Language Woes

Friday, 09 January 2009

A significant problem is that we’ve allowed the word “progressive” to go unchallenged. It means that anything else may be simply dismissed as “regressive.”


Skipping Toward Socialism

Friday, 09 January 2009

While I am adamantly against most of what the man says, does, and produces, I absolutely love the fact that he’s going to Congress to request a $5B bailout package. Apparently porn is big business–$13B annually, and, according to the above-linked article, sales are down 22%.

Will Congress lend them a hand?

I’m not seriously advocating federal support of the pornography industry. Something tells me they’re going to weather these economic woes. But they make a good point: why do the auto makers rate the bailout? For that matter, why should anyone?

The federal government has taken yet another bounding leap in the direction of full-blown Socialism. And they have identified an entire segment of industry that is welcome to mismanage assets with Washington’s blessing, confident that the nation simply needs it enough that it can do so with impunity. Or to quote George Orwell, “Some animals are more equal than others.”

Big Brother?

Big Brother?

And now, preying on the fears of the people, the incoming administration warns that if we don’t spend the $1 Trillion of taxpayer money it proposes, we’ll simply wallow in recession indefinitely. But, gentle reader, there is hope. In the President-Elect’s own words, “At this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe.” Apparently Big Brother will provide everything that we need. (Aw, shoot. Let’s just say it: “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.”)

But you do realize that it’s only to be a “short-term boost.” There is no long-term plan to actually address the utter irresponsibility that is the American economy.

I tend to look at it as if it were my household budget. Imagine I owe others an enormous sum of money. Now let’s assume that this doesn’t phase me and I continue to spend. In fact, I spend increasingly more than I make each month. I get to the point where I’m only paying a larger or smaller percentage of the interest that is accruing on my CapitalOne card that apparently has no limit. How long can I sustain this? I can apparently do this indefinitely provided my name is Uncle Sam.

It’s ludicrous. What’s at least as bad is the fact that for all the talk about alleviating the burden of working Americans, they don’t care about working Americans. Not as such. They care about making the economy more robust. They care about getting the national numbers up.

So they propose to put $1000 in your pocket come tax time. “Oh, yes, that sounds lovely. That sounds like someone I’m glad I voted for. That sounds like someone I’ll vote for again.”

What they don’t tell you is that a) it’s a loan, and b) they don’t want you to act responsibly with it. Just where is that $1000 coming from? From you. From me. Only it’ll come out of our pockets in other forms, at other times, in ways that we may not notice. But whatever you do, do not save it. Don’t invest it. Your job with that $1000 is to spend it. Go get yourself something nice. Get your hair done, buy some new shoes. I know! Run to the Chrysler place and drive home in a new minivan. You see, you don’t provide any economic stimulus unless you help increase retail sales. The government wants you to be in debt. They need you to owe. Our economy turns on the axis of credit–the accumulation and management of personal debt.

Enough is enough. It’s time to go with something that will actually work toward fixing the myriad problems that are the American economy. It’s time for the government to start acting in the best interest of its people, not its political parties and politicians. I believe there’s a better solution. It’s called the FairTax. You can read more about it here. It’s worth a look. If you haven’t heard of it or haven’t really considered it, I ask you to click in and find out what it’s all about. If you’re skeptical or opposed to it, you’re not alone. I started off there, too. But I’ve read the literature, both pro and con, and I’m convinced that this is a lasting economic stimulus–for the nation and for its citizens. I think it’s the right thing to do. I ask you to take a look. You may like what you see.

This post was not primarily theological. I make no apologies. I write this as part of my vocation as a citizen of my nation, a vocation I take seriously, and hope that you do as well, wherever you may call home.


Because you’re both dying to know

Monday, 22 December 2008

So this is the blog meme of the day: Bold the ones you’ve done from the following list.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby, if fathering counts
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit, but only a class action
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

I suppose I’ve done a lot, but there are still some on the list I’d like to accomplish.


You asked for it!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Check this action out. Congratulations, Americans. You have let your emotions get the better of your reason and voted more of your hard-earned money out of your own pockets. Would someone kindly think through the political jargon and Newspeak that we’ve lazily allowed to infiltrate our minds and slip right past the part of the brain that actually critically questions what we absorb? Tell me how your economic outlook is stimulated by taking another ONE TRILLION DOLLARS out of your pocket and giving it–without your express approval–to someone else?

Do you even know what one trillion looks like? It’s 1,000,000,000,000. That’s $1,000 Billion. ONE MILLION MILLION! Have you ever dreamed of having $1,000,000? Now try to imagine $1,000,000 times 1,000,000! And your President-elect would like to take that from you and give it to someone else. And they need that money because they’ve been mismanaging what they already had in the first place.

How is this a good idea? How does this do anything but apply a plastic bandage to a gaping, festering, gangrene-filled wound? It doesn’t. It looks good in a news cycle and it plays well to the public to say that one has a “robust economic stimulus package.” Who doesn’t want the economy to be stimulated? It’s good for the nation to have a robust economy. The problem is that money and goods are finite. And taking from the citizenry to cover for the actions of irresponsible managers and broken tax codes is the absolute worst idea to which one might hitch his wagon. It’s even worse when the wagon doesn’t belong to him.

It’s your wagon. It’s your money. And the government that votes $1,000,000,000,000 out of your pocket like that is not acting in your best interest.

There is a stimulus plan out there, and it’s been around for a while. It’s called the FairTax. It’s the brainchild of responsible economic minds and forward-thinking Congressmen. It’s the plan to stimulate the economy by making it beneficial for companies to actually exercise good financial sense as they manage themselves. It’s the plan to stimulate the economy by putting more spending power IN YOUR POCKET. It’s the plan that puts the US at least a head and shoulders above the rest in the global economic market.

And it’s the economic plan that the politicians don’t want you to know about, because it takes the power from them and gives it to you. But this is America, and we boast a government For the people, Of the people, and By the people. Is this wishful thinking, or are we ready to get the government’s hands out of our pockets and get on to the way things ought to be?


Language

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

It’s funny. You leave the country for a while and everything starts to look different upon return. I hadn’t been near a Wal-mart for the better part of a year. Last night I ended up there looking for some OTC pharmaceuticals. I got a little turned around. But in the course of my search, I noticed a labeled section of products I’d never noticed before: Ethnic Hair Products.

Really?

As I looked, there was only one ethnicity represented in this section: African. Does this mean that Caucasians, Asians, Indians, Hispanics, and others don’t have an ethnicity? Or are we simply unwilling to say, “Black Hair Products?” Applying the term “ethnic” simply gives us the self-satisfaction that we are politically correct. Yes, we can all collectively pat ourselves on the back for not being racists. Folks, life is simply too short and full of too much to be enjoyed for political correctness.


Pride

Monday, 08 October 2007

I haven’t posted in a while. Part of it’s due to the fact that life hasn’t afforded me the opportunity to post much. Part of it is the fact that I really don’t care to post much, and is related to the largest part of it all: I’m disgusted with blogging in general. I figure I can’t provide much of a solution to my gripes with blogging/bloggers, but I can make myself less part of the problem (as I see it).

Pride isn’t a problem unique to any segment of the populace, but it is given more of a free rein in the blog format. And it’s an insidious one, pride. It takes a lot of forms, but I find it to be especially distasteful when it rears its ugly head within us as theologians.

We can get pretty full of ourselves. We get to be the big fish in a relatively small pond, and that can unfortunately be rather intoxicating. “Toxic” is the key root to that word. We clergy forget our place as servants of God, as called to the proclamation of the whole counsel of God, and we become drunk on the word authority. We begin to see ourselves as the authorities, not as the called exercisers of Christ’s authority. And it tends to bleed over into other areas of life: from politics to the societal pecking order. It’s too easy to make ourselves into the buck-stops-here last word on issues where we honestly don’t have an authoritative leg to stand on. It can get pretty ugly.

I’m now in a call where I get the best of two worlds: I’m privileged to serve as Christ’s undershepherd here while at the same time I receive the blessing of phenomenal pastoral care for me and my family. It has been humbling to receive such care and embarrassing to see through the lens of such care how haughty I had become–if not overtly then at least in my mind. And probably overtly. And when I consider some of the conversations I’ve had or viewed over the last few years I am likewise struck by the thought that some of my colleagues are stricken by this same sin.

The answer for this sin is confession and Absolution. God deals with it in the same way he deals with other sins.

The answer regarding my writing or reading of blogs is still pending.


Moving

Thursday, 05 July 2007

Things have been hopping here. What is most significant is that I have received and accepted a new Call. So we’re in the midst of packing up a household and moving. As well, the wife’s recovery is continuing to trend upward. At the moment, if there’s anything else to report, it’s not really on the radar screen.


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