February 2015 Archives


About  Gratitude                                                                  2-1-2015



                     When was the last time you sat down in a quiet place and took stock of what you have?  Better yet, when were you last aware of how fortunate you are? 


                      One of the things I do every day as a Christian is to count my blessings and feel deep gratitude for each and every one.  It's not that I am some pious snob or "Chosen" God-Child, far from it ! I am just as wretched a sinner as everybody else. My daily practice of taking time to be thankful is a personal thing, and in some ways it might even be a bit selfish. Why? Well, because I fear God and I want to please him and stay in his good graces!  LOL!   As a Christian, I know that God can do and give all things to all people, and that He is the One who decides how much to give and to whom.  In return, He asks so very little, just our acknowledgement of Him and a relationship WITH Him.


                      Not a single person who has ever lived, is deserving of God's Grace. It cannot be earned through works and it cannot be bought with money or power. It is a gift, freely given, and all we have to do is ASK.  It makes no difference who we are, where we have been or what we have done, He still wants us and will accept us without question, IF we ask. 


                      A lot of people, believers and non-believers alike, ask why bad things happen to good people if God is so great and loving. Yes, there are answers to that question and I would hope that anyone who truly wants to know, would find a good Bible Study or consult a solid, Christian Pastor, as I am certainly not qualified. To even try to address it here, would take many hours and make the necessary, "Give-and-Take" discussion impossible. If the question plagues you however, you need to seek the answers. 


                      As a person who is deeply involved with world issues, I am acutely aware of the many needs and the suffering of human beings. In some places, the degree of these horrors is more than we can mentally and emotionally process and far more than we could ever hope to manage. So I pray for these far-away people and put my best efforts where I CAN make a difference, here in America, NY State, and New Lebanon.  Right HERE, in the greatest, wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth, there are children who go to bed hungry. There are too many homeless, abused, and neglected. Elderly folks die every year in unheated homes or from the lack of necessary medications, nutrition, or human kindness.


                       Military heroes sleep in streets and alleyways while illegal aliens are housed, fed, clothed, and given free medical care.  You know the issues in America, I don't need to write a book or paint you a picture. 


                        For decades, churches, missionaries, and generous individuals have sent donations to far-flung countries to "Feed the Children" or "Shelter the Orphans", etc., etc. With the advent of television came the relentless images of dark-skinned children with swollen bellies and vacant eyes. It was so effective, that it has become a lucrative business for the corrupt.  Yet for all the billions of dollars sent to these needy peoples, we have not seen one iota of progress or relief.  We still see the same old images of sad faces, fly-ridden cattle carcasses, and screaming infants that we saw in the 1950s and 1960s ! For all we know, they ARE the same images, just in color! 


                         Though these charities still spend a good deal of the donated money on TV ads and the gullible still open their wallets, we now also donate to questionable causes by FORCE.  Rather than allow the People to give from their hearts and by choice, the money is taken from us via Federal Income Taxes and sent to who-knows-where in the name of "Foreign Aid". 


                          When my son was very small, I asked a Pastor friend how he manages to pray for all the needs in the world. He said that it would be impossible to do that and that Christians need to pray for the needs of their own communities, their own country, town, neighborhood, friends and families. Charity truly begins at home. If all Christians did this, there would be no place on earth not covered by prayer.  SHOULD we be charitable and generous? Of COURSE! We should have a giving heart and compassion for the needs of our own people, while allowing Christians in other places to tend to THEIRS. 


                           Most of all, we should be humble, and grateful for all that we have. That soft, warm bed you climb into each night, the meals on the plates of your family and the roof over your heads. These small things we take so much for granted are mere wishes for too many others.  Do we NEED a mansion when a cottage will do? MUST we drive a Corvette, sport real diamonds, take lavish vacations and wear designer clothing? No, we do not, and all too soon, those "things" will belong to someone else when you leave this world behind. There is no luggage rack on a hearse, remember? 


                            If our basic needs are met each day and we have God and people who matter in our lives, we have everything . Be grateful.

###################################################

  This little prayer is all it takes. 

###############################################################################################


 No Meanies !                                                                               2-4-2015



                       A LOT of people truly hate me. Looking at who they are and how they think, it's understandable. We differ so greatly in ideology that it would be close to impossible for us to actually like one another. 


                       I can truly say with no reservation, that I don't hate anyone, not a single person. There are beliefs and behaviors that I DO hate, but I don't think I have ever really hated a person. Hate is a waste of energy and a self-destructive emotion. There are people I do not like and don't approve of, people I want as little to do with as possible, and many who make me absolutely furious, but that's just life. We can all say the same. 


                        When God said, "Love they neighbor as thyself" , what did He actually mean? Should we run next door every day and hug our neighbors ? Um, No.  If I did that to Dave Roden he would get a restraining order!  LOL!!!  What God really meant was to Do No Harm, harbor no ill-will, live and let live, and help if you can when needed.  DO NO HARM. Personally, I could not physically harm another human being or their property unless the circumstances were extreme. For example, in self-defense or the defense of another.  I WOULD like to slap a few people or give them a good, swift kick in the ass, but so far, I haven't done that. YET. 


                         There are some folks who think I'm mean, and that's okay because they are the very people who;

                 1) Don't know me well enough to say that.

                 2) Are people whose opinions don't mean squat to me anyway.

                 3) Are guilty of exactly what I said they were guilty of.


                          People who DO know me well and know my heart, will gladly tell you that I am anything BUT mean.  Quite the opposite, in fact. What I AM, is angry, frustrated, and disappointed.  The atrocities perpetrated by government upon the people are absolutely agonizing for me.  Often, the emotional pain this causes me is seen by others as mean-spiritedness and hatred. Understandably so, if you don't know me. I get it, and I'll own it.  When I see corruption , dishonesty, abuses, or oppression, I am going to expose it and shed light on the perpetrators. I offer no apology for that, nor do I have any intention of changing that practice. I will NOT compromise my beliefs, my rights, or my sense of duty as an American to protect anyone's feelings.


                         Contrary to popular belief, there are NO protections in the Constitution for feelings, emotions, opinions,  or personal lifestyle choices.  Free Speech however, IS protected and IS a Right. If people do not want to be exposed for their unacceptable behaviors, perhaps they should alter those behaviors?  So no, I am not a meanie and I am not a hater, I am merely fed-up with liars, scammers, thieves, abusers, leeches, violence, and the immoral and apathetic. If someone has an issue with that, it's for them to deal with, not ME. 


                         I am ecstatic that Sheldon Silver was arrested and I hope that once he is convicted, he will be given a fitting punishment for ALL his crimes. His bank accounts should be seized, his assembly seat stripped from him, his right to vote taken away, and his state retirement canceled. To jail him at his age would serve little purpose, but he should be forced to subsist on Social Security like the rest of New York's elderly and retired. Let the punishment fit the crime. Sadly, old Sheldon is a small fish in a very big pond. There are SO many corrupt officials in New York alone, that Silver's arrest is a mere ripple. I DO feel that Preet Bharara is just warming up with Silver and he will continue to poke into every dark corner in Albany and NY City. 


                         The Cuomo Cradle of Corruption WILL fall, but it will take more time than I would like and that too, is frustrating.  Meanwhile, charges are still pending against Cuomo himself, and Kathleen Sebelius, Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  From the Benghazi murders, to Fast and Furious to the IRS spying and targeting, we have yet to gain closure and accountability. We are also hoping to soon see charges filed against Harry Reid for the Cliven Bundy mess, and Al Sharpton for inciting violence in Ferguson,Missouri and NY City that resulted in the death of two police officers. Not to mention that Silver and Sharpton are both guilty of tax evasion.  Gotta love those Democrats! 


                          At least Bowe Bergdahl has been convicted of Desertion. That is hardly good enough. He should be facing charges of Treason as well, and Murder for the deaths of the 6 soldiers who died trying to "save " Bergdahl from his alleged captors. Bergdahl should be facing the death penalty for these crimes, hung in the public square and made an example of. Of course, Obama has already tried to convince the military to "Go Easy" on his little friend. If we held criminals like Bergdahl , destructive politicians, and violent citizens to account for their behaviors, there would far fewer incidents of serious crime, corruption and abuses in our society. Liberal coddling and enabling is DIRECTLY responsible for the societal decay and deviant human behaviors we now see every day and have grown de-sensitized to.


                          You may not understand why I am so angered by the the rot I see in America due to Liberal influence, but I cannot understand why YOU are NOT angry. Why are YOU not outraged and actively involved in fighting this deadly agenda?  Anyone can write ONE letter a month to their representatives, send ONE email a week, or make a monthly phone call. Any one of you can write an occasional Letter to the Editor of your local paper, do SOMETHING to let your voice be heard in defense of Constitutionality and political accountability.  If you don't want to be actively involved, you can at the very least, donate regularly to your favorite conservative organization, whether it be the Tea Party, Oathkeepers, the NRA, whatever. Do SOMETHING ! 


                         My anger is a direct result of the apathy of people who profess to be Conservatives, Patriots, and/or Christians, yet sit and do nothing.  You TALK, you WHINE, you COMPLAIN, and you tell me that you are outraged and brag about how "Aware" you are.  Then you fail to walk the walk. You are inconsistent, unreliable, self-absorbed, disloyal and lazy. I am not speaking only of Conservative Americans in general, I am also speaking directly to my alleged "friends" and "allies" right here in New York and New Lebanon.  Many of you have lost my trust and respect and I no longer want to listen to you complain about this government until you STEP UP and STICK with it.  Your words mean nothing.

#########################################################

Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant

 
There is no shortage of heresies these days.
If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift through all the variants and build your own little pet version of the Faith. It’s Ice Cream Social Christianity: make your own sundae! (Or Sunday, as it were.)
And, of all the heretical choices, probably the most common — and possibly the most damaging — is what I’ve come to call the Nice Doctrine.
The propagators of the Nice Doctrine can be seen and heard from anytime any Christian takes any bold stance on any cultural issue, or uses harsh language of any kind, or condemns any sinful act, or fights against evil with any force or conviction at all. As soon as he or she stands and says ‘This is wrong, and I will not compromise,’ the heretics swoop in with their trusty mantras.
They insist that Jesus was a nice man, and that He never would have done anything to upset people. They say that He came down from Heaven to preach tolerance and acceptance, and He wouldn’t have used words that might lead to hurt feelings. They confidently sermonize about a meek and mild Messiah who was born into this Earthly realm on a mission to spark a constructive dialogue.
The believers in Nice Jesus are usually ignorant of Scripture, but they do know that He was ‘friends with prostitutes,’ and once said something about how, like, we shouldn’t get too ticked off about stuff, or whatever. In their minds, he’s essentially a supernatural Cheech Marin.
Read the comments under my previous post about gay rights militants, and you’ll see this heresy illustrated.
That post prompted an especially noteworthy email from someone concerned that I’m not being ‘Christlike,’ because I ‘call people names.’ He said, in part:
“You aren’t spreading Christianity when you talk like that. The whole message of Jesus was that we should be nice to people because we want them to be nice to us. That’s how we can all be happy. Period. It’s that simple.”
Be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you, and we’ll all be happy. This is the ‘whole message’ of Christianity?
Really?
Jesus Christ preached a Truth no deeper or more complex than a slogan on a poster in a Kindergarten classroom?
Really?
A provocative claim, to say the least. I decided to investigate the matter, and sure enough, I found this excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount:
“We’re best friends like friends should be. With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too?”
Actually, wait, sorry, that’s from the original Barney theme song.
God help us. We’ve turned the Son of God into a purple dinosaur puppet.

There’s no way to be certain, but most theologians believe that, despite popular perception, Christ looked nothing like this.
I don’t recognize this Jesus.
This moderate. This pacifist. This nice guy.
He’s not the Jesus I read about in the Bible. I read of a strong, manly, stern, and bold Savior. Compassionate, yes. Forgiving, of course. Loving, always loving. But not particularly nice.
He condemned. He denounced. He caused trouble. He disrupted the established order.
On one occasion — or at least one recorded occasion — He used violence. This Jesus saw the money changers in the temple and how did He respond? He wasn’t polite about it. I’d even say He was downright intolerant. He fashioned a whip (this is what the lawyers would call ‘premeditation’) and physically drove the merchants away. He turned over tables and shouted. He caused a scene. [John 2:15]
Assault with a deadly weapon. Vandalism. Disturbing the peace. Worse still, intolerance.
In two words: not nice.
Not nice at all.
Can you imagine how some moderate, pious, ‘nice’ Christians of today would react to that spectacle in the Temple? Can you envision the proponents of the Nice Doctrine, with their wagging fingers and their passive aggressive sighs? I’m sure they’d send Jesus a patronizing email, perhaps leave a disapproving comment under the news article about the incident, reminding Jesus that Jesus would never do what Jesus just did.
Personally, I’ve studied the New Testament and found not a single instance of Christ calling for a ‘dialogue’ with evil or seeking the middle ground on an issue. I see an absolutist, unafraid of confrontation. I see a man who did not waver or give credence to the other side. I see someone who never once avoided a dispute by saying that He’ll just ‘agree to disagree.’
I see a Christ who calls the Scribes and Pharisees snakes and vipers. He labels them murderers and blind guides, and ridicules them publicly [Matthew 23:33]. He undermines their authority. He insults them. He castigates them. He’s not very nice to them.
Jesus rebukes and condemns. In Matthew 18, He utilizes morbid and violent imagery, saying that it would be better to drown in the sea with a stone around your neck than to harm a child. Had our modern politicians been around two thousand years ago, I’m sure they’d go on the cable news shows and shake their heads and insist that there’s ‘no place for that kind of language.’
No place for the language of God.
Jesus deliberately did and said things that He knew would upset people. He stirred up division and controversy. He provoked. He didn’t have to break from established customs, but He did. He didn’t have to heal that man’s hand on the Sabbath, knowing how it would disturb others and cause them immense irritation, but He did, and He did so with ‘anger’ [Mark 3:5]. He could have gone with the flow a little bit. He could have chilled out and let bygones be bygones, but He didn’t. He could have been diplomatic, but He wasn’t.
He could have told everyone to relax, but instead He made them uncomfortable. He could have put them at ease, but He chose to put them on edge.
He convinced the mob not to stone the adulterer [John 8], and you’ll notice that He then turned to her and told her to stop sinning. Indeed, never once did He encounter sin and corruption and say: “Hey, do your thang, homies. Just have fun. YOLO!”
The followers of Nice Jesus love to quote the ‘throw the first stone’ verse — and for good reason, it’s a beautiful and compelling story — but you rarely hear mention of the exchange that occurs just a few sentences later, in that very same chapter. In John 8:44, Jesus rebukes unbelieving Jews and calls them ‘sons of the Devil.’
Wow.
That wasn’t nice, Jesus.
Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you can catch more flies with honey, Jesus?
Of course, you’d catch even more flies with a mound of garbage, so maybe ‘catching flies’ isn’t the point.
While we’re often reminded that Jesus said, ‘live by the sword, die by the sword,’ we seem to ignore his other sword references. Like when he told his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy a sword [Luke 22], or when He said that He ‘didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword’ [Matthew 10].
Now, It’s true that He is God and we are not. Jesus can say whatever He wants to say. But we are called to be like Christ, which begs the question: what is Christ like?
Well, He is, among other things, uncompromising. He is intolerant of evil. He is disruptive. He is sometimes harsh. He is sometimes impolite. He is sometimes angry.
He is always loving.
Christ was not and is not a cosmic guidance counselor, and He is not mankind’s best friend, nor did He call us to be. He made dogs for that role — our destiny is more substantial, and our path to it is far more challenging and dangerous.
And nice?
Where does nice factor into this?
Nice: affable, peachy, swell.
Nice has nothing to do with Christianity. I’ve got nothing against nice — nice is nice — but even serial killers can be nice to people. They generally are exceptionally affable, except when they’re murdering. That means they’re nice to, like, 97 or 98 percent of everyone they meet.
I guess they’re following Christ almost all of the time, right?
And tolerance?
Tolerance is easy. Any coward can learn to tolerate something. Tolerance is inaction; intolerance is action. We are called to refuse to tolerate evil. We are called to get angry at it and actively work to destroy it.
Who’d have guessed it — anger is far more godly than tolerance ever could be.
Obviously I’m not suggesting that anger is automatically, or even usually, justified. Christ exhibited righteous anger; righteous anger is the sort of anger that naturally fills our soul when we confront the depths of depravity and sin. It is wrong to seethe with rage because someone cut us off in traffic or gossips about us behind our back, but it is also wrong to feel no anger when babies are murdered and the institution of the family is undermined and attacked.
Anger is good when it is directed at things that offend not us, but God. Just as Christ’s intolerance, like the intolerance we’re commanded to have, stems from a desire to save souls and defend Truth.
Even when we have righteous anger, we do not have carte blanche to act on it in anyway we please. But, according to the Bible, there are times to use strong language, there are times to cause a scene, there are times to hurt people’s feelings, and there are times when we might need to use physical force.
Jesus told us to turn the other cheek when we are personally attacked; He never told us to turn our backs entirely and let lies spread and evil grow.
So, enough with the niceties.
Christians in this country sound too similar to the the Golden Girls song, and not enough like the Battle Hymn of the Republic. There’s too much ‘thank you for being a friend,’ and not enough ‘lightening from His terrible swift sword.’
We’re all hugging and singing Kumbaya, when we should be marching and shouting Hallelujah.
We’re nice Christians with our nice Jesus, and we are trampled on without protest.
Enough, already.
I think it’s time that Christianity regain its fighting spirit; the spirit of Christ.
I think it’s time we ask that question: ‘What would Jesus do?’
And I think it’s time we answer it truthfully: Jesus would flip tables and yell.

Maybe we ought to follow suit.



#######################################################################