Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hands Off! Don’t Loot!

Cross-Posted From:
Devestated Business in Ferguson, MO
Devastated Business in Ferguson, MO

One current rallying cry being used by those, like Al Sharpton, who have made a profession of fanning the flames in America’s black/white racial divide rather than building a bridge across that chasm, is “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” There is no legitimacy to it. It’s based on a concocted account of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.

The rallying cry that needs to be taken up instead is:

“Hands Off! Don’t Loot!”
Innocent residents and business owners in Ferguson, MO, have suffered tremendous losses at the hands of those who used Michael Brown’s death as an excuse to steal and destroy. In some cases, the losses meant the end for businesses and the livelihood they provided for owners, employees, suppliers, etc. There is nothing lacking in the legitimacy of this rallying cry. It’s based on a sad but absolutely true aspect of this matter. Continue reading 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Keeping Our Eyes Above The Waves

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Over the past few days, as we’ve watched Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ronald S. Johnson step in to take over security operations in the midst of this past week’s civil unrest in Ferguson, MO, it’s become obvious that he is a truly exceptional person. The immediate good news in this, as reported in a related Washington Post article, is that Johnson’s first day on the job resulted in “Hugs, kisses and a night of peace (replacing) tear gas and unrest.” The more long-term and more challenging part of this is that Captain Johnson is exceptional. If all of our nation’s leaders would emulate Johnson’s conduct, our country could be vastly improved.
A great place to begin this emulation would be by looking at statements Captain Johnson made in Friday’s (August 14, 2014) press conference and most importantly, by looking at his responses to the questions he received. The comments that I found to be most striking are outlined as follows: Continue reading 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Single Moms – Mapping Their Son’s Masculine Journey

Cross-Posted From:

Wild HeartOn a recent vacation, while driving round trip from Southwest Washington to Northwest Wyoming, I finally managed to finish a book a friend had loaned me this past winter. It was The Way of the Wild Heart, by John Eldredge. It’s a follow-up to another of Eldredge’s best-sellers, Wild at Heart.
The subtitle of Wild at Heart is: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul. Its back cover expands on that by saying: “In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God.” In the book, Eldredge lays out three main longings of every male on their journey in life. Each man longs for: A battle to fight, An adventure to live and A beauty to rescue. In The Way of the Wild Heart, Eldredge expands on this theme by noting six major phases of a man’s life: Beloved Son, Cowboy (or Ranger), Warrior, Lover, King and Sage. This book’s main point is that God wants to come and father us through each of these stages. The key underlying theme, though, is the vital role earthly fathers and male mentors are meant to play in accomplishing this.
SHOWING THE WAY Continue reading 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Covenant Morality?

Cross-Posted From:
Bible Context
This article has been written, specifically, to address a most rare exception, a comment on a previous article that’s been Pending Approval for quite a while. The comment in question was made in response to an article entitled Lookin’ For Hate In All The Wrong Places. It said,
“remember… there is a brand new covenant, which basicly breaks down morality to: ‘he who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to HIM it is sin.’ are you foolishly going to argue that homosexuals in their heart of hearts feel that theyre sinning? if so, youre very disillusioned. and thus, by the very biblical passage ive quoted… they arent sinning in being homosexual.” Continue reading 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Keeping America’s Social Fabric Intact

Cross Posted From:

Securing the Legacy of the Greatest Generation – Part Four
In Part Three of this series, Get Out of the Villages!, I talked about Baby Boomers and others stepping up to make a positive difference with America’s kids today as a desperately needed contribution in Repairing America’s Social Fabric. Certainly, that desperate need exists in other aspects of American culture too. With this article, I want to acknowledge an instance of this job getting done through keeping America’s social fabric intact. It’s the exemplary job of role model and true American hero being done by a fellow-Baby Boomer, the leader of the Lieutenant Dan BandGary SiniseContinue reading 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Get Out of The Villages!

Cross-Posted From:

Securing the Legacy of the Greatest Generation
- Part Three
Going Out With a Boom
Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. That’s the approach I’m taking in tackling the question I raised at the end of Part Two in this series – i.e. How do we go about meeting present-day challenges through reacquiring Greatest Generation values that, for the most part, are missing today?
The “bite” I want to chew on with this article contains the values associated with how we raise our children. In Part Two of this series, I exemplified the different values that made up that part of our social fabric in the heyday of the Greatest Generation with the following overview:
“Children were raised by their families. When they got up in the morning, both Mom and Dad were there to parent them and care for them. When they went off to school, they went with kids from families in the neighborhood who knew each other. Their transportation to and from school was on foot through neighborhoods where a caring adult was present in most homes. Their teachers and other school staff knew the kids and their families. The same was true with extracurricular activities. At the end of the day, there was no warehousing of kids at a “daycare”. Babysitting was an exceptional activity, typically to afford parents a couple of hours to go out to dinner, etc. and even then, the babysitting was usually done by a relative or neighbor who knew the kids well.”
Wow! How can we possibly reacquire a set of values like that, values that have become so very different today?! I suggest that, to find the answers related to this, we need to begin by adopting the attitude the Greatest Generation took in facing the overwhelming challenges brought on by WWII. In Part One of this series, I described this as a mindset that, unlike today, meant the average Joe or Jane lived their lives with a true other-oriented sense of community, rather than just being focused on “What’s in it for me? When our nation was threatened by the Axis nations of WWII, that mentality was evidenced through everyone putting their personal aspirations on hold for as long as was necessary to meet the crisis at hand.
That, obviously, was a winning mentality. But, perhaps, you’re thinking, “Of course, subordinating one’s own dreams was necessary to deal with the plight represented by WWII but we’re not coping with anything on a par with that today.” To that, I would say, “Really?!” Just think of the many ways, since the Greatest Generation were in their prime, in which our social fabric has unraveled, bearing tragic results on the level of the topic I focused on in Part Two of this series … School Shootings. Just looking at three of the five areas I outlined in that article, to exemplify what communities were like prior to the unraveling I mention, consider the ongoing deterioration of these things:Continue reading 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Repairing America’s Social Fabric

Cross-Posted From:

Securing The Legacy Of The Greatest Generation – Part Two
Rockwell Diversity
In Part One of this series, I pointed out a number of values that were commonly held in the heyday of the Greatest Generation, values that are significantly different from (and I think vastly superior to) our related values today. My purpose in doing that was to explore how America would benefit through reacquiring those once-common values and applying them to our present-day challenges. With that in mind, in this article, I want to more specifically try to answer the question, “What are the problems facing us today that can be addressed in this way?” Once I’ve examined the “What?” question here, in future articles I intend to take up the question of “How?”.
As I’ve considered this “What?” question, it has seemed to me that applying once-common values of the Greatest Generation might offer solutions to a broad range of present-day challenges. However, to illustrate my views on this, I’m going to focus on a single concern. It’s one that’s deeply troubling and in fact, this disturbing matter is the one that got my thinking started on this topic in the first place. It’s School Shootings. Continue reading 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Securing The Legacy Of The Greatest Generation

Cross-Posted From:

June 6, 2014, marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the operation that began the Allied invasion of German-occupied Western Europe,ultimately leading to an Allied victory in WWII. Revisiting the details of this phenomenal event, again, served to remind me of the incredible accomplishments of the Greatest Generation, especially their gaining that victory in the face of overwhelmingly impossible odds. This led me to consider how we are doing with the priceless legacy we have been entrusted with through that generation’s victory and beyond that, to consider what lessons remain for us in their accomplishments that could lead to our gaining victory over today’s issues that may seem just as overwhelmingly impossible.
During the 70th anniversary celebration of D-Day, I read an awe-inspiring story entitled 93-year-old WWII Vet to Parachute into Normandy – Again. This was the story of Jim Martin who,as a private in the 101st Airborne, was one of the paratroopers dropped behind German lines in the hours before the D-Day landings. Jim determined that, to honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day, he would go back to Normandy, to parachute onto the same soil he touched seven decades before and he did just that. Reading Jim’s story provided reminders for me about the unique qualities of his generation and that brought illumination to my considering the application of those qualities in resolving the most significant challenges facing us today. Continue reading 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Doing What’s Right

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“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”
Recently, I noticed this quote from our 26th President displayed at the entrance to an elementary school Fifth Grade classroom. As I read it, my immediate thought was, “I wish that was a common attitude with today’s politicians.”
Although “Teddy” Roosevelt is honored as one of America’s best presidents, I recognize that even he, most likely, didn’t always live up to the ideal indicated by his “do what’s right” quote. But, at least, “do what’s right” was one of Roosevelt’s stated ideals. And, surely, that ideal was shared by many of his political contemporaries. Likewise, I’m confident that this was an ideal commonly held by American politicians prior to the T.R. era, going back to the founding of the U.S. Even as recently as the turn of the current century, at least some politicians held to this ideal, as indicated by the well-known signature line of Former Congressman J.C. Watts Jr., who said,jc watts
“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”
Today it seems that with one political issue after another it is sadly evidenced that, most often, the “do what’s right” ideal isn’t in play at all. Rather than belabor this by reviewing every applicable issue I can think of (Associated Press phone records scandal, ATF “Fast and Furious” scandal, Forsaking the liberty our sacrifice gained for the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo prisoner exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, IRS political targeting scandal, James Rosen phone and email records scandal, Syria foreign policy fiasco, Ukraine foreign policy fiasco, Veterans Affairs scandal, etc.), let me illustrate my point by using details related to just one of today’s hottest political issues … The investigation of the terrorist raid on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. Continue reading 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Housewarming Gift In Heaven

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Nancy Gary Dick Backyard
This past Friday morning, we got the news that my big brother had passed away overnight, near where he lived, in Alabama. When our big sister broke the news to our nearly 95-year-old mother, the words of comfort I offered her included: “Thank you for giving me as good of a big brother as a guy could ask for and thank you for pointing all your kids to Jesus.” My comfort during this time lies in knowing that that’s where my brother is now … at home in Heaven with Jesus. As a result, more than I would ordinarily, I’ve found myself considering what things are like in Heaven.
My Big Brother
Chester Richard (Dick) Wiram is my big brother. Of course, there’s a lot I could tell you about him. If you’d like to know some of his biography, I recommend starting with his obituary, that appeared in our hometown newspaper. What I’d really like to tell you about, though, is a bit about the kind of guy he was and how he impacted my life.
When he passed away, Dick was close to 70 years old. I’m nearing 67 so that means Dick got the first three years of his time here on Earth to himself, without the responsibility of being my big brother. If he was still here with us, I expect that he would refer to that time as “the good old days”.
Isn’t that the way it is with brothers? You can say and do things with each other that you couldn’t get away with if it was anyone else. But, you can do so with your brother because it’s usually done in jest and because of the love you share. Dick was great at that. I told my wife, Ruth; it seemed that Dick had done that by taking our Dad’s wry sense of humor and developing it to a whole new level.Continue reading 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

You Will Not Surely Die?!

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takei pastor post
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. - Genesis 3:4
Genesis 3:4 records Satan’s promise to Eve, leading to the fall of man. Obviously, it was a devastatingly effective tactic. So much so that it’s been an ongoing key element in the destructive strategy of “that serpent of old”.
Although I frequently see “the great dragon” raising its ugly head with this weapon in hand, I usually just shake my head and try to ignore it, thinking something like, “Anyone with half a brain, especially fellow-Christians, won’t be deceived by this”. However, when I saw the image shown above being used in this way, as a Facebook post a couple of weeks ago, there were so many disturbing aspects of it that I just had to speak out this time.
The Facebook post mentioned was by George Takei, the gay activist whose claim to fame is having portrayed the role of Mr. Sulu on Star Trek. Although there are disquieting factors beyond those contained within the post itself, I’ll start there. Continue reading 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Diversity or Reversity?

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american diversity
Unleashing the Power of Our Diversity”. That’s the slogan used by some dear friends of mine, to promote their course for diversity education. I suspect that it also describes what many in corporate America hope they’re getting with their investment in diversity education, though the primary motivation for this investment still seems to be avoiding discrimination-related litigation. Sadly, though diversity has been increasingly emphasized in recent decades, this latter-mentioned attitude reflects, perhaps in most cases, the ongoing misapplication of the term “diversity”.
Just within the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen two glaring examples of this misapplication at the national level. One is the case of Brendan Eich being forced to step down from his position as CEO of Mozilla because he donated $1,000 to back California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 referendum to amend California’s constitution to define marriage as relationship between a man and a woman. And, on the heels of this event, came the news of Attorney General Eric Holder very publicly implying racism, in that both he and President Obama had been mistreated by Congress.
brendan-eichWhen Brendan Eich was forced out at Mozilla, it was the culmination of an effort that began in 2012, with the L.A. Times publishing a 2,000 page list of over 100,000 donors who had supported California’s Proposition 8. At first, when Eich’s name was found on the list, there was some social media outcry. But, when those who were fussing over this stopped to consider that this was the same Eich who was responsible for creating and promoting a most successful open, collaborative, and inclusive tech firm and that he hadn’t allowed his personal views on same-sex marriage to impact this in any way, the clamor died down. That is, until Mozilla’s board named Eich, then CTO, as the company’s new CEO. At that point, the outcry resumed with overwhelming fervor. The misapplication of the term “diversity” in this instance and its resulting mayhem were summed up well in an article, entitled The Truth Behind Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s Demise, that said:
“Some (Mozilla) employees revolted and openly called for him to step down. A dating site called for a boycott of (Mozilla’s) Firefox. And the way some in the media grilled Eich – hounding him to publicly recant his opposition to gay marriage and throwing around words like racist – you’d think the guy wanted to bring back Jim Crow laws or something.
Funny thing is, fanatical activists never see the hypocrisy in their own actions. Politically correct zealots that march to the diversity drumbeat are only inclusive of those who agree with their own groupthink. They’re only interested in being collaborative within their own hive collective.
Never mind that Eich helped to create the hive and its culture. Once he was tainted with the stench of a different viewpoint – an unaccepted viewpoint – the hive turned on him and brutally attacked him as an outsider.”
Eric HolderThe case involving Attorney General Eric Holder stemmed from a speech he made at a meeting of the National Action Network, a group founded by Al Sharpton. According to an ABC News report, entitledHolder Rips “Unwarranted, Ugly” Congress, a heated Holder went a little off-script, as he was lauding Sharpton’s organization’s efforts to advance racial equality, when he said:
“Forget about me [specifically]. Look at the way the attorney general of theUnited States was treated yesterday by a House committee,” Holder told the crowd. “What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”
On Wednesday, with a finger raised, Holder told the crowd in New York that his tenure as attorney general has been “defined by significant strides … even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity.”
No doubt, the Republican Majority Congress has severely challenged our current Democrat President and his appointee, Eric Holder. Holder’s testy back-and-forth with Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), when the Attorney General was recently testifying before a House panel, was a clear example of this. However, there is no basis for the implication that the treatment received by Holder was the result of racism. And, in fact, there is no basis for Holder’s statement that he and the President have been treated more harshly by Congress than any of their predecessors. It’s really just another instance where a minority person, in this case an African-American, claims mistreatment due to their minority status when, in fact, what they’re demanding is favorable treatment due to their minority status. Here too, the misapplication of the term “diversity” is summed up well in a statement from the previously mentioned article on Brendan Eich, when it said:
“Funny thing is, fanatical activists never see the hypocrisy in their own actions. Politically correct zealots that march to the diversity drumbeat are only inclusive of those who agree with their own groupthink. They’re only interested in being collaborative within their own hive collective.”
REVERSITY?! Continue reading 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Legalizing "Acts of Love"

Cross-Posted From:

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York


For several decades now, the issue of immigration reform has surfaced regularly. When it comes up, typically, it does so as a fiery controversy. But, in spite of all the attention the matter has received, there has been little progress towards settling it. One might say that, with this topic, there has been much heat and little light.

Former Governor and potential presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, set off another round of  heated  public debate on this topic with comments he made at a recent event, held at his father's Presidential Library. On that occasion, he said:

"The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn't come legally, they come to our country because their families -- the dad who loved their children -- was worried that their children didn't have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's an act of love."

Conservatives, who want to see a fully secured border prior to any implementation of broader immigration reform, were quick in their response to Bush's comments. Leading the way was Senator and potential presidential candidate, Rand Paul. In his response, Senator Paul said:

“I think it wasn’t the most artful way of saying something, but I think he was well-intentioned. If I were to make the same point, I would say that people who seek the American dream are not bad people, but that doesn’t mean you can invite the whole world to come.But I think [Bush's critics question], if love is the criteria, what does that mean? [Does that mean] everybody who’s got some love for their relatives can come? You know, the whole world loves America, and they can’t all come. It is important to have a healthy respect for immigrants when engaging in the debate over immigration policy.They come to this country and they’re not bad people. But we have to start with the first part then that the border can’t be open, and everything that’s offered to American citizens can’t just be offered to the world. We have this enormous welfare state that we can’t pay for on our own, so we can’t invite the world to be on it."


I agree with Senator Paul, that Governor Bush's comments were well-intentioned. And, whether or not it was an "artful way" of expressing his sentiments, I'd like to see that sort of caring as an obvious part of a whole solution for immigration reform. It's been about 35 years since I first traveled from where I lived in Southern California, to visit Baja California and I still vividly recall seeing communities of homes constructed from appliance boxes and other similar materials lining the Mexican side of the U.S./Mexico border. My immediate thought, at that time, remains yet today ... "If those were my circumstances, I'd be doing whatever it takes to get across that border."

Although both Bush and Paul spoke kindly of immigrants, neither of them offered practical solutions for the immigration challenges the U.S. has been facing for the past several decades. In Paul's case, he mostly talked about what we can't do. However, in replying to his critics, I think Bush pointed the conversation in a more productive direction when he said,

“To be young and dynamic again we have to be young and dynamic again. [People need to view] immigration reform not as a problem, but as a huge opportunity.”

Though I, generally, agree with that, I think that Bush may have gone from what "wasn't the most artful way of saying something" to saying it in a way that is too "artful". I'd put it more simply by saying, "On this issue, we need to move from the 'can't-do attitude' of people like Rand Paul to a 'can-do attitude' that incorporates the caring demonstrated by Bush."


Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Talent of Marriage

Cross-Posted From:

Listen & Talk

When my wife, Ruth and I married, we assured each other that we were truly committed to our “until death do us part” wedding vow. Specifically, we agreed that divorce is not an option in our marriage. Although it seems to me that this should be an important consideration for any couple preparing to marry, it was crucial for Ruth and I. In part, this was due to the fact that we both have had previous marriages. Additionally, we both came from homes with divorced parents. Having had an up close and intimate experience with the devastation divorce brought us, our parents, our children, our siblings and so many others; we wanted our relationship to have no part in contributing to that.


In addition to the waste that divorce had caused in our own lives, Ruth and I had a growing concern for the ruin throughout our society that has come from divorce. Relevant U.S. statistics* on this include:

  • Annually, there are about 2.1 million marriages and there are about 1 million divorces. The divorces impact more than 1 million children.
  • Each divorce costs our society an estimated $25,000 to $30,000. That means $25 to $30 billion in overall increased cost to our nation.
  • Children in single parent homes are:
    • Seven times more likely to live in poverty.
    • Nine times more likely to drop out of school.
    • More likely to have academic problems, behavior problems, be aggressive, have low self-esteem, feel depressed, and experiment with illegal drugs.
    • 70% more likely to be expelled or suspended from school.
    • Twenty times more likely to be in prison.
    • 25-30% more vulnerable to illness.
  • The negative impact of divorce on business includes:
    • Disrupting the productivity of a worker for up to three years.
    • During the first year following a divorce, the divorced employee loses an average of four weeks work.
    • Lost productivity, due to marriage and relationship difficulties, cost companies an estimated $6 billion.
    • Unhealthy marriages, family problems and divorce are major stressors. Stress related issues cost corporate America $300 billion annually.
    • Unhappily married couples were almost four times more likely to have a partner abusing alcohol. Individuals with alcohol related issues miss work 30% more.
  • Health issues affected by divorce include:
    • Married men live ten years longer than divorced men. Married women live four years longer than divorced women.
    • Divorced men are twice as likely to die of heart disease, stroke, hypertension or cancer; four times as apt to die in accidents; and eight times higher by murder.
* Sources include: U.S. Census Bureau, Marriage Commission Research, NY Institute for American Values, Marriage Savers, President Obama, Choosing Wisely Before You Divorce, A Cry Unheard and The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.


In order to under gird our commitment to our “until death do us part”wedding vow, from early on in our marriage we have kept our eyes open for married couples activities and groups that we could join in. Our most significant find, during the first eight years of our marriage, was the Married Couples Fellowship at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (CCCM). It’s a wonderful group, headed up by Pastor John Mann and his wife, Rynner. We received far too many blessings through our involvement with this fellowship to recount here. One of our very favorites, though, was getting to go with the group on their annual week-long couples retreats to Kauai. Those retreats almost always coincided with our wedding anniversary. If you’d like to get a better sense of all this and have a good laugh, check out my related article, entitled Kayaking Up The Waialua.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

... And For The People?

Cross-Posted From:

Barack Obama, Joe Biden

Yesterday, the Obama administration and the Democrat party, in general, took what many in the press are calling a "victory lap” in celebration of reaching their goal of 7 million Obamacare signups prior to the midnight 3/31/14 deadline. As I saw this unfold, my immediate question was, “Whose victory is being celebrated here?”

Since the “Hollywood elite” are most often found alongside Obama, cheering every claim, I was a bit surprised to hear related cynical remarks come from Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. However, I thought Fallon offered a pretty realistic perspective when he said,

“That’s right, the White House said that it surpassed its goal for people enrolled in ObamaCare. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory and fine people if they don't do it. And then keep extending the deadline for months. It’s like a Cinderella story. It’s just a beautiful thing. You make everyone do it. Isn’t it great how many people do it? But if you still haven't enrolled, you might have to pay a penalty called the individual shared responsibility payment, which is 1% of your salary. Then Americans said, ‘Man, good thing I don't have a job.’"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Amateur

Cross-Posted From:

The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House is the title of a book by Edward Klein that was first published May 15, 2012. The Google eBook synopsis of this publication says:

"It’s amateur hour at the White House. So says New York Times bestselling author Edward Klein in his new political exposé The Amateur. Tapping into the public’s growing sentiment that President Obama is in over his head, The Amateur argues that Obama’s toxic combination of incompetence and arrogance have run our nation and his presidency off the rails. 'Obama was both completely inexperienced and ideologically far to the left of Americans when he entered the White House,' says Klein. 'And he was so arrogant that he didn’t even know what he didn’t know.'... From Obama’s conceited and detached demeanor, to his detrimental reliance on Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett’s advice, to the Obama's extravagant and out-of-touch lifestyle, The Amateur reveals a president whose blatant ignorance and incompetence is sabotaging himself, his presidency, and America."


Of course, at the time of its publication, there were reviews praising it (generally, by right-leaning individuals/organizations), as well as reviews trashing it (generally, by left-leaning individuals/organizations). Since the book's publication date was well into the primary season for the 2012 presidential election, it came at a time when I had already decided to vote for the Republican Presidential Nominee that November. So, although I don't think my views were quite as harsh as those presented by the Google eBooks synopsis, I'd say that I had come to be in general agreement with its theme. Since then, sadly, I believe that President Obama has continued to prove that Klein's allegations were completely accurate, if not understated. And, sadder still, affirmation of this truth seems to continue to grow and even accelerate, on a nearly daily basis.


Undoubtedly, those whose reviews trashed Klein's book professed that he had only assembled his assertions to support opinions of Obama that he had held from the outset of his presidency. And, I'm just as sure that they would level the same charges at me. With that, I'd remind them of an article I wrote at the time of President Obama's first inaugural, entitled A Prayer in Baltimore. In that piece, I said:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When Did The Evening News Become The 24/7 Conjecture?

Cross-Posted From:


There has been much marvelous advancement in broadcast journalism since I came into this world. At that time, we only had a console radio in our home. When I was a toddler, we got our first black-and-white TV but we could only get reception from one local TV station. By the time I was old enough to start paying attention to the news, we were able to receive broadcasts from local affiliates of the three major TV networks, as well as a weak signal from an independent station in another city. In the past 50 to 60 years, technological improvement has been phenomenal and the sources to choose from have increased by several orders of magnitude. However, as has been glaringly obvious lately, along the way, a key element of the news has been frighteningly perverted, if not lost. That key element is, simply, the reporting of the news. “Back in the day”, you could count on the fact that when you tuned in to news programs, like The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, you would just get the known details of that day’s current events. That seemed worthwhile and productive. Today, to a great degree, news reporting has become lost in a nearly endless supply of conjecture. This seems, at least counterproductive, if not dangerously destructive.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Going To Heaven Alone


When I express strong views on a sensitive topic, I’m not surprised when I get pushback from those who see matters differently. But, when I’m rebuffed by those who I think are friends, accepting me and my beliefs, it’s sort of shocking. I had that happen recently and it led me to do some introspection that I’d like to share.
The specifics of this recent occurrence involved a meeting I attended with a small group of people who I’ve worked very closely with for several years. Without inappropriately sharing intimate details of that meeting, let me just say that there was mention of another person who we’ve known through our work, who seemed to be going through a difficult time and that they were attending a Bible study being conducted by someone else we’ve known through our work. Hearing that was a pleasant surprise to me so I responded by saying something like, “I just hope (that person) is truly paying attention at the Bible study.” With that, I sensed a reaction that I later described as a unanimous rolling of the eyes by the other participants.
Since my comment came just from my truly caring about the person we had been discussing, that added to my bewilderment over being chided as I was. So, the following day, I approached one of the other attendees to discuss this. In addition to getting affirmation of my sensing that unanimous rolling of the eyes, I was reminded that there are some settings where discussion of topics like religion and politics is just not welcome. And, beyond that, I was told that I was just more spiritual than the other attendees.
In reflecting on that one-on-one follow-up conversation, I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t really anything in it that I didn’t already know. And, in reflecting on my follow-up self-conversation, I remained sure of my caring intent with the comment that led to my rebuke. To me, though, the disapproval I had received from my friends clearly indicated the need for me to examine how I share my Christian faith in order that it’s received as intended. So, I determined to do just that.
In the course of making this examination, I thought of a point that I’d heard Pastor Brian Brodersen, of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, make in a teaching from 1 Corinthians. As a side note, I ended up going through 11 of Pastor Brian’s teachings to find what I was looking for. At first, that seemed like a nuisance but it turned out that I was richly blessed through a fresh look at much more of God’s Word than I’d had in mind. Anyway, I did find what I was looking for in Pastor Brian’s lesson, entitled “Tending to Our Own Issues”, based on the following Scripture:
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” – 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
The point that I had been thinking of was made by Pastor Brian in addressing the part of this Scripture that says, “I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.” Pastor Brian’s comments here were: “ … notice, first of all, that the issues of sin go beyond sexual immorality … notice the other sins included there … we have a tendency to isolate a specific sin and focus in on that sin to the exclusion of other sins … that’s part of the problem we have right now, in the current cultural situation, in regard to homosexuality. I think that we, the church in general, have over emphasized this one sin. If you think about it, as we share the gospel with people, generally, we don’t begin by talking about specific sins. But, with homosexuality it seems we focus in on that particular thing. That’s the wrong way to understand it. I was thinking the other day about the idea that so many gay people have in their mind … I’ve heard them say this, ’You think I’m going to Hell because I’m gay.’ The reality is, they’re not going to Hell because they’re gay. They’re going to Hell because they’re lost. They’re going to Hell because they’re a sinner. They’re going to Hell for the same reason an adulterer is and the same reason a swindler is and for the same reason a slanderer is … because they haven’t turned to Christ to have their sins forgiven.”
Although the subject of homosexuality played no part in the discussion I mentioned when I was rebuffed by my friends, Pastor Brian’s comments about how many Christians treat that sin differently made me consider whether or not I’ve done that. My truthful answer is, that hasn’t been my intention but I believe I have. Recognizing this disparity between my intentions and my actions brought to mind something I’d written on that very subject, not long ago, in an article entitled Lookin’ For Hate In All the Wrong Places. In that piece, I said:
“I see intentionality as the key issue … I believe any hurt resulting from … comments(addressed in the article) was unintentional. However, that doesn’t make it right and as Christians, I believe we must stop accepting this in our conduct. ‘Hate the sin and love the sinner’ can be an appropriate attitude for a Christian to take. However, in practice, there is often an unspoken extension to that cliché that says something like ‘but, if it hurts the sinner’s feelings, that’s too bad.’ We might as well say, ‘Hate the sin and though it’s OK to rub his nose in it, love the sinner.’ The Lord’s commandment to us is, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ – Matthew 22:39. It seems obvious to me that letting the chips fall where they may (not being intentional) doesn’t fit in with this.
I believe the key to a better way for Christians to deal with sin they see in others is found in the following Scripture:
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5
Not long ago, I heard a Bible study focusing on this, taught by Pastor Dave Rolph, of Calvary Chapel Pacific Hills. Of course, the specks and planks mentioned by Jesus are metaphors for sin. Appropriately, the common teaching on this is for us to first recognize and deal with the sin in our own lives before we concern ourselves with the sin in the lives of others. However, Pastor Dave’s teaching added a significant dimension to that by pointing out the following:
“When we have a speck in our eye, as a result of its irritation, we’re aware of its presence. However, since the eye is so sensitive, we’re not likely to seek help in removing the speck from the first person who comes along who notices the speck. But, if someone comes along who loves us, it is likely that we will develop enough trust in them that, at some point, we may say, “You know, I think I have something in my eye. Would you help me to get it out?’”
Ironically, this reflection on my own writing helped to shed some light on the self-examination I had been conducting. I recognized that, just as I’ve missed my intended mark in sharing my Christian faith with homosexuals, it was likely that I could be missing my intended mark with sinners in general. With that recognition, it seemed to me that my self-examination should, specifically, be of how to assure that my intentions and my actions match. Based on what I got out of Pastor Brian’s teaching, it seems clear that needs to include not focusing on the practicing of a specific sin nor even focusing on practicing sin in general. And, based on what I’d reminded myself of about Pastor Dave’s teaching, it seems just as clear that what I do need to focus on is my love for the person and making sure they understand my loving intent. The remaining question from that was, what is the best way for me to clearly communicate all that? For me, the answer, when I share my Christian faith, is for it to be obvious that I’m doing so only because I care about the person I’m sharing with and that I love them too much to willingly go to Heaven without them.