception of reality, they blame many of the ills of our nation on the disproportionate amount of wealth. They rant that the "rich" gain at the expense of the poor. But the question is: Is this rant reality, or a distorted shadow that a politician wants the electorate to believe?

An old Radio and Television program was Dragnet. The lead character, Sgt. Joe Webb, would always have the terse comment as he investigated a crime or complaint: "Just the facts! Give me the facts!" With that in mind, what are the facts regarding wealth in our nation? The following is a fact that should be part of the political rhetoric - - - A recent report shows that the tax burden on the wealthy has increased more than their incomes. The National Center for Policy Analysis says that Bush tax cuts actually made the tax code more progressive. It concludes that every major tax change over the past two decades has increased the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans (AKA the evil rich). Michael D. Stroup, a Stephen F. Austin University economist who authored the NCPA report says, "It is politically popular to say that tax cuts benefit the wealthy ... The perception does not match the reality."

"The top 1 percent of income earners pay more than one in every three dollars the IRS collects in taxes. From 1986 to 2004, the total share of the income tax burden paid by the top 1 percent of earners grew from 25.8 percent to 36.9 percent, while the total share of the tax burden paid by the bottom half of earners fell from 6.5 percent to only 3.3 percent. During the same period, the percentage of income the top 1 percent of tax filers paid in federal income taxes rose from 18.3 percent to 19.6 percent. By contrast, the percentage of income the bottom fifth of tax filers paid in federal income taxes dropped from 0.4 percent to zero. The income share of the top 1 percent rose 7.7 percentage points, from 11.3 percent to 19 percent, while their income tax burden rose even more, by 11 percentage points, from 26 percent to 37 percent. If you bring the figures forward from 2004 you'll find that the total income share of the top 1% has fallen somewhat, while the percentage of taxes they pay has risen."

"Politicians know that 99% of Americans have no awareness at all of these figures; and it doesn’t serve the purposes of the media to report factually on this issue."

In a genuine way, greater attention needs to be directed toward the area of the poor in particular and to poverty in general. We would do well to study and implement the words of James 2:1-9...

Show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, You sit here in a good place, while you say to the poor man, You stand over there, or, Sit down at my feet, have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors...

Millions of dollars are being spent on political campaigns – that is a reality! How many hungry and poor could benefit from a good meal or needed medicine if the candidates reached out to them in a personal and positive way? It is alleged that one candidate has considered a 30 second Advertisement during the Super Bowl at a cost of $2,500,000.00 (to promote the personal ambition of the candidate). How many poor could benefit immediately if this was spent on them so they could enjoy a nourishing meal?

Are we influenced by “perception” or “reality”? James 2 should be the reality that motivates and mobilizes us! Is our world-view focused and limited to the "inward" or inclusive of "others"?

Think about it - - -

Friday, January 25, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

In our lifetime, we have witnessed globalization expand at a rapid rate. The great shift in industry and the emergence of more centers of commerce in our world is occurring currently. In this great expansion, we can be blind to the realities of poverty, "sweat shops", extremely low wages and compensation, etc.

It is difficult to comprehend that in our nation, 12% of our fellow citizens are classified as living in poverty. At the same time, as preposterous as it seems, this occurs while certain corporate executives receive millions of dollars in bonuses. We look at our world, and some nations that produce the items
we want and demand, are marked by rampant poverty. One should cringe when looking at the label in a garment that is being purchased and observe the country of origin - asking - "Who is being adequately compensated at the country of origin?"

With poverty, other ancillary concerns are realities - hunger, health-care, living conditions, education, etc. In many places, young children - by necessity - are forced into manufacturing plants, some with deplorable working conditions, and spend long days trying to produce what the more affluent peoples want and expect. We buy clothing for our child or children and hardly pause to wonder whether it has been made by a child close to the age of the one for whom we made the purchase.

While yesterday's blog focused on the danger of being enslaved to debt, a comparable concern is the enslavement to affluence and money. Financial gain and advantage can have a serious affect in terms of one's commitment to matters of important value. Just think of the implication of Jesus Christ in His Sermon On The Mount (Matthew 6:24 KJV) - - - "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." The word "mammon" is an untranslated Greek Word meaning: worldly gain, wealth. The connotation along with this is that it can too easily become ones "god" and be an evil influence. The New Living Translation accurately states these words of Jesus: No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

There is an interesting application for us in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5,
"We want you to know...about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means...and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints, and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us."

It brings with it a further application and admonition for those who may not be impoverished. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-12,
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so may abound in every good work...He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God...(It) is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God."

It would behoove us all to get both our house and priorities in order. Rather than merely looking inward at what "I" want or think "I" need, to looking outward to our world and the many who do not even have pure water to sip or nourishing food to eat.

We can and should make a difference! Think about it...

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

The word “enslavement” conjures up all kinds of historical recollections. A basic and simple meaning of the word is, “to make a slave of; reduce to slavery”. There are many areas where this can be applied. In many places, people have been and are treated as slaves. Even the Bible speaks about the Culture of Slavery. The Book of Philemon is Paul’s letter in behalf of a runaway slave, Onesimus, and some reasons why his owner should consider forgiving him. In Ephesians 6:5-6, Paul addresses the slaves who have become believers: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.”

Enslavement also covers areas of addiction to things such as: Alcoholism, Pornography, Drugs, Pedophilia, Abusive Behavior, etc. While many of these things can receive treatment and counsel, the danger lurks for the rest of one’s life in terms of these things that contributed to their “enslavement” and addiction.

A more subtle enslavement is in the area of debt. The Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis has shared the stark and shocking declaration: “America has become more debt-dependent than ever before with total debt of $48 trillion, or $161,287 per man, woman and child”. Much of the pertinent data is contained in a paper that one can research at:

The Bible has a very practical word of advice and instruction in terms of money matters. In I Timothy 6:6-10, we read: Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils…”

Some time ago, a Financial Consultant named Larry Burkett enjoined: "Don't be a slave to debt!" One would be wise to benefit from the financial wisdom shared by his successors at: Another source and resource is Dave Ramsey: His emphasis and strategy is simply – Get Out Of Debt. He recommends cutting up one’s credit cards and start paying on a Cash Only basis. Both of these organizations teach and recommend that one avoid large mortgage indebtedness.

A simple Budget (and Basic Priority) should include the following:

  1. Tithe at least a tenth of one’ gross salary to a worthy Christian ministry
  2. Save at least a tenth of one’s gross salary in a non-risk savings instrument
  3. The remaining amount divide proportionately between (a) rent or mortgage, (b) nourishing foods, (c) Health Care and Medical Coverage, (d) family clothing needs and (e) modest entertainment or special treat for the family unit.

It would be wise to save toward the things deemed beneficial, and be able to pay cash for them rather than incurring debt.

Many years ago in England (1601), Debtors’ Prisons were a harsh reality for those who could not (or did not) pay their taxes, rent, debts, etc. An interesting read about these times is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. It describes his own experience in a debtors prison as a child. Of those times, Samuel Johnson wrote in 1758: "The confinement... of any man in the sloth and darkness of a prison, is a loss to the nation, and no gain to the creditor. For, of the multitudes who are pining in those cells of misery, a very small part is suspected of any fraudulent act by which they retain what belongs to others. The rest are imprisoned by the wantonness of pride, the malignity of revenge, or the acrimony of disappointed expectation."

Avoid enslavement to debt! Be Content! Be Wise!

Think About It….

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

It's fair to have the aspiration and commitment to be honest, and to have the expectation that people with whom one has contact will be truthful. The Daily Mail of London released an assessment regarding the integrity of men and women. In today's issue, their unscientific assessment indicates:

A new survey shows the average person tells four lies a day, or 1,460 a year for a total of 88,000 by the age of 60, and the most common is: "I'm fine."

It's men who tell the most fibs, coming out with five every day compared with women, who lie three times..."

It lends itself to the concern of the reliability of people and the authenticity of what is communicated. Do the politicians of today any longer discern what truth is, or are they caught up in the semantic of “it all depends on what is – is”? The parsing of words has become a politicians art. They are mostly wordsmiths of the highest order. When a politician is asked a simple “yes or no” question, when is the last time one has declared “Yes! Or “No!”? One would be hard pressed to find such an occasion.

I have long had a "pet peeve" when politicians cite "The American People" as the basis of their Bloviation on the one hand, and their reason for expenditure or tax increase on the other. The truth may actually be that they don't have even a slight idea of what "The American People" feel or think - nor do they care. Their Job Preservation seems to be first and foremost. Term limits would generate a greater concern for "The American People" than the career potential for Politicians who have become part of the problem rather than of the solution.

Part of the concern should be in the area of Government spending. This is where the LUDICROUS comes front and center. The Office of Management and Budget indicates the US Senate Bill Earmarks designated for 2008 are: “59 earmarks totaling $559,339,000; the final bill would have 191 earmarks totaling $1,181,061,000.” This accounts for such things as the infamous “bridge to nowhere” that cost close to $240 million dollars. Another part of the "ludicrous" is the current discussion of a tax rebate to stimulate the economy. The divide in the debate occurs when some believe a "Tax Rebate" of an equal amount should be given to those who paid No Taxes. Ludicrous? Yes! Sensible? No!

A clear and simple direction from the Holy Scripture in Romans 12:17 & II Corinthians 8:21 (KJV) is:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Most politicians place their hand on The Bible and Swear/Vow they will uphold the US Constitution, etc. And then, they set forth on their career and agenda, seldom looking back at the Oath of Office, and without too much concern about the electorate who elected them to their lofty position.

One other area that strikes one as being “ludicrous” is in the area of Presidential aspirants. Are we to believe that out of a population of 300,000,000 – this is the “best” we have to select from to represent and lead our nation? The pundits seem to think the best hope for one party is one who is approaching his 72nd birthday. The candidate appeals to the fact that his Mother is 95 years of age. The implication is that he will match her years. Just a personal word: My Father had two sisters who both lived in excess of 100 years of age – but – he died at age 41.

It behooves one to separate the practical from the ludicrous. It takes effort but the end result brings benefit and reward. Edmund Burke uttered: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Be a person who tries to make a difference and, if you fail, you will at least have the satisfaction of having tried your best to maintain a commitment to that which is right and good!

Think About It!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Disappointment Continues

I was just thinking about - - - -

It's difficult to watch a newscast without being subjected to a barrage of political and politician coverage (this makes a Remote Control a valuable tool these days). On the Democratic issues, it seems as though some are bent on a re-write of history and making promises that most intelligent people would deem impossible to fulfill. On the Republican side, it seems as though some are bent on re-defining what they have done and seeking to persuade people of actions they will represent that most discerning people construe to be nothing more than rhetoric at best or hot air at worst.

This reminds me of some lyrics from old songs that once were popular: (1) "What Kind of Fool Am I?", and (2) Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Am I..." The politicians seem to be back-room psychologists as they demonstrate their appeal to gullibility and people's desire to allow believability to some of the most absurd proposals being offered - proposals that often change with geographical location - all to seek and secure ballots cast in one's favor. Their appeal is for the public to ignore and forget all of their past and to plug into this moment in time (which more than likely will be forgotten by them and become a disappointment for those who believed their rhetoric), It all becomes so mundane and goofy.

It would behoove candidates to take seriously what we now state in our Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, namely, we are "one nation, under God." Words from Scripture should be viewed by them IF they are serious about their proclamations and professions.

O LORD, who may abide in Your house? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with INTEGRITY, and WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS, And SPEAKS TRUTH in his heart. He does NOT SLANDER with his tongue... Psalm 15:1-3

LOYALTY and TRUTH preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by RIGHTEOUSNESS .... Proverbs 20:28

Somehow we need to return to our foundational principles and sift through the rhetoric and vain aspirations of those seeking a position of leadership. As we do this, we need to guard against cynicism and negativism. It would be regrettable if the public followed the lead of one prominent religious figure who believes it would be better for him to "sit out" this election process than to cast a ballot for one who falls short of his particular set of standards and principles. One has to ask whether or not this is responsible and representative of sound Biblical principle!

The follower of Jesus Christ is to always act responsibly and to seek to make a difference in all spheres of one's world. In the Church, as well as in our Culture, we can ill-afford to have mere spectators or disengaged people. If salt has lost its ability to season, then it is useless and should be disposed. If a light bulb no longer provides illumination, then it should be removed from the socket and cast aside.

At the very least, we need godly people to be concerned, interested, committed to prayer, and reasonably involved. It is important. You DO make a difference - either by your action or inaction. The Church limps when its people are less than faithful and involved. The culture slips into a "least common denominator" mentality when those who have been directed to be salt and light no longer are engaged in that responsibility.

Think about it....

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I was just thinking about - - - -

The old saying - "talk is cheap" - is no longer the case. Politicians are raising millions of dollars to advertise and to get their point of view across. Of course, we have seen nearly all of the current contenders for President forced into redefining their message. It reminds o
ne of the chameleon who has the ability to change according to its circumstance and environment. Any thinking person should know when the attempt is being made to either fabricate one's position or to dupe those whose votes are being sought. It reminds one of another old saying: "Promises, promises - always promises." When one candidate allowed in a Michigan speech that the "car manufacturing jobs are not coming back", he was vilified by another contender (who himself knows that statement is true).

It's obvious that something is wrong in our nation - just as something is wro
ng with the inserted picture. However, if one listens to the reflections and opinions of Focus Groups following a particular debate, it is appalling to realize that in our sophisticated society - brainwashing - seems to be a real possibility. One is being given the sense that other politicians are what's wrong, and the obvious becomes obscured.

e years ago, the father of one of the current contenders held some advantage in the developing polling - UNTIL - he made a statement to the effect that he had been "brainwashed" in terms of the information shared with him about Viet Nam. He quickly plummeted and soon was no longer a viable candidate.

Have we become so gullible that we actually believe the current crop of political aspirants will actually do all of what they are espousing? And if they were able, do we really believe we would be better off as a result? And what about the tax issue, do we really want to get into class warfare by taking from the achievers and giving it to the non-achievers? A Biblical principle is [2 Thessalonians 3:10-11]:

Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule: "Whoever does not work should not eat." Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people's business.
However, our politicians are proponents for taxing the rich and confiscating corporate profits to fund programs for the non-productive; the illegal aliens; the welfare-oriented; the lowly motivated. Why can't we have some political visionary come forward with an inspiring message and programs to motivate the non-achiever so he/she will desire to escape the present circumstance and progress toward a more self-sufficient and self-sustaining lifestyle? Is it too much to ask and expect people to aspire to be better. One politician speaks of coming from a home where his father was a mill-worker and he was the first to attend college, etc. What motivated him to escape the "mill-worker-mentality" to become a lawyer who now has a multi-million-dollar savings account?

Another of the Biblical principles is the area of encouragement [1 Thessalonians 5:11-15]:
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing...we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
The commitment to integrity is daunting - but - vital! One can only pray and hope there will be a non-bloviating candidate in the shadows who will step forward into the light and speak the truth, only the truth, so help him/her God!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I was just thinking about - - - -

Most of the detail of one's life is lived subjectively....
GOOD FEELING flows from good things that have occurred within a given period of time...
HAPPINESS flows from the positive circumstances that have come one's way throughout a day or lifetime...
SADNESS flows from the construed negatives that one feels...
DISAPPOINTMENT flows from one's expectations for a result not happening as anticipated.
All one has to do is to look at the political landscape and feel the pulse of politicians and campaigns. It's easy to understand how one would be disappointed and sad if millions of dollars were spent for a positive result - and - it was negative instead. Regardless of how big a smile is displayed, and no matter how clever the "spin" is phrased - it cannot mask the underlying humanity of the candidate and the inherent desire to win - whereas one has to endure rejection and disappointment.

Another disappointment is the several candidates who receive low, single-digit support. They tend to clutter the landscape and distract from the real choices that should be made when consideration is being given to the direction of our nation.

We hear some speak of withdrawing the military from combat as quickly as one can - IF ELECTED! Some espouse increasing taxes! Others speak of universal health-care. Some have a soft approach on immigration and would grant illegal immigrants social services and Medicare coverage, etc. As we listen to the rhetoric, it's easy to see where choices should be made in terms of the candidates seeking office, and why the public is becoming increasingly disappointed with many of the candidates.

One area that should always have priority is in terms of the core values and principles that are important to a candidate and are allowed to govern the candidates thought-process and actions. Some might call this predictable behavior, while others would see it as dependability and knowing where one will lead this nation.

Having a person of faith as a candidate has considerable merit. A candidate who embraces Proverbs 14:34 would be a wise choice for office, namely:
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." We need a leader with courage, integrity, fortitude, conviction, principle, determination, and with a focus on the positives and values that will keep our nation from decline.

The truth - there is much room for DISAPPOINTMENT with many of the candidates and their lack of commitment to core values and sound principles. The way they speak and conduct their lives is almost like throwing darts in the darkness with the hope that one will hit the Target. Some are guilty of speaking until they can think of something to say.

There is still very good reason why this nation should seek the Lord. Obviously, we have proven how adrift we are since we started to ignore Him in the public and market places of our land. There is still time to respond to II Chronicles 7:13-15,
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

As this day unfolds, the Iowa Caucuses will take place and the preferences of possibly 300,000 people will be recorded and known. Whether or not that will make a statement about the political bent of the nation remains to be seen. The overall concern is in terms of what each candidate is bringing to the table and whether or not the many promises made can develop into actualities. The typical Iowa Caucus-goer is alleged to be more knowledgeable and sophisticated than many other primary voters but they will have to make a choice based on what each candidate has stated. The bottom line is IF any of the promises will ever become realities, or will these empty and hollow statements, aimed at saying what people want to hear, only breed more cynicism down the road.

The other concern is the "Class" approach of some of the candidates. One used to speak of the Two-Americas (Those who have and Those who don't); another touts ideas that admittedly our government cannot afford (Medical Care for everyone; Educational Grants for all the poor; Special Considerations for the Immigrants - legal and otherwise; etc.). There is an almost sadistic approach that goes on. Those making the promises are trying to gain advantage by securing more votes. And - who are the subjects of that appeal? The gullible; the poor; the disenfranchised; the ignorant; the Illegals; etc.

The further concern is that some guileless politicians make their appeal through various churches in our country - some talking the talk to gain the vote, but surely not walking the walk - just using people as a means to an end.

There are fascinating words by and about Jesus Christ recorded in Luke 4:17-22,
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth...
The adage speaks directly when it states: "Actions Speak Louder Than Words." There is a slight variation of that thought in the words, "What you are speaks so loud, I can't hear what you say." And one other thought: "The hollow log always makes the most noise." The poor, disenfranchised, gullible or ignorant often grasp for the political rhetoric as their "hope" and "way out" of their circumstance or consequence - and too often, they are disappointed once again.

The challenge should be to return to the basics of educational standards and requirements; a work ethic rather than government give-away programs; etc. Newt Gingrich has developed a Platform of the American People. It can be viewed at:

The statement is as valid today as when it was first uttered: "To whom much has been given, much shall be required." We need to be wise and compassionate and committed to making a positive difference in our culture and world.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ignorance Is Expensive

I was just thinking about - - -

Cliches are often used to express a pithy comment about life and culture. There have been several stated in terms of Ignorance and Intellectualism. Among them are the suggestions submitted by The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, namely:
"Not knowing something is often more comfortable than knowing it." This proverb resembles: "What you don't know cannot hurt you." It figures in a passage from On A Distant Prospect of Eton College by the 18th century poet Thomas Gray: "Where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise."
But the question presents itself, Is Ignorance truly Bliss? Is absence of knowledge to be preferred? Is the proverbial "well-rounded education" something to be avoided at all costs?

In our world, there have been tremendous advances in intellectual matters. Since World War II, there seems to be an acceleration in the areas of science and technology. It is becoming more obvious that more attention must be given in the areas of science and mathematics. Avoidance of education and sound basic learning is to our own peril.

When Nebuchadnezzar was expanding the Kingdom of Babylon and Israel (Judah) was the next nation seized for captivity, he had a basic requirement. In Daniel 1:3-4,
Then the king bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah's royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men...Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good sense, and have the poise needed to serve in the royal palace. Teach these young men the language and literature of the Babylonians.
There are some very interesting Scriptures in wisdom literature regarding the benefit of knowledge. Among them are:
Proverbs 12:23
Wise people don't make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their folly.

Proverbs 19:27
If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you have turned your back on knowledge.

Proverbs 24:5

A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge is more powerful than a strong man.

All of us have heard statements that have brought a smile, such as: "Don't confuse me with the facts." Most have also smiled at the all-too-put-down statements about "dumb blonds".

The words of wisdom in Proverbs 14:6-9 are a sound alert:
A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge comes easily to those with understanding. Stay away from fools, for you won't find knowledge there. The wise look ahead to see what is coming, but fools deceive themselves. Fools make a mock of sin, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.
There is no reason why ignorance should continue in our nation. There are considerable institutions and resources available to all who desire to learn. However, there must be a desire and discipline if one is to learn practical and useful wisdom.

There needs to be a lifelong commitment to learning. In learning, one must do it objectively and reflectively. You are not a sponge that should absorb every idea that comes your way. You should take a postulate and examine it in light of other discourse and study on that particular subject before drawing an absolute conclusion. The basic fact is you cannot be lazy and a learner at the same time. Study is work! But the one who is disciplined to study will have an inner-satisfaction and be rewarded accordingly. If the generalization that one uses less than 10% of one's brain, then we have a large capacity (shall we call it a void?) that can be filled with logical conclusions and sound principles for life.

The Apostle Paul challenged the younger Timothy in this area of learning. He stated in 2 Timothy 2:15-17,
Be diligent (study) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babbling, for it will increase to more ungodliness. And it's message will spread like cancer...
Let this desire to learn be one resolution that is pursued with determination throughout this year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 - and - Possibilities

I was just thinking about - - -

So many well-intentioned individuals view the start of a New Year as an occasion for turning the page and getting off to a new start - a list of resolutions, if you please. We have all done that in terms of personal goals and things we hope can be accomplished in our lives.

Some of my thoughts in terms of possibilities are - - -

In an election year - - -
Is it possible to elect representatives and a President who will embrace all people in our country as those who are "one nation under God"?
Is it possible for our elected officials to set aside partisanship and work together for the better good of our nation and world?
Is it possible for the words of the song: "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin in me" to become a reality more immediately?
Is it possible for genuine compassion and mercy toward others to be the practice within our homes, communities, states, and nation - and the impact by extension to other places in our world?
Is it possible for our culture to regain the work ethic and to take pride in accomplishment and quality performance?
Is it possible for integrity and truth to be evidenced in all relationships and transactions?
Is it possible for cynicism to be eradicated and trust in our fellowman to return?
A song taught in Sunday School over the years is:
I am a promise. I am a possibility.
I am a promise with a capital "P".
I am great big bundle of potentiality.
And I am learning to hear God's voice, and
I am trying to make the right choices
I will promise to be anything He wants me to be.
I can go anywhere that He wants me to go.
I can be anything that He wants me to be.
For I'm a great big bundle of Potentiality.
Two other thoughts in contemplation of a New Year - - -
Helen Keller lost her sight at 19 months of age. A reporter once asked Miss Keller, “Is there anything worse than being blind?” “Yes,” she said, “It is to have sight and no vision.”
The other thought pertains to the miracle of the Birth of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Luke 1:34-37, we read this exchange between the Angel Gabriel and The Virgin Mary - - -
Mary asked the angel, "But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin." The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What's more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she's already in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
Those last words are most significant: "...NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE with God." If we are to proceed as "one nation, under God", and if we are willing to commit ourselves to place our TRUST IN GOD - what seems unlikely will be likely; what seems impossible will be possible; that we maintain a vision for what is possible!

Robert F. Kennedy was noted for his inspirational quotes. One that was not original with him but resonated nevertheless was: "The difficult things we do immediately; the impossible things take a while longer."

I wonder what we will do with our possibilities this year! Will we squander them, or will they be stepping stones to success and more meaningful inter-personal relationships?