Monday, July 28, 2014
Many of you will remember that famous line from the television program, Dallas, as the world as glued to the screens after old J.R. Ewing, scumbag of the world, was shot. There were bets being made in Las Vegas on the revelation of who actually shot old J.R. Weekly the show's writers would have people going down rabbit trails in the story lines in trying to ascertain who actually finally shot the worst man every shown on TV for he has developed every terrible plan to upset applecarts in business and personal relationships. We all wanted to hate old J.R. and how he kept making life awful for Bobby and Sue Ellen. Cannot believe I remember that but hey, it made a point!
Well here we are in the summer of 2014 with so many J.R.'s shooting and rocketing each other and the media machines are in ultra high gear spinning, yes, spinning, their propagandist musings on actually what is happen and to whom. If you read and listen long enough, you would begin to thin it is all the Easter bunny's fault or even still George W or maybe it was Eisenhower's fault. Hum, let me ponder that one for a minute or two!
Yesterday I swapped some email messages with a wonderful former student that lives near that troubled zone and is a native of one of those nations. I admire her, respect her and I know she will always speak her heart and her mind. So I asked the question about her opinion of what is happening in Israel, Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, etc for she is from the general region, is well educated in America and is a business partner with her family in her native country; a country that has tremendous influence on that region. Her response affirmed all over again that history is much stronger in its hold than the TV reports meaning that she "hated Israel" for doing what they are doing in Gaza. That caused me to take pause and get past the scab of emotion and being an American in seeking to fully understand such blatant thoughts about Israel in 2014 by a very smart young lady and professional.
Further, it affirmed that the hate focused toward Israel as a nation and as a people has not changed since Old Testament times for I am reading through the Old Testament daily and just finished II Kings this morning. You can readily see the seeds of the angst and hate 3,000 years ago recorded for humanity to study that takes us, the world, to where we reside today. My first reaction to the comment was to feel aghast at such a harsh response to a nation and a people that has suffered literally forever. But you also learn over time and perception is reality so if the perception of Israel is that of only wanting to occupy and annihilate another neighbor people, there are not words today from me that will change that. But my mind went strategically to how the media has shown itself to be so integral to crafting mindsets. We saw that with Goebbels in Hitler's time in altering the minds of an entire German people toward an entire race, the Jews, to the point of seeking to annihilate that race. Yes, it can happen today!
The spin machines are in hyper-drive and it is amazing how convincing they can become. When I listened to the theory yesterday that Israel knew that if they attacked Hamas, it would give Israel the green light to attack Gaza. My heart sank in realizing that literally daily Hamas has rocketed Israel for months and spent billions of aid money, Hamas, building tunnel networks from Gaza into Israel for the apparent purpose of attacking Israeli positions. I just found that logic totally wrong but then in a flash realized that history, culture and media and focus a mindset, a paradigm, in any direction and almost nothing will change that include truth and rational logic. Yes, I am pro-Israel for the Bible is quite clear on whose side He reside as do I. But I also seek to want to understand the continuing generational desire to see Israel removed from the world's maps even in the minds of educated, intelligent, young people; it is simply amazing to me!
The last twenty-four hours have been another dose of reality to me in how the power of media can alter anything. We are all tired of seeing the MH17 photos, remember MH370, yes, still missing, the thugs in the Ukraine anger us at their coldness on the whole matter. We are just overwhelmed by the rampant and escalating hostilities in the Middle East with this Israel / Palestinian debacle residing at the center of the vortex of violence. Will it stop? Well, yes ... until the rearming is uploaded and it will start again and again and again; that is the nature of Israel's existence; just like in the Old Testament. You should read it; please!
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I awoke earlier than normal this morning and realized it a wonderful time to sit quietly and pray even before I opened my computer to the array of very predictable helpings of bad, sad news. I listened to a sermon last night at our Summer Bible Conference to the heart of a grandfather, 73 years old, wrestling with the reality of a dying seven year old grandson. While I did not know I "needed" his words when the service began, my family heart was deeply touched in thinking of the reality of this life and how we, those left, deal with it.
As I opened my computer to my daily dose of news from six or eight news courses, unsurprisingly, I began to read of pressure being placed on Israel to basically lighten up on Hamas, a play we have seen too many curtain calls on in the last few years. Over a hundred rockets EACH DAY still rain down on Israel from Gaza and Israel, as Israel does best, is rooting out the scum adn thugs that use their own people for wrap-around protection, the world is now pleading with Israel to please stop hurting Hamas due to the casualties. Then I see where there is talk of adding anti missle hardware and software to commercial jetliners and I just scratch my head as how our world is spinning from a vortex into a full scale tornado with gale force winds. Then I went to the tears I shed, again, watching the Medal of Honor awarding to the Army sergeant and my faith in our men and women in uniform was rekindled while our political leadership seemingly grows weaker and more polarized. These shreds of "evidence" are picked as the foundation blocks to illustrate just how juxtaposed our world is with no improvement churning in in our direction from the horizon.
I wrote a blog a few days ago on being STUNNED and that term perfectly illustrates, I believe, how the inhabitants of our global village are feeling. When will this all stop? How can this be? Surely it is not really that bad? What does God have against us? What have we done to deserve this? Have you not asked yourself at least two of those questions in the last five days in the quietness of your heart? Certainly you have!
One of the reason humans, me for instance, detest the sense of being stunned is that you are temporarily out of control thus vulnerable to external forces which creates this innate sense of panic and desire for flight. But when you stop and realize that there really is no place to run nor can you hide from this tsunami of craziness that is seemingly engulfing our world, we either withdraw to this place of solitude to ignore the winds that smell horrible or we rise up and face the oncoming craziness. I choose option B which is to stand to, stand tall and lean into the winds that pelt us with fear and doubt. Anybody wish to join me in that small, elite, ever shrinking platoon?
From that hurting grandfather last night I was reminded that God did not create Man to hurt, to be sick nor to die as you can clearly read in the early chapters of the Book of Genesis. But then there is Chapter 3 which reality decries the dictates of the Creator when Adam and Even allowed Satan to slick-talk them into doing exactly what God told them not to do. So what we are seeing daily in our lives on this spinning rock began with that Satan-won victory over Man and thus sickeness, hurt and death were in the will that was written for Man's choice to go against God's masterplan. It really is just that simple and one can choose to believe I am just a simple man with white hair or you can go and read it for yourself; please do that!
This craziness and depravity are certainly hideous and that is the good news for the really bad news is that it will get worse. There are many Putins in this world all of which are witnessing the American inability to tamp down the bad guys through our abilty to project military force forward anywhere on this earth within twenty-four hours. We see just this week the emergence of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa fundamentally confederating to project to the world that they are 40% of the world's population and 20% of the world's Gross Domestic Product. They are further providing institutional alternatives to the way it has been after WWII with a new single currency, a new lending instituion that will replace the IMF and the World Bank. All of this to show us even more clearly that America's posh position int he world is now more rapidly a thing of the past and thus becoming another empire relic of history. Never could I have imagined I would witness so much in so short a period of time in my lifetime but reality is what it is.
Our future, our children, are not being educated and you have teacher unions fighting any semblance of attempts to improve the methods and means to correct the trajectory of ill prepared students for this very new world they will face. Our societal norms have now far surpassed concern for in this Age of Toleration, homosexuality, drug use, same sex marriages, abortions, etc, etc are now the norm but being the norm does not mean norm is right in God's Eyes. Wrong is always Wrong and what we have allowed, yes, allowed, to become a societal norm is both sad and atrocious. My wife and I are reading the Bible beginning with Genesis 1:1 and are now finishing 1 Kings. In this page by page account recorded as prophetic for the coming of Jesus, it is blatanttly obvious that God corrects His People harshly when they choose to disobey, to worship idols and to know seek Him. Oh, is that not exactly what we are witnessing on a grand scale today in our world?
Being at the center of the vortex of human endeavor in this twenty-first century is both frightening and numbing. Numbing, like a root canal, does not correct the decay but facilitates a few minutes of no pain which the decay is removed; it is an escape but again, only temporary. What the world village is feeling is this sense that the novocaine has worn off too quickly yet the pain is increasing! Yep, that is about right isn't it?
As I close, please know that God has purpose for each of us and one of those is to be encouraging to others that are hurting. I have so many friends that are experiencing horrific physical and emotional hurts this very day, this moment. All I can do to acknowledge the plight and lift them in prayer for God's calming, soothing hand of mercy. Further, I realize that my whole world could turn upside down this very day and it would be my hope and belief that some would surround me and my family in love, in care and in compassion. We need each other more fervently that we most times realize. This day, reach out and be a friend, an encourager for so many are scared, worried and downtrodden. Our jails and prison are bursting with hurt and disappointment as are our hospitals and nursing and assisted living homes. Visit one and just sit and chat for a few minutes and guess who will be blessed and lifted? That would be you!
I do not know how much more this world can take but I know that this world will be called on to take much more, much worse that what we have seen thus far. In other words, it is not just going to grow calm and evaporate into the air of the world. Our world is fundamentally flawed and mandates leadership to come together to find course corrections and strategy to turn the rudder of this mess. I fail to see that happening at least in the near term. That is truly sad!
Saturday, July 19, 2014
I think Stunned is a great descriptor for how much of the world is feeling in light of the latest catastrophic event, the downing of the Malaysian jet liner; actually the second one. I just saw a wife of a victim of the still missing Malysian jet liner theorizing that perhaps it is Malysian Airlines that is being targeted so the conspiracies begin. I am not making light of that for last night I watched a documentary on the explosion in 1986 of TWA 800 outbound from JFK in New York and you could see that to this very day families do not believe a word of the government investigation reports and findings. The photos this morning from the crash site are simply wrenching in trying to imagine and that is the point, a normal human cannot imagine what happened, how it could happen, could it happen again, etc, etc.
With all the chaos of questions and desire to blame whoever to comfort our angst, I believe at the 30,000 foot view we are, as a global people, a new, frightening sensation deep in our psyche which is that the world as we know it is imploding politically, diplomatically, economically and societally. I watched an interview yesterday where the person being interviewed, I believe her name was Hillary Clinton, yes, that is it, spoke about a BRICS conference designed to develop the architecture for the "de-Americanization of the global economy. Brazil, Russian, India, China and South Africa; BRICS, see the horizon and they do not see the Stars and Stripes atop Suribachi any longer; it that simple. Debt, national leadership inepitude, broken alliances, worry about America defaulting on our debts, etc, etc are all part and parcel of this growing cloud of suspicion and fear about the United States very existence as a republic. How could you not be concerned about that if you are and American or regardless of your national flag? We are not the America in which I grew up, careered, was educated; it is that simple.
Stunned is a horrific sensation for if you have ever been hit in the chest or fell on a playground on your back and had the breath knocked out of your lungs, you can recall vividly that sense of panic that consumed you for a few staggering moments. I think the world has had the breath knocked from our lungs as we are trying through a sense of quiet panic to bring meaning to all of the angst blazing around us. Every where you turn, Chicago murders, increasing fuel prices, scandals, Middle Eastern debacle on a grand scale, BRICS taking more and broader control initiatives, America being ignored thus becoming more targetable; all of this and many more are a collage of a transforming world; not just America.
As Ms Clinton rightly stated yesterday, "America cannot solve all the problems of the world but there are no world problems that can be solved without the United States .." So in essence what she is stating is that our sheer presence and projectionable power is no long what distinguishes America but our size, reach and influence is still sought almost as a last resort I think it fair to posit. America is moving headlong into a more French or German model for I have worked and lived extensively in those regions and I see clearly how this Administration seems committed to moving America societally in that direction. I find that sad!
Is there hope? Am I wrong? How wrong or how right am I? Yes there is hope but it begins, I believe in my heart, for a better America beginning at the values level. Our value systems in this nation are abyssmal and worsening daily it seems. I see it all the time laced in the many jail inmates I work with weekly. Am I wrong? Me thinks not but then, I am very biased on that aren't I?
Change and transformation begins at the top; always! Leaders lead and lead by example. We are lacking positive, illustrative, driven leadership that inspires and causes people to want to be better and stronger than they themselves feel they can be. As I have said too many times, this Administration and this Congress certainly do not fit the needs of this nation where we are now as I describe above. But I do not point fingers at them for it is we that put them there so it is we that must replace what is there in the republic system the Greeks and the Romans had trouble making work but we, America, are still trying!
My fundamental posit! Yes, it is bad and will worsen. Is it fixable? Only if we as a People turn back to our values and foundational principles upon which this nation was founded; a God and his Scriptures that define clearly how we are to act with God and how we are to act with each other. In this time of supposedly having to tolerate all religions, all societal values in the name of equality is simply not correct. If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything is one of my principles of live. So, really, what do you stand for? I stand for rights according to Scripture. I stand for the Bible. I stand for Jesus that gave His life for my salvation and assurance of a home in Heaven with Him when this crazy life is over. THAT IS WHAT I STAND FOR!
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Yesterday I went to a movie and the context of the movie was that very point. I did not care for the movie for it was very biased and inflammatory with a blatant political agenda threaded through it but the context of the movie has stayed with me. I have never not known America as you will agree with in your own lives. I have, however, seen much of the world outside of American geography but never too far from American influence and respect I might add. Working in over forty nations on three continents gives you a sense of perspective about being an American I believe so to try and envision our world, today, with not America is, frankly, impossible.
There was a brief snippet in the movie showing Bono speaking to the fact that America was and is and idea and an experiment much more than just a nation. He stated that his own country, Ireland, is a country but not an idea. That concept has probed deeply into my brain in realize just how true that really is today. There is so immeasurably too much hostile, negative, biased "toleration" rhetoric on the airwaves and wireless pathways of our American lives each of which seem to be chipping away at the foundation of the "idea" of America. I have been watching the great author, David McCullough, talking about the Founding Fathers, Washington, the rag tag Army against the largest and best equipped and trained army on earth at that time, the British Army. Even through horrific, costly defeats, no money, no gunpowder, not international coalitions, Washington's Army met victory providing the tactical grounding to make the Declaration of our Independence a realty. There is a great parallel to the Battle of Antietem and the Northern victory in 1862 providing Lincoln with that same grounding to enact the Emancipation Proclamation that was, thus, forged in blood. The America as an Idea is intriguing to me the more deeply I ponder it through the prism of hate and angst of the twenty-first century.
When you read the papers, the Great Papers, of our founding and about the framers and writers of those papers, God and His Countenance loom foremost in their words and deeds. How then in 2014 have we evolved so far from those principles one must ask? The Bible was central to the logic and sentiments of our nation's Founders and there is abundant evidence in writings to affirm that. But today, through political activism, court decisions, misguided legislation and unchristian leadership, we have moved to a position of being told we are a nation of "toleration." We as Americans must be tolerant of every and any lifestyle and action even thought that action and lifestyle run directly against the clear principles stated in the Bible and as well written in the founding papers of our nation, the Idea. The real problem is that when you hear wrong so many times and in so many ways, it begins to feel less wrong doesn't it?
America, the Idea, has been the search engine for more innovation than any nation every in the history of Man. America has generated more wealth than any nation every conceived and educated more people that almost all nations combined. American management style and systems are still sought globally due to its effectiveness. America's military might and projectionablity has not equal. So given all of that very short list of Americanisms, how and why has America lost not only its footing but its spirit of being the glowing Idea people for generations to this very day yearn to come here and to be part of the Idea or the Dream many call it?
I believe that America has moreorless turned its collective back on the very principle of God that was so central to our founding and the bloodsoaked pathway through the 300 years. I believe we have chosen as a nation and through the legislative and judicial systems been led to believe that anything and pretty much everything is tolerable when it is clearly stated in the Bible what marriage is, that aberrant sexual activity is damnable and will b punished by God with much evidence in the books of the Bible for proof. I could go on and on listing the things that I believe people in America that love this nation find detestable but fall into that wonderful peaceful place of quiet surrender; a cauldron of the uncaring will lead to the forging of absolute wrong in the society that has grown cancerous and defunct.
Has America been good for the world? Absolutely for many hard fought, measurable reasons. But the America in which I was reared, schooled, careered, wore the warrior cloth, taught the next generation, see in orange jumpsuits as prisons by the hundreds of thousands all tell me something is badly adrift in our America today and I am not sure it is reversable for the tides of toleration are drowning out the silented sense of what is truly right in God's eyes. I have written many times that right is right and wrong is wrong and no amount of wrong will ever make a wrong, right! I fear as a nation we have lost sight, frankly of what is Right in the eyes and writings of our God for He is OUR GOD. God has to be so displeased with His people and we see in the Bible how God dealt with His people when he became displeased. I cannot imagine, frankly, why God has not brought great tribulation to this earth with the depth and breadth of decay that is so evident in this nation.
When I look at my five grandchildren, I find myself cringing at the world in which they will grow up in and work and live and have families. The bad part of bad is that it continues grow worse. Each day I am reminded of the depravity of man's ability to inflicted anguish on others be they children, family or friends or complete strangers. I watch thousands of prisoners each year incarcerated for vast numbers of reasons shed tears and plead for forgiveness for their acts in a church setting and then realize it is not only they that are in the prison but their children, their families, their capabilities; all by and for poor choice. Then I come of the prison and realize the world in which we live today is exactly the same in poor choices and with poor choices comes bad consequence. Bigger government is not the salve to fix the ills of society by any stretch. More food stamps, hoards of social worker and therapists are not the answer as numerical evidence will affirm. Our world, the Idea of America, is sick from self incrimination and losing sight of that very Idea that made us great I am convinced.
America, in my humble opinion, needs a great Awakening to what God would have us do and be which is quite different than what politicians, pundits, polls, media, movements by any name or set of letters might try to convince us to be. Our nation needs to return to the God of our nation that is so evident in the writings and in the very papers that made us who and what we were, past tense. Can we be that nation again? Only you can answer but as the Bible clearly states ..."as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" And like the great song says, there's room at the cross for you! Join me, please!