Thursday, December 30, 2004

BOOK REVIEW. David Heddle, who has a great blog over at, has written a book and I am going to review it. David is a physicist and a student of the Bible. His current series on early church history is both educational and fascinating. You should go there and read it. His book is a novel. It this age of technology, he sent it to me electronically and I will read it on my laptop computer. I plan to start on New Year's Eve.

I admire almost anyone who can complete a book, whether ficition or non-fiction. I have started several, but never completed one. It is a large amount of work. Congratulations, David.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

CREEPY STUFF IN THE NEWS. A woman in Maryland has had her own grandchildren. Really. When her daughter and son in law could not conceive, this woman volunteered to carry the babies. The doctors fertilized her daughter's eggs with her son in law's sperm and an embryo was created. The embryo was implanted in the grandmother, who is 55 years old.

The grandmother has now given birth to triplets, as is often the case when doctors mess with the natural process.

So, the gestational mother is the genetic grandmother. The genetic mother is the gestational sister. That sounds like a bad country and western song, doesn't it? Or life in Arkansas?

I find this all creepy and unsettling. I am not much of one for messing with the reproductive process anyway. But, this raises a lot of issues that doctors cannot resolve by chemistry.

I think I prefer that babies come into the world in the normal way and we let God decide who has kids and who does not. Wow, there is something the Pope and I agree on.

There is something we don't agree on, however, and it is creepy item number two. The Pope is trying to bury the axe with the Orthodox church, so he in un-burying some saints. John Chrysostom and Gregor Nazianzen were big in the Orthodox church. They were buried in Constantinople, now Istanbul. When the Catholics were tuning up for the Fourth Crusade, they took a detour to Constaninople in 1204, sacked it, and stole the bones of these two saints. They also raped women and children, stole art, gold, and silver, spreead animal excrement in the cathedral, and generally amused themselves at the expense of the Orthodox. The Pope had already excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople about 150 years before. However, there is not much that can be done about that now. The bones of the dead saints are a different matter.

One problem, however is that John Chrysostom is also a "Doctor of the Church" for the Romans.
Therefore, it is thought that the Pope will hang onto some of John's bones. They call them Relics by the way, which sounds much better than bones, corpses, dead bodies, and other more accurate descriptions.

Can you imagine a bunch of Baptists digging up Spurgeon and carting his corpse around?

The world is a creepy place.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

THE VALUE OF EXPERIENCE. Good judgment comes from experience. Most experience comes from bad judgment.

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.
QUOTE OF THE DAY. "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies." Gore-Lieberman campaign manager Donna Brazile. Well, Donna, you just can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Sunday, December 26, 2004




8:1-4 (No Condemnation)

This great verse tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. “Condemnation” means a judicial declaration that you are guilty of sin and must face punishment. You might here a news report that a murderer was condemned to death. That person has been found guilty of a crime and sentenced the punishment of death.

In our situation, we are found guilty of being sinners and condemned to death unless we believe in Christ. John 3:18 tells us that whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

However, those who are “in Christ” are not condemned. God does not look at us and see as sinners He condemns. He sees us “in Christ”. So, you do not need to live your life as if God is mad at you or condemning you. He may discipline you along the way, but he will not condemn you.

This applies to those who are “in Christ”, those who have believed in him and been changed into children of God.

Verse 2 begins to tell us why we are not under condemnation. It is because we have been set free from the law of sin and death. (I do not think he is speaking of the commandments and ordinances here as the law of sin and death, but the power of sin in the lost person’s life.) Those who are saved live by the Spirit. Here he says the law of the Spirit. We have been set free from sin, death, and condemnation under the law because we have been saved to live by the Holy Spirit.

Verse 3 reminds us that the law was powerless to make us righteous because our sin natures weakened it or prevented it. Sinful people do not see the law as the path to righteousness. They see it as an unfair limitation on their freedom and will.

So, God fulfilled the requirements of the law by sending his Son in human flesh to be a sin offering (NIV), or “for sin” (ESV), or “on account of sin (NKJV). Christ fulfilled the law by living without sin. Hebrews 4:15 says he was tempted in every way just as we are, yet lived without sin. Christ also paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross for us.

This again shows God’s justice, although this passage does not mention it specifically. Verse 3 says that he condemned sin in sinful man. God is, therefore, the just judge of sin. But, the righteous requirements of the law were fully met in us. They were met when we accepted Christ as Savior by faith so that his righteousness was credited to us.

Who is “us”? It is the saved, the converted, the church. Verse 4 calls us those who live not according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit. Those who have believed and been redeemed, are now guided by the Spirit and do not live according to the sinful nature.

In John 14:16, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to us who believe. He is our Counselor or Helper (parakletos). He will provide us with encouragement, counsel, and strength. John 14:26 says the Holy Spirit will teach us. John 15:23 says the Father and Jesus himself will come and make their home with us.

8:5-8 (Flesh v. Spirit)

Paul offers us a contrast between those who live by God’s Spirit and those who live according to the flesh, or the sin nature. They do not want the same things. Galatians 5:17 tells us the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with ech other.

Here are the traits of those who live according to the sinful nature. First, they have their minds set on what that nature desires. The sinful nature desires stature or significance, and physical gratification in food, drink, drugs, and sex. These desires lead to the acts described in Galatians 5:19-21 and Matthew 15:19. So, we should not be surprised that people want to get drunk, take drugs, have sex outside of marriage, lie, cheat, steal, boast, and seek to justify it all. That is what the Bible says they will do.

Second, the mind of the sinful person is death. It is death in that it seeks the life of sin that leads to eternal death, and that is spiritually dead today. That life leads to dead thinking and dead feeling. Notice it is contrasted with the life and peace of the believer. The life lived according to the sin nature is ultimately meaningless and useless, so it leads to depression, emotional deadness and detachment, and confusion.

Third, the sinful mind is hostile to God. It is hostile in the sense that it is the opposite of what God wants for us. It is also hostile in the sense that sinful man opposes God and seeks to remove his influence. Welcome to America, where people want a king sized God eraser for our society. They want to remove the crèche from the lawn, God from the pledge, Christians from public discourse, and the Creator from Creation.

Fourth, the sinful mind cannot submit to God’s law and cannot please God. The sinful man can only become reconciled to God through accepting the work of Christ on his behalf and receiving salvation from him.

In contrast to the sinful mind or the person controlled by the sin nature\flesh, we have the person who lives in accordance with the Spirit. What are the traits of this person?

First, this person has their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The believer may stumble and sin, but his or her overriding desire is to do God’s will, to do what the Spirit desires. In John 14:15, Jesus said “if you love me, you will obey what I command.” The Believer, because he loves the Lord, wants to obey him by doing his will and living according to God’s instruction. He reads the Bible and applies it to himself. If the Bible says God loves humility and opposes pride, he examines himself for arrogance and conceit, repents if he finds it, and submits himself to God to sanctify his attitude. He becomes humble through the work of grace in his life and his submission to Jesus through his love for him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 tells the Spirit is transforming us into the Lord’s likeness with ever-increasing glory. The Spirit produces in us that fruit listed in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Second, the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. We have eternal life, we have spiritual life, because we have crossed over from death to live by faith. In John 14:27, Jesus told the Disciples “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Matthew 6:25-34 tells us not to worry about our physical life, for God knows what we need. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The mind of the Believer is in peace, because he trusts God with his present and his future, because he communes with God through the Spirit and he is a God of peace, and because the Believer, through the Spirit, learns the priority of living for God rather than for himself, and that brings order and peace to life.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

SCROOGING TOWARD CHRISTMAS. Go here to read Tech Central Station's many versions of The Christmas Carol.

The Christmas Carol, you may recall, is that Dickensian classic that virtually no one in America has ever actually read. Of course that is not saying much, as the vast majority of Americans have never read anything except the cable television guide. Most Americans have heard about the story and many dandy versions have been shown on television (that great conveyor of American culture or what passes for it).

I watched one that had Captain Picard in it (from Star Trek The Next Generation in case you have been in a convent for the last decade or so). I like Captain Picard because he was an Englishman playing a Frenchman in Outer Space (the real thing, not France) on American television. But, TV likes Picard, Patrick Stewart, because he has that lovely British accent which has a profound effect on Americans. Our forefathers hated the English accent so much they hid behind trees and shot at the English with muskets shouting "Speak English, you limey immigrants".

Now, however, Americans hear an English accent and they act like cats around catnip. People with accents just sound smarter, don't they. This is especially true if you grew up in Arkansas. (That was where Captain Kirk grew up. That is why he always spoke in those choppy, short sentences.)

I was disappointed with Pat's version of the play, however, because I kept thinking he would rip off that ridiculous night gown and have his Captain Picard uniform on under it. He would tap his communicator and yell "security to the Captain's quarters". (Actually, he did that all the time when Tasha Yar was security chief, so they quit answering. Or she would answer and say she had a headache.)

Then he would yell "phasers on stun" and shoot the ghost, who would really be a Klingon warrior in disguise.

Then Tiny Tim would rush in and restore order. He would look like Rike and Scrooge would call him Number One. Number One would say "God bless us everyone".

Picard would say "make it so".

Wouldn't that be great?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

SOLUS CHRISTUS. Jesus said to his disciples, Thomas in particular, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He was speaking of the way to heaven and the Father.

On other occasions, he said it in different ways. He told Nicodemus anyone who believes in him would have eternal life. He told the Samaritan woman at Sychar whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst and that water will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life. He told Jews who were plotting to kill him that whoever hears and believes his word has eternal life and will not be condemned, but will cross over from death to life.

He told the crowds he would give them food that endures to eternal life and that he is the bread of life. He said everyone who looks to him and believes in him will have eternal life and Christ will raise him on the last day.

Peter understood the message. In his first sermon, he said salvation is found in no one else but Jesus. There is no other name under heaven given to us by which we must be saved.

John understood the message. He said those who receive Jesus, those who believe in his name, receive from Jesus the right to become children of God.

Paul understood the message. He said the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The writer of Hebrews understood. He said we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.

James understood, though some have questioned. He said the Father chose to give us birth through the word of truth.

Jude understood it. He called Jesus our only sovereign and Lord, and ended his letter by saying “to the only God our savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore.”

There have always been those who cannot take Jesus at this word. Oh, they might believe he is the way to heaven, but surely something should be added. They usually add works of some sort, or ceremonies. The Jewish Christians wanted to add circumcision. Paul said no. Some want to add baptism, or membership in their church.

Some want to add good works. It is a shame that those who claim Peter as the founder of their religion do not understand the issue as Peter himself did. That made "Solus Christus" one of the cries of the Reformation. The Reformers wanted to return the church to Christ’s teaching: I am the way.

Some will accept Christ as the way, but want to include others. But Jesus said no one comes to the Father except through him. There is no other way. All roads may lead to Rome, but they do not all lead to eternal life.

Let’s cling to Jesus’ words today. He is the way. Let’s cling to the cry of the Reformation: Solus Christus.

Semper Reformata.

HOMEWARD BOUND. Go HERE to see a moving tribute to our troops. Here are the words to the song:

Homeward Bound

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red.
When the summer’s ceased its gleaming,
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning,I’ll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.

If you find it’s me you're missing, if you’re hoping I’ll return.
To your thoughts I’ll soon be list’ning, and in the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end.
And the path I’ll be retracing when I’m homeward bound again.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing,I’ll be homeward bound again.

-Music and Lyrics by Marta Keen

Before you open the gifts and eat the Christmas meal, say a prayer for those on duty in lands far away.

'TIS THE SEASON. Americans tend to believe something magic happens at Christmas that spreads good will among the populace. There was even a movie where the lead character exhorted the nation to extend this good will all year long.

Although there is a certain amount of gift giving and well wishing among friends, family and colleagues, I believe this general sentiment of good will is illusory. It is a figment of the imagination fueled by movies, sentimental songs, and delusional egg nog drinking.

We have, for example, been observing the holidays by having our cars robbed and vandalized. The College Girl's car was the first victim. Late night crooks bashed in the window and ripped out her stereo. This cost us some insurance deductible, rent car expenses, and lost time. Then, she parked my car in front of the house when she returned from college in it, only to have the window bashed in and her guitar stolen. Car insurance won't pay for the guitar, so add that expense to the previous mix.

I was working hard to get in the spirit this year. Usually I just don't make it, or don't make it there until Christmas Eve. I usually have deadlines at work, worry about how much money I'm spending, dread the choir Christmas party, and worry if the Little Woman will like my present to her.

This year, I even listened to some Christmas music, which normally drives me crazy. Really, if someone came here from another planet and listened to songs about sleighs, chestnuts, bells, and snow, they would think the whole population was on dope.

Anyway, I drank my coffee from the Christmas mug, wore the Christmas socks (although I wouldn't cross my legs), and generally tried to tune it up for Christmas.

Then, the two break ins.

Now I am back to thinking more about the depravity of man than I am peace and good will.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

FROM GEORGE MULLER. "While I was staying at Nailsworth, it pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, irrespective of human instrumentality, as far as I know, the benefit of which I have not lost, though now, while preparing the eighth edition for the press, more than forty years have since passed away. The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as a habitual thing, to give myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning.

Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord. I began, therefore, to meditate on the New Testament from the beginning, early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord's blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. When thus I have been for awhile making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it; but still continually keeping before me, that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, and intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart. Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, very soon after, I have found to become food for other believers, though it was not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word that I gave myself to meditation, but for the profit of my own inner man.

The difference then between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events, I almost invariably began with prayer, except when I felt my soul to be more than usually barren, in which case I read the Word of God for food, or for refreshment, or for revival and renewal of my inner man, before I gave myself to prayer. But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even an hour, I only then begin really to pray. I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.
It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time, except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as every one must allow. Now what is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.

I dwell so particularly on this point because of the immense spiritual profit and refreshment I am conscious of having derived from it myself and I affectionately and solemnly beseech all my fellow-believers to ponder this matter. By the blessing of God I ascribe to this mode the help and strength which I have had from God to pass in peace through deeper trials in various ways than I had ever had before; and after having now above forty years tried this way, I can most fully in the fear of God, commend it. How different when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what it is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day come upon one!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

FOR MY PREACHER FRIENDS. "Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good earnest. You cannot break men's hearts by jesting with them, or telling them a smooth tale, or patching up a gaudy oration. Men will not cast away their dearest pleasures upon a drowsy request of one that seemeth not to mean as he speaks, or to care much whether his request be granted." Richard Baxter

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

RELIGIOUS PRINICPLES. So, Buddha walks into a stop and rob and buys a hot dog and a large cup of coffee. The clerk rings up the sale and says "that'll be $9.50".

Buddha hands him a ten. The clerk takes the ten, puts it in the cash drawer, shuts the drawer, and says, "have a nice day".

Buddha says "hey, what about my change?"

The clerk says "sorry, change must come from within".

Sunday, December 12, 2004


7:1-3 (An Analogy From Marriage: Your Relationship To The Law)

Paul continues his discussion of the believer’s relationship to the law. The believer’s position is freedom from the law because he or she died to the law in Christ. Paul also uses the analogy of the marriage bond to explain it.

In verse 1, Paul states that the law only has authority over a person while that person lives. Death brings a release from the obligations of the law.

As an example, Paul holds up the married woman. (He probably used the woman rather than the man, because men were able to obtain divorces in Jewish law and women were not. See Matthew 5:31-32.) If she marries, she is bound to that man as long as he is alive. If she marries another man, she violates the law and commits adultery.

However, if her husband dies, she is freed from the law of marriage. She can marry again without transgressing the law.

7:4-6 (Freedom Through Death)

Just as the woman was freed from the law of marriage by death, so believers are freed from the law, and the sin it produces in us, by death. We die to one husband, sin, to live to another, Christ.

Verse 4 tells us we died to the law through the body of Christ. When we were baptized into his death, we died to sin. It no longer controls us. We died, not to live to ourselves, but to live to God. Remember how often the Bible talks of Christ as the Bridegroom of the church.

Paul says the purpose of our dying to sin is that we will bear fruit to God. I think this needs to be part of our evangelistic message. God does not offer us grace and freedom from slavery to sin so that we may live for ourselves. You might not know that if you got your preaching from television and a lot of popular books. His primary goal here is not your personal fulfillment, or the release of your negative feelings, or your physical health, or the accumulation of earthly treasure.

No, he offers you freedom from slavery to sin so you will bear fruit to God. Bearing fruit will bring glory to God. Jesus said, in John 15:8, “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” In verse 16, he said “you did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” Ephesians 2:10 says we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 1:12 and 14 says we were redeemed so that we might be for the praise of his glory.

You exist as a new creation is Christ in order to bear fruit that will bring glory to God. That fruit is the transformed life lived under the dominion of the Holy Spirit, which manifests itself in your personality, in your character, in your speech, in your work, in your good deeds, and in your personal holiness.

Galatians 5:22-24 says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Matthew 5:16 says to let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

The first question of the Westminister Shorter Cathechism is: what is the chief end of man? The answer is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Verse 5 tells us that, before we were saved, we bore fruit for death. We were controlled by the sinful nature and the law aroused our sinful passions, and we bore fruit for death. We are now free from that.

Verse 6 tells us that we still serve. Before salvation, we served as under a written code. But now we serve in a new way of the Spirit.

Let’s go back to the bride thing for a minute. Just as Christ’s death frees the individual believer from sin, and as he works to sanctify each believer, he is sanctifying the whole church. Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us that Christ gave himself for the church, as a husband for a wife, to make the church holy, cleansing her, and presenting her, the church, to himself holy and blameless. He prepared us to be prepared for him.

We long for his return, as a bride would long for the return of her groom, her husband. Revelation 22:17, when the prophecy of his return is complete, tells us the Spirit and the bride say “come”.
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus warned us that the bridegroom would not return for a long time, and may would fall asleep. But, we should rather keep watch, for we do not know the day or the hour of his return. We want to be ready for him.

Revelation 19 tells us that, when the wedding of the Lamb has come, the bride will have made herself ready. She will be dressed in fine linen, bright and clean, that was given her to wear. That is a symbol of the righteous acts of the saints.

Revelation 21 uses the same image, showing the Holy City, the new Jerusalem (is this a picture of the church?) coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

Isaiah 62:5 tells us God will rejoice over us as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.

Friday, December 10, 2004


I'm gettin' nothin' for Christmas.
Mommy and Daddy are mad.
I'm gettin' nothin' for Christmas,
'Cause I ain't been nothin' but bad.

Think of it as Total Depravity for Tots.

PASSING DOWN THE REDEMPTION STORY. At the annual Passover Seder, Jewish families say: In every generation, each person must look upon himself or herself as if he or she personally had come out of Egypt. As the Book of Exodus says, “You shall tell your children on that day: it is because of what the Eternal One did for me when I went forth from Egypt.” Ephesians 1:7 says "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE. Not everyone shares the Christian values that permeate our American culture. In Madison, Wisconsin, the state capitol grounds, decorated for Christmas, also sport a Winter Solstice sign posted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The sign reads as follows"At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

The FFRF feels it needs to balance all the religious symbols of Christmas. The foundation, and its leader, Anne Nicol Gaylor, are confused, however. Gaylor said "The nonreligious are 14 percent of the U.S. population. If religious activities are going to take place in the Capitol, then there should be representation of the views of Wisconsin's nonreligious citizens as well."

However, most winter solstice celebrations were religious. They were expressions of pagan religions, some of which have been revived today. The fact is, there have not been many “non religious” celebrations of this sort.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said its sign "reminds citizens of the real reason for the season" -- the Dec. 21 Winter Solstice, which is the shortest and darkest day of the year. That might be a good thing. The Catholic Church appropriated the winter solstice celebration by deciding to celebrate Christ’s birth at the same time and keep the “faithful” out of the pagan celebrations. It did not work. The Faithful just merged the two and kept celebrating. So, you have the pagan tree, presents, partying, lights, and feasts, but you go to church to keep the veneer from peeling from the pagan traditions.

The pagans probably worry too much. Each year the veneer cracks more. Our celebrations are less and less Christian and more and more pagan. Which do you hear more about these days, the birth of Christ or the shopping? I’ll bet your church even sings secular songs at their Christmas concert.

It is comforting to know that even the pagans and irreligious need God. The back of the FFRF sign has a sign taped on it that says "Thou shalt not steal."

Sometimes, you just have to appeal to a higher authority.

God bless Anne Nicol Gaylor, who cannot decide if she is a religious pagan or an irreligious Christian, or what. May she be one of the sheep who hear the voice of the good shepherd and comes into the fold of eternal life.

WHO'S THE BOSS. “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!' " Abraham Kuyper.
OXYMORON ANYONE? Only the government would do this, surely. While researching the law on a particular issue, I came upon the "Interim Final Rule".

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

WHAT AMERICANS BELIEVE. A recent Newsweek poll reveals the shocking truth of American religious beliefs. Newsweek reports that seventy-nine percent of Americans believe in the virgin birth, that is Jesus was born to Mary without the intervention of a human father.
The poll also revealed that sixty-seven percent of Americans believe that the entire Biblical account of the birth of Jesus, from the angels appearing to the shepherds, the Star in the East, the Wise Men from the East, and the virgin birth is historically accurate.

Here is other startling, but good, news:

1. 93 percent of Americans believe Jesus Christ actually lived;
2. 82 percent believe Jesus Christ was God or the Son of God;
3. 52 percent believe Jesus will return to earth someday (only 21 percent do not believe it) Bad news for the premills, only fifteen percent believe Jesus will return in their lifetime. I guess that goes to show that even Hal Lindsey can only be wrong so many times before people quit listening.

Before euphoria sets in, however, can we determine what effect this belief has on us as a society? Only 11 percent of those surveyed believe our culture very closely reflects Christian values, but 53 percent believe it somewhat reflects Christian values.

Newsweek also reported that 86 percent believe organized religion has a “a lot” or “some” influence on American life.

Here is a result that will set scientists, humanists, and liberals teeth on edge: Sixty-two percent favor teaching creation science in addition to evolution in public schools. A strong minority, Forty-three percent, favor teaching creation instead of evolution.

I sure Newsweek itself is stunned and dismayed by this information.

Well, then, what conclusions can we draw from this information? I’ll address that in the coming posts.

Friday, December 03, 2004

I’M MARRIED TO PETER PAN. “Peter was quite gay again. He had no sense of time, and was so full of adventures that all I have told you about him is only a halfpenny-worth of them.” She works, she shops, she socializes, she drives all over the Metroplex, talking on the cell phone all the while, takes meals to people, runs errands, worries about the kids, calls her mother, cooks gourmet meals, and treats the dog like a baby, all with a great deal of energy, limitless optimism, enthusiasm, love, and an insatiable thirst for more.

She will plan two days of activities for the next hour, cannot figure out why she could not do them all, and be genuinely disappointed. The essential story of her being is that of the 15 minute break on a trip to New York, when she used it to run up the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty, take a picture, and run back down.

She did not tell me this story before we were married.

She may wear out, but she won't burn out.

More likely, I'll wear out and she'll keep going.

I just can't help but love her.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

HELLO AGAIN. Yea, I got on! I have not been able to get Blogger going from that place I spend time at during the day all week. What a relief. All those comments, pent up inside. Imagine what its been like for my family.

Here is a good one. Microsoft woke up and decided to make software for bloggers. They say they want to make blogging "mainstream". Hello? Is anyone there awake? There are zillions of bloggers all over the world. That's mainstream, baby.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

ROMANS 5 STUDY NOTES. "In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text." Martin Luther

4:25 (Delivered, but Raised)

Paul sums up his statements on righteousness by faith by saying that Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins. This is the idea of propitiation. He was a substitute sacrifice, bearing death and the penalty of our sin. He was also raised to life for our justification. Jesus’ resurrection was a statement that God accepted his sacrifice for us. In 1 Corinthians 15:17, Paul said if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

5:1-2 (What We Have As Justified Believers)

Now that we are justified, or declared righteous, how does this change our relationship to God?

First, we have peace with God through Christ. Before salvation, we were enemies of God. Colossians 1:21-22 says “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death…” While we are living in sin, we are separated from God and at enmity with him. Isaiah 59:2 your iniquities have separated you from your god; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.

But, once we believe and are justified, that hostility and enmity is removed. God’s justice toward us is satisfied. We are no longer living in opposition to God and he is no longer hostile toward us, so we have peace with God. Isaiah prophesied this is 32:17: The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.

So, you do not have to live like God is mad at you. In fact, you are at peace with God and may enjoy his favor forever. This is what the angels said to the shepherds: glory to God on the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. This is not a matter of how you feel, but is an objective statement of your status before God.

Paul cannot resist restating here that we gained access into this grace of God by faith. We now stand permanently in God’s grace. Morris on access: "The idea is that of introduction to the presence-chamber of a monarch. The rendering access is inadequate, as it leaves out of sight the fact that we do not come in our own strength, but need an 'introducer' - Christ."

A corollary of this is that we also have access into God’s presence because Christ removed the barrier between us. Ephesians 3:12 says “in him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Second, we not only have peace with God, we have joy in the hope of the glory of God. We know that, having been saved, we are destined for life in the presence and glory of God. We have that to look forward to. Hope here is that encouragement we have from a certain future. It is not as the current definition of wishful thinking, unless you believe that you can lose your salvation. That is why Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

This hope causes us to rejoice. Our future is secure. We need not worry about our destination and we can rejoice in our future. Paul said in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice!”

5:3-5 (Rejoice In Sufferings)

Now we take an interesting turn. It is one thing to say we rejoice in the thought of heaven and the glory of God. But Paul now says we also rejoice in our sufferings [NKJV=tribulations]. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

These early Christians did suffer. They were thrown out of the synagogue. They were run out of Jerusalem. They we often persecuted by the Romans. The lost families and possessions. They went to jail. They were killed. James was beheaded early in the process. Paul suffered in every way imaginable: he was beaten, arrested, stoned, slandered, imprisoned, and, finally, executed. Yet he rejoiced in suffering.

He rejoiced because of the effect suffering has on character. What does it produce? First, it produces perseverance. Perseverance is a steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose, or steadfastness. (Here it is not used in the theological sense of the doctrine that those who have been chosen by God will continue in a state of grace to the end and will finally be saved.)

That seems a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? You would think suffering would cause people to quit, not persevere. Instead, suffering provides a vehicle for God’s grace and strength to flow into the believer.

Polycarp of Smyna was arrested for being being a Christian. In an angry mob, the Roman proconsul took pity on him since he was an old man. He told Polycarp if would just say "Caesar is Lord" and offer a small pinch of incense to Caesar's statue he would escape torture and death. Polycarp responded, "Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?" He was burned alive at the stake.

Paul tells then that perseverance produces character. As we persevere through life’s experiences, God builds into us more and more Christ like character.

Finally, character produces hope.

We are not disappointed because the Father has poured his love out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit with us at all times, indwelling us, to continually express the Father’s love to us. We see all 3 persons of the Trinity working here for our benefit.

James 1:2 conveys this same message. He says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

It is in difficult times that God molds our character and we learn to trust him and draw strength from him. When we do so fully, God is glorified in our tribulations. Philippians 1:20 says “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death.” He had no wish that he would have it easy, but that Christ would be exalted.

1 Peter 1:5-7 says “…for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

1 Peter 2:20-21 says “…if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you…”

1 Peter 4:1-2 says “…he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of this earthy life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.”

This process we call “sanctification”. After justification, God proceeds with sanctification, making us like Christ.

5:6-8 (Time of Death)

Christ died “at just the right time” (NIV) or “in due time” (NKJV). Christ died at a time appointed by God. We do not know what made it the right time, but it was according to God’s timing. God set the time for Christ’s sacrifice, as he has set the time of his return. Peter in Acts 2:23 said “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge…” Jesus, knowing his arrest was imminent, said “Father, the time has come” in John 17:1.

Paul also describes our condition at this time. First, he says we were still powerless. We had no ability to bring ourselves to salvation. We were lost. We needed God to intervene in our lives. Second, he says we were still sinners. We did not become righteous through works and cause God to notice us and decide to save us. Rather, he reached out to us in grace and love to bring us to salvation.

The Reformers called this teaching of Paul “total depravity of man”. That term is often misunderstood today because of changes in our perception of the meaning of the words. The Reformers meant that the effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of our personality, our thinking, our emotions, and our will. (It does not necessarily mean that we are intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to our entire being.
The unsaved person is powerless to save himself, according to verse 6. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel. See Mark 4:11 and John 6:44.
My pastor in Lubbock used to call this "Total Inability." His favorite saying was that we have a total inability to do anything for ourselves in the spiritual realm. The man without a relationship with God will never come into this relationship without God's making him alive through Christ. Read Ephesians 2:1-5.
This is a demonstration of God’s love. He loved us when we were not lovely. We should also follow his example. Anyone can love the attractive, lovely people. Christians need to love the other kind of people.

5:9-11 (Saved From Wrath)

Paul argues from lesser to greater here. If God has justified us through the blood of Christ, he will save us from God’s wrath. Punishment for sin is not an option for the one who believes. He truly is “saved” from hell and punishment for sin. The believer will here the Kings say “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (See Matthew 25:34.)

5:12-14 (Adam’s Legacy)

Notice that this argument of Paul presupposes the truth of Genesis 2 and 3. Adam and Eve were real people and the events of Genesis were real to Paul. In Genesis 2:17, God told Adam and Eve if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would die. In Genesis 3:19, God told them their bodies would return to the dust, or ground, meaning their physical bodies would die. In Genesis 3:22-24, God drove Man from the Garden, separating him from fellowship with God and from the source of eternal life.
God interacted with Adam as an individual and as a representative of all humanity. Sin came into the world because Adam sinned. Death came into the world because Adam sinned. Paul said death came to all men because all sinned, meaning all sinned in Adam, or Adam’s sin was imputed to all mankind. In Ezekiel 18:4, God reiterated the principle that the one who sins will die.
You might say, but I thought sin came from breaking the law, but Paul answers that by saying sin was in the world before the law was given, as evidenced by the fact that death existed from Adam to Moses.
This is the concept of “original sin”. After Adam, no man or woman was born innocent. All were born with a sin nature, all were born sinners. David acknowledged this concept in Psalm 51:5. He said “Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” The actual term “original sin” is not in the Bible. It was used by Augustine. Augustine had a great debate with a man named Pelagius, who believed men and women were born neutral, neither good or bad, but with the capacity to do either. Augustine’s position won the day, but the debate resurfaced many times and rages today. Augustine affected both Luther and Calvin greatly.
We sin because we are sinners, because we have a sin nature. Solomon acknowledged this in his prayer to dedicate the Temple in 1 Kings 8:46. He said “…for there is no one who does not sin…” 1 John 1:8-10 says “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
The concept of original sin, of total depravity, also affects the idea of free will.
But sin was not taken into account before the law came, according to verse 13.
Adam is a type of Christ. That is what is meant in verse 14 by “Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come”. He was a type, or pattern, in that he represented the rest of mankind, and his actions had consequences for all of mankind.
5:15-19 (Contrasting Adam And Christ)

Verse 14 made a comparison between Adam and Christ, but these verses observe the contrast. Paul speaks of the contrast between the trespass (Adam) and the gift (Christ). The trespass brought death to mankind. Verse 16 says the trespass brought judgment and condemnation.

In contrast, God’s grace and the gift of salvation brought justification. Verse 17 says that those who receive God’s grace and gift of righteousness will reign in life through Christ. John 1:12-13 tells us that those who receive Him, who believe on his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Another contrast is that death came through the disobedience of Adam, but life came from the obedience of Christ.

5:20-21 (Law & Grace)

Now that Paul has explained that justification comes through faith and not observing the law, he answers the question: why was the law given? Paul said the law was “added”. (The NKJV reads “entered”, Calvin reads “intervened”, and Luther reads “entered”). What was it added to? It was added to God’s dealings with man, such as his covenant with Abraham, that through him God would bless all nations through him, and Abraham’s belief, that was credited to him as righteousness.

Years later, God added the law. He did this through Moses, after he redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt. He added the law so that the trespass might increase. That is, God set forth his standards of righteousness so men and women could understand what they are and they cannot attain them.

It also means that the law was added to exacerbate our plight as sinners, because, once we know the law, we want to disobey it. Paul will demonstrate this in himself in chapter 7. But we all have experienced that desire to do something we have been told not to do.

I personally hate signs that tell me what I cannot do. I saw a cartoon once. It showed a man standing on the sidewalk talking to his wife. There was a sign next to him that said “Do not run with scissors”. He told his wife “suddenly I have the strangest urge to run down the street with scissors”. There was also a song that said “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign; blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?” (The Five Man Electrical Band, 1971, written by Les Emmerson). This is the rebellious nature that resides in mankind.

Notice it does not say God added the law so that we could be saved by observing it.

Paul then points out that, although sin increases with the law, grace increases along with it and even surpasses it in the sacrifice of Christ. Sin did not reach a level where God would not let Christ propitiate it.

This point resonated in Paul’s personal life. He saw himself as a great sinner because of his persecution of the church before his conversion. He describes this in 1 Timothy 1:12-17. God’s grace was so great that Paul was not only given salvation, but allowed to become a minister of the gospel. His experience of grace led him to the praise of verse 17.

Finally, we know that, just as sin brought death to mankind, grace brought us eternal life.

REIGN ON SATURDAY. After hosting 14 people on Thanksgiving, Saturday was surreal. By noon, the College Daughter had returned to college (in my car), the Baby had gone to Tall Boy's family Thanksgiving, and the Little Woman had gone shopping. The house was empty and quiet. Only I and the dog remained. I sat down at the computer to work on the Sunday School lesson and the dog went in the other room in apparent disgust. Seeing a cloud of depression rising on the horizon, I jumped into the study of Romans 6 and lost track of time for about 4 hours.

Then my lovely friends, Rock and Sandra, saved me by taking us to the symphony. Even though it was Christmas music, I enjoyed it. (Sometimes Christmas music sets me off, but more on that later.) Best of all, they ended the concert with the Hallelujah Chorus. I jumped to my feet and stood for it. I pumped my fist when they sang the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.

The Lord reigns at the symphony. And he reigns at the empty house.

Friday, November 26, 2004

THE MORNING AFTER. After celebrating a wonderful thanksgiving, we were awakened about 4 a. m. to find that thieves broke in the College Daughter's car. They broke the driver's side window and ripped out the CD player, taking out most of the center of the dashboard with it. Fortunately, they were so focused on the stereo they did not take the camera or cash. I guess the feelings of good will brought on by Thanksgiving ended a midnight. The police say they cannot get finger prints, so we will never know who did it. The daughter had to miss work back at school because her car is in the shop.

It is not at all hard for me to believe in the doctrine of total depravity.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

SCIENTIFIC CHRISTIANITY. Augustine said "Though there are very many nations all over the earth,...there are no more than two kinds of human society, which we may justly call two cities, consisting of those who live according to man, the other of those who live according to God....To the City of Man belong the enemies of God, inflamed with hatred against the City of God."

Gerd Ludemann, professor of New Testament and Director of the Institute of Christian Studies at Gottingen University (Germany) said he no longer describes himself as a Christian and practices theology as a scientific discipline. (It makes me picture the King of Siam saying "It's scientific! in the King and I)

He denies the resurrection, discounts the Biblical presentation of Jesus, and believes that Jesus was conceived in an episode of rape. It makes you wonder how he could maintain his job teaching New Testament. At least he is honest about his beliefs. Many liberal theologians are not believers in any sense, but will not admit it.

Ludemann said "I don't think Christians know what they mean when they proclaim Jesus as Lord of the world. That is a massive claim. If you took that seriously, you would probably have to be a fundamentalist. If you can't be a fundamentalist, then you should give up Christianity for the sake of honesty."

On this we agree. The claims of Christianity are fantastic. Theological liberals constantly search for a way to call themselves Christians while accomodating the world's skepticism. It cannot be logically done. Augustine was right. You have to choose which city in which you will live. Jesus said no one can serve two masters. You cannot be in the world and in Christ.

Professor Ludemann, I understand the claim of Jesus as Lord of the World. Color me a fundamentalist, then. I believe Jesus is sovereign, and that he is returning to be revealed as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And, I don't think he will care much for scientific theology as for the faith of a little child.

WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY KENNETH? Dan Rather is quittin'. Even a 24 year man can fall when he does something bad enough. Rather's faux pax in running a fraudulent story on the President and his National Guard duty was bad, bad, bad, but sending it to the Kerry campaign proves he is not fit to be a newsman. Maybe Kerry will hire him to prepare to run against Hillary in four more.

Rather is also the guy that walked off the show early one night to protest the fact that his show was delayed by a tennis match. He was, of course, way too important to wait. Even though he dropped to third place in news ratings behind Tom Brokaw and "Canadian" Pete Jennings. Losing to a Canadian is tough. Usually they don't fight. It's a French thing.

(The title of the post, by the way, comes from the words of the man who allegedly accosted Rather some years ago. R.E.M. made a song of it.)

Friday, November 19, 2004


The cross always divides people, for it shows that we cannot save ourselves. Only Christ can save us. Human nature does not want to accept this unless God changes our hearts.

This passage recounts the crucifixion of our Lord, on a cross, with two common criminals. One reviled him, one asked him for salvation.

On the cross, Jesus died to pay the penalty of our sin. Romans 5:6 tells us that “For while were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (us).”

Jesus did not sin and did not deserve to die. The second criminal realized this, as we see in verse 41: “and we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Some people ridiculed Jesus. Others demanded that he demonstrate his power. He would not do anything for these people, for they did not believe in him. He will not perform tricks to get people to believe.

But Christ did respond to the one who came to him in faith. The second criminal said in verse 42 “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.” While others made fun of Jesus by calling him “King of the Jews”, this man recognized Jesus as the king of all things.

Jesus is king of all things. One day he will show this to everyone. In Revelation 11:15-16, an angel proclaims “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” When this world is over, we will see Jesus as the king forever.

Jesus rewarded this man’s faith with salvation. He said “today you shall be with me in Paradise (meaning heaven)”.

Most of the people in this passage, the Roman Guards, the local crowds, one of the men being crucified, did not believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the king of all things. But the one man who did claim Jesus as king of his life received eternal life in heaven from Jesus.

When we say we “believe” in Jesus, it includes believing and accepting his right to be king of our lives. We must follow him and obey him. The Bible tells us in John 3:16 that everyone who does this will have eternal life.

BREAKING THE CAMEL'S BACK. Rumor has it that the United Nations Staff Union will have a no confidence vote in Secretary Kofi Annan. I have long maintained that he is incompetent and corrupt. It is nice to see some affirmation. The straw that evidently broke the camel's back was his pardon of the U. N. 's top oversight official in the Iraq oil for food program, which has been shown to be scandalously corrupt, even by the U. N.'s banana republic standards.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

SHAME ON YOU. On Sunday, we had a guest speaker who was a missionary. It was missions Sunday. He began his talk by reading Habakkuk 1:5. It says “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days – You would not believe if you were told.”

He then said that scripture was fulfilled in the current missions activity and went on to describe things going on in missions in Asia.

The problem is, he misapplied the text. One clue should have been the words “in your days”, meaning in the days of Habakkuk and his contemporaries, not now. If that did not clue you in, you could read the next verse, that explains the astonishing thing God was doing: raising up the Babylonians to conquer the Jews.

I know the man was not attempting an exegesis of the scripture, but that is no justification for misapplying it. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” If we mishandle God’s word, we should be ashamed.

Every teacher and preacher has a duty to faithfully present the Word accurately. That means taking the meaning in context, not stretching the meaning to fit your personal agenda, and not omitting anything because it is difficult. Paul tells us that teachers will be judged more harshly than others. All of us who teach should think of that every time we prepare a lesson or sermon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

IF I HAD A HAMMER. I'd hammer in the morning. I'd hammer in the evening. All over this la-and. Sociologist Abraham Maslow said "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."

The Democratic Party is considering Howard Dean as their new chairman.

Heh heh.

Friday, November 12, 2004

GUILTY. Scott Peterson has been found guilty of the murder of his wife. Expect an appeal after all the problems with the jury.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

SHANE CASSEM: GOING OVER JORDAN. It is a shock when someone you know dies suddenly and, to you, unexpectantly. I felt that way when Shane Cassem died last week. I realized it was not unexpectant to God. He knew the time and place. He just did not tell me.

Neither is dying a bad thing. Paul said dying is gain. He looked forward to dying and appearing in the presence of Christ. Everyone who knows Shane knows he is there now.

I'm going there to meet my Saviour,
He said He'd meet me when I come
I 'm only going over Jordan,
I'm only going over home.

A strange thing happens when a Believer dies. Tears of loss are shed, sure, but happy memories are shared. Hope is rekindled as we are forced to remember that they have come to the first part of their reward. If they have been sick and suffering, they are relieved and blessed.

If you could see me now
I'm walking streets of gold.
If you could see me now
I'm standing tall and whole.
If you could see me now
You'd know I've seen his face.
If you could see me now
You'd know the pain's erased.

Shane has left pain behind. His joy is complete. That big smile is permanently in place.

So long for now. I'll see you on that other shore, when the Long Goodbye will be the Eternal Hello.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

YOU DON'T HEAR THIS EVERYDAY. A business owner in Red Bank, Tennessee has been arrested on assault charges after accusations that he spanked errant employees. It makes it hard to believe in evolution, does it not. Just like those people who run across the freeway at night and get hit at 70 mph or people who think liberalism will work. There is just no cure for stupid. And I just can't believe in evolution. This guy is proof.
RELIGION OF PEACE UPDATE. "We have gathered here because our child is dead, murdered." So said Theo Van Gogh's mother at the funeral for the Dutch film maker who was killed by a Muslim in retribution for making a film criticizing the way Muslims treat women. Obviously, Mr. Muslim would rather be feared than liked or respected. The problem with retribution is that it often brings about more retribution. The normally peaceful Dutch have been defacing Muslim property, including the nailing of pigs heads to a few doors.

My sympathies to the Van Gogh family. What a tragedy to lose a family member to senseless murder. My encouragement to the Dutch people. Stand firm or learn to speak Arabic. There will never be enough appeasement to buy you peace, as this incident shows. At whatever point you speak out or resist, you will be attacked. So, you might as well draw the line here.

Friday, November 05, 2004

RELIGION OF PEACE UPDATE. If you do not think it has gotten bad in Muslim Europe yet, consider this. Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was killed by a Moroccan Muslim after making a movie critical of the way Muslims treat women. Van Gogh was shot twice and stabbed, then the guy slit his throat while he lay helpless in the street. This occurred in the Netherlands.

In Afghanistan, the "Army of Muslims" kidnapped 3 U.N. workers there to help with the election. The kidnappers threaten to kill them if a long list of demands are not met, most of which cannot be met by the U. N. because they involve things under the control of sovereign nations.

In Thailand, Muslims killed a Buddist monk in retaliation for the deaths of Muslim rioters by the government. The Buddist Monk was not involved in the killings.

"When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. " Q 9:5

Wednesday, November 03, 2004



Monday, November 01, 2004

WANNA BET? The electronic betting market has the probability of a Bush win at 55%.
THE SUFFERING CONTINUES. Groan! The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows a deadlock between the presidential candidates.

Actually, it shows the President at 48% and Kerry at 47% (Nader still at 1%). That is actually one tick upward. The last one showed them even at 48%.

The margin of error is 3.1%. That is why they call it even: the lead is within the margin of error. I guess the margin could go toward the President, meaning he is really ahead 51-44.

Is there any good news for those of us hoping and praying for reelection of the President. Yes, there is a little.

Kerry has been harping on the supposedly missing explosives. However, when surveyors asked if the President is to blame for the missing explosives, SURVEY SAID 49 percent of the respondents say no, only 38 percent say yes. (This reminds me of the time when the Democrats kept opposing the war in Iraq while 80% of American’s supported it.)

The survey also found that 24 percent say Osama bin Laden's recent statement that "any state that does not mess with our security, has naturally guaranteed its own security" made them more inclined to vote for Bush, contrasted with twelve percent who said it made them more inclined to vote for Kerry. 62 percent say it made no difference in their vote. 50% expressed the desire to personally bring about Osama’s violent death.

OK, I made that part up.
RECONSTITUTION OF THE SANHEDRIN. Last week an unusual ordination occured in Tiberias, Israel. Rabbis re-established the Sanhedrin. This is the group of Rabbis, 71 in all, that existed during the Tannaitic period, from several decades before Christ until 425 A.D. Rabbi Yeshai Ba'avad said the 71 rabbis were ordained in accordance with Maimonides' writings.

The membership is not intended to be permanent. The goal is one rabbinic body that will meet every month and rule on central issues.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel said "Whether this will be the actual Sanhedrin that we await, is a question of time - just like the establishment of the State; we rejoiced in it, but we are still awaiting something much more ideal. "

Saturday, October 30, 2004

THE BEGINNING OF THE END. We went to see the band march last night. Yes, I know most people say they went to the high school football game. I can't help them anymore.

It was poignant. It was the last game the Baby will direct as drum major, for the last game of the season is just an introduction of the seniors. I announced the band from the pressbox, then ran out into the open where I could yell "Go Claire". I wanted to add "one last time", but I didn't.

I may today. We are going to an invitational marching contest, which will truly be the last show. All things must pass.

Life is full of "last times", I warn you if you don't know. This is especially true if you have children. But, it is also true if you have family at all, or even friends. Sometimes you do not see it coming. It dawns on you only as it unfolds before your eyes and you think or say "Oh no, this is the last time..."

Sometimes, like last night, you know it is coming and you try to prepare. This is important if it involves your child, for the child never feels it with the same intensity. If you show it, it distresses them. So you smile and keep going. But, on the inside, your mind is screaming to you "THIS IS THE LAST TIME, THIS IS THE LAST TIME".

Even that screaming is better than what comes next, which is the whisper that says what you do not want to hear, and that is "what I am going to do without it?"

Friday, October 29, 2004

RESPECTING WICCA IN WASHINGTON. In Puyallup, Washington, the school district now forbids coming to school in Halloween costumes. Has Washington been taken over by Christian Fundamentalists? Hardly. The District says ugly witch costumes are insensitive to practicing Wiccans. Karen Hanson, spokes person for the sensitive district, said: We work really hard to teach our students to be respectful of traditions and cultures that are held by people other than themselves. The Wiccan religion is one of those religions." No one knows if there are any Wiccans in Puyallup. They found one in Tacoma. She thinks the District should let the kids celebrate Halloween.

I think the District did the right thing for the wrong reason.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I CAN'T HELP MYSELF. John Owen said "To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have the power of ourselves to do is to make the cross and grace of jesus Christ of no effect." John the Apostle said "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children ofGod, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:18-19) Paul, the Apostle, said "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift ofGod." (Ephesians 2:8)

Monday, October 25, 2004

RUN GEORGE RUN. With a week to go, the Presidential race is still close. There are only about 4% of the voters undecided.

CNN Sunday showed Bush ahead 51-46 percent. Nader is hanging in there at 1% and seems unembarrassed by it.

Zogby calls it closer with Bush ahead 48-46 perdent.

There are ten battleground states. Bush is ahead in Florida and Ohio, which may be enough since they together have 68 electoral votes. Bush is also ahead in New Mexico.

Kerry is ahead in Michigan.

The rest of the states show small leads within the statistical margin of error, making them really too close to call. Of these, Kerry appears ahead in Colorado and Minnesota, with the President ahead in Iowa, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

Kerry is feeling the heat. He has gotten Bill Clinton out of bed to campaign for him. Oh wait, Bill always is getting out of bed, isn't he. No word on whether Monica Lewinsky has been invited. Or Gennifer Flowers. Or, well you get the idea.

Friday, October 22, 2004

KERRY'S IRANGATE. While you were easing into your work week on Monday,Mr. Hassan Nemazee, was having his deposition taken. Mr. Memazee admitted he had raised over $500,000 for the John Kerry Kampaign. Why, you ask, should you care, other than to be impressed with his fund raising skills? The reason you should care is that Mr. Nemazee is an Iranian-American. He is not one of those Iranian Americans who thinks his homeland is messed up and is glad to be here where it is different. He is one of those Iranians who believe the homeland is doing a good thing and is working to get America to cease its opposition of Iran’s plans in the Middle East.

You know, plans like making nuclear bombs to blow Israel off the map.

Iran also supports terrorism around the world. The 9-11 Commission describes Iran’s assistance to Al-Qaeda. Iran sends insurgents across the border into Iraq to cause instability and kill American troops. And John Kerry is in bed with them.

John Kerry, right on national television, in the debates, stated his position that the United States should supply Iran with nuclear fuel. He said: I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes.

Of course, Iran has rejected all attempts to limit or inspect their nuclear program. As usual, the United Nations has done nothing about it.

Interestingly, Mr. Nemazee, in his deposition, stated that the Iranian Islamic regime cannot be trusted but to have any intention other than to build nuclear weapons. He agreed that the current Iranian government is a terror-exporting regime.

Remember Bill Clinton traded missile technology for campaign funds? We called in “Chinagate”. I guess this is "Irangate".

The mainstream media have completely ignored the issue. I cannot overstate my revulsion for ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, who have refused to print any story questioning Kerry so they can sway the election, having even admitted their bias.

By the way, Mr. Nemazee was deposed because he sued Iranian freedom advocate, Aryo Pirouznia, who heads up the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran.
Remember that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has told his scientists "We must have two bombs ready to go in January or you are not Muslims."

Iran has already developed a satellite-launching rocket with a range of 2,000 kilometers. That reaches Israel. Iran's nuclear power plant at Bushehr is completed. It just needs nuclear fuel to be operational.

Mr. Kerry is either a fool, or an enemy of Israel. Maybe he is both. Either way, he is willing to trade the security of our ally, Israel, the security of this country, and maybe the world, for $500,000 in campaign contributions.

TEENAGERS FOR BUSH. Nearly 1.4 million teens voted in the nation's largest mock election. They gave President Bush 393 electoral votes and 55 percent of the votes.

Their most important issues, according to an exit poll: (1) 44 percent said that the war in Iraq was the most important issue, so they obviously favor the President's handling of the war; (2) the economy was the first priority for 22 percent; (3) education by 14 percent; (4) national security by 12 percent of those voting; and (5) 8 percent said health care was the most important issue.

It is telling that those who are so close to the age of military service find the war the most important issue, and support the war. The same holds true for those currently serving. 70 percent of those serving in Iraq support the effort and the President.

Somebody tell John Kerry the '60s are over.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Stress Management. From Avoiding Evil:

Picture yourself near a stream.
Birds chirping in the cool, crisp mountain air.
Nothing can bother you here.
No one knows this secret place.
You are in total seclusion from that place called the "world".
The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.
The water is so clear that you can easily make out the face of the person whose head you are holding under the water.

There now...Feeling better?

He calls it stress management. I call it behavior modification.
GROWING CHURCHES. Today I was perusing "The Hearbeat", the newsletter of Central Baptist Church of Clovis, New Mexico. Why, you ask, would I do that? Well, their pastor of adults and families is Mike Eberhardt, who, with his wife Robin, used to be members of my sunday school class, Koinonia. Mike was in Cowtown to get yet another seminary degree and move into a new phase of ministry. He has previously been a missionary and pastor. Also, it is interesting to see how other Baptist churches are doing and to compare them to the church I attend.

Mike's senior pastor has a column and, in this issue, he spoke of completing a survey for a graduate student at Southern Seminary. Along the way, he picked up some facts and related them in the column. Here they are.

There are about 42,000 Southern Baptist Churches. Guess how many have a weekly worship attendance of at least 200 and have experienced a growth rate of 5% or more in worship attendance for 3 consecutive years? Only 416, or roughly 1%, have experienced consistent 5% growth.

That is not very many growing churches. What makes a church grow? Mike's pastor says it is because the members invite people. That is certainly part of it. You have to have new people come in order to grow. The second part of it is, you have to keep the people that come. If as many people are going out the back door as come in the front, you will not grow.

What makes people stay in a church? One part is the congregation. The congregation must be friendly and welcoming and make the new person part of the fellowship. The second part is the preaching and teaching. The new person must feel they are edified by the preaching and teaching or, ultimately, they will quit coming, no matter how friendly the congregation is. The two go hand in hand.

Keep up the good work, Mike and Central Baptist Church.

KERRY'S END? I hope this picture is prophetic.

Monday, October 18, 2004


"Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise,
Our Priest is in his holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace."
MONDAY MONDAY, SO GOOD TO ME. Three out of four polls show the President leading Mr. Kerry. Gallup shows President Bush leading with 52%, Kerry with 44%, and Nader with 1%. Way to hang in there Ralph. (You know, if was really sharp, he'd tour the country in a vintage Corvair to campaign. You have to be about 50 to understand that joke unless you are a real student of history.)

Newsweek (yes that magazine that said they would swing the election to Kerry) shows the President with 50% of likely voters to Kerry's 44%. No word on where the other 6% went.

ABC shows the Preident leading 50% to 46%. Isn't it interesting how close these polls are to each other in results? In contrast, Zogby shows the candidates deadlocked at 45%.

In Florida, a state up for grabs, the Latino Coalition shows that Florida's Hispanic voters prefer the President 63% to 29%.

Friday, October 15, 2004

ELECTORAL COLLEGE TRACKING. This is an interesting site tracking the likely outcome of the electoral vote.


3300 Iraqi schools have been renovated since the overthrow of Saddam. In fact, 85 percent of Iraqi primary and secondary schools have reopened since Saddam was removed. 25% more Iraqi children receive innoculations than during Saddam's reign.

We have have printed and distributed 9 million new math and scient textbooks.with no pro-Saddam propaganda, distributed 159,000 student desks to Iraqi schools, distributed 81,735
teaching kits to Iraqi primary school teachers.

What do the Iraqis think? 71% said they expected their lives to be even better in a year. 76,000 new jobs have been created by the Iraqi National Employment Program.

There are now 600 judges working in Iraqi courts. 170 newspapers are currently published.

Coalition forces have refurbished 70 mosques and 75 medical facilities.

The current budget for the Iraqi Ministry of Health is 25 times greater than under Saddam's reign.

700,000 pregnant Iraqi women received a tetanus vaccination to improve their pre-natal healthcare.

Iraq has increased oil production by 500,000 barrels per day.

There has been a 40 percent increase in the availability of electricity compared to the time under Saddam. 20 million Iraqis (out of the 27 million) get clean water due to new water and sanitation projects. There has been a 20 percent increase in subscriptions to telephone service since Saddam's departure.

The fact is, life is better in Iraq and the world is safer with Saddam gone. Whether the world wants to admit it or not.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

TEHRAN JOHN. Lots of folks were surprised when Senator Kerry called for the United States to provide nuclear fuel to Iran. It has now been revealed that several Iranians in the pro-Iranian lobby have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Kerry Kampaign.

Does this make you feel more or less safe? The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for the development of nuclear weapons in the next few months. He told his weapons developers to have 2 bombs ready by January or they could not be Muslims. In addition, Iran has threatened to back out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Why does Iran want nuclear bombs? Khomenei explains it this way: to "destroy the Zionist regime". That means Israel, if you are not schooled in the language of the Religion of Peace.

So, let's sum up. The guy that wants to be president wants to give nuclear weapons to the sworn enemy of our ally with the express intention that they be used to destroy our ally.

Will Kerry still get the Jewish vote because he is a Democrat?

Who will they blame when the bombs fall on Jerusalem?
I KNEW IT! Martha Stewart is shopping the book idea. I previously wrote that Martha could turn her prison stay into a retirement fund by writing a book while in the slam. Now it appears her agents are quietly shopping the idea of a "prison diary" to publishers. Estimates go to $5 million for the purchase price. Do you think she read my blog? She really is a money making machine, isn't she.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

MISCELLANEOUS STUFF. "I'm a liberal, and proud of it" said John Kerry in 1991.

Americans For Democratic Action, a leftist group, gives Mr. Kerry a rating of 92%, two points more liberal than Ted "I Seem To Have Lost My Date In The River" Kennedy.

John Kerry still has not released his military records.

The document Mr. Kerry exhibits as his honorable discharge says it came after a review by a board of officers. Why did it take a board of officers? The normal discharge does not require this.

The authority of reference for this board was Title 10, U.S. Code Section 1162 and 1163, which references the grounds for involuntary separation. Did the Navy separate Mr. Kerry from service involuntarily?

Mr. Kerry's discharge is dated February 16, 1978. But he went into the Navy in 1966 for a six year commitment. That means his discharge should have been in 1972. What happened to delay it until 1978? He was already out and leading Vietnam Veterans Against The War long before then. In fact, Mr. Kerry met the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegation to the Paris Peace talks in May 1970 (during the War!).

Mr. Kerry demonstrated against the war in July 1971 in D.C. He wanted Congress to accept North Vietnam's peace proposal without change.

So, what happened in 1978? The board of officers review says it was held at the direction of the President. Who was president then? It was Jimmy Carter. Yes the same Jimmy Carter that travels around the world blaming every crisis on America. It is also the same President Carter that granted amnesty for draft dodgers in the first hour of his presidency.

In March 1977, the Department of Defense expanded the order to include those who had general, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharges. To get your record clean, though, you had to have a review before a board of officers.

Did I mention that Mr. Kerry has refused to release all his military records?

Oh, and just in case you wanted a "misstatement" for the record, his spokesmen said all his records were posted on his web site. The Washington Post, which supports Kerry, says that the Navy says they had about 100 pages of Kerry's record he had not released. That is a lot of pages. It is even enough to be the transcript or record of a board of review.

Did anyone else help Kerry clean up his record? Well, he got his medals reissued a few months after being elected to the Senate.

I think it would make a great first question in the debate. Or a good first answer?
THE REST OF THE STORY. As the last debate looms, the papers today are saying the candidates are in a "statistical dead heat". That is not the whole story, though. Remember that this is not about the popular vote only. The election is decided by the electoral college. The states you carry are important. So, how is the electoral vote shaping up.

President Bush has 21 states firmly in hand for 176 electoral votes. Senator Kerry has 10 for 153 votes. Its too bad it is not done by the number of states. But Kerry has California and New York which have a disportionate share of the vote. (This, by the way, is why we have the Electoral College: to protect the vote of the less populated states. If popular vote determined, New York City and Los Angeles would pick the President and God help us.)

President Bush leads in 8 contested states for an additional 88 electoral votes, 264 total.

Senator Kerry leads in 5 contested states for an additional 67 electoral votes and 221 total (counting D.C. also).

There are 6 toss up states with a total of 53 electoral votes.

So, if I count correctly, the President needs only 6 electoral votes from the toss up states to win, if he holds his lead in the others. If he wins Ohio and its 20 votes, he is home free.

Conventional wisdom has been for years that a Republican cannot win without Ohio. However, in this scenario, the President could lose Ohio and win New Mexico and New Hampshire and win the whole thing.

Senator Kerry has to win all the toss up states except New Hampshire to win.

Come on, Ohio!

Monday, October 11, 2004

WHAT'S IN YOUR E-MAIL? Even though I now do civil law work and my prosecuting days are long past, I am amazed at the different world in which prosecutors live and to which we are accustomed. How many people get an email like this and do not bat an eye:

If anyone has the book Flight Characteristics and Stain Patterns of Human Blood by Herbert MacDonnell, please contact me. Thank you!

This is why I applaud those who clean up society's messes. Police, fire fighters, prosecutors, medical examiners, doctors and nurses know more about things than you should have to know.

A banker does not have a book on his shelf that shows you what an injury to a child looks like from different items such as coat hangers or electric cords. An accountant has never looked at a deceased person for lividity patterns. Someone has to. Someone has to catch the bad guys and punish them.

Someone has to take out the trash. Someone has to take care of sick people. Someone has to face the fire or the bad guy.

We try to put a pretty face on human life. The reality is pretty harsh at times. If you are fortunate enough not to have to deal with the underside of the rock, appreciate of those who do.

Friday, October 08, 2004

OOPS. The National Committee for Quality Assurance, a private company, reports that poor quality medical care led to 79,000 avoidable deaths last year and $1.8 billion in additional medical costs.

NCQA also reported a shift from tightly managed HMOs toward more loosely managed PPOs (preferred provider organizations) that are not monitored by NCQA. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care took first place in clinical care and member satisfaction. They only work in New England, so you cannot switch to them if you live here in the Lone Star State.
POLITICAL TIDBITS. Since I am going to the high school football game and fulfill my duties as band announcer, cheerleader for the Baby, and social butterfly, I will miss the debate. So, here are some things to chew on.

Kerry spent 20 years in the Senate and did not author one piece of significant, successful litigation.

Kerry criticizes the loss of jobs during the Bush administration. Unemployment is at 5.4%. Six percent used to be viewed as full employment. In September, 96,000 new jobs came on line. Kerry supports the Kyoto treaty, which would cause the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs.
GOOD BLOG TITLE. I admire those with really good titles for their blogs. Here is one I ran into by a guy whose last name is Brun. The title is "Brun, Baby, Brun". Isn't that great!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

SOPHIE'S CHOICE II. Knight Ridder News Services has an interesting story of kidnapping in Uganda. Rebels kidnapped Charlotte Awino when she was 14. Rebels have kidnapped thousands of children in Uganda, and tens of thousands all over Africa. They are forced to become fighters, laborers, or sex slaves. The twist to this story is that Awino's mother is a leading advocate for kidnapped children in Uganda. But, when given the chance to get her daughter back, the mother passed. Her reasoning was that she did not want to get her daughter back when no one else was. She said it was a difficult choice, but worth it. I wonder what Charlotte thought.

Note to my relatives: if you have the chance to get me back, take it!
AUGUSTINE. "He loves Thee too little who loves anything together with Thee, which he loves not for thy sake."
De Idolatria. Hughes Oliphant Old in Worship That Is Reformed According To Scripture:
"If God has commanded us not to worship him by creating images of our own art and imagination it is because he wants us to be his image. Worship is the workshop where we are transformed into his image. When we are thus transformed into his image, we then reflect his glory. It is then through the ministry of praise and prayer, the ministry of word and sacrament that we are transformed to offer that spiritual worship which the Apostle Paul tells us is acceptable to God (Rom. 12:1-2)."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Vice President just caught John Edwards overstating the figures on Iraq by about double.
ANATIDAEPHOBIA: The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.
ISLAM SUPPORTS KERRY. The MUSLIM AMERICAN POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE has formally endorsed John Kerry for president. That would cinch it for me. To vote for President Bush, that is!
I FEEL A LITTLE BETTER NOW. The Washington Post’s poll shows that President Bush continues to lead Mr. Kerry among “likely voters” by 51 percent to 46 percent. The President holds a three-point advantage among all registered voters.

The percentage of likely voters who have a favorable view of Mr. Kerry rose to 47 percent, post debate. However, the President remains more popular. 53 percent of likely voters say they had a favorable impression of him.

The Gallup Organization shows the race even. Zogby shows the President ahead by one point, unchanged from a pre-debate poll. Pew shows the President ahead by five points, just as it did before the debate.

The reality seems to be that people thought Mr. Kerry did better in the debate than they expected. His own supporters are enthused. But, not much changed in the overall shape of the election as a result.

Those who track the electoral votes also say the President still has the lead there.

Monday, October 04, 2004

RAGS TO RESPECTIBILITY. Former Congressman James Rogan (R-CA), has written a book, Rough Edges: My Unlikely Road from Welfare to Washington. He believes, as I do, that conservatism helps the poor more than liberalism. Mr. Rogan says "Conservatism is the antidote to intergenerational poverty. It is important for people to move from welfare to work if they are ever to be free. Conservatism - - by that I mean less government intrusion in people’s lives and more personal freedom from governmental intrusion in our lives - - preaches that independence from government handouts is the remedy to advancing in life. Coming from a welfare family, I learned that lesson. I saw what happened in the lives of so many people around me who became addicted to government largesse. They lost all incentive to climb the economic ladder."