It’s been awhile

Whew, it has been awhile.  It’s been a crazy few weeks… I’ve had a lot I have been thinking about.  

Sometimes I wonder if I am in the right career field.  I’m very driven in my job about doing what is right.  This can get in the way when part of my job is to also make decisions with fiscal ideas in mind.  The two clash on a normal basis and it wears on me.  I feel as if I’m one of few in my field that actually cares about doing what is right above all else.  

It seems to be a downfall of a capitalistic society that is hell bent on  constantly scraping to make the next dollar.  In one way, it has skyrocketed us to the top of the world’s superpowers list, but I wonder if we are actually the better for it… ah, who knows.  It seems as if we as a society tend to let those feelings of “good vs evil” evaporate with age from childhood up into adulthood… it gets replaced with ideas that this is just how life is.  We lose that passion.

I think I’m just tired being constantly told to go get ‘em, but then be pulled back the next second.  I work in the private sector and that is probably part of it.   

Anyways, I’m about to start my own fitblr finally.  I can no longer ride the coattails of my wife’s success.  I must do my own.  Prepare yourself, world…. :D 

Protest What Again?

So, I get to see some of the unveiling of the new Target store tomorrow. It’s a beautiful store in the middle of a fairly downtrodden area of Pittsburgh. It will bring somewhere around 250-300 jobs to an area that desperately needs them. Something to celebrate, right? Tell that to some gay rights activist groups and other liberal groups.

Groups all over are planning to descend on the annual shareholder’s meeting tomorrow to let Target know that they didn’t appreciate the company donating money to an anti-gay marriage candidate in Minnesota last year. They are tired of “corporations running the government.”

The Supreme Court ruled that corporations are allowed to support who they choose in an election just as much as an individual. I agree. Sorry, kids. Companies deserve a voice also. Liberals see this as corporations being able to greatly influence elections. What they don’t think about is the fact that people can CHOOSE to support the business by spending their money there. That is the KEY piece that they choose to ignore. Business is all about the bottom line and if their voice is affecting that, then Target will change.

Back to the donation. Target donated the money because the candidate was VERY pro business. He wanted lowered corporate taxes. Then the candidate came out stating his beliefs in the Christian idea of heterosexual marriage, quickly upsetting the left. Lefties wanted to unite and bring down the big bad corporations for influencing government. Look in your backyard, kids. MoveOn.org and George Soros pretty much carry the financial weight of the left agenda. SEIU, unions?

What’s the word? Hypocrite? Oh yes, that’s the one.

Maybe Target is standing fairly strong on their move because plenty of still support the company. It doesn’t mean the people don’t have the power and corporations rule government… It means the system works, more people actually support a business’s right to donate and don’t see the evil in it. But, they can’t see past their own agenda and see the big picture. They are for power to the people except they constantly support a government that strips those rights away everyday because that government wants what the activists want. If Target supported a pro gay rights candidate, they would not be protesting. That is what bothers me. If you are going to attack corporations for “controlling the government”, make sure you are looking at the ones that push your own agenda also. It’s this inconsistency that upsets me more than what their stance is. They have a right to an opinion and I wouldn’t take it away from them.

I fully support a group’s right to protest because the constitution allows it. Those of us that standby the document keep that consistency. I just wish people would take a step back from what they are pushing an think about what they are saying. Those of you reading this: take a stance for something and fight for it, but make sure you are not blinded by your own agenda.

I’ll just say this, Target is a great company and I couldn’t see anyone I know that works for it discriminate because someone is a homosexual.

Maybe need to start a Fitblr?

My wife is kicking some serious butt with her weight loss and getting into shape.  She has dropped over 25 lbs since she started some months ago.  By just eating what she cooks now, I have dropped about 15 lbs.  I’ve been talking a lot about taking care of yourself and being responsible for yourself, but yet I haven’t been doing it.  Heck, I’m sick today probably mostly due to stress.

When I was training for the police academy, I was small, but in great shape.  I could bust out pushups like a champ, situps forever, and run the 1.5 mile at a great pace.  But, I was obsessed with getting bigger. I do not have a big upper body and shoulders… that bothered me, so I kept packing on pounds and lifting in college.

I have my dad’s frame, which is small.  My dad was a size 28” waist when he entered the Navy during Vietnam and weighed around 130 lbs.

I’m currently at 187lbs, but more of that is fat than what I want it to be.  I need to shed about 10 more lbs and put some lean muscle on.  I worked on strength lifting in college and bulked up quite a big compared to what I was in high school.  But, I wasn’t eating right and I kept gaining weight until I was above 200 lbs at Christmas 2010.

My wife has inspired me to do better.  So, I have determined that I need to get my  out of shape butt in shape.  More to come!

talkstraight:

U.S. Military Personnel, Veterans Give Obama Lower Marks
U.S. military veterans and those currently on active military duty are less likely to approve of President Obama’s job performance than are Americans of comparable ages who are not in the military.

Because sadly, especially with young adults 18-25, they are kind of clueless about what the heck is going on.  They watch mainstream news and spout the same stuff anchors say without even looking into it.  I think those in the military are typically a little better informed or have enough life experience to know better.

talkstraight:

U.S. Military Personnel, Veterans Give Obama Lower Marks

U.S. military veterans and those currently on active military duty are less likely to approve of President Obama’s job performance than are Americans of comparable ages who are not in the military.


Because sadly, especially with young adults 18-25, they are kind of clueless about what the heck is going on.  They watch mainstream news and spout the same stuff anchors say without even looking into it.  I think those in the military are typically a little better informed or have enough life experience to know better.

God and Justice

Some weeks ago, I was in church listening to a sermon about God, fairness, and justice.  I’m going to download the sermon and listen through it again.  It’s a set of sermons about attributes of God.  It’s on our church’s website.

http://www.newsongpittsburgh.org/podcast/20110515.mp3

God is “perfect justice”.   “Is God fair?” is a different question from “Is God just?”  Our attempts to be fair sometime makes us unjust.  An interesting example the pastor gave was if you were to give every child you have the same amount of food.  In the end, it’s fair, but a 15 year old boy needs more than a 9 year old girl.  We are to treat people in correct ways, not doing the same thing for everyone.

He comments on Osama also.  In the end, it was God’s justice to protect the innocents, but it’s not something we should necessarily celebrate.  In his eyes, he lost one of his children, leading to sadness for this lost.  It made me think about that quite a bit.  

I love the fact that in the end, justice will be done in his time.  As someone who sees bad guys come and go, I take solace in the fact that even though the criminal may get away today, it will catch up to him or her.

I would like to draw some comparisons to our government and the idea of giving away to those that are less fortunate because it is “fair.”  It really is not.  But, I will leave this as it is for now.  This set of sermons is great and I’ll pass along more as I go.

Anyways, it’s an interesting sermon.  The link above takes you straight to the podcast.  I think our church website has a problem with the banner at the top of the page housing a virus, so proceed to the rest of the website at your own risk.  I’m going to try to get it fixed.  But, the link above is fine.

Christianity, Weapons, and Self-Defense

A very good interpretation of self-defense in Christianity.  I get this question a lot from military and police officers.  Please read and pass along.

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Jesus’ Prescription of the Sword

Luke 22:35-38

Rev. G. C. Hammond

Chip Hammond is the pastor of Bethel Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Leesburg, VA.


The Old Testament is replete with images of God as the Divine Warrior who defends his people and destroys his enemies (e.g. Ps. 3, 7, 35, 68). In view of the fact that Christ came as the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies (Mt. 5:17), it is perhaps curious that since the time of the early church, there has been a committed pacifistic segment within Christianity. Why has this occurred?

The Scriptures indicated that Christ came to eradicate sin, and negate the effects of the curse. Since the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), it stands to reason that this Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6) would destroy death itself (Rev. 21:4), and the instruments that represent it, i.e. weaponry (Is. 9:5). Bound up with his advent is the hope that people would “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Mic. 4:3).

No Christian can gainsay this much. It is clearly what the Scriptures teach. But the question must be asked whether these descriptions are properly to be identified with, and effective at his advent (first coming) or his parousia (second coming).

Put another way, may the Christian ever lawfully engage in combat of any kind, or does the Bible prescribe pacifism for the followers of Christ? A plain reading of the Scriptures indicates that the Bible does not support pacifism. Of central importance to this issue is Luke 22:35-38:

Then Jesus asked [his disciples], “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That is enough,” he replied. (NIV)

“If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” The words are disturbing to many Christians. If Jesus is “The Prince of Peace;” if it is because of him that nations would “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks;” then why would Jesus tell his disciples to obtain swords, even at the cost of necessary clothing?

Many modern commentators maintain that Jesus was speaking figuratively. This is a legitimate thesis, but evidence for it is lacking. A thesis must be successfully argued; it cannot simply be stated. The person claiming this as a figure of speech must explain what figure is being used, and what the sword stands for.

It is very difficult in the context to maintain that this is figurative, though. Walter Liefeld, who is against taking what Jesus says at face value, struggles with this portion of Scripture: “This short passage is difficult. It is common to solve the difficulties by taking Jesus’ words as ironical, but if that were so, [his later words] ‘that is enough’ would be hard to understand. One would have expected a correction of the disciples’ misunderstanding of it.”[1]

Liefeld is right. It was Jesus’ pattern to correct the misunderstanding of the Twelve. We see an example of this in Matthew 16:5-12, in which Jesus warns them to be on “guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” In response to this, the disciples begin to discuss literal bread, to which Jesus replies “How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” If Jesus was speaking figuratively when he prescribed the sword, we would have expected the same kind of correction.

Older commentators did not have so much difficulty with the evident meaning of the text. Matthew Henry, whose commentary was first published in 1706, states plainly, “The swords were to protect themselves from assassins and robbers.”[2] Any plain reading of the text leads to this conclusion.

Jesus prescribed the sword here because he was preparing his disciples for his departure. During his earthly ministry, the disciples were protected by an extraordinary providence. This, however, was about to change.

In the “High Priestly Prayer,” Jesus prayed, “While I was with them I protected them and kept them safe by the Name you gave me” (John 17:12; italics added). There are numerous instances of the protection of this extraordinary providence in the Gospels. In Luke 8:22-25, for example, we read the account of Jesus and his disciples being in a boat when a squall came upon them. The text explicitly tells us, “they were in great danger” (8:23). And yet, Jesus rebukes them for exhibiting “little faith.”

The reason for his rebuke is that Jesus was not going to die by drowning. Nor was he was going to die at the hands of robbers. He was going to die on the cross. And so, as long as he was with them, no harm could possibly come to them. But now he was going away, and with him the protection of an extraordinary providence. The disciples must now rely on the ordinary means of God’s protection. And so he says, “But now … if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

What too many Christians overlook in their consideration of this passage is the implicit directive that Jesus here gives his disciples to love one another. Francis Schaeffer, the great twentieth century Christian philosopher wrote,

“I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point in history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live – this lost world – means that we desert the people who need our greatest help … I come upon a big burly man beating a tiny tot to death … I plead with him to stop. Suppose he refuses? What does love mean now? Love means that I stop him in any way that I can, including hitting him. To me, this is not only necessary for humanitarian reasons; it is loyalty to Christ’s commands concerning Christian love in a fallen world. What about the little girl? If I desert her to the bully, I have deserted the true meaning of Christian love – responsibility to my neighbor.[3]


Nor is this perspective limited to Reformed Christianity. Norman Giesler, who does not stand within the Reformed tradition, states, “Any man who refuses to protect his wife and children against a violent intruder fails them morally.”[4]

What is perhaps confusing to people is that Jesus, having just prescribed the sword to his disciples, prohibits the use of that sword in Luke 22:49-51. Why would Jesus, having just told them to obtain swords, now forbid their use? 

The vitally important point made here is that Christ’s Kingdom is something that cannot be promulgated or enforced by the sword. His Kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). The weapons used to advance his Kingdom must not be the weapons of the world (2 Cor. 10:4-5). The Kingdom that Jesus was establishing would be advanced through the weakness of the cross, not by the wielding of the sword. Thus, the weapons of the world must never be taken up by Christians to advance the cause of the Christ. The sword must be used for defensive purposes only. Jesus explicitly proscribed the sword as a way of advancing his Kingdom.

The Kingdom that Jesus established will one day dominate and do away with all others (Dan. 2:31-45, 1 Cor. 15:24-25). Because the Prince of Peace has come, the day will eventually come when we will beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. But that day is not now. “Now,” the Master says, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

GCH

Your blog sucks, Christianity is a stupid religion just like the rest, there is no fucking god, and America is overrated.
Anonymous

I can’t figure out if I should laugh or be sad for you.  Where are you from, anon?  What standards do you live your life to?  I hold my life accountable to something other than myself.  

Your childish little message is the reason why the world is going down the tubes.

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
John Adams

generalize:

Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox Business News, on his daily show Freedom Watch, has it exactly right that the killing of Osama bin Laden by the order of the president of the United States is an “extra-judicial killing” and is unconstitutional. It should be grounds for impeachment of any president that does this. And of course, that won’t happen, because the killing was nationally popular. So the current sitting president knows that he will politically get away with this decision.

However popular the killing, this action is illegal, not to mention immoral. According to Napolitano during the body of the show, of which this five-minute concluding commentary is but the highlight, the U.S. government should have declared war on Pakistan, by means of a Congressional act, then invade that country and seize bin Laden, then bring him to military trial, then execute him. But this legal chain of events did not happen; thus, whatever is being done by the government over there right now is entirely beyond the confines of the Constitution.

Celebrating the killing, the impromptu cheering crowd outside the White House on Sunday night, in my view, is truly a distasteful sight, as distasteful as the sight of children waving the PLO flags in Gaza City on hearing the news on 9/11 in 2001 that the Twin Towers were leveled. The moral high ground on which these United States have stood, on 5/1, were leveled. That’s not something to cheer about.

Difference is, many Americans were celebrating the death of a ruthless terrorist. They were celebrating the death of over 3,000 innocent civilians. I’m so tired of hearing this comparison. Pakistan was most likely harboring him and since Bin laden disappears at the slightest sign of the US, he would have been gone at a moments notice… only to draw on the war even longer. This most likely would have happened with Pakistani help or information coming from Pakistan.

Let’s save the murder crap. He was an enemy combatant and justiced needed to be delivered. He wasn’t an American citizen with rights to trial under the constitution. Let’s stop trying to extend those rights to people outside of our borders. We would have captured him, he would have gotten a trial and probably still have been able to orchestrate the murders of thousands more innocent people. A Navy SEAL brought closure to a lot of people and put a big dent in the terrorist organization.

If we wanted to go even further outside of the box, we could say that Osama was about to enact the murders of thousands of people in the world with a phone call and to defend those lives, we had to end his.

adciardelli:

Those persons who deal with these issues know that on September 11 of 2001 our people expressed its solidarity to the US people and offered the modest cooperation that in the area of health we could have offered to the victims of the brutal attack against the Twin Towers in New York.

We also…

What a bunch of crap… that’s all I have to say.