Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hold your nose and make a choice

The Republican National Convention is over, and we've been left with a questionable candidate.

The Democratic National Convention is setting up to begin, and Democrats will be left with a candidate that has clearly broken the law, but has been "cleared" by the FBI.

Not much of a choice for us, but one or the other will be sworn in come Jan. 20, 2017, whether by you like it or not.
                                                                                
A young man who I know well and love dearly has stated publicly that he will vote for neither. I don't know if he is sitting out the election or if he will waste his vote on a third party candidate.

He ought to know better.

His comments upset my wife so much that she could not sleep Friday night. She wrote the following and published it Saturday morning. I'm using it with her permission. I'll add my comments at the end.

It is almost 4:00 in the morning and I am wide awake. Why?? Because I am stewing about a "relative" that I thought was a fairly intelligent young man, and now he is proving that is certainly not the case.
He claims to not like either presidential candidate and will likely not bother to vote at all. I am frustrated that he can not understand that it is his patriotic duty to vote.
Some people may think I get too emotional about politics and take it too seriously. To them I say, "You're absolutely right!"
I think part of the problem in our country today is that people don't take politics seriously enough. How we vote and who we elect to run our country will not only affect our lives for the next four to eight years, but the entire future of America.
To me it is a "life and death" matter, because it could very well determine the life or death of our freedoms and our way of life. How we vote will determine the future we leave for the children of today.
If neither presidential candidate floats your boat, I'm sorry, but you need to put your big boy/girl britches on and get over it. Sometimes we have to not think of it as voting FOR a candidate, but rather voting AGAINST the greater of the two evils.
We just have two choices in our two-party system here in the USA. And if a third party should rear its ugly head, a vote for them would   actually be equal to a vote for the least desirable candidate. A third party candidate has zero chance of being elected, so you are throwing your vote away if you vote for them.
It all seems so simple to me, yet some people just do not seems to understand how important politics really is. It affects every single minute of every single day, every detail of everything we do. From the air we breathe, the cars we drive, the food we eat, the books we read, the schools and churches we attend, to the malls we shop in. Everything is affected in some way by politics because of the taxes we pay, EPA pollution regulations, FDA food inspection, import/export tariffs, federal/state/local funding of schools, tax incentives for businesses, censorship of our media, etc. Nothing is untouched in some way by the government.
So, yes, I am sitting here stewing instead of sleeping. But now that I have gotten this off of my chest I will try to go to sleep since it is now almost 5:00 am.
Good night, friends!! And for heavens sake, PLEASE VOTE in November!!

My wife and I grew up when we had a required class in high school called Civics. There we learned our responsibilities as citizens while also reviewing how our government worked. We also had to pass tests on the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution. Our American history classes taught us about the sacrifices that had been made to win and keep our liberty.

That young man also got good instruction both at school and at home, but for some reason it did not resonate with him.

Whether he or you like it or not, we have only two choices, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

And whether he or you like it or not, those candidates were chosen by people like you and me, Americans who cast votes in their state presidential primaries or who met in party caucuses.

The two party candidates were chosen in the American way, whether you like it or not.

Now you must honor all those historical figures like the Founding Fathers, and all those unknowns like the dead men you see in black-and-white battlefield pictures, and go to the voting booth in November and make a choice.

I know you don't like it that your favorite candidate, perhaps he was Ted Cruz, perhaps Bernie Sanders, was not picked, but that's the way it goes with our democratic-republican system.

My favorite candidate was not picked either. I supported Jefferson Davis for president.

So I am going to pick the lesser of two evils, based on the information I have from the mainstream media, from the free press and from the new media on the internet.

I know you don't like either candidate, but those are the two serious candidates on the ballot. Cruz's name won't be there, nor will Bernie's. And Jeff Davis is dead.

Go, be an American and vote.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Some hillbilly poetry

Back on May 21 here, I posted a story told by a co-worker in the employee breakroom.

Now I fancy myself a poet.

Although I have been a fan of cowboy poetry for many years, I am not a cowboy poet, for I am not a cowboy. I am just a good ole Georgia-born, Missouri-raised Ozarks boy, so I guess my poems could be called hillbilly poetry.

I got a little creative by taking the story told by my friend, Ron, and moving it out of the breakroom and into a deer camp, possibly in southern Phelps County around Edgar Springs. I've never been deer hunting with Ron, and I don't know if he drinks whiskey.  That is just embellishing and embroidering the story to have a little fun.

Well, here is the poem, dedicated to Ron Wilson and his father, Richard, a couple of mighty fine Ozarks storytellers who inspired this hillbilly poem.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL OUT IN THE STICKS?

We were sittin' around the campfire
after a day of huntin' deer.
When ole Ron took a pull on the whiskey bottle,
passed it to me and said, "Listen here,

"My dad was in Springfield the other day.
"He went to Bass Pro to look at a gun.
"And on the way back something happened
"that proved there can be a new thing under the sun.

"See, he got behind an ambulance
"coming back home on old Route 66
"when its back door blew open
"and a box flew out into a ditch among the sticks.

"The ambulance kept going,
"but dad, he stopped and got out.
"He retrieved the box from the weeds,
"opened it and gave a shout.

"For inside it was a toe!
"A human toe on ice!
"And it must have been a woman's toe for the nail,
"why it was bright red. It looked real nice."

Well, the boys all perked up at the mention of a woman,
even it was just one painted toe.
"What happened next?" gasped one of the fellers.
"Keep talking. I've got to know."

Said Ron, "Well, dad didn't know
"who to call or what to do this time.
"He did not want to call the cops,
"for there was no evidence of a crime.

"Or the fire department neither,
"for there was no flame.
"But he knew he had to do something
"or else he'd get the blame.

"So he did the next best thing he could think of
"to keep from passing the buck."
We listened intently, Ron leaned forward and said real serious,
"He went and found him a phone and called a dang toe truck!"

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's going to be a hot one

At 4:45 a.m. when I let the dogs out, the temperature was 77 degrees. The humidity was 77 percent. No stars were visible through the hazy sky. The air was completely still. It is going to be a hot one in South central Missouri.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I can see First Amendment danger clearly

A couple of seemingly unrelated news items caught my attention this past week.
First, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission announced it had changed its mind and would not require places of worship to allow self-identifying women who are actually men by birth, so-called transgender women, to use the women's restroom or transgender men to use the men's room.
Because of the commission's previous requirement to let men in women's restrooms, there had been some concern, enough for one Church of Christ to file a lawsuit. Churches would have been required to open up restrooms to all genders, the number of which has grown so far past the two that I learned as a boy that I can't keep track of them all.
The churches were concerned that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission would enforce a provision of the law that prohibits churches from making people feel unwelcome because of their sexual orientation. As many evangelical churches still teach that homosexuality is a sin against God, that provision of the law indicates that preachers may not speak against homosexuality.
The commission changed its brochures to note that places of worship are exempt from these provisions of the law. That new position, of course, could change with the printing of a new brochure.
So, in the United States of America, we are already beginning to see the possibility of government inserting itself into churches, despite the First Amendment.
The other news item that piqued my interest was from Moscow, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a set of anti-terrorism laws that include bans on evangelism.
Nobody, not Russians and not mssionaries, can invite people to church or tell them about Jesus and his death on the cross as an atonement for our sins.
Christians can't talk about their faith in public places, in homes or online.
In other words, Jesus is for Sunday at church, not in your daily life outside the church. That's the way it is in Russia.
I can see the same thing happening here very easily. Can you not imagine an American anti-terrorism law that would prohibit evangelizing because we don't want ISIS recruiters to tell people how their faith calls them to kill infidels?
So, we are in danger of having the government prohibit any religious practice outside the church building. Plus we're in danger of the government telling us what doctrine we should teach and preach within the walls of the church building.
There goes part of the First Amendment.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Is it time for the SBC to get rid of Lottie Moon?


Now that the Southern Baptist Convention has repudiated the Confederate battle flag, what is its next step to turn its back on its history?
Obviously, one step is to rid itself of the name "Southern," because by banning the flag and misrepresenting the history of the War for Southern Independence, the convention shows that it is not worthy of that name.
I think I read sometime back that there is a quiet move to do just that. "Great Commission Baptists" is the name that has been promoted as a worthy replacement, if I recall right.
The SBC ought also to take its cue from what others are doing. Throughout the nation, there is a move to abolish all Confederate memorials and monuments and rename buildings that bear the name of Confederate heroes. An erasure and rewriting of history is underway.
Perhaps the so-called Southern Baptists will do that. They could start with Charlotte Digges Moon, Lottie Moon, for whom they name their annual Christmas missions offering.
She lived from Dec. 12, 1840, to Dec. 24, 1912. She was a Southern Baptist
missionary to China for 40 years. She lived a life devoted to Jesus Christ by serving others and sharing the good news of his atoning death on the cross. They say she died of starvation because she gave away her money and food to Chinese people during a famine.
But hold on a minute. Lottie was born rich on a plantation in Virginia. There were slaves on that tobacco plantation; they were owned by her Baptist parents. One source I found claims there were 52 slaves on that plantation, the largest number in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Does that not make her a symbol of evil like the Confederate battle flag for Southern Baptists?
She does not seem to have grown up to be an abolitionist or to have been surrounded by abolitionists. Her older sister, a physician, was a Confederate  Army doctor during the so-called Civil War. Lottie had a cousin, also known as Lottie, who was a spy for the Confederacy.
Lottie stayed home and helped her widowed mother (Lottie's father died in a riverboat accident when she was 13) take care of the slave plantation. Did her father buy and sell slaves? Did he whip them? Did Lottie and her mother do any of that after his death?
After the war she became a missionary. I have found no evidence that she ever confessed her "sins" of growing up in a slave-holding family or being part of a family that fought for the Confederacy.
Personally, I think she is a saint, like Mother Theresa, but after what the Baptists just did, I'm looking for the International Missions Board to declare Lottie Moon a symbol of racism and evil and boot her out the door along with her Confederate flag. In fact, they must do that to be consistent. They can't have a white, slave-holding plantation family's daughter as the symbol of their foreign missions work now.
They will have to rename the foreign missions offering for a real, true Christian, perhaps a woman of some color or another. Then the Baptists can declare that racism is over—or
at least that they've done something else to make the liberals and the media happy.