All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Pet Peeve

I have a pet peeve.  In the USA today is a national holiday.  It's Memorial Day.  The purpose of the day is to remember those who have died in service to our country.  It is not a day to remember all veterans.  That day is Veterans Day.  It is not a day set aside to remember lost loved ones.  I miss my grandpa too, and I wish several loved ones were still alive.  They aren't.  Death is a part of life, that is a fact, not a reason for taking a day off from work.  Memorial Day is about those who died in military service for you and me.  I'm not much of one for poems.  In this one a dead lad has a chance to talk with his old friend.  A.E Housing writing embodies what Memorial Day brings to my mind. 
'Is my team ploughing,
That I was used to drive
And hear the harness jingle
When I was man alive?'
Ay, the horses trample,
The harness jingles now;
No change though you lie under
The land you used to plough.
'Is football playing
Along the river shore,
With lads to chase the leather,
Now I stand up no more?'
Ay, the ball is flying,
The lads play heart and soul;
The goal stands up, the keeper
Stands up to keep the goal.
'Is my girl happy,
That I thought hard to leave,
And has she tired of weeping
As she lies down at eve?'
Ay, she lies down lightly,
She lies not down to weep:
Your girl is well contented.
Be still, my lad, and sleep.
'Is my friend hearty,
Now I am thin and pine,
And has he found to sleep in
A better bed than mine?'
Yes, lad, I lie easy,
I lie as lads would choose;
I cheer a dead man's sweetheart,
Never ask me whose.
Sgt. Bob, rest easy, and thank you.


The End?

When I was in my teen years I was exposed to several "end of time" teachings.  Mostly they focused on the return of Jesus and the end of the world.  One thing all these theories had in common was that current day events were a "sure sign" that the end was just around the corner. Even as a kid and latter as I walked away from the faith, I saw people that promoted these types of teachings as nuts.  After returning to a Christian faith in my mid twenties the numbers of people that taught this type of thing had died off significantly. Except for the occasional "preacher" like Harold Camping most Christians I know are very reluctant to try to predict Christ's return.

In a May 11th interview, Harold Camping had some interesting things to say.  Interesting his radio station web site has been down for some time now and no one seems to have heard form Harold.  One of two things is true either; Harold Camping's prediction that God supposedly  gave him; that the rapture would happen on May 21st didn't happen, or you aren't part of the elect.  Either way if your faith is in Mr. Camping you're not in heaven right now. I was wondering if the Bible had anything to say about the likes of Camping and it turns out that it does:

Deut 18:20-22
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?' When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
I realize that this passage is in the Old Testament, so those of you with a strict dispensationalist point of view may not see it as binding on Christians today.  I can't help but ponder what would happen if Christians started practicing this teaching.  Just think no more Oral Roberts, or Jehovah's Witnesses or any one of a number of other groups that are an embarrassment to thinking and believing people everywhere.  This isn't to say that I am seeking to end Harold Camping's life, or encouraging anyone else to do that. Mr. Camping is 89 years old and is close enough to meeting his creator. When he does, he shouldn't count on hearing "well done good and faithful servant".


Good on Them

Vienna Presbyterian Church had a problem, they had hired a youth pastor Eric DeVries, who had a series of inappropriate and apparently illegal sexual relationships with some of the young women under his care. The church leadership found out and eventually made the decision to involve the authorities and of course fire DeVries.  This would be a tough position for any church to find themselves in. What happened next is what impresses me about these folks.

The church has insurance and their insurance policy has a rider that covers this sort of  situation.  The insurance company wanted the church to "lawyer up".  "Lawyer up" is a term that basically means shut up and let the professionals lie for you in an effort to make the problem go away.  Vienna Presbyterian went another, much more biblical route.

The leadership owned up to the whole mess publicly. They apologized for not responding quicker to the allegations, for the way they handled things and for the harm Pastor DeVries caused. Instead of doing a "lawyer up" they "owned up".  This will no doubt be used against them in any pending civil suit.  However, there are victims that may find healing a little easier,  church members that find sorting out their own feelings a little less conflicted, because they took the high road instead of the lawyer road.  Christians also may learn from their example God's method of confession and "owning up" is more beneficial than "lawyering up".

Good Years

Last summer I was working on a job doing training for the Army.  I met a man who was traveling around the country doing the same thing I was but on a more or less full time basis.  He had raised his kids and owned his own business.  His kids were running the business and he was working on a way to transition ownership over to them. He was ten years older than me.  We were comparing notes about life in general and he made a comment to me that the period of my life that I was about to go through was going to be a great time.  He said that for him this period of raising kids held his fondest memories. He encouraged me not to miss a minute of my kids growing up.

When I think about the condition of the world today I am worried.  It doesn't look like America will exist very much longer.  I expect to see it die in my lifetime, if it doesn't I will be pleasantly surprised. However, if things aren't fixed, my kids will have to live through the fall of the American dream.  I worry for them as well as my country.

The screen saver on my computer plays a random loop of digital photos that we have taken.  I've been watching it for the last 10 min. Mostly these photos are of the kids. Who are growing up so fast. The world may very well be falling apart but my friend was right, these are the good years.


Situation Room Pics and Comments

You've no doubt seen the pics and photo shops of this:
Hillary had to get in her two cents in the news about how the pic is really her coughing not her covering her mouth in horror.  Frankly I'd have more respect for her if she, as a women/human being, was horrified about some aspect of killing some one.  Of course I know that the Lizard Queen has no qualms about killing, just ask Vince Foster.

It doesn't matter.  We all know how things really went down.

All this material shamelessly stolen form other sites, that no doubt stole it form someone else.


For Cruft

Cruft asks: "Is baptism a work required without which we are NOT saved?"

I've thought about answering this several different ways.  Instead of doing that, I'm going to talk about myself and the subject.  Mostly because I don't particularly enjoy internet arguments.  I was raised in a legalistic church environment, then my folks sent me to a baptist school in jr high.  I eventually graduated from a christian college (protestant) and obtained another degree from another college (catholic, benedictine).  I used to really get off on arguing the finer points of doctrine with others both my own age and my instructors.  I've even done that on the internet.  Now that I'm older, and hopefully wiser, I realize that arguing on the internet is a waste of time and energy. 

My post before this one was an attempt to gain some understanding about the Jewish practice of mikveh and how that relates to christian baptism, not to engage the topic of how Christians see baptism today. My understanding of Christianity is far from perfect.  I am very much aware of how different denominational schools of thought have developed over the years, most of which have come about as a reaction against some other school of thought.  I'm not interested in being a Coptic, Syriac, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Anabaptist, Calvinist, Armenian,  Messianic or any other denomination or division or whatever your particular special branch and belief system is called.  I am interested in being as much like Jesus as I can and learning about how He wants me to see things and practice His religion.  Thats why I'm taking another look at the topic of baptism, this time from the point of view, at least as close as I can get to the point of view, of a 1st century Jewish Christian.

What I've learned so far is that "baptism" as I've understood it, is probably not the same rite as what the hearers of Peters sermon in Acts chapter 2 understood it to be. Despite what the catholic church teaches, they are not doing the same thing that Peter did and taught. I think its reasonable to disregard the opinions of BOTH the RCC and those that have based their doctrine on a reaction to the RCC.  What I want to know is what did "baptism" mean to these people?  Its only recently that I learned that Jews had a word and a practice for the Greek word "baptisim".  That word is "mikveh". 

I can't prove it, (the NT is written in Greek) but I suspect the word Peter actual said in Acts 2 was "mikveh".  I'm becoming convinced that "mikveh" was what John the Baptist was doing and that it was what Jesus was teaching and his disciples were doing as well.  "Mikveh" had a whole connotation to them that "baptism" doesn't seem to have to us today. 

Jesus (and the 12) taught people to do what we call "baptism".  To them baptism was neither a work that required God to grant salvation (sacrament), nor a mere outward sign of an inward belief (outdated, inconvenient, and totally optional non requirement). It was rather an appeal to God for forgiveness.  The complete Jewish Bible words 1 Peter 3:21 this way, "This also prefigures what delivers us now, the water of immersion, which is not the removal of dirt from the body, but one’s pledge to keep a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah.".

My current understanding of the topic is this:
Baptism is not a work as expressed typically in the Catholic/Protestant sacramental debate.
Nor is Baptism a non issue as understood from the Calvinist irresistible grace tradition.
Baptism meant something more to Jesus, the 12 and those who responded by doing it than what we think of today.  It meant something closer to "mikveh" and they "mikevhed" without ever considering  any of the points we get hung up on.  They did it to be "right with God", to "be clean" to be able to worship and draw close to the creator, not to be able to divide believers into camps along purely academic and nonsensical lines.
Mark 16:16 quotes Jesus as saying: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

Cruft, my short answer is, "what Jesus said, taught and did".


Research Help

I know that a couple of my readers tend to use what I call Jewish/Christian terminology and have some Jewish idiosyncrasies such as spelling God "G_d".  I am doing a little research for my own benefit and would like to ask you some questions about how/why you arrived at these practices.  Of course if your Messianic Jews, so much the better, because I'm particularly interested in learning about a Jewish practice that is carried over from Judaism to Christianity. 

Don't worry I'm not looking for an "expert" theological point of view, although I hope you can point me in the right direction.  So far my Googling hasn't paid off like I'd hoped and I'm looking for some help.  You can post in the comments if you like or send me an email.  The link is on the right sidebar. 

First Time

There was a gun show this weekend. So I took Res Jr. The little guy loved it.  He got to see guns and every table had a new favorite. It was an above average show for our neck of the woods and there was a lot more there than just guns.  We saw several large racks including a find were a whitetail and a mule deer broke each others necks fighting for dominance.  There were several big horn sheep as well as a grizzly and of course lots of buffalo hides.  To my surprise there was a number of African game examples as well, including a giraffe skull, water buffalo, rhinoceros horns, and elephant feet.  All in all a good show.  On the gun front there were a couple of class 3 tables as well as an excellent example of a broom-handled Mauser.  Of course we had a great number of western arms some of which were from the 1870's.  I didn't buy anything but we had a great time just looking at stuff.  When Res Jr spotted a table with pink and purple handguns he thought of his mom and sister.  He's considerate like that.  He wanted me to buy one of each for them so they could have some guns too.