SCC thanks GWB

November 28, 2008

While he is/was not perfect, he was vastly superior to either of the alternatives (Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004), and we will likely be regretting what we constitutionally will exchange him for beginning January 20, 2009.  Still, considering what the world threw at our country, he has done a good job and even though much of what has transpired over the course of the last couple of months will be attached to his legacy, he is owed an expression of thanks.  And Steven Curtis Chapman felt inspired to do just that in song.

HT: Challies a la carte


Thankful for Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008

thanksgiving-feast

I have discovered that I really do NEED the Thanksgiving holiday.  It is regretable that I should need what amounts to being a secular, national holiday, which albeit has its origins coming from a deeply spirital backdrop, to remind me to reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for.   I guess that as a person who naturally looks for problems to fix, I tend to be cynical and I acknowledge that some might perceive that “talent” to manifest itself as being mean or grumpy.  I don’t think I actually am, but concede it could appear that way.

In spite of appearances, I am grateful for all the things that so many people, American in particular, are thankful for.  I have a great family and friends, I have great health.  I worship at a church that many people might be shocked to find out is among the most alive in the Lord of any I have been a part of.  It has a pastor who is serious about the expository proclamation of God’s word and he does so with great skill.  The fact that he has been assigned to the church in our little unincorporated town is a miracle. 

I am thankful for the opportunities God has provided for me to teach from His word both at church and the camp for which I sit on the Board of Directors.  And as is the case with so many in “western” civilization, I have been blessed with material things beyond what I deserve or need.  I am grateful for all of these.

But above all else, I am thankful for a patient God.  And I mean that in two very distinct ways.  First, God is patient with me.  I am certain, beyond any doubt, that I was blessed to be counted among God’s elect and saved according to the purpose of His will.  Having been adopted, I am grateful for God’s patience with my stubbornness to conform to the image of His son.  While I can see the great expanse that represents where I am now and where I have come from, I am keenly aware of how much more work there is to do.

I am also thankful for a patient God, who is not slow, as some think, to keep His promise and dispatch His son to return and claim His bride, the church.  Instead, I think He is patient with those of us who have been entrusted with the Gospel who still have work to be done in the area of proclaiming it, so that others who have been predestined to salvation might hear the good news of redemption in Jesus Christ.  While some might assume God is being patient with the unsaved (and in a sense He is), I prefer to think that it is His already adopted children, who have been commissioned to make disciples, that he is being patient with.  That is a point of view that creates a greater sense of urgency.

I need that.  Do you?

“Surely I am coming soon.”  Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

(References:  Ephesians 1: 5;  Romans 6: 19;  2 Peter 3: 9;  Ephesian 2: 10;  Romans 10: 17;  Matt 28: 18-20;  Revelation 22: 20.)


Challies reviews “twilight”

November 26, 2008

twilightWhile I did finally get around to reading The Shack last summer, my current sense is that it is HIGHLY unlikely that I will read any of the hot 4-book series twilight (the movie for the first novel is just now hitting the market with lots of television ad support).  Still, I know that I have several readers who have children or grandchildren of the age for which the book has been targeted.  For that reason, I offer this link to a review of the book written by blogger Tim Challies.  As usual, he does a marvelous job of reading and reviewing with a special discernment that might be helpful to parents/grandparents as they consider allowing their young people to be a part of this book series or the movies adapted from them.


Happy Birthday “WHATEVER!”

November 25, 2008

WHATEVER! is one year old today.  Whether the reading of its content has been beneficial for any of its visitors will remain largely a mystery to the editorial board of the blog.  But it has been an interesting and largely beneficial year of effort for the writer. 

As with the preponderance of blogs, (as of this writing, WordPress.com alone hosts nearly 4.8 million blogs) this site has been mostly an outlet for the author who has published articles with little expectation that they would be broadly read.  That said, it has been really surprising how many visitors there have been in the last year and the places they have come from.  Equally interesting have been the articles that have received the greatest attention. 

By an overwhelming margin, the article that has received the greatest number of visitors was the one I wrote back in April about Chloe Marshall, the plus-sized beauty queen from England.  At almost 700 visits, it represents approximately 10% of all the traffic to the site.  In one day alone, 131 visitors hit the page thanks to a Russian newspaper, which for reasons that are unknown to me, linked to the article.  How they found it in the first place is a mystery.  Visitors continued to come in from that referrer for several days following.

The second most visited place in the blog has been “About Chuck.”  I can only assume that people are amazed at the brilliance of the insight, the phenomenal writing and the near perfect analysis, and want find out who is behind it.  It’s either that, or folks wondering who the presumptuous idiot is, who dares to publish the stuff they have wasted their pixels on.

The third most visited article has been the one I wrote in mid-July about the fuss made by the Christian press in the U.K., over Mattel’s introduction of a Barbie doll fashioned after the comic book heroine Black Canary.

I am clueless as to where this blog will head in the year to come.  The “fun” of blogging is still present, but with a year under the belt, the newness of the sport obviously has diminished.  I am guessing that as year two begins, the content of WHATEVER! will be as varied as it has been during its first year, with articles ranging from fairly serious theological discussion to the cynical commentary on contemporary culture and politics.

My thanks and appreciation goes out to all of my regular readers.  And if you have stumbled in here only for the first time today, thanks for visiting.  I hope that you will check in from time to time to discover WHATEVER thoughts are on my mind.  To which you might say…”WHATEVER!”


PSA

November 22, 2008

No, not THAT PSA*.  Instead, WHATEVER! interrupts its regular commentary to provide the following Public Service Announcement.

Check local listings for show times.  It is on Fox Broadcast Network, Sunday night at 7 pm Central Standard Time, DirecTV channel 29.

*Prostate-Specific Antigen


“hesheeitherbothandhuh?Harmony”

November 20, 2008

eHarmony, the web based matchmaking service has settled a three year long court case with the New Jersey Attorney General, who had charged the company with discrimination, as it had heretofore refused to accept same-sex matching.  eharmony will offer the service titled “Compatible Partners” at the end of the first quarter next year.  I would have to assume that if other similar matchmaking sites do not currently offer GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer…yes this is really what they call themselves) matchmaking, they will soon. 

An unintended consequence of this will be a sharp ramp up of competition for what ever sites may have existed prior to this settlement that serves the GLBTQ community.  A classic example of a “cause” lawsuit that will result in harm to whatever providers of services pre-existed.  [Note:  I have not bothered to look and see what sites might fall into this category, but it is almost unimaginable that they do not exist.]

My first reaction was what a shame for the founder of eHarmony, Neil Clark Warren, who holds an M.Div. degree from a Christian seminary, who then sought a PhD in psychology.  Warren’s rise to notoriety came from an association with Focus On The Family  which published his first several books, and helped to advance some of his thoughts through its radio programs.  Warren in turn advertised his eHarmony service via Focus On The Family media. 

However, Warren evidently sought a greater audience and bought back rights to his books and announced that his eHarmony site was intended to reach the whole world, with people of different spiritual backgrounds, political philosophies and races.  eharmony is a business, and he changed his business model.  I am completely okay with that.

What is most remarkable about this court case is that his company fought the New Jersey AG in the first place.  Since Warren seems to be in it more for the buck, er ah, for the altruistic reason of serving lonely singles irrespective of their philosophies, rather than just Christians, I wonder why he was not already offering a service to GLBTQ’s? 

In any event, it looks like he will continue to be successful in reaching the world for matchmaking services.  And maybe the unstated back story here, is that by settling a three year long lawsuit, Warren can make it appear that he was “FORCED” to serve the GLBTQ market, against his will.  Just a suspicion.


Spiritual regeneration and the auto industry.

November 18, 2008

An odd combination in that title to be sure.  Yet, I think there is a parallel between the two and a moment of opportunity that must be seized. 

In man’s naturally depraved state, he operates with short sightedness, living for the moment, without much regard for the long term consequences.  Whenever his thoughts are forward thinking, they are invariably focused on what his next unrighteous deed will be.  Wretched alliances are formed and deals are struck with other Hell-bound fellows, always with eternally fatal consequences. 

But, under the direct agency of God, and according to the purpose of His will, those who are elect unto salvation are brought by means of grace, to an awareness of their corruption and wickedness.  Eyes become open to the dead-end that is the destination of their current course and their utter inability to significantly alter the outcome within their own strength.  Simultaneously, the irresistible offer of a better outcome is made.  The certainty of the process of salvation and regeneration is sure, as God is the sovereign operator of that action.  And once it has been accomplished, the believer has the opportunity and indeed the obligation, to repent, meaning literally to turn away from his misdeeds.  Likewise he is to sever, or at least amend his unrighteous relationships that are prone to tug at him to return to his former rotten life.  But, the new born believer is not expected to do this alone.  Instead, he is given an indwelling Godly presence to help with the ongoing process of sanctification.  And also important, his old master and nemesis, Satan, has no ruling power over him any longer.

Left to their own devises, companies also are prone to shortsighted behavior without adequate consideration to the long term consequences.  Whenever they do look into the future, it is with imperfect knowledge coupled with gross miscalculations and probably all too often framed by what are the benefits for the here and now.  Ill advised alliances are made and lousy deals are struck, sometimes with fatal consequences. 

Under the provisions of The United States Bankruptcy Code, those who seek protection under its 11th Chapter are afforded the opportunity to choose a better outcome than what is inevitable, based on the current course they are on.   It affords those who seek its protection to reorganize themselves by acknowledging their inability within themselves to get on the right course, and to declare that they must change their current way of operating or meet a fatal end.  This 11th Chapter allows companies to acknowledge their misdeeds, poor decisions, fatal deals they have struck and to get relief from them under the supervision of a court appointed master.  Contracts with the people who work for them, and companies to whom they owe money, among others, are held at bay by this court appointed master, giving them a sense of security while they get themselves back on a positive track.

Ford, GM, Chrysler, your moment is now.  Accept Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, overturn the lousy deals you have struck with labor and lenders, and dealers and suppliers and everyone else that will see you in business-hell if you don’t take this once in a lifetime opportunity.  Being “saved” by a government bailout is only a fix of the drug you are currently on and it leads to no where.  You are depraved and rotten from the inside out.  You need to be regenerated by the “grace” that is offered by a Chapter 11 restructuring.