Tag Archives: neighbors

Have We Forgotten?

With the elections of November 2006, the overall victorious party, the Democrats, claimed they’d been given a “mandate” regarding many issues, particularly the War on Terror. They claim the American people have spoken and that the only allowable course now is withdrawal and defeat. Though they speak specifically of the Iraqi War, their master policy is reflective of their general disenchantment with the whole war against terror. This belief in a “mandate”, the word du jour for giving credence to the questionably credible, does seem to be born out by the recent polls, as reported on CNN and the BBC, showing 2/3 of Americans don’t see a good plan for winning the War in Iraq.

While it is only barely debatable that the Iraq War is not going the way we’d hoped, not even complete failure is a viable reason for ever giving up, especially in this war where it is our homes, families, businesses, our way of life, and our lives themselves which are at stake. After all, this war began, at least this current phase, with the enemy attaching us, on our turf, killing our husbands and wives, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, innocents all. Even many jihadists agree that non-combatants, civilians, and innocents are off-limits to any kind of attack. But attacked we were, and though it has now been several years since that attack we vowed we’d never forget, it was neither the first nor will it be the last, the danger is little abated. Is there then reason for throwing up our hands collectively, defeated?

Liberals would say emphatically “Yes!”

The current strategy, according to liberals, is not working, and therefore we must tuck tail and run. Defeatism leading to disengagement, with the ultimate goal of isolationism. An island we will be, literally and figuratively. And we having cried “uncle,” the rabid dogs hounding us around the world will allow us a gracious defeat and will let us be, alone. A final Vietnam this will be, America will no longer find the will to project itself and then indeed others will take the reins of power in the world. Except for several things, but first: Where in our governing documents and illustrious history do we the people determine the minutiae of war policy?

We expressly give the President power to direct and wage war as necessary and as he sees fit to protect our interests. This is, in part, why it is so very important that there be people of Character in high office leading this great nation. There cannot be a part-time person of character, for if at the first change of wind that person reassesses and changes their position, they are not truly a person of character. President Bush, for all anybodies disagreements with him personally and politically, has not changed course. He has stated his goal simply: to defeat terrorism whenever and wherever it is found, and has not changed. Whether agreeing with him or not, one can know what President Bush will continue to do. And the job is not finished. Far from it. The very fact of our experiencing difficulties in Iraq should be cause for us to redouble our efforts, reaffirming the need for such a battle now, before it is too late. And resolving to continue the fight we did not start in order to destroy the enemy who would destroy us.

For that is their goal whether we leave or not. The militant, radical, extremist Muslims, or Islamo-Nazis or Islamo-Facists, who began this war have a very public goal which they are not loath to tell, yet which we seem to have forgotten, it would seem. That goal is shouted by radical Imams (preachers or prayer leaders) and written officially as Fatwahs (edicts) and published to their adherents around the globe. America is the Great Satan and it and other nations which do not submit to their extreme Islamic theology, philosophy, and government must be destroyed, period. For them there is no discussion, no arguing the points and possibilities of peaceful coexistance. If we give up in Iraq and the other fronts of the War on Terror we are signing our own, our childrens’, and out entire futures’ death warrants. They will be utterly defeated or they will rule the world, there is no third option for them, and therefore there isn’t for us either.

So then, the only choice for us must be to continue to face them in classic American projectionism. To battle evil is the calling and constant duty of the good. Evil at different times and places takes different faces. Consider the World Wars of the last century. What if we’d given up because too many were dying? What if we’d accepted defeat at the hands of the Nazis? It is likely all of Europe would be enslaved to this day by them or another despotic regime along with most or all of Africa and the East. Prior to our engagement in that war it was the Republican Party arguing for isolationism against engagement, just to show how times and ideas change.

Just as in the World Wars, others are depending, both admittedly and unadmittedly, on our success. The United Kingdom continues to be our staunchest ally, showing classic British, Scottish, Irish and Welsh pluck and courage and an indomitable spirit. Mr. Blair has perhaps been more eloquent in his defence of the War and has used his bully pulpit more often explaining the rationale for our continued involvement in this fight than President Bush. Spain has given up after suffering great pain and loss of its own on its own shores. Instead of steeling its resolve as the London Train Bombings did for the United Kingdom, Spains’ Madrid Train Bombings broke the resolve of Castilla. Regardless of the allies individual or collective spines, though, if we fail, Spain will once again become a Moorish conquest, and this will not be an Islamic Kingdom such as that of the Moors of old who valued art and learning and to whom we owe a great debt for their careful preservation and translation of many priceless works of knowledge and beauty.

So if America were indeed to falter and fail, and retreat within its borders, who would then take the lead in the world? Who has the strength and ability, and more importantly the moral fiber and the national will?

There are few countries indeed who do not have the desire to lead the world the way America has led. The relevant question really is not would they, but could they and should they. The UK has perhaps the nearest moral fiber (nationally) to America. Willing to take unpopular stands around the world in what they see as preservation of good. However, by size they are physically unable to produce enough to lead economically. A leading nation must be able to produce enough to be nearly self-sufficient if necessary. They must be an economic powerhouse challenging all others to give it weight enough for it’s word to mean something. The European Union has shown it does not have the moral fiber to stand against evil at crucial times. Like the UN, when it comes to actual meaningful action, the EU is hampered by it’s own universality, someone is always involved with the enemy and therefore no one can do what must be done. Further, being based on “old-world” economies, it does not produce or consume enough, even collectively, to give it’s word weight beyond it’s member n ations.

In Asia, both China and India have the size, and economic and political/military might and/or potential. However, China is hampered by an immoral, communist quasi-dictatorship, and even if democracy or some less greedily repressive and philosophically backward form of government than comunism were to take over immediately, the people would not soon be ready for world domination and protection. India perhaps has the best chance of becoming a or the world dominant nation, post America, but even they suffer under a socially restrictive religion, social order, and government.

African and South American nations suffer almost universally under corrupt, despotic governments and appear too busy enriching their own upper crusts illegitimately to worry too much about their being the trailing end of the nations of the world. Russia seems unable to throw off cronyism and corruption in business or the siren song of a communist government.

Those nations among our allies in the Middle East have their hands much too full trying to set their houses in order without offending any of their geographical or theological brethren, and many of them officially support ideologies as destructive and evil as any of their more violent neighbors who we’re now in struggle against

So that leaves America. Oh, and not to offend anybody, but who’s heard anything out of our northern neighbor Canada recently? I’m told it’s a beautiful place and the people there are special and nice and kind, but they appear to be content, in a global perspective, being frosting, a whole lot of white stuff, on top of the United States. That and trying to win the title “More Socialist Than France While Still Drinking Beer (Wine Is For Sissies).” So here we are, the lone strongman holdout against the encroaching darkness, to whom all others cling. Some more grudgingly than others. But this is what we are fighting for, the whole world. This is the responsibility that comes with being the nice big kid on the block: We have to face every bully. And if we don’t win, this particularly bully is a rapist.

The Dark Ones

It is not the quiet ones who go on to commit heinous crimes, it’s the dark ones.

After a crime such as a school shooting or the like, the neighbors and acquaintances are trotted out on TV saying they always wondered about this person. A phrase they usually use is that they were quiet.

I know quiet people who are just in a shell which needs a little cracking, they aren’t potential murderers, they’re just thinkers.

It is not the quiet ones who kill, it is the dark ones. A darkness of the heart so deep it can be seen in the eyes. Usually mistaken for pain, it is a festering rot which requires great and heroic effort by those around them to draw out.

What troubles me is the inability to describe this sin on the part of those around them. I would submit that the vast majority of those around actually did not see anything which concerned them too greatly, in the glare of the limelight however they speak with sagacity and deep import.

No one wants to be the idiot.

In contrast, a friend of mine told me he knew the murderer at the mall in Omaha. They grew up in the same neighborhood and while they were not friends, per se, they were acquaintances. He commented to me this boy was the darkest person he ever knew. That is an accurate assessment.

We don’t recognize the rot of sin because we’re all in it. A caring, loving individual would see the problem and it would be a true test of their care and love to seek to intervene in that life.

Those in a dark room don’t have the perspective to see how dark others are. As noted in the Bible:

He who fails to find Me, injures himself,
All who hate Me love death.
Proverbs 8:36 (ESV)

Now wait a minute, we say. The audacity of that claim is appalling. We know plenty of people who do not believe in God and yet are good people who would never kill or commit crimes like those we see around us.

But if God is life, and not just life, but Life. The epitome of vitality. The very essence of Being. Then to not know Him is to not know life. To not follow Him is to not follow life. And to not love Him is to not love life.

God does not accept ambivalence toward Himself.

Therefore, those who are around us living life as they feel they ought instead of how God directs are suffering from the same root condition as those who have killed without mercy.

Our responsibility to them is the same: we must show them Christ. Show them a way out of their lives of quiet (or in our modern world: hurried) desperation.

God’s responsibility is the same as well: accept repentance, shower mercy and grace, and when necessary, dispense judgment.

Real Baghdad

This is what’s happening in Iraq now:

Church in Baghdad

Michael Yon has catalogued the truth of the war and the life and the rebuilding of Iraq. This picture and the accompanying article spoke volumes to me, as I hope it does to you. And yes, those are Muslims in the front row, showing their public support for their Christian friends and neighbors who fled persecution by radical Islamics. They want them to come home.

Redemptoween

Halloween. Bugbear of knee-jerk non-involvists and new ‘favorite holiday of the religiously atheistic media and cultural leaders’. Where did it come from anyway? And can and should a Christian participate in it and to what extent?

I make no claims to historical accuracy in this article, merely stating what I’ve heard over the years and researched myself, all thrown into a big puddle and stirred until I get this… mess.

It is common to hear that Halloween is a night dedicated to the worship of Satan, the prince of evil and darkness. The favored decorations are dark on the nice side, and hideous on the bad side. Tales of ancestor worship and demon calling are frequent and true. Yes, it does happen.

The current version of Halloween borrows, as do most holidays we celebrate, from a plethora of traditions and belief systems. First we shall visit the Christian roots. The early Christians celebrated days when brave Christians laid down their lives as holidays. As persecution grew and the number of martyrs rose, it became impractical to even celebrate only your regional martyrs, and one day, the 1st of November, was dedicated to the celebration of the lives of those who gave their lives for Christ’s glory. Eventually, the rumor grew that on All Hallows Eve (Hallowe’en) God allowed the saints one day to walk the earth, visiting and comforting people and their loved ones and doing good deeds. This of course fueled the imaginations of people, feeding ghost stories and our natural fear of the unknown, the dark, and the dead.

The primary pagan roots of Halloween are Celtic. Druidism is an earth-worshiping, animistic, pan-theistic, evil religion which practiced, at various times, human sacrifice and erected marvelous structures facilitating it’s domination of the superstitious Celts. An brief but accurate description of the Druid’s hold on early Britain can be read in the early chapters of Charles Dickens’ A Child’s History of England (an excellent book for family and table reading). Around the time of Halloween has always been a time of harvest festivals, as the last of the summer and fall crops have been stored, the fields and woods were full of fat, lazy animals to hunt and kill. The storehouses of the industrious young civilizations were stuffed and the people were ready for one last wild fling before being confined to their hovels and huts by inclement weather. The Druids had convinced the populace that they were responsible for the success of each year, and that the god’s must be payed with ritualistic sacrifice in order to procure their blessing for the long winter and hope for the coming spring. The spiritism and human sacrifice and overall dark tone of the Druid religion permeated this time of the year for the pagan Celts. With the arrival of Saint Patrick in Ireland and other missionaries and conquering cultures such as the Romans, Druidism gave way to a hybrid Christianity, much as it did in South America, where a pagan reverence for the Dead mixed with a Christian knowledge of eternal life and an entirely human desire to see one’s loved ones again.

Halloween retains it’s Christian name: “All Hallows Eve”, and for most of us it retains a good theme, going into the neighborhood one last time to knock on all the doors and receive gifts and give greetings before the cold of winter chases us all indoors again. For a few it retains the pagan trappings of animal sacrifice, for others it involves getting drunk and/or high and naked, making pentagrams, lighting a fire, and chanting loudly at midnight and waking the neighbors.

For the vast majority it means walking your kids around the neighborhood worrying about razor blades in candy and never finding any (kids will digest ANYTHING) and waving hi to the neighbors who fuel your children’s sugar rush for the next 2 weeks.

For some Halloween is a time of remembering Luther’s 95 Theses, which he nailed to the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral on this day 490 years ago. His 95 arguments against the teachings of the Roman Catholic church set fire to the revivals of spirit and social and cultural upheaval and growth which started immediately thereafter and have continued to some extent even to this day.

Some even still remember the martyrs for the faith, whose numbers are growing at an ever greater rate as many nations seek to expunge the redemptive work of Christ from their borders.

But it is important to note that evil has not, cannot, and will not ever create anything new for itself. Evil is only capable of perverting things that are good, taking them out of balance and propriety, assigning more of less significance to them. That is all evil can and will ever be able to do.

God is capable of redeeming all things because He first created all things. Just as man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man, days and times and seasons have no inherent control over us, and can only affect us to the extent we allow ourselves to be controlled by them. The only thing we as Christians should allow to control us is Christ, and through His power we share in His overcoming the world. Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. We are not given a spirit of fear, but of power, of strength, and of a sound mind. Our God has overcome the world, and nothing occurs without His knowing it and His plan and purpose directing it.

Mr. CleanEnglish LordHalloween, for me, is a time to enjoy the change of season, to remember the faithful who have given their lives for Christ, to visit the neighbors while enjoying costumes and goodies. These are pics of my costumes for Halloween 2005 and 2006. I went to work in these. The English Lord included poofy pants and leggings and THE most uncomfortable shoes ever, and I went trick-or-treating with several of my friends that night. It was fun. The other one is, obviously, Mr. Clean, and yes, I shaved my head. It was the first time ever, and it felt weird.

The important thing to remember is that we are called to be light in a dark world. The culture’s current view of Halloween reinforces very strongly the fact that we are indeed in a very dark world that desperately needs light. We are also called to do whatever we do for Him and His glory. If that is not our goal, whether we participate or not, we’re doing it wrong.

EDIT: Scott over at Verum Serum has his own response to kids he teaches and knee-jerk non-involvists.

Texas: God’s Country, November 18th, 1999

My girlfriend will enjoy this post, for in her veins flows strong the thick blood of Texas. My mother’s family will enjoy this as well, for not only does their blood flow thick with Texas, but several of them are alumni of Texas A&M as well. But I did not write it for them. I write this for heroes, those who give their all. Not all heroes are supermen and women, not all heroes wear uniforms (though heroes are found in the uniform of the US Military in greater concentration than anywhere else), but all heroes value life.

I have not appreciated the spirit of a college, having attended a working-class school and not really participated in any of the trite, feel-good ceremonies the liberal leadership proscribed as being inclusive and enlightening. Being around my aunts and uncles I have vivid memory of them displaying the college cheer of Texas A&M and the explaining the tradition of the 12th man. This was but a taste. Now I have cousins who attend at Texas A&M, Corpus, and I feel an affinity which perhaps brings me closer to that great state. God has brought into my life a beautiful woman who hails from that state and I feel closer still. So as I’m perusing the blog world today I follow from the 4simpsons (very funny) through a commentor named Timothy to his own blog, which is new to me. Reading the top post and playing the video (view below) I learn of the story of the bonfire tradition and the tragedy of November 18th, 1999, when the logs fell.

All types of people can be found in all places, but in some places a particular spirit flows stronger than others. In Texas it’s the spirit of community. Ironically, or perhaps not, Texas is a land of rugged individualism, the lean lonesome cowboy of yesteryear, quintessential icon of the southwest. The settler pushing the envelope of western civilization, braving the terrors of the trail, the homestead, the farm and the ranch miles from any neighbor. It is among those who are comfortable in their own individuality there is found the best sense of community. A paradox, but one I can vouch for in my own life. Codependent people make poor neighbors, for themselves, and for those around them.

It is in this paradox of community that Texas has bred its sons and daughters to be strong and brave, free of the fetters of dependent mush so common among the pantywaist liberal mush pervading so many communities these days. And so when a few energetic, promising youth fell with the logs and died painful deaths, the school never forgot. From our small perspective futures were cut short, but in the grand scheme, through the eyes of God their days were complete. But that leave us, the community, the friends and the family to remain behind, mourning the fact that it may be a long time before we see them again. Hopefully we are assured that we shall see them again in glory.

Such is the case of Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr. Timothy is reportedly seen in the stack directing rescuers to others who are buried in the stack from his position above the ground. In the pictures one can see his legs are twisted in an unnatural position and when he finally allowed the rescuers to extract him after assisting them in finding at least 5 other injured, he was taken in to emergency surgery. He was opened and it was found that his internal organs were in such a mess as to be unrecognizable even to the skilled physicians operating on him. He was taped back together and put on life support where he remained only long enough to see his family one last time. He knew he was dying. He directed that life support be removed asking why he should fight for a few more days of life when he could go home and see Jesus right away.

“So teach us to number our days”~Psalm 90:12

Timothy is a hero. And he is not forgotten.

Another great tradition of Texas A&M is that of the 12th man. The 12th man embodies the concept of knowing who your family is and being willing always to stand, when called or when needed, beside them. Your family may be blood, relatives, or it may be community. Each and every Texas A&M student and alumni I have talked to has impressed me with their firm belief that where they called upon to suit up and stand on the field as the 12th man of the Texas Aggies football squad, they would not shirk their responsibility. Each and every Aggie fan I know takes this responsibility with a nearly holy sense of pride. It is not the ability, it is the willingness. It is doing what one must when one is called to do it that makes a hero. Especially when one is called beyond the normal call of duty.

I’m glad God made Texas.