Monday, July 14, 2014

What's Important?

OK, someone please explain to me how the U.S. Government can ask to spend 3.7 billion dollars to keep 80,000 new illegal immigrants fed and housed and kept in this country with the already 12 million other illegal immigrants from south of the border, and yet only ask for 8 million dollars to study why the bee population has died off to half of what it was a couple years ago.  Albert Einstein felt that if all the bees died off, all of mankind would be dead in less than four years, since the bees pollinate the plants we depend on to eat, and the plants the meat we eat depends on to live.

Do you get it?  I don't.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Doubt It?

Ever have doubts?  I have doubts about a lot of things.  Did I remember to pay that important bill?  Does a certain person really care about me?  Did I lock the door when I left?  

Doubts.  One day it hits you, how could Christianity be true.  Virgin birth, a wandering preacher talking about loving your neighbor and loving God, raising dead people back to life and himself rising from the dead.  Lots of people think it’s preposterous!  I doubt there is a Christian in the land that hasn’t had those thoughts.

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and even once baptized him remarking that he was unworthy to do so.  Yet John even questioned Jesus when he was in Herod’s prison asking “are you the one? ”  What was he thinking?  Was he afraid and defeated in prison?  Was he looking for a political and military leader in Jesus like the rest of the Jews were?  Or was he just experiencing those pesky doubts?

Thomas traveled with Jesus and saw him heal people and even raise the dead.  Yet he said, I don’t believe Jesus is alive after the crucifixion, and “I won’t believe it until I put my fingers in the nail holes in his hands.” How could he of all people doubt that?  Yet he did until Jesus himself showed himself to him.  Jesus said you have seen these things and believed…blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.  

We have an amazingly detailed account of Jesus’ life and actions.  We actually have far more and older original material on him than Julius Caesar or any other character in history from that time.  When was the last time you heard someone doubt Julius Caesar or Cleopatra?  Twelve men who were eye witnesses died for their beliefs and their refusal to renounce this man Jesus after his resurrection.  People don’t die for a lie that they know is a lie. 

Put your doubts aside when they come...but double check that the door is locked. 

Mexican Due Process

I find it interesting that the U.S. Marine who has been held so long in a Mexican jail for reportedly on accident getting in the wrong lane with his truck and thus entering Mexico with weapons in his possession, and still he has not had any intervention by the U.S. government on his behalf.  His mother garnered 100,000 signatures and petitioned our President, and still no response.  I wonder what would have happened, considering our President's past interventions on individuals' behalf,  had this U.S. Marine been black instead of white?

Now I do recognize rule of law and due process in the Mexican government, but this really seems a little overdrawn.  The guy had a seven hour hearing after weeks of waiting, and he's still in jail.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Not To Worry, We Can Take A Pill Or Supplement For It !!

I just saw that there is a new development in health.  Previgen is made from jellyfish of all things (Yuck! Still, I have to keep an open mind here after all, since penicillin was made from mold.)  So here is what I propose: let’s make it mandatory that all politicians take it every day.

You see, Previgen is supposed to support and enhance brain function and brain health, and boy to do we need that in Congress and the White House.  Not just for elected officials, but for all the staffers and appointees.  In fact I think it should be mandated for all government workers like we did making them get their immunizations in school.

Yeah, I know.  Ridiculous idea, and like most “supplements” it is likely to be worthless hype.  But you get my point.  We have a crisis in our country where we can’t seem to elect or employ government leaders and high level functionaries that are able to do an adequate job at anything (except making themselves millionaires by the time they leave their overly long time in public service.)  We are looking at collapse in the middle-east, the IRS covering up their illegal activities, border control being non-existent, the VA being a death trap, the EPA being allowed to levy fines of thousands of dollars a day without any court action, and the list goes on and on.  No one solves any problems, and in fact seem intent on creating new ones.

Where is common sense these days?  And more importantly, where is the voice and common sense of the American people when it is needed.  I heard a presentation the other day in which the speaker pointed out that in Germany in WWII most of the people were not anti-semitic and didn’t want Hitler’s death camps, most of the folks in Russia were peaceful and didn’t agree that 20 million dissidents should be murdered by Stalin…etc, etc. around the world throughout time…but those good people were silent and irrelevant and evil prevailed.  As Churchill once said, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”  Nothing is what we " the people" seem to be doing to solve our problems and we need to put our brains in gear and start solving these problems and making the changes necessary to enable that.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Are We In For Some Discipline?

I have mentioned before that I was always troubled by the Old Testament references to God telling the Jews to exterminate everyone in battle, including women and children of the towns and regions they conquered.  The best explanation I ever got for it was that this kind of brutal warfare was all that people understood in that day and age, plus if you left people alive they would carry the grudge and re-form an uprising later on and also they might corrupt the Jewish society with their pagan beliefs and activities.  I know that many of those civilizations practiced many things that we would find abhorrent, like sexual perversions and even child sacrifice…oh wait a minute…maybe we wouldn’t find them abhorrent since we encourage most sexual immorality and perversion and we sacrifice thousands of children every year through abortion. 

Hmmm….maybe we are in for some real discipline throughout our world, too.  That’s a scary thought and one I sincerely hope we can avoid.  I think repentance may be in order.  Do you think it will happen?

Baby, Blow That Horn??

Jesus tells us in Matthew that the Pharisees used to go around doing good deeds and when they did, they had a bunch of trumpeters make a racket and call attention to whatever it was they did.  I can just see the spectacle now…imagine it looking like what happens when the magician on stage makes the person he just cut in half become whole again.  Whoopee, look how great I am!

It’s pretty warped how they turned a good thing into a self-serving and prideful act.  In contrast, Jesus healed lepers, raised the dead, etc. and frequently told people to shush!  Don’t tell anyone I did this.  I think a bit of humility was there, even from the Son of God who had no reason to need to be humble.  It never did much good to tell people to be quiet about it.  Actually, he needed his miraculous healings to be known to attest to his credibility as being from God.  There was very little he could do to silence those who witnessed those miracles.  He didn’t need a brass band to play.

So what’s the take away message for that for us today?  We definitely are called to service as Christians, and there are many things we can do without making it widely known.  Some things, however, beg to be made known as examples to be imitated.  Compassion, International, World Vision and the like are good examples.  The collective power of these organizations has resulted in help to children in need the world over.  Without advertisement of those deeds you and I would never know we can support such an endeavor.  That makes sense, but what doesn’t make sense is when I see people bragging about all the organizations they support.  It’s a fine line to cross, making things known without aggrandizing your personal contribution.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Are these the end times?  Is the middle-east our Armageddon?  Is Global Warming a reality that signals the end of life as we know it?  Are self-replicating robots going to take over the human race? (OK, I’m kinda joking about that one…maybe!?)

You laugh at some of this I’m sure.  My more conservative friends are probably commenting right now that it’s been changed to “Climate Change” rather than Global Warming.  The more nebulous politically correct term fits the geologic record more indisputably and gets more political traction as a result.  That both terms are meaningless in many ways from a geological time perspective is the real issue.  It has been the way of the planet from the beginning of its life.

What is not so meaningless is the rise of terrorism and war in the middle-east.  This is where the Bible says Armageddon will be.  This is where three centuries of mindless hate (over the same God) continues to spew out devastation.  This is where nuclear bombs are being built.  When a terrorist group like ISIS is too violent for Al-Qaeda to maintain ties with (remember, THEY had no trouble killing 3000 civilians in the World Trade Center) then I’m really concerned.

Radical Jihadists now control more territory than ever before.  Israel is in more danger of disappearing off the face of the earth than ever before.  Radicalization of Americans on our own soil and those who go to join the fight with the Jihadists in the middle-east is growing in number as never before.  Our ability to successfully counter these attacks is seriously compromised.

If we and other countries are to experience another 9-11 or worse, what will America’s response be?  If nuclear weapons are unleashed on Israel, what will America’s response be?  The Old Testament has always bothered me when God clearly told the Jews to wipe out everyone in the country.  Men, women and children all slaughtered.  Certainly many were innocents.  I’m not sure if we (or other countries) haven’t arrived at the same point in world history and will eventually take that same horrific step.  We did it to Japan in World War II, I wonder what the American, European, Pakistani, Indian or even Russian or Chinese conscience will do this time as radical Jihadists continue their terrorist attacks across the globe.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Have A Dream

Martin Luther King said “I Have A Dream.”  He followed that dream and it was the roughest road imaginable.  It eventually cost him his life, but in all accounts it was a successful trip.  He changed the face of America forever.  Do you have a dream?

To make it in this world you have to be ready for some challenges and some of the best advice I’ve heard is to follow these principles:

First, you actually have to have a clear vision for what you want to accomplish.  Physical performance coaches are fond of telling athletes to imagine the moves and the ball going where you want it to. You need to do the same thing with your life dreams.  Put that goal out there.   See it every day.

Second, don’t ignore the fundamentals that you need to master.  When I learned to play lead guitar in a band I had a vision, but without learning the fundamentals of my scales, I was not going to make it.

Third, you need to learn about the arena you are venturing into.  How does it all work.  When I was in my career as a law enforcement ranger with the park service, I wanted to know how every function of the work was accomplished…that meant even cleaning the public toilets or going out on resource management projects.  It paid off.  Not only did I gain knowledge, but I was seen as part of the team.

One of the common “truisms” that is always quoted is “success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”  So as my fourth maxim, be prepared for the unexpected.  You may have a plan, but something different comes up.  Several of my friends in the park service were anxious over promotions.  One friend was offered a resource ecologist position that took him out of the ranger series.  It was a detour that unexpectedly prepared him and propelled him even faster to the top as park ranger superintendent.  My detour sent me to an undesirable desert assignment that gave me huge opportunities to learn and “be a big fish in a small pond” and a double promotion in place.  It wasn’t what I’d planned, but it was the best detour I ever made.

Fifth, know yourself and your abilities.  Once you do, you can be confident that you are going to make it.  Confidence radiates around you.  People feel it.  Being humble along with it is an extra plus.  You can be both.

Sixth, reward those who are part of your success.  Nothing creates failure quicker than taking advantage of people around you and not giving credit and rewards where it is due.  If you take care of those you are responsible for, they will take care of you!

Lastly, make sure you don’t see failure as the defeat of your goal.  There is no one in the world who hasn’t experienced setbacks.  Those who succeed are the ones that don’t give up.  Statistically, it usually takes two or three failed businesses before someone finally makes a business that succeeds.  That should give you hope that if you stick to it, you will make it.  Remember, every failure has a lesson embedded in it and teaches you how to better succeed at your goal.  Look at failures as learning experiences and not ends in themselves, but rather “new beginnings.”

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Superhero

A Pew research study was done last year in the United States to determine the kind of faith they align themselves with.  You could choose among many traditional belief systems or you could list yourself as having none.  What is interesting about the study is that almost one-third of the age group 18 to 29 chose “none” as there preferred religion.

What is even more interesting is that it is this same demographic age group that are targeted for what they want to see in movies…and guess what…they love superhero movies just about best of all.  Continually, superhero movies top the charts in all time popularity among moviegoers.

Do you see the incredible conflict in this message?  They are looking for someone to be the rescuer of mankind.  Sadly, they don’t even know that he already showed up and rescued us.

The superhero phenomenon got its big boost as Hitler marched on Europe and committed his atrocities against mankind.  Superman and Batman were both born then and both had religious value overtones embedded by their Jewish creators.  What’s even more interesting is the latest Man of Steel movie, which clearly uses the birth of Christ as the model for the scenes of the birth of Superman.  The parallels continue throughout the movie.  How sad is that?  To find that we have to make up a fake “Jesus” to satisfy the longing for the real thing.

He’s already here!

The other sad feature of society here in American, and in Europe as well, is the rise of nearly one third of the population claiming to be “spiritual but not religious.”  In some parts of Europe it is as high as 47%, and in all European countries except England they outnumber the number that believes God exists.    Even the new Pope’s niece claims this as her “affiliation.”  This is what I call the “take it or leave it God” that doesn’t hold you accountable for anything, call you to service or transform your life in any way.  C.S. Lewis described it well:

“When you are feeling fit and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious Force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest.  If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the Life Force, being only a blind force, with no morals and no mind, will never interfere with you like that troublesome God we learned about when we were children.  The Life Force is a sort of tame God.  You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you.  All the thrills of religion and none of the cost.  Is the Life Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?” 

As a related side issue, about 30% of the world’s population would call themselves Christians, and yet 80% of the discrimination against religious groups is aimed at Christians.  Do you see a pattern here?  I do.  It is a growing institutionalized problem as well, and even in America we are seeing more rulings that force churches to take active homosexuals as members and leaders, to provide abortion coverage, to censor public expression of faith, and to outlaw voluntary homosexual conversion therapy (while on the other hand making sex change therapy a mandated provision.)   Whether you believe these things are really Biblically wrong or not isn’t the issue to me.  The issue is the State is choosing what you can believe or not.  And frankly, no matter how sad I might think it to be, if you want to believe in the Grandfather God or the Life Force God, or the Eternal Radish God, that is your right to pursue unfettered as long as you leave me to pursue my God freely.  Independent of that we all need to follow the Civil Laws of the land outside of our religious participation.

So, to sum it all up, when I hear that over 90% of Americans believe in God, it doesn’t mean a whole lot or comfort me.  What comforts me is that Jesus Christ already came.  My superhero is here.  He died to forgive me and transform me to love God and to Love my neighbor, and that is the issue that matters.

On The Border

There isn't a day that goes by on the news that pundits aren't whining about the millions of people who are continually sneaking in to America illegally across our southern border.  I don't get it?  If they all want to be Americans so badly, why don't they just give us their country.  Then they can ALL be Americans and not have the hassle/risk of crossing the border, paying coyotes to lead them, hauling drugs, dying of thirst, being sold into prostitution and the like.  Just make Mexico the 51st sate of the union, go down there with the 101st airborne and clean out the drug cartels (before we take official ownership to make it legal for them), explain how American laws work, and then have their Mexican politicians enforce them with our help.  We get the tax money.  Everybody is happy.  When that works, watch all the other countries down in the latin breezeway follow suit.

You think I'm kidding, and mostly I am.  But think about it.  How much better would things be today if we ran Mexico from  the 1845 Mexican American War onward than the way things actually turned out.