It’s Been A While

Sorry that I’ve not posted in a while but it’s been a hectic three weeks. I’m in charge of TCAP (state testing) for over 900 students and I held a Gospel meeting this week, but I’m back and have the writing bug again. I’ll have a new post soon once my proof reader (aka wife) looks over it for me. It’s pretty risque, controversial, and sick so it should be a good one if I can get it past the FCC (aka wife).

My aka is pregnant. This will be our second child and we are so excited. It’s due November 16 so do keep us in your prayers.

The Gospel meeting at the White Oak Church of Christ in Lafayette, TN was great. They are a great bunch of people and I am so thankful to those who visited. I’m working on getting the lessons posted on my podcast player as I type so keep a close eye for when they’re ready. I’ll post them gradually over the next few days (it is time consuming) and have a post outlining them once they’re all up.

My podcast stats continue to surprise me. While I didn’t grow in the overall number of downloads last month, my latest radio podcast did have the most downloads of any of the other shows with 498 hits. The previous month’s show had 460.

"It’s About Wanting What You Have"

Paul the Apostle wrote in his letter to the Philippians, “. . . I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Phil 4:11) Buddhism teaches that desire is the cause of suffering. Also, Anakin Skywalker fell to the Dark Side because his desire for Amidala went against the Jedi Code.

People suffer a lot, and I don’t mean the kind of suffering that comes from a disaster; I mean the kind of suffering that comes from living a miserable existence because you don’t have what you want.

One overwhelming reason is because of the above principles. Many people don’t know how to be content and live with what they have. They always want more, agonizing and suffering over what they don’t have. Whatever moral code you live by, if you go against it because of something you want, you will suffer.

I have had two instances to think about this concept in the last week. I was a wallet-pull away from buying a new computer, but it fell through at the last moment. Second, I was on Defeated Creek Thursday morning wanting to land a bucket-full of fish, but the lone perch I caught didn’t suffice. I was suffering from disappointment. I was also tragically sacrificing the moment.

I was able to spend the day with my family while shopping for a computer. Also, I was with my dad surrounded by some of the best scenery in middle Tennessee. Where was my contentment? It was typing on a new notebook and cleaning a 12lb bass; neither of which I got. Because of my desire I was not fully enjoying what I had already been blessed with.

We must work towards developing a state of mind where we are content with what we have. Disappointment is inevitable, but if we wallow in it all the time, which is possible, we will miss out on what really matters.

This contentedness is not something that you can work really hard to get. It’s like sleep. If you think about how bad you want sleep, and you work really hard in your bed to get it, sleep will never come.

The author of the book, Rich Dad/Poor Dad learned that by wanting to get money as quickly as possible he missed out on business opportunities that generated small cash flow, but that would later have a rich pay off. To get money, he realized that it actually had to become less important to him.

Jesus says that all we need is Him. Nirvana, the highest state of Buddhism, cannot be reached by those who ask how to find it. Also, the Force can be fully controlled only by those who think of others before themselves.

This concept can be stated in different ways. “Live in the now,” or “Be where you are when you are there.” If we don’t do this, the beauty of our moments might be missed while we continually want for something else.

The Sidewalk Doesn’t End

I arrived home from church Wednesday night and saw what looked like a gigantic toad sitting on my sidewalk. As I got closer I realized that it was a deposit from a local animal. I wondered, “Could this be the work of an extremely large dog, grizzly, or Sasquatch?” Well, let’s stick with the canine explanation.

This article isn’t about dog walking courtesy, or the fact that Big Foot might be frequenting my neighborhood; it’s about getting along with our fellow man. I’m ashamed to say that the above incident bothered me, but after thinking about it, I realize how silly I was.

The only thing that can keep people from moving that blade of grass in my carefully groomed lawn is a ten foot razor-wire fence. Now, unless I get that with copper trim and stained in one of two colors, my home owners association will not approve.

By nature, I’m pretty impatient. People who take up the whole aisle at Wal-Mart and those who think they should discuss their medical history at the Kroger Pharmacy drive-thru are just two of my pet-peeves. I am improving though as I work on my willingness to wait.

I see people everywhere that struggle with this same character flaw. From my observations, this lack of long-suffering often comes from our close proximity to one another. The days of walking a mile to see your nearest neighbor are over and have been since World War II. We’re connected with technology, busy lives that overlap, and huge homes on tiny yards. We must learn to get along with one another because, like it or not, the sidewalk doesn’t end.

As we interact in close quarters, we don’t cope too well. So, we put up barriers and become disconnected from those who could enrich our lives. We pay ADT to protect our homes, and we outsource all our home-improvement projects. I know the value in this, but I also know that nothing can replace a good neighbor who looks out for you or who is willing to help you build something. I have been blessed with such neighbors.

Check out any blog on a controversial topic and you’ll find all sorts of verbal interactions that equate spitting in someone’s face. Walk through any grocery store and see how many intolerant people you see jerking their carts around a mother with a two year old. Life is too short to be angry with someone just because you think they took too long choosing between 2% and whole.

I plan to erect a fence in my backyard next year, but it’s to keep stuff in, not out. This fence will protect area residents from my attack dachshund, and it will give my son a place to play. It will be made of wood, it will be pleasing to the eye, and it will be without razor wire. So, sidewalk visitor, whoever you are, come on by. Maybe we can share a cool glass of lemonade.

A Valueless Nation Is A Nation that Will Kill Itself

Murder, infidelity, and theft; these are just a few immoral activities that people commit because they are only concerned with their desires. One reason people engage in such acts is that they do not appeal to a moral code that says these things are wrong. They have no one to answer to so they do what they believe is right for them. If it feels good, do it.

This concept, often referred to as postmodernism, teaches that morality is decided by each individual, that there is no higher power, and that there is no single moral code that governs us. This belief, held by many in our world today knowingly and unknowingly, is killing our youth and our nation.

Liberal politicians, judges, and media outlets who want to destroy any guiding set of principals, other than their own, create a moral void that people seek to fill with promiscuous sex, drugs, or other types of unethical behavior.

Postmodernism is not an obscure philosophy. It is taught by our most prestigious universities and you may be teaching it too. Whether you believe in God or not, a higher power must be appealed to if we are to endure the pain and suffering caused by mankind’s evil desires.

If we look only to our wisdom, Hitler and Hussein’s actions are justified because it was there country and there laws. This is absurd of course because a long time ago God, not man, said that killing is wrong and we have believed this for ages. America has survived for as long as it has because, in a lot of ways, it still recognizes basic human decency that comes from Biblical principles. Regrettably, we are forgetting this.

Morality must come from something greater. You may say that the people and the courts can decide morality. This is a slippery slope because what is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. Furthermore, the will of the people in this case can become nothing more than survival of the fittest. What a terrible world this would be if self-serving judges decided principles of conduct based on the masses.

We must appeal to the Bible, otherwise; the belief that all actions are neither right nor wrong but dependent on the doer’s perspective will become further accepted. Where this leads, I dare not imagine. Even Tammy Bruce, a critic of organized religion, says in her book The Death of Right and Wronge that the world would be a better place if everyone lived by Christian principals.

Without appealing to the Bible, the door will eventually be opened to any form of perversion. NAMBLA (North American Man / Boy Love Association) would certainly enjoy this. Most all of our country and world would agree that this organization is awful, but, with postmodernism, NAMBLA is not wrong because it is right for them.

So, whether you believe in God or not, we must appeal to Him to find the answers to our ethical questions.

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Are There Robots Among Us or People Who Just Need A Friend?

Have you ever seen someone at a restaurant or at the mall and he or she is talking but no one is around them? I always feel sorry for these individuals because they obviously have no friends and consequently must invent imaginary ones. Oh wait, they’ve got one of those wireless blue tooth head sets on and they’re talking on their cell phone. My mistake!

These latest high tech gadgets are so irritating. They make an already socially obtrusive item even more so because now I have to look at a piece of hardware strapped to your melon while I speak to you. The person seems to be saying, “I’m talking to you now, but with this space age device, I can flash to someone else at any moment and totally ignore you.” The cell phone keeps us disengaged from one another more often than we’d like to admit, and now the blue tooth is a visual reference to confirm this.

I hate to see a couple out with their family and one or both of them are gabbing away on this marvel of technology about something that most likely could wait. I’ve been guilty of it too. “They’re for emergencies,” we have always said. Well, the emergency is going to be across the table from you if you don’t hang up.

The blue tooth, while being worn as a fashion statement, is a distraction to those being spoken to because it is right beside the eyes, the gateway to the soul. Because it’s not put away, it also distracts the wearer. “Uh, yes dear, I love you . . . . Isn’t there someone I should be calling?”

One of the disadvantages of most cell phones is that you can’t hear yourself through them. This is why at Cracker Barrel you can hear a person’s conversation from two tables away. This earring on steroids is worse because there’s not even a mouth piece to reference how loud one should be talking. I think it’s cute that these people want to be robots, but I left that fantasy in the third grade. Maybe they should too.

There’s something to be said about the posture of talking on the phone and of not looking like you’re always wired in. Phone posture is obvious and helpful. Arm cocked, head tilted, eye contact in a general direction. Bingo! I know you’re not talking to me. With the blue tooth, it is embarrassing because you look like you could be talking to me, yourself, or even Kazoo, the green alien from the Flintstones.

These devices obviously serve a good hands free purpose in the car or when exercising, but please don’t wear these things unless you’re talking on them. They’re actually more annoying than they are cool.

Mary On Parole

A couple of weeks ago the news ran a story about Mary Winkler; the woman accused of killing her preacher husband. They interviewed a man who saw her in a bar on New Years Eve and had the cell phone pictures to prove it. I was shocked and maybe you were too. “Did you kill him?” he asked. She replied in the affirmative. Not a confession I enjoy hearing from an alumnus of my beloved, Freed-Hardeman University, but apparently that was what she said.

As I thought more about the story, I decided there was more implied here than a paroled woman at a bar with her sister. I saw the story on Channel 5 which I watch every morning in hopes that Lelan will choose us as the pick town and for Steve’s impromptu remarks. Despite my devotion to their HD broadcast, I was ashamed that I had been swayed by this story that bordered on frivolity. After all, its root was a guy who could have been half lit that night.

Later that day I was listening to Kevin Miller’s radio show on 99.7. Many were calling in and the message of “what is she doing out like that,” was continuing from what I had seen earlier. Now, unless you have a problem with people sitting at a bar (drinking Mr. Pibb) and unless you have a problem with smoking, you’re asking the wrong question. The right question is, “why does our legal system treat men and women differently when it comes to their crimes?” A lot can be written about the social implications here, but right or wrong; Mary was doing what the law allowed her to do. Therefore, I would rather address something a bit more practical. Namely, the influence we allow the media to have on us.

During the show, the McMinville man housing Mary calls in to address some misreported items. What an interview opportunity! Kevin, the radio gods smiled upon you that day my friend. That morning, I had gotten emotional about a story from a guy who, for all intents and purposes, just wanted some press. Did you do the same? We are often not as independent in our thinking as we would like to believe, and this is what the media world wants: mindless drones that will listen to whatever they report. Kevin Miller’s interview was much more worthwhile because it was with someone who, in this story, matters.

I am usually pretty cynical of media outlets especially those who seem to have an agenda. ABC is not as family-friendly as they would like you to believe, and “We report, you decide” Fox News has already decided some things. It is dangerous to take in as truth whatever the one-eyed monster serves. Don’t let Katie Couric tell you what to believe, don’t get your moral compass from Desperate Housewives, and always give deep thought to what you hear.

A Fetus Lives!

Lately, abortion has been a hotter topic than usual. Amillia Taylor, now four months old, survived after being born 21 weeks post conception. She has become the poster child of the pro-life movement. Even Charles Gibson of ABC news said, “The fact that she has survived and is about to go home, is a miracle . . . and it may change what people think about life.”

I wouldn’t call it a miracle. Miracles happen when something cannot be explained by natural causes; walking on water, for example. Amillia is an example of a person’s will to live, and this is quite natural. She is also an example for 49 of America’s 50 states that allow abortions at the point which she was born.

If it’s not a life, why does it live? If it’s not living, why must it be aborted? It seems to me that the only thing being aborted is the responsibility of the over-indulged teen or the adult woman who makes poor relationship decisions.

RAPE! INCEST! The pro-choicers rant. Well, one of my best friends is here because her mother was raped. That terrible event brought forth a wonderful human being.

It has become socially accepted that victims of rape or incest have a need that abortion fills. Studies do not substantiate this, but they do show that the mental anguish of the abortion lasts far longer than the memory of the rape. The reason most people reach the wrong conclusion about abortion in cases of rape and incest is that the victims’ actual experiences are routinely left out of the debate.

This was the experience of Jackie Bakker: “Nobody told me about the pain I would feel . . . causing nightmares and deep depressions.”

Incest victims rarely agree to an abortion voluntarily. To them, having the baby exposes and subsequently ends the incestual relationship. It’s a way out. Rape and incest are red herrings for groups like Planned Parenthood that profit from Roe v. Wade.

Secondly, Stacey Campfield of Knoxville has proposed legislation requiring that all abortion victims be issued death certificates. Similarly, the Missing Angels Bill provides birth certificates for still-born children and has been passed in many states.

On NPR, the unofficial radio station of the Left, one lady said these types of bills would give rights to a “fetus.” Well, it doesn’t take a monkey scientist to figure that out, but it probably took two liberals.

Mothers, who want children, bond with the moving mass of corpuscles for nine months. Why shouldn‘t it have rights? NO, the butchers proclaim. Well, too late. This precedent has already been set, and in California of all places. Remember Scott Peterson? He was convicted of second degree murder in the death of his wife’s unborn baby, Conner.

Pro-choicers (a.k.a. I-want-what-I-wanters) make an argument that sounds logical, but pick it apart, and all they are doing is condoning the slaughter of millions.

Their last line of defense is, “It’s MY body.” Well, it’s Amillia’s body, too.