Tuesday, February 17, 2009
A Crown group just finished up early December 2008. This group was the 4th group to participate in the study since my wife and I began facilitating Crown in our current church. This was supposed to be the first group without direct participation from either me or my wife; however, one of us ended up attending 1/2 of the meetings.
About 10 or 12 people participated in the study. The leaders who ran the group started Crown with us a year earlier, as well as the co leaders. One couple (from this group) has volunteered with out us asking, to lead the next group. This is exciting for me, as it looks like the study is going to take root in that church.
During one of the studies, a very educated woman pointed out on a side note how Capitalism had failed as evidenced by the economic crisis in the United States. Oh man, how I bit my tongue! But I did quickly point out, that it was not Capitalism that failed but a form of Socialism that is failing the people of the US right now. I did not go into a lot of detail at that time as I thought it was out of place for the study.
After the study, I found 2 kindred spirits. It turns out that the co leaders of this group own their own store and hate socialism as much as I do. I found that very interesting.
As I mentioned, during the study, we did not debate politics or economic systems but kept the study on track. Its more important to study God's word, apply it and then be set free. That's the purpose of the Crown study.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Where is your hope?
Many people trust different things many of which are tangible or intangible. Some folks trust in their abilities and in their track record of getting stuff done. Others trust in the cash or assets they have.
The Christian and Muslim trust that there is a God, the atheist trusts that there is not one.
Some trust in their doctrine or theology, trusting in their vast knowledge of Biblical texts.But when you’re down and all you can see is absolute chaos, what are you trusting in; where is your hope?
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Click her for source article.
A pair of scientist, noticed that some formations in a Martian photo were similar to some in an Alaskan photo. They set out to find what caused the pattern in the Alaskan photo. They determined that it was avalanches. A side note in the article said that they speculated that these avalanches were being caused by climate change.
They sent their results to NASA. Sometime later, NASA was able to get a picture of a real life avalanche happening on Mars. Pretty cool. The avalanche was being cause by ice breaking up.
I suppose this avalanche also was being caused by climate change on Mars. Everybody knows that global warming and climate change is happening because of your SUV and George Bush. I just did not know that the problem was as bad as it is! So bad that we are affecting the climate on Mars! Quick! Somebody needs to alert Al Gore and the United Nations!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Background: My neighborhood is somewhat uppity. Maybe a better word is wannabe uppity. Or even better description would be, others think that we're uppity. Yeah, that's really how it is. We're just regular folk - like the name of this blog. By US standards, my house and the other houses here are kind of regular, somewhat humble. (What we do have better than US houses is that our houses are made of 100% concrete - which rocks!) Our houses are just much smaller than US middle class houses.
The neighborhood behind ours sits somewhere between ours and zero on the "neighborhood class" spectrum; so the folks from there have hinted to me. I've heard people specifically make distinctions between my neighborhood and the one behind ours (and most of those folks happen to be from the neighborhood behind ours). The funny thing is, if you get on my roof, you see that it really looks like one neighborhood - us with them as one. In fact, the back wall of my house touches the back wall of the house in the neighborhood behind mine.
The Story: A new family moved into the neighborhood. Great! New neighbors! So I try to be friendly, maybe too friendly. I'm careful to always say hi and talk with them, engage in small talk - you know the general kind of stuff to make people feel welcomed. Then one day, to everyone's dismay the Mrs of this family started doing this to the vacant lot in front of her house:
WHAT THE HECK !!!!????
This, actually is a more pleasant photo. At times we can see clothes that you really shouldn't just do stuff like this with. So, my wife and I talked about this for 2 or 3 weeks. I told her, that I would politely speak with this lady to get her to stop this practice. But every time, I tried to bring the subject up, I just chickened out. Finally after having enough, my wife politely brought the subject up with her. I was not present, but she assured me that she chose her words carefully and tried to be as polite as possible. The translation of a cut of what transpired is that my wife mentioned to her that it was somewhat ugly and we should do all that we could do to keep the neighborhood looking nice. This lady responded that her daughter also said that it was ugly and that she shouldn't do it. So great, my wife is on the same page with this lady's daughter. (It's also worth mentioning that the word "ugly" in this case might be better translated as "not so nice".)
That evening, I was playing soccer with my kids in the street. This lady left her house probably to get something from the grocery store around the corner. I waved, but she was obviously very bothered and ignored me. When she got back, she called me over. Her story and the story that my wife had of their conversation were very very different. Amazing. In her story, my wife used very strong words and was very belittling of her.
So what to do? I assured her of our genuine aspirations to maintain peace with her and her family and at the same time I firmly sided with my wife's stance of keeping the neighborhood looking nice as well as questioning whether she used "feo" or "HOR-I-BLE!!!" ("ugly" or "HORRIBLE!!!").
Lesson Learned: For me, this was a very eye opening culture experience. This lady would've rather that we gossiped about her behind back, even going as far as posting this on the internet than have us confront her face-to-face to complain about an issue that we had with her. I'm over 35 years old and I never quit learning. This one experience helped shed light on a lot of things for me of which I will not get into here.
So, what happened? Well, she keeps putting her clothes out there on the fence of that vacant lot. Not that much now, but in defiance she still does it.
As for me, the adolescent in me thinks its kind of funny and does not run out of ideas of what to do about this. Unfortunately, I haven't acted out on any of those childish prank ideas that he keeps coming up with, yet. I think its the mature adult in me that's keeping that adolescent in check. But, wait! I didn't tell you, that there's an old man in me who's in his late 60s who agrees with that adolescent; so its hard to say how this is going to play out.
I know everybody hates those neighborhood associations micromanaging people and lording power over folks; but we sure could use one here!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
There's some infighting going on, on the Democrat side. Big deal. That's just how it is on any side.
Jesse Jackson said something stupid concerning Obama that was meant for private but got public.
Here's a clip of what bothered me the most about what he said (copied straight from drudgereport.com):
_My appeal was for the moral content of his message to not only deal with the personal and moral responsibility of black males, but to deal with the collective moral responsibility of government and the public policy which would be a corrective action for the lack of good choices that often led to their irresponsibility.
This statement exposes the heart of the problem with Democrats. What bothers me about his statement is his point of view. He's implying that poor decisions with the government led to folks being irresponsible. That's probably the key problem with the Democratic party: They look to government to take care of them instead of them taking care of themselves.
I can rephrase this statement: Democrats believe with absolute conviction that the government must take care of the people.
Let me go one step farther: so much so, the government must take care of the people at the expense of other people.
When the government doesn't "take care of someone" that someone has an excuse to be irresponsible.
Lets exam this premise, there are all kinds of problems with Democrat thinking.
1. They don't believe in individual responsibility but they believe that the government must take care of individuals.
2. If someone has it together and is responsible, the Democrats want to punish that person by taking away the fruits of his labor and give them to someone else who is irresponsible.
Why can they not see that this is truly absurd, backwards thinking?
Some folks mistakenly think that Democrats help people. Democrats don't help anybody. They enslave people with their socialist programs; extinguishing any flame of ambition that their new found slaves once had. While doing this, they are robbing from producers in our society, likewise throwing water on this metaphorical flame of ambition.
My advice to Jesse Jackson, Obama and other Democrats is to stop looking to government for the solutions to your problems. Doing so, only encourages government to try to solve your problems, which in the long run creates even BIGGER problems for everybody.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The Declaration of Independence
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows: New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton