Friday, September 30, 2005

A New Sense of Charity

I suppose it was inevitable or maybe I've just missed it, but abortion is now apparently an act of "charity". It was reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Arkansas Right to Life that two abortion clinics in Arkansas as well as others in Texas have provided "free" abortions to women from the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast region.

My first instinct was to quote Arkansas state Senator Gilbert Baker or Arkansas Right to Life spokesperson Rose Mimms, both fine and upstanding citizens and stalwart defenders of life, and their reactions to this news. To do so, however, would have been a betrayal of all that I have always believed about abortion: it is a MORAL issue and not a political one. Even in the Church, however, there is no general agreement about the right or wrong of abortion. The United Methodist Church's discipline seems to try its level best to satisfy everyone by offering political compromises. Aside from this, I've encountered Christians who are unapologetically supportive of abortion, though they claim "choice".

For those who may take exception to my refusal to acknowledge "choice" as the option, I will say this: one is either for life or for death. There is no middle ground by offering a third choice that amounts to nothing more than an excuse for refusing to come down on one side or the other. A political compromise that puts more emphasis on the importance of man's word and not the Lord's is humanist and secular and a denial of the Divine that is life.

Although I will not vote for any political wanna-be who claims to be "pro-choice", I have no expectations from our state legislatures or our US Congress. With a few exceptions, most of these persons are entirely too wrapped up in getting re-elected. Many will say anything to any audience - or NOT say (sin of omission) - to keep up the political profile. Few will stand on the word of the Lord, preferring instead the US Constitution - an important, though secular, document of man.

I wonder, though, if my belief in a moral structure as opposed to a political one has somehow diminished my effectiveness in dealing with my pro-abortion congressman and two senators since I've given up on them all and view everything they do or say as suspect. Having written to each of them regarding even that despicable procedure known as partial-birth abortion, each has answered back about rights to privacy, women's right, etc., and has essentially said that as long as there is breathe in them, women will be able to destroy their young (my words, not theirs - though they "know not what they do")!

There is no charity involved in this travesty of life, especially in the midst of chaos, despair, and death. Do we not recognize the divine hope that is contained in life? Are we not able to communicate this? Have we Christians removed ourselves from the fight because we have allowed abortion to become a political issue? Or do we share the despair of Jeremiah: "O Lord, you deceived me, and I was decieved. You overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long." Jeremiah 20:7-8

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Getting at the Bottom Line

The news is reporting that the Louisiana senators will be asking for $250 billion dollars to rebuild that state's gulf coast. Did they post this figure because this is the estimated figure that has been floating around, or has anyone actually put a pencil to the numbers to see what it will take? I admit as well that President Bush's "whatever it takes" does not exactly inspire confidence, either.

We must all realize that there is damage that we cannot even see yet. In such a situation as this, it is reasonable to assume that the estimate may not even come close to what the actual cost is going to be. My only point in asking the question is that, as I cannot even count to a "billion", I do know that this is a lot of money over a long period of time. Are we going to actually aim to spend that much, or is this what will actually be required?

I know that the final figure could be more based on needs and the unforeseen but if it is put into such a spending bill as this, who will account for the money? Who will report to Congress? Whose feet will be held to the fire to be sure that the best possible solutions will be employed? And once this money is allocated, does this then mean that the entire amount MUST be spent?

Our government has become so used to throwing money at a problem - and after a hurricane is not the time to be chintzy, I know - that they do not seem to consider that this money has to be watched and counted; they also do not seem to care. It's good political "eye-wash" to say that "we will stop at nothing to {insert your favorite political cause}. This is how it works in the political spectrum. We are at a critical time, however, that we cannot afford to spend "whatever it takes" nor can we cut corners. With such a huge undertaking as this especially in wartime, someone has to answer these questions. Who will it be?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How Much is Enough?

I recently had the good fortune of a friend sharing the following story with me via e-mail. Whether she actually had this encounter is not nearly as important as the story itself.

Recently I overheard a mother and duaghter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the flight's departure. Standing near the gate, they hugged and the mother said, "I love you and I wish you enough." The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom."

They kissed, and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

"Yes, I have. Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?"

"I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead, and the reality is that the next trip back will be for my funeral."

I had to ask, "When you were saying goodbye, I heard you say 'I wish you enough'. May I ask what that means?"

The lady began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from generations past. My parents used to say it to everyone."

She then paused for a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail. She smiled even more when it was clear that she remembered. "When we said, 'I wish you enough', we were wanting the other to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.

Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory. "I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough hello's to get you through the final goodbye."

She then began to cry, and walked away.

As I read this story, "I love you" suddenly does not seem to be enough.

Grace and peace.

More of the Same

Now there are hearings being held before the Congress, hearings the Democrats boycotted with a couple of exceptions, that are supposedly designed to determine what went wrong with FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina. Former Director Brown essentially blamed the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor for not asking for help sooner. Fine. So they didn't cross the t's and dot the i's. Is this necessarily indicative of a failure on their part?

Did Mr. Brown not already know that landfall by Katrina was imminent? Was Mr. Brown not aware of the information suggesting that the levee systems were said to be incapable of withstanding such a storm? Was Mr. Brown not aware that New Orleans sits below sea level? Is Mr. Brown suggesting that FEMA was just chomping at the bit and waiting to plunge into Louisiana just as soon as the proper forms were submitted? If this much is true or even partly true, then the failure may not be on any one particular person but the entire procedure. Or even on Mr. Brown himself for failing to take any initiative when action was clearly appropriate. By the way, the Red Cross, the Methodists, the Baptists, the Salvation Army all managed to get in.

It should be painfully clear that mistakes were made and will be made, but we humans can always learn from mistakes. However, I think that when this is all said and done, this congressional hearing will have accomplished little. The reason is very simple: Democrats want to make Republicans look bad, and Republicans want to make Democrats look bad. "Public service" does not enter into the picture here as far as I can tell. No one seems interested in fixing the problem, finding it much easier instead to "fix the blame".

Mr. Brown's reputation is on the line, and he found himself facing some pretty hostile questions that had little to do with exploring the actual problem. Even still, he got as defensive as any other normal person would. The Louisiana governor will face the same congressional panel and will probably react the very same way. Like I say, little will be accomplished because procedure is not being explored but, rather, politics and the mid-term elections.

Pay attention, voters!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Private Economy and Government Intervention

It was reported in today's business section of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that insurers are showing some concern over how they will be able to pay for all these hurricane-related claims without some help from the government. Aside from the refineries, pipelines, and off-loading facilities that benefit the entire nation's economy, how much government help can reasonably be expected?

Too many are concerned that FEMA fell flat on its face in response to Hurricane Katrina. So if this is government response at its best (??), how can we expect that another government agency or two will do any better? Perhaps it is that the US government is trying to be all things to all people, and the natural order of economics is suggesting that this is not possible. It is not unlike churches that try a hand in as many ministries as it can possibly get involved in. They soon discover that they should focus on the one or two things they can do well, and stick to these.

When it comes to rebuilding the city of New Orleans, regardless of what is finally decided to be the best solution overall, the government will no doubt be involved. However, the coast lines are composed of a few public beaches; the rest is made up of high-dollar hotels, condos, and casinos. How much concern should the government show? How will millions of government dollars spent in southern Mississippi benefit the taxpayers of, say, Michigan? Those who own property on the Gulf Coast know perfectly well that Katrina and Rita were not the first hurricanes to hit them, nor will they be the last. And lest we forget, those who own property on the Gulf Coast - whether private or commercial - are generally on the higher end of the economic scale. They are in a better position to pay for their own insurance and losses based on their own actuarial tables than the rank-and-file folks who lost their homes in the inner city areas of New Orleans. You can't buy flood insurance in certain areas? Then don't build there. And if you choose to build there, do so at your own risk.

I have no problem with the US government helping folks who can prove they lost everything they own. In many instances, folks also lost their jobs when their places of work got leveled or severely damaged. These folks lost everything including the means with which to rebuild. Insurance, however, should not be subsidized by the US government. One can either afford it, or one cannot. It is sort of like a working person who is on the market to buy a new car and must consider the operating and insurance costs associated with a particular model; some will require more than others for several reasons, not the least of which will be repair/replacement costs associated with a particular model. We do not, or should not, expect the government to subsidize our new sports car/luxury car/SUV purchase because we have somehow come to believe that we are entitled to that particular model.

Government can force us to purchase insurance, such as auto liability, but such is the responsibility that comes with owning PRIVATE property. Long before Katrina and well after Rita, the government cannot be all things to all people. It is high time we stop expecting someone - or something - else to pay for our own mistakes or misfortune. Things happen. It does not mean that someone is somehow responsible and must therefore pay.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Sunflower

Mr. Simon Wiesenthal recently passed away. Probably better known for his work in hunting down former Nazis who somehow escaped justice, Mr. Wiesenthal also wrote at least one book, The Sunflower.

Mr. Wiesenthal was a Jewish prisoner of war who watched death all around him every single day. In this powerful book, Mr. Wiesenthal tells about an encounter he had with a young Nazi soldier who lay on his deathbed. This soldier had requested that a Jew, "any Jew", be brought before him so that he could ask forgiveness for his part in the war. You see, the young Nazi had been seriously wounded in battle and was not going to live much longer.

Mr. Wiesenthal's book has been edited several times to allow for some pretty serious discussion about the possibilities and limits of forgiveness when he solicited comments from religious leaders and thinkers from around the world. The Nazi had asked Mr. Wiesenthal to forgive him, but Mr. Wiesenthal ran from the room without uttering a word. Twenty-five years later when he wrote the book, he was still grappling with whether he should have forgiven the soldier.

This is a powerful book that will play with emotions the likes of which few of us could possibly identify, having never suffered in such a way. Mr. Wiesenthal left many good gifts to our world, not the least of which was The Sunflower.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Wiesenthal.

The Power Source

The Lord God said, 'It is not good for man to be alone. I wil make a helper suitable for him.'" Genesis 2:18

Mrs. Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., suffered a mild stroke a few weeks ago and was just recently released from the hospital. Spokespersons for the family say things are looking good for Mrs. King.

So much has rightly been written about Dr. King's work for civil rights, but I don't recall seeing much about Mrs. King. I realize that things were different during Dr. King's time, but it occurs to me that he might not have been the powerful force he was without a powerful earthly force pushing him and encouraging him. And not just any woman. This particular woman was the woman whom the Lord God placed in Dr. King's life. Otherwise, things might have been different even if it is impossible to tell.

Now I certainly do not compare myself to Dr. King by any stretch, but I do not believe I would be where I am without this particular woman whom the Lord God put into my own life. I wonder how much credit we do give the women in our lives who stand by us even when we make fools of ourselves! It is especially difficult for pastors' wives who ultimately endure every nasty thought that should be directed at the pastor himself but is not.

The Lord called it; "It is not good for man to be alone." Keep Mrs. King in your prayers. If there is such a place as purgatory, I think it is safe to say that she has done her time.

2 for 1? Sign Me Up!

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has begun a series of reports regarding the retirement system of public officials on the state level in Arkansas. For the sake of privacy, there is a lot of information that is inaccessable, which I would understand were it not for the fact that these retirement accounts are publicly financed. Essentially, it boils down to two years' retirement credit for one year of public service such as in the legislature. In some cases, the formula goes to 2.5-1 and even 3-1.

I suppose what really caught my attention was one public official who was at one time a teacher who had to take a leave of absence from his job while the legislature was in session. He has since moved on to bigger and better things, but what irks me is his response in which he seemed to believe that because of the great, "personal" sacrifice he made for us (????), he should be entitled to such a lucrative retirement income that will pay him approximately $100,000.00 per year once he retires. By the way, he now serves as the president of a major Arkansas university where he earns over $130,000.00 now. I have no idea what kind of retirement deal he will have acquired once he retires from that post.

I wonder if it ever occurred to this gentleman that he was not drafted or forced to serve in the General Assembly. If I had to guess, I would say that he spent a great deal of money virtually BEGGING for the job. Did he have personal motives for wanting to serve? Almost certainly. Even the most idealistic person would have lofty goals that would benefit individuals who choose this particular path. What I find most disturbing is his current "entitlement" attitude that suggests we citizens somehow owe him a retirement that will pay him well above the average Arkansas income.

There have been many positive changes to the pay structure for state constitutional officers over the years, and they were long overdue. For the benefit of those reading this who do not reside in Arkansas, the constitutional officers are also term-limited. The problem with THIS, however, is that one can serve in the Arkansas House until termed out, then run for a seat in the state Senate and term out there. Because of term limits, however, the formulas seem to have been adjusted to benefit the shorter terms.

I suppose it's good work if you can get it, but there aren't many of us who will get it although we will certainly finance it. What's worse: we keep reelecting the same ones over and over again because we recognize the names and we remember how friendly they were at the local barbeque or county fair; we are ignorant of their voting records because we are too busy/too lazy/too disinterested to read and keep up with legislative issues once they are in session and come up with formulas such as this which will benefit only a select few.

I realize that these men and women who serve must take unpaid time off from their jobs while the legislature is in session, and they must be fairly compensated for this time. However, a lifetime retirement income in excess of the median Arkansas income is not reasonable by any stretch.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Good, Bad, or Indifferent

In Friday's addition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, freelance writer Dana Kelley put his two cents' worth into the the continuing debate in northwest Arkansas going on between the Fayetteville school district and one particular lady who is struggling to keep what she considers to be "smut" out of the school library. Weighing in on the debate were some students from the school who decried "censorship efforts" and attacks on our "freedom of choice, on which this nation was founded".

Mr. Kelley writes, "If that poor student meant that the United States of America was founded on public school libraries containing books like "Doing It", then he or she definitely needs to spend more time at Fayetteville High School's library - in the history section. Freedom of choice isn't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, and it wasn't a founding principle at all. It's a beatitude of our secular, relativist times, as is pornography in public schools."

While I agree that we cannot control the types of books and magazines published and marketed, this notion that we need text books to teach young children how to "do it" is beyond anything reasonable and demands a certain level of censorship, perhaps the type of censorship that this nation employed during WWII when certain information was withheld from the general public. Did the nation not have a "right to know" or a "choice to read" what was being passed around? Not necessarily then or now.

In the first place, there is indeed such a thing as "TMI" . During WWII, the general public would not have had the stomach to endure the truth about the war at any given time and under all circumstances. There were some very ugly moments then as there are in any war at any time. The public, however, did not have a need to know nor did the public have the capacity to comprehend or appreciate the harsh realities of war.

Is this any less true of a high school or junior high school student as it pertains to "how to" books of a sexual nature? How much information can a young person take in at a certain age and truly appreciate the value of that knowledge, especially as it pertains to sex?

Remember also that this blog is dedicated to making the everyday "stuff" the kind of stuff that matters between the Lord and man. Sex is most certainly one topic among that "stuff". My problem with the entire discussion is simply this: there is a time and a place to discuss sex. High school is not one of these places.

I know that many secularists perceive conservative Christians as "narrow minded" when we take this approach to sex. The secular argument is that sex is a natural reality that must be dealt with and explored. Indeed. This "exploration" has led this nation to over 40 million babies being destroyed before drawing their first breath. This "exploration" has led to screwed-up emotions of young people dealing in matters of the heart and soul that they are not yet emotionally equipped to deal with. And another question I have is this: if the "act" is so darn natural, why are there so many books attempting to show us how to do something that should come naturally?

Yes, I had high school biology that covered the fundamentals of how our bodies work and, yes, there was that section dealing with reproduction. There was no mention, however, of how to properly put on a condom. Bananas and rubbers were not standard high school issue. I even had to attend the "boys only" screening of films having to do with venereal disease. YIKES! The difference, however, between what sex education seems to encompass today against what we had to learn back then was not so much instructional as informative.

If we need to focus on anything educational, perhaps we should turn our attention to the young person and his or her notion that "freedom of choice" is a constitutional right. Do I have right to choose to destroy your home because its design displeases me? Do you have a right to choose to infringe upon my rights? I know this is somewhat extreme, but this young person's notion of constitutional concepts is far short of what the US Constitution demands of its citizens.

There is, in my humble opinion, a reason why the Bible is filled with "Thou shalt not ..." statements. The Lord is not denying us any "fun". The writer is acknowledging the harm that is inherent to sinful behavior. The Lord charges us adults with protecting HIS young people. Jesus, in fact, is very explicit about the harm that will come to those who lead little children into temptation and sin: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." "Offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offenses come." Matthew 18:6-7

Giving our young people "TMI" as it pertains to sex ultimately does more harm than good. Suggesting to us that abstinence is not reasonable because "they're gonna do it anyway" insults our intelligence because we are not "sexual" beings; we are "human" beings. There is so much more to us - and to the Lord - than sex. Criminals are going to break the law anyway as well, so why not just teach them how to break the law and get away with it rather than punish them for doing something that seems to come naturally do them?

We as humans possess the ability to reason. Come, then, and "let us reason together". Isaiah 1:18

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Is It Really All That?

Having grown up in southeast Arkansas, one might think I would have a better perspective on race issues. Is there really a race problem as great as that which seems to be the rallying cry around post-Katrina New Orleans? Has our nation really digressed so much so that our president would deliberately and personally withhold relief supplies because of the color of so many who either chose to stay or did not have the means to get out of New Orleans before the hurricane hit?

To hear some tell it, there is a great, Jewish conspiracy that was not only aware of 9/11 but somehow managed to push Hurricane Katrina right into New Orleans but just not quite centered. A harsh blow to those "poor" people but not so much a direct hit that anyone would become suspicious. And the president had a PERSONAL interest in withholding funding to shore up those levees from as far back as 10 years ago!

All kidding aside, I wish I could understand more about this so-called race problem that we seem to have but that I cannot easily see. Maybe if I could see it, then I could address it. That battle cry, however, is wearing a little thin.

What is it that I am not seeing?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Life's Passions

It occurred to me today as I was driving home from church that I no longer feel much passion for anything. It is all too often that after delivering a sermon, I go over it in my mind as I drive home and become so full of "I should have said's ..." that I could just about pop! In the end, even when someone offers a nice compliment, I hardly ever feel as though I've accomplished much through my preaching.

I used to relish the challenge to use a sermon to push just a little harder toward some new idea or thought process. The sermons were as much an exercise in faith for me as for my congregation. Now it's just work.

Politics is another area where I used to live for the conflict that is almost always inevitable. There is hardly a time or a topic of discussion when politics - or even religion, for that matter - can be discussed intelligently or calmly. Both topics matter to most of us, and both topics impact our daily living.

I am a family man. I am deeply and passionately in love with my wife. We have been blessed with healthy children. Of course I am passionate about them, but as a Christian I am called - in fact, compelled - to be about more than just what is "mine". I joined the Marine Corps years ago as a very idealistic man with a passion for service to God, country, and Corps. In fact, I remember during a battalion commander's inspection when the colonel asked me why I joined the Corps. My answer: "Sir, this private wanted to be a part of something bigger than self, sir."

So if I have lost my passion for politics and religion, what else is there? Dealing with my family is religion. Dealing with my work is religion. In each endeavor, I am honor-bound to do my best for each. Failure to give each my all amounts to nothing more than theft. Politics? I care about what my congressman and senators do, but they don't seem to respond well to letters. I'm not especially affluent, so I cannot say that I have their ear.

So what is next? What will it take to get me excited about something? Maybe I'm just depressed because the Arkansas Razorback football team was just recently VIOLATED by the University of Southern California. "Violated" is the only word that seems to describe a 70-17 loss. In fact, I'm not even sure it counts as a game! I can't get excited about Razorback football.

Actually, each living day should be a quest. Each day should be considered a new adventure, an opportunity to learn something new, to meet someone new. Each day must be met with a passion toward "more" so that each day can be overcome as nothing more than a step toward tomorrow.

We need not be passionate about anything in particular. Life, however, requires our devotion and undivided attention! Christ is life, and He will lead the way ..... if I will allow Him. And so I shall.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

FEMA, Recovery, and the Lord

Time alone will tell how FEMA can be revamped so that when (not if) another similar disaster strikes, we will hopefully be better prepared to move a little more quickly and with a greater efficiency and sense of purpose. I must say, however, that working for a trucking company has given me a first-hand look at the incredibly inefficiencies of a bloated federal agency.

My company shipped seven truck loads of water (in only one instance) to Bay St Louis MS several days ago. The rate per mile was well above normal rates (FEMA's rates, not ours) PLUS detention time at $600.00 per day per unit if the trailer is not unloaded right away. This, too, is well above normal market pricing. The problem with all this is that one cannot determine who is ultimately in charge of this particular project. Our drivers who are in the area cannot find anyone who can - or will - claim to be "in charge".

When a tragedy of the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina strikes, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said it best when he determined that we must deal with the humanitarian issues first; we can worry about the cost and how to pay for it later. Fair enough. Eventually, however, it must be remembered that even if we choose to "worry later", there is still a terrible waste and inefficiency that is nothing more than firm evidence of a government that is out of control. This $600.00 per day storage/detention fee is not going to come from some magic money pond; this is OUR TAX MONEY that no one is apparently accounting for.

I should mention that these trucks and these drivers have no other place to get comfortable or rest, so they are burning fuel at a rate of roughly 1.25 gallons per hour that the truck is running. All this is happening because no one "in charge" knows what to do with all the water that these trucks were delivering. And make no mistake: we are not the only trucking company down there burning fuel and wasting time. Our lead driver said that there were literally "hundreds" of trucks parked all over the place with nowhere to deliver the loads.

Our private economy has learned the value of "JIT", or "just in time", deliveries. This means that the product spends no wasted time on the truck or in a warehouse. The product is virtually sold before it is loaded onto a trailer. This is where our government needs to be. Unfortunately, our government system is not situated in such a way that genuinely qualified persons are hired. How many FEMA employees are honest-to-goodness transportation or logistics professionals with the education and/or experience to guide such efforts as Katrina and so many others require?

It is not my intent to disparage government employees. I am confident that most of them do the best with what they have. It is not the rank-and-file government employee any of us should have a beef with nor is the president personally responsible. And I dare say that even the director of FEMA, regardless of who fills the post, will be restricted in many ways by laws and written policies, practices, and procedures. I say this because the trucking industry has been virtually hog-tied by new Hours of Service regulations that only a bureaucrat with NO trucking or logistics experience could have possibly written.

As the saying goes, "The road to perdition is paved with good intentions." How does the Lord fit into all this? Very simple. Everything belongs to Him, including those who distribute and utilize the resources. Gluttony is a sin of waste and misuse or misappropriation. Throwing money at an already bad situation will accomplish nothing, and we will have learned nothing from it. We are obligated to the Lord to make the best use of everything entrusted to us. This means no waste. This also means no cutting corners when there is an obvious need. All this requires learning from our mistakes and being as efficient as we can possibly be.

So FEMA didn't move quickly enough to suit everyone. Talk to the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor neither of whom invited FEMA in; by law they must. It's called "state's rights", and it is very constitutional. By contrast, however, notice how quickly and efficiently the Red Cross, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the Baptists, and countless other volunteer relief agencies moved.

I guess it's a matter of love that will sacrifice anything, faith that can move mountains, and hope that tomorrow will still come.

Grace and Peace.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Let's Move On

The blame-gamers are still out in force. President Bush has claimed responsibility though I cannot say that I agree with that assessment. Even though more than one state was affected by this incredible storm, the governors of those states must first invite the federal government in - yes? And the comparison to the attacks of 9/11 are really moving beyond anything I would consider reasonable. Whether this storm was some kind of divine judgment is best left alone. Those with a conscience are in a better position to answer that question. I am positive that the Lord has used calamity in my life to get my attention, but to say that New Orleans had it coming is quite a stretch.

The attacks on 9/11/01 were not random, however. Those attacks were by design. Let's keep our eye on the ball, shall we? There is much we can learn from Katrina and hurricane preparedness ... so have we?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Here We Go!

Reading the daily paper and watching TV news is incredibly aging! Although the news from the Gulf is beginning to perk up somewhat with inspirational stories here and there, earlier one almost got a sense of what the "end of time" might look like.

Now the paper is filled with "who didn't do ..." whatever so that somehow, someway, others might come out looking like heroes for we poor folk who cannot do or think or act for ourselves. We have politicians working to convince us that we NEED them and that we ought to thank our lucky stars that they are there "fighting" for us.

John Roberts is being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee so that they may determine his fitness for the Supreme Court. His resume is not adequate, however, for those who really do not want another conservative appointed to the Court.

I feel like with every turn of the page, I get just a tad bit older. All this stuff seems to be more than I can handle all at once!

There is one constant, however, that too many of us miss as we wade through all this information: the Lord. He is always there. Sometimes, however, He can be very hard to see or to hear. Why is this? Are we on such information overload that we are unable (or unwilling) to seek His voice? Wouldn't having Him near while reading this constant barrage of "bad" news make life make a little more sense?

Theology gets past most of us. Doctrine, for the most part, makes no sense. Ethics, however, gets into our lives daily. We have to make decisions, and we arrive at our decisions and conclusions based on our own experiences and our upbringing and our environment. Nevertheless, we must decide constantly.

It is my sincere hope that my own exploration may help others to cope, to learn that all the "bad" news is not so bad, that the world is not necessarily out to get us, and that the Lord is as near as we want Him to be.

Getting through the everyday stuff - now THAT'S theology.