Sunday, April 27, 2014

You Will Not Surely Die?!

Cross-Posted From:

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?

Cross-Posted From:

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.’"