Remembering the most recent

Events at Arlington National Cemetery

Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine, died May 5, 2017, during an operation against the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab in a remote area west of Mogadishu, Somalia. He was assigned to a U.S. East Coast-based special warfare unit.

1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, died April 29, 2017, in Mosul, Iraq, from injuries while conducting security as part of advise and assist support to partnered forces. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

From http://www.militarytimes.com/

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A Dirge on the Occasion of the Ascension of Der Gropenfurher

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Its twilight in America, the false dawn of greatness,
the robber barons have returned,
pillage, plunder and profits for the 1%,

The reign of the small-handed vulgarian has begun,
policy determined by the terrorism of the Tweet,
post-truth, post-news, post-ethics, p***grabbing power by hack.

Its twilight in America,
when the shadows fall,
the view is obscured,
the way is unclear;

But the wheel of history turns round & round, what goes up must come down,
The pumpkin headed dirigible ascends on high, swollen with the swamp gas of pomposity & grandiosity,
But soon, none too soon, the overinflated, bloviator will float back to the ground, down, down, down to the mucky mire from which it crawled.

Twilight is the time for vigil,
for wakefulness and watchfulness, not for slumber
of listening, of waiting, not of despair,
No twilight lasts forever, even night gives way to day.
Every reign of error comes to an end.

A Number Hard to Calculate

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How Many Did Fidel Kill?

Since 1959, a minimum accounting includes:

5,600  – firing squads

 1,200  – “extrajudicial assassinations”

2,199  – prison deaths

5,300 – guerrilla warfare

Not counting lives lost due to the foreign military excursions in Bolivia, the Congo, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Angola, and 125,000 + refugees fleeing the island utopia…

Colin Kaepernick can keep his T-shirt version of history.

“…in the long run it is character that counts. “

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“For the very reason that in material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things. With a nation, as with the individuals who make up a nation, material well-being is an indispensable foundation. But the foundation avails nothing by itself. That life is wasted, and worse than wasted, which is spent in piling, heap upon heap, those things which minister merely to the pleasure of the body and to the power that rests only on wealth. Upon material well-being as a foundation must be raised the structure of the lofty life of the spirit, if this Nation is properly to fulfill its great mission and to accomplish all that we so ardently hope and desire. The things of the body are good; the things of the intellect better; the best of all are the things of the soul; for, in the nation as in the individual, in the long run it is character that counts. Let us, therefore, as a people set our faces resolutely against evil, and with broad charity, with kindliness and good-will toward all men, but with unflinching determination to smite down wrong, strive with all the strength that is given us for righteousness in public and in private life.

Now, Therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do set apart Thursday, the 26th day of November, next, as a day of general thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day I recommend that the people shall cease from their daily work, and, in their homes or in their churches, meet devoutly to thank the Almighty for the many and great blessings they have received in the past, and to pray that they may be given the strength so to order their lives as to deserve a continuation of these blessings in the future.”

Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States – Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1908

Prayer For an Election

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers
and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of
all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your
purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-Episcopal Book of Common Prayer

Grabber in Chief?

“When a government is in its prime, the public good engages the attention of the whole; the strictest regard is paid to the qualifications of those who hold the offices of state; virtue prevails; everything is managed with justice, prudence, and frugality; the laws are founded on principles of equity rather than mere policy, and all the people are happy. But vice will increase with the riches and glory of an empire; and this generally tends to corrupt the Constitution and in time bring on its dissolution. This may be considered not only as the natural effect of vice, but a righteous judgment from Heaven, especially upon a nation which has been favored with the blessings of religion and liberty and is guilty of undervaluing them and eagerly going into the gratification of every lust.”

Samuel Langdon (1723-1797)

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To start – I have no rat in the “Billary Inc. vs. Trump Inc.” rat race – I consider neither major party’s presidential candidate fit for the highest office in the land. I am voting for a 3rd party candidate that aligns with my political and moral views. I am not persuaded that I am “throwing away” my vote – if the GOP had wanted to defeat “Billary Inc.” it could have nominated a plausible candidate of whom there were sufficient number to at least make a contest of it. But due to Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee & a majority of the delegate’s desperation and terror of Hillary, it has given into a hostile take-over of the party and is now held hostage by a psychopathic text-book narcissistic, sexual predator who has a scorched earth policy of relational skills. Now that Trump seems to have decimated his chances for even a close loss, he has resorted to theories about left wing-media conspiracies, threats of uprisings or simply whining. He has no one to blame but himself.

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Sadly, some Christian leaders on Trump’s “Evangelical Executive Advisory Council” have proven hotter & more wanton for power than Oholah and Oholibaha (Ezekiel 23) reversing their long cherished culture war morality, principles and values to excuse Trumps insults of war heroes & veterans, judges and citizens of different ethnicity, and minimize and dismiss his extended history of misogynistic words and actions against women with “yeahbuts” – the lame justification usually employed by 6 year olds (yeahbut -it’s not as bad as he-she-they did) or platitudes about forgiveness that demonstrate the cheapness of Trump’s so called conversion &  how willing they are to trivialize the Christian gospel.

Maybe as Russell Moore has pointed out, this is the last death rattle of the old-guard Religious Right establishment. I will skip the funeral. Maybe after the smoke & fog of the election has cleared, believers can get back to the work of being the church and making the land in which we live a better place than Trump Inc. or Billary Inc. portray it.

Pick Your Poison?

Damned If You Do

“When offered a choice between two politically intolerable alternatives, it is important to choose neither. And when that choice is presented in rival arguments and debates that exclude from public consideration any other set of possibilities, it becomes a duty to withdraw from those arguments and debates, so as to resist the imposition of this false choice by those who have arrogated to themselves the power of framing the alternatives.”
“The Only Vote Worth Casting in November” – Alasdair MacIntyre

Macintyre wrote his thoughts for the 2004 election and concluded not voting his preferred choice. This presidential election would be farcical if the consequences were not so dire – an unhinged authoritarian, who fancies himself America’s solitary savior and the continuation of the current president’s failed agenda plus the worst the Clintons and the Democratic intoleristas have to offer.  I’ll make my sentiments known to start – I am not voting for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. But I will vote.

Quite a few Christians are really straining at gnats to swallow the Donald – some fancy him a carrot haired Cyrus to rescue the chosen & return them to the Promised Land (Isaiah 45; Ezra). Others resort to their own convoluted numerological computations to read between the lines and conclude that Trump is the Lord’s anointed. Wayne Grudem, Professor at Phoenix Seminary, and part of the evangelical protestant magisterium has declared “ex cathedra” that voting for Trump is a moral good. While Grudem did not say it directly but indirectly by quoting James 4:17, the opposite then is also true – not to vote for Trump is a moral evil. Besides the questionable convictions supposed “born-again” conversion and character of the Donald who has flipped flopped on every issue over the last 30 years, Grudem hopes for Trump to reverse decades of social change, judicial and legal rulings and moral drift is fantasy. His certainty that Trump will do differently or be better in office than his opponent is an implausible, unverifiable pipedream. To distort scripture & make voting for Trump a moral imperative, is a disservice to those who find themselves sorting out the dilemma that the devolution of our political system has resulted in a choice between 2 repugnant candidates.

As Thomas Sowell said “voting for an out of control egomaniac like Donald Trump would be like playing Russian roulette with the future of this country. Voting for someone with a track record like Hillary Clinton’s is like putting a shotgun to your head and pulling the trigger. And not voting at all is just giving up” (National Review – 8/2/16). It is time to demonstrate that there is more than choosing between 2 bankrupt political parties and the 2 worst candidates in recent American history. I choose not to play Russian roulette. There are alternatives. If you don’t want to be restricted to choosing between a bombastic, cruel, narcissist or a felonious prevaricator then find those alternatives & vote according to your convictions. You’ll find the American Solidarity Party, with a platform that aims at enacting pro-life, pro-justice Catholic social teaching, one for consideration.

 

Healthy church?

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What does the phrase “a healthy church” mean?

I’ve been told a church is “healthy.” What does that mean? A quick google search & five minutes later I find out that this church is $ 12,000 in the hole, has two services with less than 50 in each, and has discussed closing or merging with another nearby congregation. They are also without a pastor and expect the new one to continue traditional duties to be performed such as visiting shut-ins and existing members, attending committee meetings and building centered activities while developing vision and growth. I’m also sure attracting young people is an unspoken expectation.

How is this healthy? Because it has a nice but ageing building? Because it pays its denominational dues? It sounds more like a declining church trying to decide about hospice care. Efforts to rectify such a situation are like pumping air into a leaky tire – it lasts for a while.  At a minimum, a healthy church preaches the gospel, is filled with the Holy Spirit & makes followers of Jesus. Too many churches, trying to keep up the real estate and the budget and the doors open,  fall short.

Perfect!

Every once in a while, CBD has books for sale that are  “slightly imperfect” – I find the juxtaposition of title and description rather amusing. Consider the following titles on sale:

“Missing the Mark: Sin and Its Consequences in Biblical -Damaged Theology” (Damaged)  

– Double the damage. A good way to look at sin.

“Luther’s World of Thought” (slightly imperfect)

– No debate. Never fully agreed with Luther 100%.

“The Church: The Gospel Made Visible” (Slightly Imperfect)

Haven’t found the perfect church yet, don’t expect to, not on this planet  or in this lifetime.

“Why I Am Not an Arminian” (Slightly Imperfect)

– Depends on your view of Romans 7.  Never been a perfectionist myself.

You can find more imperfection at CBD