Friday, December 25, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas



With some nice images by Al Rio!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rebel Jesus

On this Christmas Eve, let us take a moment to think about the true meaning of Christmas, as is so beautifully expressed by "heathen and pagan," Jackson Browne:



Amen.

/hat tip to Brian McLaren.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Please Help the World

This is a film from the opening of the Copenhagen Conference.
Two messages:

1) Climate change will cause a crack in the earth.

2) Our supposedly "settled science" (as if there ever was such a thing) is not enough to convince anyone, so we have to lie and scare you with cute little children running in fear.

Shameful.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Lake Of Fire

A cool discussion of the Lake of Fire by Larry who is Salvationforall1 on Youtube.

Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:



Part 4:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

A couple of fun images swiped from Pirate's Cove:


"NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation;" G.Washington

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jesus, Savior of All Men, Especially Believers

I've discussed this one before, but here is a nice discussion of this from Tentmaker Ministries:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Celebrating the Fall of the Wall

Twenty years ago, we watched the world change. Never forget it.

Toxic Bibles -- NIV

Another great set of videos from Tentmaker discussing the translation of the NIV:
Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, Remember...

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!



Here is the text of the speech:

Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition.

I enjoy them as much as any bloke.

But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why?

Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.

How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.

Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked.

But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.

Monday, November 2, 2009

We Were Explorers, Adventurers, and Soldiers

This was a very nice essay written by RobbHobb several years ago on the SWG Forums. He recently shared it with the folks over at MMORPG.com. I took the liberty of copying because I feel it was that good:

We were Explorers, Adventurers and Soldiers
The game was just out of beta and 40 of my guild started playing. I was one of my group's
"Planet Side" testers/players, having beta tested it. We are 200 strong spread out now over
8-10 different games.

I would tune in the SWG channel on TS and listen, it was amazing to here the accounts of
things across the galaxy as seen through the eyes of noobs. Everyone was a noob. I had to
be a part of this.

I got the game and away I went. There were people everywhere. Cantinas were jammed, star
ports as well. People running across Dath, no speeders yet. Fighting rancors and
nightsisters. Squills and Tuskin Raiders were things to avoid on our home planet. The
Corellian plains and the swamps of Talus, filled with big cats and their babies was a great
place for the CH, but a dangerous one as well.

The crafting was amazing as well, folks dedicated themselves to mining, harvesting or buying
the best resources, looting or buying skill tapes, and the items they made were top shelf. We knew who they were and we haggled for the best price. Weapons, armor, BE clothing, foods, drinks, etc...

The fighting classes would hire out to protect crafters as they tended their harvesters, or just paid us to bring home the best meat or bone, when ever it would be located that month at various places across the galaxy.

The player cites became sophisticated and well thought out. We would hunt in groups to fund ]the treasury. Recruit top crafters to place their vendors so traffic in town would increase.

Entertainers formed troupes that would travel around and perform at events for hire. Towns would have celebrations, music, fireworks, dancing. The socialization was at its peak.

Bases became focal points for the GCW, defending and attacking, when one went "hot" hundreds of players would be on hand. Theed was a kill zone as was the Bestine-Anchorhead corridor.

Jedi were rare and as the game progressed, more found their way to the Force. But through perma-death, saber TEF and eventually visibility and the BH, showing off with a LS was a bad [align=justify]thing. Removing the BH gank squad made us Jedi more brazen and may have been the first sign of the down hill slide. Jedi should have remained in the shadows.

I remember traveling across many planets and stopping off in camps on a regular basis. Players just out and about were never hard to stumble across. The Master Ranger camp was a sight to see. If they had a dancer, it was a chance to heal up a bit and move on. Before leaving you could often barter for a new pet or some food or drink. Few knew I was a Jedi, it was much safer that way. Regular clothes, carrying a rifle or carbine, with my LS in the [align=justify]tool bar just in case I was not as careful as I thought I was.

Back to a big city, get your speeder, armor and weapon repaired. It was always nice to find a smuggler and get those new items sliced. Stop by the local cantina and enjoy some music and get a mind buff, hit a star port and have a doctor buff you up. Then back out to the open spaces, never far from action.

Player run night clubs sprang up, rented juke boxes, exotic dancers, beauty pageants and
just a place to hang out, waiting for the next assault on the enemy or hunting party. At
one pageant, with about two hundred in attendance, a beautiful young Jedi was competing,
when a BH attacked, the fight spilled out into the street and raged on for 20 minutes before
she managed to escape. I cannot imagine a more "Star Warsy" scene then a fight breaking out
in a Star Wars bar.

You didn't have to run around to find PvP, it would always find you if you were not alert.
NPC's could unmask you as well, and many times you would have to fight your way out of town.
For a Jedi, that meant visibility for sure. Time to be extra careful. But if laying low
was your thing for the moment, there were 100 places to go and things to do. Tend to your
factors, restock, shop, socialize, hunt, the Vette, Theme Parks, The Warren, Black Sun
Bunker, etc... The server forums served as After Action Reports that made the slow times at work more enjoyable.

New players would seek help, and many did help. Taking them under their wing, showing them the ropes, forging bonds, weaken by the tears of this dying game, and friend's lists evaporated as gamers left for greener pastures.
You really carved out your own existence, the greatest Star Wars saga ever told, yours... and if you ran the course and wanted a change, you could start over, 31 more times if it suited you.

Many of us have moved on, others stay and pray that the greatness of this game will return. [/align]Still others, like me, pay for a month here and there just to check in and see for ourselves.

For me, there is a soothing, surreal feeling when I hear the opening music. I stand above my home on Tatooine, in Storm's End, a town we forged from the sands in a place called The Valley of the Wind. I watch the twin suns set over the mountains and remember what the game was like. It truly breaks my heart to think of the friends lost and the good times we had, gone forever, like the sands in a storm. I wait a bit longer, check my empty friend's list and log off.
Yes, we were adventurers, explorers and soldiers, and it was the best of times.


Brings a tear to my eye every time I read this. It really was like that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bloody Brilliant Muslim Demonstration

Witness Muslims for Secular Democracy supporting free speech!

To all those who say "Islam is evil, Islam is fascism, Islam is fanaticism" -- I call BS. This shows that, given the right philosophy coupled with faith we can all join hands and get along!



Allahu Akbar!

For more information, check out British Muslims for Secular Democracy

Here are the organization's goals and practices, from their website:

bmsd aims to:

* Raise awareness within British Muslims and the wider public, of democracy particularly ‘secular democracy’ helping to contribute to a shared vision of citizenship (the separation of faith and state, so faiths exert no undue influence on policies and there is a shared public space).

* Encourage religious understanding and harmony, respect for different systems of beliefs, and encourage an understanding and celebration of the variety of Muslim cultures, values and traditions which are present in British society.


bmsd will achieve this by:

* Facilitating discourse and raising awareness of democracy particularly ‘secular democracy’ and its benefits.

* Facilitating broad and enlightened theological discourses, to enable British Muslims and the wider public to be better informed about the Islamic faith.

* Raising awareness of religious influence on UK domestic and foreign policies, particularly those which may lead to undue effect on civil liberties.

* Addressing Islamophobia and prejudice against Muslims and Muslim communities.

* Working with UK and global Muslim and other organisations, opposing radicalism and intolerant beliefs.

* Ensuring that politicians and community leaders encourage and practise transparency and ensure legitimate voting practices are followed.

* Engaging with marginalised Muslim communities, helping to identify root causes of deprivation and social exclusion, and help work towards a solution.

* Providing a lively and interesting social/educational programme which showcases the variety of Muslim histories, cultures, values and traditions in the UK today.

* Be responsive to the changing needs and pressures on succeeding generations of British Muslims and adjust and add to its programmes and projects accordingly.


Amen!
/Hat Tip to Real World Libertarian for this little nugget of pure gold.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lamentations 3:31-32

More inspiring words from pastor Dennis over at not 1 lost:
Lam 3:31-32 (TNIV) FOR PEOPLE ARE NOT CAST OFF BY THE LORD FOREVER, Though he brings grief he will show compassion, SO GREAT IS HIS UNFAILING LOVE!

According to traditional theology “MOST PEOPLE” are cast off by the Lord forever…into a fire pit to burn for all eternity in indescribable pain and unending suffering; without mercy, without compassion. Oh yes, if you look at what traditional church doctrines and religions of the world teach are the qualifications for “ESCAPING HELL” (that’s really what they are trying to do – not trying to go to heaven) there will be few that will meet these religious rules. You say Oh no, it is easy, “all you have to do is believe” well that is true biblically. But I can most assuredly say that if you listen closely to the teachings of these religious institutions you will soon find that; really, they are not really teaching “just believe” and pray the “sinners prayer” or hail Marry or something. No, there are many things you must “do or not do” to get to heaven (out of hell) or prove that you are “really” saved. When you stop and think about it, (I have – a lot) most will not make the grade. Not to mentions that two thirds of mankind probably will not even hear these teachings, read a bible, go to a church or hear the name of Jesus Christ. Oh yeah, they chose that didn't they.

My bible teaches that “The Lord WILL NOT cast off people forever” the very “OPPOSIT” of the majority of church doctrines! My bible and your bible teach that God in his UNFAILING LOVE has planned from Genesis to Revelation, from the eternal past to the eternal future through the plan of the ages; to save every single one of his children and all of creation; He doesn't lose one thing – He cant, He’s GOD!


Amen!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Homosexuality Should Be Banned

Funniest video I have seen in awhile:


/hattip to upallnight over at MMORPG.com for finding this gem!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Here Comes the Judge...

Judge Andrew Napolitano gave an excellent speech about liberty at the Tucson Tea Party:
Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Nice job, Judge. And Happy Columbus day to a great Italian American.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Answers to my critics -- Universal Salvation"

This cuts out at the end, but is otherwise very good.
Larry's got lots of great youtube videos over at his site.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SWTOR Beta Announcement?

Well, rumors are flying and they crashed the website:

http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=74409

Thank you for visiting www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com. We are making adjustments to the site due to the overwhelming response to the testing announcement. Please be patient and check back later. We estimate that the site will be back up in the next few hours.


Or, to put it in a Star Warsy way, "Our website can not handle posting of this magnitude!"

Some folks I am friendly with (in an online gamer sense) are discussing it here:

Possible Beta Announcement October 2nd?

Update: It's true, and I applied. Keeping my fingers crossed that I get in.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hell in a Hand Basket

I found this one Brian McClaren's site. I have to admit it made me weep.

HELL IN A HAND BASKET from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.


Let us all take some time and implement Travis Reed's strategy. Love is something you DO, not just something you FEEL.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Different Strings

This one is going to involve a bit of set up. As most anyone who reads this thing knows, its purpose is Liberty, which is meant in its broadest sense. The primary subject matter can be almost anything that strikes my fancy or amuses me, but usually centers around what I call the Three G's -- God, Games, and Government. They are all connected and in each I seek to advance human liberty.

Okay that being the case, people who read this blog also know that I play a game called Star Wars Galaxies, and I've posted a few times on it. It's an MMORPG, and those games are well, different. In those games you wear a second skin, so in some ways you become another being in another universe, and in another sense you simply are wearing a different skin with your own, or slightly modified for internet psyche shift, self inside doing cool stuff in another, fully graphically realized in pixels, reality.

In Star Wars Galaxies, the reality is Star Wars. It was the best game I have ever played. Partly because it was Star Wars, a story that has near religious significance to me; partly because of the incredible depth and breadth of the game, and while tremendously flawed, the flaws were forgivable by many people, due to the other amazing things about the game; and three, and perhaps the most important part, a community had developed in this environment, a virtual community of real people using a virtual reality to spend time together adventuring, crafting, buying and selling, partying, and of course fighting with all sorts of things including each other -- this community was a thing that well, whatever it was it was amazing.

Anyway one dark day, the 15th of November 2005, a date that shall be remembered in infamy to all players of the game.

That was the day that the producers of the game, Lucas Arts and Sony Online Entertainment, decided to change the game in such terrible, drastic way that an untold but very large amount, let's say at least 100,000 out of a possible 250,000 players quit the game en masse.

No one knows how many actually stopped subscribing, but at least that many people quit playing, and moved on to other games like WoW and City of Heroes, the two I tried and still play to this day.

This event pretty much propelled my internet writing habit as a rather passionate troll on the SWG Forum boards and others, passionately advocating that they roll back the publish, hoping that would bring the game and my friends back. I wasn't about to quit, nope, I was gonna stick this thing out because I still had friends who played, I am crazy stubborn about somethings, and well, I loved my characters and it was still Star Wars. I am still there and will continue to write about it when I feel like it.

Okay, now here is where we are going. I have, after getting involved in the online debate, made friends with people in the MMO industry and they have told me things, and lots has been made public, the only thing I can surely distill is this was decided by the suits against anyone closer to the scene's better judgment.

Those two suits are John Smedley and Jim Ward. They were the two who made the decision to destroy worlds.

Both had been declared enemy that dark day long ago in November. They F'ed up MY GAME, and for that they deserve a fate worse than, well...you know. Games are a sure sign that we are children of a very cool God since he made us able to build worlds in our minds we call our games. God, that's cool.

Anyone who destroys that must be declared anathema, and cast out. Of course that would make me a really bad Christian and although remain a really bad Christian, long ago I of course forgave them both.

But they are still technically my enemies in gaming. However, a while back Jim Ward quit the biz, and I prayed he didn't quit because he or a loved one was ill, and I must admit that yes, bad Christian that I am, that he somehow got canned for the NGE.

Nope. Turns out he was preparing to run for Congress.

And um. Seems he's at the very least, an economic conservative. So he is now, the enemy of my enemy.

Plus he said something I find VERY interesting:

"It's time politicians who just want to be politicians got out of the way and let people who have run businesses, created jobs and made decisions they've had to live with, go to Washington and straighten out this mess," according to the election site for Ward, who resigned from LucastArts early last year. "I've got that skill set along with the ability to make the right kind of change. I hope you'll agree."


...made decisions they've had to live with....? hmmmmm.

But I wouldn't even care if he meant that, not if I didn't actually agree with him on policy issues. But I checked out his website, cited in the kotaku article, and if he means what he says, I'm very interested in seeing what else he has to say:

I have over 25 years of business experience and I know that Arizona’s future depends on the right kind of change. Change that actually simplifies the ever-increasing complexity of our federal government, particularly our tax code. Change that limits the growing federal intrusion into our state, freeing us to be dynamic and innovative so that we can create solutions to our own problems without bureaucrats in Washington telling us what to do. Change that prevents government from coming between all of us and our freedoms so that we can build the best solutions for education on a local basis, determine the best options for our health care directly with our physician, maintain the right to cast a secret ballot in our own workplace and make fiscally responsible decisions so that we don’t mortgage the future of our children.


Okay, that sounds good. If it turns out he is truly a man who believes in economic liberty and states rights as implied above, I am going to have to support him. The enemy we both fight, if he is the real deal, is more important that any virtual reality I could take part in. It's the REAL game we play, and we must do such things when the Red Dragon of socialism stands before us, threatening to scorch and burn and devour everything beautiful about freedom, individuality, and loving thy neighbor as a joyful responsibility.

So as I thought about this, I am reminded about how we all, so different, sometimes simply not liking one another at all, or the things we have even done to each other, when something threatens us all, we must join together and fight the damn thing, and we can sort our shit out later.



Different Strings
by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson

Who's come to slay the dragon?
Come to watch him fall?
Making arrows out of pointed words,
Giant killers at the call?
Too much fuss and bother,
Too much contradiction and confusion.
Peel away the mystery,
Here's a clue to some real motivation.

Chorus
All there really is,
The two of us
And we both know why we've come along.
Nothing to explain,
It's a part of us
To be found within a song.

What happened to our innocence,
Did it go out of style?
Along with our naivete
No longer a child.
Different eyes see different things,
Different hearts beat on different strings.
But there are times
For you and me, when all such things agree.






Is it totally evil of me to secretly hope he is a mad social conservative and thus, I have to STILL be against him?

Yeah. Damn.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Health Care

Okay, now, I'm sure you all know that as a pretty hardcore libertarian, I am against the government providing health care. My reasoning is simple. I know there are many people who are uninsured, and many more who are under-insured. I know people are suffering out there, and this health care delivery system is a mess.

However, I do not believe government will solve the problem. I believe that experience with government has shown that government solutions do help some people, but almost always at a cost greater than the problem they solve, and always have unforeseen circumstances that in retrospect often make matters worse.

There are few exceptions to this general rule.

Also, I feel that since all wealth that the government gets it gets through forced confiscation, it is by its very nature a thing of evil, and yes I mean evil in the Biblical sense, as in Powers and Principalities and as believers we should be VERY wary of its use. Government is financed by legalizing theft. That should bother every Christian.

Remember all men are evil, to a some extent, and need redemption, so it makes sense that any political unit we would come up with would be at least a little bit evil. Government, however, even if evil, at this time in human history at least is an evil that we kinda can't live without in one manner or another.

Government is a little bit of evil to protect us from worse evil. If we did not have government, people not being ready for anarchocapitalism, that would lead to chaos.
This is why I agree with the sentiment expressed by Thomas Paine,

"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."


Amen.

Now that being the case, I think a fine metaphor is from the Magickal Arts, something I have had a bit of experience with. I think of it as summoning a demon that one must bind to one's bidding -- but it is NOT a good thing, not a thing that loves, but a thing you hire to use force against those who would use force against you. You must give it some power, but too much and it will begin to RULE YOU.

It's only a metaphor, I'm not saying anyone in Congress is demonic.

It's only a metaphor because thank God that our government is US -- at every level it's people.

However, it's a good one because would you let a DEMON take care of grandma? Even a bound one? Of course not. Okay I know arguing from metaphor is a crap argument -- I'm not making an argument here just providing you with how I feel and giving you a sense of my passion about the nature of government and how delicate a free society is.

I feel essentially that in that it is fed on evil, on legalized theft, and it is force -- nothing government does involves voluntary action, since these two things are true, I only want it used for those things that force is absolutely necessary.

That's not a whole lot. I end up with the basic libertarian/classical liberal few.

Police, Military, and the courts.

Maybe a few things that might be argued to be as natural monopolies, like the roads.

Not health care. Not a whole lot of other things either, and in health care, I would get the government OUT of it before I get the government more into it.

Okay, that's the beginning of my feelings about the nature and purpose of government and how it relates to health care.

To this someone may ask, well then how would you solve the problem of health care? Answer: I can't. Neither can the president. Neither can the congress. Neither can any government. It will, by its very nature, make matters worse. We haven't gotten here without government involved in health care more and more as it's gotten worse, and I see no evidence that even implies that government can alleviate any of the issues involving health care without either creating a monstrosity that will be worse than the mixed economy mess we have now, or even if it's not, it will inevitably create far worse problems in other areas.

However, this should never have BEEN a problem if we as Believers in a loving God were not falling down on the job. Why is anyone in need? What are we not doing for the people who need it?

It is time we seize this from the government and as a Church, in our synagogues, in our Mosques and around our Pagan circles, we must meet to care for people or we are liars in the eyes of Providence. To that end feel free to use me or hit my myspace page and we'll do what we can to help.

If we can't do it ourselves, we should give to organizations who will do it for us -- there are plenty of them. Their coffers should be overflowing if we are indeed a nation of God. We have been derelict in our duty and we have allowed a damned DEMON to take up the job for us. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Funny Clip

Government Cheese

Been thinking about this song by The Rainmakers a lot lately. I wonder why...?



Government Cheese

Give a man a free house and he'll bust out the windows
Put his family on food stamps, now he's a big spender
no food on the table and the bills ain't paid
'Cause he spent it on cigarettes and P.G.A.
They'll turn us all into beggars 'cause they're easier to please
They're feeding our people that Government Cheese

Give a man a free lunch and he'll figure out a way
To steal more than he can eat 'cause he doesn't have to pay
Give a woman free kids and you'll find them in the dirt
Learning how to carry on the family line of work
It's the man in the White House, the man under the steeple
Passing out drugs to the American people
I don't believe in anything, nothing is free
They're feeding our people the Government Cheese

Decline and fall, fall down baby
Decline and fall, said fall way down now
Decline and fall, fall down little mama
Decline and fall, decline and fall

Give a man a free ticket on a dead end ride
And he'll climb in the back even though nobody's driving
Too Goddamn lazy to crawl out of the wreck
And he'll rot there while he waits for the welfare check
Going to hell in a handbag, can't you see
I ain't gonna eat no Government Cheese

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Building a Unique and Historical Movement

I found this while I was just googling about and I thought it was interesting. It seems, in some ways, Christian Universalism reared it's lovely head twice in world history, and twice it helped usher in something beautiful:


Something similar has happened two times before in the history of Christianity. The first time was in the first three centuries of the Christian Era, when Messianic Jews and Greek philosophers came together to develop and articulate a new spiritual vision combining some of the best insights from the Hebraic and the Hellenistic traditions. The result was Alexandrian Christianity, a boldly Universalist Gospel that was taught by early saints and church fathers such as Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, and Macrina the Younger. This view of the Christian message was in fact the greatest, most widely accepted and respected form of Christianity in the ancient world, until the takeover of the church by Rome under the influence of Augustine's theology. The teachings of this school of thought centered on two basic principles: apokatastasis (universal salvation and restoration of all things) and theosis (divinization of human souls in the image of Christ). This was a serious, deeply spiritual and intellectually progressive Christian Universalism, articulated many centuries ago.

The second time something like this happened was in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the Universalist Church of America was formed and grew to become the seventh largest denomination in the United States at its peak. This new church developed out of a diverse mixture of people who fled religious persecution in Europe, such as Anabaptists, Quakers, Moravians, and other Pietists including some Anglicans and Methodists -- many of whom rejected the traditional doctrine of eternal hell which had been taught for many centuries by the Roman Catholic Church and by most Protestant churches. Progressive ministers and evangelists from these varied groups eventually coalesced around their radical belief in the salvation of all, creating a new religious movement. Some of the more noteworthy Universalist ministers of this era include George de Benneville, John Murray, and Elhanan Winchester. Many early American leaders were believers or had sympathies with this spiritual philosophy, including more than one of the founding fathers of the United States as well as President Abraham Lincoln.


Of course, we Christian Universalists and Inclusivists are working to bring about a new reformation today, with mixed success. Let us pray that if we do, we help to create something as beautiful as either the early Church, or the American Republic.

Source: The Christian Universalist Association

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Brits to Put Cameras in Private Homes

This is some scary stuff. From Wired:

Britain To Put CCTV Cameras Inside Private Homes

* By Charlie Sorrel
* August 3, 2009

georgeorwellAs an ex-Brit, I’m well aware of the authorities’ love of surveillance and snooping, but even I, a pessimistic cynic, am amazed by the governments latest plan: to install Orwell’s telescreens in 20,000 homes.

£400 million ($668 million) will be spend on installing and monitoring CCTV cameras in the homes of private citizens. Why? To make sure the kids are doing their homework, going to bed early and eating their vegetables. The scheme has, astonishingly, already been running in 2,000 family homes. The government’s “children’s secretary” Ed Balls is behind the plan, which is aimed at problem, antisocial families. The idea is that, if a child has a more stable home life, he or she will be less likely to stray into crime and drugs.

It gets worse. The government is also maintaining a private army, incredibly not called “Thought Police”, which will “be sent round to carry out home checks,” according to the Sunday Express. And in a scheme which firmly cements the nation’s reputation as a “nanny state”, the kids and their families will be forced to sign “behavior contracts” which will “set out parents’ duties to ensure children behave and do their homework.”

And remember, this is the left-wing government. The Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, batting for the conservatives, thinks these plans are “too little, and too late,” implying that even more obtrusive work needs to be done. Rumors that a new detention center, named Room 101, is being constructed inside the Ministry of Love are unconfirmed.


One more step on the road to EngSoc.

Of course of course, it's for their own good. It always is, isn't it? God save the
people of England.

Original Source: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/115736/Sin-bins-for-worst-families


Thanks to Pamela Geller over at Atlas Shrugs for this bit of creepy info.

Update: Balls is denying it on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/edballsmp/status/3124025586

Obama Health Reform and Wait Times Visualization (In Lego!)

Another fun one from Political Math. He makes some corrections here, but it's still good:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Wages of Sin is Death

I'm not sure if I've shared this one before, but what the Hell. It's a good one and As such, is worth repeating.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Regaining the Reagan Majority

All the Republican party needs to do to win, is either BE the party of limited government and freedom, or FOOL people into believing it. Since they squandered the capacity to fool the people under BOTH Bushes, it's going to take some reality to win next time.

Or all you Republicans who used to vote for them because they fooled you as well, come on across to the Libertarian Party. Remember, we were started when the your Young Republicans for Freedom dumped Nixon over price controls.Either the Republican Party needs to become a party of principle, or they will lose to Democract bribery. Republicans, when they buy votes, and being HYPOCRITES. Democrats, when they buy votes, are being DEMOCRATS. They win by creating permanent underclasses that need the democrat handouts. It's an effective tactic, but against real principles, it will fail.

As far as the social conservatives go, screw 'em. They are what has killed your party. Jettison the religious authoritarians.

This is a perfect time for folks to embrace real change. Not the more of the same of Obama (creeping socialism since Wilson, regardless of party), but real change. Freedom.

Had the Party actually listened to Reagan when he told Reason magazine in 1975, "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism."

If they ever remember that they will regain the Reagan majority.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Is Universalism a Jewish Belief?

As a messianic Jew with some heavy duty Universalist leanings, I found this video interesting.

Now of course, I agree with the New Testament doctrine that NONE are righteous. God's righteousness is an absolute, and all fall short -- therefore, as seen from the Holiness of God's perspective, none are righteous. however, ALL are made righteous by the sacrifice of the blood of the Lamb of God, which covers our sin in His eyes.

Like the Jews, however, I believe the righteous of all the nations are saved, and thus, eventually, in His time and in His way, ALL are saved.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Essential Principles of Christian Universalism

Essential Principles of Christian Universalism

In 1878, a group of Universalist ministers in Boston, (which included A.A. Miner, T. J. Sawyer, C. R. Moor, O. F. Safford, and A. St. John Chambre, and others) prepared a statement which embraced essential principles held in common by the Universalist ministers generally. This statement was:

We, the Universalist ministers of Boston and vicinity, observing the widespread agitation in the religious world with respect to the final destiny of our race, and more especially of those who die in impenitence and sin, and desirous that our views on this important subject should not be misunderstood, after much earnest thought and prayerful consideration present the following, not by any means as a full statement of our faith, but as indicating its general character:

1. We reverently and devoutly accept the Holy Scriptures as containing a revelation of the character of God and of the eternal principles of his moral government.

2. As holiness and happiness are inseparably connected, so we believe that all sin is accompanied and followed by misery, it being a fixed principle in the divine government that God renders to every man according to his works, so that "though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished."

3. Guided by the express teachings of revelation, we recognize God not only as our King and Judge, but also as our gracious Father, who doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men; but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.

4. We believe that divine justice, born of love and limited by love, primarily requires "love to God with all the soul," and to one's neighbor as one's self. Till these requisitions are obeyed, justice administers such discipline, including both chastisement and instruction, and for as long a period, as may be necessary to secure that obedience which it ever demands. Hence it never accepts hatred for love, nor suffering for loyalty, but uniformly and forever preserves its aim.

5. We believe that the salvation Christ came to effect is salvation from sin rather than from the punishment of sin, and that he must continue his work till he has put all enemies under his feet, that is, brought them in complete subjection to his law.

6. We believe that repentance and salvation are not limited to this life. Whenever and wherever the sinner truly turns to God, salvation will be found. God is "the same yesterday, today, and forever," and the obedience of his children is ever welcome to him.

7. To limit the saving power of Christ to this present life seems to us like limiting the Holy One of Israel; and when we consider how many millions lived and died before Christ came, and how many since, who not only never heard his name, but were ignorant of the one living God, we shudder at the thought that his infinite love should have made no provision for their welfare, and left them to annihilation, or, what is worse, endless misery. And it is but little better with myriads born in Christian lands, whose opportunities have been so meager that their endless damnation would be an act of such manifest injustice as to be in the highest degree inconsistent with the benevolent character of God.

8. In respect to death we believe that, however important it may be in removing manifold temptations and opening the way to a better life, and however, like other great events, it may profoundly influence man, it has no saving power. Salvation, secured in the willing mind by the agencies of divine truth, light, and love, essentially represented in Christ -- whether effected here or in the future life -- is salvation by Christ, and gives no warrant to the imputation to us of the "death-and-glory" theory, alike repudiated by all.

9.Whatever differences in regard to the future may exist among us, none of us believe that the horizon of eternity will be relatively either largely or for a long time overcast by the clouds of sin and punishment, and in coming into the enjoyment of salvation, whensoever that may be, all the elements of penitence, forgiveness, and regeneration are involved. Justice and mercy will then be seen to be entirely at one, and God be all in all.

Source: http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/essential.html

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day

I want to wish you all a VERY happy 4th of July. Today, we feast in freedom. Thank Providence and the blood, sweat and tears of untold men and women who have granted us this blessing. May we be worthy of their legacy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Davy Crockett on Government and Charity

I always loved this tale of Davy Crockett, I hope you do too. Was this ever done on the old TV show? I have no idea, but somehow I doubt it:






SOCKDOLAGER -
A Tale of Davy Crockett

A "sockdolager" is a knock-down blow. This is a newspaper reporter's captivating story of his unforgettable encounter with the old "Bear Hunter" from Tennessee.
From "The Life of Colonel David Crockett", by Edward S. Ellis
(Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

CROCKETT was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.

I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support — rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

"Mr. Speaker — I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it.

We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount.

There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt.

The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity.

Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.

Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.

I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:

"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."

He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:

"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

SEVERAL YEARS AGO I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."

He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."

I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and —"

"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'

This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."

"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."

"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"

"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."

"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government.

So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.

No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give.

The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."

He laughingly replied:

"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."

"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday a week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."

"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"My name is Bunce."

"Not Horatio Bunce?"

"Yes."

"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him — no, that is not the word — I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted — at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow citizens — I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."

He came upon the stand and said:

"Fellow citizens — It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

"NOW, SIR," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men — men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased — a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."


http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Constitution_Issues/davy_crockett_and_charity.htm

Monday, June 29, 2009

Madoff Gets 150 Years...

...for doing just what our government does every time they collect Social Security from the citizens.

The only difference is that the US takes the money BY FORCE, and Bernie had to actually convince people to give him their money.

If Madoff warranted 150 years, how many years does that merit our congress getting every time they are in session? Ponzi schemes are Ponzi schemes, no matter who the perpetrators are.

Seems the government class is the protected one, not the capitalist class. The capitalist gets life imprisonment for stealing, the government gets returned to power so they can keep doing it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson is Dead

...and this is all I have to say about it (explicit lyrics follow):

To Michael, Farrah, Ed McMahon, and Billy Mays: be seeing you in His Grace at some point in the future.

An Interesting Poem


A poem, not surprisingly left out of the anthologies of her poetry)

You may rejoice to think yourselves secure;
You may be grateful for the gift divine -
That grace unsought, which made your black hearts pure,
And fits your earth-born souls in Heaven to shine.
But, is it sweet to look around, and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness
Which they deserve at least as much as you -
Their faults not greater, nor their virtues less?
And, wherefore should you love your God the more,
Because to you alone His smiles are given;
Because He chose to pass the many o'er,
And only bring the favoured few to Heaven?
And, wherefore should your hearts more grateful prove,
Because for ALL the Saviour did not die?
Is yours the God of justice and of love?
And are your bosoms warm with charity?
Say, does your heart expand to all mankind?
And, would you ever to your neighbour do -
The weak, the strong, the enlightened, and the blind -
As you would have your neighbour do to you?
And, when you, looking on your fellow-men,
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then?-
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!
That none deserve eternal bliss I know;
Unmerited the grace in mercy given;
But none shall sink to everlasting woe,
That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.
- - -
And oh! there lives within my heart
A hope, long nursed by me;
(And should its cheering ray depart,
How dark my soul would be!)
That as in Adam all have died,
In Christ shall all men live;
And ever round His throne abide,
Eternal praise to give.
That even the wicked shall at last
Be fitted for the skies;
And when their dreadful doom is past,
To life and light arise.
I ask not how remote the day,
Nor what the sinners' woe,
Before their dross is purged away;
Enough for me, to know
That when the cup of wrath is drained,
The metal purified,
They'll cling to what they once disdained,
And live by Him that died.


/Hat Tip to Chezandlilly for finding this.

On Jews, Israel and Anti-Semites

If one is a believing Jew, it is impossible to BE such a Jew without believing in God's promise of Israel. Among the greatest acts a believing Jew can perform is known as Aliyah -- or "being called" which in the sense of Israel means to be called home.

That's Judaism, as it was believed and practiced since the Romans more or less kicked them out about 2,000 years ago. All the time Jews settled in Europe, Africa, Asia and later, the Americas -- every Jew knew that tomorrow we shall be in Israel -- that someday God would return them.

Now, some Jews only believed that this could happen under the messiah, but scholars agreed overall that God would work the Return in His own way and time.

Enter Zionism -- a largely SECULAR movement, more or less a socialist movement, to create a nation for the Jews, but Jews as an ethnic group, not necessarily religion. Either way, they went to rabbinical, Jewish religious tradition -- to decide what made a"Jew a Jew," and decided it was -- if one's birth mother was a Jew, or you were a lawful convert -- you were a Jew.

Even if your religion is Buddhist, or a Jew-Bu, as they(we) like to call ourselves, you can be admitted to Israel as a citizen -- as long as momma was Jewish. All except what I am -- a messianic Jew. Ironic, to be sure, but they don't like us Jews for Jesus much.

Now, many of us, myself included, a Jew who is not believer in Judaism, might find this whole viewpoint crazy, but different religions have different declarative statements.

To Christians (the vast majority) Christ died and rose. Crazy idea but it's what we believe.

Jews, depending upon the tradition, may or may not have certain dietary laws, keeping Kosher.

There is also have that ethnic component, a child of Jewish woman is a Jew.

Also, there is a land deal with God. This is obviously controversial to people who don't believe in this God, or people who don't believe the deal is valid for whatever reason.

Now, it certainly is possible to be anti-Zionist and NOT anti-Semitic, but it's VERY difficult. You technically are not anti Jew, but you ARE anti-Judaism. Tough stuff. A very narrow line indeed.

These are difficult issues and don't lend themselves well to snaps and one liners. That being said, just as a great deal of the people who are big in the anti-illegal immigration movement are in fact bigots, a great number of anti-Zionists are anti-Semites.

As someone who for most of his life has been Jewish, not religious, AND against the State of Israel (I am against all religious states and all religious tests for citizenship), I have pondered these issues. I DO however support the State of Israel as an ally of the United States, just as I support England, while disagreeing with the status of its Church (same with Lutheran/Germany and so on).

That being said I come to my position knowing that one can not separate the Children of Israel from Israel. It is what it is.