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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resurrection's meaning

Our church like so many makes a big day of celebration out of Easter.  Someday I would just love to interrupt everyone’s Easter breakfast with, “Okay table topic for today is the resurrection.  What does it mean to you?” 

It means so much to me because He lives in my heart.  I know George Barna noted a few years ago that Christians fall into two distinct categories, Casual Christians and Captive Christians, depending on whether they do not of do have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  For those who keep Him at arm’s length, I say you don’t know what you are missing.  It will literally transform your life. 

Charles Colson wrote a book about how “The thing that proves the resurrection is Watergate.”  That is, once the 12 advisors to Nixon realized that they might face perjury and jail time for lying about Watergate in the President’s behalf, they quickly ratted and everybody tried to save his own skin.  So if the Resurrection was about a lie, the disciples could hold it secret no more than about two weeks, Colson estimated.  To die on a cross themselves almost to a man is unheard of loyalty for what must have been the truth. 

A friend of mine, a police investigator who closely reads documents for clues, said he believes the resurrection because there were 4 separate documents penned whose accounts all agree—and yet each shares a different perspective.  This is exactly what you expect with 4 different witnesses.  Each story is told my a unique author with different details but the major facts of the case are spot on correct among them. 

A writer told me the resurrection and the passion means so much to him because of the honesty of the writers who tell about their own shortfalls with abandon, but whose passion is for the truth of the tale.  Before modern times, he says, writers never shared their internal thoughts nor put themselves in a bad light.  It was just against the rules of competition for a debate.  It was the rule of ancient rhetoric for the speaker to present himself as one of unassailable character. 

Paul makes note that at one time Jesus appeared to 500 people and then names a bunch of folks as if to say, “You could take a bottle of wine over to his house and ask Leroy, what did you see, dude?” Have you ever seen 500 people have a hallucination at the same time?  The same hallucination?

Historians note that Christians from virtually day one organized around the principle that Jesus rose from the dead.  Jews and Romans who are frustrated with the new sect because they contended this, write about it.  So it is validated by historical criticism.

John in his gospel writes how he ran into the tomb and saw the burial cloths—strips of wrags that were wrapped round and round the body and then he saw the headpiece still wrapped in it’s same folds lying aside. No human hands could have unwrapped it like that. It had to be divine. And having the burial cloths means that the body was gone.  No one could transport a 3-days-rotten body without being wrapped.  In such a society, if the Romans had any clue as to who stole the body, they could do a search in that crowded town and have found it by smell alone. 

Well, okay, so much for all the arguments.  It’s proof that He truly lives.  To me the resurrection and his living presence is what propels my life.  The forgiveness of my messed up life.  How He was just waiting for my struggles and strategies to end. How I can take the most hopeless situation to Him and some how, some way I will either find myself accepting it or the wait changes it or he puts a thought in my head of how to work the problem. The love that has changed me, the redemption that transforms me, the plan that He holds that I trust will bring about the triumph of the world and the world to come—that’s what the resurrection is for.

“He lives to silence all my fears.

He lives to wipe away my tears.

He lives to calm my troubled heart

He lives all blessings to impart.”

“Because you are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you…everyone who is called by My Name, whom I created for My Glory,” reads Isaiah 43 written 700 years before Christ.  It insinuates that God’s greatest glory is not the universe or the stars or even the creation of life itself.  It is in saving us.  Doubt it? “Who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.” Phil. 2:5.  So that someday in heaven someone will ask what His greatest glory was and He will smile and point to You. You were His greatest accomplishment.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Leftist religion and BLM

            So when did Vladimir Putin take over the BLM?   The scenes of a BLM army trying to raid Bundy and the ranchers reminded me of Crimea.  And you tell me, what kind of cowboy rounds up 400 head of Bundy’s cattle and manages to kill 130 of them?  Cattle are tough!  I could take a bunch kids from some inner city who have never seen a cow and get them to run around hooting at a herd and we wouldn’t lose 130 head.  Oh, you say the BLM guys simply shot and killed 130 head?  But then I would remind you that a calf can bring $1000 these days.  130 head of cattle is worth $130,000+.  They should have been sold and the proceeds gone to the government account in behalf of the taxpayers.  If the BLM  guys just destroyed $130,000 of value that legitimately belonged to taxpayers, take it out of their pay!
             I know, I know.  Putin has done much work to create an image of shirtless superman, conquering warrior, hunter par excellence, shrewd saboteur and taker of other country's lands, and KGB director who is watching everyone.  None of this threatens Obama.  Because Obama is only threatened by the American Cowboy.

            I guess it is no secret that I started working politically because of my Christian faith.  What scares me about government these days is that it is being taken over by Leftism, the country’s fastest growing religion.  Anca Landwer and Nadia Comeneche (former Romanians) tried to tell me that they had a hard time convincing Americans that communism is first and foremost a religion.   Americans think it is just an economic system.  They would tell about how you can’t be a communist (they won’t allow you in the party) if you aren’t an atheist.  That they swear to a lifetime allegiance to the party. That you must swear to stamp out the Christian and Jewish faiths to be a communist. That the May Day rallies mimic the Eastern Orthodox faith in carrying large icons (considered highly sacred presences of the saints for prayer) of past and present Soviet and Eastern leaders.  But it is as if the Americans want to be blind to the religious aspect.

            Why do I say that Leftism is a religion?  Here’s yet another proof.   In Judaism and Christianity, it is held that we are “to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth.”  There is a direct relationship between the believer and God and all nature is subject to the stewardship of mankind and that is ordained by God.  But in justifying the Bundy takeover attempt, the feds alleged that a turtle was endangered.  If cows didn’t watch where they were walking they would tromp out the desert tortoises.  Somehow in Leftism, nature takes precedent over man.  It is like paganism, as if the spirits of the gods inhabit the earth and animals.  Humans are no more worth than any other worm or insect. We are just subject to nature.  And if a few humans have to be sacrificed for the ultimate goals, so what?  They are just animals.

            Instead of being fruitful and multiplying, Leftists must grab power and control over people and live off the taxpayer.

            By raiding the ranch and killing the cattle in a deliberate act, it shows that BLM didn’t just make an honest mistake or were overzealous about the court order they had in hand.  (The usual solution is for the government to quietly file a lien on the property.) It showed a disregard for property, a contempt for ranchers and their way of life, and a violation of unreasonable seizure--Amendment IV.  To me this is an inverted concept of governance than the one we have, where the government is supposed to be servant of the people—whether ‘the people’ be of a turtle-loving public or of the ranchers who have tended the land for 150 years. 

            And so it looks to me like the tactics, the tyranny, and belief system of a religion of nature-over-man.  In short, an old communist. Vladimir Putin?       

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Post Common Core, still problems

When I was a HS junior I transferred to a Lutheran High School and one of my favorite courses was Christian History.  The instructor was Gil Holstein and one of his quiz questions might go like this.

John Calvin,

  1. Rejected Transubstantiation
  2. Accepted Consubstantiation
  3. Thought that faith and reason led to a Memorial Feast
  4. A & C
  5. A & B
  6. All of these
  7. None of these
    To get a 40 on one of his quizzes was passing and a 67 would make you high grade.  Frustrated students confronted him one day about his ‘infinite choices’ multiple choice tests.  But he defended it.  “Why this is how life is.  Many choices, some of them multiple combinations.  If a Mack truck swerves over in your lane, will you swerve out of the way or put on the brakes or some combination?”  What Gil was trying to get us to do was to dig and claw and scratch (DCS)what we had read for Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. (answer above is D)
                It has ever been this way as fathers taught their sons their skills.  Instill discipline to get a job done right.  Critically evaluate your work.  Learn to love the DCS.  Make it your lifelong habit.
                USA ranks #28 in science today and Oklahoma ranks #39 among the states.  How will we compete globally?  Thus the idea is born to set up Standards by which to judge our education and make our schools teach to the Standards. 
                Comes now the Common Core Controversy.  People on the right are saying that it is full of political correctness and so they reject it.  People on the left say it has too much testing and they reject it too.  Parents in the vast middle are rejecting it because little Leroy is stressing out over taking achievement tests.  And this is the era when parents go into principal’s offices and bang their fists on the desk.  Little Leroy flunked.  There must be something wrong with the school! Write your legislator and demand that he repeal Common Core usage.
                We can remove the general standards but standards of excellence must exist in the minds of the teachers.  Education continues to be an involvement between teacher and student and the student has no knowledge of the standards.  That is what happened at my old Lutheran HS.  Gil knew his standards and refused to compromise them.  The teacher in this case is free to teach.   But what happens when the NEA represents the teachers and the administrators are hounded by the public?  The NEA wants a Fur Lined Nest (FLN) for its members.  The public wants Bread and Circuses (B&C) in the form of a good football team and band concerts, etc. The administrators want funding and peace ($P).  Put these forces together and see if you get any high standards.  The B&Cs crab at the $Ps who bring their concerns to the school board, while the FLNs ask that we remove competition and make it all fun.  Clearly the idea is to quell the gripes and lower the bar.  DCS dies without making any noise.  Add to this the effect of federal programs and grants that tickle the $Ps with temptation to lower the bar even further.  The net result is #39 in a nation that is #28. 
                Solution?  One possibility is to remove public education and make a voucher system.  The private schools will compete and use their product as proof of their superiority over competitors.  But this horrifies the people in Binger and Gotebo and Wappanucka and all those small towns where there is just one school and if they lose that precious school the whole town falls into rubble.  Besides the football game on Friday night is the only entertainment at hand.  Charter school conversions of the rural schools—where state regulations are left aside provided the school has superior results—work about half the time.  What if they fail? 
                Radical surgery of public schools could be done if we were to ban unions for public employees while cutting back on government regulations and administrators (back to the 50’s). Trouble is, they didn’t have expensive Astroturf football fields with Tartan surface tracks and buses worthy of rock stars in the 50’s.  They didn’t travel over 30 miles for a game in 1958.  Another version of this fix is to banish athletics and most extra-curriculars as the rest of the civilized world does it.  The local Y or athletic club could sponsor the teams and the debate team can form around a citizens support group.  Good luck selling any of this to the public. Or to the Democrats.
                So here I sit typing like an old Version 1.0. The guy who still reads instruction manuals like he was taught to read his textbooks for detail and question the author’s veracity.  The guy who still figures business deals backwards first to see if it has benefit then forwards to see if the other guy is benefitted, the way I was made to do math and check my work.  The guy who enjoys a DIY repair project by logically eliminating causes the way we did on the farm. Dig and Claw and Scratch.  Anachronism?  Maybe.  But there’s a world at our doorsteps waiting to take our business and eat our lunch.  They are learning DCS.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

No opponent

Oh gosh, had this terrible dream.  I was in the hospital and I woke up.  There was the doctor standing over my bed and it was Obama!  He was holding up one middle finger and he asked, "How many fingers do you see." So sarcastically I said, "7.1 million."  And he laughed.  "Okay, you are hired for Health and Human Services Director!" Next thing I knew I was chained to a desk in DC.

Oh, if you are missing emails from me, please be advised that it's been changed.  Now using Send me something so I can pick up your email and add it to all the contacts.  I  lost almost 300.

Three days of filing for office went by and Vaughan has no one who wants to run against him.  We both have mixed feelings.  He's in, just like that.  On the other hand you worry, maybe no one else wants the job.  Or don't think they can beat him. Whatever the case, we are kinda celebratory, except that now we have no excuse for raising money and he will have to use his own moolah to pay the continual campaigning that Representatives do.  Nonetheless, it will be nice to use our energy to help others in the party who are running.  And he is looking at getting a further leadership role next year.  Quite possibly, Ag committee chairmanship, Appropriations and Budget (Helps Gov write budget) and even Floor Leader (Helps Speaker of House set agenda). 

I was amazed at how half the ranchers in Utah and Nevada seemed to show up at that Cliven guy's ranch in Nevada.  The BLM is a most hated bureaucracy out West.  It would seem high time that a Republican Presidential candidate would take on the issue of selling more land of the Western States.  If the Feds own 86% of Nevada and only want to use the land for preserving turtles, I think it is clearly time to make some changes.  If they own tracts that impinge on Colorado Springs but won't take care of the underbrush, thereby causing wildfires to spread through the heart of a city, someone else needs to take control who will keep the land maintained.  Meanwhile I propose that any state which is over half owned by the Feds, needs to change its name on all the maps to something like, "Federal Fiefdom and Small Minority of Serfs Who Call Themselves Nevada."

And if it is indeed true that Harry Reid and a consortium of Communist Chinese were conspiring to use BLM to destroy the ranchers of Nevada so that they could install solar energy projects, I protest as well!  "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both are an Obama Nation to the Lord."Proverbs 17:15

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What Would TR Do?

   Ronald Reagan once said, “History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” And of course, that is what Putin believes.  Obama has no balls, except for the ones he plays golf with.  So Crimea today, tomorrow Estonia or whoever.  Teddy Roosevelt said walk softly, carry a big stick.  Obama lectures loudly and won’t break a twig. 
    If TR were Prez, I would see him doing the following.  He’d say we have looked without results for that airliner from Malaysia and may never find it.  We know it went south into the Indian Ocean where there is no place to land.  Therefore, am ordering the aircraft carrier back to the Pacific.  He would park that sucker outside of Kamchatka peninsula, move a couple divisions to Alaska, and purposefully say very little else.  But this would tell the Russians that if they make a move to take over more territory, he will make a move on some part of Siberia.  It’s a lot farther from Kamchatka or Vladivostok to Moscow than it is to Anchorage.  And this would force the Russians to suddenly worry about an unguarded flank that is far from home.  Naw, you say, that would be so stupid since Eastern Siberia is a vast wilderness that would be hard to secure.  Yeah, but that means that there aren’t that many people there, let alone Russians.  Secondly, TR would have understood the numbers.  USA 313 million people, Russia 142 million.  USA GDP $15T, Russia $1.89T.  USA has a hardened military that has just fought 2 wars.  A potential fight with America wouldn’t be cheap.

    While it is true that USA’s military is about 1 million and Russia’s is also about that large, the Russian equipment is outdated and mostly 7000 miles away.

    Secondly, TR would move warships into the Baltic and AWACs too.  Thirdly, he would ask for  more Defense spending like Reagan did.  If Putin were smart, he would not want an arms race or to be a NATO target.  His country has a 0.6% growth rate and a negative birth/death rate.  He cannot win a cold war. He’d sue for peace and summitry.