"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


HOW CRAZY CAN YOU BE and still legitimately serve in a pastoral ministry?

A version of this question has been the source of a heated debate found HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.   Reading the debates and commentaries has been fascinating – I’ve discovered some new websites that now appear on my list of favorites.

I have a couple of good friends who should not be, but are, in pastoral ministries.  They’ve left their love of expositing Scripture and now live to build more buildings and guarantee their retirement.  Probably all of us are familiar with that posture.  I would tend to assess their issues as  a) a lack of faith and b) a loss of their initial calling.  Pastoral Burnout is another term that perhaps describes their state.

If you’re suffering from extreme Pastoral Burnout, should you continue as a pastor?  (Is Pastoral Burnout a real status or is it simply more of the therapeutic mumbo jumbo that is an absolute CURSE in our westernized society?)

If you happen to go psychotic I suspect your church will not allow you to pastor OR if you’re in a church where you have total power and then go psychotic, your church will ultimately leave you.  But bottom line is this; Pastors who go psychotic end up being ex-pastors.

Is having a “nervous breakdown” the same as going psychotic?  Can you legitimately have a “nervous breakdown” and come back to the ministry?
Charles Stanley, speaking to a large conference of Christian counselors in Atlanta more than a decade ago referenced at least two periods in his life where he had experienced some state of severe stress and was unable to function as a pastor.  I do not remember exactly whether or not he used the term “nervous breakdown” but I think he did.  Unluckily it is kind of a broad term that lacks specificity.

Charles Stanley also has seen the end of his marriage while he continues to pastor..   I know enough to hazard a guess at some of the issues that led to the divorce but it has always been obvious that immorality was NOT an issue.  Does he bare some responsibility for the divorce?  I suspect he does.  Does he still pastor?  Yes.  Has he remarried?  Not to my knowledge, and wisely so.

Jimmy Swaggart.  Does he still pastor?  I think he does.  Should his weaknesses/sins (an attraction to prostitutes) keep him from the pastoral ministry?  ( For a definitive answer;  John McArthur game a 12 point message in 45 minutes at a chapel at Master’s College in the late 80’s when the whole shebang came to public knowledge.  I still have a copy of the tape somewhere.  It was “lights out.”)
Has Swaggart repented?  Did he repent like King Saul or like King David?
Either way a high price is demanded whether or not the repentance is from the heart or just from the lips.  Swaggart has surely paid a high price.   Should he still be in the pastorate?

Possibly to be continued -

R U a Christian?

GEORGE BARNA’S research group has contributed mightily to our understanding of “Christianity” in these United States.  Below is an excerpt from his most recent publishing.

Catholics, in general, were uncomfortable with the phrase “born again Christian.” Although just 14% said it described them accurately, 23% qualified as born again according The Barna Group’s definition.
Regionally, residents of the Northeast generally accepted the terms “Christian” (74%) and “committed Christian” (61%), but were far less likely to adopt the “born again Christian” phrase (29%) or to meet the Barna Group’s born again standard (29%). People living in the West had a similar portrait. Adults in the South were comparatively less likely than others to say they were a “committed Christian.” People in the Midwest were the most likely to claim to be a “committed Christian.”
The research also found that self-described conservatives were three times more likely than self-described liberals to embrace the “born again” label; blacks were two-and-a-half times more likely than Hispanics to do so; and people without any college education were almost 60% more likely than those with a college degree to stake a claim to being “born again.”
Only half of both of the “born again” segments (i.e., those self-described by the term and those defined by The Barna Group’s questions) had prayed to God, read from the Bible and attended a religious service in the past week. In comparison, nine out of ten “committed Christian” adults had done so and just one-third of those who said they are “Christian” engaged in the three behaviors.

George indicates that 80% of the population in the U.S. would describe themselves as “Christian.”  But behind the term we find this;  being a self-described “Christian” gives no real indication of one’s status as a true Child of God.   Even those who are self-described as “born-again;”  ½ of them did not pray, read from the Bible or attend a religious service in the past week.
We’re big into labels; not so big into devout pursuit of the Living God.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Risky Battles?

From National Review’s website – The Corner

RE: “THE ROCK” [Cliff May]Tom, that’s very encouraging. A military guy told me the other day: “For our side, battles are not that dangerous. It’s just getting to the battles that’s risky.”

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bloviating Blogging

I do like humor a lot;  possibly more than a lot;  possibly into excess.  Laughter is good medicine and an effective foil against unwarranted ( or warranted) attacks.  I know I can dish it out, I think I can take it.  But, we all have our moments.

As a public school student, I did enjoy making the class laugh, but if I was really on a roll, making the teacher laugh too.  But there was always danger in playing the role of class wit.  Just because the teacher laughed Thursday morning didn’t mean she’d laugh Friday afternoon.   So you could be wearing a grin on Thursday and  a shirt with a note pinned on it Friday.

I was no Robin Williams but I did appreciate humor in the classroom.  It seemed to break up otherwise boring and dull days.

I think humor in blogging is worthwhile.  I’m not appreciative of bloviating blogging however.  I hope I don’t bloviate.  Sigh

Tomorrow is Monday.

Riding Bikes in L.A.

An article from Slate HERE on biking (bicycling) in L.A.

I am an avid bicyclist.  Me ‘n my rapidly aging, and overweight, buddies refer to ourselves as F.O.M.Bi.C. – Fat Old Men’s Bicycle Club.  We ride for exercise and fun.  Basically there are two rides we use.  One is an 8 or 13 miler down the coast and back.  Generally we’re riding very early and it is primarily through neighborhoods so it’s quite safe.  Our second ride is a “Rails to Trails” 15 miler that is totally safe.  It is a paved road but no motorized vehicles are allowed so one is bicycling along very nicely having no traffic concerns.

On my own I do a couple of different rides in the city streets.  One is an 18 mile loop that is a combination of bike lanes and a few neighborhood streets.  I feel relatively safe though the cars go wizzing past on the 3 lane boulevard.  The bike lane is about 5 feet wide but you don’t want to ride too close to the curb because that is where the majority of glass, nails and road debris end up.  Of course the closer you are to the lane, the more dangerous it can be so there are decisions to be made.

Then a ride I like to do on Sunday afternoons is to head on downtown.  Our city is NOT one of those where people live.  Downtown is where people work and then go home.   So once I get past the requisite mall I have 8 or 9 miles of lightly traveled main roads until I get to the downtown bus stop.  There I load up my bike on the bike rack, pay my 75 cents and bus back to within a mile or two of my home.  It’s quite interesting if not down right fun.

I have biked in L.A., I was reared there.  The most fun biking in L.A. was when I would head down one of the dry, concrete riverbeds where there is a paved road along the top of the bed.  I lived in Whittier and I’d get on the Rio Hondo and head on down to Long Beach.  It was probably 15 to 20 miles.  That was fun.

I feel blessed that my knees, legs, hips all seem to work okay at this time.  I’m way too heavy but my body is used to it and the good bikes are so light weight that it can seem almost effortless once you’re in basic biking shape.

Hey, if you get a chance, get your bike out, clean it up, pump up the tires, oil the chain and have yourself a nice ride.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

George Best - gone

I really don’t follow soccer very closely but I knew about Pele and English soccer star, George Best.  Well George died yesterday; I believe it was from general organ failure.  His reputation was he abused himself royally.

He left us with a noteable quote however.

“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”

Sadly there is no reason to think that George Best rests in peace.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Yaconelli and suicide

I spent much of this evening reading about an imbroglio (hat tip Phil Johnson for the spelling) between Michael Spencer, Frank Turk and others. It was quite interesting. But it got me to thinking about the late Mike Yaconelli. He was an editor of the Wittenburg Door and wrote the "back page" for many years. The Door in it's early life was truly cutting edge and at times tremendously funny. However over the years it tailed off and seemed to become more of a rant than anything else. But Yac bought himself significant street cred with the "back page."

That Yac was troubled was both a trigger for some of his brilliance and a concern as he seemed to so easily drift both theologically and perhaps personally. I don't know his family history and all I knew of him was the bits and pieces of persona he admitted through his writings. He was a patchwork of seeming contradictions. Mostly I think he was a permanent adolescent; the rebellious urge never quite matured.

A couple years ago while driving down I-5 in Northern California he drove off the road and into a concrete abutment effectively killing himself. It was a shock to all; admirers and critics. I don't think it's been established that it was suicide but looking at Mike's life I think maybe it was. Things had not gone well for him as he aged (does it for any of us) and I believe his father had died? That's not really enough to kill yourself over; unless you're one of those who struggle with self-destructive tendencies.

I was sad that he died. He could be, and sometimes was, a creative genius. But sometimes he was just a jerk. I think he was a true believer; but God has sorted it out already.

URL for Derbyshire

URL for John Derbyshire’s article in the National Review

John Derbyshire on white men

John Derbyshire, regular contributor to National Review Online made the following post.

The notion that our government might once again put a man on the Moon, let alone Mars, is absurd, and can only induce laughter, or tears, depending on one's mood.
These failures themselves are only symptoms of some more profound civilizational sickness. Western — let us be blunt about it: white-European — civilization is on its way out.

We are a victim of our own excesses.

There is a great verse in the Old Testament book of Isaiah.  In the NIV it reads;  “  Everything we have accomplished HE has done for us.”
So ultimately we have nothing, as humans, upon which to brag.  That’s humbling.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Jessica, Nick & the Lions

Breaking News:  Jessica and Nick have announced the end of their storybook romance/marriage/career/publicitystunt/ whatever.  Each has indicated, “I’m no longer stuck on stupid.”

Actually, they are both real individuals and they probably entered into the marriage hoping they could make it work.  I would think the odds of them having a successful marriage were less than 1 %.  And actually that is sad.

So on Thanksgiving Day 2005, the big news seems to be the end of the Simpson/Lachey marriage and the fact that the Detroit Lions absolutely suck.  Discouraging that.  Luckily I’m not particularly a Lion’s fan.  Whew.

Wait ‘til next year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

X-Box insanity

Fascinating socio-cultural story.  A client today was telling me that one of his buddies at work, Marcus,  went to the local Best Buy last night to stand in line so he could have a shot at buying the new X-Box 360.  Marcus arrives at Best Buy at 10 p.m.  Marcus is the 10th person in line. Best Buy will open the next morning at 8 a.m.

What Marcus plans to do is sell the X-Box on E-Bay hoping to make a tidy little profit.  So Marcus is there all night holding his place in line.

At exactly 7:30 a.m,  one ½ hour before opening, someone came along and offered him $400.00 for his spot in line.  That’s right.  Someone offered him $400 cash for his 10th spot in line.  Marcus is no dummy, he took the cash and went home.

I could just weep.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Internet dating

Without morality and ethics ( a strong component of the Judeo Christian ethos) these things happen in business.

Match.com, one of the top Internet dating websites, has been accused of hiring people as "date bait" to date some of their one million customers to encourage them to keep paying for the service.
A Los Angeles racketeering lawsuit said the lonely hearts website secretly recruited people to send enticing emails to its customers and to go out on dates with them as a way of getting them to keep up their 30 dollars monthly subscription.
The company's ringers, branded "date bait", went on as many as 100 dates a month -- three per day -- with Match.com customers, who use the site to search for boyfriends, girlfriends, and possible husbands and wives.
"Hiding behind Match.com's portrait of online success is a very big, very dirty secret ... Not everyone you meet and date through Match.com is just another Match.com member," said the lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles court on November 10.

Well, all you desperate singles out there,  perhaps you should think carefully about the whole internet dating thingy.  There’s either more there than meets the eye or less there than meets the eye.


There are some painful issues affecting the group of people with whom I regularly worship.

Today I assured one of the leaders that he has “fifty percent of my full, unconditional and unqualified support.”

He seemed less than relieved.

Traffic in L.A.

I was born and reared in L.A. but left 30 years ago to pursue the completion of my degree.  I don’t remember when traffic wasn’t bad; but it is worse.
HERE is a fascinating article in the L.A. Times about the present and the future.  If you don’t live in L.A., read with pleasure.  If you do live in L.A., why haven’t you moved?  It’s time ya know.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A.W. Pink with the hammer down

So how staunch is the Evangelical community in our Evangelical churches?

An old, and now deceased, Presbyterian turns up the heat.  (hattip thinklings.org)

The following excerpts are from A.W. Pink’s Present Day Evangelism:
To say nothing here about those cheap-jack evangelists who aim no higher than rushing people into making a formal profession of faith in order that the membership of the churches may be swelled…
The feverish urge of modern evangelism is not how to promote the glory of the triune Jehovah, but how to multiply conversions. The whole current of evangelical activity during the past fifty years has taken that direction. Losing sight of God’s end, the churches have devised means of their own.
Once a man makes the conversion of sinners his prime design and all-consuming end, he is exceedingly apt to adopt a wrong course. Instead of striving to preach the Truth in all its purity, he will tone it down so as to make it more palatable to the unregenerate. Impelled by a single force, moving in one fixed direction, his object is to make conversion easy, and therefore favorite passages (like John 3:16) are dwelt upon incessantly, while others are ignored or pared away.
In twentieth-century evangelism, there has been a woeful ignoring of the solemn truth of the total depravity of man…The teaching of Holy Writ on this point is unmistakable: man’s plight is such that his salvation is impossible unless God puts forth His mighty power. No stirring of the emotions by anecdotes, no regaling of the senses by music, no oratory of the preacher, no persuasive appeals, are of the slightest avail.
The “evangelism” of the day is not only superficial to the last degree, but it is radically defective. It is utterly lacking a foundation on which to base an appeal for sinners to come to Christ.
The gospel is not a thing apart. It is not something independent of the prior revelation of God’s Law. It is not an announcement that God has relaxed His justice or lowered His standard of holiness.
The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day “evangelist.” He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire, who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.
Inasmuch then, as Christ’s salvation is a salvation from sin—from the love of it, from its dominion, from its guilt and penalty—then it necessarily follows that the first great task and the chief work of the evangelist is to preach upon SIN: to define what sin (as distinct from crime) really is, to show wherein its infinite enormity consists, to trace out its manifold workings in the heart, to indicate that nothing less than eternal punishment is its desert.
The way of salvation is falsely defined. In most instances the modern “evangelist” assures his congregation that all any sinner has to do in order to escape hell and make sure of heaven is to “receive Christ as his personal Savior.” But such teaching is utterly misleading. No one can receive Christ as his Savior while he rejects Him as Lord!

Saturday Morn

Sometimes it is hard to get going. There are things going on that I worry about. Worry is, generally, totally unneccessary but we all seem to do it. I used to think that when I got older I would worry less. To this point that is not necessarily true. I feel greater responsibilities at this age.

At the same time I have a stronger sense of God's presence as I recognize how little control I have over the issues surrounding me.

I assert this morning, 11-20-05, that God is indeed God!

Friday, November 18, 2005

A little inbreeding?

A little in-breeding problem in England?    
Here’s an excerpt or read THE WHOLE ENCHIRITO

It is estimated that more than 55 per cent of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins, resulting in an increasing rate of genetic defects and high rates of infant mortality. The likelihood of unrelated couples having the same variant genes that cause recessive disorders are estimated to be 100-1. Between first cousins, the odds increase to as much as one in eight.
In Bradford, more than three quarters of all Pakistani marriages are believed to be between first cousins. The city’s Royal Infirmary Hospital has identified more than 140 different recessive disorders among local children, compared with the usual 20-30.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

For the Church world

For the Church world of our day is a veritable side show of charlatans, heretics, hucksters, religious politicians, "celebrities," and just plain untaught leaders who have led the people of God down a primrose path of ignorance, vanity and abuse.  Like the blind leading the blind, "comparing themselves amongst themselves" (II Cor 10:12), they have gotten their cues from the most daring amongst them to commercialize the Gospel, promote trendy fads that bring the masses in, exploit the people of God, take their money, suppress their questions, teach them to submit to men rather than to the Lord Jesus, and lead them into a discernment-lacking ecumenism that leaves them in danger of falling for the ‘Great Apostasy’ foretold for the Last Days (I Thess 5:3; II Thess 2:3, 8-11, etc.).”  Vintage Metro - My Eight Years with the Kansas City Prophets, by Don Clasen

Whoa Nelly!

One more time:

For the Church world of our day is a veritable side show of charlatans, heretics, hucksters, religious politicians, "celebrities," and just plain untaught leaders who have led the people of God down a primrose path of ignorance, vanity and abuse.  Like the blind leading the blind, "comparing themselves amongst themselves" (II Cor 10:12), they have gotten their cues from the most daring amongst them to commercialize the Gospel, promote trendy fads that bring the masses in, exploit the people of God, take their money, suppress their questions, teach them to submit to men rather than to the Lord Jesus, and lead them into a discernment-lacking ecumenism that leaves them in danger of falling for the ‘Great Apostasy’ foretold for the Last Days (I Thess 5:3; II Thess 2:3, 8-11, etc.).”  

Man and our human nature is the problem!  God is the answer

Whacked and needing Mercy

I’ve spent much of my evening reading James Spurgeon’s various post on the legalistic insanity of Longview Baptist Temple and then switched over to the fighting fundamentalists website and ended up reading about charismatic prophet Paul Cain who apparently has ended up in alcoholism and homosexuality.

I’ve been reading about excesses.

Listen, I attest that we are “all whacked.”  I also attest that our moral frailty and ability to implode/explode suddenly is very real within us all.  We are, or maybe I am, one moment away from doing the stupidest thing in my life; at any given time.

I testify that I’m a life-long project many times gone awry.  I testify that God’s grace is sufficient;  it’s all about HIM, it’s none about me.

I simply pray that God will always hedge me about; keep me from the worst excesses of myself.

We all desperately need mercy.   JB

Woodward & the Scooter

I love, and envy, Hugh Hewitt.  He’s everything I’m not.  He’s brilliant, verbally capable, a great writer and appears to have obscene amounts of energy.  His blog  hughhewitt.com is terrific and he was a way of analyzing things that really sharpens the focus and perspective.

Today he said:

Woodward as Nixon: "I hunkered down. I'm in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn't want anything out there that was going to get me subpoened."
by Hugh Hewitt
November 16, 2005 04:11 PM PST
First Rather, now Woodward: Guilty of the very sort of cover-ups for which they pursued Nixon relentlessly.
How long until Woodward declares "Your assistant managing editor is not a crook?

Yep, turns out good ol’ Bob Woodward knew about Valerie Plames identity before Scooter Libby had a clue, or a scooter.  But he let Woodward and others dangle in the wind.  He had a secret.   Hmm, we’ve heard that before.

Metro-Spiritual? Puhleeesssee

R U possibly “metro-spiritual?”

(image placeholder)Gwyneth Paltrow is one. So are Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio. Chances are your bikram yoga teacher has the major characteristics and so does the guy who makes your fruit smoothie at Jamba Juice. Donna Karan is totally in on it. The salesperson who helps you find the right Botanical Kinetics moisturizer at Aveda is probably one, along with your eco-tourism guide at Costa Rican surf camp. Richard Gere may be the proto-one and Uma Thurman was pretty much born into it. What is influencing Hollywood stars and Wal-Mart shoppers, fashionistas and Filene’s basement-dwellers alike? It’s called metrospirituality, and chances are you already know or even lead the life of a metrospiritual.    
  Read the whole sickening BURRITO SUPREMO

Listen; if you’re leading the life of a “metro-spiritual” we need to talk.  Does Dana Carvey as the church lady saying, “isn’t that special” ring in your ears or what.

If you’re a “metro-spiritual”  just KNOCK IT OFF WILLYA.  Sheesh!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Watching the charismatics

One of the reasons I’ve feared the charismatic movement.

(From an article in Charisma Magazine)   read the WHOLE QUADALUPE
That’s how strange it is getting out there. Something has gone terribly wrong in our movement. Everywhere I turn I find that leaders of so-called Spirit-filled churches are making bizarre choices that compromise basic Christian integrity. Some examples:
  • At one charismatic megachurch, staff pastors successfully convinced all their wives and female staff members to get breast implants. (I wonder: Was this discussed at a staff meeting?)

  • A church in California (known for its revival meetings and prophetic ministry) recently imploded after members learned that several men in the church had been having homosexual affairs with the pastor, who was married.

  • A leader with an international following (who wears the label of “apostle”) recently informed his leaders that men of God who reach his level of anointing are allowed to have more than one sexual partner. Then his own son offered his wife to his father out of a sense of spiritual obligation.
We can all say together: “Eeeuuuwww!
What has triggered this madness? The devil is working overtime, yet our discernment is at an all-time low. Satan’s tactics are more brazen than ever. We might as well let him walk into church on Sunday morning and give him the microphone.
We’ve been bewitched. What matters to us today are the carnal things. We want flash, bang and the wow factor. If a person can shout loud enough and get everyone to swoon at the altar, we don’t care how he or she lives at home. Morality is irrelevant.

Well, there you have it.  BUT, let’s not give my brothers, the “frozen chosen,” a “get-out-of-jail” card.  My brethren have ruined enough homes to stock a Vegas hotel.  But I think that the charismatic approach lends itself to abuse; it’s easier to tell the congregation “God told me” versus the Evangelical’s “the Scripture says.”    You can’t really argue with “God told me.”  But when the preacher pulls out his Bible, you can see if “the Scripture says” is accurate.  You can, in the venacular of the blogging street, “fact check his a**.”
Well, onward to the next post.

Polygamy here and there

A lot of people simply hate the restrictiveness of human sexuality expressed in the ancient Scriptures:  sexual relationships reserved for one man, one woman in the bounds of a covenanted marriage.

However, our version of sexuality is wreaking havoc through-out the world.  (Hat-tip, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs)

Polygamy among immigrants is one cause of the rioting that has plagued France for the past two weeks, according to Gerard Larcher, the Employment Minister.
M Larcher was quoted as saying that large, polygamous families sometimes led to antisocial behaviour by youths who did not have a father figure in the home, making employers more cautious of hiring staff from ethnic minorities.
There are fears that M Larcher’s comments could further fuel the debate about the cause of the unrest and possibly outrage Muslim and anti-racism groups. Polygamy is banned in France, but an estimated 30,000 mainly African families have more than one wife.      

I remember reading something about Brigham Young (famous Mormon patriarch) of yesteryear.  Brigham had 40 wives or so.  He once commented in a personal letter that “life was hell” around his home.  Forty wives?  You bet it was hell!  One wife is enough “hell” for any man.
p.s.  Do NOT call my beauteous wife okay?  <grin>


Oops.       HERE is the URL for the article referenced below.

The Great Train Robbery

Does crime pay?  HERE’s a little nugget that suggest it doesn’t.

“I’m getting on very well indeed,” said Biggs [the robber]. A few years later, a retired Slipper [the cop] went to Rio to see for himself. “His villa was bog-standard and in the wrong end of town. His swimming pool was so black with algae even a stickleback couldn’t live in it. He was flogging T-shirts to tourists to make a living.”
Ronnie’s Brazilian son had been a child pop star, Little Biggs, for a couple of years, but that was over. And in the end sun-drenched days and bossa-nova beach babes in minimal thongs are small consolation if you’re pining for a warm pint and a Marmite sandwich. Over a beer, Slipper asked, “So Ronnie, does crime pay?” Biggs shook his head. “I’ve left my family and my home. I’ve got nothing left.” In 2001, broke and sick, he return to Britain after 13,068 days on the run to serve his remaining 28 years in gaol - because the prison hospital was the only way he could get access to medical treatment. The Great Train Robber had finally hit the buffers.
The Great Train Robbery in Britain, 1963, netted the robbers about 75 million dollars.  Within 1 month the case had been busted wide open but Ronnie Biggs escaped to Rio with whom Britain had no extradition treaty.  He got a girlfriend pregnant and from that point on he safe from the British authorities.  But, as the author (the always brilliant Mark Steyn) of the article wrote, he actually gave up his freedom in Brazil to go back to England and jail.
Hmm, maybe crime’s not all it’s cracked up to be?

The Most Dangerous Book

The University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire has correctly diagnosed the Bible as a very dangerous book and has banned its residents assistants ( R.A.’s) from leading in private studies of this book.    

Truth be told, there is NO other book that has revolutionized the World like the Bible.  It has turned the world upside down and continues to do.  I believe I once read that to be at the top of NY Times best-seller list requires something like 60,000 volumes purchased.

I suspect 60,000 Bibles are printed every week. (I could be wrong of course but they’re churning them out at an incredible rate.)

So it the Bible dangerous?  Absolutely.  After all it has the power to transform lives.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

P. J. pounds the prophets

Phillip Johnson pounds the Prophets

Think of it: in very best of cases, modern prophets are dead wrong at least a third of the time. One of every three "prophecies" is totally bogus. That would be more than enough to get a seer stoned to death in Old Testament Israel.     Get THE WHOLE GORDITO

After 50 years I’ve come to this conclusion;  You’re better off betting AGAINST the modern prophets.

Dr Adrian Rogers R.I.P.

Dr. Adrian Rogers, pastor Emeritus of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, has died from cancer.

He was 3 times the president of the Southern Baptist Convention.  His was the  pivotal presidency whose appointments to the boards began to reverse the trend away from Biblical orthodoxy towards unbiblical liberalism.

Because of men like Adrian Rogers, the Southern Baptist Convention is not torn apart over issues like homosexual ordination.  Under Adrian Rogers, the convention has embraced Biblical inerrancy and has made ancient Scripture the standard of faith, belief and behavior.  Having adopted the clear teaching of Scripture as its centerpiece, many cultural issues and fads become non-issues.

By all reports Dr. Rogers was a pleasant, humble man who was hated by others, but never hated others.  He felt called to battle for the Scripture in the midst of a culture that wants to, forever, water down Scripture’s timeless and unchanging truths and message.

At this moment I know one thing.  Adrian Rogers ABSOLUTELY rests in peace.  His faith was genuine, his love for God never questioned.  He has found his eternal reward.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Dennis Prager & the Muslims

In an Op-Ed for the L.A. Times, Dennis Prager asks the Muslim community 5 questions.  Read the WHOLE TACO

(1) Why are you so quiet? Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

As I’ve noted before; until the larger Muslim community through-out the World stands up and disavows itself of the great evil done in Islam’s name; the murderous attacks will continue.  

Islam is well used by the powers of spiritual darkness.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

There are wackos out there

There are wackos out there (and you know who you are) that want to convince people that the World Trade Center Towers  collapsed due to an inside job.   Popular Mechanics has a terrific article  HERE.    Excerpts below.

FACT: Once each tower began to collapse, the weight of all the floors above the collapsed zone bore down with pulverizing force on the highest intact floor. Unable to absorb the massive energy, that floor would fail, transmitting the forces to the floor below, allowing the collapse to progress downward through the building in a chain reaction. Engineers call the process "pancaking," and it does not require an explosion to begin,……
Like all office buildings, the WTC towers contained a huge volume of air. As they pancaked, all that air--along with the concrete and other debris pulverized by the force of the collapse--was ejected with enormous energy. "When you have a significant portion of a floor collapsing, it's going to shoot air and concrete dust out the window," NIST lead investigator Shyam Sunder tells PM. Those clouds of dust may create the impression of a controlled demolition, Sunder adds, "but it is the floor pancaking that leads to that perception."

Human nature being what it is; where there are big tragedies there will be big conspiracies.  That’s the way it is.

Spurrier Rules

Being a California boy for the first 3 decades I’ve always followed USC football and UCLA basketball.  Did I mention I’m a fair-weather fan.  I don’t follow the teams too closely when they’re not playing well.  
Anyhow I moved to Florida a couple of decades ago and under the fell influence of one of my bicycle riding buddies, began to follow FSU football.  That was good.  Bobby Bowden was a middle aged genius and FSU won a couple of national championships.  Then the dreaded “Spurrier years” began at U.F.  FSU fans both hated and FEARED Spurrier.

A couple of things you should know about U.F.  Before Spurrier they had NEVER won the S.E.C. title.  Under Spurrier they won a bunch of them.  Before Spurrier the Georgia Bulldogs OWNED U.F.  But in the Spurrier years his teams won 10 of 11 from the Bulldogs.  He owned them.  Peyton Manning, perhaps the best college quarterback , NEVER beat Spurrier teams.  So Steve was a terrific coach.

Then he left for $10 million dollars to coach in the NFL.  For several reasons, he was not successful.   Us FSU fans were SOOOoooo happy that he had left U.F.  The coach you loved to hate, and feared,  was gone.

Well he got out of Pro football and put his hat in the ring to take over from Ron Zook at U.F. – who had followed Spurrier.  For reasons somewhat unfathomable, U.F.’s response to Spurrier’s desire to return was tepid at best.  Spurrier withdrew his name from the U.F. search and got snapped up by Univ. of South Caroline – the raging Gamecocks.

Well the Gamecocks have never been particularly good and over the summer a number of their best players were kicked off the team due to fairly serious disciplinary reasons.  Then when the season started Spurrier lost 4 or 5 of his best players.  But he has WON!  USC (South Carolina) is an amazing 7 wins and 3 losses.  In his first year Spurrier has accomplished two amazing feats.

One, he beat Tennessee in Tennessee.  Let me just say this,  Phil Fulmer hates Steve Spurrier.   South Carolina had NEVER beaten Tennessee in Tenn.

Then yesterday Spurrier beats the Florida Gators.  USC had not beaten the Gators since 1935.  But Spurrier beat a team that was better at every position than his.  That is simply an amazing feat.

Now that Spurrier’s teams will probably never again play FSU – I LOVE Steve Spurrier.  The “ol’ ballcoach” is a genius.

So on this Sunday morning, KUDOS to Steve Spurrier.  He should get the “Coach of the Year” award for his genius in having an absolutely terrible team achieve a winning record.      Go Gamecocks!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

IOWAHAWK presents Les Risibles

IOWAHAWK presents his new musical “LES RISIBLES”.   Read it and weep,  with laughter.  HERE

Friday, November 11, 2005

Timothy Walsh

BTW, the post below was received by “moi” in e-mail.  The name on the end of the post was “Timothy Walsh.”  Possibly, he deserves all the credt.

"Cheese eating surrender monkeys"

A little humor regarding the “cheese eating surrender monkeys from hell”  (Jonah Goldberg’s description from a couple of years back).

President Bush May Send Up To 5 Marines For French AssistancePresident Bush has authorized the Joint Chiefs to begin drawing up a battle plan to pull France's a** out of the fire again. Facing an apparent overwhelming force of up to 400 pissed off teenagers Mr. Bush doubts France's ability to hold off the little pissants. "Hell, if the last two world wars are any indication, I would expect France to surrender any day now", said Bush. Joint Chiefs head, Gen. Peter Pace, warned the President that it might be necessary to send up to 5 marines to get things under control. The general admitted that 5 marines may be overkill but he wanted to get this thing under control within 24 hours of arriving on scene. He stated he was having a hard time finding even one marine to help those ungrateful bastards out for a third time but thought that he could persuade a few women marines to do the job before they went on pregnancy leave.President Bush asked Gen. Pace to get our marines out of there as soon as possible after order was restored. He also reminded Gen. Pace to make sure the marines did not take soap, razors, or deodorant with them. The least they stand out the better.

"Call to the Last Watch"

30 year anniversary of the death of THE EDMUND FITZGERALD.

By JOHN FLESHER, Associated Press Writer Fri Nov 11, 9:00 AM ET
WHITEFISH POINT, Mich. - Deborah Champeau-Felder stood silently as the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald clanged in memory of her father, one of 29 mariners who perished when the ore carrier sank in a vicious Lake Superior storm 30 years ago.
As the sound faded Thursday, she kissed her hand and laid it gently on the bell.
"It's the soul of the ship, it's the soul of my dad," Champeau-Felder, daughter of assistant engineer Oliver J. Champeau, later said. "It's something I can't let go of."
The 47-year-old resident of Nashotah, Wis., was among hundreds who attended a memorial at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, the nearest spot on land to the Fitzgerald gravesite 17 miles northwest.
The 729-foot freighter was caught in a catastrophic gale and sank Nov. 10, 1975, after taking on a load of iron ore at Superior, Wis.
Family members and survivors of other ship wrecks rang the bell one by one as names of the lost men were called, a ceremony known as "Call to the Last Watch."
No bodies were ever been recovered and the cause of the sinking is still debated.  MORE

I read that phrase “Call to the Last Watch” and a little shiver passes by.  I don’t worry about that “Call” but I’m ever aware; today could be the last watch.  It’s happened to better and younger people than myself.  And there’s a haunting quality to that phrase; we are all of us called to the last watch sooner or later.
Today we remember the veterans who have been called to the last watch and who will be called to the last watch.  Surely the men/boys of WWII were the greatest generation.  To those veterans still alive;  We Owe You!   jb

No "Good" Divorce

In today’s paper, “The Times-Union” is an op-ed article written by Elizabeth Marquardt headlined  
All divorce is bad for children, even the so-called good divorces.

“It happens to about 1 million American children ever year.  Their parent sit them down and deliver the news that they’re divorcing.  But not to worry, they say; they’re parting amicably and assuming joint custody.
It was a soothing tonic, and it was swallowed eagerly by many angst-ridden parents.  But it was also, it turn out, a myth.  No matter how happy a face we put on it, the children of divorce are now saying, we’ve been kidding ourselves.  An amicable divorce is better than a bitter one, but there is no such thing as a ‘good’ divorce.”  

Then this surprising statement/statistic.  “Research shows that two-thirds of divorces now end low-conflict marriages, where there is no abuse, violence or serious fighting.”

I still think about what a friend of my said many years after going through a divorce ending 20 years of marriage for the Mom, Dad & three kids.  He said:  “I guess it was equitable, EVERYBODY LOST.”      How True!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mercy for Mary Mapes

A word of mercy about Mary Mapes.  I admit to following with much glee the downfall of Dan Rather and CBS when they ran the story on George W Bush’s Texas Air National Guard career based upon documents that certainly were not typed by the late Jerry Killian.  To see them “crash and burn” was rather spine tingling.  All those years of biased reporting without being held accountable were accounted for in one 12 day period.  Dan took an “early vacation” and several significant people were forced out at CBS, including Mary Mapes.  

A couple of points;   I could never see the fuss the opposition was making over GWB’s Guard service.  He certainly didn’t run for President based upon his time in the National Guard.  He certainly did tail off his time and effort in the last year of the Guard.   I don’t think his best friend in the whole world thinks he put much effort into the final year.  For all I know he never did show up in Alabama.  SO WHAT!  It was never, ever newsworthy in my humble opinion.  

But back to Mary Mapes.  I don’t think she’s a happy camper.  She’s the single mother of a 7 year old son.  She sounds like she was a work-a-holic.  She probably did not, and does not, actually know any conservatives.  She certainly believed that this non-story was a big story.  And she was never the “big dog.”  I don’t think she appeared on television, she wasn’t a star of anything other than a star producer.  Her career, at which she was apparently quite successful, has been swept away in one fell swoop.  Many people have said very ugly things about her;  to this day I’m sure  she wonders what freight train ran over her.

She is guilty of believing lies; particularly the lies of Bill Burkett who apparently struggles with his own demons.  She is guilty of violating the ethics and standards of CBS, but who didn’t?  I think she truly is “the fall guy”  (or girl in her case)  for CBS.  

She was na├»ve, and she has not yet figured out what hit her.  According to her book soon to be published, she is still pursuing the non-story of GWB’s last year in the Texas Air Guard.  Since GWB will never run for office again, do even his worst enemies care about his Texas Guard time?  They might care about their vindication, they might like to savage the conservatives who held the gangplank for CBS to fall from, but they don’t actually care what GWB did in ’73.  Nobody does, not even Mary.  She just wants personal vindication and she’ll never get it that way.

I don’t think Mary Mapes is a person at peace.  I doubt she knows how to get from here to there.  I don’t think she has a lot of wise, truly caring support; but she has a lot of people who would continue to use her to accomplish their agenda.  They are not her friends.

Mary Mapes is lost in the cosmos and she does not know how to get home.  That’s a bad place to be.

Mary, if you are reading this I have a word of support for you.  Find the absolutely most Godly, Bible-believing person you can even think of and call them.  

I promise you they will  a) take your call if you are truly seeking counsel.  B) They will love you and comfort you if you let them.  That is exactly what the truly God fearing do.  After that it’s up to you and God.  You could have great support and new friends but it would be with people you have been taught to loath;  the truly devout followers of Jesus Christ.  The ones who think the Bible is the very word of God.  Those people.  Ask them to be a friend to you and they will. On the humorous side there is ace.mu.nu.  JB

Is there a cost?

To my readers, the post below points out the increasing use of sex in television.  My question is this:

Do you think there is  a cost to our society due to the increase of sexual content in television programming?

Your views are sincerely sought?  What thinkest you?

Surprise! More Sex than ever on TV!

I don't suppose we're all that surprised. However I've joined the older generation; I simply go weeks without watching TV during "prime time." I saw "House" last month.

Study Says There Is More Sex on TV
Nov 09 11:08 AM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


Television these days is loaded with sex, sex, sex _ double the number of sex scenes aired seven years ago, says a study out Wednesday. And the number of shows that include "safer sex" messages has leveled off, it said.

There were nearly 3,800 scenes with sexual content spotted in more than 1,100 shows researchers studied, up from about 1,900 such scenes in 1998, the first year of the Kaiser Family Foundation survey. READ THE WHOLE TAMALE

Krystal Blogging

It's 2:45 p.m. in Jacksonville and I'm blogging from a Krystal fast food burger joint. Of all the places to have free wi-fi, you really wouldn't expect it in a Krystal. However Jacksonville is so sophisticated that all the Taco Bells have wi-fi also - FREE. It doesn't get too much better than that.

I'll have to go back to work in a bit, there are teenagers waiting to be seen. Here's the truth, I'm not generally a fan of doing treatments with teenagers. They rarely chose to be there and one on one therapy with an angry, rebellious teenager accomplishes ZIP. I warn the parents about the limitations but the parents are always desperate and they've watched too much T.V. They think we have the magic words that will penetrate the skulls of their child. Generally the description runs thusly: "I know he smokes a little pot, and yes he did get jailed for beating up a 14 year old girl and I know he stole once from Target but he's really a good kid." RIGHT!

Oh well, my next 15 year old is not here due to his bad attitude but other family issues. I enjoy seeing him. There are some really good kids out there; you just rarely see them. Why would they come?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Shallow Christianity

A vast majority of Americans claim Christianity as their faith; but what is their real commitment?  George Barna has THE ANSWER

Who’s Most Committed?
A demographic analysis of the eight measures of commitment showed highly consistent trends in relation to gender, age, region, ethnicity and faith subgroups.
Women were more likely than men to express a higher level of commitment to the Christian faith for all eight of the factors studied. On average, women were 36% more likely to register commitment regarding the factor in question. A majority of women expressed commitment in relation to six of the eight factors; in comparison, a majority of men noted personal investment in their faith in relation to just three of the eight measures.
Adults who were 40 or younger – i.e., those in the Baby Bust or Mosaic generations – were less likely than older adults to indicate commitment to their faith in relation to each of the eight measures. In addition, the survey found that the older a person was, the more likely they were to be committed to the Christian faith in connection with six out of the eight measures tested.
Residents of the South were the most likely to express significant commitment on seven of the eight measures. Adults residing in the Northeast and West were the lowest on the commitment scale for seven of the eight measures.
Blacks emerged as the ethnic group most likely to be committed to Christianity. They had the highest score of any of the four major ethnic groups in relation to seven of the eight measures tested. On average, Blacks were 39% more likely to register commitment than were whites, and 53% more likely than Hispanics. Asians were lowest on the commitment continuum in relation to seven of the eight measures. In fact, there was only one measure for which a majority of Asians exhibited commitment: 52% said their religious faith is very important to them, lagging the 68% among whites, 72% among Hispanics, and 89% among African-Americans.

George Barna, whose company conducted the research, believes that the findings reveal several insights about America’s faith. “For starters, it appears that most Americans like the security and the identity of the label ‘Christian’ but resist the biblical responsibilities that are associated with that identification. For most Americans, being a Christian is more about image than action. Further,” he continued, “researchers and those who use research data must be careful how they portray people’s spiritual commitment. Such descriptions are greatly affected by the way in which commitment is measured.”

Not surprisingly in the USA,  people who call themselves “Christians” talk-the-talk but do NOT walk-the-talk.  In other words a lot of us like Christianity without commitment.   I suspect that doesn’t really work.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Evangelical men & Maureen Dowd

(image placeholder)Posted: 8/20/04
Church-going evangelical men least likely to abuse families, research says
By Jonah D. King
Religion News Service
WASHINGTON (RNS)--The more they attend church, the less likely evangelical husbands and fathers will physically abuse their spouses and children, says author and University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox.
In a new book, "Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands," Wilcox examines the family behaviors of evangelical men with different religious practices as shown in three large-scale surveys taken in the early 1990s.
Among those behaviors is the frequency of physical abuse.
"What we find is the lowest rate of reported domestic violence in the early 1990s is among active evangelical husbands," Wilcox said. By "active," he means husbands who attend church regularly.
Wilcox cites data from the National Survey of Families and Households that indicate 2.8 percent of active evangelical Protestant husbands commit domestic violence, compared to 7.2 percent of nominal evangelical husbands--those who attend church once or twice a year or not at all.
The survey also shows active evangelicals spend more time on parenting and working to fulfill the emotional needs of their wives and children than do nominal evangelicals.

Get the whole enchilada HERE

Speaking of Maureen Dowd,  NY Times columnist, she’s been writing semi-regularly about her continued status as a dissatisfied single woman for some time. She’s recently published a whole book chronicling her plight.  She has dated, and apparently lost, some high profile guys including Michael Douglas who in a moment of insanity chose to marry Catherine Zeta Jones, who stars in Zorro movies but does not write NY Times columns.  (I’m joking about the insanity.  Let’s just say that Catherine, at least in her movies and ads, appears to be “muy bonita.”)

On the one hand, I do feel for “MoDo.”  It would appear her upset over her single and childless status is real.  On the other hand, if she wants a husband she’s probably searching in all the wrong places.

MoDo needs to hang out with the Evangelicals;  the men make excellent husbands.  HOWEVER, there is going to be a vast political chasm between Evangelical men and MoDo.  Furthermore, Evangelical men who take their reading of Scripture seriously should never consider being “unequally yoked:” i.e. married to someone who was is not also a devout believer – which I don’t think MoDo is.

Anywho – it nice that some researchers have actually recognized that devout Evangelical men are better marriage material than a lot of people think.

Liberalism & Me

At this very moment, every issue supported by the Left, and almost all of the behavior exhibited by the Left is completely antithetical to classical liberal philosophies. There is no longer a commitment to personal liberty or to freedom. The Left is far to busy to promote freedom for the common man or woman, because their time is taken up advocating freedom for tyrants who oppress the common man; terrorists who kill the common man; and religious fanatics who subjugate the common woman.The intellectuals who once promoted the IDEA of freedom, now are ensnared in an IDEOLOGY that depends for its very existence on the silencing of speech; the suppression of ideas; and the persecution of those who dare to refute its tenets.

Excellent article by “drsanity”  HERE  

I like teaching and in the past when I did some part-time instructoring at a local state college, I had the reputation of being an interesting teacher.  Now I certainly wouldn’t mind being a tenured college professor and I do have an earned Ph.D. but my mind-set and worldview are pretty much antithetical to the modern University.  I am VERY DEVOUT and I am VERY CONSERVATIVE.  Either of these elements is probably worth of the kiss-of-death from a college committee looking to fill a professorial position.  On top of that I’m the quintessential “Eurocentric Male.”  They don’t come much whiter than me and I’m definitely attracted to women – in fact I’m married to one and generated a couple of children too.  

So if a position appears locally, I don’t even bother to apply.  Even if I could get away with being a “stealth candidate,” it would catch up to me sooner or later and I would never be tenured.  Well, enough about me!  <grin>
How’s your day progress?

Psychopaths in our midst

Another good reason to sleep uneasily at night.  MORE

In fact, Dr. Robert Hare, the author of Without Conscience, estimates that there could be as many as 100,000 psychopaths in New York City alone--and at least 2 million in North America. Given that psychopaths--those without empathy for others who are typically con artists and users--have a higher rate of violent crime--it is very probable that my polygrapher friend would have numerous opportunites to encounter a psychopath in his work.

(Found on Dr. Helen Smith’s blog:  drhelen.blogspot.com)  If you’re in the mental health field she has a lot of interesting articles.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Beatles - not so nice?

The Beatles:  maybe not all they appeared to be.

Mean Mr. LennonDo you want to know a secret? The Beatles weren't nice guys, says a biography. Ringo, you're excusedBy LEV GROSSMAN
The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein was gay, wealthy and chronically insecure. That may be why, while recording Magical Mystery Tour in 1967, John Lennon deliberately mangled a couple of choruses. According to Bob Spitz's colossal quadruple biography The Beatles (Little, Brown; 983 pages), instead of singing, "Baby, you're a rich man too," Lennon sang, "Baby, you're a rich fag Jew."
That kind of gratuitous cruelty isn't all that uncommon in The Beatles. The Fab Four hated the silly, lovable mop-top image they created, and on that score alone they would probably love Spitz's book. He marshals a staggering mass of research in support of the conclusion, broadly speaking, that Lennon was a drug-addled, attention-hungry rageoholic who picked fights and cheated on his wife; Paul McCartney was a smarmy, manipulative charmer; and George Harrison was dour and sour. Before you lose faith entirely, it turns out Ringo really was just a lovable goofball.

I suspect we’re not all that surprised.  I don’t know that any of them would describe their lives as deliriously happy.  Of course Lennon died very early and George Harrison with all his wealth could not stave off the cancer.  Appearances really are quite deceptive.

Friday, November 04, 2005


In a few hours, November will come into existence. I’m fond of that particular day; that is the day I was born more than 5 decades ago. Until recently one of my irritations had to do with the paucity of notables born on that day. It is a very short list. Now I have nothing against Art, but isn’t he kind of a “b” list celebrity? I believe he’ll be turning 64 but I’ll have to read the paper to find that out.

Self Esteem: fugedaboutit!

Psychologist Helen Smith, better known as “the Insta-wife” reviews and comments on James Lileks book, Mommy Knows Worst; Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting.

We now tend to shower our children with praise for the smallest of things, lest they suffer from low self-esteem. Yet most of us are not aware that self-esteem has little correlation with socially valuable behavior. In fact, high self-esteem and narcissism have been linked to violent behavior in kids. We are also reluctant to discipline children, except with "time-outs" which rarely seem to teach children much about the consequences of their behavior. Schools have few resources to discipline children, so they are now sparing the rod and bringing out the Ritalin. Even food seems to be used as a pacifier in the classroom and in daycare centers. Try asking your six-year-old what he or she had to eat during the school day and at day care: usually there is a long list of party foods, snacks and soft drinks. These foods often are used as reinforcers for good behavior or to calm the kids down. No wonder so many of our kids are obese. There are even times when the appearance of "getting tough" on kids backfires. Some research shows that kids who go to boot camps for juvenile delinquents re-offend at a higher rate than their peers.

I “abandoned” pursuing self-esteem in children about 25 years ago.  It appeared obvious that what Helen Smith said was right;  it just builds narcissism which leads to character disorders which leads to crimes, broken relationships and a host of societal ills predicated on one’s belief that the world must revolve around ME!  

I think that the field of psychology has more or less come to recognize some of the problems with the whole “building self esteem” thing.  Parents have been slower to catch on to the change.  They still think that if they verbally praise their little demon for each and every semi-positive phrase or gesture this will solve the child’s problems and give them good self esteem which will enable to  achieve to their fullest.

Actually, the only thing that builds true self esteem is success in one’s endeavors.  If you work hard and accomplish something, VOILA; you begin to believe you can do a thing.  And that’s good.  Simply being told you can do “a thing” doesn’t make it true.

ADVICE 4 THE DAY: Parents, quit telling your little rug rat what a genius he/she is.  Instead, if you can help them work hard at something and make progress in their mastery, that will lead to real self-esteem.  Then it’s up to them.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Suzie update

“Suzie” update.  Having walked off from the nursing home without the powercord to my lap top, I returned briefly today and actually found Suzie.  I gave her a brief hug and she told me and the physician that she would now be rearing her 3 grandsons.  She has always appeared to be one those stalwart, heroic, black grandmother types; doing whatever is required to rear her grandchildren.

This is what I know, she’ll be an excellent mother figure to her grandsons; they’ll be well taken care off by their relatively young grandmother.  Oh it will be tough but she’ll be able to complete the rearing of the boys.  She’ll make sure they’re in church with her on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Life and Death

Doing morning rounds this a.m. at a nursing home primarily staffed by black females, I was struck by the commonness of daily tragedy.  Over the course of my 8 years spending a very few hours a week at this facility I’ve developed friendships and  rapport with some of the staff;  nurses, lpn’s, and aides.  For most of them, their cultural world is a little different than mine; the only thing we have in common is our humanity and faith in the Creator God.  I was reared in a white/Hispanic suburb in L.A., most have them have been raised in primarily black enclaves in our city or other parts of the South.  But I’ve gotten to know some of them and they have become, for the most part, comfortable with me.  

I’m just sitting down behind the nurses station setting up my laptop for notes when I hear 5 or 6 nurses crowded into this little isolated office behind me praying with great fervor.  Now a lot of them speak about their faith, their church and meetings but I had never heard a group of them supplicating God together, loudly and passionately.  It lasted about 5 minutes then they came out of the little room still praising God but more to themselves.

A few minutes later I was able to ask one of the nurses what they were praying about.  She said they were praying for what was going on at the nursing home and also for “my mouth.”  I did not ask for nor receive further elucidation though she seemed glad to share with me.  

When I came back, I chatted with one of the aides – Betty.  I asked how she was doing and she said,  “not so well.  My sister [who was a patient there] died a couple of weeks ago.”  Betty  seemed sad but also resigned.  Her sister had been in dialysis for 7 years.  The lifespan of the average individual in dialysis is about 4 years.   Betty probably did not take more than a day or too off,  she needed to work and had been back at it for several days.  I think Betty is going to feel worse in the next couple of months as the loss of her sister sinks in.

Another aide, Suzie, is always pointing out friends of hers “who need to come lay on your couch.”  There is always quite a bit of laughter – Suzie is good natured and liked by her peers.  Towards the end of my time at the facility today she had come to the nursing desk doing some paperwork and mentioned that she needed to be on my couch.  I did not quite hear it right, I thought she was referring to another friend of hers and I teased her with that.  She repeated, “Doc I need to lay on your couch.”  A couple of aides also behind the desk then told me that Suzie’s daughter had just died.  Well I didn’t quite know what to say and initially wasn’t sure if it was a joke or true.  Suzie just sat there working on her paperwork.  I had been packing up my laptop to leave and was stumped about what to do.  There were several people  around and it wasn’t possible for me to have a private word with Suzie and I was still at a loss over what had happened.   I headed down the hall, guiltily, and asked another nurse what had happened to Suzie’s daughter.  Apparently 1 week ago the daughter was shot and killed by her husband who then committed suicide.   Nasty stuff that.

I stopped by another office on the way out and left Suzie a note expressing my sorrow for her.  I signed it “Most Respectfully.”   And then I walked out of the facility to head on into my office.  If I would have been a more expressive man, I would have given her a hug, but I don’t do that very well and the informal boundaries between docs and aides is unstated but real.

But now I know why the nurses and aides were so passionately praying when I first walked in this morning.  I should have joined with them.  

Killing Ourselves in the name of mercy

Unless you weren’t paying attention to human behavior in our modern society you knew it would come to this.

By Mary Rettig
(AgapePress) - Burke Balch, director of the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics of the National Right to Life Committee, says the Netherlands is no longer sliding down a slippery slope, but rather has fallen off a moral cliff as the medical community in that nation expands its euthanasia practices. He notes that the Dutch government intends to expand its euthanasia guidelines to include so-called "mercy killing" of children with spina bifida or other disabilities, as long as the parents consent.
This development is horrifying, though not surprising, Balch contends, because once a price is placed on human life, the price goes down. "In the Netherlands, although they started with purely voluntary euthanasia for people who were dying," he says, "they moved very rapidly to individuals who were not dying but were disabled."
Soon after that, the head of the Powell Center says, doctors in the Netherlands started euthanizing "individuals who were neither dying nor disabled but who were simply old and, in fact, lonely. They moved on to depressed patients, then they moved into cases where the patient hadn't given consent at all."

The death movement always starts with promises it will never kill anybody but volunteers – inevitably it kills those who don’t want to be killed.     The DESCENT of man continues apace.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

ANIMAL HOUSE & the Senate

I haven’t seen it in years; and then it was clipped for television.  But I still have warm feelings about this movie.  It was just one of those things where all the elements came together and a terrifically funny movie was the result.

RE: WHY REID DID IT (closed the senate for 2 hours) [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Or it might have been Animal House that inspired him:
Otter: No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part. Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.

They,  the boys of Animal House, were all about futile and stupid gestures.  It was a hoot.  I’m not sure if the Senators are a hoot or not;  however it is ALL politics ALL the time.   I hate that.