Monday, September 29, 2008

"Of Christ and Culture"

I guess you’ve noticed by now that I am a Christian. I am not a Christian of the “Let’s get a rope and lynch ‘em,” “I am better than you are,” “I know better than you do,” “They are bound for hell and I am not,” “Not in my back yard” variety. I am more of the “Love your enemies, pray for them that despitefully use you,” “humble is the way,” “forgive your enemies,” “Bless them that persecute you, bless and curse not,” “Don’t seek revenge,” If your enemy hunger feed him” variety of Christianity.

I know, I know, you haven’t heard much of my kind of Christianity. My brand of Christianity is not popular among the “mainline denominations” or the up and coming Pentecostals and Charismatics. It’s certainly not popular with politicians and preachers who want America to have a “whop ‘em up side the head” attitude towards everybody else on the planet. No, in America being Christian means that you are the winner at the other guy’s expense.

For centuries Christianity has been identified with the European thirst for conquest and domination. The first European power to employ the name of Christ for this purpose was the Roman Emperor Constantine who had the Greek letters for Christ emblazoned over a cross and placed on his shield and banner and on the shields of his soldiers. The next day he won the battle of the Milvian Bridge, thus making himself sole ruler of the empire. This was in 312, A.D.

Every since that day Europeans have been invoking the name of Christ in every battle, crusade, war, pogrom, lynching, and pillage in which they have engaged. The Nazis believed themselves to be Christian. The Klan called themselves “the Christian White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.” Whenever Europeans seek to dominate people, promote their own culture and destroy others, Christ is their protector and leader. What a fine general this Christ is.

This country was founded with the same ideology: Conquest in the Name of Christ. This thinking was not that Christ would guide them to the new land, and prosper them in settling it, and give them favor with the Indigenous Peoples, and make them a part of the development and prosperity of the country. No! This ideology said, “Our warrior Christ will help us annihilate the savages, subdue them, and rule the land: in other words, “Manifest Destiny.” (Any civilization that is not like Europeans is savage).

Not quite a century after the founding of the country a Civil War erupted in the nation over the ideas of conquest and domination. The war between the abolitionist and the slave traders was largely a church fight. It pitied the “slaves obey your master” Christians against the “Let the oppressed go free” Christians. The Southern Baptist Convention, presently the nation’s largest Christian church, split from its main body, The American Baptist Churches, not over doctrine, but over dominance.

“The SBC became a separate denomination in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, following a regional split with northern Baptists over the issue of slavery in the US South….The increasing tensions and discontent of Baptists from the South regarding national criticism of slavery led to their withdrawal from the national Baptist organizations.” (Southern Baptist Convention, Wikipedia) Fifteen years after the upheaval that formed the Southern Baptist Convention, the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, and “the best blood of the nation was spilled on its own battlefields.”

There has been no major fight in the nation since then that did not include these factions: those who believe that God has ordained them to subjugate, dominate, and control others, and those who feel that God has called them to set people free spiritually, economically, and socially.

“The John Birch Society,” “The Moral Majority,” “The Evangelical Christian Right,” “The White Citizens Councils” are all names for the group that believes that God through Christ has granted them the right of conquest and domination. The main thread of the ideology has not changed since 312, A.D.: “God is with me. He is not with you. I am ordained to win and you are not. God has called me to subjugate, dominate and rule you, and he has called you to be my servant and slave.”

I watched the debate between Senator Barack Obama and John McCain on Friday night. I saw the classic dichotomy once again; two Christians from opposing perspectives. Every time I heard John McCain say, “Senator Obama doesn’t understand,” I saw the old paradigm: “Boy, God has sent me to be your master and to tell you what to do in order to be safe. You are too much of a child to known what government ought to do. Let me worry about government, because God has left me in charge.”

The language used by McCain when addressing Senator Obama appeared to be aimed at belittling and humiliating him. This attitude resembled the thinking of those people who challenged Lincoln in the abolition of slavery, but more importantly it puts him with the thinking of those who challenged Jesus over the woman caught in adultery. People who think like this are always ready to take lives, belittle destinies, and kill dreams for the sake of proving themselves to be right.

What is real Christianity? Is it a paradigm for cultural conquest? Is Christianity a method of social conquest that will give Nazis the upper hand over Jews, and once again make German bankers the deciding power in the life of German citizens? Is Christianity the organizing force that puts plantations and their inhabitants in right relationship so that “master and slave” have proper balance? Is Christianity that ideology that causes the “have nots” to be content with what they don’t have, so that they will not challenge the “haves?”

I do not believe that Jesus is either Democrat or Republican, but the nature of the Gospel is liberating. The person of Jesus sets one free. The Sacrifice of Jesus makes us free. The teaching of Jesus makes people free. The preaching of Jesus makes people free. The ministry of Jesus makes people free. What Jesus says and does at once makes us free and draws us to him. Bondage, control, slavery, and domination, are as antithetical to his person as witchcraft is foreign to his nature.

I am certain that the Christ of the Gospels and the Christ of Conquest and Domination are not the same person. The one is an invention of those in charge to give them-selves license for racial and cultural superiority; the other is a Person who enables us to live victoriously even in the face of adversity. The real Christ is a liberator, even when the one whom he is setting free is Pilate, Judas, or Thomas; and he would have set them free had they only asked him.

The appeal of “The John Birch Society,” “The Moral Majority,” “The Evangelical Christian Right,” “The White Citizens Councils,” is that they seek to reach “John Q Citizen” in his most visceral area! What is that? Dominance and security! He only feels secure and successful when he/she has dominated and subjugated some one else, even if the other person is another Anglo-Saxon White Protestant. In their mind Success is equal to being over others. This ideology is inescapable when you learn it in your home, at your school, and in your church.

What if Constantine had an authentic vision of Jesus, and what if Jesus actually did intervene on Constantine’s behalf, causing him to win the battle of the Milvian Bridge? And what if our Lord intended that event to be a relief for his Church and not a charter for future generations to effectuate conquest upon other peoples in his name? Jesus has NOT sent us forth to conquer and subjugate political kingdoms, cultures, and people groups in his Name. Political domination is as foreign to the Christ of the Gospel as is murder.

“The Christian Right,” “the Conservative Right,” “The Moral Majority,” “Focus on the Family” brings all of these issues back into focus. These people are basically saying, “God has ordained us to tell you how to think, feel, and act. Your responsibility is to obey; ours is to lead. This is not my idea of Christ or Christian leadership. I reject this thinking. I hope that you will reject it also.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 26, 2008

No Immediate Bailout

I woke up this morning with the Temptation of Jesus on my mind. This is the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan after he had fasted for forty days and forty nights.

“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (Matt.4:2, NIV).

The text then goes on to describe a tremendous struggle of wills between the Prince of Peace and the Prince of Darkness. It is peculiar to me that the struggle did not begin in earnest until Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights. The fasting had to be preparation for the coming struggle. Did Jesus draw strength from doing without food? How could he? How could the fasting from physical food be preparation for a spiritual struggle if he was not somehow getting renewed strength from the fasting?

The fasting was preparation for the coming struggle. All of Jesus went through the temptation: both his divine nature and his human will. They both had to stand the test. Jesus was strengthening the unused muscles of his human nature so that this nature would not fail at the temptations of Satan. The fasting built up his human nature and prepared that inner man for the coming struggle. This was necessary because the coming struggle had at least three parts:

First there was a test to be given by God. God wanted to know: “Will you go through the great and terrible wilderness were neither my face nor my hand will be seen? Will you rely on what you know about me when you can’t find me? Can you trust me beyond the apparent and the obvious?

Secondly, this struggle represents the temptations of Satan. Notice that all the temptations were based on things that appeal to the appetites and senses, a definition that aptly applies to “carnality.” First, there was a temptation that concerns food. Then one that concerns using divine power to do the spectacular for personal gain; and finally the temptation of power, position, and privilege.

Finally, this struggle also is a great personal trial for Jesus. He is tried in himself. Jesus gets to see what he is made of, what his limits are and how much he can bear. How can he be “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin,” (Heb.4:15) if he does not go through this trial? The trial refines his motives, and distills his intentions, and focuses his energies.

Notice the preparation for the trial: “he was hungry.” Privation is preparation for the proving. Jesus was not ready to be tested, tempted, or tried until he was deprived, first of the heavenly dignities, and secondly of the earthly necessities (Phil. 2: 5-8). He was hungry!
Hunger does three things immediately to the human spirit:
1). It makes you humble;
2). It makes you teachable;
3). It makes you accepting.

Jesus was already all of these things, but “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5: 8, KJV). When he was hungry he was further humbled and made even more open to the Spirit of God. His spirit was even more teachable and acceptable of God’s direction. It was good for him, but more importantly, it was a lesson for us.

Whether you are a nation or an individual, you won’t be tried until you are hungry. Testing and trials are about bringing out the best that is in you, and making you see what is real, when everything else is gone. A trial, with the necessities of life available at hand, is no trial at all. Deprivation and trials are twins.

Economic hunger and privation will drive this nation from its arrogance. When the rich and powerful loose their privilege and power, as well as their money, they become humble, teachable, and accepting of other people and of other worldviews.

This brings me to the Congressional attempts to bail out Wall Street. I have one message for Congress: Don’t bail them out, at least not in a hurry. They are not hungry. They are simply scared. Let them be hungry for a while. Then let’s see what they are made of.

I am saying this with full assurance that many of the people who will vote on the bail out are heavily invested in Wall Street and some of those failed markets. If it was alright to let millions of people loose their homes, farms, and small businesses in a “free market economy,” let it continue to be a “free market economy,” and let the fat cats loose also.

This is not vengeance; it is cleansing. To be truly hungry, in the sense that Jesus was hungry, is to desire food and NOT be able to satisfy the craving. Wall Street and America have been on a gluttonous rampage for over fifty years. We have slaked our appetites with everything imaginable from around the world. We have devoured whole nations in one all consuming gulp, and washed them down with rivers of oil, and oceans of other luxuries. Now is the time to pay. It’s time to be hungry.

We determined the budgets of nations and continents. For years we told the Afghans, and the Turks, and the people of India how much ground to cultivate for poppy plants depending on our need for morphine. Then we looked the other way when they sold what was left to the drug dealers for cocaine. What difference did it make? The U.S. government, Wall Street, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund were fattening themselves on every transaction. Gluttony at world expense! The feast is over!

Here is my question: If the innocent can be hungry, then why can’t the greedy? Remember that the Prodigal Son did not come to himself until he was arrested by Sheriff Hunger!

But there is Good News: If you go through the hunger, and the testing, tempting, and trail that comes after it, God will send deliverance when it’s over. “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended to him” (Matt. 4: 11, NIV). God can make the devil leave. Adversity and the continual fear of financial collapse can be a thing of the past.

Neither a nation nor an individual has to exploit other people in order to get on top. Deliverance can be ours without sticking a knife in the backs of others. There is something good about the test, the temptation, and the trail. It is because of what comes after the hunger and the trial that I know they are not all bad: “angels came and attended to him.”

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why is the Bush Family Always Invovled When Banks Fail?

Go to

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Power of His Passion

Went to church Sunday morning, and what a morning it was. The pastors have invested thousands of dollars in an organ, but have not yet hired a full time musician to play it. So in absence of a musician the pastor who led yesterday’s worship informs the congregation that the praise and worship music will be by courtesy of a compact disc. He goes to the control room and puts the music on. We (in the pew and congregation) immediately pick up the tempo and cadence.

A little hand clapping and some foot stomping began to rise and spread across the room. By the second stanza of “Hallelujah” the flow is all over the place. “God is high above the heavens,” the sung leader sang, and we repeated her words, tone, tenor, pitch and melody. “Halle, Halle, Halle, luuh-aaah,” we all sang. It was good. It was refreshing!

Then the pastor played a different song. The music was upbeat, but the words did the reaching and grasping of my spirit:

“Living He loved me
Dying He saved me
Buried he carried my sins far
Rising He justified me
Freed me forever
One day He’s coming back
Glorious day.”

While I was feasting on His love for me, made known in his death for me, and his carrying my sins far away, the next verse began to play:

“One day when heaven
Was filled with his praises
One day when sin was as
Black as could be
That’s when Jesus came down
To be born of a virgin
Dwelt among the many our
Example is he.”

We all sang loudly:

“Living He loved me
Dying He saved me
Buried he carried my sins far

By now I feel the anointing and I am about to have a shouting good time. The music continued with this verse:

One day they led Him
Up Calvary’s mountain
That day when they nailed
Him to die on a tree
O’ suffering and anguish
Bearing our sins our example is He.”

(From “One Day,” written by J. Wilbur Chapman around the turn of the 20th Century. Arranged and sung by Donnie McClurkin).

When the singer got to the part where he was singing about how they “nailed Him to a tree,” I felt the King of Glory walk in the room. He walked in and stood right next to me. I had my eyes closed the entire time, only opened far enough for the tears to seep out, but I know it was Him. I could feel his Presence. I knew beyond any doubt that He was there.

I know it was Him for three reasons:

First, I know I was close to the King because the closer he got to me the more my thoughts became filled with Him. My whole being, mind, body, and spirit were saturated with thoughts of how the Lord Jesus is wonderful, loving, merciful, and kind. Every breath spawned a myriad of new thoughts about his goodness. I could feel myself just floating around in his goodness.

The second reason I know that the King Eternal was near me was because he lifted my depression. He brought me ineffable joy! This is not just an aesthetic laughter; it is a renewal of hope, and a renewed certainty that tomorrow will be better then yesterday. This joy is the new wine of life that Jesus gives to the full. He has taught me that you cannot be depressed and be delivered at the same time. Wherever Jesus is, there deliverance is found. When Jesus walks in depression seeks a new address.

Thirdly, I knew that it was truly the King because all this joy was based on his sacrifice at Calvary. I was not joyful about one of my new accomplishment or a personal high achievement; in fact what I was joyful about was something that I had absolutely nothing to do with: Jesus died for me! In a split second I thought about the anguish of Gethsemane, the agonies of Calvary: the bloody sweat, the anguished crying, the lash on his back, the nails in His hands, the spikes in his feet, and the pain he suffered when separated from his Father.

It seemed like someone was standing near me reading out loud the words of Isaiah 53. I hear it even now:
“He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…Surely he has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53: 3-4). “I get joy when I think about just what he done for me.”

My shout didn’t start in earnest till the singer said:

“One day they led Him
Up Calvary’s mountain
That day when they nailed
Him to die on a tree”

It was the “dying on the tree” part that brought me into the Presence of the King of Glory. Every now and then I have to go back to Calvary. Sometimes the Lord has to remind me that “I am not my own. I have been bought with a price” (from I Cor. 6:19-20). Thinking about Jesus’ suffering at Calvary brought me into the Presence of the Lord. His Presence gave me joy.

If you want your joy back, stop thinking about what you are going through and start thinking about what He went through for you. Forget about your hardship and dwell on the suffering that Jesus experienced for you.

Did you know that the Passion of our Christ is so powerful that you can release deliverance just by contemplating it and praising God for it? If you praise God for the Passion of Jesus he will release great deliverance for you.

Read a portion of Isaiah 53 each day for seven days and think about it. Don’t ask God for a thing. Just read and think about his suffering. (The vision of Isaiah 53 actually begins in Isaiah 52:12).

Day 1: Isa. 52: 12- 53:1-2
Day 2: Isa. 53:3-4
Day 3: Isa. 53:3-4
Day 4: Isa. 53:5-6
Day 5: Isa. 53:7-8
Day 6: Isa.53:9-10
Day 7: Isa. 53:11-12

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Submitted to His Sovereignty

Yesterday, while reading the story of King David just to pass the time, I stumbled upon two very intriguing passages:

“If I fine favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back…But if….[not], then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him” (2 Sam. 15: 25, 26, NIV).
“If he is cursing [me] because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’….. Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today” ( 2 Sam.16: 10, 11-12, NIV).

I was arrested by King David’s patient surrender to the will of God in bad times. The background of the story is horrendous: The King and his entire household have been routed from Jerusalem, the capitol city, by his own son and heir, Prince Absalom.

Scholars are divided on why the Almighty allowed the revolt of Absalom to occur, or at least why it has such a prominent place in the narrative. Some say this record is intended to demonstrate God’s punishment in David’s life for his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and his subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah. Others say the rebellion of Absalom occurred because the King refused to do justice when his eldest son, Amnon, raped his half sister, Tamar.

In some eyes David is being punished for something he did do, while in others he is being punished for something that he did not do. In either case, all hell has broken loose in the life of the King, and David has to choose between running like a scared dog and fighting and killing his own son. What a dilemma! David chooses to run.

The first text is in response to a friend, Zadok the priest, who wishes to follow David and bring with him the Ark of the Covenant. David sends both Zadok and the Ark back to the city with these words: “If I fine favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if… [not], then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him”

The second text is David’s response to Shimei, an enemy, who has come out to curse the King during his darkest hour. The King’s nephew, Abishai, is head of the Secret Service, (captain of the King’s body guard) and a general in the army. General Abishai hears the cursing of Shimei, draws his sword, and is about to take Shimei’s head off when King David intervenes with the words of the second text.

It is in this sad hour, when King David is transformed from a mighty warrior to a man fleeing for his life, that he teaches us some very important lessons (or should I say the Lord uses him to teach us some very important lessons):

1. David saw the events of his life as coming from the Lord, not from Absalom. Here is a major truth: The setbacks and advancements of your life do not come from other people; they may come through them, but they actually come from God. If you and I could bring ourselves to see other people as the conduit or pipeline of our fortunes and not the source of them we would have a whole lot less people with whom to be angry and fewer people to hate. God either allowed the setback, disappointment, or downfall in your life or he sent it. This is the lesson of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane: ‘Father, you sent this my way. Show me how to endure it. Let your will be done.’ Jesus never prayed for the death of Pilate, the soldiers who beat him, or the destruction of the Jews who tried him. Stop being angry with the person who brought the trouble and get things right with the One who sent it or at least allowed it. “If I fine favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back…But if [not], then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”

2. David never carried a grudge against Absalom. He did not want revenge against his rebellious son. The Law of Israel clearly gave the father the authority of life and death over his children, especially a son. Absalom’s rebellion was not only high treason against the King’s majesty, it was also a just cause for any father in Israel to have his son stoned to death (See Deut. 21: 18-21). But King David walked away from revenge. He would not even allow it into his heart and mind. This is a tough one because every time someone does something to hurt us it is very easy to begin planning ways to “get back at them,” “to show them.” It’s natural and we do it all the time. When people hurt us, we try to conjure up ways to hurt them back. “Not so!” says King David. Revenge is a waste of energy and it will never get you what you really want, which is victory. Give up revenge. Put revengeful thinking out of your mind. “Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to.” “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake” (2 Sam. 18: 5).

3. David reckoned that not answering the pain that others brought to him was his investment in what God would give him later. David had a peculiar system of justice: it was not “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” It was this: “If you put my eye out, instead of me putting yours out, I will look to God who is able to give me sight in my hands, my ears, and my feet. I will see more and do more with this one eye than you will do with two eyes.” Why? Because God will give me something good for the evil that you gave me. "It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.”

These three things may be why the Bible remembers David as “a man after God’s own heart” (2 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22).

Turn your life around. Start looking to God as the source of your setbacks as well as your advancements. Regardless of what happens in your life submit yourself to the sovereignty of the Almighty God, because only he can turn midnight into noon day. He did it for David. He will do it for you.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ahab and Jezebel, Again!

In the ninth century before Christ a corrupt and evil regime came to power in the Kingdom of Israel. Ahab, a scion of the Omride dynasty, became king and his bride, Jezebel became queen (I Kgs. 16:21-28).

King Ahab and Queen Jezebel brought disaster to the Kingdom of Israel through their corrupt religious policy, flagrant disregard for human rights, and unwise foreign policy which sought war as a means of commerce. The totality of the administration of Ahab and Jezebel was gain, commerce, and increase “by any means necessary!” (See I Kgs. 19:1-2; chap. 21; 22:1-40).

When the reign of Ahab and Jezebel was over the Kingdom was morally, economically, and socially weak, and almost bankrupt. Under the Ahab and Jezebel administration the rule of law was abandoned for the rule of the expedient. The currency was devalued and financial markets came to ruin. There was a run on the banks. War and militarism was the government’s stock in trade. Those who approved of the wars were rewarded; those who didn’t were defamed and imprisoned (I Kgs. 22: 8-18).

It is apparent from the reading of the text that King Ahab had little knowledge or stomach to rule. This he leaves to Queen Jezebel. Jezebel’s idolatrous and hypocritical religious policies made Israel morally weak. Jezebel obviously did not know that Israel’s strength was in its moral rectitude, not in its military. Once Jezebel had successfully destroyed that moral defense, the Kingdom was open for attack and subjugation.

It is because of the moral weakness developed during the Ahab and Jezebel administration that Israel became a target for ravenous nation-states around her. This weakness set in motion the total destruction of the nation and the exile of it’s inhabits only a few hundred years later.

The biblical chronicler records that Ahab was the worst king that Israel had ever had. He goes on the say that he was worst than all the other kings of Israel combined (I Kgs. 16: 30, 33).

What happened in ninth century Israel is happening again in twenty-first century America. Again, the son of a great family, George W. Bush, has come to power, and he has brought with him his own Jezebel, Dick Chaney. Like Ahab, Bush has neither the intelligence nor the will to govern a nation. This he has left to his Jezebel, Dick Chaney.

Bush and Chaney’s policies, like Jezebel’s, have resulted in the most disastrous outcomes that the nation has experienced in its history:
  1. Ten billion dollars a month for the war in Iraq that is the result of a planned series of lies for the purposes of personal aggrandizement and increasing the profits of corporations connected to the military-industrial complex.
  2. War on two fronts while this administration is in search of a third theater of war before it leaves office,
  3. International respect for the nation has fallen to its lowest since the nation has been in existence;
  4. Phenomenal mortgage failures: hundreds of thousands of people loosing their homes, thousands more can’t get a mortgage because the lending institutions are going out of business;
  5. The administration has used the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as a pretext to trample over the civil and human rights of American citizens just as Jezebel trampled over the rights of Naboth and his ownership of the vineyard.
  6. The cost of living is rising beyond the grasp of common people;
    Major financial institutions are failing in record numbers.
  7. We are on the brink of a major financial depression that will make the 1930’s look like a picnic.

    We are experiencing Ahab and Jezebel again. I wonder if McCain and Palin are intended to be follow ups to this act? Are they to be the new Ahab and Jezebel?

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The End Result of the Life of a Racist

1. Willie Rainach, (1913--1978): Segregationist Louisiana state legislator; founder of the White Citizens Councils in Louisiana. Built his reputation on trying to stop integration in Louisiana 1959-1963. Committed suicide January 26, 1978.

2. Theodore Bilbo, (1877—1947): Rabid racist Governor of and later U.S. Senator from Mississippi. Eloquent speaker. Champion race baiter. Whenever issues were too complicated Bilbo yelled racial epithets. Died of mouth cancer 1947.

3. Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connors, (1887---1973): Segregationist Commissioner of Public Safety of Birmingham, Alabama during height of Civil Rights Campaign. Brutalized civil rights protesters, including women and children, with high powered water hoses and police dogs. Confined to a wheel chair by a stroke from December 7, 1966 till his death 5 years later. Second stroke February 26, 1973. Died March 10, 1973.

4. George C. Wallace, (1919—1998): Segregationist Governor of Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. Nemesis of Dr. Martin L. King and President John F. Kennedy. Famous for standing in school house door at University of Alabama on June 11, 1963 to prevent the university from being integrated by two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood. Federal marshals and the Alabama National Guard federalized by President Kennedy made Mr. Wallace move and the students where admitted. Shot in Laurel, Maryland in an attempted assassination on May 15, 1972 by Arthur Bremer, a white man. Paralyzed thereafter from the waist down for the rest of his life. Died of septic shock from a bacterial infection in Montgomery, Alabama on September 13, 1998.

5. William James “Bill” O’Reilly, (1949----): Radio and television commentator with the attitude of Rainach, the verbosity of Bilbo, and a desire to use the tactics of Connors and Wallace. Threatened to “organize a lynching party for Michelle Obama.” Rabid racist under a thin sheet of respectability. Demise: choose from above.

“I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down.”

From the February 19 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly.

Nearly 400 years of slavery.

100 plus years of segregation and unequal treatment before the bar of justice.

Systemic social injustice designed to favor one group while disenfranchising others.

The reservation system imposed on Native Americans.

Is America a bad country and a flawed nation?

“The wheels of justice grind slow, but they grind exceedingly fine.”

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Testimony of a Man Who is Waiting

How can a person who is praying and hoping that God will do something continuously go around proclaiming that God will do it when it hasn’t happen yet? I mean, put yourself in this situation: Let’s say you’ve praying for something for years and nothing is happening. Instead of things getting better, they seem to actually be getting worse. Why should you greet each person you see a smile, and the comforting words, “It’s alright. God will deliver. He will make it alright? I know that God will answer?”

A series of questions like these came to mind as I sit in church this morning. The power of the anointing was flowing all about me. People were praising God in every square inch of the place. The praise music and the singing brought us as near heaven as we dared to go without assigned seats. As I was enveloped in praise these thoughts came to my mind,

“Why are you praising God and you’ve been waiting on Him to move for so long and nothing has happened. Why should you praise God? It seems like he has forgotten you. You have fasted and prayed, and fasted and prayed, and nothing has happened. He has given you a train load of ideas for ministry and no resources or opportunities to make the ministry happen. Mrs. Lot was right. You oughta curse your God and die…or at least die to the idea of ministry.”

But in the midst of these thoughts another voice invaded my thought life. I could hear this voice clearly. It said simply,

“Wait on the Lord because he has come through before!”

When I heard that in my spirit I went to “jump-city.” I went to praising God like there was no tomorrow. When I thought about how many times he has come through for me in times when I thought He had forgotten me, I said:

“It’s alright that he has not answered up till now. I am willing to wait.”

Before I could stop rejoicing over that reason another good reason to wait on God came to my mind; and that reason is simply because he promised.

The character of the Person making the promise is so good and upright that his promise is good even if he does not fulfill it for twenty years. When he does fulfill his promise, no matter how long it takes, it’s worth the wait.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bristol Palin's Baby's Father Speaks

While I am not in favor of supporting or not supporting political candidates based on their bedroom decisions or the sexual actions of those around them, I do hope the main stream media pursues the alledged paternity of Bristol Palin's baby as much as they pursued the Jeremiah Wright matter.
If Kevin, the African American young man on the video, is the baby's real father it should be known. Gov. Palin, her husband Todd, and Bristol should be asked why Levi Johnson was paraded on the world stage of the Republican National Convention as the baby's father, and not Kevin (if Kevin is the real father).
"Let justice roll down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream" Amos 5:24)

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 11, 2008

John McCain: Hero of the Republicans

John McCain is the same Senator from Arizona who was a part of “The Keating Five, a group of five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s” (See Keating Five, Wikipedia). On April 9, 1987 John McCain was present and involved in a two hour meeting where he and four other Senators tried to persuade federal regulators to back off a corrupt savings and loan that later collapsed and cost people their life’s savings and coast the federal government about 2 billion dollars.

The group was named after Charles H. Keating, Jr., a fat act who owned American Continental Corporation, and who later spent five years in prison for his crimes of corruption. American Continental Corporation owned Lincoln Savings and Loan of Irvine, California. Mr. Keating turned Lincoln Savings and Loan into his own slush fund and got the Senators to help keep the regulators from taking it over until it was too late. “More than 21,000 mostly elderly investors lost their life savings. This total came to about $285 million” (Wikipedia).

“McCain and Keating had become personal friends following their initial contacts in 1981.[8] Between 1982 and 1987, McCain had received $112,000 in political contributions from Keating and his associates.[14] In addition, McCain's wife Cindy McCain and her father Jim Hensley had invested $359,100 in a Keating shopping center in April 1986, a year before McCain met with the regulators. McCain, his family, and their baby-sitter had made nine trips at Keating's expense, sometimes aboard Keating's jet. Three of the trips were made during vacations to Keating's opulent Bahamas retreat at Cat Cay. McCain did not pay Keating (in the amount of $13,433) for some of the trips until years after they were taken, when he learned that Keating was in trouble over Lincoln.[6][15]

“The Ethics Committee ruled that the involvement of McCain in the scheme was also minimal, and he too was cleared of all charges against him.[17][16] McCain was criticized by the Committee for exercising "poor judgment" when he met with the federal regulators on Keating's behalf.[6]

On his Keating Five experience, McCain has said: "The appearance of it was wrong. It's a wrong appearance when a group of senators appear in a meeting with a group of regulators, because it conveys the impression of undue and improper influence. And it was the wrong thing to do."[6]

The people who planned the Republican National Convention did not remember the Keating Five. They did not mention it once. They never once mentioned those 21,000 people who lost their savings because John McCain was pushing for the fat cat and not the underdog. I wonder why?

The convention planners baptized us with repeated reverences to John McCain as a war hero and a prisoner of war. But at no point did anyone say that the Vietnam War was another unprovoked and undeclared war that represented American adventurism and raw aggression.

No one dared say that “the root eating slant eyed Viet Cong” whipped the Americans and sent them home with their tails between their legs. No one dared say that we lost the war because the Viet Cong were fighting for their homes and families while most Americans saw the war as unjust blatant raw aggression.

And no one dared to point out that John McCain was most likely spewing napalm and Agent Orange over Vietnamese villages to kill foliage, women, children, and livestock; in short anything that breathed. I am befuddled by the constant attempt to make service in the Vietnam War equal with service in World War II or any other noble conflict.

Just because the nation’s leaders decide to go to war in some foreign land does not make the war just or right. The Vietnam War was wrong. It cost Lyndon Johnson the goodwill of the people and a second term in his own right. And it cost America a generation or two of healthy minded young men and women. It scarred us internally and around the world.

A person of no social consciousness and no moral compass was sitting in the White House just as the nation was being healed from the bubonic plague of Vietnam. What does he do: He takes the tragedies of 9/11 and uses them as a pretext to re-invent Vietnam. Iraq is our new Vietnam.
So now instead of two generations of prosperity and hope, the Republicans are getting ready to give us two generations of quagmired suffering as we pick the sores and bury the dead from this plague also.

The Republicans talked a lot about the “surge” and how it’s working. But no one at any time said, “We should not be in Iraq in the first place. What we are doing there is wrong and it cannot succeed. The war is based on a lie and “no lie can stand.” Even if we win the war, we have planted such seeds of hatred and vengeance that our children and grandchildren will pay the price for this aggression.”

Not one Republican had enough guts to say that in Iraq even the people who like us also hate us and want us to leave. Not one Republican had enough guts to say that when we leave all that we have gained will be lost. Utter chaos will ensue as soon as the American troops have left. So then the trillions of dollars that we have spent there and the thousands of lives that we have lost there will be in vain. What difference does it make if the surge is working? The desert will reclaim what you have spilled your blood to build.

Martin King told us two generations ago that if America did not repent from its arrogance “God will rise up and break the back bone of her power.” We are almost there.

What McCain did in 1989 with the Keating Five, he is now doing with the Bush Four (Bush, Chaney, Rumsfield, and Rice): he doesn’t actually do the work of the wolf; he just keeps the sheep looking the other way until its too late for the sheep to escape. McCain tells sheep that wolves are safe. They are not; they are wolves!

* All the material in this article referring to the Keating Five is from "The Keating Five" article at Wkipedia.

"Let justice roll down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream."

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The speechifying, pontificating, and parading of the politicians and the punditry of the Republican National Convention has been over now for about five days. As expected John McCain and his running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, have received a “bump” in the polls. In some polls McCain-Palin lead Obama-Biden by 5 to 10 points. McCain and Palin have unleashed new television ads proclaiming themselves as “mavericks.”

This is pure nonsense. How can anyone who has voted for foolishness 90% of the time be a maverick from the same foolishness? It seems that Sarah Palin may have been a maverick from her husband a couple of times, but that’s about as far as her maverick moves have gone.

The Republican Convention was nonsense. It claims to be the party of morality and “Christian values;” yet it paraded before the country a list of people with the worst moral records of anybody in politics. Rudy Giuliani was one of their main speakers. This is the man who declared war on African Americans in New York City by basically telling the police, “If he is black, shoot to kill.”

When the nation and the city of New York went on a natural cycle of decrease in crime (probably occasioned by fewer births 18 to 20 years prior), Giuliani said that his polices brought about the decline. In other words, there were fewer criminals in New York City because the police killed all the black suspects on the street.

Every time I think of Giuliani I think of Abner Louima, a man brutalized by Giulinai’s ploice; and Amadou Diallo an innocent man killed by the same highly praised “men in blue.”

Giuliani is also the guy who began dating Judith Nathan (his present wife) while he was still married to Donna Hanover. He filed for divorced from Donna while they were both still living in Gracie Mansion. I happened to be in New York City on the day when Donna Hanover heard that Rudy Giuliani had filed for divorce: she heard it on the news the same as the rest of the city.

Don’t be angry with Giuliani. He was just following the pattern set down by his mentors Newt Gingrich and John McCain: both divorced their wives to marry younger women. At least Donna Hanover was not on her sickbed when she discovered that her sanctimonious husband was breaking vows that he made to God and her to marry a hot young thing.

Remember this is the party that gave us Mark Foley whose reputation with young boys is as bad as any Catholic priest. They also gave us the pit bull dog Tom Delay who flaunted the Constitution and tried to ignore the courts until someone showed him that not everybody was stupid.

Corruption. Speakers: DeLay, Cunningham, Cheney
Incompetence. Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney
Hypocrisy. Bush, Cheney, Foley, Craig, McCain
Constitution trampling. Bush, Cheney, Gonzales
(I copied the above from a

There was a speech by George W. Bush, the “Idiot-In-Chief.” Every time I see or hear of this guy I wonder, “How is it that Clinton could get impeached for having sex and lying about it and this guy lied to lead the nation into an unnecessary war where billions of dollars are wasted and thousands of lives are destroyed and few people in Congress have even pronounced the word “impeachment.”

Congress will have to pay for this misjudgment. But I hope that Bush doesn’t think that getting by and getting away are the same thing. They are not! “There is a law of justice and of retribution at work in the world. The arch of the moral universe is long but it bends towards right.”

The biggest piece of nonsense offered by this party was Sarah Palin. John McCain must be an artist because he found a canvass with nothing on it. She has absolutely no experience of any note to do anything like lead a sizeable government. And like most moralist, her biggest failings seem to be in the one area that she champions most: fidelity and family life. The internet blogs and the tabloids are full of stories of her infidelities.

The mainstream media is beginning to check her on some of her outright lies, such as her supposed opposition to the so-called “bridge to no where.” Maybe by the time the media gets through investigating her lovers, lies, and the ongoing investigations about her abuse of power we will know if she is really a “pit bull” with lips stick or just another term for a female dog in the heat of ambition.

While Sarah Palin and Giuliana made fun of Obama’s work as a community organizer I was waiting to hear some one describe anything that she had done to bring about community or to organize anything. Sarah Palin is a rubber stamp for someone and we have to find the identity of that person.

At the Republican Party Convention the fat cats from Halliburton, Citibank, Exxon, Texaco, BP, Boeing, Countrywide, Texas Instruments, and a thousand other multinational corporations said to the majority of American voters, “We think that you are so stupid that we can nominate a ham sandwich and win the election as long as the sandwich is the right color and repeats the right catch phrases.”

Looks like there maybe some truth in the assertion.

“Let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Four Reasons Why America Needs John McCain

After eight years of the most disastrous foreign and domestic policy this country has seen since the Great Depression, America needs John McCain for the following reasons:

1. Eight years of George Bush has not made America economically or morally weak enough. We need fewer jobs, a smaller tax base, and millions more poor, desperate and hungry people. We need more home mortgage failures, more bank closers, more failing schools, and more factory closers. John McCain will give this to us.

2. Only rich and powerful people (who can afford seven homes) deserve the best healthcare. To provide healthcare to everyone is both un-Christian and un-democratic. Universal healthcare is an evil plot hatched by the devil to create a level playing field for everyone. If this country adopts universal healthcare the child born to poor parents will have the same chances of growing and being healthy as the child born to rich parents. John McCain will stop this evil plot.

3. The idea of American imperialism must be preserved. We must preserve the idea that the whole world will jump when America says “jump.” Therefore any common sense approach such as “diplomacy” must be shelved. In order to retain our greatness we must be at war in everyplace on the globe where people are not doing as we want them. We rejoice at seeing our sons and daughters brought home in body bags, or with their limbs blown away, or with their minds destroyed by war. John McCain will go to war at the drop of a hat.

4. Our standing as a moral leader in the world has not been sufficiently damaged by the Iraq war. We need John McCain, Dick Chaney, and Donald Rumsfeld to come back and finish assuring the world that America is a nation led by the immoral, doing the unconscionable, for reasons that are unwise, while proclaiming that which is untrue. John McCain will continue the polices of our present “Idiot-in-Chief,” and soon no nation on earth will respect us for our “moral leadership.” Go McCain!!! Take us all the way down.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, September 1, 2008

Kick the Government and the Media Out of Your Bedroom

By now you have heard about John McCain’s V.P. choice, Governor Sarah Palin, and her 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy. The first news I heard was that Governor Palin’s youngest son, Trig, is actually her daughter Bristol’s child.

The rumor went on to say that Governor Sarah covered her daughter’s pregnancy and pretended that daughter Bristol’s baby was actually the governor’s. Now the blogosphere, cable, and network news are a-wash in Hurricane Gustav and “whose pregnant” stories.

I am greatly relieved that the story about Governor Palin and her son, Trig, is not true, at least I hope that it is not. I am glad that this story is not true because had it been there is no doubt that the media would have focused our attention away from issues of substance to intricately investigate every fleck and speck of what is now being called “baby-gate.”

We will still be feted with unsolicited information about 17 year old Bristol and her soon to be husband Levi: who he is, where she got pregnant, how many times they had sex, did they use a condom?, etc, etc.,

My problem with this kind of information as it regards a presidential campaign is two-fold. First, I am sick and tired of bedroom issues defining who is and who is not qualified to lead or be a part of government.

What happens or doesn’t happen in a person’s bedroom life should not be the factor to determine his/her eligibility for public office. I would like to see politicians move away from building their careers on decisions about what goes on people’s bedrooms, either other people’s or their own.

Does anyone remember Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and the fifty million dollars that Kenneth Star spent investigating the affair? President Clinton lied when asked about the affair and was then the subject of impeachment proceedings.

The most important matter that led up to the impeachment was whether or not the president lied about the affair. But for me that is not the most important matter. The most important matter is that the president should not have been asked if he was having an affair in the first place. Government has no business in the bedrooms of free people.

My only problem with the supposed arrangement concerning Governor Palin’s son, Trig, (when it was supposed that the baby was actually her daughter Bristol’s child), is the element of lying, deception, and hypocrisy. While I believe she should have the same privacy I would accord Bill Clinton, I think it would be wrong to pass off a baby as yours to conceal that your daughter has had a child.

This would be a deception not for privacy, but to buttress a certain image, and thereby to gain political advantage. But absent these factors, I see no problem with her adopting and raising her grandson, if he is her grandson.

My second problem with this story is why the media had to make Bristol’s pregnancy “news.” If the only news is that Governor Palin’s 17 year old daughter is pregnant, I do not see this as news at all, “except…!” It’s not news except that Governor Palin’s positions on sex education, use of condoms and other birth control measures, makes it news.

She opposes every measure that would give women and girls, especially poor woman and girls, a fighting chance at succeeding in life, without the struggle to raise unwanted children. If Governor Palin had supported measures that would have allowed her daughter and her boyfriend (and others) to get the proper information, Bristol might not be pregnant today. "An ounce of prevention is worth..." At least its worth not being pregnant and not having to consider abortion.

In my opinion Governor Palin is the quintessential “bedroom issue politician.” The crux of this kind of politics is this: “Don’t think about the senseless war, or the failing mortgage situation, inadequate healthcare, and the crumbling infrastructure.

Don’t put your mind on the ten billion dollars per month that we are wasting in Iraq, while Americans are loosing their standard of living and being put out of their homes; don’t think about failing schools and the fact that America has one of the highest dropout rates in the Western world---just keep your mind on this one important truth: “If you elect me, I will stop all this illicit sex!!!” That’s a key plank in the Republican platform.

I don’t care who had whose baby or who is having a baby for whom. When it comes to government I want to know, “How are we going to stop this senseless war that is draining our young people of life, limb, and sanity, our families of sons and daughters, and our pockets of much needed treasure?”

I want to know, “How are we going to stop the endless flow of jobs out of America, and when are we going to begin creating good jobs in America that will pay a living wage?” Forget who had a baby or who is going to have one.

I want to know when is government going to make the oil companies do what is right and responsible: stop price gouging the public with gas prices so steep that the average American can hardly afford to drive a car if they own one?

When is every American going to have adequate healthcare? When will sick people no longer have to choose between buying medicine or buying food?

When is government going to scrap the policy that if your elderly parents are sick and need nursing home care, they have to be broke and penniless before the government will help?

When will the American government use its considerable resources to train people who want to work and then put them to work rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure of our nation?

When will I be able to fly from Chicago to St. Louis without having to go to the airport two days before my flight leaves and then have to take off my clothes in public in order to board the flight?

Why does my government supply millions of dollars for students from foreign countries to go to college here but I have to mortgage my rear and my future to get a bachelor’s degree?

Not long ago in Minnesota a bridge spanning the Mississippi River collapsed. Many people died and many were injured. Here we are in the midst of a campaign to elect the person who will set the agenda for our nation and the priorities for our spending, and what’s in the news? Sarah Palin’s baby or Sarah Palin’s baby is having a baby! Give me a break!

Get out of people’s bedrooms and do the work the media was created to do: expose government so that it will do what it is supposed to do.

Labels: , , , , , , ,