Tag Archives: country

Crumpled Flags

I attended an impromptu comedy troupe performance on Saturday at a local Christian College of impeccable reputation.

During one of the skits there was a stirring speech about the American justice system complete with flag waving behind the speaker.

As the skit progressed though, the heroic moment was over and for convenience sake, the flag was wadded into a ball in the hand of one of the troupe members.

Some of the comedy was edgy and slightly uncomfortable given the mixed company and the environment, but the part that affected me most was seeing that flag wadded into a ball in the hand of the performer.

I posted a comment on the event website and received a response and query from one of the troupe members. He assured me it was an oversight that left the flag so, a lack of thought into the implications.

But then:

Just out of curiosity, why is flag etiquette so important? In my personal opinion, it doesn’t seem to matter. I just want someone else’s perspective on this, maybe it will challenge the way I think. Please don’t be offended.

I am sorry, but I was offended. This is a student at an upstanding Christian College. I assume he’s a Christian, and he lists his political views as “Apathetic”.

So I responded:

You live in America, the flag is a symbol of what is good in America. It is the symbol of our military men and women. It is the symbol of our noble past and our hopeful future.

Proper flag etiquette shows respect for your country.

If you disagree with the current state of America, the flag symbolizes the beauty of the American system allowing your dissent without fear of government reprisal and your ability to work to try to change the system.

Frankly I’m kind of surprised and disheartened by your statement that “it doesn’t seem to matter”. I assume you’re an American citizen? If not, then out of respect for your host country and the fact that despite the many appalling things which occur in America today I can still challenge you to find a nation which is freer, has a surer moral footing, a stronger past, or a more promising future, with the knowledge that you cannot find a better country.

If you are an American citizen, I ask you: Is nothing sacred anymore?

Do you hold your hand over your heart when the anthem is sung or when the pledge of allegiance is recited? Or do you shuffle uncomfortably? Or could you care less and you look around, wondering how long they’ll take this time…

John says if we don’t love our own brothers and sisters, who we see, how can we love God who we can’t see?

I ask, if you can’t honor this nation which God has blessed you to be involved in and benefiting from, and which you can see and work to change as you desire, how can you honor God who you can’t see and who accepts no change to meet our whim?

How would you have responded?

Do you believe differently?

And that is why I didn’t write a piece today called “All Americans Eat Burgers”. 🙂

Our Story, From Matthew’s Eyes

She was smart, beautiful and funny, and most of all, she loved God.

February 11, 2007: Sunday morning I walked into Sunday School with the other Young Adults at Brainard Avenue Baptist Church. It was my second week back after being gone just over two years in California.

I had met the church and felt at home and accepted and appreciated back in 2003, and with that knew that I was to relocate at least for a while to Chicago after spending a few more years at home. After spending just over 2 years back in California, I returned to Chicago at the end of January 2007 and thanks to the generosity of friends church family in the area I was putting down roots.

Little did I know where those roots would grow and how my life was to change. Soon.

Back to that Sunday, February 11th. In my visits back to Chicago while living in California, I’d met some new members of the Sunday School class, students at Moody Bible Institute who were able to drive out to the suburbs for Sunday services at Brainard. It was good to see these people again in addition to the regulars and long-timers.

The Moody students had brought friends this Sunday. One young lady, in her first semester at Moody, had been searching for a church she could feel at home at while attending school, had taken advantage of her friend’s extra car seats, and was visiting the church for the first time.

The quiet, beautiful girl did not return for a few weeks.

When she did visit Brainard again, I made a point of talking with her for a few minutes. Making her feel welcome, I told myself.

It began as a friendship, nothing special. But I quickly moved beyond an average interest in her.

This was a Godly woman, beautiful, caring, very loving. All that attracted me very intensely. I had to get to know her better.

And so I did. Grace visited family in Washington for spring break. I missed her those weeks she did not come to Brainard.

I had offered to drive students to church from Moody when they needed extra seats, and one beautiful spring day they took me up on the offer. Three students needed a ride and so I went out early Sunday morning to pick them up. Due to the beautiful weather, the two others decided they were going to ride a motorcycle out to church that day, leaving Grace to ride with me by herself. She was not exactly comfortable with this situation at the outset, being alone in a car with some guy she hardly knew. But it was that or miss church, and I’d already driven out, so to not make a scene, she got in the car.

We began talking and found we had similar standards and backgrounds, and we both liked country music.

That afternoon several of us spent the afternoon at my apartment eating lunch, playing games, listening to music, relaxing. Grace and I continued to talk and get to know each other. I drove her back to school too, and said goodbye.

Over that spring the associate pastor and his wife invited several college students over for extended times of fun and fellowship, watching movies and entertaining their young boys. Grace was able to take some time off studying to attend one of these, so I volunteered to pick her up from school and bring her out to the suburbs so she could spend time with us.

The other Moody students had come out earlier in the day and so again I was able to spend time just with Grace, getting to know her better.

We also spent a Saturday helping some other students move to an apartment off campus. While there were others around, I sought out Grace and helped her and asked her to help me in specific tasks. I was twitterpated. And I believe she knew I was possibly interested in more than friendship.

Our friendship continued to grow and as the semester drew to a close I was trying to decide if I should ask her if we could move into a potentially romantic relationship or talk to her dad first. Various things led me to decide to speak with her dad first, but as I drove her and a mutual friend to the airport that morning in early May I bit my tongue.

Our parting was awkward as our relationship was possibly changing and yet neither of us had mentioned it to each other. We parted with an awkward side hug and I drove to work while she winged her way home to Dallas.

Earlier in the semester she had given me her cell phone number but had informed me her phone was broken and so I had not called her. As she left for the summer, she left a few boxes of things which would not fit in the summer storage at Moody which I was to take to the associate pastor’s house for storage. The boxes had her home address.

I spent the weekend visiting friends in Louisville, Kentucky and trying to work up the courage to call her or her dad. I still wasn’t very sure of her interest in me and I feared rejection. So I decided to try and talk with her one more time, just to gauge her possible interest.

Leaving Louisville late Sunday afternoon for the long drive back to Chicago, I called her. I’d used the address on her boxes to look up her home phone number in the phone book online. And now the phone was ringing.

Her mother answered.

“Can I speak with Grace, please? This is Matthew, a friend from Chicago.”

The phone call and the trip went quickly, all 4 hours of both. And I had my answer. We still had not talked specifically of our relationship, but I knew that if it was that easy for both of us to spend 4 hours talking and with similarities between us in standards and beliefs, I knew I wanted to pursue this lady.

The next day I called her dad. I spoke to him on Tuesday and asked if I could begin courting his daughter.

Over the next few weeks he asked me questions regarding my views and opinions on various matters and eventually told me he and his wife would allow me to court Grace.

I was planning a trip down to Missouri by then to see her for a weekend. She was working at Child Evangelism Fellowship’s headquarters outside St. Louis.

June 15th, 2007: The Friday before I drove down to see her, when we were having what by then was a regular evening phone call, I told her I’d been talking to her parents about courting her (she knew that already) and I asked her if she was willing to court me.

She said yes.

Over the summer she traveled to New York to work with children in the projects and other parts of the city, returning to Missouri and then Dallas in August, where I spent a week meeting her family and friends and having fun together.

We flew back to Chicago together: her to begin classes and me to get back to work.

Through the semester and now these months together I grew to appreciate more and more her strength, her tenacious love, her sense of direction and purpose, and her Godliness. Not to mention her beauty and her spirit, her consistency and organization. I knew rather quickly that she was definitely the one I wanted to marry.

Apparently she knew too.

After a winter trip to California meeting my family and friends and receiving further counsel from my parents, I began seriously considering marriage to this wonderful woman God had brought into my life.

After an intense period of counsel, thought, and prayer we were still unsure when the best time would be for our wedding to occur and our marriage to commence: Whether to marry this year or after she graduates in 2010.

Grace and I decided to have a period of time where we were to not contact each other but to spend that time seeking the Lord’s will and answers in our lives.

Ending Valentine’s Day, 2008, these 7 days were painful but rich, and we both, individually, felt God leading us to marry this year.

In the church parking lot, on February 25, 2008, 1 year and 2 weeks after we’d first met in the Sunday School classroom not too far away, I got down on one knee and asked Grace if she would marry me, be my wife and the mother of our children.

She said yes!

American Texan and I will be married August 2nd, 2008, in Dallas TX.

See our website at MattLovesGrace.com

To Some, They’re Truth

The words of Jeremiah Wright, the wrong words he’s spoken and made a central part of his message for the 20 years Barak Hussein Obama has considered him a spiritual leader, to some, they are truth.

Mr. Wright, for I do not consider him to be worthy of reverence or title beyond that of a normal man, is not the only person to preach those words either.

They are a variant of the philosophy and world view known as Liberation Theology, specifically, Black Liberation Theology.

From GotQuestions.org:

Simply put, Liberation Theology is an attempt to interpret Scripture through the plight of the poor. It is largely a humanistic doctrine. It started in South America in the turbulent 1950’s when Marxism was making great gains among the poor because of its emphasis on the redistribution of wealth, allowing poor peasants to share in the wealth of the colonial elite and thus upgrade their economic status in life. As a theology, it has very strong Roman Catholic roots.

Liberation Theology was bolstered in 1968 at the Second Latin American Bishops Conference which met in Medellin, Colombia. The idea was to study the Bible and to fight for social justice in Christian (Catholic) communities. Since the only governmental model for the redistribution of the wealth in a South American country was a Marxist model (gained in the turbulent 1950’s), the redistribution of wealth to raise the economic standards of the poor in South America took on a definite Marxist flavor. Since those who had money were very reluctant to part with it in any wealth redistribution model, the use of a populist (read poor) revolt was encouraged by those who worked most closely with the poor. As a result, the Liberation Theology model was mired in Marxist dogma and revolutionary causes…

…Liberation Theology has moved from the poor peasants in South America to the poor blacks in America. We now have Black Liberation Theology being preached in the black community. It is the same Marxist, revolutionary, humanistic philosophy found in South American Liberation Theology and has no more claim for a scriptural basis than the South American model has.

The race problem in America is real, that is undeniably true. But I do not think it is true in the way many assume it to be.

First, slavery was an inexcusable evil and a dark time for America. Today, many of us can trace roots back to those who participated, freely or under coercion, in slavery in America.

But at the same time, many of us can’t. And a significant majority have ancestors from the both the ideological North and South in their blood, as well as those who had no part at all. There has been significant immigration by all races to America after the conclusion of the Civil War and the active work of slavery.

The continuing and very real race issue was summed up by a new friend of Ed Kaitz’s. Ed had been spending time with the Vietnamese immigrants who’d settled in the Bayous of Louisiana, and while flying home he met a an American Black who’d been studying psychology and working as a prison psychologist in Missouri.

Ed tells it like this:

His answer, only a few words, not only floored me but became sort of a razor that has allowed me ever since to slice through all of the rhetoric regarding race relations that Democrats shovel our way during election season:

“We’re owed and they aren’t.”

In short, he concluded, “they’re hungry and we think we’re owed.  It’s crushing us, and as long as we think we’re owed we’re going nowhere.”

“They” are the Vietnamese Ed had spent time with, “we” are the gentleman’s own race, his fellow American Blacks.

Ed concludes his commentary on Obama’s inability to recognize the powerful forces of good in his life and the state of racism in America with this call to recognize real sources of ability and equality, accomplishment and future:

We now know that Barack Obama really has no interest in the “audacity of hope.”  With his race speech, Obama became a peddler of angst, resentment and despair.  Too bad he doesn’t direct that angst at the liberal establishment that has sold black people a bill of goods since the 1960s.  What Obama seems angry about is America itself and what it stands for; the same America that has provided fabulous opportunities for what my black friend called “hungry” minorities.  Strong families, self-reliance, and a spirit of entrepreneurship should be held up as ideals for all races to emulate.

Read Obama’s Anger at American Thinker.

Doug Ross, at Opinion Journal, quotes Nicholas Stix in Mens News Daily regarding Barak Hussein Obama’s run against Alan Keyes. Regarding Barak’s religion Nicholas has this to say:

…Obama’s closest religious advisers — Fr. Pfleger, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, and Illinois State Sen. James Meeks, who moonlights as the pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church – may have quotes from Scripture always handy, but are theologically closer to Karl Marx and black nationalism, than to Christianity… The transcendent-non-transcendent motto the Rev. Wright has given Trinity is, “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.”

Yes, we need a Marxist president. Exactly what the country needs.

More information on Black Liberation ideology.

LA Times speaks with moral relativism and class warfare.

Roger Simon writes, in homage to Andrew Goodman “Barak, I didn’t do it for this

And what about the New Black Panthers?

Dead Sexy

In a previous article, Priorities Of Preservation, I discussed the importance Christianity puts on the entirety of an person: body, mind, and spirit.

While the world, in a misguided and myopic view constrained by sin, only really cares for the preservation of the body. And through ignorance, loses the whole person.

In a report released last week which most have already heard of or commented on, it was noted that 1/4 of the US Teenage Female population is infected with one of several Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

The immediate cry was that Abstinence Education must be completely abandoned and further explanation of the ins and outs of safe sex be taught to every child.

I find those making that argument to be their own worst enemies, and I am determined to sit and watch them tear themselves apart trying to make sense of what they’ve said.

Better have a good belt to hold these sides in. The problem is, this is no laughing matter: peoples lives are at stake.
At the blog dbTechno (“Providing Science And Technology News Since 1996”) under the headline “Teens Having Sex, Getting STD’s Due To Lack Of Knowledge” (strongly caution) there is a small picture of three bikini-clad young women shaking their derrières before the camera. This was the picture Google had selected on it’s news aggregator to highlight the several articles on this topic this morning.

In our sexified culture it is considered “emancipated” for a woman to be so “comfortable” with her sexuality that she feels willing to flaunt her body either scantily clothed or free of clothes before the whole world.

I don’t think that it is a sign of a healthy self-image that women are willing and even choose to clothe themselves that way.

I am not for arbitrary requirements in clothing, but it is saddening that, younger and younger, we are compelling out daughters and sisters to choose between frumpy and scandalous.

Removing their modesty with bits of lycra and spandex.

Revealing their bodies for the eyes of all the world.

And then we worry that too many of them are having sex.

I think a healthy self image will result in true self-worth, where the woman will not feel compelled to dress “sexy” to get the approval and acceptance of others.

When a woman is dressing revealingly they are revealing their insecurity, not their assuredness.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board this morning published an article titled “Abstinence-Only Education Needs To Go” (no scandalous images here) in which they completely demolish their own claims, twice.

First, early in the article they lay claim to the moral high ground:

From here, it would be easy to play the blame game. But that would be unproductive. It doesn’t matter if you’re the pro-sex education or abstinence-only type, the statistics speak for themselves, and what matters most is that something be done to make our children more sexually responsible and safe.

And then, in the very next paragraph:

Let’s start with re-tooling the failed abstinence-only approach backed by the Bush administration. Let’s teach teenagers about contraceptives and other precautions that could help protect them if they are sexually active.

Yes, lets avoid the blame game, and lets look at the facts. The Bush Administration has indeed backed and supported an abstinence-only education approach, because no one who practices abstinence contracts an STD, no one. It make sense to back a winner. But how many education programs has the Bush Administrations policy actually affected? Good question.

I would be willing to bet that with state policy, and NEA policy, and DoE policy, there is precious little abstinence-only education going on in the public schools of America.

The article then goes on to make an astounding statement. I very nearly cheered, at work, when I read this:

Abstinence teaching has its merits. It not only promotes a sure-proof defense against STDs and unwanted pregnancies, but also the idea that sexual activity requires a high level of maturity and understanding. An adolescent who engages in “protected” sex prematurely may not run the risk of physical infections, but could be exposed to long-term emotional and psychological damage.

And then gets to the…

BOTTOM LINE: Place more emphasis on contraceptives and STDs in sex-education classes.

And they reached that how?

With this simple caveat they have attempted to justify their entire tortured argument, and by extension, rationalize their continued support for the torture of young minds and bodies with illness both physical and psychological:

Like it or not, half of the teenage girls in this country are already sexually active, according to the study. Something has to be done to make them wiser in their choices, or we soon could have an even bigger public health crisis on our hands.

Do they not see the cruel irony?

Because we’re a bunch hapless, helpless dolts who’ve bought the lie that children are capable of making their own informed decisions regarding sex and mature relationships.

Because we’re a bunch of laissez-faire non-present parental units who feel no particular responsibility to counter the culture’s claims that boys are animals and girls are meat.

Because we’re a bunch of lazy do-gooders who value intentions over actions and outcomes and are willing to allow our children to do whatever they please so long as it makes them feel good.

We will complete ignore what we already know to be true: that premature involvement in adult relationships, emotional and physical, will not only harm the body but will also damage the mind.

So long as we tell enough of them to use condoms, we are perfectly willing to let them hop into bed with any yahoo or floozy who comes along.

Yea, that’s advanced society and parental love for you.

See also:

The Condom Conspiracy: Sex, Lies, STIs and Teenage Girls – the evangelical outpost

While we have Planned Parenthood and sex educators claiming that condoms can “offer effective protection against most serious sexually transmitted infections” the report finds there’s no scientific basis for that claim.

STD Data Comes As No Surprise, Area Teenagers Say – Laura Sessions Stepp and Katherine Shaver in the Washington Post

The Marrow girls offered several reasons why teenagers have sex.

“It’s to fit in, peer pressure,” Christine said, noting that virgins are often mocked. Also, “sex sells on TV.”

Khadijah chimed in that some young girls found their inspiration in the popular R&B singer Rihanna, whose latest album is titled “Good Girl Gone Bad.”

But Christina suggested something closer to home. “Write this down,” she said. “Bad parenting.”

Superdelegate Spitzer And Moral Responsibility

It is not a normal thing, by any means, for IPandora to link to the DailyKo(ok)s and it’s assortment of nutroots, but truth, wherever found, is still truth.

BarbinMD wrote today:

Spitzer’s actions are in no way a reflection of Clinton’s judgement or character. But it does put an open letter sent out this weekend by super delegate Steven Grossman, the former Chairman of the DNC and Clinton supporter, in a whole new light.

And BarbinMD’s excerpt from that letter:

…our party concluded that we had demonstrated the ability to act as stewards of the national party–and of the national interest. By dint of our experience in the community and our public service, we were adjudged fit to fulfill a moral responsibility to act in the best interest of the country as we saw it–

“What they do in the bedroom is no business of mine” is a common refrain in cases of moral failure by elected government officials of all stripes and parties, usually by those who’ve invested effort in getting those officials in their positions.

If we really believe that, why are not Spitzer’s actions dismissed out of hand?

Because we don’t believe that.

What is done in the bedroom matters very much outside the bedroom.

If a man cannot honor his wife and family in his own home, his word cannot and ought not be trusted in any other part of his life.

And we know it.

Tellingly, BarbinMD completes their commentary with this gem:

All things considered, perhaps Mr. Grossman and his ilk should spare us their experience and morals and instead respect the will of the voters.

UPDATE: Roger Simon asks for a reality check-up on Alan Dershowitz who apparently doesn’t think it’s such a big deal.

And points Spitzer has made it a signature part of this platform putting prostitutes in jail.

What about the johns? And Spitzer?

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt highlights an article by Carol Platt Liebau “Will Spitzer Resign” in which she makes the following statements:

…(Spitzer) may not plan to resign.  If that’s true, it’s part of a new and troubling pattern in American political life.  It’s not a partisan thing; Larry Craig’s refusal to resign was another manifestation of it.

The whole idea, pioneered by you-know-who and enabled by you-know-who-else, is that illicit sexual behavior and the scandals resulting therefrom can be brazened out by the insistence that they are irrelevant to the discharge of public duties.

…it’s all part of a new ethical calculus concluding that — uniquely in the constellation of virtues — sexual morality is a subjective and purely personal matter that’s of relevance only to “religious” people (or else prurient and “judgmental” ones), even when it impacts the public.

IPandora is ashamed to say we did not trumpet the call for Mr. Craig’s resignation. In defense, I thought there was a lot of condemning going on and not a lot of proof or evidence at the time.

Nothing against the condemning, just when I wasn’t convinced of the burden of proof I wasn’t ready to condemn.