Friday, March 31, 2006

...All is McVanity

I read a great article by David Limbaugh, the author of Persecution, at his site and another article on a gathering of evangelicals to decry the "war against Christians" that they perceive. I certainly can see that the press routinely ignores the pandering of the left to appear religious in order to obtain a few votes while at the same time roundly criticizing the right, but it surprises me to hear that some evangelicals are only now noticing that Christianity is perceived as the enemy to this worldly culture of America, including so many leftist institutions, such as the movie and television industry. This line might be taken to heart by the Republican party:

The biggest threat for the Republican Party is not that these distressed "values" voters will vote for Democrats but that come this November's mid-term elections, they won't vote at all.
This is where I'm sitting if the Republican party offers up Mr. "McVain" to voters in the next presidential election. Speaking of my least favorite senator, here's a look at his similar attempt to appear religious friendly.
When McCain ran for president the last time, he denounced Falwell as one of America's "agents of intolerance." But now that McCain is gearing up to run for president as the GOP's establishment candidate, he has told Falwell that he spoke "in haste" in 2000.
What a gigantic hypocrite, and I'm not talking about Falwell. Please, Republican party, don't nominate this egocentric charlatan. I want to vote in 2008 and Hillary is out of the question.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hey! How'd you get here?

The Japanese
By Ogden Nash

How courteous is the Japanese;
He always says, “Excuse it, please.”
He climbs into his neighbor’s garden,
And smiles, and says, “I beg your pardon”;
He bows and grins a friendly grin,
And calls his hungry family in;
He grins, and bows a friendly bow;
“So sorry, this my garden now.”

We are a nation of former immigrants, for the most part. An emigre, by definition, is an expatriate-no longer a part of their country of origin. When my grand grand grands entered America, they left behind the citizenship and rights/wrongs they had enjoyed/endured in their former countries, and became remarkably American.

And they did so legally, as far as I know. As a Christian, I am called to speak honestly, honor truth, never lie or cheat on my taxes or do anything which would dishonor the name of Christ. Though I have compassion for those who are coming to America to build a better life, I cannot condone someone stealing into another country to reap the benefits of a better life there. I would enjoy living in a mansion-but I have no right to break into someone else’s mansion and take it over just because my house isn’t as grand. I would be cheating that owner and cheating myself, as I hadn’t earned what I desired. A lady commenting at La Shawn’s blog, Renee, used just the right word: covetousness. The illegal aliens covet what we have.
And that’s a sin.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Looking for Truth, Looking From Truth

Soapbox. This is our Soapbox, our little wooden crate from which we speak in the public square of the Internet. I have no mistaken idea that it’s a lectern. It’s just a soapbox. I’m just a guy with an opinion or two, moving from point A to point B. My point A is Now, and my point B is Heaven. I have no doubts as to my destination.
I look at the troubled world and see clearly where a lot of the trouble comes from. Here we go.
God created man. Man fell from Grace, bringing sin and death into the world. All of the world’s generations of populations, all the way back to Adam and Eve, fall into one of two categories: those running To God
and those running From God.
Here are three examples of those who ran away from God, and enjoined many others to follow them.

Man One: Familiar with scripture, but rejecting the Word as written, sought to find God another way. While on a spiritual journey, dreamt of/ met an Angel who delivered a new revelation of God.

Man Two: Familiar with scripture, but rejecting the Word as written, sought to find God another way. While on a spiritual journey, dreamt of/ met an Angel who delivered a new revelation of God.

Man Three: Familiar with scripture, but rejecting the Word as written, sought to find God another way. While condemning every foundational belief of Christianity, he began...a Bible Study.

In each case the men were aware of the scriptures-and knew that the Bible condemned them, as it says that “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God”. So they started running. (Run Forrest! Run!)
Rather than accepting the Gospel, they searched for another way, any other way-and came up with their own.

A side note-people are not born Christians-they are born sinners. There is no such thing as a baby being born into a Christian family automatically being Christian. It is a decision-God calls, and we answer, running towards God after running from Him.

Each of the men mentioned above worked out their own theology, borrowing greatly from the Bible, as counterfeit men of God.
The Apostle John wrote, warning the Christians of his day (and also us) against false prophets who were counterfeit men of God: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
A few verses later John states: “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the anti-Christ, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”
And that brings us back to our three unwise men. It doesn’t matter if you put Joe Smith as Man One or Mohammed. Their stories are identical, though the theologies and belief systems each spawned are greatly different. Both borrow from the Bible, and each rejects the idea that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, one third of the trinity.
Mohammed supposedly had a vision of the Angel Gabriel, Joe Smith the Angel being Nephi-actually, some say it’s Nephi, sometimes it’s a different being, “the Angel Moroni, the glorified son of Mormon.” Doesn’t really matter, as neither Nephi, Moroni nor Mormon exist beyond the imaginings of Joe Smith.

Man Three was the theological Michael Moore of his day: rejecting obvious truth, he decided to redefine God and create his own. Through his Bible Studies and writings, Charlie Russell rejected not only that Jesus was the Christ, but also that He was God. Russell believed that Jesus was the first created being, rather than the Creator. Though they now disavow his teachings, Charlie Russell created the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Why was each of these man so successful in leading people away from God?

It all comes back to Jesus Christ. They are many more people running From Him than To Him. And along the way, they are encouraged in their disbelief by false men of God who point them towards Hell and call it Heaven.
A baby born to Muslims is considered Muslim, a baby of Mormons is Mormon, one born to a Jehovah’s Witness family is a Jehovah Witness when he grows up. If salvation is dependent upon the belief system of the family you are born into, it’s all a lottery; you get a ticket and may win just by the faith your parents hold.
But Jesus is the Christ, and in following Him, running to Him, we turn our backs on the rest of the world. Though we may call out to those running opposite, and try to tell them they’re going the wrong way, we run to Him. And are never led astray. He said, “Come to me, all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Any (ANY-Mormons, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, Scientologists, Gaia worshippers, etc.) who are heavy laden with sin can come to Christ and receive His rest.” And I can tell you from personal experience that it is Wonderful.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


A friend lent me a very good movie: “Just Like Heaven”, which is romantic comedy done right. As I mentioned somewhere on the web (Here? There? My thoughts are scattered across cyberspatial existences) it is a charming movie; I encourage everyone to see it. John Heder-Napoleon Dynamite-has a supporting role, so I should see that movie too-he’s quite good.
Reese Witherspoon carries the movie as easily as Cary Grant wore a tux. She is also great in “Walk the Line”.
Reese deserved her Oscar, and I look forward to seeing more of her movies.
Spring is making headway here-we should have green grass in a month or so. I’m hoping to take more pictures this summer-I slowed down quite a bit with photography once I began blogging-I took the picture of the plums on 9-28-04; it doesn‘t seem like a year and a half ago. After I took the picture we spread tarps under the trees and shook down a small plum harvest which I shared at work. Plums are sweet.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Baseball again-my team, the Atlanta Braves, hopefully will do well, but win or lose, I just enjoy the game. There’s something refreshing about a sport where rules are enforced, umpires decisions are final, arguing the inarguable will get a player or manager a quick exit, winners and losers are defined by a scoreboard, and scoreboards don’t lie. I love Baseball.
Why Reese? Why Baseball? Why Plums? It stains your soul to focus on negatives all the time. Have a Great Day, Friends.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I am Innocent of the Blood of this Just Person

As I predicted last week, Abdul Rahman will be released even as the case is being returned to the prosecutor, ostensibly for the purpose of finding stronger, more convicting evidence. Of course, all this is taking place as people and leaders from all around the world are pressuring the Afghans to stop this trial and execution from occurring at all. Let's step back and analyze in the cool light of reason what is really happening.

First, Afghanistan now has a constitution which guarantees freedom of religion. Rahman, the defendant in this case, chose to become a Christian sixteen years ago. In the course of a custody battle, his family reported that fact to Islamic authorities and he was charged with being an apostate from and traitor to Islam, a crime under sha'aria law punishable by death. Rahman himself confessed his Christian belief to the court and was in possession of a Bible. This, in addition to the testimony of several witnesses, should be enough to convict him. There was some silliness about trying to prepare an insanity defense, but it was dropped when it became obvious that the defendant is at least as sane, and probably saner than, his defense attorneys. Then why did the court decide to release him?

According to the Islamic judge in the case, if the constitution does not specifically address a question, then sha'aria will prevail. Hence, the arrest of Rahman in the first place. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has had nothing public to say so far nor has any elected official. Would it not seem, therefore, that sha'aria law should take its course? The question is why isn't it doing so?

Second, it seems obvious to this observer that the judge, prosecutor, and any other interested party, that Rahman has already been sentenced to death. Like a man whose life is destroyed by a false accusation of child sexual abuse, the mere accusation and his own subsequent confession are enough to sentence Rahman to death. The court, rather than face the severe criticism which would surely follow the carrying out of a death sentence for what most in the world would not consider a crime, decided to release Rahman in the full knowledge that he is likely to be executed anyway. Perhaps by a relative, perhaps by an Islamic fanatic, perhaps by an angry mob.

Please don't think I am comparing Abdul Rahman to Jesus Christ, but I am reminded of Pilate who found no guilt in Jesus and washed his hands of the matter knowing full well what was about to happen. The judge, the prosecutor, the sha'aria system of Islamic law, are all washing their hands of the matter knowing what will be the result. They can thus show the world how tolerant and forgiving they are even though no such language appears in their religion except in the negative, i.e., DO NOT tolerate..., DO NOT forgive..., and so on.

I am going to pray for Abdul Rahman, and urge others to do likewise, because I believe the stand he has chosen to take will soon result in his death. I am going to pray that the Lord spare him, but if not that He take his soul and that He fill me with faith such as that of Abdul Rahman. The mantle of martyrdom has fallen on this unknown, small man and he has accepted it with quietude and grace. We could all do worse than admire such as he.

Nuda Veritas

Addendum: The Christian Peacemaker Team organization, the parent group of the three peace activist captives who were rescued recently by coalition forces, published this back-handed thank you on the CPT website.

"I do not believe that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force but I pay tribute to [the soldiers] courage and thank those who played a part in my rescue.... There's a real sense in which you are interviewing the wrong person. It's the ordinary people of Iraq you should be talking to, the people who have suffered so much over many years and still await the stable and just society they deserve."

-Norman Kember statement to reporters 03/25/06

Prior to this they hadn't been 'rescued', they had been 'freed'.

Shouldn't they be boarding a plane for Afghanistan soon? I hope they do, I wish I could, but I'm not counting on it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I’m Not Afraid For Abdul Rahman

Matthew 10:16-22
16“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17“But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19“But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20“For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bricks in the Road Explained

My earlier post had nothing to do with bricks in the road, but it had everything to do with what motivated Mohammed Taheri-azar to drive a SUV into a group of college students. Fear.
Fear is a great motivator and modifier, which is why terrorists try to inspire terror.
Fear can be good; fear that we will be broke motivates us to work, fear of the cop who might be around the corner motivates us to keep our speed down, fear that we will be outcasts motivates us to obey the rules of society. A fireman who fears that someone may be left in a burning building is a hero because he overcomes the natural fear of burning and goes in to search. In every example given fear is good, and modifies our behavior. Fear of being humbled also comes into it-no-one likes to be wrong, and the fear of losing face, being humbled, is one of the strongest fears inside of us.
But there are fear and fears. A person is out of balance if an unreasonable fear is given more weight than the reasonable modifying ones.
When I was about 11 years old my family was on vacation at a resort. All the adults had gone off, leaving me and my younger brother alone, with no one else around. On the radio I heard of a prison break, escaped murderers making their way through the woods, authorities warning anyone to avoid confronting them, armed and dangerous etc. I was freaking out. I was sure that they were headed right for the resort, and I was scared. Then it occurred to me that Texas, where the prison break had happened, was like 4 thousand miles from where I was. And I calmed right down. It was an unreasonable fear.
I’ve written before about working for Uncle Ralph, out in Las Vegas. I think I might have mentioned John before, also.
John was the most fear-full man I’ve met. He had so many unreasonable fears that he was afraid they would all get together and scare him to death.
One day, on the street in front of our workplace (Valley View Blvd) a dozen or so bricks had fallen off a truck and were right in the middle of the road. John was afraid of the busy, busy traffic-a reasonable fear-but that was overwhelmed by his fear of an accident happening, and he went out to pick up those bricks. I helped, knowing that it WAS very dangerous-it was a very busy street. I guess I feared that he’d get killed making all those trips alone.
The point is, he was motivated by fear to do something very dangerous, a lesser fear being outweighed by a greater.
Now we’re back to Mohammed Taheri-azar. He was motivated by fear of his god to attempt to kill unbelievers. Not that he was in any danger from the students-he feared his god would not be pleased with him if he did not act as a good Muslim. As I wrote, he moved from being a moderate to terroristic Muslin by getting behind the wheel of that SUV. He was motivated to hate; Christians are motivated to love.
In the case of Abdul Rahman, the Christian in danger of being put to death by the Afghan government for being a traitor to Islam, we have an example of someone facing down the fear of Allah, standing against the religion that motivates the Mohammed Taheri-azars of the world. It may sound strange, but I believe that there are many, many Muslims who are looking at Rahman in awe, are given a bit of hope that someone-one of their own- is standing against the Islam that has enslaved them since birth. He is free from the chains of fear that still shackle them. And though he may fear for his life, he rejoices in the face of persecution. What a witness!
We do fear, and where it says,
“Psalm 111:10
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.”

the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom because we do not fear what we do not believe exists. I have no fear of vampires-they don’t exist. But God does exist, and in Matthew 10:28 Jesus said, “28“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” That would be God. Fear God and live.

Eccles 8:11-13
11Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil. 12Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly. 13But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.

Proverbs 19:23
23 The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Freed Slave’s Guide To Middle-Earth

1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:1-6

Spirit Test #1: Does a prophet confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? Y/N
If N, no other test is necessary. Let me write that again. If a prophet does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, they are not from God, and are in fact anti-Christ.
Mohammed fails this test. Islam is based on writings which reject Jesus Christ as God.
You can’t get roses from corn stalks, swat a skunk and you aren’t sprayed with Chanel No. 5, and you can’t be accepted as a prophet of God if you are, in fact, anti-Christ.
Before I accepted Christ, I had no idea who or what God was, and I had no animosity towards Islam or any other religion. Who was I to say who was right?
I lacked the equipment for spiritual discernment. Notice the past tense.
When I became a Christian, I gained spiritual discernment through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; it’s not mumbo-jumbo, and I wasn’t brainwashed by some church.
I spent my first three months as a Christian alone with God, praying, reading the Bible and a few other helpful books- I didn’t even visit a church until I began to be grounded.
If hearing the Gospel elicits a negative reaction from you, if it makes you angry, then you are a slave to sin. Lincoln freed the slaves, and Jesus frees slaves to Sin and makes it possible for former slaves to be accepted as adopted children by our loving God.
And God gives gifts to His children, including the spiritual discernment John is talking about in the above scripture. “6We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us.” Are you not listening to us? To John, Paul, Peter and the other Apostles? Reject Christianity out of hand? Take it from a former slave: Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the only One who can break the chains of Sin and set you free.
Notice that John says that ‘many false prophets have gone out into the world.’ This was written nearly 600 years before Mohammed, but even he doesn’t have that market cornered. I saw another new “prophet” today on one of the religious channels, reading from his own new book of prophecies. He had the entire religious garb, spouting religious garbage. I reject his being a prophet as much as I do Mohammed or Sylvia Browne.
Many false prophets claim to be Christian; it all comes down to the nit/grit above: do they accept Jesus as the Christ, the only Son of God, the one source of salvation? If not, they fail the test, and should be as soundly rejected and scorned as that other liar, Mohammed.
“I’m not calling him names; I’m merely being descriptive.”
In Tolkien’s sagas, Middle-Earth is a fanciful creation where humans interact with elves, hobbits, dwarves, demons and evil gods. Magic can save the day or curse a ring.
There is no mythic Middle-Earth where Christians and Muslims, Hindi and other pagans can all be right. I’d sooner believe that Tom Bombadill could come dancing through my door.
So I reject Islam as a false path, one of many. Read about Joseph Smith and Mormonism and you can see the same pattern as Mohammed followed. Guess what? They fail the same test. So do Seventh Day Adventists. Buddhists. Pee wee Herman (I just threw that in.)
So, who passes the test? Those called by His name who accept Him as the Son of God.
Really, it’s not too hard to figure out. Many a child answers correctly, while many an adult fails. Ask God for proof; accept it when you see it. Live happily ever after past
The End.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I Think I May Be Onto Something

George H. W. Bush was born June 6, 1924. George W. Bush was born July 6, 1946.

The elder Bush loves baseball, the younger once owned a baseball team. The 1946 World Series was won by the St. Louis Cardinals who defeated the Boston Red Sox, four games to three. Six of the games in that series went nine innings, the first game running ten innings. Harry Brecheen won three games for the St. Louis Cardinals, pitching twenty innings while giving up only one earned run. Game 2, 3-0; game 6, 4-1; game 7 (8th inn), 4-3. During the regular season he went 15-15 and also had three saves. Fifteen is a one and a five adding up to six. There are two fifteens and thus, two sixes. Three (saves) times two (15's) is six resulting in 666.

The numbers in the elder Bush's birthdate (6/6/1924) add up to 28. Two subtracted from eight is six. The numbers in the younger Bush's birthdate (7/6/1946) add up to 33. Three added to three is six. The three games Harry Brecheen won in the 1946 world series added to his three regular season saves adds up to six. Thus we have the number 666 closely connected with George W. Bush.

George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election by winning Florida's 25 electoral votes. Florida is the only state name beginning with the letter F, the sixth letter of the alphabet. The seven letters in Florida added to its 25 electoral votes equals 32. Three times two is six. Eight states and the District of Columbia alphabetically precede Florida. Of these, five were won by Bush, four by Gore. Five added to the four letters in Bush's name is nine, four added to the four letters in Gore's name is eight. Nine plus eight is 17 and seven minus one equals six. Three sixes spells 666.

The sixth planet from the sun is Saturn. The name, Saturn, contains six letters. S is the 19th letter of the alphabet, a the 1st, t the 20th, u the 21st, r the 18th, n the 14th. 19 plus 1 plus 20 plus 21 plus 18 plus 14 equals 93. Three from nine is six. The 6th planet, its name containing 6 letters tallying 6 and again we have 666. Why Saturn? Because General Motors launched the Saturn automobile in 1990, the same year in which the younger Bush left the oil business.

Now, everyone knows the scripture Revelation 13:10, to wit: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." Everyone further understands the beast to be the antiChrist. Thus, if the beast is the antiChrist, its number 666, and that number repeatedly connected to and intertwined with George W. Bush, well...the conclusion is obvious to any clear headed American.

It's time to get out of Dodge. By the way, in 1946 Dodge made only 125 WD-15 pickup trucks, each with a straight block, six cylinder, 85hp engine and a six-foot bed. One plus two times five (from 125 made) equals 15. One and five is six. Six cylinders, six foot bed, six from the number of trucks made rounds to 666.

So there you have it. The evidence is there for everyone to see. Draw your own conclusion, but it clearly shows that George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States, is the antiChrist. Impeach him now before it's too late.

-30- (not 666)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Civic Duty -- Schmivic Duty!

See that little puff of steam? That is coming out of my ears! I have just been summoned for GRAND JURY DUTY. Not your ordinary jury duty, to which I have been summoned several times and went down and did my duty. No, the one that lasts for months.

Now tell me, in a town full of retirees (retirees galore, I tells ya!) why would they insist that a person with a full-time job, who is the only cog in the wheel doing a particular job in the office, be required to do grand jury duty? If I weren't working full time, I would gladly participate. I would count it all joy! Instead, everyone at my office will be forced to take on different duties which they don't understand, and I will be faced with a pile of papers to the ceiling when I get back to work full time. The office and I won't recover for months. Does that seem fair? This is like punishment, not service to country.

Doh! (Kicks dog!)


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This Hardly Ever Happens... I just thought I'd share a picture.

When it snows in Phoenix, we all stop and notice and enjoy! It's a wonderful peculiarity that only lasts a few hours.

I'm headed up to the high country in a few days, so I might actually have to slosh around in some of this stuff. A novelty for me. I'm sure most of you get plenty tired of it. Am I right?


Bricks in the Road

Mohammed Taheri-azar, the man who ran down students at UNC Charlotte, wrote a letter to the local ABC affiliate, which included his explanation for his action:
"Allah gives permission in the Koran for the followers of Allah to attack those who have raged war against them, with the expectation of eternal paradise in case of martyrdom and/or living one's life in obedience of all of Allah's commandments found throughout the Koran's 114 chapters..."

"The U.S. government is responsible for the deaths of and the torture of countless followers of Allah, my brothers and sisters. My attack on Americans at UNC-CH on March 3rd was in retaliation for similar attacks orchestrated by the U.S. government on my fellow followers of Allah in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic territories. I did not act out of hatred for Americans, but out of love for Allah instead."

Mohammed Taheri-azar, living in our country for years, graduating from one of our universities, the very model of a modern, assimilated...American.
One day before he acted any one would have confidently pointed to him as an American success story, a moderate Muslim living at peace in the United States. One day after he’s a terrorist, as I’m sure that his plowing into a group of students did inspire terror in them. “I did not act out of hatred for Americans, but out of love for Allah instead." Stop and think about how twisted that is, friends. You don’t seek revenge for “the deaths of and the torture of countless followers of Allah” out of love. Someone usually seeks revenge out of hate. If love of your God is sending you out on the streets in a SUV hoping for a high body count, you don’t know what love is. Or you’re a hypocrite trying to mask your actions in religious garb. I don’t think Mohammed Taheri-azar is a hypocrite. Just some one who mistakes fear for love. Islam chains adherents to itself with bonds of fear. It is so easy to miss out on Paradise by accidentally breaking one of the laws of Allah.
In the book of Romans it says that “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” All means all. A Christian knows that none are worthy but Christ-we can do nothing to achieve Salvation, except believe upon Him who offers it as a free gift.
For a Muslim under Islam, Salvation MIGHT be earned by a moderate Muslim if he follows all of the Laws, learns the Koran in Arabic, makes it to Mecca if humanly possible at least once in his life...and Salvation may be lost because after doing all of that he accidentally touched an impure object. Actually, for a moderate Muslim, it’s even a bit more skewed-he could do all of the right things, never break Islamic Law, fulfill all of the requirements of Islam...and lose out on Paradise because Allah arbitrarily chooses to send him to Hell. After all, he’s not the Loving God of Christianity and Judaism. According to the Koran, Allah does not love at all, but demands absolute love from his followers-talk about being in an abusive relationship!
So, a Muslim has a slim chance of making it all the way to Paradise...except for the Shortcut. Kill a Jew or other unbeliever, you’re in like Samir Flynn. If you’ve been really bad, have messed up and broken many of Islam’s laws, you can balance the scales by killing more unbelievers. You don’t ever know how many you need to kill, so err on the side of caution-Paradise is at stake!
Mohammed Taheri-azar must have really messed up, as he felt he had to kill unbelievers. And I think that although his religion told him to kill, his humanity couldn’t allow him to strap a bomb to his chest and detonate it in a crowd. I think he is conflicted, and that’s why he didn’t actually kill anyone. He’s hoping that the act will be accepted as good enough. Evidence of that is his turning himself in, admitting to the attack, and writing to the ABC news affiliate, making clear why he acted. He’s laying the groundwork for justification before Allah. I don’t think he’s evil-just moved beyond moderation out of fear of his god.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Scoop of the Year!

This may just be THE interview the World has been waiting to read. Kudos to Bill Gates of Microsoft, who has developed a breakthrough interphase device which will be the hallmark of their new Vista operating system. Codenamed “Booga” throughout the development process, the new device with the Microsoft copywrited title of “Ethra-Vista” will allow communications between the nether regions and our own plane of existence. I was honored to be chosen to conduct a special interview as a beta-test of the “Booga/Ethra-Vista” system. Here on this page, speaking for the first time in 1400 years...The Prophet Mohammed.

PM: Hey folks of the 21st century, how ya doin?
Me: Prophet Mohammed, thanks for taking the time to join us today.
PM: It’s all right, I've got all eternity.
Me: Have you been sitting in that vat of sulfur for 1400 years?
PM: Naw, its Tuesday here. Tomorrow it’ll be the lava-vomiting cockroaches.
Me: Through the Ethra-Vista interface I can actually smell the sulfur.
PM: Lucky for you, I guess.
Me: Have you had opportunity, sir, to keep up on current event on our side of the pale?
PM: We get the New York Times, and, of course, CNN is always on.
Me: So you’re aware that the faithful of your religion, Islam, have been a bit feisty lately?
PM: I’ll say. I wish they would cut it out-it’s embarrassing me no end.
Me: How so?
PM: Well, like yesterday-I’m stretched out on a rack, demons stuffing me full of burning camel dung, and Hitler rolls in with that smirk on his face, and I just know what’s coming.
“Hey Mohammed!” He calls from his cask of molten lead. “Seen any good cartoons lately? Haw haw haw!” He knows I hate that laugh.
Me: Since you brought it up, Mr. Prophet,
PM: Call me Bill. It’s kind of my nickname here.
Me: All right...Bill. Since you brought up the cartoons, how do you feel about them?
PM: Listen, you don’t get to be the head of a world-wide religion with a thin skin. So I guess if they spell my name right, I should be happy, you know what I mean?
Me: As in, at least they remember you.
PM: Exactly! It's been 1400 years, and things get forgotten pretty easily.
Me: Are there any misconceptions about your life or Islam that you would like to clear up?
PM: I’ll say! Number one-listen, mine is the religion of Peace, right?
Me:’s one of them.
PM: I’ll take that. Religion of Peace. I called for my followers to KISS the Jews, kill them with kindness, if you know what I mean, not kill them literally!
Me: That certainly seems to have been confused.
PM: Confused isn’t a big enough word. I wanted to get along with everybody, and somehow my faithful can’t get along with anyone.
Me: But...Bill, didn’t you invade Medina and kill all the Jews there?
PM: You want to know what happened? It started out as a friendly soccer game, and then this line judge calls a red card on me, OBVIOUSLY favoring the home team; the fans got a little out of hand, and there you go. Riot City.
Me: Those who know only a little about you often bring up the fact that you married a six year old girl.
PM: I swear, her Dad told me she was 21!
Me: Bill, you’re joking, right?
PM: Yeah. Just trying to keep things light. She was six. I was a total idiot.
Me: It’s refreshing to hear you say that.
PM: Yeah, well, you gain some perspective in 1400 years. Oh great.
Me: What is it, Bill?
PM: Caligula just waved at me. It’s time for my visit to the Nagging Room.
Me: Nagging Room?
PM: Yeah. All of my wives get to rip my flesh with white-hot hooks while doing that ululating scream thing.
Me: That sounds pretty bad.
PM: Hey, you get used to anything. The newbies like Uday and Qusay still cry like little baby-men if they get stuffed in a burning pig carcass for awhile. Wusses.
Me: Well, thank you, Prophet Mohammed, for visiting with us today.
PM: If I knew any pleasure in this place, I would say, ‘My pleasure.’
Me: Any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with the world?
PM: Play nice, and forget all that ‘convert to Islam or die stuff‘. Live and let live, that’s my motto now.
Me: Words to live by, Bill.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Blue Skies After Stormy Weather

I love music, and am especially fond of Jazz. Just last night at work I was listening to one of my favorite albums, “Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington”. Monk’s trio-his piano, plus bass and drums, plays tribute to and finds the heart of Duke Ellington's orchestrations. Each song is distinctly Ellington, and essentially Monk.
I was watching “Stormy Weather” the other day-not a great movie, but the music made up for the broad acting. I bought it to see Fats Waller doing “Ain’t Misbehavin”, and also Lena Horne.
The DVD hosts an audio commentary by a Dr. Todd Boyd, who is the “Professor of Critical Studies” at USC, whatever that means. It’s an interesting commentary-rather than delivering biographical insights into the stars of the show-Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lena Horne, Dooley Wilson (Sam in Casablanca), Dr. Boyd focuses on the social, racial landscape of the times represented in the movie. He notes, for example, that the bad guy of the piece-not a villain, just the ‘heavy’-is a light skinned black and the hero, Bill Robinson, is darker skinned. I would have missed that bit of differentiation; he made no comment at all that Lena Horne was even lighter.
Dr. Boyd’s most constant comment was ‘problematic’. The caricatures of racial stereotypes was problematic. The language was problematic. The set design was problematic, reinforcing all sorts of uncomfortable prejudices. Okay fine. I’ll be getting to my point in a minute-I think that they should have picked someone to do the commentary who actually liked the picture, who could have touched on the race differences, but also enjoyed the music, and could tell us about the lives of the actors/singers, detail who directed it, how the picture was made, etc.
He brought up an interesting point; the mainstream (read:white) movies of that era would include performances by a Lena Horne or other black artists which would have their scenes in full, with no plot business, so that the scenes could be easily cut out of prints to be shown in the South without lousing up the continuity. Think about that. Dooley Wilson couldn’t be cut out of Casablanca, as he was integral to the plot. The studio, Warner Brothers, probably fretted about a lack of ticket sales South of the Mason-Dixon.
But musical performances, dance numbers by black acts, such as the ten minutes jubilant dance in the Marx Brothers “A Day at the Races” could be excised to maintain the racial status quo in the South.
In effect, the studios were bowing to established racial prejudices, censoring themselves to placate the racist South. The way Dr. Boyd put it, “To keep Southerners from having to see black performers on the movie screen.”
We now enjoy relatively Blue Skies after that Stormy Weather. Thanks to the Civil Rights movement (and no thanks to Hollywood, who with their medium could have railed against racism decades earlier) we now enjoy a more integrated world, where people are accepted as people, and racial intolerance is not honorable.
There are still racists, but in large, I believe things have gotten much better. No studio today would excise Denzel Washington from “ Man on Fire” to placate racists.
In effect, the Civil rights movement declared that it was no longer socially acceptable to hate someone because of the color of their skin. And I praise God for the men and women He raised up to confront racism and move us forward.
We have to speak up again. Just as the Civil rights were fought for and won in the 1950’s and 60’s, here in the new world of 2006 we have to confront hateful prejudice, and make it as unwelcome in our world as racism. I’m talking about the unhinged, irrational destructive hate which Muslims exhibit against Jews and all the rest of Western culture. And I’m also talking about the quiet, moderate silent racism which is prevalent in Islam-not every Southerner in the 1940’s lynched a negro, but a good many of them kept silent when it happened in their communities. Not every Muslim will burn a flag, but...
Lets move forward. Lets make the hate inherent in Islam socially and globally as unwelcome as racism.
What can we non-Muslims do? Speak up-if a jihadist decides to drive a SUV into a group of college students, call it what it is: a terrorist act by a Muslim. If Muslims are rioting in France, call them Muslims, and not simply “North African immigrants” as CNN did.
In effect, tell Muslims and Islam: “Your hate is not socially acceptable, you must live peaceably with everyone; the Jews have as much right to exist as you do. Get over it. Quit hating, and move forward with the rest of Humanity, looking for Bluer Skies.”

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Oscar's Best Friend

Oscar night is nearly here-and I haven’t seen any of the nominated movies. I might watch the broadcast though I don’t really care who wins. I enjoy movies, and hope that they do some sort of tribute to the “Golden Age” of cinema.
Here’s Bob Hope, who introduced two great songs-”Thanks For the Memories” and “Buttons and Bows” and hosted the Oscars many times over the years. Many who only remember Bob from the Paramount ‘Road’ pictures or the TV specials will
“Hope” fully discover his other movies; he did much more than just insult Bing and chase Dorothy.
His Oscar winning song “Buttons and Bows” was introduced in “The Paleface” and returned in “Son of Paleface” -which not only reunited him with Jane Russell, but added Roy Rogers! Pure fun.
Bob could also act; he wasn’t always the man of a thousand quips. His portrayal of Eddie Foy in “The Seven Little Foys” was honest and quite dramatic. His buddy Bing won Oscars for his dramatic portrayals; I think Bob was probably a better actor, but was so comfortable making GOLD for the studios in comedies that he never felt the need to stretch. Bing would win the Oscars, and Bob would hand them to him.
Enjoy the Oscars, watch the spectacle, sing along to the songs-and I hope that your favorites win.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Israel is The Beautiful Country, the most favored flower in God’s Garden, not because of breathtaking scenery, jutting white cliffs or expansive mountainscapes-it is the Beautiful Country because God has set it as His special place, the Holy land where His throne will be seated. When He reigns from there, He will take away the mockery associated with Jerusalem’s name-it truly will be the City of Peace.
Thomas Wolfe famously said that “You can’t go home again.” but Home is waiting for us.
Home is where the heart is indeed, and as our hearts belong to Jesus, that’s Home.
As wonderful beyond words as that time in Israel will be, even that is just a preview of the Heavenly Jerusalem where we will spend eternity. Think of it as the purest form of purity-finer than any clumsy human hand could create:

“While we’re here, we have to make the most of it.
It seem so strange-inside we’re changed
It hurts that we no longer fit
Into this world.
We have a home we haven’t seen,
All that we know-the streets are clean
And paved with gold. From days of old
We’ve heard the Promise but soon
Will see the Reality.
I can’t wait until
We meet again upon
That golden street and
We will be together for Eternity!”

The ‘F’ stands for “Faith” Aliyah.