Archive for September, 2009

What’s So Offensive About The Ten Commandments?

10_CommI’ll be the first to admit that I have a hard time understanding the liberal mindset. I do recognize how a person who doesn’t know God or believe in God comes to the opinionated, self-interested mindset of the liberal but what staggers the imagination is how anyone can ignore the results of such thinking. Are we better off as a society than we were before the free-thinking revolution of the sixties? Back then kids didn’t carry guns to school and shoot other kids. As far as I know, back then it was a crime to not pay your taxes, if convicted you would probably go to jail. (Today I’m beginning to wonder how many of our elected leaders actually pay their taxes? When caught, none of them seem to do any time.) Back then TV shows were predominately about families, Mom, Dad and the kids. Rights belonged to the honest bill paying citizens not the criminals. Everyone knew what was meant by the term “bad girl” and abortions were considered back alley wicthcraft.

          I understand that everyone has a belief system. Even athiests make a religion out of believing in nothing. It’s important to understand that everyone thinks their belief system is the right one. Muslims believe they have a holy cause, Mormons believe in wearing the holy underwear, Shintos believe their possessions have spirits and liberals believe in their agenda as well. The problem is simply this; any thought or belief based upon anything other than the Word of God is just an opinion.Only the God of the Bible, the Judeo-Christian Father can be proven reliable, true and absolute. Try and find any other belief system that can offer evidence to sustain it’s existence. Without evidence to back them up coupled with the fact that no other religous belief offers the peace of dwelling forever with a God that loves you, makes you wonder what anyone sees or desires in any of these systems.

          The sad fact is that many liberals also claim to be Christian. It makes me think they fail to truly understand Christianity. If you oppose the public display of the commandments does that mean you think they shouldn’t be followed? I guess a good day in the life of a liberal thinker would be one in which their children would dishonor them, one of the kids might commit murder, their spouse would be found cheating on them, their neighbor would steal their car while lying to cover it up and someone at work would lust after their job. What an opportunity to defend the rights of so many in just one day! My point is simply put. If even a liberal person would not wish to experience such a day why do they so many of them find the Ten Commandments so offensive? Why be so afraid to post them on the walls of the schools? Maybe our children would be influenced by them and refrain from commiting  the violations of numbers 5 through 10 as described above or eventually being the victims of someone else’s transgression.

          I didn’t forget about commandments 1 through 4. They all deal with honoring God. Perhaps if we could get some of our liberal friends to value others as themselves maybe they would eventually value God.  Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into just two. Love God and love each other as yourself. It’s really not that difficult unless your God is other than the God of the Bible!

Milestones…

          In a few days my youngest child and only daughter is getting married so I have decided to dedicate this week’s blog to some reflective thought regarding this major milestone in my life. She is one of three children by which we were blessed with about a ten year span between the first two and her arrival. I started thinking about this upcoming event the day she was born and in my mind’s eye I pictured myself much older than I now find myself. It’s amazing how fast she has grown but yet I have aged at a much slower pace.  (OK, I still welcome your comments but tread lightly.) During those many years, I gave little thought to who the groom might be. I was pretty sure that no acceptable candidate would be found. Once again time has crushed my delusions as she managed to find someone who I actually like and respect.

          As I pondered how life keeps changing, considering how God fits in all of this I came to recognize something that I believe I knew all along. The true blessings in life can only be enjoyed by allowing them to be free. If we hold too tightly the things in life that mean the most to us they will smother and wilt. True joy is found in the simplicity of freedom. Freedom to be who God designed each of us to be, freedom to let loose the stranglehold with which we manage to grip life and allow God to flow freely through us at His will. With this thought in mind I dedicate this poetic attempt to my lovely daughter, Becky!

                                                                 poem

          To all Dads who may be reading this blog I challenge you to think in “3D”. Too often we are guilty of flat line thinking. 3D thinking includes not only ourselves and others but also takes into consideration God’s part and His plan. For those of you who have daughters yet to be married I offer this simple advice. Enjoy the fleeting moments of parenthood as best you can. When the time comes and the wedding plans begin find a good book, get out of the way and let nature (and other forces beyond your control) take its course. You’ll always be Dad, you have accomplished much. Let your blessing go forth and watch in amazement as God reveals His wonderful plan.

You Better Watch Out…

          Before it all starts, I want to strike the first blow at the upcoming onslaught of Christmas commercialization. Last year I stopped by the local Kmart in August only to be confronted with their display of Christmas trees with all the trimmings. That’s right it was August. Fool me once but not twice, I avoided Kmart like the plague this year, no sir they weren’t going to trap me again. Who wants to start with the whole Yuletide thing when we should be listening to the Beach Boys and riding boogie boards? I remember when they used to wait until Halloween was over before they started selling Christmas. I really want it to be like it was when I was a kid.

          The real reason I started thinking about this stuff now was because of glass cleaner. I was cleaning the car windows the other day and all looked great until I drove down the street in the sunshine and all I could see was streaks. That started me thinking about what other window cleaner I could use and I recalled a product from my childhood called “Glasswax”. This stuff came in a can and dried into a white haze on the glass.  2120485243_578de01488It didn’t streak like the ammonia based type cleaners. At Christmas time we used to purchase stencils made from wax paper with snowflakes, bells, sleighs and Santa. They were taped to the windows and Glasswax was dobbed on with a sponge to fill in the designs. Once they dried the stencils were removed and the windows were decorated for the holidays. (I understand that some people used spray snow but your true holiday artists used Glasswax).

          I also remember going with Dad to buy a real cut Christmas tree. For some reason it always seemed like the coldest day of the year which made it quite the ordeal as we painstakingly selected just the right one and then had to tie it to the car with more rope than I care to measure. It always smelled great when placed in the house and I couldn’t wait to decorate it. I think my favorite part was hanging those silver strands of icicles all around the tree as neatly asBubble lights possible.  We didn’t have them but some people I knew had the type of lights that bubbled when they warmed up. Trees didn’t have themes in those days, just lots of bright colorful decorations.

          Maybe it was just seeing it through all  the eyes of my childhood but it always seemed like a magical time of the year. It really began right after Thanksgiving and we weren’t sick of it by the time it arrived. After my last blog on credit cards I thought it might be wise if we all decided to approach the whole thing a little differently this year. So I have made a list and suggest you check it twice. This is my recipe for how to aim for a Merry Christmas this year.

  • Stay away from Kmart and the like until after Halloween or later
  • When they start playing Christmas music sixteen weeks in advance, change the station
  • When the time comes to begin thinking about it, decide to avoid the useless spending on mostly unappreciated stuff
  • Put some actual thought into doing something personal and meaningful for those you love
  • Practice random acts of kindness toward people you don’t even know
  • Spend some time reading the actual Christmas story from the Bible with family and or friends

          Now that I have espoused my holiday philosophy, let me be the the first to wish you a blessed and Christ filled Christmas. You have my permission to ignore any other mention of the subject for the next ten weeks.

Grace or Greed?

imagesYou may recently have received a change of terms notification from one or more of your credit card vendors. This comes as the result of recent changes in the law and “unprecedented market conditions” as one such notification put it. If you are like me you probably discard this type of information when received as it usually is written in a very complex and legalistic manner. However, if you are notified of a change in your card’s agreement I strongly suggest you take the time to try and understand the new terms. While this writing is not my usual fare, I felt duty bound to create some awareness of the potential pitfalls that may be awaiting credit card holders. If you are searching for the Biblical connection in this message you may certainly find under the heading of stewardship.

          First let me spout off regarding the “unprecedented market conditions”. I believe what is being referred to here is, (Rodger’s opinion) after decades of encouraging consumers to indulge in credit card spending up to eight times their ability to repay the debt (the principle) the recent downturn in the economy has caused an unprecedented amount of bankruptcy’s. The credit card lenders aren’t receiving their normal 18 to 24 percent interest from these people nor the repayment of the borrowed amount. While I don’t condone the overspending and ravenous consumer appetite of many of the people who now simply can’t pay, I find it hard to muster sympathy for the corporate greed mongers who have perpetuated this financial atrocity. The reason they allowed people to get in beyond their ability to repay in the first place is their usurious desire to collect loan shark type fees from consumers (again my opinion).

          Fear not but applaud the government and the banking industry for figuring out a way to make their world right once again. The new rates going into effect, for example in the case of Sears, is 25.24% plus prime rate. By today’s standard that would be approximately 28.49% APR. What a marvelous deal. (Let me throw out one more opinion.) Those who carry a balance on their credit card and have not gone down with the ship will have the privilege of paying more interest to make up for those who could no longer afford to stay in the game. Hold on, that’s not all. In most cases this is not the sole change in the terms. The additional new twist in some cases comes by charging interest as of the date of the purchase. (Previously, interest only began to accrue after the start of the new billing period.) If I read the new terms correctly some will not charge this immediate interest if you have paid the entire new balance by the previous due date. They refer to this as the “grace” period. If you carry forward a balance you will receive no grace.

          Words escape me for describing the employment of such lop-sided business practices mixed in with the word grace. There are much better methods for manging one’s finances at far less cost. Grace would best be defined as forgiveness extended by consumers toward those who devise such insidious methods of making money from the everyday consumer. After all we are called to forgive those who “trespass against us”.

          On the encouraging side the news reported a definite sign that the economy is recovering. The sale of men’s underwear is up! While it isn’t financial rocket science we need all the good news we can get. If you have been riding out the tough times wearing your well worn boxers and things are looking more positive, then by all means help build the good news and buy some undies. Just don’t charge them!