30 April 2008
29 April 2008
I plan to go to WalMart and buy a bunch of cheap junk manufactured in China, to boost their economy and further erode ours by shifting american jobs oversees so that fat cats at WalMart corporate can drive Hummers. Well, at least the Hummers are made locally. On second thought, maybe I'll just buy food and gas we can no longer afford.
This whole debate centered around what you are going to do with your $300 is silly. Now, as a family of 4 I think we're on the high end of $1200. Unlike the majority of other Hoosiers, I'm sure, we'll be sticking our check into savings and forgetting about it. It might just offset our increase in food, gas and heating costs over the last year.
I would be curious as to the billions of dollars the checks will cost the feds. I would like to see how many more days in Iraq it would buy (at $2 billion a day I think). A better use of the funds would be to spend those dollars on rebuilding our failing infrastructure........at least that would provide jobs in america and keep our bridges from killing us.
Sorry George, I'm not going to be patriotic and blow that check you're sending me. I'm doing the more conservative thing and sticking it away for when things really get bad.
28 April 2008
We had a guest speaker at church yesterday. Those are always tricky because you don't know what to expect by way of sermon topics. I think he was nervous at first too, because he kept repeating "cross reference". Finally, it stopped.
He pointed out several passages, possibly 5, in Matthew in which it was stated Christ had compassion on either individuals or on whole groups. Compassion has to be something "felt" from the heart. You can't choose to have compassion-its gotta been something that stirs inside you and comes out of the heart. Christ had compassion because he saw and felt the hurt. Man, when was the last time you "felt" it?
And then, in dramatic fashion Christ said to his disciples....."Look!......the harvest is ripe". Visiting preacher said it's as though Christ said "Open your eyes!" This was very effective because he kept repeating it with great big hand gestures around his eyes that seemed to be popping out of his skull. Wow, talk about dramatic!
So, I'm left with two thoughts. (1) Compassion-we have to see people the way Christ does, we have to pray for that, no matter how dangerous it might be..........so that (2) when we do have our eyes open, we will be moved to help. I don't think it's about converts....it's about compassion.
25 April 2008
"Hey, Mitch? Governor? Governor Daniels? Should we get over Lincoln, too? He's in the past," Limbaugh said. "We just gotta get over Lincoln. This is so contrary to conservative thought."
24 April 2008
Closed road below-former Yellowstone Trail?
The number of surviving old steel truss bridges is declining rapidly. In fact, only a few more than covered wood bridges exist in the Hoosier state which prompted their listing on the National Trust's endangered list.
I heard a story about this old bridge-but have yet to verify it. It was told to me that this was once part of the historic Yellowstone Trail. This may well be true, because I know in this county the YT remained on the south side of the Pennsylvania Railroad, while the Lincoln Highway was located on the north side. Interestingly enough, bridges for all three routes are located within a few hundred feet of each other at this location. More on the Yellowstone Trail and Pennsylvania RR later.
23 April 2008
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
The other is 1 Timothy 2:
1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
I have no doubt that these passages transcend time and governments and apply today. It is important to note the context of the times in which it was written. The Jewish people of the time didn't vote in elections....didn't hold primaries......it was not a representational democracy as we have here in this country. The encouragement in both of these passages speak to submission to rulers or governments placed over the people against their will (maybe it is a little like us).
So, how do Christians function in a democracy? Of course, we must vote our conscience-we must vote for people of integrity, for people that maybe most represent the nature of Christ. And we must submit, regardless of who is elected to rule. And we must pray for them-despite our objections to their character or decisions they make. Our prayers may be to remove someone in position over us, or to give wisdom and clarity for decisions that must be made...or, as I have found myself doing lately, pray for God to change the hearts of those in authority over us, particularly locally.
I don't believe in a full frontal assault of Christians engaging in politics where the words spoken are out of hate or power struggle. I don't believe in mindlessly voting party because somehow having a letter in front of your name makes you the moral choice. I do believe, and encourage, Christians to become involved in their communities to help solve problems and if that leads to political involvement-keep themselves in check so that their witness is more important than their position......or a win.
22 April 2008
21 April 2008
18 April 2008
17 April 2008
16 April 2008
15 April 2008
You've gotten my attention, Sir.
14 "HR, let me tell you something, you are the light of this town; just like a city set on a hill can’t be hidden. 15 You wouldn’t turn on a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a table, to give light to everyone in your home. 16 You also, son, must let your light shine in river city, that folks will see the good work I’ve called you to and in it, recognize Me."
If you didn't recognize it, the passage above is out of Matthew 5. I landed in the Sermon on the Mount a couple months ago and have stayed there. I've picked up little insights here and there, but, for some reason, this morning went a little differently. I must admit, I've never read scripture before with putting myself into Christ's directives. It became very personal, very humbling.....and very encouraging.
I want to encourage you to go up and reread the passage putting yourself and your town in my place. Maybe God will show up in your locker room too.
I'm not into gambling, which, before you complain I don't contribute to Indiana's well-being because of this conviction.....there was a time I was tempted, feeling lucky on my birthday I went to buy a scratch off and the gas station was out. I took it as a sign.
My mom once won like $50 bucks off a ticket someone gave her. She felt convicted and thought she should give it to the church, but felt conflicted because it was dirty money. Knowing her, she probably gave the 50 plus another 50 just to ease her conscience.
I must confess though I have made a couple of bets in my life. The first was a $50 bet against my buddy back in high school over the breading at Long John Silvers. I lost.
You would think that sting of losing would have prevented future bets, but 16 years later, going through our first blizzard together, my wife and I bet on how much snow we'd get. I bet over 12" and won. The winner got to choose a weekend away to a location of his/her choosing. I had been wanting to drive the Michigan Road to Madison (more on Madison later). We were there over St. Patty's day and enjoyed an evening at a local wine cellar with Celtic music; she won anyway because she got to spend the weekend with me, right?
Feeling that I was on a role, but wanting to make sure my bets were sure, I accepted another bet 6 years later. A fellow republican councilman wanted a vote trade and expected me to go against something that greatly enhances the entrance into river city.
When I said no, he said "I'll bet you $100 they'll tear those things out in 4 years!" I said "well, I'm not a betting man, but I'll accept so long as the $100 goes to a non-profit of our choosing"
He accepted. I can't think of a better place for this grumpy old republican to send his money to than Hillary's campaign. Victory is sweet.
14 April 2008
Outside of the uncanny tendency over the last four generations for males with our surname to pass away during this time in April......I credit it to tax day........there is another reason why this month brings unfortunate memories for me and to the national psyche.
11 April 2008
Community is a good thing. Isn't it?
I've written about the farming community I grew up in and my family's role in that. I've realized and cherished my own role in the various "communities" I found myself in. I understand the importance of the relational impact and security community represents. With some blogs I've been visiting recently....I can see where a whole new so called "community" can develop, even over cyberspace.
But what drives me to near madness is this "community" intoxication the church is experiencing. Everything is community.......community groups, cell groups that are community, leadership teams that are community, community worship, children's community......all promoted by the single, four walled church. It's becoming more "communal" and that's not a good thing.
To be honest, I've got my friends at church.......but the church itself isn't "community" to me. Sure, we can care for each other and develop strong relationships inside the church-but unless I'm wrong-I think we were called to be light and salt....outside the four walls.
At some point being "community" separates us from our community.
I've got several-lots-maybe even more-solid relationships outside my church. Friends of ours that can care for & have fun with us. I'm not saying I don't need the church.....but I don't want the church to consume me! I see that happen with friends in our own church and in many evangelical churches I'm familiar with.
Maybe this is just my anti-establishment side coming through.
10 April 2008
Hillary vs. Obama & Schellinger vs. Long-Thompson. And what do we have? Mitch and McCain, or M&Ms. There are no choices for us republicans this year, except a few local races in which it is becoming more and more clear that there is a power grab going on by our local corporate republicans.
I was talking with my neighbor about the elections and he mentioned he might just go in and pull a D in the primary in order to get the republican stink off of him. I kinda think he's onto something. More and more younger conservatives-the busters and mosaics for those of you who like generation titles-are becoming embarrassed about being republican.....I'm not kidding here, I'm hearing it a lot!
I think of chief concern is this.......if those guys are republican, I don't want to be associated with that! My neighbor was speaking of Carl Rove specifically here. I can think of a whole lot of other names starting with my own city councilman, to the governor, to the president.
What a mess the republicans have made......basically alienating a whole new generation or two.
09 April 2008
Christ says "I am the bread of life, unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you can not enter the kingdom"
Many of his disciples, being offended by what seemed like cannibalism and totally out of line with OT teaching, left him. So Christ turns to the 12 remaining and asks "are you offended too?"
You have to know the personality of the elder who gave the sermon Sunday. He's kinda like Wendel Berry, as I am sure he would appreciate that comparison. In no way would he want to offend anyone sitting in the congregation-in fact, in praying prior to the message, he chose words that would make you think...........
Oh man, here it comes! Hell fire! This does not sound like Elder T!
But what a great presentation of truth. The leading question was.....what of Christ's words, what of his teachings are you offended by. Man, I really had to sit there and think.
Turn the other cheek......pardon my french, but that one really pisses me off God. While I may not look like it, I am the throw some punches kind of guy (note previous Fight Club spot). That offends me Christ!
But I have the same response that the 12 had when Christ asked them if they were offended........."to whom would we go?" I just need to accept it. He has the words of life. Truth is truth. There may be others I am offended by too, but that one really sticks in my craw and for now, that's the one I'm going to concentrate on.
Thanks Elder T. So, what offends you about Christ's teachings?
08 April 2008
But what happens when it is the messenger that kills the message?
Anyone who has been in church very long, understands this can happen so easily. We get to know the human side of the pastor or teacher and then all of a sudden his words have a lot less integrity.......somehow the truth seems, well, hypocritical from the source.
A friend of mine from Romania stopped me after service sunday and we talked for maybe 20-30 minutes about stuff. Sometimes I have a hard time getting his meaning to things because there's a bit of a language barrier...but somewhere-outa nowhere-he says something to this affect:
"so, my friend says to me, why do you let that guy playing guitar and speaking keep you from church?"
"because he's said some things about me that aren't true-he lies"
"church isn't about that guy, you go for God, not that guy"
So, my Romanian friend is back at church. And he had a timely message for me. The true source of the message we hear on Sunday mornings is from our creator. While there may be times we have to separate that message from the messenger, we should never deny truth.
We're all human. We all make mistakes and sometimes continue doing so despite constant confrontal and correction. I know often times I've screwed up the message by my actions as the messenger......and I ask for grace. But truth is truth-regardless of who says it. There's a reason why the truth of God has been around so long. It isn't human.
07 April 2008
What was a little scary was the realization that the blatant racist remarks made by the villain in the film, which seemed rather falsely explosive........are comments I hear, right here in river city, regarding our Latino immigrants. Not good-the film either. Save your dime, pass on Conspiracy.
A film I had been wanting to see and finally took the opportunity was Fight Club. Not what I expected. But still pretty good. If you've not seen it, then this isn't going to make any sense to you.
Not long into the movie, I made the comment to my wife.......hmmm, I could see (my buddy) and I doing that! And laughed about it. By the end of the film, after I realized his buddy was his alter ego, I started to question my own sanity and tried to figure out if a couple of the guys I hang out with really exist, or, since they're 10 yrs+ my junior, are they just my alter ego-reflections of a youth now gone and since they're in top notch shape-what I'd like to be?
If you ever see me punching myself on the street.......call the guys in white coats.
Not sure why, but more recently I've felt convicted about making sure we pray before meals when we go out. Our kids normally take turns giving thanks before meals, so now, they say grace over the white noise of pots and dishes clanking and other patrons around us. Most people still think it's sweet.
It seems like more often that not, I'm the one that offers to say grace when the 3 guys get together, but this time the tall guy jumped the gun and offered. He started in and I thought, dang, tall guy, we're sitting right here-we can hear you fine. But it wasn't that tall guy was abnormally loud......it's just that I'm abnormally quiet when dining out and offering grace.
I'm not sure why that is. I'm not ashamed, am I? God knows I've never had to tell people here in river city I'm a christian-they've just sorta figured that one out. So, prayer just naturally follows, right? Thanks tall guy-it was a good bro prayer!
At what decibel level do you pray when dining out? Do you?
04 April 2008
In the same year I mark the 40th anniversary of my birth, our country must mark the senseless murders of two men who shaped the nation. When people ask when I was born, I say "in the same year two great men were gunned down". I have to admit a private fear-it isn't lost on me that 40 years after King we have the first black man as the potential presidential nominee.....and that there are still a lot of racists out there. I often find myself saying short prayers for the Senator from Illinois, regardless of his politics.
Indiana will be forever tied by King's death to Bobby Kennedy because of Kennedy's speech in Indianapolis the day King was killed-40 years ago today. Many credit Indianapolis' calm during the riots seen in the rest of the country to Bobby's speech.
Few men have been able to inspire our country to be better than it is, to set a vision of what could be, as these men did. I see that in Obama. And we desperately need it today.
Since I'm a big fan of U2........I'll let Bono take it from here. Pray for our country.
03 April 2008
02 April 2008
I remember the first time someone mentioned to me the great adventure of a snipe hunt, then ultimately gave the secret away. I've enjoyed hunting with friends with whom I've never shared the real fun of the adventure with.
The problem is this..........when you're a brainiac bird guy.........you understand full well that there really is such a thing as a snipe. In fact, on our recent hike to the wetlands, Bird Man and I had to make a determination if one fowl we saw was snipe or woodcock. We decided on woodcock. Wilson's Snipe is a for-real bird who winters in the Hoosier state, but is rarely seen due to its secretive behavior and remote habitat.
So, the next time you get invited snipe hunting, take it seriously. I've attached a picture of a snipe and woodcock for comparison. I was a little leery about googling pictures for the woodcock.
01 April 2008
Now it just seems that we are all suffering from a political identity crisis. If you haven't heard, sales tax just went up in Indiana today! Yeah, and while they claim property tax relief, you'll probably end up paying more in property taxes like me.
And who is behind this? Those crazy liberals? NO! It's the REPUBLICANS who are getting tax happy! Is this what Ronald Reagan meant when he said........."I didn't leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me". I feel for ya Gipper, that's how I'm starting to feel about the Republicans, albeit, they kinda threw me out.
By the way....don't drive on the toll road either. The tolls just doubled too.