Friday, July 30, 2010

Wheels Coming Off The Wagon

From My Perspective - - -

Can the unimaginable become the inevitable? Can the inconceivable become the reality? Can the unconquerable become the vanquished? Can dominant strength vanish suddenly and become impotence? Can redistribution of wealth quickly diminish charity and business acumen (sharpness and shrewdness) and bring about uniform poverty and dependence on more controlled redistribution? Can creative intelligence erode and become herd instinct? Can the most powerful nation allow for self-inflicted wounds that will cause it to become weak and captive to the whims of those who will seize control of it?

A recent release (July 28, 2010) - The Year America Dissolved By: Paul Craig Roberts (See: Infowars.com), he writes: “It was 2017. Clans were governing America. The first clans organized around local police forces. The conservatives’ war on crime during the late 20th century and the Bush/Obama war on terror during the first decade of the 21st century had resulted in the police becoming militarized and unaccountable. As society broke down, the police became warlords. The state police broke apart, and the officers were subsumed into the local forces of their communities…The dollar had collapsed as world reserve currency in 2012 when the worsening economic depression made it clear to Washington’s creditors that the federal budget deficit was too large to be financed except by the printing of money. With the dollar’s demise, import prices skyrocketed. As Americans were unable to afford foreign-made goods, the transnational corporations that were producing offshore for US markets were bankrupted, further eroding the government’s revenue base. The government was forced to print money in order to pay its bills, causing domestic prices to rise rapidly. Faced with hyperinflation, Washington took recourse in terminating Social Security and Medicare and followed up by confiscating the remnants of private pensions. This provided a one-year respite, but with no more resources to confiscate, money creation and hyperinflation resumed. Organized food deliveries broke down when the government fought hyperinflation with fixed prices and the mandate that all purchases and sales had to be in US paper currency. Unwilling to trade appreciating goods for depreciating paper, goods disappeared from stores. The government sent troops to confiscate goods for distribution in kind to the population. This was a temporary stop-gap until existing stocks were depleted, as future production was discouraged. Much of the confiscated stocks became the property of the troops who seized the goods. Goods reappeared in markets under the protection of local warlords. Transactions were conducted in barter and in gold, silver, and copper coins…Large scale food and other production broke down as local militias taxed distribution as goods moved across local territories. Washington seized domestic oil production and refineries, but much of the government’s gasoline was paid for safe passage across clan territories. Most of the troops in Washington’s overseas bases were abandoned. As their resource stocks were drawn down, the abandoned soldiers were forced into alliances with those with whom they had been fighting. Washington found it increasingly difficult to maintain itself. As it lost control over the country, Washington was less able to secure supplies from abroad as tribute from those Washington threatened with nuclear attack. Gradually other nuclear powers realized that the only target in America was Washington…”

Can any of this happen in our lifetime – in our nation? In Matthew 24:4-14, Jesus said: “Watch out that no one deceives you...You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places…you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me...Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved…” In Jeremiah 9:23-24,“This is what the LORD says: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.” In Matthew 24:44: “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chances and Stances

From My Perspective - - -

Life is made up of unending choices. Those who are innovative and motivated can achieve. Those who are complacent and lazy become oriented and satisfied with their status quo lifestyle. The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The text of the second section of the Declaration of Independence reads: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Following are choices and possibilities for the pursuit of “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”

Choice and Possibility #1:
Cloward and Piven, two professors at Columbia University (1983), outlined a plan to socialize America by overwhelming the system with government spending and entitlement demands. It is a brilliant, Machiavellian game plan to turn the United States into a socialist/Marxist state with a permanent majority that desperately needs government for survival…and can be counted on to always vote for bigger government. Why not? They have no responsibility to pay for it. Some approach to this political ploy: (1) Universal Health Care; (2) Legalize the 12 million illegal immigrants; (3) Make Puerto Rico the 51st state; (4) Mandate Cap and Trade; (5) Raise Taxes on Small Business Owners; (6) Control Banks and Businesses with Stimulus Monies; (7) Ignore the Electorate or anyone who might oppose this agenda.

Choice and Possibility #2:
Five Principles for sound economic and political direction shared by Adrian Rogers: “(1) You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity; (2) What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving; (3) The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else; (4) When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that is the beginning of the end of any nation; (5) You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

Choice and Possibility # 3:
The Wall Street Journal summarizes the State of our National Economy – “Tax revenues are smaller, spending is greater, and the deficits are thus larger than the government has been saying. Tax revenues will continue to be small so long as the government maintains this fascination with taxing the achievers and redistributing the wealth. Remember that the government actually collects more revenue when taxes decline. The expansion of national debt will grow exponentially under the government’s plans for our future. So we have less tax revenue, higher taxes, higher unemployment and higher government spending.”

Choice and Possibility #4:
Matthew 6:31-34 (The Message Translation) – “What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” The NLT states: "So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don't worry about tomorrow…” To this end, a choice was made and presented by Joshua to a confused and directionless people (Joshua 24:15) – “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." What choice will you make? Go with Joshua! Consider these things with me!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dead But Not Done

From My Perspective - - -

If you cut the head off of a poisonous snake, is the snake dead? No! Can its fangs still bite and excrete venom? Yes! Does a Constrictor immediately lose its strength and grip? No! How much Arsenic (arsenic and its compounds are used in insecticides, weed killers, solid-state doping agents, and various alloys) or Strychnine (an extremely poisonous white crystalline alkaloid used as a poison for rodents and formerly used topically as a central nervous system stimulant) is needed to bring about death in a person? Just a little administered over an extended period of time! In 1944, the film Arsenic and Old Lace was produced. “The lead character played by Cary Grant is Mortimer Bruster. He is a newspaperman and author known for his diatribes against marriage. We watch him being married at city hall in the opening scene. Now all that is required is a quick trip home to tell Mortimer's two maiden aunts. While trying to break the news, he finds out his aunts' hobby; killing lonely old men and burying them in the cellar. Mortimer finds a corpse hidden in a window seat and suspects Teddy, but his aunts explain that they are responsible ("It's one of our charities"). They have developed the "very bad habit" of ending the presumed suffering of lonely old bachelors by serving them elderberry wine spiked with arsenic, strychnine and just a pinch of cyanide. The bodies are buried in the basement by Teddy, who believes he is digging locks for the Panama Canal and burying yellow fever victims…” The point is that the victim is unaware of the presence of the poison or its deadly consequence until it is too late for remedy.

A news story yesterday describes: One dead jellyfish wreaked havoc on a New Hampshire beach this afternoon, stinging close to 150 people, most of them children, and sending five to the hospital, fire officials said. Rye, N.H., emergency officials received the call around 1:30 p.m. that 125 to 150 people, including children and a few adults, at Wallis Sands State Park had been stung by a jellyfish…Park officials had tried to remove a large dead jellyfish from the water earlier in the day, but it broke apart and the floating pieces stung the children in the water…The jellyfish was roughly the size of a cover of a trash can… Lifeguards treated the majority of the children with vinegar and baking soda…Five children were transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital as a precaution over allergy concerns…Several summer youth groups had made a trip to the beach today…No one could remember the last time they had experienced a jellyfish sting in the area, let alone nearly 150…” Once again, no one knew of the presence of the Jelly Fish remains or that its stingers could still cause pain, discomfort and other result.

In public discourse, Denigration and Contamination have entered and dominate both thought and attitude. Some cringe each time racial slurs or accusations surface, and when the word Nazi is bandied about. The use of these terms polarizes the public, while attempting to gain support from minority ethnic groups. There is little regard for the old wounds and scars that are reopened; nor for the pain that is inflicted that will enrage some who have no meaningful context, historical knowledge or experiential background that attaches to these references. Words have consequence and can be just as deadly as a dosage of arsenic, strychnine or cyanide. The Bible speaks of these things in precise terms. In James 3:5-6, we read: “…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” The Message Translation renders these verses with these words: “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything - or destroy it! A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” In Luke 12:1-3, Jesus warned against the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, and how it could and would contaminate others. In Galatians 5:9, Paul echoes this concern when he wrote: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Words used carelessly, randomly, recklessly or purposefully can and will prevent civil discourse beyond ones calculation! Be careful what you say and when you say it! Consider these things with me!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Huddledoms Are Among Us

From My Perspective - - -

The English Language is both fascinating and curious. We select words and attach definition and meaning to them that was never the original intent of the word. Most recently, we have heard the words of ridicule toward Sarah Palin because of her repeated use of a word – “refudiate”! The Urban Dictionary seizes on the moment to define “refudiate” and states: “When Sarah Palin decides regular English words aren't good enough, she'll just go ahead and make a new one. Here, “refudiate” bridges the gap between "refuse" and "repudiate", to mean exactly what she wants it to mean…or - to really tell someone off.” She used this word in a Fox News report when she stated: “The President and his wife...can refudiate what this group (the NAACP) is saying."

Other coined words that have found entrance into our language are: Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They are fictional characters in an English language nursery rhyme and in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. The characters are perhaps best known when Carroll, having introduced two fat little men named Tweedledum and Tweedledee, quotes the nursery rhyme, which the two brothers then go on to enact. The Tweedle brothers never contradict each other but always complement each other's words. The Nursery Rhyme is - - -
Tweedledum and Tweedledee Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow, As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so, They quite forgot their quarrel.

Another of these coined words is: “huddledom.” It was taken from an article that appeared in The Glasgow Herald in 1923: “The huddledoms of haunting disease, poverty, and overcrowding.” It means: “A state or condition of confusion and disorder.” The way our language is used may qualify as an additional meaning for “huddledom”. Dictionary.com has a section called: The Hot Word Blog. They ask this question: “What word do scientists use to describe the most ginormous star ever discovered?” If there is no applicable word, then how do the Scientists express themselves? In this case, the answer is: “If you find something that’s bigger than you thought was physically possible, how would you describe it? You start with what you already have, which is R136a1, the equivalent of a cosmic ZIP code. The R stands for Radcliffe Observatory, which located the star…Massive isn’t the same thing as ”big” in astronomy. Mass is roughly equivalent to weight, and R136a1 is hefty: it once weighed 320 times as much as our sun - that was when it was born. Because of its density, the star is unstable and part of its mass is constantly coming apart…” In this instance, before a word can be formulated, that which occasioned the quest will have disbursed or disintegrated.

In the realm of religion, there are many words that are used that tend to confound and confuse. It may be by design in order to whet one’s appetite to research the subject at hand. Some of the terms have faded into the background - such as: “supralapsarianism” versus “infralapsarianism”. Supra-lapsarianism means “the doctrine that the decree of election preceded human creation and the Fall”; Infralapsarianism means the opposite. Defining the terms would require many words and pages whereas, The Gospel can be explained in more simple terms. Acts 2 (Peter’s Sermon on The Day of Pentecost) contains several theological concepts. However, when people became convicted and asked (Acts 2:37-38): “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brothers, what shall we do? And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” Similarly, when The Philippian Jailer asked (Acts 16:30-31): “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." The Book of Romans could easily be a theological textbook. When it came to the Gospel and who can be saved, Paul answered (Romans 10:13): “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." No “confusion or disorder” here – just a simple response by faith! Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Aphorisms

From My Perspective - - -

Do you have moments when you wish life was less complex? Do you share the thought that it would be both nice and refreshing if the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) was applied with greater frequency? Have you arrived at a point where you feel that excess verbiage is intended – not to clarify – but to confound? Are you beginning to realize that in modern legislation and communication – “the devil is in the details”? At the end of the day, do you feel that misrepresentation and talking points overshadow what is actual and will become a mandate for you? Do you think it would be preferable if politicians (and others) would say what they mean and mean what they say? Maybe – to speak as an aphorist – and champion clarity?

Aphorisms are: “concise statements containing a subjective truth or observation cleverly and pithily written. Aphorisms can be both prosaic or poetic…They are pointed sentences expressing a wise or clever observation or a general truth…Aphorisms can also be seen as Maxims for Life.”
Some examples of Aphorisms are:

• Lost time is never found again. - Benjamin Franklin
• The great thing about hypocrisy is that once you accept it in yourself, you can condemn it in other people.
• They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin
• Money will buy a fine dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
• If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all.
• Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
• A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.
• After 60, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you're probably dead...
• Always be yourself because the people that matter don't mind and the ones that mind don't matter.
• Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

The Book of Proverbs contains several Aphorisms (Maxims). Some examples are:
• “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” (1:22)
• “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” (6:6-11)
• “There are six things the LORD hates -- no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord among brothers.” (6:16-19)
• “There are three things that make the earth tremble -- no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress.” (30:21-23)
• “There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise: Ants - they aren't strong, but they store up food for the winter. Rock badgers - they aren't powerful, but they make their homes among the rocky cliffs. Locusts - they have no king, but they march like an army in ranks. Lizards - they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings' palaces.” (30:24-28)

Lastly – Jesus stated: "If any of you wants to be my follower…you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Mark 8:34-37)… Keep it simple! Walk and Live by F.A.I.T.H. = Forsaking All I Trust Him! The Lord will give you sufficient strength for your journey! Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Hidden and Unseen World

From My Perspective - - -

Counter-Intelligence; Covert Operations; Secret Missions; Spies; Assassinations; Black Helicopters – along with Conspiracy Theories that have been around for many years. The History Channel has been showing details of some of this nation’s activities during and following World War II that has not been included in many History Books. There were some Clandestine Groups bent on maintaining an evil cause, such as, the SS Officers and Staff who escaped Germany near the end of World War II when defeat seemed certain. They located themselves in Latin and South America with a hope they might one day establish a Fourth Reich patterned after Hitler’s Third Reich.

The Washington Post has prepared a study of clandestine operations and has begun to publish their findings. It is entitled: “A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control” by Dana Priest and William Arkin. The initial release states: “The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine. The investigation's other findings include:
• 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counter-terrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
• An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
• In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.”

In another publication, we read - The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder explains the intelligence contractor problem: "Contractors do a lot of work that the government used to do by itself; oversight has become next to impossible; the intelligence-policy complex has created a revolving door of sorts where the line between private companies and intelligence agencies blurs; and of course waste, mismanagement, and more. Since 9/11, the intelligence community has welcomed a surge in contractors while building a larger civilian counter-terrorism workforce - a larger national security state…The ODNI Director of Communications Art House…lists the three likely conclusions of the story: (1) The intelligence enterprise has undergone exponential growth and has become unmanageable with overlapping authorities and a heavily outsourced contractor workforce. (2) The IC and the DOD have wasted significant time and resources, especially in the areas of counter-terrorism and counterintelligence. (3)The intelligence enterprise has taken its eyes off its post-9/11 mission and is spending its energy on competitive and redundant programs.”

Spies and Counter-Intelligence have always been an integral part of History – Moses sent out 12 spies into what would be The Promised Land (Numbers 13 and 14); King David had 37 Mighty Men who had special skills and courage (II Samuel 23). They would break through enemy strongholds and accomplish what seemed like impossibilities. At one point, David longed for a sip of water from the Well in Bethlehem (V. 15-16), and three of his mighty men broke through the Philistine lines and brought him the water for which he longed. The recent news spoke of 12 Russian Spies in our country, ordinary type people, who were seeking strategic information that would be useful to their country’s causes. Jesus Christ desires that you be one of His Mighty Persons – with courage and daring – as you share His Gospel and penetrate enemy strongholds. He can and will use ordinary people for the task. He will use you! Consider these things with me!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Enemy Within

From My Perspective - - -

In The Washington Times for July 16th, 2010 is the following statement: “I have obtained this document sent by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It appears the Washington Post is about to push the bounds of intelligence reporting. The intelligence agency seems concerned.” A Letter in this regard is also published, and if authentic, substantiates the report:
“Early next week, the Washington Post is expected to publish articles and an interactive website that will likely contain a compendium of government agencies and contractors allegedly conducting Top Secret work. The website is expected to enable users to see the relationships between the federal government and its contractors, describe the type of work the contractors perform, and may identify many government and contractor facility locations…
“Foreign intelligence services, terrorist organizations, and criminal elements will have potential interest in this kind of information. It is important that companies review their overall counterintelligence posture to ensure that it is appropriate. Specifically, we recommend that companies affected by this publication and website assess and take steps to mitigate risk to their workforce, facility and mission, to the extent consistent with your contractual relationship with ODNI. These steps should include re-enforcement of security and counterintelligence protections and steps to enhance workforce awareness. CI and security events related to the publication of these articles and website should be reported through normal company channels to the MSC/Security office. For the time being, thresholds should be lowered to aggressively report anomalous behavior….”

Meanwhile, Catholic Online reports: “The change in language was barely noticeable to the average citizen but political observers are raising red flags at the use of a new term freedom of worship by President Obama and Secretary Clinton as a replacement for the term freedom of religion. This shift happened between the President's speech in Cairo where he showcased America's freedom of religion and his appearance in November at a memorial for the victims of Fort Hood, where he specifically used the term freedom of worship. From that point on, it has become the term of choice for the President and Secretary Clinton…
"In her article for First Things magazine, Ashley Samelson, International Programs Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, stated: To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling - The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It's about the right to dress according to one's religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don't go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves-yet freedom of worship would protect none of these acts of faith…"

The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 43 – “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men…Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Send forth your light and your truth…Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
In Psalm 143, the Psalmist once again prays – “O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief…The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead…I remember the days of long ago…Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails…Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies…”
As a nation, we seem to be losing our foundational values, basic freedoms and moral compass. Silence and apathy are two of the great enemies within. Ignoring reality, embracing a vague hope, remaining silent and being inactive in a just cause is an inexcusable posture. You can make a difference! Stand up and be counted! Consider these things with me!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Frustration Indexes

From My Perspective - - -

Do Polls and Statistics have any validity or meaningful representation? Do they accurately represent genuine reactions and future actions? Are they Believable? Can they be viewed as Reliable? When you see a Poll or Statistic, how do you respond – with belief; frustration; incredulity; a shrug your shoulders? The bottom line is – do you really care? Will you care enough to do what it takes to effect change and a new direction? Are you just a talker and griper – or – a dependable person who will do the right thing because principle is far more important than pragmatics? Rhetoric or Response - where are you?

This morning – July 15th, 2010 – on the ABC News Webpage is the following report: “George's Bottom Line - Reporting and Analysis from Anchor of Good Morning America - ABC News Chief Political Correspondent George Stephanopoulos. GEORGE REPORTS - New Poll: Frustration Index Forecasts GOP House Majority - -
“When Robert Gibbs said on Sunday that Democrats might lose the House, he must have been reading internal White House polls much like our new poll out this morning. It shows our "Frustration Index" – the tool we came up with earlier this year to capture the country’s bitter, throw-the-bums-out mood – isn’t getting any better. Still stuck at 67 (only the "change" elections of 2008 and 1992 took place when the number was higher), it forecasts a political tsunami right now.
Here are the four key factors beneath the top line:
• 90% of Americans say the economy is in bad shape, and they don’t expect it to get better anytime soon.
• 62% of registered voters want to replace their member of Congress – a record high – and the number’s been climbing all year.
• 64% of Americans are dissatisfied with how the government’s working, a little better than earlier this year but still high.
• 50% approve of President Obama’s job performance, equaling the low of his Presidency.
The silver lining for Democrats in these storm clouds? Lack of confidence in the GOP. Voters still trust President Obama and the Democrats to make the right decisions for the economy and the country’s future more than they trust the Republicans and their leaders. Will that keep the GOP from taking control of Congress, or will they win anyway? Is there anything the Democrats can do to reverse this tide?"

One illustration where a Frustration Index is avoided or ignored pertains to Haiti. The Huffington Post asked: “Why do you think only 2% of the relief funds reached Haiti?” On July 12th, 2010, Wyclef Jean, Grammy-winning musician and founder of YĆ©le Haiti gave this assessment: “…That 2% is not the money donated but the money promised to Haiti by the UN…” He then commented: Witnesses for Haiti - “We are coming up on an important anniversary, but not the kind of anniversary to be celebrated: On July 12, it will be six months since an earthquake devastated my country, Haiti …Every time I return, I'm in awe of the spirit and resilience of the people of Haiti; I'm also discouraged at witnessing firsthand the terrible conditions in which too many people are still living. About 1.2 million Haitians still occupy the tent camps, without enough food, with barely enough water and with no real sense of security or hope…The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is taking much of the attention of the media and of the American people. I want to remind everyone…there is still so much work to do in Haiti to rebuild the country and renew the hopes and dreams of the people, who have suffered so much and who continue to suffer.

A guiding principle is Proverbs 19:17, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done.” The issue is clearly stated in James 2:14-18, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him: Go! I wish you well; keep warm and be well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead...Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Do you care and sacrifice for others? Try it – you’ll be glad you did! Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When The Limelight Begins To Flicker

From My Perspective - - -

What exactly is the “limelight”? How did it originate? Why was it utilized? What does it mean if it is said: “That person loves the limelight?” Limelight is: “a lighting unit for spotlighting the front of the stage, producing illumination by means of a flame of mixed gases directed at a cylinder of lime and having a special lens for concentrating the light in a strong beam; a lighting unit - a spotlight; e center of public attention, interest, observation, or notoriety.” The Word Origin and History states: “1826, the popular name for Drummond light, a brilliant light created by the incandescence of lime, adopted for lighthouses and later for the Victorian stage, where it illuminated the principal actors, hence the figurative sense of on stage, at the center of attention.”

The use of the word has varied application. A sampling of them is:
Saf Lerman (20th century), U.S. parent educator wrote in: Helping Children as They Grow - - “Parents need to recognize that the negative behavior accompanying certain stages is just a small part of the total child. It should not become the main focus or be pushed into the limelight.”
Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933), U.S. president is quoted in: Have Faith in Massachusetts - - “We need more of the Office Desk and less of the Show Window in politics. Let men in office substitute the midnight oil for the limelight.”
Malcolm Muggeridge (1903–1990), British broadcaster is quoted from: "Twilight of Greatness," Tread Softly For You Tread on My Jokes (1966) - - “Old politicians, like old actors, revive in the limelight. The vacancy which afflicts them in private momentarily lifts when, once more, they feel the eyes of an audience upon them. Their old passion for holding the centre of the stage guides their uncertain footsteps to where the footlights shine, and summons up a wintry smile when the curtain rises.”

The news stories today have examples of those who choose to be in The Limelight: (1) Michelle Obama as she addressed the NAACP Convention, where she used the phrase: “Increase The Intensity” which is aimed at the Tea Party Movement and the accusation that they are racist! (2) Jesse Jackson and his comments about the Cleveland Cavaliers owner viewing Lebron James as a slave-master would (some slave - with a 20 million dollar annual salary and a greater amount with endorsements – just because of his skill in playing basketball). If we continue on this path of accusing people of being Racist and Nazis, this nation will become increasing divided and marginalized. As the nation erodes and decays, what can and should be done to avert such a disaster? When does a nation pause and take account of itself – an inventory check – an assessment of where it is and where it is heading? Are we capable of doing this in our nation? Who will step forward and lead the way toward fiscal responsibility and national respect?

To those who were called God’s people, the prophet spoke and wrote the words of The Lord - Jeremiah 5:25-31 (The Message Translation): “Your bad behavior blinds you to all this. Your sins keep my blessings at a distance…My people are infiltrated by wicked men, unscrupulous men on the hunt. They set traps for the unsuspecting. Their victims are innocent men and women. Their houses are stuffed with ill-gotten gain…Pretentious and powerful and rich, hugely obese, oily with rolls of fat. Worse, they have no conscience. Right and wrong mean nothing to them. They stand for nothing, stand up for no one, throw orphans to the wolves, exploit the poor. Do you think I'll stand by and do nothing about this? Don't you think I'll take serious measures against a people like this? What's happened in this country? Prophets preach lies and priests hire on as their assistants. And my people love it. They eat it up! But what will you do when it's time to pick up the pieces?” The contemporary application is obvious – no one seriously considers God in our culture and the people love the entitlements they receive. Moral and Fiscal restraints are jettisoned - Laws are bent away from God’s Standards - Aimless and Directionless people are everywhere – and – “My people love to have it so!” How tragic! Today is the right day to Change Our Ways! Consider these things with me!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Going...Going...Almost Gone...

From My Perspective - - -

Auctioneers were known to use the phrase: “Going…Going…Gone!” to indicate the close of bidding and final sale of an item for which a bid or bids had been received. Many have some recollection of the Poem: The Touch Of The Master's Hand by Myra B. Welch - - -
‘Twas battered and scarred,
and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin, But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried, "Who'll start the bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar, then, two! Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice; Going for three . . ."
But no, from the room, far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low, said:
"What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
"Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
"Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice; And going and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand, what changed its worth?"
Swift came the reply: "The Touch Of The Master's Hand."

As people face the struggles of life today, in a time of deep recession, foreclosures, unemployment, surging national debt, loss of investments – they can sense the impact and import of going…going…almost gone! There are always questions as people try to maneuver and adjust in these times - - -
• What can I do when I don’t know what to do?
• Where can I go when I don’t know where to go?
• How can I stay motivated when everything I’ve worked for seems to be draining away?
• When I have the sense that my life is ebbing away – going…going…almost gone… - What can I do? Where can I go?

Such is the plight of many as they lose their homes; as debts have exceeded any income or means to pay them; when bankruptcy appears to be the only escape – Life has become so difficult and there is nothing I can think of to do! Is there anything salvageable – anything of worth left of me and for me? The Poem goes on with these words:
And many a man with life out of tune, And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, Much like the old violin.
A 'mess of potage,' a glass of wine; A game - and he travels on.
He is 'going' once, and 'going' twice, He's 'going' and almost 'gone'.
But the Master comes and the foolish crowd Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's Hand.

In a similar way, a righteous man had suffered great loss. In Job 23:8-9, Job expresses his despair and frustration as he seeks God – “I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him…” However, he comes quickly to this point of remembrance and resolve in Job 23:10-12 – “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” When you are in the grasp of The Master’s Hand, there is light at the end of your tunnel; the rough places will be made smooth; He will make a way where there seems to be no way! If you are in The Master’s Hand, you are in the place of refuge, peace and provision. Don’t waver – let The Master have His way with you. Consider these things with me!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Failure

From My Perspective - - -

Is failure always final? Is failure always fatal? Can one who was deemed a failure recover and gain some level of achievement and success? Is failure a scar that never vanishes and brandishes one for the rest of his/her life? In a publication: Why Smart Executives Fail by Sidney Finkelstein – the following is stated – “What are the core underlying reasons for why smart executives fail? What are the destructive syndromes that cut across all types of great corporate mistakes and are the real root cause of failure? We found corporate failures to have many parents, but the most critical of these were breakdowns in how executives perceived reality for their companies, how people within an organization faced up to their reality, how information and control systems in organizations were mismanaged, and how organizational leaders adopted spectacularly unsuccessful habits…The causes of failure are not because executives are unintelligent…The causes of failure are not due to unforeseeable events…The causes of failure are not executional errors; executional errors are mere symptoms that hide a deeper explanation for why things go wrong. The causes of failure are not any of the other simple explanations that question executive motivation, leadership ability, honesty, or resource abundance…”

The summary of Why Smart Executives Fail is given in this paragraph: “Executive mindset failures are at the root of most large-scale business disasters. In fact, one of the inescapable conclusions from the research program is that billions of dollars are lost because of a kind of "cognitive failure." Executives will regularly send their corporation off in completely the wrong direction or fail to restructure it the way they should, because they have made a fundamental error in the way they are thinking about the opportunities and problems their business faces…” One can conclude that some of the reasons for failure are: (1) the lack of Foundational Principles; (2) the inability to be Flexible; (3) the perniciousness of “we know – you don’t” that prevents corporate and administrative heads from being open to a better course than the one being followed. Perniciousness means: “that which causes insidious harm or ruin; that which ruinous; injurious; hurtful; that which is deadly; fatal…” Proverbs 16:18 gives an underlying cause for personal and corporate failure: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

On a human level, it is easy to conclude that some people will probably succeed and others will more than likely fail. There was a child who was reared in a home where he was told he was not wanted; was shown evidence of what had been used to abort him; and who often was told that he would never amount to anything. In such a situation, it would be easy for one to surrender and to set out to live up to those words and that expectation. This is perhaps one of the underlying causes of a ghetto mentality. Children are birthed because they represent a welfare amount and certain other benefits – not so much that they will be trained and encouraged to escape that which is detrimental to any degree of success. At any rate – the above child had a very few people who made some effort in his behalf – to encourage him and spur him on to be more than he had been told he would ever be – a school teacher; a sanitation worker (who would be a lifetime friend); a woman who patiently showed him a human love he had never really experienced. There was also a spiritual challenge and commitment. Words of Scripture that offered hope, such as Isaiah 40:28-30, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted…” That partially describes this person who felt he was unwanted and unneeded; without any direction and lowly motivated. Was there any possibility such a person could break his shackles of failure? Was there any light at the end of his tunnel? Long story, short – he went on to earn three degrees. The verse in Isaiah 40:31 has proven itself in his life – “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Failure does not need to be final or fatal! You don’t have to be a zero – nothing! God doesn’t make junk – and you were made in His image! Don’t give up – not yet! Consider these things with me!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Theories and Realities

From My Perspective - - -

Interestingly, there is a website (www.theories.com) that references all kinds of theories. They embrace: “The National Academy of Sciences describes the word theory in the following way: Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.” Most are aware of discussions about Conspiracy Theories. Also, the ongoing debate and discussion about Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

It is interesting to note that Theories Regarding Learning Skills and Curves are also current. In an article entitles: 8 Theories (9 are listed) on Why College Kids Are Studying Less By Max Fisher, the following is stated: College students today are spending less time studying than they did in the past…The University of California study finds that the average student at a four-year college in 1961 studied about 24 hours a week. Today’s average is just 14 hours. That downward trend has been consistent across all kinds of schools, majors, and students. But why is this happening? Kevin Drum asked professors and current students to suggest explanations.
• Study Leaders Cite Professor Apathy
• Modern Technology Not to Blame – decline started before computers swept through colleges
• Grades Becoming Less Important Than Activities
• Increase in Temporary Adjunct Faculty
• Advent of Pass-Fail Classes, Fewer Language Requirements
• Studying Methods Became More Efficient
• Rise in Publishing Requirements Means Professors Assign Less Work
• More Working Part-Time as Scholarships Decline
• Students Less Comfortable With Long-Form Reading

Most theories are based upon assumption, speculation and personal inclination. There should be a minimal requirement for the proposed and promoted theory. A case in point would be the thesis presented on global warming. Some questions that should always be asked for all theories:
• What is the basic premise/theory clearly and precisely stated?
• What is the reason and concern for that premise?
• What tangible and verifiable examples are there that can substantiate the premise?
• What are the sources consulted?
• What proof and evidence is there to substantiate the premise/theory?
• What data and realities are there to cause one to embrace the premise/theory?

There are two basic and minimal factors in terms of The Bible and Faith in God. (1) Foundations. I Corinthians 3:11-13 states: “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” (2) Verification. I Thessalonians 5:21 states: “but test everything; hold fast what is good.” This verse in The Message Translations: “On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good.” Colossians 2:8 is a valid guideline for all of ones study and pursuits: “Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that's not the way of Christ.” This needs to be your reality! Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Money, Money, Everywhere?

From My Perspective - - -

Years ago, the Humorist Will Rogers commented: “This is the best Congress money can buy!” Since then, books have been written on that same subject and theme. Amazon lists one of them along with these comments: Philip Stern has written a wonderfully insightful book about our political system that would be an eye-opener for any American. This fine, articulate journalist speaks from the politicians' point of view and, as you can glean from the title, reveals the misery and constant stress politicians are under to raise funds for their campaigns. We complain about politicians being greedy and preoccupied with fundraising, but after reading this account of the political process you realize the politicians don't like it any more than we do. We learn that they simply have no choice…Stern also lets us hear the other side, the viewpoint of the unions and the Political Action Committee's who wield such power over our system with the almighty dollar, and hence, make up the best Congress money can buy."

The White House is required to reveal a list of all employees at the White House and the salaries they receive. The complete listing indicates 469 employees receive a combined salary of $38,796,307.00. “Twenty-three top aides, including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, press secretary Robert Gibbs, speechwriter Jon Favreau, White House counsel Bob Bauer and senior advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, make the top full-time staff salary of $172,200. (Two health-care policy “detailees” — Michael Hash and Timothy Love — make $179,700.) By comparison, Vice President Joe Biden makes roughly $230,000 a year, according to Senate records.” All of this data can be viewed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/disclosures/annual-r ecords/2010. The Federal Government is gradually and increasingly becoming the primary Employer in this country. At the other end of the spectrum are the unemployed in the nation: “The Labor Department estimates 3.3 million people could lose extended benefits by the end of July if they are not renewed. Altogether, 9.29 million people were collecting some type of unemployment benefits in the week ended June 12.” The amounts received vary but many receive almost $400.00 per week. However, “the best Congress money can buy” took no action to extend benefits for the unemployed before they left for their 4th of July recess.

If “Money, Money, Everywhere” is a reality, where exactly is that surplus located? For the person earnestly seeking employment, where is that person to go? And, if they find some employment – will the wage be equal or greater than the unemployment benefits being received? Is there an incentive to seek employment? Are private businesses willing to hire a full staff when (a) their taxes are scheduled to increase, and (b) health care benefits for employees may be required by the Federal Government? Obviously, it is a very difficult time for millions of people – and – there seems to be no immediate remedy.

In desperate times, one would hope there would be a return to the Lord and seeking Him for His provision, sustenance and guidance. There are two interesting prayers in Scripture that give a perspective in terms of the source and resource for all things. First, I Chronicles 29:11-14, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.” Second, Proverbs 30:8-9, “Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” The basic request in The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:11) is: “Give us this day our daily bread…” In the NLT it reads: “Give us our food for today,” Will the God of Heaven honor His Word? Yes! Will the Lord hear the cry of His people? Yes! Will the Lord prove Himself faithful? Yes! Consider these things with me!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Does It Sound Familiar?

From My Perspective - - -


The adage states: “Those who fail to remember History are doomed to repeat it!” It seems as though our nation is willing to forget and/or re-write History. A good illustration of this is the monumental perspective and writing of: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776. It is striking that Volume I was first published at the time when this nation was being born and The Declaration of Independence was written and circulated throughout the colonies.

Gibbon gives certain factors that brought about the lessening influence of Rome and the ultimate decline of an empire that lasted from 27 BC to 476 AD. Gibbon cites as “The Major Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire” the following:
  • Decline in Morals
  • Decline in Ethics and Values
  • Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor
  • Political Corruption and the Praetorian Guard
  • Fast expansion of the Empire
  • Constant Wars and Heavy Military Spending
  • Barbarian Knowledge of Roman Military Tactics
  • Failing Economy
  • Unemployment of the Working Classes (The Plebs)
  • Slave Labor
  • Natural Disasters
  • Barbarian Invasion.
Do any of those things listed sound familiar and contemporary? This nation that has just celebrated the 234th Anniversary of its birth – are any of the above common to our nation and culture today? Should it give as pause for sober reflection in terms of where we are and where we are headed? Have we convinced ourselves that History will not repeat itself in terms of our nation and its loss of virtue and core values that cause commitment to foundational moral standards and ethical focus? Do we think we have become impervious to such a decline? Impervious is an adjective meaning: “not permitting penetration or passage; impenetrable: incapable of being injured or impaired; incapable of being influenced, persuaded, or affected.”

A reason for Rome’s Decline listed by Gibbon – Christianity - is omitted above. This brought about a charge against him that he had embraced paganism. That was never proven. However, Christianity did have an influence over the empire and its accepted practices. At the time of the Birth of Christ into the times of the Apostolic writings, Rome exerted considerable influence and fostered persecution. It was about The Roman Empire that the Apostle Paul referenced certain behavioral and moral declination. In Romans 1 and 2, Paul addresses the last step on the way down: (1) Humanity turning away from God, and (2) God giving them up and over to sexual immorality. In Romans 1:24-29 (NLT), when people refused to acknowledge God, this summary of behavior is given: “God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies…That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness and sin…” Take a look at what we allow in this nation! Will God view us any differently than He did with Rome? History will repeat itself unless we quickly repent! Consider these things with me!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Justice Delayed

From My Perspective - - -

The Pledge of Allegiance expresses these majestic and magnificent words: “…with Liberty and Justice for all.” That declaration was not the reality for many people in this nation over the years. In part, it gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement. The adage is well-stated: “Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied.” It is often heard in terms of criminal cases where Trial By Jury happens weeks, months or years down the road. We celebrate the Fourth of July as our Independence Day – but – how “independent” are we? An Internet News Source publishes: “Go ahead - celebrate Independence Day, but keep in mind that dependency on government (entitlement programs) is growing at an incredible rate…16.3% increase just last year.”

During the Civil Rights Movement, a book was written by one who involuntarily (at first) became a prominent participant in the cry for justice. A paragraph about his book states: “His brother died in his arms, shot by a Deputy Marshall. He was beaten and tortured by the Sheriff and State Police. But through it all he returned good for evil, love for hate, progress for prejudice and brought hope to black and white alike. The story of John Perkins is no ordinary story. Rather, it is a gripping portrayal of what happens when faith thrusts a person into the midst of a struggle against racism, oppression and injustice. It is about the costs of discipleship - the jailings, the floggings, the despair, the sacrifice. And it is about the transforming work of faith that allowed John to respond to such overwhelming indignities with miraculous compassion, vision and hope.” The book referenced is: “Let Justice Roll Down” by John Perkins. The overview given is: “This civil rights classic tells the story of Dr. John Perkins road from (Mendenhall) Mississippi poverty and racism to leading the charge for racial reconciliation and ministry with the poor.”

Another author who addressed the civil rights struggle was Langston Hughes. He is characterized by his starkness in his writings represented in – The Panther and The Lash – where Hughes writes about the many injustices in the world. The Publishers summarize his work with these words: “From the publication of his first book in 1926, Langston Hughes was America's acknowledged poet of color, the first to commemorate the experience-and suffering-of African-Americans in a voice that no reader, black or white, could fail to hear. In this, his last collection of verse, Hughes's voice is more pointed than ever before, as he explicitly addresses the racial politics of the sixties in such pieces as "Dream Deferred," "Birmingham Sunday." and "Daybreak in Alabama." Sometimes ironic, sometimes bitter, always powerful, the poems in The Panther and the Lash are the last testament of an American writer who grappled fearlessly and artfully with the most compelling issues of his time.” He is pointed, and at times profane, but always bold.

Yahoo tried to define Justice. The one who wrote the response gave three alternative and possible meanings: ”Justice can be broken into three major categories: social, personal, and supernatural. (1) Social Justice includes a government's legal system, (2) Personal Justice involves the a person's own ethics, and (3) Supernatural Justice refers to God’s Standard for Life.” The problem with having them as separate entities is that they are interwoven and each is a part of the whole. When the Prophet Amos was addressing the injustices of his day, the thrust of his message is summarized in Amos 5:21-27 (NLT), "I hate all your show and pretense - the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt and grain offerings. I won't even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry…” We need to see a new “…mighty flood of justice, a river of righteousness…” in our day. There are so many who strive for justice only to have it continually elude them. They need and deserve fairness – the joy and opportunity to succeed. They keep reaching for Justice – but – so often it is denied them. I hope they don’t give up! I hope they won’t become disillusioned or discouraged! I hope they’ll hang in there a little longer! Look to the Lord for true Liberty and Justice! Consider these things with me!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Anaerobic Aerobics

From My Perspective - - -

Maggots made the news this week when a US Airways plane in Atlanta returned to the passenger gate. It resulted because of a level of panic and fear – maggot mania - when maggots started to fall from an overhead bin onto the passengers. The Flight Attendants urged everyone to remain in their seats and to be calm. One passenger commented: "I felt like they were crawling all over me because it only takes one maggot to upset your world…And as they're telling us to stay calm and seated, I see a maggot looking back at me and I'm thinking: These are anaerobic, flesh-eating larvae that the flight attendants don't have to sit with.” The word “anaerobic” means: “(of an organism or tissue) living in the absence of air or free oxygen…” The gist of the story is: “Maggots falling from an overhead bin from a spoiled container of meat forced a US Airways flight to return to the gate in Atlanta so the bin could be cleaned. A Passenger said she noticed a couple of flies on the Monday flight when she got to her seat but didn't think much of it. Then, as the plane was taxiing, she heard a passenger behind her causing a commotion and refusing to take her seat. Then I heard the word ‘maggot' and that kind of got everybody ‘creeped out’…All of a sudden, I felt somebody flick the back of my hair and on the front of me came a maggot, which I flicked off me. A passenger had a container of rancid meat in a carry-on bag and brought it on Monday's flight bound for Charlotte, N.C.” A Headline could have been: “An Anaerobic Caused A Degree Of Aerobic Movement.”

Another form of “maggot-mania” is the Labeling that is done in our society. For some strange reason, the words “Nazi” and “Nazism” are used by one political party against those who are opposed to them and their legislative proposals. By the same token, those who are labeled “Nazi” in turn label those with opposing views as being “Marxist”, “Progressives”, and “Socialists”! The Maggots that brought about the delayed flight in Atlanta and caused it later to be taken out of service so it could be completely fumigated have a similarity to the Labels Politicians use about each other as they endeavor to retain power. The politicians need to be returned to the passenger gate and either be (a) totally fumigated, or (b) taken out of service. Its time that the mantra of the citizenry should be: E-I-E – Enough Is Enough! If left unattended, the Maggots and Labelers will gnaw away at the substance and fabric of who we are.

Those who are struggling to survive and those who see no light at the end of their tunnel are further exasperated by those who govern and who seem to be out of touch with the real world. Those who present the talking points that the Stimulus Plan is working and that jobs have been saved and created are out of touch with those who are part of the 10% unemployed and who have lost their homes through foreclosure. Those who tell you that the Banks have money for investment are out of touch with those who have tried to secure a loan to purchase some real property and have been refused – even though their credit score is high and they have been a Depositor in that Bank for many years. Regrettably, here’s another label – it is a form of “Brain-Washing” (“Intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person's basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs.”).This is not the Change people had Hoped for in the 2008 Election.

In the meanwhile, those who are committed to Trusting in the Lord, should remind themselves that (a) There is a God in Heaven and He is always in control; (b) one’s Trust and Hope should never be in man but always in the Lord; (c) Circumstances are temporary and Romans 8:28 remains functional: “…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”; and (d) when fear grips one’s heart and mind – Psalm 56:3-4, “But when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. O God, I praise your word. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” The road before us may still have many twists and turns, and may even be a bit bumpy! There is an old Church Chorus that contains the words: “Safe am I, Safe am I, In the hollow of His hand; Sheltered o'er, sheltered o'er With His love forever more. No ill can harm me, No foe alarm me, For He keeps both day and night, Safe am I, Safe am I, In the hollow of His hand.” Consider these things with me!