Wednesday, December 4, 2013

While America Sleeps

Seventy-five years ago, in the fall of 1938, storm clouds were brewing around the world.  Germany carried out it's Kristallnacht. terrorizing its Jewish citizens and expelling many thousands of them to Poland and elsewhere.  Hitler and his minions were carving up Czechoslovakia after the Munich Agreement, while Neville Chamberlain of Britain was coming home from Munich proclaiming "Peace For Our Times." Japan was also becoming increasingly aggressive towards her Asian neighbors, invaded Canton, China on October 21.   However, the American public was largely inattentive.  More pressing concerns for America were the still-high unemployment rate as the Great Depression lingered on and a huge hurricane which killed hundreds in New England, reeking havoc on our East Coast.  The Yankees had just beat the Cubs (!) in the World Series, capturing their third title in a row.  And a nation wide panic ensued after Orson Wells presented his radio broadcast "War Of The Worlds."  The national sentiment was to let Europe's problems stay in Europe...Asia's problems in Asia.  As we know, it didn't exactly work out that way.

Fast forward to today.  Let's count down the top news stories in America for 2013 (according to Yahoo! News)

5.  George Zimmerman Trial
4.  Birth of King George
3.  Boston Marathon Bombing
2.  Disastrous Rollout of Obamacare
(and get this.  Drum roll please...) 

1.  Jodi Arias Trial!
(I have to give it to the folks at Yahoo! News for really getting to the heart of what's really important to the American people!)

Incidently, I saw last week that the #1 vote getter so far for Time's Person of the Year for 2013 at that time was...Miley Cyrus.  Good grief!

While we sleep today, storm clouds are again brewing.  America's role in the world as Leader of the Free World is rapidly collapsing before our very eyes.  Victor Davis Hansen wrote an incredibly insightful article yesterday in National Review entitled, "The World's New Outlaws."  This renowned historian gives us a glimpse into the future as he sees it, based on the collapse of American leadership in the world.  It is worth your while to read this important article.  He identifies three new outlaw regimes, which are each a not-so-distant threat to America and her allies.  Hansen writes of them:

The world as we once knew it is insidiously vanishing amid Utopian blather about a new Russia, a new Iran, and a new China. In its place is emerging something like the wild world of 1803–1815 or 1936–1945. If the U.S. is either spiritually or fiscally incapable of exercising its old leadership, others will step into the vacuum. 

I would only add that it could actually be much worse than the Napoleonic world of 1803-1815 or the Nazi/Japanese dominated world of 1936-1945, as neither of these "wild worlds" (as he call them) included nuclear weapons.  

Do I think World War III is around the corner?  I doubt that it is as close to us as World War II was to 1938 (although it could be).  However, with America on the decline thanks to it's current inept leadership, and Iran, Russia, and China on the ascendancy, we could be facing existential threats much sooner than most of us realize.

I honestly don't like writing about this stuff.  I'd much rather write something encouraging and uplifting that would warm everyone's hearts and make them feel good.  However, I feel compelled to speak up about these things now.  I may be spitting into the wind, but we need to realize what's going on around us. Yet I also take great comfort in knowing that ultimately God is in control and He will guide us through whatever is coming.  

Want to read more?  Here's links to some of my more popular posts:
A Colossal Failure
Abolition and Abortion
Things My Mom Taught Me 
September 15, 1963
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
My Take On "The Bible" Series

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Random Observations-On Government Shutdown and Obamacare Rollout

  • How much smarter Republicans in Congress would have been to just let the Obamacare fiasco play out without all the drama of the government shutdown?   All the government shutdown did was mask the coverage of the horrible rollout of the Obamacare website.  The Cruz strategy never made any sense to me at all.
  • Why should Republicans be the ones to push for delay of the individual mandate?  The Dems own Obamacare lock, stock, and barrel.  What some of the Tea Party type of Republicans have been pushing for is to push back the mandate past the 2014 elections, so that people don't see the full results of this administrations foolish policies until after the elections.  I don't get this either!
  • I have a lot of sympathy for the goals of the Tea Party.  However, the "take no prisoners" tactics that they have used turns a lot of people off and really poisons the water for all conservatives.  (See Mike Huckabee's opening monologue from October 20th here-I couldn't agree more!)
  • I have seen this president squirm out from under so many things that would have destroyed almost any other president.  Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS, etc.  This is because the press has given him a pass on almost all of it.  It's not working now.  NBC, ABC, CNN, CBS are being just as hard on him about Obamacare as Fox and talk radio.  It seems the honeymoon is finally over!
  • Watch this big Obamacare supporter describe her dismay at seeing her premiums skyrocket.  Buyer remorse?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 15, 1963

50 Years Ago

My parents were living in Birmingham, Alabama, my mother's hometown,  during the fall of 1963.  My mother, Trina Nall, was expecting her first child (I would be born the following March.) She was working at the time as a secretary for the city of Homewood, one of the outlying suburbs.  I remember her telling me as a child of the awful events of that day.

Those conversations I had with my mom came back to my mind recently as I was reading the excellent book entitled "While The World Watched" by Carolyn McKinstry.   In her book, Mrs. McKinstry describes her life growing up as a black child in Birmingham, Alabama during the 1960's, culminating in the terrible bombing of her church, 16th Street Baptist, which took place that Sunday in September, 1963.  She narrowly missed death in the bombing, but four of her young friends, Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14), were killed in the attack. The explosion blew a hole in the church's rear wall, destroyed the back steps and all but one stained-glass window, which showed Christ leading a group of little children.

As I was reading this book, Ms. McKinstry told of going by Kiddieland, a local amusement park, as a child.  I was shocked to read that in the early 1960's, black children were not allowed in Kiddieland.  I remember that park, where my parents would take me as a small child just a few years later.  Integration had taken place by then, so I of course had no idea of it's ugly history.  I recently learned that the one time that black children were allowed in the adjacent fairgrounds was when Birmingham's notorious police commissioner, Bull Conner, used the property as a place to imprison civil rights demonstrators when the prisons became full. Many of these demonstrators were teens and even children.  They were kept penned up in the open air with no shelter and no facilities for days at a time.

As a response to this moving book, I recently wrote to Mrs. McKinstry and shared with her my story.  I'd like to share part of my letter here:

Dear Ms. McKinstry,

I just finished reading your excellent book, "While The World Watched" and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it.  While I live in Indiana now, I grew up in Alabama.  In fact, I was born in Birmingham March 12, 1964, just a few short months from the terrible bombing that took place at your church.  As a matter of fact, I recall my mother describing to me her horror at hearing of the bombing... I remember her telling me about talking to people who had witnessed the bombing.  My mother, who passed away ten years ago, was a white Birmingham wife and mother who abhorred racism and taught her children the dangers of judging others because of their skin color.   I suspect that the events that you describe on September 15, 1963, were such a shock to her that it gave birth to a determination in her to teach her children differently.  I never heard her use the "N-word" and she never allowed my sister and I to use it.  In fact, she told us how much she hated it and how demeaning it was to people
...I went into the 1st grade in Birmingham in the fall of 1970.  Of course, I was too small to know it, but my mother told me later that it was the first year that Woodrow Wilson Elementary was integrated.  She had a choice of which class to put me in.  She was probably the only white woman that requested that her child be put in the classroom of a black teacher.  I still remember that teacher, Mrs. Stone, who would become one of my favorite elementary teachers.  She loved her students and we loved her.  Because of my mother's determination to put me in this black teacher's class, I had a very positive outlook growing up towards people of other races.  As a matter of fact, one of my best friends in high school was black...

This last July marked ten years since my mother passed away.  She taught me many things, but one of the most important is to treat all people with dignity and respect.  That may seem unremarkable now, but it was a remarkable thing to teach a young white child in the 60's and 70's in the lower South. 

I received a gracious reply to my email from Carolyn McKinstry, which I share below:

I am so grateful that you read the book and that it was a blessings to you. I just wanted to tell the story from the eyes of a 14 year old in a very simple way. It has helped me tremendously to continue moving on.
Traveling has also helped me to know that God made so many wonderful people throughout the world. I have met at least half of them!! (smile). And I have never encountered anyone who did not fell exactly as you have described. I am grateful to God for them and for you. This is what pushes me to continue the journey....I thank God for all He has done, and for all you are doing. We cannot change yesterday, but we can control today. And we should for tomorrow is not promised. You are an inspiration to me!!

This wonderful lady as well as all of those who fought the battle for civil rights are an inspiration to me as well!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Colossal Failure X 2

As I was writing my last blog post "A Colossal Failure" three weeks ago, word was just coming in about the chemical attack in Syria that had taken place that day.  Little did I know that it would dominate the news for the next several weeks.  Since then, I've watched in amazement as this administration has double-underlined the point I was trying to make last month that the foreign policy (or lack thereof) of this administration is certainly "a colossal failure."  Although I personally believe we should have gone into Syria as a response to this use of chemical weapons, I don't think this president ever actually wanted to do what he stated that we must do.  He threw it to Congress, hoping for some cover, and got completely rebuffed.

The events of this week have made the United States government look like the Keystone Kops, with Secretary Kerry making statements about "an unbelievably small" strike (which I thought was an unbelievably obtuse statement), then inadvertently opening the door for wily Russian President Putin to take center stage as a supposed arbiter of peace, then President Obama making the case for and against intervention in Syria in the same speech!  It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.  Our government, hence our country, has been made the laughingstock of the whole world.

Ron Fournier, a very well-respected journalist for National Journal (hardly a right-wing pulication), wrote the following this week that I thought summed this whole fiasco up:

The good news is we're not at war. The bad news is … almost everything else about President Obama's handling of Syria--the fumbling and flip-flopping and marble-mouthing--undercut his credibility, and possibly with it his ability to lead the nation and world.
He would go on to quote a Democratic strategist who stated that "this has been one of the most humiliating episodes in presidential history."

I fear that we are entering an incredibly dangerous period in world history with a man at the helm that doesn't have the least idea what he's doing.  The tragedy in Benghazi a year ago (which we still have so little information about and for which not one person has been arrested), attested to this as well as the events of the last week.

The prophet Isaiah confronted an equally bad leader in Judah almost 3,000 years ago.  Ahaz' reckless and foolish leadership had left the nation a shell of it's former self.  Isaiah at first counseled the king that "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." (Isa. 7:9b)  This type of resoluteness was not something that Ahaz possessed, and I'm afraid it's not something that our president possesses either.  However, Isaiah, after being rebuffed by the king, set his sites on a higher King, who is King above all Kings (and above all presidents!).  It was actually at this low point in history that God would give his prophet these incredibly powerful words, foretelling of a time when One would come in whom we can put our complete dependence:

For to us a child is born,    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace    there will be no end... (Isa: 9:6,7a)

In the end, the government that Christ will bring will be the only government that we can have complete dependence on.  In the meantime, this world will face more and more crises that are unsolvable by even the greatest leaders.  Yet those of us who trust in Christ have no reason to fear, for His government and His peace are active and alive today in our hearts.  No matter how chaotic this world gets, we have a sure foundation in Him!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Colossal Failure

While most Americans are focused on events here at home, the world, particularly the Middle East, is beginning to unravel before our eyes.  Consider the following news reports:

  • Syria has been engaged in a brutal civil war in which over 100,000 have already died in the last two years.
  • Just today, reports of extensive chemical attacks in Syria have surfaced in which over 1,000 people have been killed recently, including many children. 
  • The so-called Arab Spring has become a Middle-Eastern Nightmare in Egypt, as that country begins it's descent into civil war.  Over 1,000 Egyptians have died this month as clashes between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood intensify.  In addition,  many Coptic Christians have lost their lives as radical muslims attack and burn their churches.
  • Iran continues its quest to obtain nuclear weapons as the world sits by and watches.
  • North Korea has already obtained nuclear weapons, and in the near future could attack South Korea or even the American West Coast.

Yet at this critical juncture, the U.S. has put itself in a position in which in has less and less ability to influence events for good.  In five short years, the Obama Administration has pursued a disastrous foreign policy, which has resulted in dramatically waning influence of the U.S.  Consider this:
  • It was only one year ago today that President Obama famously drew a red line with Syria, declaring that the U.S. would not tolerate President Assad's use of chemical weapons.  Since then, while it has demonstratively been proven the chemical weapons have been used, the U.S. does nothing.  As a matter of fact, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has stated now that the U.S. has no plans to intervene at all, since intervention will not serve our interests.  When our government makes threats and then refuses to follow up on them, it emboldens our enemies and dismays our friends. 
  • Our policy is, in the words of New York Times columnist Roger Cohen  "a colossal strategic failure." He states that "the Obama administration has appeared hesitant and wavering, zigzagging from support for Morsi to acceptance of his ouster. "  Again, the administration's foreign policy incoherence is greatly diminishing our standing in the world.
  • The U.S.  does lots of talking but does nothing of substance in  deterring North Korea and Iran from obtaining and using nuclear weapons.  
In the meantime, the American people are largely asleep.  We somehow don't realize the implications of what's going on outside our borders.  Frankly, the dangerously feckless foreign policy of this administration could have even more disastrous consequences than even his catastrophic domestic policy.  However, we seem to have developed a new strain of the "Fortress America" mentality that existed right before our entry into World War I and then later in World War II.  Even many conservative Republicans have played into this thinking, believing that we just need to recede off the world stage and "take care of our own business."  However, the world of 2013 is actually far more dangerous than the world of 75 or 100 years ago.  We desperately need a resolute American leader like a Lincoln or like Winston Churchill, but instead we have an administration that looks more like that of  Neville Chamberlain's in Britain right before the Second World War.  
Throughout our history, America has had a significant role to play in world affairs.  Particularly since World War II, the United States has been considered by the entire world as the Bulwark of Democracy.  In the years 1945-1991, we were one of the world's two great superpowers, and since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, we have been the only superpower left.  Up until very recently, our influence in the world, for good or for ill, has been enormous.  It was America who instituted the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II.  It was America who stood up against communist aggression around the world until the Soviet Union found itself on "the ash heap of history."   It has been America who has provided billions of dollars in aid of fight the spread of AIDS on the African continent.  These policies made the world a better place, which in turn has given America a long period of relative peace and tranquility in which people can raise their families in safety, worship God as they see fit, and generally enjoy life.

We need to pay attention to what's going on around us.  I'm not in despair, and I wouldn't want anyone else to be in despair.  I certainly believe that God is ultimately in control of events, and I put my trust in Him in these perilous times.   However, we must do our part.  We can't snooze while the world burns, and we develop a "Fortress America" mentality at our own peril.

Want to read more?  Here's links to some of my more popular posts:
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
My Take On "The Bible" Series
Abolition and Abortion
Things My Mom Taught Me 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Things My Mom Taught Me

Today marks ten years since my mother, Trina Farris Nall, passed away.  She was only 60 years old.  She and my father had come to visit us the previous week at our new home in Cynthiana, Indiana, and had spent a few days with us around the July 4th holiday.  She had been struggling with a lot of health issues for several years and really looked very unwell during the whole time she was with us.  As she was leaving on July 7, 2003, she hugged and kissed me and told me that she was proud of the man that I had become.  She died of a heart attack at Vanderbilt University hospital in Nashville before the day was over.

I spoke at her funeral a few days later.  I recently ran across my notes from my talk and I'd like to share these with you:

Things My Mom Taught Me

  1. There are a lot of things more important in this life than money.  Proverbs 22:1 states "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold  She taught me the importance of integrity, faith, and family.
  2. Love of learning. Though she only had a high school education, she actually never stopped learning and was always trying to improve her mind.  She taught me to love literature even as a small child.  She spent countless hours reading to my sister Lori and I when we were small, and she was always reading a book or two herself.  She and I spent many hours playing Scrabble (2013 note-she would have loved being able to play Scrabble online!)
  3. Love of all types of music.  There always seemed to be some kind of music going on in our home.  It might have been hymns, country, pop, or classical.  It really gave me an eclectic taste in music.
  4. She taught me to participate in politics, not just criticize those in power.  She and my dad
    imparted to me a conservative political philosophy, but also encouraged me to think for myself.  And vote.  You don't have a right to criticize the government if you don't participate yourself.
  5. Always keep a sense of humor.  She kept her sense of humor right up to the end of her life.  Even though she had many reasons, she never allowed herself to become bitter.
  6. Keep your fingernails clean so people won't think you're white trash.
  7. Don't be prejudiced.  The color of a person's skin has nothing to do with who they are.  It's whats inside that counts
  8. Your wife is not your slave.  She taught Lori and I both how to keep house and cook meals.  There is no "man's work" and "woman's work."  Just work.
  9. Don't disciple your children in anger.  She and Dad would always explain to us what we were being disciplined for.  And, by the way, they weren't afraid to spank.  They would make it hard enough to bring us to repentance, but not so hard as to harm us in any way.
  10. The importance of fatherhood.  She always built my father up in our presence.  I never once remember her belittling him in any way in front of us.  She gave him his rightful place in our home.  My dad taught me how to be a father, but she also played a key role in this.
  11. Don't fight in front of the kids  I know she and my dad had disagreements, but they always kept them away from us.
  12. Love your kids no matter what they do.  She always showed unconditional love to Lori and I.  When I grew up, I didn't stay with the religious denomination that she and my family and and her family before her had been in.  This made no difference in her love for me.
  13. Don't try to make your kids in your mold  Allow them to be themselves.  
  14. The importance of the Bible, God's Word.  The Bible was a very special book to her, and it became even more special to her in her latter years.
  15. Go to church whether you feel like it or not.
  16. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.
I miss her.  I miss being able to talk to her and to get her insight on the world around us.  When you lose a parent, your really lose a part of your past.  I long to ask her about things that happened way back when.  I miss her being able to see her grandchildren all grown up and her great-granchildren, that she would have loved so much.  However, she has left a legacy in my life and in my sister's life that still goes on today.  

P.S.  I recently came across Mom's old bible.  I found a sticky between the pages of Luke with "Luke 6:38" written on it.  This scripture obviously meant something to her in her final days.  Probably one of the last things she read is certainly something she practiced in her life:

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you"

Want to read more?  Here's links to some of my more popular posts:
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
My Take On "The Bible" Series
Abolition and Abortion
A Colossal Failure 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The View From Behind The Counter

I've been a salesman at a local tire store for the last nine years.  In this capacity, I wait on dozens of people every day, most of whom are not exactly happy to be there.  Tires and auto service are "grudge purchases", inasmuch as most people don't wake up in the morning excited that they are going to get to buy tires for their car or get their truck fixed.  As a result, I often see people at their worst. It just kind of comes with the job. Anyone that has ever been in any kind of service work would probably agree with me that about 95% of the customers are no problem.  There may be issues, but most people are reasonable to deal with.  If you treat them right, they'll treat you right.  However, there are probably about 5% "problem children" who can be rude and obnoxious and not satisfied with anything you do.  The sad thing about this to me is that many of these difficult customers are Christians.

I've had a person with a Christian t-shirt cuss me out, a pastor make completely unreasonable demands and treat me with contempt and derision when I didn't do what he wanted, and other known "Christians" be incredibly rude to me or to the people I work with.  Some of these situations just made me want to crawl under the floor, not because of what they might have done to me, but because of what they did to the name of Christ.  I work with people who are my friends and that  I have a lot of respect for.  Good people, but people who don't know the Lord like I do.  When I see this happen, it just destroys any witness I might have had with them.

We think being a witness is just about telling people about God, giving them tracts, and getting them to church on Sunday.  I have nothing against any of these things, but I've come to believe that witnessing should be 99% walk and 1% talk.  I think we as Christians have it backwards sometimes. It's really about treating the people around you in a Christ-like way and going out of your way to serve everybody.  I heard Dr. Tony Evans say something one time that really resonated with me.  He said that when you go into a place of business to be waited on, whether it's a restaurant, a store, or a doctor's office, you need to go into that place realizing that you are the servant to the person who is waiting on you.  When was the last time you really appreciated the server in the restaurant who took your order, not just with a good tip (which you should certainly do!), but with a word of appreciation for her service?  What about the person who checks you out at Walmart?  Do you treat him with appreciation, or just as an inanimate object who is serving your needs?  If you are a Christian and you treat people who serve you in an ugly way, for God's sake (and I mean that literally, not in a profane way), don't wear a Christian t-shirt or hand out tracts!   If you are a pastor and you treat people who serve you rudely, I would suggest that you find some other line of work.   As someone who works behind the counter, I would rather you keep your so-called Christianity to yourself if you're not going to live it.  This may seem harsh, but I've seen too much harm done by people who profess Christianity to not speak out about this.

Finally, a word to my non-Christian friends (and I really hope you are reading this).  I'm sorry for the way that some people who profess the name of Christ may have treated you in public.  That is not the way Jesus was.  Jesus loved everybody, and he saved his derisive comments for those who seemed to be religious on the outside, but on the inside he said they were like dead men's bones.  I would ask you not to reject Jesus and his teachings just because some of his so-called followers don't act like him.  It would be like saying all cars are bad because some cars break down.  Christianity works when it's applied.  When it's not lived-out, it's just pretty awful.

And that's the view from behind the counter.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Abolition and Abortion

William Wilberforce
I've been reading Eric Metaxas' masterful biography of William Wilberforce, Amazing Grace.  Wilberforce was the late 18th century/early 19th century British Member of Parliament who almost single-handedly brought an end to the British slave trade.  As a Christian MP, he devoted his life to this cause, and pursued it doggedly for almost twenty years until the abolition of the pernicious trade in 1807.  During those years, he actually feared for his life on a number of occasions  as those who opposed him and other abolitionists would go to no end to defend something that was actually indefensible.  Wilberforce and others courageously exposed the evils of the slave trade year after year.  They shined a light before the British public on the stomach-crawling conditions that the Africans were subjected to on the Middle Passage between Africa and the West Indies, as well as the horrific conditions that West Indian slaves were subjected to which actually made American slavery seem tame in comparison.

As I was reading the section in this book detailing the heart-breaking condition of the slaves on these ships, I couldn't help but think of another heart-wrenching situation that I've recently become acquainted with.  Like most people, I barely paid attention until recently of the accounts of the sadistic Philadelphia abortion clinic led by Dr. Kermit Gosnell.  His trial had actually been going on for some weeks before I read the courageous article in USA Today written by Kirsten Powers, which shamed the national media into covering a trial which should have been front page news.  The sickening fact is that in all likelihood hundreds of babies have been butchered outside the mother's womb in this clinic by "snipping" their spinal cords, which almost beheads the innocent children.  Other details that I've read are so sickening that I won't describe them here, but suffice it to say that it was a House of Horrors that had been allowed to flourish in Pennsylvania unregulated for well over a decade.   Since then, we've come to see more and more that the late-term abortions which pro-abortion forces want to convince us are exceedingly rare are not rare at all, and that infanticide is much more common than we dare imagined.

I see multiple parallels between the British abolition movement around the turn of the 19th century, the American abolition movement later in the 19th century, and the current pro-life movement:.
  • Both the British and American abolition movements and the current pro-life movement were and are led by persons deeply committed to their Christian faith.  Movement leaders such as William Wilberforce, American Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, and current Pro-life leader Lila Rose, are informed by the Christian commitment to "Love your neighbor as yourself."  In each case, these zealots would go to any ethical end to bring to light the horrid practices they opposed.
  • In each of these movements, effective use of current media was an influential tool in bringing to light injustice.  British abolitionists effectively used a chart (as shown on the right) which they had located
    on a slave ship to illustrate that even the legal number of slaves housed on a ship was
    Diagram Of A Slave Ship
     inhumane.  American abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison used print media as editor of the highly-influential newspaper "The Liberator" to further the cause of emancipation.  Today, Lila Rose of Live Action, which styles itself as "a new media movement dedicated to ending abortion and building a culture of life", has brought to life the inhuman practices of abortion clinics through it's effective use of hidden camera videos.  (Follow this link to a video of  an abortion doctor who glibly admits that they would not help a baby born alive from a botched abortion or this link to an a video of an abortion worker who advises a client to "flush it!" ).  
  • In each case, those opposing the act of brutality, whether it be the slave trade, American slavery, or the killing of unborn (or even already born) children were at one time considered "out of the mainstream" (to use a modern phrase) of public opinion.  However, over time, as movement organizers shed light on the barbaric practices they opposed, they eventually gained majority support. In the case of today's pro-life movement, the pendulum is certainly swinging toward majority support, despite the fact that the national media is overwhelmingly pro-abortion. I believe as people are exposed more and more to the horrors of abortion facilities that Gosnell represents, that the pro-life argument will eventually carry the day.
In an 1813 before the British House of Commons, years after he had won the battle for abolition of the slave trade, William Wilberforce made these comments:

Christianity, he said, “assumes her true character… when she takes under her protection those poor degraded beings on whom philosophy looks down with disdain or perhaps with contemptuous condescension…. It was declared by its great Author as ‘Glad tidings to the poor,’ and… still delights… to succour the needy, to comfort the sorrowful, to visit the forsaken.”
Today's fight for the defenseless unborn who are being murdered every day echoes the fight of two centuries ago for the defenseless Africans who were then being enslaved and brutalized.  Whether the cause is abolition of slavery or abolition of abortion, the struggle today remains the same.

Want to read more?  Here's links to some of my more popular posts:
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
My Take On "The Bible" Series
Things My Mom Taught Me 
A Colossal Failure 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Signs Of The Times

On a Sunday afternoon last month after morning worship, I went out to our church property to load wood in our outdoor firebox, which is our primary method of heat. The wind that day was blowing ferociously, and I was trying to fight getting debris under my contacts while I loaded the wood.  Since my family was waiting for me to serve my birthday dinner, I frankly didn't do as thorough a job as I should have.  About an hour after I left, we heard  a knock at the back door.  Alert neighbors informed us that there was a fire on the church property and that 911 had been called.  When we rushed outside to drive down to the church, we could see smoke from six blocks away.  My heart was in my throat as we pulled up.  Smoke was billowing out the rear of the firebox as a fire engulfed it and threatened to race down the hill which the box was perched on.  I believe it was only about five minutes before the firefighters arrived, but it felt like an eternity.  It took two fire companies about three hours to beat down the blaze and put out the fire that took only minutes to start.  Unbeknownst to me, some sparks had blown out of the firebox and had run around the back of the box and lit into some wood we were storing back there.  Thankfully, the church was untouched, the firebox survived with superficial damage, and no one was hurt.  But it put the scare in me!

Even before the fire was out, I began praying that the Lord would help me learn from my mistake.  As I've reflected on this since then, I realize now that my initial mistake was that I didn't size up the situation correctly to begin with.  There was danger all around, but I was oblivious to it.  I saw the wind as an inconvenience, but I wasn't seeing it as the potential threat that it actually was.  Debris had blown all around  the front of the firebox and was just sitting there waiting to be lit.   I should have made sure that the debris was removed, but  in my haste I didn't take care of it.   And since then, all of us have decided that storing wood behind the firebox just wasn't a good idea.

In my daily Bible reading this morning, I came across this interesting passage:

The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’  And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? (Matt 16:1-3)
The Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious leaders of Jesus' day.  They were the teachers, the rabbis, the priests.  If anyone could have sized up the situation correctly, these men ought to have been the ones.  They knew God's word backwards and forwards.  They were the most influential men in Israel.  Yet, here they were, with the very Son of God standing in front of them, clueless to what was staring them in the face.  This Man had performed astonishing miracles in their midst time after time, yet they had the audacity to ask for "a sign from heaven!"  He was The Sign!  Yet, Jesus reply showed that their lack of discernment ran even deeper.  No only did they miss the true Sign from heaven in front of them, but they also neglected to appraise the dangerous "signs of the times" all around them.  These men were about to reject the only Hope of Israel.  This rejection of the Messiah would lead to a downward national spiral that would eventually lead to the sacking of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple, and the dispersal of the Jewish people that would last almost 2,000 years.  They were oblivious to the fact that they were sitting on a powder keg that would blow up on them a few short years later.

How about today?  Are we making the same mistake that I made that Sunday last month in not noticing the dangerous situation around us?  Are we, like the Pharisees, not discerning the "signs of the times" all around us?  I greatly fear so.  I see us in America and the world at large near the edge of several dangerous cliffs.  Consider the following facts:
  • Iran, the outspoken enemy of both the reconstituted nation of Israel and of the United States, is scrambling to obtain nuclear weapons with the intention of using them against Israel and perhaps even against the U.S.  The leaders of Iran are so warped in their thinking that they believe the Jewish Holocaust never took place, and that they, by destroying Israel and America, could help usher in the coming of the Islamic Messiah.
  • North Korea, with their new leader Kim Jong Un, is proving to be even more dangerous than under Un's father, Kim Jong Il.  Though we mock his threats, we do so at our own peril.  North Korea already has developed nuclear weapons largely by starving its own people, and now is on track to build delivery systems which could be launched against South Korea or even U.S. territory.   Last month the North Korean government announced that they are scrapping the peace treaty with South Korea that has been in place since the end of the Korean War.  Since then, they have been provocatively staging missile launchers near their east coast as tensions in the region have escalated to a level not seen in over half a century.
  • Potentially even more alarming, Iran and North Korea are reportedly sharing technology with each other.  If this is so, when one has nuclear capabilities, the other would probably have the same capabilities very soon.
  • Europe sits on a volatile situation as they encounter staggering debt, massive unemployment, and social unrest in places like Greece and Spain.
  • America is racking up it's own staggering debt, having passed the 16 trillion dollar mark last year.  We will soon be closing in on 17 trillion.
  • As America follows Europe into an age of moral relativism, the concepts of right and wrong become old-fashioned and outdated.  The results of this include rampant promiscuity, the rapid breakdown of the family, and the acceptance of "alternative lifestyles" which, in the end, can only destroy the foundations on which we stand.
Am I being alarmist?  I don't think so.  As a student of history, I see parallels between the world today and the world of the late 1930's.  Very few saw Hitler for what he was.  Very few recognized the far-reaching schemes of the Japanese government.  Yet, the world of today could be facing a coming storm could be far worse than anything the world experienced in the 1940's, as traumatic as that was.   Iran and North Korea of today could be like Germany and Japan on steroids.  Imagine, what Hitler and Tojo could have done with nuclear weapons!  Even more tragic, it seems to me that the moral fiber of the American people and the world at large today has broken down and more apt to crumble under pressure than in the past.  I sincerely hope I'm wrong about this.

As a matter of fact, I really hope that I am wrong on all of this.  Maybe things will just get better.  Yet, I fear that just won't happen.  As a nation, there are things we can do that may prevent these things from happening.  Yet, it doesn't seem like we have the will to turn it around.  I certainly know that as individuals there are things that we can do to prepare.  Above all, we need to be prepared in our hearts, looking to God as our protector, who can get us through anything that might come our way.  And we simply need to be aware of the situation around us.  I made the mistake last month of being undiscerning of my surroundings.   It cost a lot, and it could have cost us a whole lot more, save for the grace of God.  I hope that we as a country and we as Christian people won't make that same mistake!

Want to read more?  Here's links to some of my more popular posts:
Lincoln & Obama-Two Views of Welfare
TR on Lincoln-The Great Statesman
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
My Take On "The Bible" Series

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Take On "The Bible" Series-Parts 9 and 10

This is the conclusion of a series of posts on "The Bible Series"  To start at the beginning of the series, click here.

The Good-

  • Part 9-"Passion"-This hour depicted Christ's passion and His resurrection.  I actually thought this was portrayed remarkably well.  Parts of this were pretty much word-for-word out of the Bible, while other parts took some liberties from the sacred text.  I thought Jesus' interview with Pilate was especially well-done.  I was pleased that they included the scene with Pilate's wife, in which she told her husband that she had had a dream about Jesus, and warned her husband not to have anything to do with His death.  It's an interesting biblical detail that most are unaware of.  My wife and I were especially moved by the scene with Simone of Cyrene, the man who was chosen to carry Christ's cross.  Now, we don't know exactly how all this happened, as only Luke tells this story.  The other gospels speak of Jesus carrying his own cross, so scholars extrapolate that Jesus must have fallen down while carrying the cross and Simone was ordered to pick it up at that point. What was moving to us in "The Bible" version is that they had Simone helping Jesus carry his cross, so that Jesus and Simone finished walking the Via Delorosa together.   I never thought of that possibility, but it could have indeed happened that way.  I also was moved by the way that they showed Jesus being beaten every step of the way.  I think that they showed "The Passion" about as realistically as they could have and still been fit to show on television.  The actual torture of Christ must have been far worse.  The resurrection scene was told more or less as the Book of John portrays it, which is mostly from Mary Magdalene's perspective.  Although somewhat truncated, they did a good job of showing Jesus' varying appearances after His resurrection.  
  • Part 10 -The final of hour of "The Bible" (which was actually only about 45 minutes as "The Passion" section ran a little over an hour) was about the rest of the New Testament.  I enjoyed the portrayal of Paul's conversion, brief as it was.  I enjoyed the portrayal of Paul, showing the change in this great Jewish intellect from persecutor to preacher (although it was rather annoying that they called him Paul of Tarsus when his pre-conversion name was actually Saul).  I also appreciated how they showed what happened to each of the apostles, yet explaining that this was according to church tradition rather than actually from the Bible.
The Bad

  • Part 9 - Probably my biggest beef with "The Passion" section was the portrayal of Christ on
    the cross.    The biblical account states that there was total darkness over the whole land for the last three hours of Christ's passion on the cross.  In "The Bible", it looks more like a bunch of clouds moved in during the final moments of Jesus' life.  It accurately portrays that there was a great earthquake at this time, but they miss a great opportunity that would have been extremely powerful.  In "The Bible", they show the earthquake toppling the curtain they separates the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple.  Their curtain looked liked something you might have picked up at J.C. Penny's!  I'm told that the real "veil of the temple" that enclosed the Holy of Holies was so strong and so thick that a team of oxen pulling on either side couldn't have torn it apart!  Yet, in the scriptures, when Jesus released His Spirit to His Father, the veil was rent from top to bottom, opening the way now for every believer to enter the Holy and Holies.  (See Matthew 27:51)  It's an impressive detail that would have been a powerful conclusion to this section.
  • Part 10- To show the story of the New Testament from Acts to Revelation in less than an hour seems like an impossible task, and, in fact, I don't think it was done particularly well, mainly because of the time constraints.  The Pentecost section to me was rather disappointing.  The Bible talks of tongues of fire lighting on the disciples, but there was none of that here.  It speaks of a violent rushing wind.  This wind was rather tame.  The Bible also tells of more than 3,000 baptized that day, but this little detail is left out as well.  While the Saul/Paul narrative was well-done, the Peter narrative as he is called to preach to Cornelius could have been done much better if they had stuck to the version in Acts 10 (although I will have to say I enjoyed the actual scene in which Peter enters Cornelius' house and is startled when he bows down before Peter)
Overall Impressions of "The Bible" Series-  I was rather disappointed in the first couple of episodes of the Old Testament section, yet I thought the last three hours of this section were much better than the first two.  With some notable exceptions, I thought the New Testament section was done tastefully and mostly accurately, though I was disappointed in the way that they had to rush through the post-Resurrection sections of the scriptures.  The production really shined the most in sections when they were able to tell a fuller description of the scriptures, especially in the life of Christ.  Where they had to cover hundreds or even thousands of years in a short time, they often fell short.  I kept wishing through this project that they had been able to do ten hours on the Old Testament alone, and then come back and do ten hours on the New Testament.  However, I commend Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for producing this daunting project.  All-in all, I have to say that the good far outweighs the bad, and it was well-worth watching.  If the end result of this is that it draws people back to the Bible, they will have accomplished their goal.  The movie was good, but The Book is far better!

Want to read more?  Below are links to other articles on this site that may interest you:
A Man Of A Different Spirit
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
Obama's Record-Where We Are After Four Years (written right before the election)
Hosea and the 2012 Election (written right after the election)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Take On "The Bible" Series-Parts 7 and 8

 Last week, I reviewed Parts 5 and 6 of "The Bible".  Click here to read that review or here for my review of Parts 1-4.

The Good
  • Part 7-This hour encapsulates the bulk of Jesus' three-and-a-half year ministry from it's inception until right before Holy Week.  On a broad note, I really like the way that Jesus is portrayed by Diogo Morgado.  He does a admirable job portraying Jesus as a man who is warm and inviting, revolutionary in his teachings, and utterly opposed to the religious rulers of His day.  In the opening scene of this hour, they set up the vivid contrast between the Pharisees, who were the predominate religious sect of the time and who advocated for a strict adherence to the law as a method of national salvation, and Jesus, who would preach the revolutionary concept of following God according to the spirit of the law rather than the letter. Jesus healing of the paralytic man (you can read the gospel account here.), incenses the Pharisees and exposes their cheap view of God for what it is. I also really like the way they portray the calling of Mathew, the tax collector.  In this scene Jesus tells the story of the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (you can read Luke's version here) as an illustration of God's love for those who follow the spirit of the law rather than the letter, then calls Matthew to follow Him.  Although these two incidents are told at different points in the scripture, I thought it did no harm to meld them together, and actually made an effective point.  
  • Part 8-This hour tells the story of Passion Week up until Jesus' farcical trial  held before Caiaphas.  I would mention here that "The Bible" series makes several extra-biblical but helpful references to give context to Jesus' ministry, including in it's portrayal of Pontius Pilate.  Josephus tells the story of the Aqueduct riots (you can read his account here.), which is recounted in this episode.  This detail really   helps us see Pilate for the bloodthirsty man that he we.  My wife and I both enjoyed the Last Supper scene.  It was moving to see Christ grab a piece of unleavened bread, tear it and share it with His disciples, then, as they are eating it, to say, "This is my body..."  I also loved the effective way that they told the story of Christ at Gethsemane, as they juxtaposed Jesus' agonizing prayer in the garden with Caiaphas and the other priests' rote but heartless evening prayers.  Finally, the trial before Caiaphas is hard to watch, yet well-done, setting us up for the agony of Good Friday. 
The Bad
  • Part 7-In "The Bible", Mary Magdalene is portrayed as one of the disciples.  She was indeed, and so were several other women. Although Mary was not one of the twelve (as the series
    seems to imply by putting her with the guys all the time), she was in fact with Jesus almost all the time.  However, the series provides no context for how she became a disciple, and it would have been helpful if they they had told how she had been set free from demons to become a follower of Jesus.  One of the ways that Jesus was a revolutionary was the way that He had respect for women and including many of them in His ministry.  I would have loved it if they had included the lesser-known story of one of His followers named Joanna, who was actually the wife of Herod's steward! (Check out this passage in Luke for more on Jesus' female followers)  Also, I thought the scene of Lazarus' resurrection could have been done far better.  My daughter was incensed at the sloppy way that this was done, and I have to agree.  The raising of Lazarus' was the culmination of Jesus ministry, and is told in detail in John 11.  It deserved a fuller and more accurate account than was done in the series.  In the series, there is no real context for the raising of Lazarus.  They show Jesus enter the cave where Lazarus' body has been for four days, puts his hands on Lazarus' unwrapped head and tell him to get up.  In the real account, Jesus does not go into the cave and calls out in a loud voice for Lazarus to come forth, which he does to the astonishment of the crowd.  I find that the scriptural account is much more compelling than the one shown in the series.

  • Part 8-I really enjoyed this portrayal of Passion Week, and have few criticisms.  I have to say I have mixed feelings about including Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus here. Now, any student of the four gospels knows that the different events are recounted in various order, as ancient narratives did not follow the strict chronological sequence that modern biographies tend to do.  However, the only account of Nicodemus meeting with Jesus is in John 3, which was clearly at the beginning of Jesus' ministry rather than at the end.  That being said, I understand why they placed this here, as they flashed back and forth between Nicodemus the Pharisee going to Jesus and Judas (the apostate) follower of Jesus going to Caiaphas.  This was actually quite effective, yet not true to scripture in the letter.  Overall, I think it fits the spirit of the Scriptures. (So I don't want to be found the Pharisee and quibble about minutia!)
Overall-With a few exceptions, I really enjoyed this episode and the creative way that they portrayed Jesus.  He was truly a revolutionary and did indeed "change the world," and I believe they captured the essence of His ministry well.  You know that something is done well when you don't want it to end but want to see more, and I definitely didn't want it to stop where it did.  That's really the mark of a good program. I'm looking forward to Sunday night to see the amazing story of Easter!

Click here to read my review of Parts 9 and 10.

Want to read more?  Here's links to some of my more popular posts:
A Man Of A Different Spirit
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
Obama's Record-Where We Are After Four Years (written right before the election)
Hosea and the 2012 Election (written right after the election)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Take On "The Bible" Series-Parts 5 and 6

Last week I reviewed "The Bible" Series-Parts 1-4.  Click here to read the previous post.

Explanatory note-I've noticed some of the reviews on this series call it a five part series because it shown in five two-hour episodes. For the purposes of these articles, I'm considering each hour as one part.  In this case, the two-hour episode shown last Sunday contained parts 5 and 6.

The Good

  • Part 5 - Last week, I mentioned that I thought Part 4 was the most biblically accurate section of the series so far.  I actually enjoyed Part 5 even more.  Even though the events were compressed in places, I felt that this was also more accurate than the first few episodes.  I loved the fact that they told the little-known but fascinating story of King Zedekiah, who would ignore Jeremiah's plea to return to God and would pay for it in a gruesome way.  The scene in which his sons were killed in front of him and then his eyes gouged out by the Babylonian conquerer was hard to watch, but it's exactly what happened according to 2 Kings 25:7.  I also enjoyed the Daniel section.  Daniel is one of my favorite Bible characters, and I think the producers of "The Bible" made him the compelling figure that he actually was.  Daniel is a fantastic model of integrity who held on to his Jewish beliefs even in the face of unimaginable pressure to conform to Babylonian ways.  The Daniel in this series retained those admirable qualities.  I really enjoyed the Fiery Furnace scene within the Daniel sequence.  In this scene, three friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, stand tall in the midst of a sea of Babylonians who had bowed down to the king's idol.  I just felt like cheering when I saw their courageous defiance!  Then, when they are cast into the fire because of King Nebuchadnezzar's rage, a pre-incarnate Jesus is shown in the midst of them.  At the conclusion of this scene, the threw Jewish heroes come out unscathed.   While we don't know where Daniel was when the three men were thrown into the fiery furnace, I thought it was interesting to imagine that he could have been there and witnessed the whole thing.  Later, I was especially moved by the Lion's Den section, when Daniel refused to pray in secret in order to avoid persecution, but would instead openly pray in defiance of the king's decree.  The scene in which Daniel is saved from being a night-time snack for some hungry lions was really well-done.
  • Part 6 - First of all, I thought they did a good job of transitioning from the Old Testament to the New Testament, by talking about the Roman occupation and the Jews' cry for a Messiah.  To move through five hundred years of history in a couple of minutes would be almost impossible to do well, but they got the essential facts right in setting the stage for the coming of the Messiah.  I felt that the Birth of Christ narrative was largely successful.  This is one story that is so very familiar, yet I thought that they did it in a new and fresh way.  The Herod character was appropriately vile, and they even included some extra-biblical yet historically-correct scenes such as the one in which Herod killed his own son.  (However, this probably happened years before Christ's birth.) Another extra-biblical detail that they added that worked well to me was the one in which they showed the many victims of crucifixion in Galilee.  It really put the cruelty of the Roman oppressors on display, preparing the viewers for another more momentous crucifixion to come.  In this scene, they show the Child Jesus looking at the crucifixion victim as His mother tries to shelter him from the gruesome sight.   This was very moving to me.  It's very likely that He observed this horrible practice even as a child, and you have to wonder what He thought as He peered into His future life. I also thought the Baptism of Christ scene was well done (with the exception below). However, I think my favorite scene in the whole series so far was the Temptations of Christ.  The cinematography was amazing, as they showed Jesus from a birds-eye view wandering through the wilderness parched and famished,  then swept down to see Him encounter a very wicked-looking Satan.   The way they transitioned from one temptation to the next was really neat as they showed Jesus being whisked away from one venue to another .  However, what brought me to tears was the offer Satan gave to Jesus to be king of all the kingdoms of the world if He would only bow down and worship him.   In this scene, Jesus is shown looking at two paths, one in which he sees an earthly crown being placed on his head, and the other in which the crown of thorns is being pressed on His brow.  Then He views Himself being anointed as king with a sceptor, contrasted with another scene in which crucifixion nails are driven into his hands. Thank God He chose the nails and the crown of thorns!  At the climax of this scene, Jesus defiantly commands Satan, "Get behind Me!", whereupon the devil promptly vanishes.  I don't think that's the last we'll see of this bad guy in the series!

The Bad-

  • Part 5 - I really have only a few small issues with this episode.  In the Zedekiah section, the only thing that I would note as not positive is actually a missed opportunity from way back in Part 2, which is the Moses section.  What Zedekiah and the Jews in Jerusalem experienced in the months-long siege of Jerusalem was actually prophesied centuries before in Deuteronomy 28.  In this section, Moses by the inspiration of God actually tells the Jews as they stand on the edge of Canaan that if they forsake God, then there would come a day that they would experience a siege and would stoop so low as to eat their own children!   I would also point out that later, in the Fiery Furnace scene, the fire definitely wasn't as hot as the one in described in Daniel 3:22.  In this bible passage, the furnace was so hot that it killed the men who threw the three Hebrews into the fire!  I will also note that Daniel should have appeared much older in the last section, as he would probably have been in his nineties when he faced the lions.  Another comment-In the book of Daniel, the Persian king who threw Daniel in the lion's den was Darius, rather than Cyrus.  I understand that there is actually no record of a Persian king named Darius.  My study bible speculates that Darius could have been an alternate name for Cyrus, so it could be that the king Daniel dealt with was in fact Cyrus the Great.  Finally, we have no record that Daniel was around when the Jews began to migrate back to Palestine, as is portrayed in the movie.
  • Part 6 - First of all, it's very unlikely that the Magi arrived the night of Jesus' birth.  In fact, the scripture records in Matthew 2 that they arrived at the house where Joseph and Mary were staying, indicating to me that they had moved from the stable to a more suitable place in Bethlehem by the time the Wise Men arrived.  Also, Herod actually sent the Wise Men to Bethlehem to search Him out, though he intended to use the information he gleaned from them for evil intent.  In the end, the Magi were warned in a dream to not return to Pharaoh, so they left without going back through Jerusalem..  Also, although I thought the Baptism of Christ scene was well-done, it is unfortunate that they chose not to include the blessing of the Father on Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17).  The biggest faux pas of Part 6 to me was in the very last scene.   This actually was two scenes, one of Peter's encounter with Jesus' on the Sea of Galilee juxtaposed with another scene of Herod Antipas' interrogation of John the Baptist in prison.  The scene with Peter differed with scripture in that both Mark and Matthew speak of Christ's encounter not only with Peter, but also with his brother Andrew and the sons of Zebedee, James and John. However, this didn't bother me as much as the Herod/John the Baptist scene. This is a made-up scene which is not true to scripture at all.  I find the Biblical version (Mark:6: 17-29) much more compelling, and I wished they had used it.  
Conclusion- While the first three parts were largely a disappointment to me, the last three, including Part 4 on Saul and David as well as these two parts, are a huge improvement.  Yes, there are discrepancies even  in these later episodes from the biblical account.  It seems that when the producers are given the choice of being Biblically down-the-line or making a dramatic statement, they often choose the latter.  Some may differ with me, but I would give them some leeway on this.  I heard Jim Daly of Focus on the Family make the point that this is a paraphrase, not a literal translation, and that is certainly true. However, in my opinion the best scenes in this production are the ones that stay true to the bible, but do it in a creative way.  In any event, I'll be watching this Sunday night!
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My Take On "The Bible" Series-Parts 7 and 8

Want to read more?  Here's links to some of my more popular posts:
A Man Of A Different Spirit
Reflections On 30 Years of Marriage-Part 1
Obama's Record-Where We Are After Four Years (written right before the election)
Hosea and the 2012 Election (written right after the election)

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