Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Busy Week

Man, I can't believe I haven't blogged since Monday. I've had networks crashing, T1 circuits down, computers refusing to function no matter how much effort I put into them. It's been typical, but I just didn't have time for the fun stuff.

We buried a friend on Tuesday. He was 48. It makes you really stop and think when someone so young passes on. He did the strangest thing I've ever seen at a funeral ... he gave away T-shirts. They just sat a box of T's beside the grave and had everybody grab one before they left. That's just way cool.

Mental note to self: Get T-shirts printed up for my own funeral. Let's see, what would you put on them?

It makes you think, huh?

My friend, who was really more a friend of a friend, wasn't a nice guy. He was a fun guy when he wanted to be, but he was, well, mean. Something happened in his life that left him just mean. His dog was mean. He was verbally abusive to his friends. I wouldn't want a legacy like that (to be fair, he was never that way to me).

It does make one wonder what kind of legacy one will leave. I mean, that's where we really get to it, right? What will I leave behind me. I know that I won't leave a legacy of meaness, quite the opposite. But I'm not satisfied with just not being mean, or not being this or that. I, like so many others, want to make a difference.

I wonder, if when we get to Heaven, we'll be allowed to know if we made a difference or not? I'm not so sure that Abraham knew until he was already gone. Moses and David knew, of course, but what about characters like Rahab whose legacy followed her? It's one of those things that make you go hmmmm.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sunday Was Great!

Yesterday was a great day. The service was filled with healing, repentence, and good news. People overwhelmingly affirmed the pastor. Hooray!

The music, was, to say the least, a rush. I usually sing the male lead part, since my voice, shall we say, carries. The lead = melody as best as I can figure out. Anyway, when I got there, the "girls" were already practicing ... now, I wasn't late, they were already there. That means they did the first service. That means the folks that play the instruments were not there. That means we have 40 minutes to prepare the entire service. Oh, my frayed nerves!

The girls' reaction to my arrival was one of "Oh hi, we're just gonna sing this morning ..." I'm not sure I said anything, I just went into "do what you're told" mode. Now, let me tell you, I learn a tremendous amount on these "change of plans" Sundays. I learn why musicians think they don't have to practice (why practice, it won't be the same anyway ...). I learn why the motto becomes "Stay Flexible" when it comes to worship. And I learn a lot of musical technical stuff that keeps me fresh and agile (like learning to sing over the top of the mic instead of putting it in front of the mouth). I wouldn't trade it for anything, although actually knowing the songs would be helpful.

We had the piano player, and she sang alto, so we had 3 girls and me singing. Now singing without any instruments other than the piano is similar to singing a capella, so it challenges my A.D.D./Blondeness, but it is certainly beautiful when done right. The music turned out gorgeous. After singing the praise music, we sat down for communion. Normally, the pianist plays while the elements are passed out and people sit quietly, but on this day she had a mic and led the congregation in very familiar songs. I don't know if it was a God thing or a blonde thing, but when we sat down, I couldn't spot where my wife was sitting, so I just sat in the front pew. The female lead singer sat in the front pew on the other side of the church. Normally I sing softly when the pianist leads praise, but on this day, I sang out as my partner did on the other side. The resulting congregational praise and worship brought tears of joy to many an eye.

After communion, our new chair of the trustees gave a unity talk, then the entire congregation laid hands on the pastor and prayed for him. The singers got up again to sing "They will know we are Christians by our love" (which I only sort of know). That's when the lead female singer disappeared. Yep, gone, hasta lavista, Elvis has left the building ... gone. The pianist, who wasn't singing on this song now did the alto, and my new partner did the tenor. I sang out the melody with words that were, oh, for the most part, correct. It worked out ... whew!

I had spotted where my wife was sitting and sat there for the sermon. When I got there, she was gone. I turned to my friends behind me and said "where'd she go?" Of course, they responded "who?" I felt as if I were in the church of the holy twilight zone. I settled in for the sermon anyway. She finally showed back up, mumbling something incomprehsible.

Finally, the sermon was over and it was time to lead the last hymn. I think it was "The solid rock". At least I knew this one. I looked up ... no piano player. Oh great, now we're down to only two a capella! I sent my wife after her. We stalled on our way to the front, and thank goodness, she showed up shortly.

All and all, it was a great (and funny) day in the Lord.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Progressive Christians: Part II, Economic Justice

I read back over my post from yesterday. I degenerated a bit into a rant, which I did not intend to do. As you can probably tell, I have pretty strong feelings about the abortion issue. I'll stay away from that subject in this post.
What I want to do is take the tenets of the Christian Alliance for Progress one at a time. Today's subject will be economic justice. Click the link to read their position. The following is boldfaced at the top of the page:

The Jesus of the Gospels Calls Us to Good Stewardship, Justice, and Care for "the Least of These." We Call on Our Nation's Leaders to Seek Economic Justice in the Management of Our Nation's Wealth.

Care for the least of these peppers the entire site. The least of the least of these is the unborn. I had better steer clear of that subject for the moment, lest I start ranting.

Certainly Jesus calls us to Justice and good stewardship, I'm not arguing that point. But let's be fair: Jesus did not immesh Himself into politics enough to really even draw a governmental inference in either of these two subjects. Jesus calls us to personally do justice. He calls us into personal good stewardship. Certainly it is laudable to seek both at the government level, but let's see just what they are talking about, shall we?

In his sermons and in his parables, Jesus teaches that poverty can certainly be an effective weapon of mass destruction.

Where does Jesus say or teach this? Where does He even infer it? I heard on a show recently that there are around 27 million people in the world that are forcibly enslaved. Many are young girls forced into prostitution. Many more still are enslaved at the hands of muslims. These unfortunate souls are not the subjects of the Christian Alliance for Progress. Instead, the CAfP rails at the injustice shown the children, aged, and poor in America. A homeless beggar on an American street corner can in one day make more money than an oppressed person in Zimbabwe makes in an entire year. Certainly things in America are not perfect, but I'll take the enconomics here over the comparisons every time.

They continue:

Today, the future of our "little ones," whom Jesus so loved, is mortgaged by government debts that are increasing daily. As of this writing, every newborn American infant owes $20,000 in public debt when they draw their first breath. Such dismal stewardship dissipates the birthright of our "little ones."

Aghhh, the first Democratic talking point. I don't think the Left really believes in debt reduction, but it's a drum that they can beat that resonates with a lot of folks, including, in fact, me. I don't like our nation being debt. I don't like myself being in debt either. So a message from the blogoshpere to Democrats and Republicans alike: Quit spending so cotton-pickin' much!

But notice, fair reader, the Democrat technique in the above paragraph of "do it for the children". Whenever the Left wants to force some socialist program down my throat, they do so in the name of the children. So the above paragraph rings alarm bells. They continue:

Tax breaks for the richest underpin this ever-growing public debt. To preserve these tax cuts, public investment in education, health care, and housing is labeled "wasteful" and reduced or eliminated. So "the least of these" - children, the aged, the poor - are asked to bear the burden of controlling the public debt. This is an injustice. It is unfair, unchristian, and un-American.

Not only is the above CAfP quote a Democratic talking point, but it is also an outright lie. Show me the decrease in funding to public education. Show me the decreases in funding for health care, housing, or any other freaking thing for that matter! Why are we in debt? Because we spend so much money on do-gooder social programs that don't work and never have, that's why! And these guys want to spend more? Oh good grief!

Those tax breaks that so stick in the Left's craw really really helped me and my family. We are by no means rich. But when we got that check from Uncle Sam, we were struggling to make ends meet. Getting some of MY money back really helped. So bug off liberals, and thank you Dubya!

They go on to say:

On the national level, increasing public debt is the public policy. At the same time, our leaders have enacted "bankruptcy reform" that takes a hard and punitive approach to those who have suffered financial misfortune. The vast majority of personal bankruptcies are the result of catastrophic medical expenses, job loss, or divorce. We consider Jesus' parable of the slave who was forgiven a large debt and then refused to forgive a small debt owed to him by another. In light of that teaching, a punitive approach to the burden of indebtedness is an injustice and is also a scandalous hypocrisy.

This point I happen to agree with, although not necessarily with the way they said it. Bankruptcy reform was a multi-billion dollar gift to the credit card companies that was neither needed nor deserved. Credit card companies are by and large crooks. The only way to get justice in this area is to not do business with them at all!

They finish up:

Honoring Jesus' compassion for the poor and the powerless, we call for a tax system and spending priorities that are grounded in fairness and justice and we call for fiscal stewardship that fosters prosperity and opportunity for all Americans.

See, I can agree with this statement. So we actually agree on some things. Let's get rid of the income tax entirely and replace it with a national sales tax. Let's get rid of the IRS and all laws that foster public policy through punitive taxation. Let's operate on a balanced budget. Let's get the Federal Government out of education entirely. Let's get the Federal Government out of welfare entirely; give it back to the churches where it belongs.

If we got rid of welfare at the Federal level and put the responsibility back on the churches and on individuals where it belongs, would YOU CAfP put your money where your mouth is? My church would and does, would yours? Would your organization?

No it would not. What you lefties want to do is TAKE my money, not yours, and give it to the poor. What moral authority do you have to FORCE me to give to the poor? None. What you advocate is forcing your morality on me, the same as you accuse the Religious Right of attempting to do to you.

I don't care one whit about forcing my beliefs on you. It is YOU that are forcing your socialistic beliefs on me and have been all of my life.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Progressive Christians: Part I

I haven't been in the blogosphere all that long. When I first started, I had no idea how to find the blogs that I wanted to read. I was frustrated at first, so I began clicking the "Next Blog" button on Blogger. I waded through a lot of advertisements, junk, and even porn. But little by little, I began to find some stuff I wanted to read.

My life has tended toward the political, so I naturally gravitated toward politically based blogs. But what I really care about is Jesus, church, religion, and how those things affect the culture. It took a while to find blogs that captured my interest in these areas, but they are out there.

I discovered something in the blogosphere that I didn't know existed: left wing Christians. These are Christians that have "progressive" politics.

Now, I live in Texas. In fact, the "right" part of Texas, West Texas. There are almost no liberals in West Texas, much less liberal Christians, so forgive me, but I didn't know such a creature actually existed, at least in any quantity. Liberal Christians ... 'scuse me?

Being naturally inquisitive, I began reading blogs where I could identify Christians with a "progressive" slant. Basically, I was trying to figure them out. How could anyone fit into that category? Where could they possibly be coming from? You get the idea.

During the quest, I came across this blog. Zenmomma3 is young, a new Christian from New Orleans, and left leaning. She seemed a bit pensive with her posts and I read her stuff. She linked me to the Christian Alliance for Progress, a left-wing political group acting ostensibly in the name of Jesus. What I would like to do is take a look at this group's words and see if they make sense.

Specifically, Can the values of the left be aligned with what Jesus taught? How can one have values rooted in the ideologies of Karl Marx and make them jive with the tenets of Christianity? I really want to know.

To be sure, this group has some pretty lofty sounding goals. But are these goals, in reality, any different than Democratic Party talking points? Are these folks Christians first and leftist ideologue second, or are they attempting to lure unsuspecting left-leaning new Christians into some sort of feel-good trap?

Here is their mission statement, right off of their website:

The mission of the Christian Alliance for Progress to reclaim Christianity and transform American politics. We advance a renewed, progressive vision of Gospel values and help Americans express this moral vision in how we think, work, and vote.

The mission of the Christian Alliance for Progress is to reclaim Christianity? The implied statement here is that somehow Christianity has been hijacked by the "religious right" in the same way that Islam has been hijacked by the Islamofascists. I am deeply offended by that. I don't see Jim Dobson or any of the rest of the "RR" preaching murder of women and children. Strike One.

The mission of the Christian Alliance for Progress is to ... transform American politics. Much rhetoric expended on this website about the "RR" getting involved in American politics, and yet, that is exactly what is being "preached" here.

"We advance a renewed, progressive vision...."

I've read Marx, Lenin, and others. I found no more disgusting impotent garbage in all of literature. Progressive is a feel-good adjective for communism. Look it up. I'm sorry, but I have a hard time equating the words of my Lord and Savior with Karl Marx. Marx preached an impotent godless state. Jesus preached love of God and one another. There is no equating the two. Strike two.

" Americans express this moral vision...."

Moral vision? Being for the sucking out of an about-to-be-born baby's brains is moral vision? Forcing me to cough up tax dollars to butcher the unborn is moral vision?

This group promotes legalized abortion. To their credit, they want to reduce the number of them. But please do not masquerade the promotion of legal murder as something that Jesus would approve of. That's just sick ... and, in my opinion, strike three.

I'm really not sure whether this outfit is for real or is just a Democrat front group whose mission it is to ensnare Christians into voting for "progressives". I don't know at this point. But it should be fun to check it out.

Till next time ...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Stuff ...

Thanks to In My Humble Opinion for the following:

There's No Place Like

and this:

SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0.

I'm still gigglin' ...

Doin' Support

I did a support call this morning that went something like this:

Her: This computer has gone wacky!
Me: What's wrong with it?

Her: It's the lab computer. At first it wouldn't transport, but then I called companyname tech support and they said the primary DVI wasn't working but she got the secondary DVI working and now I can transmit. But I did a trace and it was several milimeters off. I called tech support again and she said we need a voltage regulator. Do you know where we can get one or better yet get one for us?
Me: Umm ... A voltage regulator?

yea, a voltage regulator.

Now, forget the fact that I don't really know what this gadget does and what she's talking about when she says primary & secondary DVI, I need to convince her that she needs to get something we can actually buy ...

Me: Do you mean a UPS?
Her: What's a UPS?

Me: You know, an Uninterruptable Power Supply.
Her: What's it for?

Me: Well, among other things, it provides good clean steady power to whatever is plugged into it ...
Her: We really need a voltage regulator.

Me: Um, well, I guess we could find a power conditioner only ...
Her: Is that the same as a voltage regulator?

Me: Yea ... actually, we need a good inexpensive UPS and that will solve your problem. It should deliver 60 Hz sinusoidal ... you'll be good to go.
Her: Isn't that like a surge protector? I know what a surge protector is!

Me: Kind of. Go look at the computer in the front right, it has a UPS on it.
Her: Ok, back in a sec ...

Me: sighing and tapping fingers on desk as I wait for her to get back ...

Her: Oh, hey, that's one of those battery thingies. Will that work?
Me: It should, yes. In fact, I'd like to put them on every com...

Her: Will that fix the problem?

By now I've realized that the company that built their aging equipment has probably concocted a convenient, but unlikely, culprit to the misalignment problem, that of fluctuating power. But I'm not sure I'll ever get that across.

Me: I Don't know.
Her: Let me give you companyname technical support and you can call them and discuss the problem with them direct.

Me: Thanks ... a lot.

So many of the problems we encounter in life are due to mistaken communication. If we all could just talk to each other, things would be simpler.

Preacher of Hate

I read an article in the UK about one Abu Abdullah. This man spues hatred and contempt for anyone that is not his brand of muslim. Read it here.

As much as my faith demands that I be kind and loving to all, I tend to think that these kind of vermin are born in the pits of hell and need to be escorted back there as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bush SOCUS Nominee Wife Pro Life

W's new Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts' wife is an ex-Vice President of Feminists for Life. You can read stories by women who've had abortions here.

I heard an interview with VP Dick Cheney on Limbaugh's show earlier today. It was interesting and informative. My gut tells me Roberts is a good guy. Ann Coulter thinks he's a David Souter style blank slate, but I really doubt it. She's just upset W didn't pick her :-)

My prayers are with the man.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Emerging Church

I just read an article about the church that I highly recommend as very interesting reading:

The Emerging Church

Monday, July 18, 2005

Gripin' and Complainin'

Have you ever noticed that gripers and complainers rarely ever offer solutions to a problem? Rather, they whine and cry like babies in need of a diaper change. They hurt my head.

True leadership is about visioning. It's about uniting opposing sides in hopes of achieving a common goal. It's about diplomacy and humility. It's about a hundred, maybe a thousand different things, but it decidedly is not about griping and complaining. True leaders would never even consider griping and complaining as an option. Never. Not ever.

The temptation is, of course, to give them no deference whatsoever. But by ignoring them, you might miss a real problem that needs fixing. Of course, a real leader would simply jump in and fix the problem rather than merely complaining, but still, you have to listen to them, at least at some level. Gripers and complainers are, after all, people too. People worth loving. People worth caring about. People that make you want to pull your eyelids out and stuff them in your ears.

Gripers and complainers cause division. A perfectly happy body of perfectly happy people exposed to a few gripers and complainers for a sufficient amount of time will become an unhappy two half-bodies. I guess the passion the gripers and complainers often seem to exhibit infects the perfectly happy people who must think that surely if the griper and complainer is that passionate then there must be something to the what, the where, or to whom the passion is directed. So then, some of the once perfectly happy people join the griper and complainers, the body is torn assunder, the griper and complainers move on to other unwitting victims and the formerly perfectly happy people are left with nothing, except a vague feeling of being ripped off. The perfectly happy people who elect not to be taken in by the gripers and complainers are at least profoundly annoyed. Nobody wins and nothing gets solved around a bunch of gripers and complainers.

But what happens when a leader becomes a griper and complainer? Well, by definition, a leader that has by choice become a griper and complainer has ceased to lead. Simply too much time and energy is required in the act of griping and complaining for there to be any left of either for leadership. The leader turned griper and complainer must be replaced or otherwise engaged for the good of the body. A leader's griping and complaining will infect the body at a much higher rate due to the leader's influencial position. Dung tends to roll down hill.

Are you griping and complaining? Stop it! Now. Get a job. Get a hobby. Do something constructive. Quit pestering people. Stop it. Just Stop it.


Let's Get Started!

I've been reading blogs for a little over a month now, and it's time to get started with my own blog. I'll be writing about politics, computers, theology, and who knows what else.

So here we go!