Monday, December 27, 2010

Scattered Thoughts on the Cusp 
of the New Year

One: The "Blizzard: up here in the Maine is more like a snowstorm. There is a lot of snow and it's still coming down, but c'mon folks, it's Maine.

Two: The ski areas have received a great gift from the skies. I won't be there this week (too crowded and my pass is blacked out this week), but I hope to make it next week.

Three: (More important, but these are in descending order). We had a wonderful time of worship at Covenant Baptist Church yesterday. Our congregation is growing both numerically and spiritually. I have never enjoyed preparation and delivery of sermons more than now.

Four: The New Year's Resolution for all Christians should be the same as that of the Apostle Paul, who wrote to the Corinthian churches, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2). Know Jesus Christ - and share that knowledge in 2011 (but don't necessarily wait a week).

Monday, November 29, 2010

The TSA, Groping, and God's Word

A friend asked me last week what I thought about the furor created by the latest "security" screenings methodology at airports in the USA. I have given it some thought and the whole issue still somewhat muddled in my thinking. There are a few things that are clear, however.

Both forms of inspection are invasive. The full-body image machines show the body virtually naked, and the pictures aren't private. I have seen them on the web. I considered putting a photo here, but it was too graphic. 

The “pat down” searches touch “no-go” areas and I’ve also seen pictures of the TSA agents looking down past the waist band of travelers pants. They even made a woman take off her prosthetic breast! This also constitutes forced nakedness in my estimation.

The Bible is pretty clear that nakedness is not a good thing.

Adam and Eve felt no shame about their nakedness until their first sin. Then they realized they were naked and felt a need to cover up and were even “afraid” because they were naked. (Gen. 3:7, 10).

The word “naked is used somewhere between 32 and 49 times in scripture (depending upon the translation). Most of the references are negative.

From Genesis we go to Revelation (there are, obviously, many references in between). Revelation 16:15 says, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” It is shameful to be naked in public.

So, we can safely surmise that these inspection methods do not match God’s viewpoint regarding nakedness.

Now, the constitutional arguments are not quite as clear to me. The Fourth Amendment says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

It is clear that no warrant is involved in these TSA “searches.” However, flying is a privilege and not a right, therefore, if one wishes to fly and part of the cost is to have these searches inflicted upon them, they must voluntarily submit to them. We can opt out, by choosing not to fly.

We might ask whether there is a less invasive manner of accomplishing the security mission. Israel, arguably the most at-risk nation on earth, doesn’t do it this way. They profile. They have a good record of keeping the nation safe.

We do have, however, our current system. Since some must fly for work (like airline employees, business travelers, and missionaries) the question becomes are they being forced to pay this price in order to work.

Sandra and I find ourselves conflicted regarding this issue. We don’t really want to get searched in this manner. We do, however, have a calling that requires that we travel to other countries. We do not have the option of driving. Our thought at this moment is that we will submit ourselves to these searches in order that we may carry out our God-given assignments. After all, we are not choosing to get naked, that is being imposed upon us.

My final though on the matter at the moment is to ask the question, what is the moral situation of TSA agents who are Christians?

I know that many of my regular coffee drinkers are frequent flyers. What think ye? Have you been through these procedures? Are you annoyed, amused, or agnostic?

Speak up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ban the Knife!!

San Francisco. Tony Bennett left his heart there.  All others leave their senses upon entering.

On November 14, the City Council of that great and august city made circumcision illegal. Yes, you read that correctly. That great plague upon mankind will be eradicated by the city fathers and mothers of San Francisco.  

Let's just think for a moment about the culture (an alien one) in which this is happening.

  • This is the land in which the governor has declared that  “nobody cares if you smoke a joint.”  
  • In this city homosexuality is not only tolerated it is embraced (I couldn't help myself) and celebrated openly.
  • SF has declared itself a Sanctuary City. In other words, illegal aliens (lawbreakers) are given refuge  
  • The city has five abortion clinics listed in the Yellow pages and numerous doctors willing to perform abortions.
  • Oh, and BTW, SF has banned "Happy meals" from that restaurant with the golden arches.
SF, proudly wears its label as "most liberal county" in the US. (NOTE: San Francisco is both a city and a county - all by its lonesome). 

But the irony really is striking. As you may have noticed in the protest signs above, the call is to ban circumcision because the child doesn't have a choice in the matter. I guess I have to state that the child who is aborted doesn't get a large part in the discussion of that procedure either.

But, at least SF wasn't first in this altruistic quest. Massachusetts entertained such a bill in march (defeating it). Several Scandinavian nations already have the ban in place, with Denmark entertaining the issue soon.

It's a sad, sad world. Don't get me started on politics; or economics. Oy vey.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Something is, Indeed, Happening Here

In an online forum in which I participate, the question was asked, recently, "What is the music in you head right now?" Srangely enough it was an easy question for me, since one song has been running through my head for some time. It's "For What It's Worth," by Buffalo-Springfield

The group itself was only together for two or three years, although all its members went on to great musical careers. This song, which came out in 1967, was their big hit. Not only that, but it became the rock anthem of the 60s and 70s.  

The year 1967 was a tumultuous year in this country. Protest against the war in Vietnam was at its height. Demonstrations; rallies; even violence over the unpopular war was widespread. Priest Daniel Berrigan, with several others, went into a draft office and splattered red liquid – made up partly of their own blood – over draft records. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared that the US gov’t is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.  Part of the lyrics for the song read like this:
What a field-day for the heat 
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and they carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down.

(Of course, I can hear the music in my head).

Paranoia and fear were all around. 

I propose this song as the Rock Anthem of today, for an indefinite period.

We're out of Bush's unpopular war (for the most part) and we're entrenched in Obama's unpopular war. The economy is in bad shape (don't ever accuse me of understatement!). Election campaigns are dirtier than ever. Race relations are in the toilet. Winter's coming and we're still dependent on foreign oil. Immigration politics and policies are dividing the nation. Fear of socialism - in our own country  - is rampant.

Anybody who is a member of any patriotic organization is labeled a domestic terrorist suspect. Our names are on several lists gathered and disseminated by our own government. Mistrust of the government is probably at its highest since the 60s (if not higher).

Paranoia and fear are all around.
There's somethin' happenin' here. 
What it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there
A-tellin' me I've got to beware.

I think it's time we stop.
Children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's goin' down.

There's battle lines bein' drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speakin' their minds
A-gettin' so much resistance from behind.

The song is only 2 minutes and 39 seconds long. Its worth a listen. And maybe we should "stopChildren, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's goin' down."

What think ye, coffee drinkers?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It’s NOT the Economy, Stupid

“It’s the economy, stupid,” was a campaign slogan of Bill Clinton in his 1992 presidential campaign. He was wrong then and those repeating the phrase today are equally wrong. Why? I thought you’d never ask. National security and border security are the co-number one important issues in America today.

I can understand the feeling that we need jobs and a more robust economy. My wallet has felt the pich, too – and felt it painfully. We cannot, however, always think or vote with our pocketbooks.

Think about it. If we continue to have a porous border, allowing illegal (yes, I wrote “illegal”) aliens to enter this country at will; if we do not close the border to Muslim fanatics who enter the nation to do it harm; if we continue to allow Mexican gangs to flourish at the border – and inside the border (our side); there will be no economy to speak of.  (See this report).
  • It was illegal immigrants who hijacked planes on September 11, 2001 and killed thousands of people – within our borders. The damages from those attacks continue to mount.
  • Beyond the fact that their very presence in the US is unlawful, illegals account for a large number of crimes in this nation, including murder, rape, kidnapping, and even drunk driving. (Read a report here).  

These are only a couple of examples of the need for real border security. A simple GoodSearch study would net many more. It is tied to our national security and our economy.

The immediate response to these thoughts by some liberals might be, “Lovelace is a racist.” Not by a longshot. I’ll let someone else answer the charge, though. In an open letter written to (then) Sen. Bill Frist, retired Border Patrol Agent Daniel J. Stoddard wrote in part:
 It is not racist to want secure borders.  What is racist about wanting secure borders and a secure America? What is racist about not wanting people to sneak into America and steal benefits we have set aside for legal aliens, senior citizens, children and other legal residents? What is it about race that entitles people to violate our laws, steal identities, and take the American Dream without paying the price? For about four decades American politicians have refused to secure our borders and look after the welfare of middle class Americans. These politicians have been of both parties. A huge debt to American society has resulted. This debt will be satisfied and the interest will be high. There have already been riots in the streets by illegal aliens and their supporters. There will be more. (Read the entire letter here.
I say, it is not the economy. Secure our borders. That’s ONE step in securing this great nation’s future.

What do YOU think, coffee drinkers? Is the economy the most important issue in this nation at the moment? If not, what is. Speak up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dear Ms. Pelosi

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has called for an investigation into who is “funding” the outrage over the siting of the mosque at Ground Zero. Here’s my response in the form of an open letter.

Dear Ms. Pelosi,

I see that you’d like me investigated. Bring it on.

I favor freedom of religion, as guaranteed to me as an American citizen. I am in favor of allowing places of worship (any kind) to be erected in appropriate places. I even believe that it MAY be legal to build this particular mosque at the site requested. I’m not sure about that, but let’s assume it.

All that is fine, but there are other matters involved. Like it or not, Many (maybe most) Americans are still hurting over that attack at that site. Another fact is that the attack was carried out by muslims. The connection is hard to miss. American sensibilities are offended by this planned building on that particular site. Personally, I find it to be morally reprehensible and outrageous.

Do they (the planners) have a right? Maybe. Do they have a responsibility to be sensitive to New York and America? You betcha.

Then there is the matter of the Greek Orthodox Church that was previously standing when the towers came down. It ended up under much of the rubble from the towers. It does not look like that will be rebuilt. Why not? Is there some form of politically correct mumbo jumbo that justifies this? All over the country, congregations get turned down for building permits. It happens regularly. Some of the rejections are reasonable. Many are suspect.

You state that there are people “ginning up” resistance to the mosque being built on this site. We don’t need to be ginned up. Nobody has given me a nickel and I am not part of any organized effort in any way. I don’t need to be. I can get outraged on my own.

Investigate all you will. What you will find is a concerned American veteran who loves this country, deplores what you are doing to it, and thinks that the mosque at that site is a very poor idea.

Thank you for taking the time to read my missive (as I know you have). Your personal comments are always welcome here.

Monday, August 09, 2010


Representatives of the “religion of peace,” killed ten aid workers in Northern Afghanistan last week. (story here). Guilty of the "crime" of offering medical assistance to rural Afghanis, they were taken out of their vehicles, lined up, and shot one by one. The Taliban claimed credit for the killings, stating that the martyrs had been preaching Christianity. A quick search on GoodSearch ** indicates that the murder of humanitarian workers in Muslim countries has been rising drastically in recent years.

It must be acknowledged that Muslims have their martyrs, too.

Let’s make some comparisons.

The ten Christian martyrs of last week, and many more like them, were killed while involved in loving, peaceful activities. In this most recent case, they were offering optical care in a very remote region. They had also delivered medical equipment which they had raised the money to purchase for these Afghanis.

Muslim martyrs strap bombs to themselves and their vehicles and try to kill as many people as possible, including a great preponderance of innocents, many of whom are Muslims. They fly planes into buildings full of non-combatants. Their compatriots, even those living the good life in these United States, often celebrate such attacks publicly.

The Christians who become martyrs, while not seeking martyrdom, are motivated by love for Christ and the people to whom they are sent to serve.

The Muslim martyrs are motivated by hate for all things western, Christian, and Jewish. They also hope that they will be comforted by the current number of virgins in paradise – and at times reap benefits for the families they leave behind.

Praise God for the lives of these martyrs. May their deaths be the catalyst that turns many hearts and minds to Christ.

Coffee drinkers, what are your thoughts on this? And what about that great big mosque on the site of "Ground Zero?"

I would like to hear from you here in the comments section.


** If you use GoodSearch, we would appreciate it if you would type Lifework Forum into the "Who Do You Search For?" box. This allows you to benefit our ministry without any cost to you. Thank you.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Thinking About Liberty

Yesterday was the Fourth of July. It's the day we celebrate the birth of liberty in the nation in which I live, the United States of America. My thoughts have been on the concept of liberty for some time now. Please allow me the privilege of sharing just a few of those thoughts with you.

In 1955 what is commonly known as the Warsaw Pact was created. It was a response both to NATO itself and the reception by NATO of West Germany into its membership. Members of the Warsaw Pact were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.

Despite the fact that the geography looks a bit different today, most members of the Warsaw Pact (with the notable exception of Russia) have now been accepted into membership of NATO.These nations were once part of what we often called, “The Soviet Bloc.” Under the oppressive hand of Soviet Russia, they were all dominated by cruel Socialist governments. Today it is no longer that way.

Beginning in 1989 with the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, each of these nations (again, with the exception of Russia) has moved toward democratic and capitalist models. Some have met with more success than others, but all are headed in the same direction. Most have made positive diplomatic treaties or agreements with the US. Each has many stories to tell about the cruelties and ultimate failure of the socialist model in their own histories.

Yet, here we are, in the United States of America, moving to occupy the space these nations have vacated. While each of these former Warsaw Pact (and other Soviet-dominated) nations moves further and further from its Socialist and Communist past, we, with amazing alacrity, move toward that model.

We have nationalized the auto industry, the health care industry, a great portion of the financial sector, we have attacks on our first, second, and tenth amendment rights (and probably several others). These attacks are not coming from without, but from within our government. We have crises which are not being handled well, such as a catastrophic oil spill and a border war which has already stripped the US of some of its sovereign territory. The US Attorney General is preparing a lawsuit against the State of Arizona (with help from the government of Mexico!!!) regarding Arizona's recently-passed immigration law.

This is a sad state of affairs. It is the talk around the water cooler, in schools, at church, and on a large number of internet chat boards. Some folks are seriously preparing for Martial Law.

The Obama administration's views on God and religion have been fairly transparent. His appointees are Godless and God-hating. It's not good to get on the wrong side of that battle. Obama needs prayer. He needs to be converted. He needs to seek and accept the Wisdom of God's Word. He needs to surround himself with Godly advisors. Even more important, the nation he heads needs to get back to worship of the One True God. Obama is POTUS because God put him there. Ponder the reasons for that!

What think ye, coffee drinkers?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sons of Liberty in Providence

This week I return to the city of my birth, Providence, Rhode Island, for a high school reunion. I've graduated from a number of schools, but I've never been to a reunion before. This should be interesting.

This morning I was reading a speech given in Providence in 1768 by a man named Silas Downer. Downer was a Son of Liberty and the speech was given on the occasion of the planting of a Tree of Liberty.

Downer brought out a great many points about that British colony that I never pondered while growing up in that city. Here is one quote from that speech.

"The public worship of God, and the education of children and youth, were never more encouraged in any part of the globe. The laws which they made for the general advantage were exactly carried into execution. In fine, no country ever experienced more perfect felicity. Religion, learning, and a pure administration of justice were exceeding conspicuous, and kept even pace with the population of the country." *

This quote is packed full of items for which we might pine today. Worship without persecution or ridicule is certainly to be desired. While Christians are not generally in physical danger in this nation today, we have certainly been marginalized. Much of this is, of course, our own doing, but that's a discourse for another day. The worship which is encouraged in this land today is all about money, self, and Barack Obama. These are the wrong objects for proper worship.

Laws being made to the general advantage is certainly a novel concept. It seems that laws are enacted these days only for the general advantage of the legislators. Having the laws "exactly carried into execution," would certainly change things, as well. Arizona would have had no need to pass legislation regarding illegal immigration if federal law were carried into execution. Many categories of law are ignored regularly, which were originally passed for the general advantage of the people of these United States.

Silas Downer obviously had his head on straight. I wonder if anyone in the public schools of Providence knows of his existence and of the marvelous things he said and wrote. I know I didn't. It certainly would not be a bad idea to use his "Son of Liberty" speech to teach about colonial history.

I have what I expect are the normal apprehensions about this reunion. I have not seen most of these people since JFK was president. Will I remember them? Will they remember me? If they do remember me, what memories will they be? I'll find out soon.

* This quote is from American Political Writing During the Founding Era, 1760-1805, Volume 1.
Thank you Warren, for the loan.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

ObamaCare Questions From Around the World

Since I am in contact with people in various countries around the globe, I am often asked about American political affairs. Last week an old friend from (very) far away asked this question: "By the way, apart from the obvious abortion issue, why are the conservative Christians in the USA so against obama’s health care plan for the poor? We are puzzled here." Thus I entered into a brief discussion o the issues as I see them.

Here are excerpts from the conversation. I have only included my side of the conversation (except for the initial question), as I have not asked permission to quote the other side. The exchange was respectful and friendly. You can probably surmise from my answers some of the follow-up questions asked.

  • There are a lot of issues with ObamaCare. Among them are the fact that it mandates health care and will fine people who don't choose to have it. It also creates an even greater bureaucracy, all government-run, which, in turn leads to even greater costs.
  • It reduces the amount of money spent and the benefits available on Medicare, which is elder care insurance into which people have been paying all their working lives.
  • Healthcare is too expensive here and the system does need to be fixed. This does not appear to be the plan that makes it work better. Many of the uninsured in this nation are actually uninsured by choice. Young people who are in relatively good health often choose not to pay for it. Some Christians don't believe in insurance. They will be mandated to purchase it.
  • The poor are seldom refused necessary health care here.
  • We also still have people flying in from other countries to take advantage of our medical care.
  • All-in-all the new law is intrusive, expensive, and will create more bureaucracy. We also have problems with the manner in which it was pushed upon us. The politics and the disregard for the will of the nation. All polls indicate that most of the citizens were against passage of the bill. We are supposed to have a representative government. It did not represent us in this instance. I predict that there will be a massive change in the legislature come November. Representatives are up for re-election every two years.
  • There may be some better plans out there, but if they conflicted in any way with the Obama plan they never saw the light of day. This includes plans from his own political party. In the end it was all politics and the Democrats, the party of Obama, banded together and the vote was almost absolutely along party lines. This was about Obama's Plan, first and last.
  • This is a lot more technical, of course, than most of us can fathom. But, we know when we're being taken for a ride. I'm one of those in the medicare class (having achieved the lofty age of 65). I'm going to be getting fewer medical benefits. Medicare is not based upon charity. It is something I payed into all my life. Now it gets cut back. Although I'm not desperately poor, I am in the lower classes of income. I only go to the doctor when necessary (like when I broke my ankle in November). What welfare and other like programs have taught the street-smart poor is that they can go to the emergency room whenever they want and the public picks up the tab.
  • I favor charity. But what we have here is redistribution of wealth. Proverbs 6 talks about this. Despite our current economic woes, which are real, there are still jobs to be had if people will take them. We have pages of jobs listings in the newspapers and yet our unemployment numbers rise. Some people are too proud to take the McDonalds jobs and other are too lazy. Now I'm not painting an entire segment of the population with the same brush. There are some who genuinely cannot work; cannot pay for health insurance. They need assistance, and the society should do what it can to help. The Obama plan seems to go well beyond help.
So there you have it. What do you think Coffee drinkers?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Really Inconvenient Truth

The following essay appeared in the Kairos Journal. It is published here in its entirety with their permission.

We Can’t Help But Tell the Truth

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20 (NIV)

The world has asked the Church to sit down and be quiet, and the Church has largely complied. In fact, the Church itself has asked the Church to sit down and be quiet, and the Church has largely obeyed. The Church knows so many biblical things, but there are so many people who hate to hear them. So some pastors and teachers are tempted to water down the truth to maintain warm relationships within and without the Church.

Knowing that the truth of Jesus would undermine their authority, “the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees” (4:1) moved in to stop this preaching. They arrested Peter and John, jailed them overnight, and then brought them before the high priestly family. When asked, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” gave all the credit to Christ, the Savior (4:8-12).

Not knowing what to say, the Sanhedrin sent Peter and John back to their cell. Fearing public and subsequent Roman reaction, they decided to let the two apostles off with a stern command (parangelia) to stop their teaching, but the prisoners would have none of this. They explained that they were working under a higher authority than the Sanhedrin (and the Romans) and that they had a proclamation mandate from God.1 They also directed the judges to judge their own judging, to ask whether they might be setting themselves at odds with God.

This same Greek word for command (parangelia) appears repeatedly in the Gospels, but it is Jesus, and not the Sanhedrin, who issues the directives. In Matthew 10:5-6, Jesus commands the twelve to go to “the lost sheep of Israel.” In Luke 8:29, Hecommands an unclean spirit to come out of a man. In Mark 8:6, Jesus commands the crowd to be seated for a miraculous feeding. Thus accustomed to the divine commands of Jesus, the apostles were unimpressed with human commands contrary to Jesus’ Great Commission.

The Romans had delegated authority to the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious court, but this authority was tenuous. If the actions of the chief priests and elders fomented insurrection or chaos, then their power would be stripped from them. Rome would step in with more direct, secular supervision.

Jesus’ directives are distasteful and inconvenient. For example, pastors know that a strong stand on the sanctity of marriage, one drawn from Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, elicits astonishment and contempt from the culture and retaliation from the “wounded” and their biblically indifferent constituency in the Church. Similar backlash can fall upon pastors who discredit cults and embarrass the backslidden. Pressure also arises outside the Church. In the face of many counter-biblical forces, pastors have to decide whether or not they will stand in the tradition of Peter and John or fall down in the interest of personal safety or “peace in our time.”

(Cowardice for those of you who can't read the yellow)

The Health Care Bill, which none of us has seen - or had the opportunity to see (transparency), may become the Health Care Law very soon. That doesn't mean that the House of (non)Representatives will have voted on it, though.

No, as you have no doubt heard by now, it may be rammed down the nation's throat on the basis of a "deem and pass" scheme. By this tactic, the (non)reps vote on procedural issues and minor adjustments to the bill rather than the bill itself. All the House has to do is match up to the Senate version of the bill. This, then, is "deemed" to be the same as passing the bill.

WHY? There are several reasons for the use of this tactic. First, it allows passage with fewer (non)votes. More importantly in my humble estimation is the fact that (non)reps can allow this to become law without having to vote one way or another. Did we elect people to go to DC and NOT vote on the substantive issues of the day?

The constitutional scholars will argue whether or not this is a constitutional move. I can't answer that, although I have my doubts. What I do know is that this is a cowardly action.

I mourn the loss of my nation.

Pray for America. Please

This, my friends, is political cowardice.

Friday, March 12, 2010


A few months ago, I had to put restrictions on this blog so that machines could not respond. It's a little bit of an inconvenience, I know, but not too bad. Today, however, I got dozens of comments - in Chinese. A while back, someone who reads Chinese informed me that these are all ads for pornography or sex shops or some such thing. So, today, I had to spend quite a bit of time erasing all these comments, which has to be done one-at-a-time.

It was annoying. Please, freefun0616 , leave us alone. We do not want to read your ads in ANY language. If you wish to make meaningful responses, you are welcome. Otherwise, please cease and desist.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Olympics are Over

I enjoy the winter olympics much more then the summer event of the same name. The skiing, snowboarding, and skating are fun for me to watch. I thought I'd just share a few thoughts on the most recent installment.
  • I do not enjoy the figure skating events. Does it seem to anybody else that the men get more and more effeminate?
  • The fascination with curling is beyond me.
  • Speed skating is ruthless - and the judges are not to be trusted.
  • I can't believe the things that some of those skiiers and boarders do - and the slopes they ski.
  • The mogul skiiers aren't human.
  • Biathlon must be incredibly difficult. Getting your breathing to cooperate for the shooting after skiing hard seems to be quite a feat.
  • I didn't watch it live, but that hockey game was obviously one for the ages. Congrats Canada!
  • I wonder how much the taxpayers of Vancouver and Canada are going to end up paying for the privilege of hosting.
  • I wonder how many missionaries were in Edmonton and Whistler.
  • I never saw any of the ski jumping. I'm sorry I missed it.
While all those superior athletes were displaying their collective prowess, my wife and I were skiing with our #1 grandson. We didn't ski as well as they do, nor did we get any medals (of any color). Our rewards were greater, though. We had two different devotionals with him each day, learned a new memory verse, played board games, and just plain enjoyed his company.

We Win!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Who Knows?

I just read an interesting conversation between a Unitarian “minister” (Sewell) and America’s leading atheist (Christopher Hitchens). This was recorded by the Portland Monthly magazine. The entire interview can be found here.

One of these two has an understanding of Christianity. Is it the alleged minister or is it the atheist?

Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is a generally fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

Hitchens: I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.

What think ye, imbibers of Coffee with Curt?

Is there any such thing as a "liberal Christian"? For your reading assignment today, allow me to refer you to an old classic: Christianity and Liberalism, by J. Greshem Machen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Sad Life; A Hard Death

Dick died sometime last week. Nobody really knows when. He was found in his apartment and the assumption is that he had been dead about a week. He drank himself to death. What a sad end to a sad life.

Dick had once been a neighbor of ours on a street full of close, neighborly friends. Dick succumbed to demon rum, however. He got in all sorts of trouble, lost his job, and destroyed his marriage. Yet, when his ex-wife called to tell us of his Dick’s death, the tears were just below the surface. She was thankful for the good years she had with him.

So were we. We enjoyed barbecues, front porch visits, trips to local restaurants, and just hanging out together. Dick could be charming and fun. He could tell stories. But all the stories weren’t charming. Some were the lies he used to cover up his drinking and the increasingly difficult time he was having at work. When he finally lost the job he had had for many years, the house of cards really began to tumble and crumble.

What do we make of all this? What’s the point? How can we reconcile this with the goodness of God? There are a lot of questions to be asked. Not all the answers will be satisfactory to our ears.

There’s a lot of teaching about “trouble” in God’s Word. These verses comes to mind, for instance:

He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head. (Psalm 7:14-16).

Trouble is often the result of our own actions. We can’t blame God; and we can’t blame the devil. Is alcoholism a disease? I won’t go on that rabbit trail, but I will say that though we may even inherit a tendency toward addiction, the active participation in that addiction begins as sinful behavior, not disease.

God does not walk away, however, and say, “You made your bed, now lie in it.” He cares about the troubled, the oppressed. The Bible is full of promises about help for the troubled. Here are just a few from the book of Psalms:

  • The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)
  • For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)
  • You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)
  • The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. (Psalm 37:39).

God is in the rescue business. Dick was made in God's image. God offered help. Dick was told the Gospel. He was invited to church. His response was usually along the lines of “Time for church is when 60 Minutes comes on.”

Is all this a glib way to say, “tough luck, Dick,” or to excuse his friends and neighbors for our parts in his demise? No. It’s just a tough, real life story. He had a hard life. He probably had a hard death. If nothing else, let us all learn to turn from our addictions; turn others from beginning in lives of drink, drugs, and promiscuity. Turn to God. Let’s bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Pray for those in your life who are afflicted. Tell them that God WILL help. And expect them to throw up on your shoes. Then pray for them again.

There is no happy ending, here. Dick’s dead. He was (probably) unsaved. There but for the (vast, enormous, eternal) grace of God, go I.