Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once In A Blue Moon

From My Perspective - - -

This New Year’s Eve there will be some reference and discussion that there is a “Blue Moon”. The English language uses many figures of speech and idioms in general discourse. To define an idiom is almost as vague as the idiom itself. In an illustration on Dictionary.Com, we find this attempt at definition: “A style or manner of expression peculiar to a given people: ‘Also important is the uneasiness I've always felt at cutting myself off from my idiom, the American habits of speech and jest and reaction, all of them entirely different from the local variety’ (S.J. Perelman).”

What is a Blue Moon? What does the expression – Once In A Blue Moon – mean? Is there any significance to a Blue Moon? Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers wrote the words and music to the song – Blue Moon – in 1934. Do their lyrics give any definition or deeper understanding of the expression? They wrote:
Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone, Without a dream in my heart,
Without a love of my own,
Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for,
You heard me saying a prayer for,
Someone I could care for,
And then there suddenly appeared before me,
Someone my arms could really hold,
I heard you whisper "Darling please adore me,"
And when I looked to the moon it had turned to gold,
Blue moon, now I'm no longer alone, Without a dream in my heart,
Without a love of my own.

What is a “Blue Moon” and why does something occur “Once In A Blue Moon”? Wikipedia echoes the general conclusions regarding the Blue Moon: “A Blue Moon is a full moon that is not timed to the regular monthly pattern. Most years have twelve full moons which occur approximately monthly, but in addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each solar calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days compared to the lunar year. The extra days accumulate, so that every two or three years (on average about every 2.7154 years), there is an extra full moon. The extra moon is called a "Blue Moon”. Different definitions place the "extra" moon at different times. The term "Blue Moon" is commonly used metaphorically to describe the rarity of an event, as in the idiomatic expression, ‘Once In A Blue Moon’." In the news this morning, an article cleverly utilizes a play on words when it states: “Once In A Blue Moon there is one on New Year's Eve. Revelers ringing in 2010 will be treated to a so-called “Blue Moon”. According to popular definition, a “Blue Moon” is the second full moon in a month. But don't expect it to be blue - the name has nothing to do with the color of our closest celestial neighbor. A full moon occurred on Dec. 2. It will appear again on Thursday in time for the New Year's countdown…” The reference is more to the rarity of the occurrence and has no other meaningful significance.

Biblical Idioms (or Hebraisms) require more study and understanding than they are normally given. A couple of examples are: “The terms "destroy" and "fulfill" (I have not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it) from Matthew 5:17-18. These are part of rabbinical argumentation. When it was felt that a sage had misinterpreted a passage, it was said he had "destroyed" the Torah. When it was felt he had interpreted correctly, it was said he had "fulfilled" it. In light of this, paraphrase of these verses could be, "I have not come to abolish the Torah, but to complete it - to make the meaning full" – Jesus did not come to abolish, but to make full the meaning of what Torah and the ethical demands of the Prophets require. This in no way contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture that we "are saved by grace alone, not works, lest any man should boast." Words and phrases found in Mark 10:38 - "Drink the cup I drink" which is a Jewish expression that means to share someone's fate; John 9:24 "Give glory to God" which comes from Joshua 7:19 and is a solemn charge, a promise under oath to tell the truth; Acts 28:27 "they hear heavily with their ears" which means they are slow to understand.” Once In A Blue Moon is fanciful and maybe romantic; understanding Biblical narrative and intent is practical and vital. Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When Right Side Up Is Upside Down

From My Perspective - - -

Let’s have a Celebration - - A Party! Print More Money! Let’s join the hollow chorus of Happy New Year! What a year 2009 has been! Stimulus Packages! Corporate Takeovers! Bank Failures! Home Foreclosures! Ongoing Wars and Mounting Tensions! Nuclear Capability of Unstable Governments! Economic Uncertainty! Apparent Shift from Capitalism to Socialism! We voted for Change and Change we are getting! If it fails – blame George Bush! If it succeeds – well – we’ll just have to wait until that happens. 2010 is going to be a super year when everything falls into place and millions of jobs are created.

Meanwhile – since a Terrorist without a Passport got on an Airliner with Explosives in his under-shorts – now the demand is for equipment to do nude searches. That’s what needs to be done – inconvenience, humiliate, delay the law abiding citizen – but – let’s not profile a terrorist from Yemen! Don’t demand a Passport from him! He deserves rights! Give him a lawyer! Read him his rights! Make certain he gets returned to his native country so he can assist in the training of future terrorists. Don’t put him in Gitmo as a military combatant! That’s a George Bush tactic! Let’s not be cynical but believe in this country and its leaders!

A friend included the following in his Christmas letter. He is a widower – age 93. He writes:

Some may shrug this off as they do most things in life! That’s part of the Culture and Lifestyle that has become the comfort zone in this nation. Priorities are upside down! With all the unemployment and hunger around us, thousands of people will spend thousands of dollars to go to College Football Bowl Games! Some will spend what they don’t have for this momentary time of pleasure. Edward Gibbon writing about The Decline of The Roman Empire: “…placed the blame on a loss of civic virtue among the Roman citizens. They gradually entrusted the role of defending the Empire to barbarian mercenaries who eventually turned on them. He considered that Christianity had contributed to this, making the populace less interested in the worldly here-and-now and more willing to wait for the rewards of heaven. The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight…” Can it happen in our nation? Is it happening before our eyes? Look! See! Comprehend! Consider these things with me!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

All I Want For Christmas Is. . .

From My Perspective - - -

A novelty song written in 1944 by Donald Gardner is: “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.” While teaching music at public schools in Smithtown, NY he asked his second grade class what they wanted for Christmas, and noticed that almost all of the students had at least one front tooth missing as they answered in a lisp. He penned the lyric during class with a simple melody and words of the verse and chorus:

Every body Pauses and stares at me
These two teeth are gone as you can see
I don't know just who to blame for this catastrophe!
But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be!

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth, see my two front teeth!
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you "Merry Christmas."

That seems almost trite in the times in which we now live. Life has gotten very complex and the expectation of children and adults is for bigger and more expensive toys and things. While the Marketers look at the level of sales and how they compare with previous years, the prudent should be concerned with the level of debt and the bottom line cost involved in purchases made and the months of paying for the same.

A Financial Guru, Dave Ramsey shares that which made a difference in his life – after he had amassed a small fortune, only to have to declare bankruptcy – was Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Very interestingly, as one becomes indebted for the wants and needs of ones children, the verse that precedes it is – Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” How are we training the children in terms of financial responsibility and measuring costs, etc.?

The other part to this is the function of an item. A household recently looking for a new Crock Pot found the exact one wanted on EBay for the price of $70.00 plus $17.95 for Shipping and Insurance. The local Wal-Mart had an assortment of Crock Pots. One was on a sale price of $17.00 plus 9 percent sales Tax. The shipping price alone on EBay was more than the sale price locally. While the EBay product was fancier – more bells and whistles – the function of both Crock Pots is the same. It is a case of living within ones means and being frugal rather than lavish. In turn, it leaves an amount that can be shared with the needy who would appreciate some menial basics of life – food, clothing, warmth, compassion.

Dave Ramsey has an interesting illustration regarding how one can become a millionaire. The average Car Payment in this country is $464.00 per month. He argues that if that amount was paid into a savings investment instrument for 40 years, the Balance at the end of 40 years would be 5.6 Million Dollars. It’s a case of Diligence, Discipline, and Priority. And – its always done with Proverbs 22:7 in mind: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Another part to this consideration is attached to a beautiful model – God’s Gift of His Son to the World. The Angel Choir sang is Luke 2:14 (ESV),
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
May each of you have a very Merry Christmas – especially as you celebrate the Reason for the Season – namely, The Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. He would welcome a gift from you – your life and commitment to Him and His Gospel. Consider these things with me!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Feckless And-Or Reckless

From My Perspective - - -

A Collision Course should always be avoided. The Decisions of life can bring one to the brink or precipice of a disastrous result if ones current course is pursued to either its logical or unknown end. A good rule of thumb is: “If in Doubt – Don’t!” If one has Doubts or some Reasonable Expectation of a Negative Result, then to proceed would prove to be either Feckless And-Or Reckless. Something or Someone considered “feckless” means: “lacking in purpose or vitality; feeble or ineffective; careless and irresponsible. ineffective; incompetent; futile; having no sense of responsibility; indifferent; lazy.” In other words, it means a dangerous and hazardous direction that will more than likely have disaster attached to it! To be “reckless” means: “utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless.” The Synonyms are: “rash, heedless, incautious, negligent, imprudent; careless; headstrong; rash.” Different ones have offered explanation for these synonyms: “These adjectives mean given to or marked by unthinking boldness. Reckless suggests wild carelessness and disregard for consequences (Getrude Atherton). Rash implies haste, impetuousness, and insufficient consideration: Take calculated risks.That is quite different from being rash. (George Patton). Precipitate connotes headlong haste without due deliberation. (James Boswell). Foolhardy implies injudicious or imprudent boldness…(Edgar Rice Burroughs).”

Two Headlines from yesterday’s news illustrate this concern and consideration. The Associated Press Headline is: Obama Hails 60th Senate Vote For Health Care. The Reporter, David Espo writes: “Jubilant Democrats locked in Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson as the 60th and decisive vote for historic health care legislation, putting President Barack Obama's signature issue firmly on a path for Christmas Eve passage. At the White House, Obama swiftly welcomed the breakthrough, saying, after a nearly century-long struggle, we are on the cusp of making health care reform a reality in the United States of America…” The second headline from a Chinese News Service Headlines: Harder To Buy US Treasuries. The report includes; “It is getting harder for governments to buy United States Treasuries because the US's shrinking current-account gap is reducing supply of dollars overseas…The comments by Zhu Min, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, referred to the overall situation globally, not specifically to China, the biggest foreign holder of US government bonds. Chinese officials generally are very careful about commenting on the dollar and Treasuries, given that so much of its US $2.3 trillion reserves are tied to their value, and markets always watch any such comments closely for signs of any shift in how it manages its assets… In a discussion on the global role of the dollar, Zhu told an academic audience that it was inevitable that the dollar would continue to fall in value because Washington continued to issue more Treasuries to finance its deficit spending. He then addressed where demand for that debt would come from: The United States cannot force foreign governments to increase their holdings of Treasuries…Double the holdings? It is definitely impossible. The US current account deficit is falling as residents' savings increase, so its trade turnover is falling, which means the US is supplying fewer dollars to the rest of the world…The world does not have so much money to buy more US Treasuries."

President Obama used this phrase: “…we are on the cusp of making health care reform a reality…” What is a “cusp”? it means: “A point or pointed end…a transitional point or time…” His intent is obvious – but – what about a possible Eternal Perspective? Matthew 24:37-39 references a “cusp”, of sorts, in the day of Noah: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” They lived Fecklessly and Recklessly. In Matthew 24:44, Jesus warns and cautions: “…you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” A Feckless and-or Reckless person will slough this off – which is also the consequence of failure to face the inevitable of the present national situation. A person or nation should never spend what it doesn’t have to get what it cannot afford. To do so is Feckless and Reckless! Consider these things with me!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Syncopated Life

From My Perspective - - -

Syncopation addresses the metrical variances within a musical score. The Encyclopedia Britannica has this notation about Syncopation: “in music, the displacement of regular accents associated with given metrical patterns, resulting in a disruption of the listener's expectations and the arousal of a desire for the reestablishment of metric normality…” Years ago, a popular melody was: The Syncopated Clock. The way it was scored made it pleasant to hear for a short period of time. The narrow definition for Syncopation is: “a shifting of the normal accent, usually by stressing the normally unaccented beats; the use of rhetorical stress at variance with the metrical stress of a line of verse.” Basically, the normal flow, beat and tempo has been altered and the chords and musical tones become detached from each other.

Allowing an extended application of Musical Syncopation to life, one can readily observe that the normal ebb and flow of life for many has become syncopated at best, and discordant at worst. This Christmas Season is different for many. In one County in Alabama, more than 25% of the people are unemployed and the prospect for those individuals and families is bleak. When industries shut down and have no plan to start back up again – that is dismal and disruptive. As the National unemployment figure moves above 10% (more like 17% if those who have given up looking for employment are included), hope is replaced with despair, and gifts become unaffordable! On top of this syncopation in life, an Associated Press Headline is: “NEW CREDIT CARD HAS 79.9% INTEREST RATE.” The report states: “It's no mistake. This credit card's interest rate is 79.9 percent. The bloated APR is how First Premier Bank, a sub-prime credit card issuer, is skirting new regulations intended to curb abusive practices in the industry…Typically, the First Premier card comes with a minimum of $256 in fees in the first year for a credit line of $250. Starting in February, however, a new law will cap such fees at 25 percent of a card's credit line. In a recent mailing for a pre-approved card, First Premier lowers fees to just that limit -- $75 in the first year for a credit line of $300. But the new law doesn't set a cap on interest rates. Hence the 79.9 APR, up from the previous 9.9 percent. It's the highest on the market. First Premier targets people with bad credit who likely can't get approved for cards elsewhere. It's a group that tends to lean heavily on credit too, meaning they'll likely incur the steep financing charges. So for a $300 balance, a cardholder would pay about $20 a month in interest. In a mailing sent to prospective customers in October with the revamped terms, First Premier writes: " might have less-than-perfect credit and we're OK with that." The letter also states there are no hidden fees that aren't disclosed in the attached form. That's where the 79.9 percent interest rate and $75 annual fee are listed. There's also $29 penalty if you pay late or go over your $300 credit limit.”

Some desperate people may accept that risk and pay those fees – just to have something special for Christmas. Admittedly, this nation is far from being a Theocracy. However, God’s Rules and Principles for those who are coping with a Syncopated Life are applicable – especially with this new approach of sub-prime lending. In Exodus 22:22-27 is a Biblical Law about Usury: “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child…If you lend money to any of My people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him. If ever you take your neighbor's cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.” A summary regarding Usury is given in Proverbs 28:8, “Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.” Another interesting statement is made in Ezekiel 22:12-13, “…they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but Me you have forgotten, declares the Lord GOD. Behold, I strike My hand at the dishonest gain that you have made…” In whatever way we can, try to look kindly on those whose Syncopated Lives leave them vulnerable, helpless and hopeless. Try to make a difference in the name of the God Who gave us His Only-Begotten Son one Christmas many years ago. Consider these things with me!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tiny Tim Trait

From My Perspective - - -

Colloquialisms (characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal) are an integral part of the English Language. Idioms and Nuances abound in it. Phrases such as “Hell Hath No Fury…” and/or “Heaven Help Us…” and/or ”Outside The Box…” and/or :Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone…” are employed as a response or an interjection and may have no immediate application to the subject being considered. Some Colloquialisms appear in the Charles Dickens Classic: A Christmas Carol.

Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the principle characters. A Christmas Carol (see Wikipedia) is “…about miserly, cold, unfeeling, old and curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge and his secular conversion and redemption after being visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve.” The story also includes reference to: Bob Cratchit who is …the abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge… In the story, Cratchit is seen at work, where he copies letters by hand in an under-heated dismal little cell…and in his small…home with his large family on the following Christmas Day and a future one, gatherings which Scrooge visits invisibly with the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, respectively. Cratchit is repeatedly described as little, and clothes himself in a tattered white comforter, not being able to afford a coat. Though Cratchit is treated poorly by Scrooge…he is not given wages enough to feed his family a proper Christmas dinner, he remains loyal to his employer, even in face of the protestations of his wife. It is partly through concern for the plight of Cratchit's youngest son, the frail and crippled Tiny Tim, that Scrooge makes the transformation from miser to philanthropist, offering Cratchit a raise and discussion of his affairs.”

Tiny Tim is a cheerful child in spite of his frailty and physical limitations. When Scrooge is visited by The Ghost of Christmas Present he is shown just how ill Tim really is, and that Tim will die unless he receives treatment. When visited by The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come all he sees of Tim is his crutch, as Tim has died. This, and several other visions, lead Scrooge to reform his ways. At the end of the story, Dickens makes it explicit that Tim did not die…” As the Book closes, one becomes aware of the Tiny Tim Trait when he cries "God Bless Us, Every One!" Yes, indeed – God Bless Us Everyone – more than a colloquialism – one that could be a recognition or prayer: God Bless Us Everyone!

What if you decided to “live outside the box” this Christmas and instead of lavishing gifts upon ourselves or our children, we thought of the poor in the world and practical ways by which we could alleviate their burden of wants, hunger, poverty - - - World Vision shares a very Innovative and Useful Idea for meeting the Food Needs of a growing number of people in the world was this year’s goal. Some gift ideas are on:, or you can write: World Vision; PO Box 70359; Tacoma, WA 98481-0359
As A Family, you could share in the practical provision for different ones by giving a gift for…
A Pair of Chickens - $ 25.00
A Sheep - $105.00
A Dairy Cow - $500.00
A Goat - $ 75.00
A Pair of Goats - $150.00
5 Ducks - $ 30.00
1 Family Fishing Kit - $ 40.00

6 Rabbits - $ 96.00
1 Pig - $195.00
A Donkey - $225.00
2 Oxen and Plow - $575.00
To Dig & Stock A Fish Pond - $200.00
In James 1:27, we are told: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…” The Message translates this verse: “Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” Embrace and Employ the Tiny Tim Trait – “God Bless Us Everyone” – and - Pray for the Orphans Widows & Hungry in our World… From our Surplus we can Sacrifice to meaningfully and creatively help others to have a Merry Christmas. Consider these things with me!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Merry-Something-Day

From My Perspective - - -

One of America's best known poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), contributed to the wealth of carols sung each Christmas season, when he composed the words to "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" on December 25th 1864. The carol was originally a poem, "Christmas Bells," containing seven stanzas. Two stanzas were omitted, which contained references to the American Civil War, thus giving us the carol in its present form. The poem gave birth to the carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” When Longfellow penned the words to his poem, America was still months away from Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9th 1865; and, his poem reflected the prior years of the war's despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace. As with any composition that touches the heart of the hearer, it flowed from the experience of Longfellow involving the tragic death of his wife Fanny and the crippling injury of his son Charles from war wounds. Tragedy struck both the nation and the Longfellow family in 1861. Confederate Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard fired the opening salvos of the American Civil War on April 12th… Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a Lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded with a bullet passing under his shoulder blades and taking off one of the spinal processes. On Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, "Christmas Bells." Some of the words of his poem are:
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

We’ve come a long way in our nation, culture and society. The demands of Political Correctness demand that we have Holiday Trees and Cards rather than using the word Christmas. The expression: “Merry Christmas” is now set aside for “Happy Holidays”! The deliberate effort to remove any reference to Christ and His Birth has gained momentum during the past few years. It should come as no surprise that - On December 09, 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported: “President Barack Obama and first lady send out holiday cards marked - Season's Greetings.” The Reporter, Katherine Skiba writes: “President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have chosen an elegant greeting card that announces to recipients: Season's Greetings.” The message in the card is: "May your family have a joyous holiday season and a new year blessed with hope and happiness…” The cover, which is cream-colored with a thin maroon border, depicts a gold wreath encircling a gold presidential coat of arms. The tradition of presidents sending Christmas cards dates to Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. The Obama’s selection, though, makes no mention of "Christmas." Nor does it feature a biblical passage (as favored by George W. and Laura Bush) or an artistic rendering of a room in the White House (often the case under Bill and Hillary Clinton).” In fairness, the Polls indicate this country is predominantly a “Christian Nation.” If so, where is the voice and outrage of the so-called Christian people?

It should not surprise one that in order to adequately announce the Birth of Christ, Luke 2:8-14 states: “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" If you are a “Christian”, this is to be both your identity and message. Don’t blame the culture, society or nation. Look in the mirror and ask yourself how much you really believe the Christmas reality and message. Consider these things with me!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Drifting Toward Demoralization

From My Perspective - - -

Earlier this year, March 15, 2009, The Wall Street Journal raised this thought and question: "In ATLAS SHRUGGED, Rand tells the story of the U.S. economy crumbling under the weight of crushing government interventions and regulations. Meanwhile, blaming greed and the free market, Washington responds with more controls that only deepen the crisis…" The summary concludes with this question: "Is Rand Relevant?"

John Stossel recently left the ABC Network and affiliated with Fox Business News. His first program will be on Rand’s Book, ATLAS SHRUGGED. His reason is: “I reread the novel recently and was stunned. It was as if Rand had seen the future. Writing half a century ago, she predicted today's explosion of big government in shockingly accurate detail - The "Preservation of Livelihood Law." The "Equalization of Opportunity Law." The "Steel Unification Plan." Don't these sound like laws passed by the current Congress? All were creations of Rand's villain, Wesley Mouch, the evil bureaucrat who regulates business and eventually drives the productive people out of business. Who is today's Wesley Mouch? Barney Frank? Chris Dodd? Tim Geithner?” The Library of Congress once asked readers which books made the biggest difference in their lives. ATLAS SHRUGGED came in second, after the Bible. Atlas is still a big bestseller today. This year, it reached as high as No. 15 on Amazon's bestseller list. Clearly there's some magic in ATLAS SHRUGGED. Yet elites and the MSM hate Ayn Rand. When Atlas first came out, The New York Times wrote that the book is written out of hate. College women's studies courses rarely mention her. One professor says her department head asked: Why would you study that fascist?”

Stossel continues: “Why such antipathy? Rand celebrates business and free markets. The elites don't like business. In every newsroom where I've worked, and at my college, Princeton, capitalism was derided as selfishness. And lately, as a failure. On one website, someone wrote: "You'd think it was a joke, when the global economy was collapsing because of greed, that anyone might turn seriously to the purple prose of crypto-fascist (!) Ayn Rand and think it was the answer to anything" ( Well, I, for one, think her prose answers much. The embrace of freer markets has lifted more people out of the misery of poverty than any other system -- ever. The World Bank says that in just the last 30 years, half a billion people who once lived on less than $1.25 a day have moved out of poverty. But now, Wesley Mouch -- I mean, Congress and the bureaucrats -- tell us they are going to "fix" capitalism, as if their previous "fixes" didn't hamstring the free market and create the problems they propose to solve. Who are they kidding? Rand had it right. She learned it the hard way in Soviet Russia. What makes a country work is leaving people free -- free to take risks, to invent things -- and to keep the rewards of their work. Critics say Ayn Rand promotes selfishness. I call it "enlightened self interest." When free people act in their own self-interest, society prospers.”

Someone wrote the following and stated it well: “The Word of God reveals three specific responsibilities that God has in connection with work: 1. God Gives Talents And Skills. “Every skillful person in whom the Lord has put a skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work”- Exodus 36:1. 2. God Gives Success. “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man” - Genesis 39:2. 3. God Controls Promotion. “God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another” - Psalm 75:7. In the New Testament, Paul was direct concerning work: “If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God's Word implies that there is dignity in all types of work.” Some things inferred by Rand’s approach may include: (a) the loss of creativity in industry; (b) the diminishing of quality in production; (c) the loss of incentive to invent and invest. In other words – demoralization sets in and antipathy becomes a reality. The work ethic should remain constant for the avowed Christian – whether during oppression, recession, depression, or other hardships – one’s work ethic and effort should always be to please the Lord. Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Copenhagen Contagion

From My Perspective - - -

Does Copenhagen have any other implication beside Global Warming Concerns? Is Global Warming fiction or non-fiction? Are the claims more factual or more mythical? Is Global Warming a pandemic in the making? Contagion usually refers to the spread of infections and disease. One of the possible definitions adds the following: Contagion is “…the ready transmission or spread as of an idea or emotion from person to person.” Can or will this spread into other areas? There is the possibility of this being one part of the overall redistribution of wealth and the further weakening of capitalism in our nation. Why is that no one is calculating the overall cost to our nation, as well as the handicap it will be for the economy, as well as the defense of the nation?

An article by John Guerrerio was published in the Energy Examiner on September 2nd and raised a question: “How Much Will A Deal In Copenhagen Cost?” He writes: “…details concerning individual nations' needs are surfacing that are creating alarm. The dollar figures would be digestible if they were a one-time lump sum payment, but the figures being reported to be paid on an annual basis to 'developing nations' makes a deal in Copenhagen…highly unlikely. For starters, developing nations are requesting "between $500 billion and $600 billion every year for the next 10 years to allow them to grow using renewable energy resources, instead of relying on dirty fuels that worsen global warming"…Included in these figures are the costs associated with helping China, India, Africa, and Central and South America build out their energy infrastructure with renewable sources…The Financial Times reports that "the cost of reducing China’s total greenhouse gas emissions is likely to reach $438 billion per year within 20 years, and developed economies will have to bear much of that cost, according to a group of Beijing’s leading climate economists"…

An anomaly (deviation or departure from the normal or common order, form, or rule; an incongruity or inconsistency) is the decision by the United States to eliminate the nations’ coal reserves while “…China goes out and buys all of the coal, oil, and natural gas it can find with its own money, and then relies on the U.S. and other industrialized countries to build the infrastructure for its backup plan…China seems set on playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the U.S., manipulating the system for every last penny. Additionally, while a vast number of Americans expect some sort of climate mitigation to come from the Copenhagen treaty, China's government moves independently from the will of its people. It seems completely acceptable to the Chinese government to poison its environment, pollute the atmosphere, and kill its own people (from pollution induced health problems) if the U.S. and other nations do not fork over the cash for a clean energy economy there. The way China is structuring its behavior up to the Copenhagen conference, it appears as though they are using the gathering as an opportunity to extort money from the global community. China knows they are the number one emitter now; by holding that fact over the world's collective head, they just may very well be able to get their money. It all depends on whether the rest of the world values the planet more than they do their money.”

The Climate Control Advocates are expecting a “total commitment” on the part of the 192 nations that have gathered in Copenhagen. A danger is that some of this news and debate will blur the need of the genuinely poor and needy in the nation and world. In Proverbs 19:15-17 are significant words:Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger…Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” When Peter was being sent to Cornelius (Acts 10:2, 31): His reputation was: “...He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly…continually…(An Angel said to him) Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.” It is obvious that our nation and its leaders need to be the object of our prayers. We need to be careful that cynicism does not cloud our thinking or blur our vision to genuine needs of the poor and other concerns. Don’t be discouraged – read the end of The Book (Revelation 22)! We Triumph In Christ! We Win! Consider these things with me!

Monday, December 7, 2009

If “I” Were King

From My Perspective - - -

The King and I is a musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II based on the book Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon. The plot comes from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who became school teacher to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. Wikipedia contains a good summary of this production: “The King is quite pleased with Anna’s teaching. His eldest son Prince Chulalongkorn has some concerns, however. The young prince asks his father when he will know he knows everything and thus be ready to rule. The King gives him hope, but when he is alone, reveals that he himself is troubled; he does not know how best to rule. In the meantime, Anna tells the children that she has grown to like them. Then she launches into a new lesson - geography - having just received a more accurate map from England. The new map shows Siam in its proper size in relation to other countries. She has to end her lesson prematurely, though, when Prince Chulalongkorn refuses to believe that Siam is so small and that there is such a substance as snow. His father rescues Anna by ordering the children to believe her.”

There is a death-bed scene when all of the King’s children are brought to the King. “Prince Chulalongkorn is a combination of his father’s self-assured leadership and his mother’s careful wisdom. Prince Chulalongkorn brings to Anna’s classroom a healthy skepticism and a junior version of his father’s arrogance. Prince Chulalongkorn bridles at the geography lesson which reveals Siam to be smaller than he’d thought, then rebels and refuses to believe in snow, turning the classroom to pandemonium until his father orders the children to believe the schoolteacher. While the king is dying, the young prince makes his first proclamations, one of which is to abolish the established tradition of bowing low to the ground ‘like a toad’; instead, he wants his people to show their respect with straight backs and a confident look in their eyes. His display of command and concern for his people demonstrate his readiness to rule as well as his successful assimilation of modern Western thought.”

It is always good to remember who and where one is in terms of position and responsibility. In the world of politics, too often one is subjected to the bellicosity so typical of the politician. There can be a fixation on: “If ‘I’ were King…” They become fixated on "I" rather than the people who elected them. Peggy Noonan points out in her column on Friday, December 4th regarding the President's address to the nation from West Point: “…there was too much "I" in the speech. George H.W. Bush famously took the word "I" out of his speeches - we called them "I-ectomies" - because of a horror of appearing to be calling attention to himself. Mr. Obama is plagued with no such fears. When “I” took office…”I” approved a long-standing request…After consultations with our allies “I” then…”I” set a goal. That's all from one paragraph. Further down he used the word "I" in three paragraphs an impressive 15 times. "I” believe “I” know, "I” have signed…"I” have read…"I” have visited. I, I—ay yi yi. This is a man badly in need of an "I"-ectomy. After the President announced his plan he seemed to slip in, After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home…Then came the reference to July 2011 as the date departure begins. It was startling to hear a compelling case for our presence followed so quickly by an abrupt announcement of our leaving. It sounded like a strategy based on the song Groucho Marx used to sing, "Hello, I must be going."

Interestingly, the issue with Lucifer prior to his being cast out of heaven by God, was his need for an “I”-ectomy. In Isaiah 14:12-15 the Prophet states: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star...How you are cut down to the ground...You who said in your heart, “I” will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God “I” will set my throne on high; “I” will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; “I” will ascend above the heights of the clouds; “I” will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.” The self-confident and self-assured should pay attention to the words of I Corinthians 10:12, “…let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” The Message takes some liberties with its translation but maintains the basic focus: “Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” Consider these things with me!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fungible Vacillation

From My Perspective - - -

Only one of despotic suasion (namely, one who is autocratic; a ruler with absolute power; a person who wields power oppressively; a tyrant) would have any affinity for war. There are those for whom War is a way of life. The entire fabric of their life is to conquer and control. However, there are those for whom War becomes a task of principle rather than power; right rather than might; removal of tyrants rather than becoming a replacement for them.

During the early days of World War II, Winston Churchill was elected to be the Prime Minister of Great Britain (1940). Germany and Adolph Hitler were in the beginning stages of what would lead into World War II. As he addressed Parliament, Churchill stated his commitment, and that of the nation, in terms of the oppression that would soon engulf Europe: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.”

There was no fungible vacillation in Churchill’s resolve or statement – “without victory there is no survival.” Fungible is: “being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind…” Vacillation is: “a state of indecision or irresolution; unsteady movement; fluctuation…” When Churchill spoke – he was clear, precise and forceful! Compare that to where we are today and the approach of our nation to the War in Afghanistan. In Der Spiegel Online International for December 03, 2009, a headline report is: Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic by Gabor Steingart. In the body of the article is this assessment: “Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America's new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric -- and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught. One can hardly blame the West Point leadership. The academy commanders did their best to ensure that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama's speech would be well-received. Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond ‘enthusiastically’ to the speech. But it didn't help: The soldiers' reception was cool. One didn't have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama's speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly. An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan -- and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war -- and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate…”

In I Corinthians 14:7-9, the importance of avoiding fungible vacillation is indicated in these words: “…in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air…” Speeches and Rhetoric have their place! An address can either inspire or discourage; be revelatory or cause bewilderment. One of the dangers of fungible vacillation is – it lacks vision and commitment to the goal of victory. In his speech to the nation at West Point, the President used “I” 43 times – but never once used the word - Victory”! Incredibly, we send troops into battle where some will die – and – they don’t know why they must face death. We no longer call it terror, and we no longer define the mission as achieving Victory. This is fungible vacillation. Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Unprecedented Incredulity

From My Perspective - - -

The English Language is both intriguing and complex. It is difficult to determine how many words are actually in use and available for use. “The Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries. Over half of these words are nouns, about a quarter adjectives, and about a seventh verbs; the rest is made up of interjections, conjunctions, prepositions, suffixes, etc. These figures take no account of entries with senses for different parts of speech (such as noun and adjective).”

Many people become comfortable with their list of favorite words and make use of them frequently in their “talking points” and conversations. It is almost robotic. Many who are interviewed become very predictable in their responses and use of language. The President is no exception. Politico and United Press International reported this past week the President will make use of the term “unprecedented” in almost every speech and regarding most of his proposed legislation. Since being sworn into office, he has used “unprecedented” 129 times in an effort to (a) demean the previous administration, and (b) emphasize his keen insight and resolve for the crises facing the nation. The problem with using the word “unprecedented” frequently is in terms of whether or not it is a credible use of the word. “Unprecedented” means: “without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled”! The UPI report includes: “Obama has relied on “unprecedented” in more than 90 instances, using the word at least 129 times in everything from major addresses to small speeches, statements, memorandums and proclamations. (Bush, by contrast, used the word 262 times over eight years.)”

UPI gives a partial list of President Obama’s usage of the word: “Obama has used “unprecedented” to describe his efforts on science research, his plan for the auto industry and his administration’s ethics, transparency and accountability guidelines. He has promised an “unprecedented commitment” to education, to developing clean energy and “to preserving America's treasured landscapes,” which, Obama has noted, have seen “unprecedented droughts” and “unprecedented wildfires” in the face of climate change. There has been “unprecedented consensus” on health care reform under Obama’s watch, as well as “the unprecedented intervention of the federal government to stabilize the financial markets” and an “unprecedented” bank review. His administration has also taken “unprecedented action to stem the spread of foreclosures,” Obama said, including the creation of “an unprecedented fund, in partnership with the Federal Reserve,” to get credit flowing.” This use of “unprecedented” is in fact “incredulous” (not credulous; disinclined or indisposed to believe; skeptical. indicating or showing unbelief).

MSNBC is conducting a Live Poll - - on whether or not “In God We Trust” should be removed as the motto of this nation. If you participate in the Poll, you will find that 89% of those Polled want to retain the Motto. It would truly be both “unprecedented” and “incredulous” for this nation to jettison itself away from the foundations of the nation. The Biblical record of Israel – the people of God – gives indication of the peril when a nation forgets or removes God from its way of life and consciousness. Some examples: Deuteronomy 10:21, "He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen.” Psalm 78:11, “They forgot His deeds And His miracles that He had shown them.” Psalm 106:7, “Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.” Psalm 106:13, “They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel.” The result was: (a) their loss of significance in the world; (b) their inability to confront and conquer their enemies; (c) a steady decline in their favor before God; (d) their being led off into captivity by pagan nations; (e) their servitude to all of what should have been foreign to them. Why? Because of their departure from Almighty God and His Ways! We should learn from these examples – but – we haven’t and give no indication that we will. This same plight can and will be ours unless and until we change our ways! Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Wheedle Or Not To Wheedle

From My Perspective - - -

Everyone has been exposed to one who wheedles. In the current debates and pending actions of The Congress and President – there is no short supply of wheedling. To Wheedle is: “to endeavor to influence (a person) by smooth, flattering, or beguiling words or acts; to obtain through the use of flattery or guile…” Some of the synonyms for wheedle allow for a broader sense of what the words and acts mean – words such as, “finagle, maneuver, seduce, lure, mislead…” Obviously, wheedling can become a lifestyle for some people.

One of the problems with a person who is characterized as one who wheedles is the entitlement expectation of such a person. He/She claims to have a right to certain privileges and benefits apart from any self-help effort. In the process, one of the things that is sacrificed is a spirit and expression of gratitude and Thanksgiving. An excellent Editorial Comment is made by Bill Shuler, pastor of Capital Life Church in Arlington, VA on FoxNews.Com. He wrote and stated the following - - - Our thanks are best found in our giving.
In 1621 Pilgrims joined together with Native American Indians on New England soil to enjoy a feast celebrating the Pilgrims very first harvest. Plymouth’s Governor, William Bradford, made provisions for a day of prayer and thanksgiving. The following are 10 thoughts on Thanksgiving:
1. Americans will consume over 45 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.
2. The average Thanksgiving meal will constitute between 2,400 and 4,500 calories.
3. The U.S. population will gain over 171 tons of weight this year.
4. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live them.” -- President John F. Kennedy
5. Many psychologists concur that being thankful is the healthiest of all emotions.
6. Being thankful is a key component of healthy relationships.
7. We should be thankful for what we already have before we ask for more.
8. Our thanks are best found in our giving.
9. The Scriptures encourage us to give thanks in all circumstances and not to forget all God’s benefits.
10. Being thankful aligns us for wholeness.
In 1789 General George Washington declared by proclamation: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection, aid and favors…Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be: that we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks for his kind care and protection of the people of this country, and for all the great and various favors which he has been pleased to confer upon us.”

Just A Reminder as Families and Friends gather this Thursday – Be Sure To Thank God for His Provision and Care - - -
Psalm 92:1-2
"It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your loving-kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night."

Psalm 100
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Consider these things with me!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Supercilious Slogan

From My Perspective - - -

If a person is reluctant to use the Holy Bible as “the only infallible rule for faith and practice”, neither should that one use it for any political statement, sentiment or hopeful action. When people use the Bible to espouse a political philosophy or to arouse and inflame public sentiment, it is safe to say these people have gone too far. A valid hermeneutical statement is: “A Text out of its Context is a Pretext.” Also, this Catechetical thought given in response to the Question – What do the Scriptures principally teach? – the Answer is: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man.” Well – along comes a current Bumper and T-Shirt Slogan suggesting that one “Pray for Obama” and uses the “text” in Psalm 109:8 to define a Political point of view and Sentiment: “May his days be few; may another take his office!” In the “context” that includes Psalm 109:9-10 the following is expressed: “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow! May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon who wrote and produced the Treasury of David (a detailed commentary on all of the Psalms) more than a century ago offers this overview of Psalm 109: “In the first five verses (Psalms 109:1-5) David humbly pleads with God that he may be delivered from his remorseless and false hearted enemies. From Psalms 109:6-20, filled with a prophetic fervor, which carries him entirely beyond himself, he denounces judgment upon his foes, and then from Psalms 109:21-31 he returns to his communion with God in prayer and praise. The central portion of the Psalm in which the difficulty lies must be regarded not as the personal wish of the Psalmist in cool blood, but as his prophetic denunciation of such persons as he describes, and emphatically of one special ‘son of perdition’…” A safe instructional (hermeneutical) principle is: “Let Scripture interpret Scripture…” To properly understand the prophetic nature of Psalm 109:8-10, one must read Acts 1:15 through 20, “In those days Peter stood up…and said: Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry…For it is written in the Book of Psalms: May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it; and Let another take his office…” Obviously, this became the judgment upon Judas Iscariot for his disloyal and treacherous act of betraying the Lord Jesus Christ.

We know from the life of David that violence of the suggested slogan was not part of his thought-pattern or what was in his heart. A King who had set out to kill David (who had been anointed by the prophet Samuel as God’s choice to rule the nation of Israel) was King Saul. On one occasion, David had the moment and opportunity to kill King Saul. Instead, to let the King know what he could’ve done, he merely cut off a piece (a tassel) from the hem of Saul’s Royal Robe (which Saul was wearing at the time – See: I Samuel 24:4-11). David felt very convicted for his act as he stated to Saul in I Samuel 24:10, “Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.” The true sentiment of David’s heart and thoughts is expressed in I Samuel 12:23-24, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”

A Supercilious Slogan conveys that the one embracing the slogan views another from a perspective that is “haughtily disdainful or contemptuous…” Perhaps the “failing to Pray For You” is more of the issue that allows for the trends of our time. If one wants to quote from the Holy Bible, such a one should make the Holy Bible the foundation for his/her life. Quite simply – Live It before you Quote From It! Consider these things with me!

Friday, November 20, 2009

When Leadership Languishes

From My Perspective - - -

What should one look for in a strong Leader? What Character Traits should be obvious in a bonafide Leader? Should the Core Values of a Leader-type matter? What are the minimal requirements and foundational principles one should expect to find in one desiring to be a Leader? In general affairs, a catch phrase used has been: “Put up or shut up!” In other defined areas, a phrase that is sometimes used (usually in a Church context): “It’s more Caught than Taught!” In other words, The Leader should Lead By Example!

Some of the Generals of World War II serve as an example of Inspiring Leadership. Two of them were General Douglas MacArthur in Asia, and General Dwight Eisenhower in Europe. General Eisenhower stated in terms of Leadership, it is “the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” In the Manual on Military Leadership, it is recorded: “Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.” It has been said that when General Eisenhower was considering someone for a staff promotion as an officer, that individual was summoned to a private meeting in an office-type setting. General Eisenhower had a piece of string on his desk. He asked the one being considered to use that piece of string to define Leadership. The test was simple and would define the character and potential of the candidate for promotion. If he pushed the string across the desk, it would bunch up – if he pulled the string it would go in the direction in which it was pulled. The point being made was that leaders don’t “drive men” as though they were cattle, but “lead men” as one who knows where he is going and the best way to get there.

In War History legend, Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders gained fame in their charge up San Juan Hill and the ultimate victory in the Spanish-American War. Part of the History and Legend includes: “The most famous of all the units fighting in Cuba, the ‘Rough Riders’ was the name given to the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt resigned his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in May 1898 to join the volunteer cavalry…Once Roosevelt joined the group, it quickly became the place for a mix of troops ranging from Ivy League athletes to glee-club singers to Texas Rangers and Indians. Roosevelt and the commander of the unit Colonel Leonard Wood trained and supplied the men so well at their camp in San Antonio, Texas, that the Rough Riders…went to Tampa at the end of May and sailed for Santiago de Cuba on June 13. There they joined the Fifth Corps, another highly trained, well supplied, and enthusiastic group consisting of excellent soldiers from the regular army and volunteers." Troops wanted to be part of an Army with inspired Leadership – men out in front of the troops who not only led the charge but who also knew how to achieve a meaningful victory.

What does it mean When Leadership Languishes? Languish is defined as: “to be or become weak or feeble; lose strength or vigor; to exist or continue in miserable or disheartening conditions; to remain unattended or be neglected; to become downcast or pine away in longing.” In the Bible, The Book of Judges is an example of languishing and failed Leadership. The last words in that Book are: (NKJV) – “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (NIV) - “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” In The Message “At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” Rhetoric may be inspiring and gain a following – but – it is not Leadership! Braggadocio (empty boasting) may peak the interest of some who will “believe” – but – it is not Leadership! Jesus Christ made a great demand in terms of His Leadership and for those who would choose to Follow Him. It is stated in Luke 9:23-25, “Then He said to them all: If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” Jesus is saying – Make A Choice – Follow Me! What may look like Loss is the only path to Gain! What appears to be Defeat is the only way to Victory! Are you following a Languishing Leader, or are you following The Victorious Leader – Jesus Christ? Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Faux Pas of the Founders

From My Perspective - - -

The Founders of our country must have been having a bad day when the idea for This Republic was conceived. The Framers of the Constitution erred in thinking The US Constitution would be a foundation for a free and prosperous nation. What was wrong with the early founders: George Washington; Alexander Hamilton; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Franklin; Thomas Paine and countless other Patriots? Were they delusional? Were they writing this document after sipping some home brew? Did they really believe that a country and society would one day jettison many of the principles for which the Founders were willing to state unequivocally: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor…”? Whatever happened to the originating proposition: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”?

The Faux Pas (a slip or blunder in etiquette, manners, or conduct; an embarrassing social blunder or indiscretion) did not become apparent until 233 years after the fact. If one wonders what happened, just suppose some of the political leaders of today had been the leaders in 1776 – people like the current President; Nancy Pelosi; Harry Reid; Mitch McConnell; John Boehner; the Federal Court System; Czar Appointees – how would they have framed the Constitution? Would it have included weakening the status and standing of the nation in the world? Would it have included the takeover of Banks and Major Businesses? Would it have championed taking control of one-sixth of the economy so that every legal or illegal resident in the nation could have Health Care provided? Would it contain a favorite status for Labor Unions receiving Government Contracts (rather than the Low Bidder)? Would this nation have survived for 233 years if the present politicians had been involved in preparing a foundational document to “…form a more perfect union…”? Would they have been willing to say: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor…” in order to form a nation that will endure the test of time?

Focus on the Family released the following in 2006: “The American Experiment has the potential to prove unusually conducive to a deeper understanding of God’s design for the state precisely because it is unique in the history of the world. Here on these shores, and here alone, people with a strong Christian worldview have been afforded an unparalleled opportunity to create from scratch what they considered an ideal system of government...The New England Primer, the second best-selling book (after the Bible) of the colonial era, provides an intriguing window into the attitudes of early Americans. In particular, it reveals an outlook and a way of life powerfully shaped by the teachings of Scripture. The pervasiveness of this outlook is further demonstrated in statements made by America’s early political leaders, legal and social architects, and educational pioneers – people like Benjamin Rush, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, Charles Carroll, Noah Webster, and the founders of Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia Universities. In spite of the fact that not all of them were practicing Christians, these luminaries agreed with President John Adams that the success of America’s republican form of government would prove directly dependent upon the virtue and morality of her people, and that virtue and morality are necessarily founded upon religion – by which all meant the Christian religion…”

We have come a long way from those Founding Principles which seem to be almost forgotten and seldom embraced or championed today! Psalm 33:12 instructs and encourages: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” Psalm 9:17 [NLT] continues: “The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.” We have a choice and should have the good sense to return to the Foundation Principles of the Nation – and – of our Faith! Don’t let this become your Faux Pas! Consider these things with me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hubris and Absurdity Abound

From My Perspective - - -

Most are knowledgeable of the phrase: “The Games People Play” as it references indifferent or irrational behavior. Some of this can be observed in the unfolding drama of human life as it is played out on TV programs, such as, the various Courts ranging from Judge Judy, to The People’s Court, and numerous others. The impractical choices made by people and their illogical reasons for doing so demonstrate all too graphically how Hubris and Absurdity Abound.

This can also be seen in Sporting events. A Headline in today’s Boston Globe states: “Belichick Gaffe Unrivaled” is based upon an Absurdity – “often known as – “Snatching Defeat Out Of The Jaws Of Victory”! The story states: “The Patriots lost to the undefeated Colts in unbelievable fashion last night. Leading, 31-14 in the fourth quarter, and 34-21 with 2:30 remaining, the Patriots took the choke and lost to their hated rivals, 35-34…And Coach Belichick gets the blame. Too smart for his own good this time. The sin of hubris. Here’s the situation: With the Patriots leading, 34-28, and 2:08 remaining, the Coach…elected to go for a first down rather than punt when he faced fourth and 2 from his 28-yard line…Tom Brady’s fourth-down pass…was complete but inches shy of the first down. So the Colts took over and went 29 yards in four easy plays, winning the game when Manning connected with…a laser-like 1-yard pass…Unfortunately for New England fans, Coach Belichick elected to play soft defense and Manning quickly had the Colts in the end zone. It was 34-28 with 2:23 left. Then came the tragic set of downs and Coach Belichick’s bold and crushing gamble…” Ah, Yes - “Defeat Snatched Out Of The Jaws of Victory!”

The News on most Cable Networks discussed President Obama bowing before The Emperor of Japan. The subtle Absurdity here is the portrayal by some Media of President Obama being “the messiah” for the nation and world seen bowing before “the emperor” which literally means “heavenly emperor” or a god for the people of Japan. The Emperor is the highest authority of the Shinto religion. This anomaly and compromise occurred during the Instruments (Documents) of Surrender for Japan that ended World War II. General Douglas MacArthur wanted a full democracy for Japan but allowed the retention of a figurehead Emperor for the defeated nation – the figurehead before whom the US President bowed.

Another Absurdity that will soon impact our nation appears in an Associated Press report yesterday: “As usual, the most dangerous parts of Obama-Care aren't receiving the scrutiny they deserve—and one of the least examined is a new commission to tell Congress how to control health spending. Democrats are quietly attempting to impose a global budget on Medicare, with radical implications for U.S. medicine. Like most of Europe, the various health bills stipulate that Congress will arbitrarily decide how much to spend on health care for seniors every year—and then invest an unelected board with extraordinary powers to dictate what is covered and how it will be paid for. White House budget director Peter Orszag calls this Medicare commission ‘critical to our fiscal future’ and ‘one of the most potent reforms.’ As envisioned by the Senate Finance Committee, the commission—all 15 members appointed by the President—would have to meet certain budget targets each year. Starting in 2015, Medicare could not grow more rapidly on a per capita basis than by a measure of inflation. After 2019, it could only grow at the same rate as GDP, plus one percentage point.” Regrettably, this Absurdity is headed toward becoming a Reality!

The Sport’s Absurdity mentions: “The Sin of Hubris (overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance).” The Wisdom Writer shares these truths with us: Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” In Proverbs 18:12 – “Before destruction a man's heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” Destruction and A Fall can and should be avoided – but – The Sin of Hubris will always allow for prideful error and Absurdity to Abound. One would think that “a word to the wise is sufficient” would have some impact in life – but – does it? You can be a life and voice that lives it and demonstrates it! Consider these things with me!