Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Enemy Within

Pogo is the title and central character of a long-running daily American comic strip, created by Walt Kelly (1913–1973). Pogo is famous for his quote, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

 The ISI (the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization) when they  conducted a scientific survey of civic learning among American college students discovered that 71% of Americans failed the test with an average score of 49%, or an “F.”
  •  Fewer than half of all Americans can name all three branches of government, a minimal requirement for understanding America’s constitutional system. 
  • Only 24% of college graduates know the First Amendment prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States.
  • Earning a college degree does little to increase knowledge of America’s history, key texts, and institutions. In fact, college educators themselves scored only 55%.
  •  Only 54% of college graduates can correctly identify a basic description of the free enterprise system, in which all Americans participate.
  •  Elected officials typically have less civic knowledge than the general public. On average, they score 44%, five percentage points lower than non-officeholders.
  •  30% of elected officials do not know that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence.

We have met the enemy and he is us.

The following quote was translated into English from a reader’s commentary in the March 2010 issue of a Czech Republic newspaper The Prager Zeitung.

“The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their President.”

At least one citizen of the Czech Republic and 48% of Americans get it. Unfortunately, 50% of Americans did not revealing one startling truth...Pogo is right, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Sunday, July 29, 2012


If God is all loving then why is there so much suffering and evil in the world? At first one would be inclined to say that if God created all things, then evil must have been created by God, however, evil is not a “thing” like a rock or electricity. You cannot have a jar of evil. It has no existence of its own. Evil is really the absence of good. For example, holes are real but they only exist in something else. We call the absence of dirt a hole but it cannot be separated from the dirt. Think about it this way…Does cold exist? Most of us would say, “Yes” but we would be incorrect. Cold does not exist. Cold is the absence of heat. Similarly, darkness does not exist. It is the absence of light. When you turn off a light switch the absence of light leaves darkness but you cannot create darkness on its own. You can walk into a dark room and create light with a flashlight but you cannot walk into a light room and create darkness with a flashdark. Likewise, evil is the absence of good, or better yet, evil is the absence of God. So, God did not create evil. When God created; all that He created was good. One of the good things God made, however, was creatures who had the freedom to choose. Without the freedom of choice we would be little more than robots and God didn’t want robots that simply did what He wanted them to do because of their “programming.” Without choice love itself is meaningless. You see, God is neither a cosmic rapist who forces His love on people nor a cosmic puppeteer who forces people to love Him. Rather, God, the personification of love, grants us the freedom of choice. But in order to have a real choice, God had to allow there to be something besides good to choose. So, God allowed both angels and humans to choose good or reject good (evil). Unfortunately, history bears out the fact that humans of their own free have sometimes chosen darkness and evil but if He had not allowed for that possibility both mankind and angels would be serving Him out of obligation not choice. God did not create evil but He did allow for the possibility of evil so that we could genuinely have a free will and choose whether or not we wanted to serve Him. Why is there so much suffering and evil in the world such as that which took place in Aurora, CO? Because not everyone chooses good. Not everyone has chooses God. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Buddy "TJ"
How time flies! It seems like yesterday when I was cruising around the North Shore of Massachusetts with my Triton High School buds blaring "Eruption" by Van Halen! We grew "up" (I suppose). I know we grew "out." As the years passed we all got married and started families. We stayed in touch though. We went camping first as friends and then as families. We celebrated together as children were born, took their first steps, and then got their drivers licenses. Taylor (TJ) was my friend's oldest son and he was my buddy. We just kind of connected. I watched him grow up. I wondered if he would. I mean it seemed like all he ate for the first seven years was peanut butter! But grow up he did into a fine young man who has now graduated from High School and on July 16 will ship off to Parris Island to be made into a Marine. It just doesn't seem all that long ago when I was sneaking him quarters for the game room when his parents weren't looking. I am so proud, as I know his parents are, and I am truly humbled. Jesus told us in the Gospel of John, "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (Jn 15:13) Never is that more clear then when you know someone personally that is willing to defend our freedom. Someone willing, if need be, to give his last full measure of devotion - for me and for you. You may or may not know TJ but that doesn't matter. He is willing to do it regardless. I can tell you this. It certainly gives me a whole different perspective on Independence Day. As you celebrate July 4 take a moment in between hot dogs and hamburgers, parades and fireworks and  to consider this as well. You may or may not know Jesus either but He was willing to die for your sins regardless. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We Miss Dads

Lifeway Research released the results of a survey in which they asked 1,000 Protestant pastors across the U.S. to indicate which Sundays their church attendance is highest each year. What do you think was first? Easter (93 %). Second? Christmas (84 %). Third? Mother’s Day (59 %). Father’s Day? Last with just 4 % of pastors saying it was one of their highest attendance Sundays. We (the church) have work to do. Over the years dads have seen their biblical responsibility as head of the household misunderstood and condemned. Head of the household does not mean “dictator” it means “leader” in the sense that dad is supposed to lead by example. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ loved the church (His people) with compassion, mercy, forgiveness, respect, and selflessness. In this same way husbands are to love their wives. The Bible also instructs husbands to provide for their families. In so many ways our society has turned that obligation over to the government with more families on public assistance than ever before. Our so-called “war on poverty” has done little more than give men an excuse to be unaccountable and apparently unnecessary. As a leader, one a father’s primary responsibilities is to acquaint his children with Scripture. Teach them at home and bring them with you to church. Since society has decided it is now politically incorrect to have dad be the “leader” (the head of the household) he has stopped doing so hence last place at 4% and families are crumbling around us. I believe the church needs to get back to teaching the biblical understanding of the role of husband and father. Do you think it would make a difference if husbands began to love their wives as Christ loved the church and provided for their families and brought their children to church? I do.      

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Silence is Deafening 
Ever since "Superman" Christopher Reeve told us he was convinced that embryonic stem cell research would help him to walk again we have been waiting. The fact that we were destroying babies to harvest the stem cells weighed far less on society's collective mind than the prospect of the cures we would discover for all of our most debilitating diseases. The promise of embryonic stem cell research was all over the news. I found it fascinating to learn recently that when the cancer research foundation Komen for the Cure (who “quietly added a new statement to its web site stating that it does not support embryonic stem cell research, but supports the kinds that do not involve the destruction of human life.”) and Michael J. Fox admitted (life destroying) embryonic stem cell research isn't the panacea everyone promised but instead (life affirming) adult stem cells are the ones that have shown promise as well as real results it doesn't seem to make a big splash in the news. Why do you think that is? The silence is deafening and speaks loudly about our culture.  

(click here for article:  Michael J. Fox backs off)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Is Here

I know, I know, it doesn't "officially" start until June 20 but as far as I'm concerned as soon as I have to fire up the lawnmower summer is here. Anyone who knows me is aware of how much I despise mowing. It's not that I have a large yard. I most certainly do not but nonetheless every stinking week I spend time pushing a lawnmower around and around like a hamster running inside an exercise wheel. I would much rather be on a picnic near a lake, poking in and out of shops in one of our many picturesque New England seaside villages, or visiting one of Connecticut's thirty-plus vineyards. But summer isn't all fun and games. Even though it is beautiful outside there are still things about it that are not so pleasant. Similarly, many people think that when one comes to faith in Jesus from that point on life is supposed to be nothing but sunshine and lollipops. While it is true that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior there will be many days just as nice as sitting on a blanket in the shade sipping a glass of chardonnay there will also be, however, days that are as much fun as marching around the yard inhaling gasoline fumes grass sticking to the sweat dripping off your body as your eyes water and itch and you sneeze every ninety seconds. But, have faith, those most irritating of moments will pass and soon I'll be sitting on my deck reading a great book enjoying a nice riesling. In the midst of a really difficult situation or circumstance in your life remember God is with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Summer, winter, spring or fall. He is walking beside you and loves you very, very much. And I do have to admit when I finish mowing the lawn really looks nice. Whatever it is you're going through when God brings you through it and you look back you'll see that God has used it to strengthen you. 

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." 
                                                Romans 5:3-4