Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Christmas Spirit

Lots going on right now, so posting will continue to be infrequent. However, this video just made my day. Wish I had been there to experience it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
~Stanley Harrison

Watching Secretariat win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years is one of my most treasured childhood memories. In the ‘70s, my church stood one block over from Churchill Downs, my family lived in South Louisville just a few blocks from the Twin Spires and horse racing was in the air we breathed.

Critics have cynically dismissed this as Seabiscuit, the Sequel. There are parallels in their stories to be sure. Like Seabiscuit, Secretariat came at a time when people needed a hero. Economic struggles were again upon us, the presidency was tainted with scandal and the fabric of our society was fraying. Yet, for two minutes on the first Saturday in May, Secretariat gave us all something to unite and cheer about.

Secretariat is directed by Randall Wallace, writer of Braveheart, and at one time a would-be pastor until his pastor told him to pursue his true calling (he'd been writing since age 7). Wallace’s film is as much about the horse’s owner, Penny Chenery Tweedy, as the great stallion itself. The photography is gorgeous, the film’s story is compelling, and the roles are well cast with actors who fit the characters quite nicely.

This is a wonderful, feel-good movie. For those of you who remember 1973 races, you’ll nonetheless find yourself holding your breath as “and down the stretch they come!”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Obama's Tin Ear (or Why Jammin' Takes Experience)

Charlie Daniels has always had a way with words. The turn of phrase in his lyrics (Uneasy Rider or The Devil Went Down to Georgia just to name two) reveal a cleverness of thought that quickly dispels any notion that Mr. Daniels is just a redneck fiddlin’ fool.
On his band’s website, there is a section entitled “Soap Box” where Daniels holds forth on a variety of topics. I’ve enjoyed reading these from time to time over the years, but hadn’t checked out the site recently. In fact, I’d pretty much forgotten about Charlie’s essays until my friend Bill Smith posted one of Daniels’ blurbs from May where he uses his 50+ years as a musician to develop an analogy of why Obama is failing. I think Daniels has hit a high note. You can read it here.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

I'll Miss You, Stephen J. Cannell

The writer behind many of my favorite TV shows growing up, Stephen J. Cannell, died Thursday evening, September 30. I never met the man, but I am saddened by his passing.

His shows were always entertaining. Some were gritty and brilliant, such as Wiseguy. Some were iconic, such as The Rockford Files. And some were just mindless fun, such as one of my favorite, The A-Team.

Cannell found writing success beyond television scripts penning several mystery novels. He recently did several cameos as one of the title character's poker buddies on the series "Castle" which features a crime novelist working with a NY detective on murder cases. There are even novels tied to the show written by "Rick Castle" that many believe are actually the product of Mr. Cannell's prolific typewriter.

I will always remember him by the ending to his shows which showed him in his office typing away and then pulling the paper out of the typewriter and tossing the sheet in the air. You can see it here.

In reading the tributes in some of the Hollywood industry web sites, the comment section has been quite telling. Invariably when some Hollywood type dies, someone will talk about the deceased's character flaws and failings and why the passing is no big deal. With Mr. Cannell's passing, I have yet to read anything but praise and appreciation for a man who supported and encouraged other writers. He even has an online writing seminar (of sorts) on his web page.

Thanks for the hours of fun, Mr. Cannell.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

At The Movies: Five Reviews

State of Play – An excellent movie with a talented cast. Russell Crowe is outstanding as Cal McAffrey an old-school newsman who fights to maintain the old ways as he sees the world of news reporting evolving. Rachel McAdams brings a spark to Della Frye, a blogger who has McAffrey’s contempt and seeks his respect. Helen Mirren plays the tough-as-nails editor and Ben Affleck does his usual wooden performance (only this time it works for the character) as Rep. Collins, a long-time friend of McAffrey’s, who is embroiled in a scandal. The twists and turns of an intelligent script will keep you glued to the screen until the end. State of Play has the feel of All the President’s Men and the movie as a whole serves as an homage to the world of newsprint, the dinosaur media, as some pundits now refer to it.

Duplicity –Tony Gilroy, screenwriter of the above flick and the Bourne series, penned this twisting and turning spy caper with a script that is too impressed by its own cleverness by half. Clive Owens is charming, but I never saw even a hint of chemistry between him and costar Julia Roberts. Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson and the remaining supporting cast gave excellent performances that were in the end unable to buoy a convoluted plot and unsatisfying ending.

The Young Victoria – I absolutely loved this film! Pre-coronation Queen Victoria is young and full of life and about to be tossed somewhat ill-prepared into the life of a monarch. The young queen finds remarkably egalitarian friendship, wisdom and love with Albert and the rest, as they say, is history. This film will charm you and make you crave more information on this perfectly matched royal couple.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief – This is a fun, imaginative, purely escapist film that will entertain the kids as well as their parents. It will make you scratch your head trying to remember your Greek mythology class (“Now what was the name of the ferryman on the River Styx?”). No acting awards here (although some big-name actors appear in small-sized parts), but lots of inventive mythological references and adrenaline-fueled escapades. It has sequel written all over it.

The A-Team hasn’t been released to DVD yet, but when it does – give it a chance. This was one of my favorite shows in the 80s and all the fun things about that series find their way into this flick. This is just a pure, unapologetic action film with lots of comedic moments. It didn’t get the box office results necessary for a sequel (which the filmmakers were obviously planning on), but maybe the rental market will make that happen after all. I hope so, because this was pure fun!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Obama: Jimmy Carter's 2nd Term

Even democrats are comparing the Obama administration to the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter. Read about it here. For the record, I said this very thing before his inauguration! Here's proof.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Gag Reflex: Lady Gaga & the VMAs

I turned off the VMAs after Chelsea Handler's intro. The jokes, the music, the debasement - how desensitized we have become to vulgarity in all its forms.

Lady Gaga was the big winner last night. She has some of the catchiest hooks in music today, but that wasn't enough to keep Camille Paglia, writing in the Sunday Times, from skewering Ms. Gaga. Here's the link.

[FYI - I've been doing a lot more reading than writing lately. Lots of book reviews on the way.]

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rom-Com Letdown: Movie Reviews

As I’ve confessed before, I am a romantic comedy fan. I’m a sucker for the boy gets the girl/girl gets the boy stories. I don’t care how hackneyed the script, how obvious the plot, how cheesy the lines – I love ‘em. Usually. Out of the four movies reviewed here, two turned out to be exceptions which proved the rule.

I wonder what Jane Austen would think of the rom-com category she spawned when first Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy parried witty rejoinders? The two winners in our quartet both follow the formula of poor first impressions being corrected as the movie progresses. They also could very well represent a new category in the genre of “romantic comedy travelogues” as the scenery in both is a major character.

Coming to DVD on September 14, Letters to Juliet is a fun, albeit totally predictable rom-com set in Italy. The premise is rather completely summed up by the trailer. Neither the plot nor the characters are very well developed, but the ride is so much fun (and the scenery so beautiful) you really won’t mind. [Also, it has a line that rivals “No one puts Baby in a corner!” for cheesiest of all time.]

Our second winner is Leap Year. As soon as the two main characters meet, you know where this story is headed. Nevertheless, the charming Amy Adams and the gorgeous landscapes of Ireland make this movie delightful, even if entirely predictable.

As any rom-com fan knows, there always has to be the tension/breakup section where the love is tested. With the next two movies, it was definitely a case of love lost.

I want to like Gerard Butler. I really do. I loved him in Phantom of the Opera. He was utterly charming in P.S. I Love You. However, his last two rom-com choices have left me cold.

The Ugly Truth clearly wants to be an opposites attract movie reminiscent of the classic Doris Day-Rock Hudson films. It fails miserably. An Amazon reviewer sums it up: "...many people will be surprised (like I was) at the very high level of lewdness and vulgarity." We found it to be so coarse it wasn’t worth completing – back it went unfinished.

Less disheartening than The Ugly Truth, The Bounty Hunter nevertheless disappointed. [Disclaimer: I’m not a Jennifer Aniston fan.] One of the obvious problems with the movie is a complete lack of chemistry between the two lead actors. Add to that the very frequent use of the GD expletive and I’m ready to toss this DVD back in its container. We did, however, finish it. The language improved about two-thirds into the movie and at the end there was a sweetness (albeit too contrived in my opinion.) If you must rent this, make sure it’s from Red Box.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Professing Themselves Wise...

On the way home from church yesterday, we passed a car that had a myriad of atheist bumper stickers - everything from the ridiculous fish with legs to "Darwin Loves You". I told Bobby anyone who has to proclaim their atheism that loudly makes me skeptical. That's rebellion, not disbelief. I'm convinced that guy deep down believes in God, he's just ticked off by Him.

Atheists can be frightening (when they affect judicial rulings), but they can also be hilarious as seen in this story of U.S. atheists using hairdryers to "debaptize" themselves. They could have saved themselves the trouble. They have already countermanded their baptism.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Paying the Fiddler

The Washington Times ran a story today about both parties in Congress mulling over the possibility of raising the retirement age. The Social Security system is broken and eventually politicians will be forced to admit it. Raising the retirement age is, at best, at stop-gap measure. The real problem is Social Security was, is and always has been a Ponzi scheme at its core. Now, as the DVD mentioned in this article details, the demographic trends over the last few years and future projections will not allow the scheme to be perpetuated.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bigger Than Bling

I stopped caring about professional basketball when jerseys with the names of Jordan and Byrd disappeared from the hardwood. Professional sports figures seemed to make the news more for misdeeds than athletic achievements. Cynicism about these so-called heroes abounded.

Then...I read this article on Manute Bol. This Sudanese Christian man lived a heroic Christian life::
Bol reportedly gave most of his fortune, estimated at $6 million, to aid Sudanese refugees. As one twitter feed aptly put it: "Most NBA cats go broke on cars, jewelry & groupies. Manute Bol went broke building hospitals."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ten Concert Truths

I had a wonderful time this weekend at the Carrie Underwood concert. The music was great, the performance was at turns fun and moving, and the artist herself seemed to be just a genuinely nice young lady. I have cheered for her since her American Idol days, so it was good to see that authentic vibe was still there.

The concert also provided me with blog fodder, so below are listed Ten Concert Truths gained from my experience Sunday night:

Decibel level tolerance diminishes with age.

What looked good on you at 25 might quite possibly look ridiculous on you at 45.

Certain fashion styles have weight limits. I'm just sayin'.

A certain Alabama song was full of insight: "...too young to understand, why the young girls fall in love with the boys in the band."

$60 seems a lot to pay just for the opportunity to get drunk on overpriced beer.

Sheer volume does not make up for talent deficits.

Everyone likes a good bluegrass instrumental (even those who don't think they like bluegrass).

Inflation scale = $1 per year: Early 90s - concert T-shirt was $15-20, today $35.

Music really is better performed live.

Seeing their child happy makes the parent happier than the child.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act

Now that the usual suspects in the mainstream media have gotten their histrionics out of the way, it's time for an actual examination of Dr. Paul's position. Here's a snippet from an AOL story on the incident:

Rachel Maddow pressed Paul on the question during a lengthy interview on her MSNBC program Wednesday night. She tried to get a clear answer on whether he thought the lunch counter at the Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. -- a flash point in the struggle for racial integration -- should have been allowed to remain segregated.

Paul said he didn't believe "any private property should discriminate" and insisted he would never patronize such a place. But he asked Maddow, "Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant or does the government own his restaurant?"

Paul accused Maddow of bringing up "something that really is not an issue ... sort of a red herring." But he faced the same question a month ago in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal's editorial board. (Click here to watch the video. Skip ahead to the one-hour mark.)

"Under your philosophy it would be OK for Dr. King to not be served at the counter at Woolworth's?" Paul was asked. He replied that he would have boycotted the store and denounced it, but added, "This is the hard part about believing in freedom."

He continued, "In a free society we will tolerate boorish people who have abhorrent behavior. But if we're civilized people, we publicly criticize that and don't belong to those groups or associate with those people."

Dr. Paul is absolutely right on this. People have a right to be bigoted morons - just as I have the right not to patronize their businesses. The market can take care of bigots without the need for government intervention. Dr. Walter Williams, distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist, has written a wonderful defense of Paul's views here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh No Canadian Healthcare!

We were assured there would not be rationing of care. No "lifeboat" scenarios with medical services. We were told to look to Canada for an example of how wonderful government healthcare would be. We were told a fairytale and our politicians believed it.

Now Canada is looking to curtail cost because an aging population is putting pressure on their healthcare services. This is just the beginning. (Watch this DVD to see why.) Here's the article on the Canadian healthcare problem.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Parent Fog - Addendum

My hubby sent me this article after my last blog post. It fits nicely into the discussion of what influences surround young people today. This one is from their music. Here's the article.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Parent Fog - Some Thoughts

Bobby and I always wanted kids, however when it became clear this wasn't the Lord's will for us, we decided to invest in the kids of other people who were brought into our lives. This has provided us with some advantages in relating to young people.

One advantage is we lack "parent fog." This is the hazy mist that surrounds otherwise savvy, intelligent men and women rendering them deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to their children. It's the "my child would never..." syndrome or the "I know some kids his/her age do [fill in the blank], but my son/daughter would NEVER..." attitude, regardless of whether the topic is drugs, sex, rock-n-roll or cheating in class.

Parental love often expresses I Corinthians 13 in that it hopes, believes and expects the best. My hubby tells the story of a lady he worked with who came home early and heard her son cuss at his sister. When confronted, the son swore to his mom that that was the first time he had used that language and (of course) it would never happen again. When the mom related this story to Bobby and another coworker, she was met with laughter. "Let me understand this - the FIRST and only time your son cussed just happened to be within ear shot of his mom? C'mon!!!" The mom reflected on the scenario and Bobby's skepticism and realized she'd been played by her son. The son had been able to sell that improbable lie because he knew his mom would desperately want to believe the best about him.

So many Christian parents don't realize that today's young Johnny & Susie know so much more about sex, drugs, rock-n-roll and the world in general than our generation did at the same age. Mental innocence is a rare commodity and extremely difficult to hold on to in our 24/7 instant information age.

This may explain the Generation Gap more completely than the difference in ages. It is quite possibly a gap created by a lack of cultural awareness, a lack of remembrance of the thinking process and behavior tendencies of teenagers (processes and tendencies that don't change that much from generation to generation), and a lack of realistically assessing the world in which their children live as it is and not as they wish it to be or perhaps romantically remember it to be from their youth.

To be successful with today's young people, those in my peer group who came of age in the 80s must constantly remind themselves the world these kids are growing up in is far different from the world we experienced. You may not like it, but listen to their music, watch the TV shows of their generation and read the books they read - this will give you a context for those discussions on values and faith.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Rand Paul for U. S. Senate

Rand Paul has been endorsed by Sarah Palin, Jim Bunning, Steve Forbes and now Dr. James Dobson. Dr. Dobson originally endorsed Paul's opponent, but soon discovered he had been misled by senior GOP officials and, thankfully, had the integrity to publicly call them out on the deception and change his endorsement to Dr. Paul.

I have been infuriated by the Grayson campaign. The deceptive, misleading attack ads against Rand Paul are based on the assumption that the Kentucky electorate is ill-informed on the issues. One ad in particular uses a snippet of Paul saying the Social Security age will have to be raised to 70 - and then presents this as an attack on imminent retirees. Sorry, Trey, Kentuckians do follow the news and we know Social Security is bankrupt. Raising the retirement age is just ONE of the steps that will be necessary to keep this Ponzi scheme afloat.

More infuriating is Grayson's, a former Democrat, assertion that Paul is not pro-life. Dr. Paul is adamantly, ardently Pro-Life. Grayson knows this and his approval of ads stating otherwise speaks to his willingness to do and say anything to get elected.

Kentuckians have had enough of politicians - we need statesmen. A vote for Grayson is a vote for a politician. A vote for Paul is a vote for a statesman. The choice couldn't be clearer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How Hollywood Views Christians

I've had a blog idea percolating for a long time on how Hollywood writers/producers, etc. view Christians. I may still get around to it, but for right now just take a look at this posting from Deadline Hollywood, specifically the comment section. Christianity is reviled unless it is a watered down, I'm okay-You're okay version. This is truly insightful.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Childhood Poetry

Though it’s been perilously close to 40 years ago, a poem I had to memorize in 6th grade came dancing through my memory this morning. It is itself a sweet and almost melancholy memory that captured my heart as a child and, for some reason, still has it today:

In School Days

Still sits the schoolhouse by the road,
A ragged beggar sleeping;
Around it still the sumacs grow,
And blackberry-vines are creeping.
Within, the master's desk is seen,
Deep-scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
The jackknife's carved initial;
The charcoal frescoes on its wall;
Its door's worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!

Long years ago a winter sun
Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,
And low eaves' icy fretting.
It touched the tangled golden curls,
And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed
When all the school were leaving.
For near it stood the little boy
Her childish favor singled;
His cap pulled low upon a face
Where pride and shame were mingled.

Pushing with restless feet the snow
To right and left, he lingered;---
As restlessly her tiny hands
The blue-checked apron fingered.
He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
The soft hand's light caressing,
And heard the tremble of her voice,
As if a fault confessing.
"I'm sorry that I spelt the word:
I hate to go above you,
Because,"---the brown eyes lower fell,---
"Because, you see, I love you!"

Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing!
He lives to learn, in life's hard school,
How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss,
Like her, because they love him.

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Favorite Cleaning Gadget

I am a HUGE fan of the Mr. Clean Eraser blocks. They work like magic on a large variety of stains, spills and messes. In fact, here's a whole list. Here's another site praising this product. I'd add they are great at getting hair dye stains off sinks (not that I have personal experience in hair dying...) and wine splashes on walls or floors. I love it when a product actually lives up to its advertising!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Call the Tune, Pay the Fiddler?

As government entitlement programs grow (universal healthcare being just the latest), the tax burden gets larger and larger. At least for some. This report states only 47% of households pay income tax. With only half the people paying all the bills, a day of reckoning approaches.

With the "wealthy" class being defined down (the qualifying income bracket is getting lower and lower) while the corresponding tax rate keeps going up, the incentive to be a productive member of society is rapidly diminishing. What happens when the remaining 53% decide to stop paying everyone else's bills?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle

The World War II era has always intrigued me. I love everything about it – the music, the innocence, the patriotism. When Bobby and I married, he introduced me to what would become another area of interest from the 1940s – the emerging Air Force and those wonderful planes.

A precursor to my generation’s Top Gun F-14 Tomcats, the P-51 Mustangs were the fast, sexy fighters, but they weren’t my favorite plane. My heart was stolen by the B-17. The B-17 appeals to me because it’s basically a football team in the air. Every crew member is important. However unlike a lineman missing a tackle, if a crew member on the B-17 didn’t do his part the crew was in danger of losing not a game, but their very lives. This bomber would break the back of the Axis in Europe while her younger (and bigger) sisters, the B-25 and B29, would wreak havoc on Japan.

One of the most celebrated B-17s was the Memphis Belle. Famed director William Wyler even did a wartime documentary on the Belle. In the 1990s, Hollywood again put the Belle’s story on celluloid (although this time it was more fiction than fact).

A year or two after we married, Bobby and I attended an air show in Bowling Green where I had the pleasure of meeting Col. Robert Morgan, the pilot of the Memphis Belle. I was awestruck. (I actually cried afterwards.) So while browsing the clearance section at Joseph Beth Booksellers when I saw “The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle,” I quickly brought it and began devouring it.

In the early part of the air war, the Allied campaign was sacrificing 2 out of 3 flights. The first three months of the Allied offensive, the loss rate reached 80%! To counter this devastating statistic, an incentive was dangled in front of the airmen: The 1st crew to complete 25 missions would be sent home. The crew of the Memphis Belle was the first to accomplish this feat.

Trying to put this in context, Col. Morgan writes, “We were participants in a style of warfare that had been made technically feasible less than half a century before it took form in the skies over Europe and the Pacific Ocean. We, and our enemies, were still improvising rules and tactics every time we left the ground for a new day of confrontation above the clouds. The air war demanded skills that even its best surviving practitioners found hard to communicate to their families, friends, and historians – levels of competence, concentration, physical endurance, discipline, and teamwork bordering on brotherhood. Over it all was the constant grim prospect of a sudden helpless spiraling descent to violent death. . .”

Written in a Sam Spade, first person narrative style which fits its content to a “T”, this book recounts the story of a young man from the mountains of North Carolina who attended parties at The Biltmore, flew bombing runs over Germany and partied with Clark Gable and then went on to fly in the first B-29 bombing runs over Japan. Morgan doesn’t hesitate to state his aerial prowess, but he is even quicker to heap praise and credit on his crew members. He writes of a sense of equality among the men each with an important job to do. Morgan is equally generous in his praise of the Belle’s maintenance crew chief, Joe Giambrone, crediting him with keeping the Belle going through her 25 missions.

Like most real-life heroes, Col. Morgan’s hat was not pure white, but grey. His valor in the air was not matched by fidelity on the ground. His womanizing and even adultery would be at odds with his complete faith in God and His Providence – a disconnect that would cause him later in life to ask Billy Graham why God had spared him when his life was at odds with God’s commandments. Morgan’s Cromwell-esque “warts and all” self portrait is a great glimpse into society in the 1930s-40s, as well as the beginnings of our Air Force. It reminded me somewhat of Tom Wolfe’s novel on the early days of the space program. Morgan certainly lacks Wolfe’s prowess as a writer, but he has given us a wonderful history lesson nonetheless.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Choose You This Day: God vs Socialism (Book Review)

Socialism is a buzz word today. Opponents of the President and the Democrat-controlled Congress are quick to shout, “Socialism” in opposition to many of the administration’s initiatives. Are they right? And if they are right, is socialism a bad thing?

Joel McDurmon has done a wonderful job in answering both those questions and many more you may not even realize needed to be asked in his book, God vs Socialism. The new Social Gospel is permeating our churches and it is vital that Christians know what it is and what the Bible has to say about it.

I write often on political matters and sometimes wonder if I should. McDurmon has been asked why he writes so much about “politics”. Here is his answer (which in the future will be mine):

“The answer goes far beyond the simple idea that we should apply God’s Word to every area of life. The answer must include the fact that if we don’t apply God’s Word to every area of life, the forces of darkness will push their word in the neglected areas. There is no neutrality. Either God reigns and His law is honored, or the enemy rules and humanists carry out their will in law, politics, and ethics. The reason for Christians in politics – and all other areas – begins with the answer to the question, “Who is King?”

Political decisions are ethical decisions. Scripture has much to say about just scales, contracts and monetary policy. Ownership is one of the main issues. McDurmon offers an abundance of scripture passages affirming private property. Socialism is the belief that individual private property and free-markets are bad ideas.

“Under this view, the individual has no protection from his neighbor if his neighbor is in the majority, or if the State somehow deems his neighbor is needful in some way, the State simply uses force to take that individual’s property and give it to someone else.” Thou shalt not steal doesn’t apply if a majority of representatives vote to do so in Congress. “Socialism is the belief that armed robbery is okay as long as you do it through the proxy of the government’s gun.”

Most Americans probably “wouldn’t walk over to their neighbor’s house and steal from him directly, but they have absolutely no problem with taking that money if a politician signs it their way...It is theft...”

Is it just hyperbolic language when conservatives warn of socialist or Marxist legislation? Not when you consider two tenets of the Communist Manifesto were (1) a heavy progressive or graduated income tax and (2) abolition of all right of inheritance. Sound familiar? The graduated income tax is envy based. Pure and simple. God commands all to give a tithe – 10%. He doesn’t command the rich to give more or the poor to give less. 10% across the board. To do otherwise is to favor or punish a segment of society which Scripture forbids. You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. – Leviticus 19:15.

The so-called Social Gospel of Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Ron Sider is much more socialism than it is Gospel. While each maintain a nonpartisan stance, their positions line up with liberal ideology time and again. Each is more interested in promoting political agendas than spreading the Gospel. Look no further than the issue of abortion. Rather than decrying it as immoral or, specifically, murder, Wallis urges Democrats to relax their language on abortion to accommodate pro-life views. In his book, God’s Politics, he says:

Such a respect of conscience on abortion and a less dismissive approach to conscientious dissenters to Democratic orthodoxy would allow many pro-life and progressive Christians the ‘permission’ they need to vote Democratic. Again, there are millions of votes at stake here.

Wallis isn’t concerned with the millions of unborn lives at stake – just the millions of votes. His message is not one of conviction but of political expediency.

Even atheist activist Edward Tabash understands the need for this “baptized” socialism. Speaking before the Atheist Alliance International conference in 2007, he said of liberal leaders going out of their way to speak in religious overtones:

We don’t care what they say in look to the rhetoric they need to pander to, remember what country they’re running in. I don’t care what kind order to get elected in this religious country. We care about what kind of judges they give us on the Supreme Court, because only the Supreme Court determines if we’ll have secular government…Don’t of verbal obeisance they pay to religion if that’s what it takes to get a person in the White House who will give us church-state separationists on the Supreme Court.

Na├»ve and unfortunately many times simple-minded, Christians are being duped into accepting an atheistic system presented in religious clothing. Quite appropriate when one considers the early American socialists, called Fabians, had as one of their symbols a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

McDurmon also interacts with liberal theologians, Tony Campolo and Ron Sider. Sometime between 1989 and 1991, the singles group at my home church went on an organized trip to hear Tony Campolo speak. Something about the man bothered me, but at the time I couldn’t put my finger on it. I now know what that something was – socialism wrapped in the language of the Gospel.

Over 20 years have passed, but instead of being exposed as a false teacher Mr. Campolo and his ilk, including Jim Wallis and Ron Sider, continue to promote so-called Christian socialism. [It must be noted that Jim Wallis is a “spiritual advisor” to President Obama who said Americans shouldn’t be concerned about Obama’s lack of a church as he provides the president with a devotion delivered to Obama’s Blackberry on a daily basis.]

Campolo’s recent book, Red Letter Christians, gives special importance to the “red letter” sections of Scripture, the words of Jesus, as the key to Christian social justice and political action. Curious how Campolo’s presentation always lines up point-by-point with the Democrat party platform. He stresses the Sermon on the Mount, but somehow neglects this section: Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18. Seems Jesus put a premium on the black-letter words as well.

However, it’s in his reflection on Matthew 25 that Campolo’s political agenda is laid bare. He writes that on judgment day the Lord

“…will ask whether or not we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, received and cared for aliens, and brought deliverance to captive people…

Most important, when we reflect on all Jesus had to say about caring for the poor and oppressed, committing ourselves to His red-letter message just might drive us to see what we can do politically to help those he called, ‘the least of these’ (see Matthew 25:31-46).”

McDurmon asks, “Where in any of these passages about helping the poor or judgment day, or any other verse period, does it “drive us” to ask what we can do politically? Jesus’ message involves a commitment to help the poor, yes, but it has nothing to do with using government force to redistribute wealth from some people in order to help other people . . . The truth is Campolo couldn’t care less about the Evangel – that is, the Gospel – unless it advances his liberal agenda.”

This is quite evident in an interview Campolo did with Bill Moyers. Mr. Moyers questioned him about the issue of proselytizing (particularly of Jews) and Campolo essentially denied the uniqueness and power of the Gospel:

I am not about to pronounce who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. That is not within the realm of any of us. We are not here to declare who’s out and who’s in. All we’re here to do is to saw what is meaningful in our own lives, what has been significant in our own personal experiences with God. I have come to know God through Jesus Christ. He is the only way that I know God. And so I preach Jesus. I am not about to make judgments about my Jewish brothers, my Muslim brothers and sisters; I’m just not about to make those kinds of statements. I think that we ought to leave judgments up to God, and we ought to call people to obedient faith within their own traditions, even as we faithfully preach our own faith to others…I learn about Jesus from other religions. They speak to me about Christ as well.

Seems Mr. Campolo doesn’t put importance on this red-letter verse: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6).

Campolo, like Wallis and Sider, loves to point out how “there are more than 2,000 verses of Scripture that call us to express love and justice for those who are poor and oppressed…” But he immediately makes the unwarranted jump from the Bible’s mandate for personal compassion to socialistic government action. [Campolo writes] “we promote legislation that turns biblical imperatives into social policy.”

It is an abdication of personal responsibility. One that is not unexpected from a liberal. Arthur C. Brooks, author of Who Really Cares, discovered and proved statistically and undeniably what the Bible promotes – the solution to poverty is organized voluntary giving. This book documented what many of us instinctively knew – religious conservatives give far more to private charity than liberals, no matter how the stats are tallied or how you divide the pie charts. Catholic author Richard John Neuhaus noted, “This remarkable book documents the dramatic gap between those who talk about caring and those who actually do it.”

While McDurmon interacts with Ron Sider, author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, he really needn’t to have bothered. David Chilton devastated Sider’s class-envy driven book in his response, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators. Sider has never acknowledged or interacted with Chilton’s book, but he has revised his book in response many, many times since its publication in 1977 as a result.

McDurmon sites one of the passages Sider uses in his argumentation, Jeremiah 22:13-19. Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim is condemned for building himself a luxurious palace without compensating his workers (as commanded in Leviticus 19:3). The prophet contrasts this oppression and injustice with the proper justice shown by King Josiah. “ ‘He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?’ Declares the Lord.” Sider says this passage proves governmental power should deliver the weak and guarantee the rights of the poor. True, if he means providing justice according to the law. If he means this to justify welfare and unemployment redistribution schemes, the passage says nothing about it. In fact, the real injustice here is the king breaking the law. The passage highlights a government that grew too powerful and began to oppress the people!

McDurmon sums up the purpose of his book thusly:

The Bible teaches about salvation. Yes, but what is salvation? Does salvation only concern the soul? To answer in this pietistic way is to ignore too much of Scripture. It ignores topics this book and many more deal with - very practical, down-to-earth matters of politics, property, money, reproduction, education, and inheritance that affect all of us. God vs Socialism has tried to show, Christians ignore these matters to their own peril, and to their children’s greater peril. As we neglect them, we destroy the foundations of a free society, and thus undermine the peace and prosperity of the nation our children will inherit…If the book of Judges teaches us anything, it teaches that the process of decline begins when Christians refuse to apply God’s laws to the very real and practical issues of social life. The negative results should ignite our souls to passionate action.

Monday, February 15, 2010

End of Global Warming Hysteria In Sight?

Admissions are coming slowly but surely from the global warming "scientists" that their "science" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. For the truth of the climate-gate fiasco one must head to the papers of jolly ol' England. Here's the Daily Express' coverage of the admission. The London Times ran another. The Daily Mail wasn't to be outdone and carried the same story here. Now if only a U.S. paper would man-up and admit it's a hoax.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Canadian Official comes to the US for surgery!

Newfoundland's Premier has headed south for his heart surgery. Makes you wonder what other Canadians would do if they could afford it! And we want to be like Canada?!?! Here's the story.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Build, Baby, Build

I've been pretty vocal in my opposition to the majority of President Obama's agenda. However, there is a proposal he's made recently which has my support - increasing nuclear power in the U.S. Here's the story from Bloomberg.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yet Another Reason To Be A Global Warming Skeptic...

Backpedalling again from the UN report. It seems their "consensus" was an interview with a "single Indian glaciologist". That's ONE scientist. Oh, also, he admits there may very well be more errors in the report. This makes the second UN climate "expert" this month to cast doubt on the UN report.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Blind Side

This movie is full of life lessons. I don't have to write about it, however - my good friend Rosie Booth has already done it and done it well. Read her take here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Copenhagen Climate Change Cost Not Cheap

Sometimes you just have to laugh or you'll scream. At a time of outrageous budget deficits, double-digit unemployment, etc., here's an article about the cost of the Congressional delegation's trip to the Climate Change summit. (Mind you the facts were hard to come by as Speaker Pelosi was not forthcoming.) This isn't a partisan issue - Dems and Repubs were part of this group. This is particularly laughable considering a Hungarian physicist claims to have proven CO2 emissions are irrelevant to the earth's climate.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Global Cooling? Yep!

I'm part of the increasingly loud segment of the population who thinks global warming is a hoax. While warming may have occurred, it was part of the normal cyclical order of things. Now even a UN scientist is admiting so-called global warming may be giving way to global cooling. From this map, the response across much of the nation is "Duh!".

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Trying to review Twilight

This past summer while being a chaperone on the TCA class of 2009’s Senior Trip, I spent an afternoon on our balcony listening to the ocean and absolutely devouring the first book in the Twilight series.

The writing is horrendous. I mean really amateur stuff here. BUT, Meyers did get me to care about the characters enough to want to know what happened next even as I wanted to shake Bella repeatedly and scream at Meyers for her obsessive love of adverbs.

I struggled with writing a review. I thought my friend Coral did a good job. I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t quite nail down my feelings regarding the book. I knew my discomfort wasn’t in regard to the whole vampire thing (I’m a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan) and there are redeemable elements in the Twilight series (two lovers wait for marriage to consummate their relationship, Edward’s protection of Bella, the Cullen clan’s suppression of natural desire, i.e., drinking human blood, for greater good).

Rev. Doug Wilson is reading the book and doing a chapter by chapter review of it. I don’t think he is completely correct in his assessment of the book (aside from the lambasting of the writing!), but his reviews do provide food for thought. Here are the reviews for the first 8 chapters of Twilight. If interested, you can follow future reviews at Credenda Agenda:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8