Sunday, December 27, 2015

Choosing Thankfulness

I've had a bad year.  Actually, I've had a bad 15 months or so.  I could go into the litany of lost jobs, car wrecks, illnesses, family emergencies, and so forth.  I won’t, because specifics aren’t important here.  Several times over the last few weeks, I've mentioned that I can't wait for 2015 to be over, because it's been a bad year, and hoping that 2016 would be better.  If I can just make it to the end of the year, I tell myself, everything will get better next year.

Then the realist (some would call it the 'cynic') in me speaks up.  "You can't know what's going to happen next year," it says.  "You thought this year was bad?  It can get worse."

I'm forced to admit that my realistic side is correct.  It can certainly get worse.  I've had enough stuff go on just in the last few weeks that brought that sharply into focus.  It can always get worse.

Then, a week or two ago, while listening to our preacher give his lesson, something struck me.  It pierced me to the core.

I have spent the last 15 months of my life resenting things that happened to me.  Oh, I've put on a happy face, and certainly not everything that has happened in those months has been bad, but I have been letting the bad set the tone of my life.  Everything seemed to come back to the bad things.
I have been using those bad things as a shield against personal responsibility.  I'll pause for some of you to digest the irony of that statement; I'm a huge fan of personal responsibility.  As it turns out, I'm not quite as huge a fan of it as I thought.

Not that I've been irresponsible in any of my temporal or social duties.  I go to work, I hang out with friends, I try to be a good husband and father.  My bills get paid, dishes get washed, and my house at least does not look like a disaster area.  Usually.

But I have not taken personal responsibility for my eternal duties.  Work is important for a variety of reasons.  Being a good friend, husband and father are incredibly important.  Being a humble, joyful, and above all *thankful* follower of Christ is much more important.  I have failed in all of those. 
I can wax eloquent on how God never gives us a command to "feel," but then when it comes time to choose, I never seem to.  So today - now - I will choose joy.  I will choose humility.  I will choose thankfulness.

I will not resent the jobs lost (one for me, and one for my wife).  I will thank God for the opportunities presented – a new job at better pay with better hours for me, and the chance to be a stay-at-home mom for my wife.  I will not resent the car wrecks; I will thank God that no one was seriously injured, and that our insurance has handled things relatively smoothly.  I will not resent the illnesses; I will thank God for our health, and that none of those illnesses turned critical (and they could have).

Here I can only repeat the prayer in the parable, and hope like the character I too “go away justified.”

“Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

"No! Shut them all down!"

First, if you don’t recognize that line, I’m not sure we can be friends.

Second, go read this from Larry Kudlow, and then go read this from Ace.

I tend to be on Ace’s side here.  The Republican Establishment has been too open borders for too long, despite the grass roots’ very specific objections that our border situation was a National Security concern.  Either they are way too stupid to be in charge (for not realizing what us rubes in fly-over land, free-market Jesus paradise have realized for the last couple of decades), or they are simply trying to co-opt a position they don’t actually believe to make us rubes in fly-over land, free-market Jesus paradise a little less angry at them.

For over 14 years the Minute Men have been on the border between the US and Mexico attempting (voluntarily) to help US Border Patrol.  They understood (as did many of the rest of us) the danger posed by an open border way back then.  So is really that another terror attack on US soil finally got Larry’s attention, or is he trying to sound tough so that the grass roots will start trusting the Establishment again?

However, with all that said, I think Kudlow is an idiot even in his new hawkish opinion.  He reminds me rather of C-3PO telling R2D2 not to shut down “all the trash compactors on the detention level” but rather, “No! Shut them all down!”

We don’t have a problem with immigrants or visitors from England, France, or Sweden.  Not by and large, at any rate, and certainly not a recognizable terrorism problem from those countries.  Why should we prevent them from coming here and, potentially, even further alienate our allies?  Larry wants to pretend that this is not “about religion.”  To do so, he has to pretend it’s about “immigration” more generally, and so the only option is complete embargo.

Note to Larry Kudlow and the rest of the GOP Establishment:  It’s the Mohammedanism, stupid.

What is the common denominator among Iraq, Syria, Libya, Israel’s West Bank, and the rest of the Middle East?  Mohammedanism.  Who are the euphemistic “warlords” in Africa?  Mostly Mohammedans.  Who is throwing gays off of buildings, beheading Christians, and slaughtering innocents?  Mohammedans.  Who shot up a Christmas Party in San Bernadino, detonated a bomb at the Boston Marathon, and flew 3 planes into US landmarks?  Mohammedans.

It would be really nice if Mohammedanism really was “a religion of peace,” as its apologists claim.  It simply isn’t.  Mohammedanism, is an evil death cult.  Mohammed preached (and practiced) conversion by the sword, conquest, rape, and pillage.  Today, a majority of Mohammedans world-wide believe that violent jihad is a valid form of Mohammedanism.  A majority of US Mohammedans believe that Sharia Law, which has been called “completely incompatible with American Values, should be the law of the land.

Trump is certainly bombastic.  He’s a carnival barker, a narcissist, and a whole host of other unsavory things.  But between him and Larry Kudlow?  Trump is the one who is right.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Funny Thing Is...

...that Donald Trump was right.

If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not have heard about Donald Trump's “racist” (more on that in a moment) comment saying we should stop allowing Mohammedans into America “until our Representatives figure out what’s going on.”  The reaction was predictable, and pathetic.

Most Republicans couldn’t distance themselves fast enough.  Democrats pointed with glee at the “racist” comments and said it “disqualified” Trump from being President (this from the party of the KKK, the Black Panther party, and the Westboro Baptist Church, among others).  Everyone reacted as if there was nothing of substance said.

Yes, Trump is circus clown.  Yes, he’s a carnival barker.  In many ways that’s what makes him so appealing to many.  However, he’s not actually stupid.  So let’s take a serious look at the facts behind the carnival barking.