Friday, August 29, 2008

Hussein or McCain: why Barack won't get my vote

Well, he is debonair, intelligent, and a great speaker. With what one hopes is a great and promising future ahead of him, Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination for President of the United States last night. What I sense though, above all the hoopla surrounding this "historic" occasion, is that undefinable sense that people - even within his own party - aren't sure about this guy. (He is one of us, right? Some of them seem to be saying.) Then there's the name - Barack Hussein Obama - about as unconnected to America as U Thant. We are attached to brand names. We don't change "French" Fries to "Freedom" Fries if names do not matter to us.

There's also the detached coolness of Barack, a relative newcomer, with a studied liberalism in his worldview. And maybe it's not as much about him as it is the knee-jerk liberal view that whatever it is that's negative that happens in the world, somehow, someway, America is at fault for it. And with his recent comments on missile defense, I get the strange feeling that if we got into a scrap with another country - say Russia - he might not be willing to scrap. The DNC did a masterful job in portraying Obama as a simple person - not as complex as he really is.

Nevertheless, here are the 6 Reasons Barack will not get my vote:

1. Liberal social views. God, gays, and guns, as they say. From the perspective of a Christian thinker and preacher, I cannot countenance gay "marriage" - rationally - at all. Barack doesn't support gay marriage either, but he wouldn't oppose it. (btw, the latest polls show African-Americans 95% opposed to gay marriage, too.)

2. Abortion rights. Pro-abortion people are not much separated from the thinking behind the Third Reich. As has been pointed out on this blog, founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, played an influential role in the development of the racial theories and applications used by Hitler's henchmen. The answer Obama gave at the Saddleback Church about abortion and conception being "above my paygrade" told me this man is evasive and indirect. A human heartbeat isn't that complicated.

3. Absence of place. It is perhaps not really his fault for moving around so much, but I think it deprived him of a down-home center. This little piece from George Eliot is instructive of what I'm getting at:

A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some area of native land where it may get the love of tender kinship from the earth, for the labors men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead.

Barack is no Abe Lincoln. He isn't a frontiersman, nor city-dweller, nor suburbanite, nor country-boy. He is a journeyman. He is from someplace else. People talk of his detached or unattached self. And now I understand why. A president is the chief of the Armed Forces of this country, the top warrior, if you will. A warrior will fight for his native ground, his land, his home. I have misgivings about Barack Obama and his attachment to our native land. And even among the brothers, (i.e., Black males) he's not from "around the way". Again, it is perhaps not his fault.

4. He reminds me of Jimmy Carter. St. James Carter has become the darling of the intelligentsia and media primarily because of what he's done since he left office. But when he was president, well, it was awful for foreign policy and awful for most Americans, who mercifully turned him out after one term. And I don't think it was a stretch to say that Nixon was a far better president than St. James from Plains. And that says a lot. I'm praying Obama is one and done, as well - without doing hurt, harm, or danger to our country.

5. The deification of Obama is suspicious politically. It even has strange whiff about it - eschatologically. The weeping, crying, eye-bulging, near-hysteria from his supporters makes me wonder. Oprah crying incessant tears of rapturous joy. Of course, when I see African-Americans going for him 95% and above, I am certain something's up. How can this be? What do they see? Racial pride? Deliverance from White oppression? Reparations? A Black Moses? Lower taxes? Better schools? Nuclear disarmament? What are they seeing??

Me? I see a god-man, made that way by the people and the media. He will be the next president, no doubt, but he will never be what the people want him to be. He is entirely too complex for that. I firmly believe that we are in the Last Days. Obama is no Antichrist, but the fawning adoration over him could make him the "John the Baptist" of the Antichrist. A forerunner of the world's greatest deceiver. Perhaps this is extreme, as I am wont to put things too strongly, but after Barack the Antichrist's work will be virtually done in this part of the world.

6. So what, exactly, has Barack done? His resume is modest, though showy. But he's ridiculously short on achievement. Barack the be-er trumps Barack the do-er. Of course, he is biracial, and for the mass of Black folk, I suppose that will do. I like Jennifer Rubin's take on him:

"Barack Obama left no trail as a law professor. But if you weren’t surprised that Barack Obama got through his stint as head of Harvard’s Law Review without writing anything , weren’t surprised that he didn’t accomplish much as a community organizer and know he has no legislative achievement from his brief tenure in the Senate, you won’t be shocked to learn that he left no footprints as a lecturer at University of Chicago’s Law School. Sure, the students loved him and became “groupies” ( you couldn’t make this up, really), but the other adults noticed that he did not engage intellectually and never put his own views to the test of vigorous debate with his peers. Why this recurrent pattern of non-achievement and invisibility? For one thing, Obama never stayed in one spot very long. If you are continually looking ahead, plotting your next move you don’t have much time or incentive to devote yourself and your full energies to mastering your current job. For another, if you take a position you are likely not to please everyone. And we know that more than anything else Obama craves and thrives on adoration and has searched much of his life for acceptance. Once you voice a view, people will disagree. You won’t be a uniter and you won’t be universally loved. And finally, if you put out your views, whether in writing or verbally, you will be subject to scrutiny. People may find your logic wanting or your ideas outmoded. And then (and years later) you will be held to account for the positions you took. So it should hardly come as a surprise that Obama has left no trail. (And you can understand why he is a bit sensitive about the topic of his own accomplishments.) But with that comes a host of questions. Is he capable or just glib? Can he put words in action or stand up to hostile forces? And is he out to improve and better those around him or just self-promote? We have never had a major candidate so close to the presidency who not only lacked a record of any note, but who seemed to have made an art form of not having one. It is extraordinary and deeply troubling."

Ah, well, it is time to move on. Four and done it is. Hail, Caesar, we who about to die salute you!

Baruch Hashem and Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Banned! A 40mph fastball at 9 yrs old.

Well, everybody's talking about this story. The kid throws too hard for his youth league (40mph at 9 yrs. old) and his parents are suing the league because the league association won't allow the child to play anymore. Why not? He throws too hard. Well, first off there are such things as travel ball leagues where the advanced skill kids go to play. Why the parents won't put their little ace into the travel leagues is beyond me. You'd think that after the 75th strikeout they'd get bored with the non-challenge. Moreover, this is obviously a recreation league where kids go to learn the game from soup to nuts. How to hold a glove, how to field your position, how to hold a bat, etc., etc.

Do you know what this is? It's an ethical lapse on the part of the parents. Perhaps it may even be some kind of a cynical desire for cheap glory. I had to ask myself: could they really be this selfish or uninformed? Surely they know (or ought to know) of travel ball leagues where their son can face advanced and skilled hitters who just might smash a 40mph fastball over the fence. But I'm sensing they don't want to accept that challenge because they're getting an inward glee and satisfaction from the miniature glory of their son as the stud pitcher of the park striking out batter after batter of beginners. If they put him an a league everybody hits 40 mph fastballs - all that glory goes away.

Secondly, let me tell you my family has been in almost exactly the same predicament. Our son was also an overwhelming pitcher at a very young age. Wihout a doubt, from five to about nine years of age he was almost unhittable. But rather than bask in the glory of being "great", we felt it was in the best interests of both the recreation league and our son to play travel ball exclusively and "play up" for an older age group. The challenge we got was not only welcomed but it showed us his capabilities and his limitations also, plus the advanced play was much more comforting safety-wise. Nothing like a near panic attack at the sight of a wicked line drive sizzling by the ear lobe of an unsuspecting six year old, or the sympathy you feel after your son accidentally beans a kid in the helmet with a 50 mph fastball.

Which leads me to my last point: what is the big deal about his velocity? 40 mph at age nine is simply not that fast at all. Depending on the distance of mound to the plate - which for 9 yr. olds shouldn't be less than 45 feet. In my son's 8 yr. old travel league, every kid on the pitching staff threw at least 45 mph from 40 feet. Some, including Nile, threw 50+ mph. At age nine, just about everybody topped out at 50 - from 45 feet. At age 10, we've seen kids top out on a radar gun at 65 from 45 feet. Just this past year my son's team faced a kid from Paulding County, Ga., who threw 78 mph from 50 feet - at age 12 - with a nasty curve and slider! Now that's almost unhittable.

But ya know something? Things have a way of evening out as the kids grow older. Some kids grow faster than others, others grow much later. That stud pitcher fireballer at age 9 might be tomorrow's junker at 16 - or he may be a BMX bikerider and never play the game again. You never know. In a twisted way, I'm sensing this kid's parents are enjoying the glory of a highly skilled player dominating beginners and want sympathy from people and a league who think this is unethical. And that's a shame. But this, too, shall pass. Here's a baseball verse if ever there was one:

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..." Eccl. 3:1

Saul! Saul! Why persecutest thou Me?

A wonderful and amazing conversion piece appears in the Toledo Ohio Blade newspaper. It involves the fiction writer, Joe Eszterhas. Here's a guy who was committed to the dark side of life and writing about it. Remember Basic Instinct and Jagged Edge? Yeah, both gory novels that later became blockbuster movies. Well, Esterhasz is a changed man and listen to him now. A fascinating and heart warming story to the core. God is in the mix!!

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." 1 Peter 2:9

Monday, August 25, 2008

Great Fellowship

On Saturday morning just past, I had the privilege of delivering the message to the Men's Fellowship of Fountain of Faith Missionary Baptist Church. It was a great men's ministry group. We enjoyed great fellowship, good food, and the church was warm and welcoming. The responses from my message were positive and quite encouraging. One older gentleman walked out to the parking lot to catch me before I left to encourage me to keep on keeping on and please do return. Lord willing, I hope to do just that. He said I inspired the group. Well, that statement inspired me. Thanks again!

Baruch Hashem and Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama the Lightweight?

Can't say I suspected this. But Barack Obama might have been exposed as a debating lightweight at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church last week. The Investors Business Daily is no biased report. They're into financial news and opinion. Read here for why Obama lost.

Oh, and stay tuned for my next post entitled, "Why I will not be voting for Barack Obama". Oughta be interesting since now that my mom has been turned on to my blog - and she's a big Obama supporter - so I have to represent as they say. But I promise to speak the truth in love.

Another reason I'm figuring that Obama hasn't won over the heartland is his background. He always seems to be from somewhere else. Somewhere we can place, for sure, but not somewhere we know. Through (mostly) no fault of his own, he's a journeyman. David Brooks of the New York Times agrees.

Jodi Kantor offers that though he's surely not an intellectual lightweight, at the law school where he taught for 12 years he was unwilling to put his ideas on the debating table but rather cultivated a separateness that made him hard to place ideologically - but which made it easier for him to run for office. A good article.

Sounds like a man either on a mission or with a scheme.

Baruch Hashem! Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Of Bernic Mac, Isaac Hayes, Skip Caray, and Solzhenitsyn

Death, Albert Camus once wrote, is philosophy's greatest problem. And it is so. Yet the Bible presents this universal problem somewhat differently, as Ezekiel 18:4 states:

"Behold all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."

The biblical problem is instead not the universal effect called death - but rather the universal cause known as sin. But - alas - it is ultimately a sovereign God to whom we are all accountable - all of humanity - as Solomon, a wise philosopher if ever there was one, wrote in Ecclesiastes 12:7:

"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

Well, there's nothing like the news of death to awaken us out of our Disneyland odysseys, eh? During the past week-and-a-half I've read of the deaths of Bernic Mac, Isaac Hayes, Skip Caray, and Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. What follows are the briefest of eulogies.

Bernie Mac was from a new school of Black comedians called the Kings of Comedy who'd successfully transitioned from comedy club to television and whose untimely passing was both stunning and sorrowful. I didn't get to watch his show often, but when I did he made me laugh out loud. My son and I routinely like to mimic one of his funnier sequences from "The Bernie Mac Show". His character was the voice of the post-modern dad - at odds with trying to be hip, cool, yet firm and decent, while raising 3 children. He was at his best in his unique, between-scenes monologues. I loved his comic tension and the way he said things.

"But perhaps the strongest weapon was that voice, that amalgam of thought and that delivery that could rise like a tidal wave..."

Then there is Isaac Hayes. I cannot express deeply enough how influential Isaac Hayes was in the transition of the public image of the "Black Man" in the post-civil rights 1970s. I was a little boy enamored by the "Soul Music" style when he burst upon the scene with the theme song from the movie, Shaft. The PBS documentary on WattStax now airing brings back fond memories of my youth and the music I listened to. Hayes made the Black-Male-as-entertainer a dignified, cool, thing. His rich, mellow tone in both song and spoken word was unmistakably "black male" at a time when being publicly "Black" took courage, after all, we were still "Negroes". Hey, don't laugh, Glen Campbell, John Denver, and even Hee Haw played music more often celebrated. But Hayes was Black Power without confrontation and he did his thing without a trace of shuffling and grinning. He made us sing with him and take notice.

"When you think of soul music, you think of Isaac Hayes - the expression, the sound and the creativity that goes along with it."

Skip Caray was the radio voice of the Atlanta Braves and before that the Atlanta Hawks, my hometown baseball and basketball teams. He was a quick tempered, quick quipped, smart mouth. But, boy, he was enjoyable to listen to! He made you pay attention to little things he said because it seemed he always had something impolitic - or impolite - on his mind that he was trying to say with code words. For almost all of the Braves' high moments in Atlanta, his was most often the voice you heard on radio, so he was memorable for that alone. I still say he was a better basketball play-by-play man than he was baseball. But in any case he made Atlanta folks cheer and jeer.

"He wasn’t from the neo-announcer’s school of happy talk. Skip hated the Wave and the Infield-Fly Rule and said as much at every opportunity. When he did a call-in show on WSB in the ’80s, he suffered clever callers only grudgingly and the bozos not at all. But because he was Skip, we didn’t much mind."

Finally, there is Aleksander Solzhenitsyn - a sort of Alexis de Tocqueville of our generation. A profoundly deep, incisive, spiritual, and grim human being. You would be too, if you'd been through what he'd been through - a Soviet prison camp. Fascinatingly insightful about the former Soviet Union, he was equally as precise as to the moral condition of America - the land he came to adopt as his own before the fall of the Communists. Check out this column about him from Cal Thomas, who calls him a prophet. And he may well be. This phrase alone to me stands out as profound, so brace yourselves:

"Solzhenitsyn loved America, but said he couldn't recommend it in its present state as a model for his country: "Through intense suffering our country (Russia) has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive."

Spiritual exhaustion! Our America? What insight...! The year was 1978.

In Pace Resquietam to each of these men that it may have been they have known the Lord Jesus before that great and glorious Day - and above all - that He know them!

Baruch Hashem and Soli Do Gloria!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What Bible is he reading?

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the senior religious official in the Anglican church, has been exposed. How so? Well, in recent days he was called to serve as the "mediator" of the deep rift between Anglican bishops who favor ordaining homosexual priests and performing same sex marriages, etc., and those conservative bishops who do not. The Lambeth Conference, the latest in the once-a-decade meetings of Anglican bishops from around the world was supposed to be a place where these "right reverends" could iron out their differences over this matter. Things did not go well. 200 of the Bible-believing bishops did not attend out of protest. The rest were largely pro-gay or indifferent - and even they could not come to a consensus! And so the conference was largely a meeting of, well - bishops who like to meet.

The website reports that the Archbishop gave his opinion on the subject years ago. Turns out he was pro-homosexual all along. So much for mediation.

I'm no Anglican, and neither am I picking on the Anglicans, but rather I am saddened to see the fall of churches into apostasy. Ever since the ordination to the bishopric of the homosexual, V. Gene Robinson, the gates of Hell have opened up on the Anglicans. Still, for the senior prelate of their church to affirm what scripture so clearly condemns is a terrible wound that may not be healed. Perhaps it can only be removed. Episcopalians in America are reeling as a result of this attack.

"Williams described how his literal faith in the scripture's prohibitions against homosexuality began to crumble after about 1980 and that 20 years of study and prayer had led him to the "definitive conclusion" that "an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage ... This is how he tackled the issue in his essay The Body's Grace in 1989: "The absolute condemnation of same-sex relations of intimacy must rely either on an abstract fundamentalist deployment of a number of very ambiguous texts, or on a problematic and non-scriptural theory about natural complementarity, applied narrowly and crudely to physical differentiation without regard to psychological structures."

Lev. 20:13,
"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them." AMBIGUITY?! WHAT AMBIGUITY!!??

1 Cor. 6:9-10,
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." AMBIGUITY?! WHAT AMBIGUITY!!??

America is Christianity's High Noon. Shall the salt lose its savor? Who will remain standing? I believe that the movement of homosexuality into the cultural mainstream, the deterioration of the family, and the decrease in influence and spiritual quality of Christians in America are the watershed cultural moments leading to the advent of the Antichrist and the one world government.

Baruch Hashem & Soli Deo Gloria!