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Thursday, June 11th, 2009
10:41 pm - New Column: Christianity must denounce antosemitism

james_01
Published on www.tnjn.com on June 8, 2009


“His blood be on us, and on our children.”

These chilling words are well known from the account of Jesus’ trial recorded in Matthew 27:25. Throughout history, they have been used (completely out of context) to justify horrendous persecution of Jews all around the world. In spite of the fact that an angry mob can hardly claim the authority to call down a curse upon an entire race of people, this gross distortion of the Scriptures has resulted in unspeakable atrocities which have cast a black shadow over the history of Christianity.

To say that “THE Jews killed Jesus” is comparable to saying that “THE Caucasians killed Martin Luther King, Jr.” While it is true that Jesus’ crucifixion was the result of His conflict with the Jewish leadership of the day, the fact remains that Gentiles were just as much involved in Jesus’ death as were Jews. Keep in mind that the actual death sentence was passed down by a cowardly Roman governor, and carried out at the hands of Roman soldiers.

Furthermore, we must never lose sight of the fact that Jesus Himself was Jewish, as were all of His original disciples. Both the Old and New Testaments (with the possible exception of Luke), were written by Jewish believers. In fact, for the first 70 years of its existence, Christianity was seen as a sect of Judaism known as "The Way." It was only after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans that the two faiths separated.

The tensions grew as Christianity spread through Europe. Gradually, the impression of Jesus evolved from that of a Jewish figure to that of a Greco-Roman figure. The image of a rugged, Mediterranean carpenter was replaced by one of an effeminate blue-eyed blond. Consequentially, this new, Eurocentric Jesus was seen as having little regard for His own people, and His professed followers were happy to do likewise.

Perhaps the most infamous examples of this are the venomous tirades of Martin Luther, who denounced Jewish people as “…(a) base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth."

It is also a matter of historic record that, in spite of his atrocities, Adolf Hitler was never formally excommunicated from the Catholic Church of his day. Even the universally revered Billy Graham was not above indulging in Jew-baiting, famously agreeing with then-president Richard Nixon’s conspiracies about Jews controlling the media.

Thankfully, recent decades have seen much vital progress in Jewish-Christian relations. In 1965, the Second Vatican Council declared that “The Church decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone." This principle was seen in action during Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 visit to New York City, where he became the first Pope in history to visit an American synagogue.

Furthermore, Martin Luther’s modern followers have taken great care to distance themselves from their founder’s dark side. To this end, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has issued the following statement: “(W)hile, on the one hand, we are deeply indebted to Luther for his rediscovery and enunciation of the Gospel, on the other hand, we deplore and disassociate ourselves from Luther's negative statements about the Jewish people…"

This is echoed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, whose statement reads: “(W)e who bear (Luther’s) name and heritage must with pain acknowledge also Luther's anti-Judaic diatribes and the violent recommendations of his later writings against the Jews…We recognize in anti-Semitism a contradiction and an affront to the Gospel, a violation of our hope and calling, and we pledge this church to oppose the deadly working of such bigotry.”

Philosopher Blaise Pascal was once asked by King Louis XIV about the primary evidence for the existence of God. Pascal’s response? “The Jews, your Majesty.“

Those of us who are Christians are called to honor the Jewish people as those “first entrusted with the Oracles of God" (Romans 3:2). To those of you who are Jewish, please forgive us for our failure to life up to this ideal.

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Thursday, May 28th, 2009
11:04 pm - New Column: Fundamentalism needs clearer definition

james_01
Published on http://tnjn.com/ May 27, 2009


"Fundamentalist" is a specifically Christian term. Consequentially, much modern usage in the media (i.e. attributing the 9-11 attacks to "Islamic Fundamentalists") is a severe misrepresentation of both faiths. In its purist form, Fundamentalism does not directly refer to any specific church, sect or political organization. Rather, it simply describes an inner-denominational movement tracing back to the early 20th century in which Christians responded to the challenges of modernity by codifying their most foundational beliefs.

Eventually, these were cataloged in a four-volume set known as The Fundamentals: A Testimony of the Truth (an online version can be read here). Published in 1917, The Fundamentals provide a fascinating, if not somewhat paradoxical, look at the fledgling movement. While some aspects (such as the rather strident anti-Catholic overtones) may be offensive to some, other parts are quite enlightening.

For example, in James Orr’s essay “Science and the Christian Faith,” he acknowledges that “there is no violence done to the (creation) narrative in substituting…vast cosmic periods — for "days" on our narrower, sun-measured scale.” These sentiments hardly fit the stereotypes of Fundamentalists in today’s world.

The first known use of the term “Fundamentalist” was by religious journalist Curtis Lee Laws, who referred to “those who still cling to the great fundamentals and who mean to do battle royal” in their defense. Unfortunately, since Fundamentalism did begin as a defensive movement, the resulting "Fightin’ Fundie" caricatures have often been very much deserved. On occasion, this has led to forays into anti-intellectualism (the Scopes "Monkey Trial" debacle) and in some cases, to outright bigotry (the shameful tactics of the "Reverend" Fred Phelps).

This characterization is unfortunate. While it is true that the Fundamentalist label is relatively new, the ideals it represents are as old as the Christian faith itself. As theologian J.I. Packer observes: "Our critics suppose that that what they call 'Fundamentalism' is something as new as its name. But it is not. Nor was sixteenth-century Protestantism, nor seventeenth-century Puritanism, nor eighteenth-century Methodism. These names denote simply particular aspects and episodes of the continuing history of evangelical Christianity."

At the core of Fundamentalism is a staunch belief in the message of the Scriptures. Fundamentalists believe in a God who has not only spoken, but has done so in a way that is reliable, understandable and practical. Is this simple faith? Yes, but it has been the historic position of the Christian church from its very beginning. In the words of Dallas Theological Seminary professor P.D. Feinberg: "Biblical inerrancy has been the view of the church throughout its history…(I)n each period of the church's history clear affirmations of the doctrine can be found."

With this premise established, the other elements of the Fundamentalist world view are easier to understand. For example, to believe in the authority of the Bible is also to embrace the absolute truth it presents us with. This can be seen in what is perhaps the most visible picture of Fundamentalism, the arena of politics. But before we are too hasty in rejecting these concerns, we must note that in many issues, the Fundamentalists are actually proving to be ahead of their time.

For example, given the advances of prenatal medical technology, it has become increasingly difficult to deny that an unborn child is truly a person. Why then is it considered so “extreme” to say that the child deserves legal protection? When we look at the horrendous impact of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, is the Christian sexual ethic (abstinence until marriage) really that unreasonable? Is it wise to cast science and faith as enemies when some of the greatest scientists in history (including Galileo, Copernicus, Keplar and many others) were Bible believers?

These issues are not going away, and if our goal is to be a tolerant, understanding people, we must look past our stereotypes and see the real substance that is all too often overlooked. Failure to do so is a “fundamental” mistake.

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Thursday, May 7th, 2009
10:15 am - Obama On National Prayer Day: No Thanks

lady_j_usa
Obama On National Prayer Day: No Thanks

rightwingnewshttp://rightwingnews.com/mt331/2009/05/obama_on_national_prayer_day_n.php

Apparently, President Neophyte, who has stated that he believes in the "power of prayer" and "felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life," is actually closer to a belief that people of religion are bitter...

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Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
6:47 am - Urgent Prayer Request

hallyluia
Dear Friends,
Please pray for a woman named Eileen who just had emergency surgery yesterday for a brain hemorrhage. She also happens to be the mother of a young woman with cancer who needs very much for her mom to be healthy.

Share this with any prayer networks you know please. She survived the surgery but the next 2 days are very critical for what life will ultimately be like for that family.

Thank you all so much and God bless you.
Hally

(2 comments | Show Your Support)

Friday, April 24th, 2009
9:50 pm - Now that he's been in office a few months, what do you think?

hallyluia
MSNBC has an online poll to grade Obama.
Click on the link below and give him the grade you think he deserves.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29493093/

(Show Your Support)

Saturday, March 14th, 2009
8:32 pm - Pittsburgh area Presbytery...Important vote

judgmentknight
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_616133.html

current mood: calm

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Sunday, January 18th, 2009
1:50 am - Guest Column: Pro-life reasoning not limited to conservatives, religious

james_01
Published in The Daily Beacon,Friday, January 16, 2009




A problem with our modern political discourse is the tendency to rely on bumper-sticker logic as a substitute for substantive reason. Nowhere is this more evident than in the eternal war over the ethics of abortion. The clichés are all too common: “Don’t force your morality on me,” “Keep your rosaries off of my ovaries” or more recently, “Keep your religion out of my uterus, and I’ll keep my foot out of your ...”


In order to make any real progress on this debate, we must do away with a few of the popular stereotypes, most specifically that the anti-abortion cause is inherently a religious and/or a conservative political issue. Although many anti-abortion advocates, myself included, do fall into these two categories, many of us also feel the debate has become far too myopic and politicized. The anti-abortion movement itself is much larger and more diverse than that. Consider this short list of “non-traditional” anti-abortionists: Theodore Roosevelt (our first “Progressive” president), Susan B. Anthony (and most other feminist founders), the Dalai Lama, liberal actor Martin Sheen and revered poet Maya Angelou.


There are anti-abortion wings within all major U.S. political parties, including the Republican National Coalition for Life, Democrats for Life of America and Libertarians for Life. The grounds for their beliefs may be, among other things, scientific (the fact that prenatal medical technology has made it virtually impossible to assert that an unborn child is not alive) or legal (the fact that Roe v. Wade is based on very spurious Constitutional scholarship, a fact that is even acknowledged by some who are for abortion rights). At any rate, their convictions are certainly not always based on religion.


In fact, in looking at the history of American abortion policy, author and activist Vasu Murti observes: “The U.S. statutes against abortion have a nonsectarian history. They were put on the books when Catholics were a politically insignificant minority. Even the Protestant clergy were not a major factor in these laws. Rather, the laws were the achievement of the American Medical Association. ... One could argue, therefore, apart from religion, that recognizing the rights of the unborn, like the rights of blacks, women, lesbians and gays, children, animals and the environment, is a sign of secular social progress.”


This is reflected in the philosophies of many modern pro-life organizations. For example, the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League is based on the premise that “... life is all there is and all that matters, and abortion destroys the life of an innocent human being.” Similarly, the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians states that “Human rights start when human life begins.” The popular site LeftOut: A Haven for Progressive Pro-Lifers further explores how “... progressive pro-lifers tend to feel ‘left out’ of both liberal and pro-life groups.”


Recent political trends seem to indicate that these “Left Out” voters may be a more formidable voice than many have realized. An example would be the 2006 race for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. The incumbent Republican, Rick Santorum, was a hero to religious Conservatives since he was first elected in the “Republican Revolution” of 1994. He was also reelected by a comfortable margin in 2000. However, in 2006, the Democrats coyly nominated pro-life State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. With the contentious abortion issue off of the table, these voters finally had a viable option, sweeping Casey to a double-digit victory.


Democratic icon Hubert Humphrey summed it up well: “It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those that are in the dawn of life — the children, those who are in the twilight of life — the elderly, and those who are in the shadows of life — the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” It is this sort of compassionate approach that motivates the majority of pro-lifers, many of whom would be quite willing to consider the Democratic Party if they were offered more viable options.

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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
12:53 am - Two New Sermons

james_01
I hope you all enjoy these, and have a wonderful Christmas!

Humor and the Bible/The Glory of God -Preached November 16, 2008
http://www.james-dave.com/humorglory.mp3

Faces of Christmas-Preached December 7, 2008 (Intro and closing comments from Pastor Larry Keith)
http://www.james-dave.com/facesofchristmas.mp3

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Monday, November 17th, 2008
5:29 pm - Some Belated Thoughts on the Election

james_01
Obviously, I would have preferred that the election turned out differently. Like most people of my persuasion, I continue to have deep concerns regarding President-Elect Obama's far left ideology, questionable associations and political naivete. But does that mean that I am going to sit back and hope the country will go downhill so that he will look bad? No way!



I accept that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Mr. Obama will be our President for the next 4-8 years. If he truly does know how to help the country, then I sincerely wish him well. Time will tell what kind of president he will make, but I will support him where I can, oppose him when I have to and pray for him daily.


At the risk of sounding cliche', this election was definitely historical. And yes, there is a symbolism to Mr. Obama's victory that transcends political ideologies. As I watched the reaction of African-American communities across the country, I could not help but be moved. I also commend him for the dignified way in which he conducted his campaign, and I hope that it will raise the level of dialog on racial issues in the future.




To those who supported Mr. Obama, congratulations on your win. You have much to be proud of. In his victory speech, he reached out to those of us who did not vote for him and pledged that he would be our President too. Let's hope he means it.

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Friday, October 31st, 2008
8:21 pm - Chuck Norris - an idol to the young, and an idol to me. I couldn't say this better...

hallyluia
I'm Voting for Those Not Yet Born
Posted 10/28/2008 ET
Updated 10/28/2008 ET

My, how the landscape of elections has changed. Remember when the issue of abortion used to matter to conservatives in political races? Today presidential nominees can get away with murder, literally. They can smoke, toke and hang out with terrorists who do. What were once considered legitimate leadership litmus tests are now regarded as off-limit character assassinations and hate language. Recently, some nonprofit organizations have been threatened with the withdrawal of their tax-exempt statuses because their leaders merely voiced opposition to what they consider a moral issue: abortion.

Read more...Collapse )

Winning the election is not just about what the underdogs -- such as John McCain and Sarah Palin, two maverick pro-life advocates -- should do. But it's about what the citizens who are fighting for the underdogs can do. We the people must stand up, go back to the basics, and once again vote our values.

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Copyright © 2008 HUMAN EVENTS. All Rights Reserved.

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
8:14 pm - Please Pray for Stephanie

james_01
Dear Friends,



As some of you already know, my neice, Stephanie Adcox, is being treated for severe eating disorders. You can read more about her at http://www.supportsteph.com/



Please keep Stephanie in your prayers, and please also pass this along to your churches and any prayer chains you are involved in.



Thanks,
James

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Thursday, September 18th, 2008
2:23 pm - Congress reveals plans to help the economy...

jelly_doughnut
They plan to go home.

current mood: apathetic

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
9:04 am - PBS Poll

supedujour

This poll on whether or not Palin is qualified seems to be manipulated against her.  It will creep up, then suddenly drop like a brick.

Here it is in case anyone wants to vote:  PBS Poll

(3 comments | Show Your Support)

Saturday, September 13th, 2008
1:18 am - News Column: Common Ground Equals Common Sense

james_01
Published in The Daily Beacon, Friday, September 12, 2008


Every other Thursday, I look forward to picking up a copy of USA Today and reading the “Common Ground” column co-written by Bob Beckel , a veteran liberal Democratic activist, and Cal Thomas, a noted conservative columnist. The column’s descriptive blurb tells us that in spite of their political differences, the two are longtime friends and can often find agreement where politicians cannot. In today’s cutthroat political environment, I find this approach to be not only refreshing, but absolutely vital to our nation’s future.


The scenario is all too familiar: A conservative politician will announce a new terrorist threat or a liberal will promote new research on global warming. In either case, the actual substance of the issue is largely ignored. Instead, the opposition party will immediately begin a campaign to discredit the other side. After all, we can’t let one of “them” take credit for doing something positive for our country. All the while, the people’s safety and best interest are sacrificed at the bloody altar of “gotcha” politics. Does that disturb you? It should.


I am a conservative on most issues. Yet I want to see an end to war, poverty and racism just as much as my liberal friends do. While we may disagree on some of the means to these noble ends, we can be civil and charitable in our discussion of them. Furthermore, I recognize that apart from those on the left, these vital issues might not even be discussed.


Please don’t misunderstand: I am not advocating a superficial, “warm-and-fuzzy” type of unity. I recognize that the differences are there, and that they are often quite significant. Nor should civility be used as a front for lack of passion or conviction. There are times when a non-compromising attitude is both commendable and necessary. But compromise is not always a bad thing. In fact, it would be impossible to accomplish anything worthwhile without it. For example, if our only available options are helping some poor people or helping none, reducing some greenhouse gasses or reducing none, preventing some abortions or preventing none, aren’t the choices pretty obvious?


As a former professor of mine pointed out, it is possible to be opponents without being enemies. Examples would include Republican President Eisenhower and Democratic House Speaker Sam Rayburn. Another would be President Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill. More recently, we have been seeing former Vice President Al Gore’s innovative TV ads addressing global warming and climate change. Did you ever think you would see the Reverends Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton on the same platform? What about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her predecessor, Newt Gingrich? While I am no fan of Gore’s politics, I commend him for seeking to heal the partisan divide in this manner.


I realize that I walk a thin line here, as I write primarily about religiously themed issues. As a self-professed “theology geek” (and recently ordained minister), that is simply “what I do.” I feel that this is an important contribution, as practically every major issue we face can be traced back to what one believes about God and ultimate reality. However, as one who does believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth (and that truth, by nature, is a divisive thing), there are challenges involved in making the point in a way that avoids creating unnecessary division. In biblical terminology, that is called being a “repairer of the breach.”


In our current Presidential race, I was initially a supporter of Gov. Mike Huckabee. I saw him as a man of integrity who shared many of my political convictions, yet was willing to think “outside the box” on other issues. Now that the nominees have been decided, I must admit that Sen. McCain has showed many of the same qualities I admired in Huckabee. Despite the rantings of the pseudo-messiahs on talk radio, I see McCain’s independent streak as a positive thing.


Our two most recent presidential administrations have been among the most contentious and divisive in history. The next president, whomever that may be, will have a real opportunity to act as a healer. Let us hope that opportunity will not be squandered.

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Thursday, September 4th, 2008
11:43 pm - James and Dave's Bible Page-New & Improved!

james_01
Dear Friends,

After 10 fruitful years of internet ministry, I am happy to announce that our site has been given a long overdue update! The site still has all of the great features you enjoyed before, but it is now more use friendly and easier to navigate than ever! Please drop us a line at http://www.james-dave.com/

Also, if you haven't visited us in a while, you will notice a number of newer resources. Among them:

A new section of Audio sermons and teachings on a wide variety of topics: http://www.james-dave.com/audio.html

Your Bible questions explored on our Bible FAQ page:
http://www.james-dave.com/biblefaq.html

Our Bible articles now number over 50: http://www.james-dave.com/infoe.html

When you visit please drop us an e-mail or sign the guestbook and share any comments or suggestions you may have. We are here to serve you! Also, if you have a web site and would be willing to give us a link, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
James

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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
1:00 pm - Obama on Pregnant Daughters

holyspirited

How would Barack Obama feel if one of his daughters got pregnant? "I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby,"

http://community.livejournal.com/liesascorrect/

Sarah Palin and her daughter show that they valure unborn children and don't think of them as burdens, or punishment.  God puts our leaders in power, but He gives us the leaders that we choose, or in other words, deserve. 

In my opinion (the sane one) anyone who doesn't recognize the blessing of a child in the womb of a woman is living in darkness.  We can't afford to put a person like this in the office of President.

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Monday, August 11th, 2008
10:04 pm - who is your pick?

watching_ships
GodlyGals wants to know...U.S. CITIZENS: Who are you voting for?

(1 comment | Show Your Support)

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
4:53 pm - My Debut Sermon

james_01
"God Is..." Preached on July 20, 2008. Enjoy!

http://www.james-dave.com/godis.mp3

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Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
10:02 pm - It's Official!

james_01
Last week, I experienced the fulfillment of a dream I have had for over 20 years: I am now officially a licenced and ordained minister! So if you need anyone to perform a wedding, baptism or funeral, I'm legal :-)





Seriously, though, this is one of the greatest honors of my life, and one that I take very, very seriously. I have felt the calling on my life for a long time, but when I tried to pursue it before, the door closed. In hindsight, it was just as well because I wasn't ready. If I had managed to go into ministry back then, I would have fallen flat on my face. After a great deal of struggle, I put it to rest, deciding that I would be content to serve God as a layman. I told Him that if He wanted me in the ministry, He would have to be the One who brought it up. For several years, that was how things went. But then...



Things seemed to happen one after the other to show me that God was taking my life in a new direction. He opened up many new relationships, especially with my pastors, Larry and Diane Keith, and new opportunities, such as teaching classes for the Bible Training Center at church. Over time, I would hear things through prophetic words, as well as personal conversations that confirmed things verbatim that I had prayed about for years. When Pastor Keith made the offer for me to be ordained, I had peace in my heart that the time was right.



The initial service took place at Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield, Michigan (http://www.woficc.com/). That place is amazing! It says a lot for the church when you can walk into a place filled with people you've never met, and to immediately feel you are with family. The worship was awesome! It was their annual convention and they had a number of prominant speakers including John Hagee, Joyce Meyer and the Copelands. The ordination was on Thurday night, presided over by Bishop Keith Butler, the church's senior pastor and overseeing bishop over the network of churches which my home church is affiliated with. There must have been 50-100 people ordained from churches all over the world. In last Sunday morning's service, Pastor Keith performed a "miniature" version of the ordination for our home church as well. It was a remarkable experience.





I'm so excited to be serving in this capacity, but I know full well that I have accepted an enormous responsibility. To step into ministry is to step onto very holy ground. Prayers are greatly appreciated, and I'll keep you posted!

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Sunday, March 30th, 2008
1:01 am - NEW! Audio Bible Studies on James & Dave's Bible Page

james_01
I am happy to announce that James and Dave's Bible Page now features MP3 audio teaching! They are mostly the messages I taught at the Bible Training Center last fall, and can be found at http://www.james-dave.com/audio

Please check them out and help us spread the word!

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Saturday, February 23rd, 2008
11:42 pm - Great News!

james_01
As some of you may know, Sandi and I lost our unborn baby daughter, Bella, to a rare chromasomal disorder called Patau Syndrome, or trisomy 13. This past December, we found out that we were expecting again a year to the day that we found out she was pregnant with Bella. For obvious reasons, I don't believe this was a coincidence.



Last week, we went for the baby's Nuchal Fold test, which screens for chromasome-related defects. This was the test that first revealed that there were problems with Bella. Going into that lab was a really surreal experience, as the last time I was there was the time they told us that Bella had no heartbeat.



The good news is that this time, everything was exacty as it was supposed to be! The fluid sac on the back of the neck (which is the focus of the test) was around 1.4 cm (Bella's was over 4). The baby is currently about two inches long, and the heartbeat is around 166 beats per minute, all well within the normal range.



On a lighter note, the tech asked us which one of us the baby looked like, and Sandi replied "It doesnt have any hair, so it looks like him" :-)



For those of you who are so inclined, continued prayers are greatly appreciated. I'll keep you posted!


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Tuesday, December 18th, 2007
7:03 pm - My Presidential Pick

james_01
Although it has taken me a while, I have finally settled on a candidate:


MikeHuckabee.com - I Like Mike!


I have always respected Gov. Huckabee, but until recently, I didn't really take him seriously as a candidate. We shouldn't be too surprised at his surge, though. I didn't think the conservatives would just roll over and give the nomination to Giuliani. Huckabee has many qualities that I look for in a candidate. I do respect the fact that he is very outspoken in his faith, without being a jerk about it. As a Christian, I would obviously like to see "one of us" in the White House. Admittedly, I am not a big fan of ministers seeking political office (a subject for another post). But we don't live in a perfect world, so we have to choose the best available option.


But my support for Gov. Huckabee goes beyond the stereotypical moral/religious issues (although he certainly gets high marks in that department). I respect his down-to-earth style, his common-sense approach and his willingness to think outside the box. While some on the far right criticize him on issues such as health care and immigration, I see that as a positive. It shows me that he is willing to think for himself, instead of simply being a partisan "lemming."


So for my two cents worth, I'll simply say that "I Like Mike."

(2 comments | Show Your Support)

Friday, October 26th, 2007
7:55 pm - Flag-folding recitation banned at veterans cemeteries nationwide

lady_j_usa
Through thousands of military burials, Memorial Honor Detail volunteers at Riverside National Cemetery have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors of those being laid to rest.

http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_S_flag25.3ee2dc9.html

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Tuesday, October 16th, 2007
5:11 pm - God is Back on U.S. Flag Certificates

lady_j_usa
fox_newspolitic

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,302496,00.html

God is here to stay, say members of Congress who on Tuesday presented a 17-year-old Eagle Scout with a corrected version of a certificate that accompanied a flag that he purchased to fly over the U.S. Capitol.

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Sunday, September 23rd, 2007
1:00 am - Thoughts on Kathy Griffin

james_01
It has been interesting to see all of the hoopla following "comedian" Kathy Griffin's now famous Emmy speech, in which she stated that "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. This award is my God now!"


So what do I think about it? Not much.


Don't misunderstand me: I am as outraged as anyone whenever I see Jesus defamed, and I believe the outcry from the Christian community stems from very noble motives. But I also recognize that it is giving her exactly what she wants: publicity.


We shouldn't be so surprised when sinners act like sinners. A child of the devil will do the lusts of his/her father (John 8:44). By drawing unwarranted attention to Ms. Griffin's actions, we are playing right into her hands.


Ms. Griffin, in the most minuscule chance that you might someday read this, the Jesus you mock still loves you. What not lay aside your prejudices and examine His claims for yourself? You might be surprised!

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Monday, September 3rd, 2007
4:36 pm - Unpublished Column: Falwell Leaves Mixed Legacy

james_01
The sudden passing of the Rev. Jerry Falwell last May left little room for equivocation regarding the Moral Majority founder‘s place in history. To his supporters, Falwell was a fearless visionary who helped a nation chart its moral course. To his critics, he was a loose cannon who often used sensationalist and mercenary tactics to score political favor. Ultimately, there is a degree of truth in both characterizations.


Those who knew Falwell personally, both friends and enemies, describe him as a thoughtful, generous man with a disarming sense of humor. Even arch pornographer Larry Flynt, who crossed swords with Falwell many times, said that “My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, (he) and I became good friends.”


Falwell’s rise to power is a fascinating study in the shifting paradigms of twentieth century politics. The year was 1980, and the administration of incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter was coming apart at the seams. A horrendous economy, soaring gas prices and American hostages in Iran left Americans loudly crying out for change. In addition, many conservative Christian voters who actively supported Carter (a devout Southern Baptist) felt very betrayed when the President’s liberal leanings began to show. Enter Jerry Falwell.


On the Republican side, Ronald Reagan was preaching a revival of Barry Goldwater inspired conservativism. Although Goldwater’s far-right crusade had failed miserably sixteen years earlier, Reagan mixed it with a warm optimism and a Christian-based social conscience on issues such as abortion and school prayer. With Falwell’s help, Reagan rallied the disenfranchised faithful, crushed Carter and became one of the most influential presidents of modern times. For better or worse, the new alliance between Evangelical Christians and the Republican Party was set.


Obviously, we cannot view these sort of events uncritically. Did the Republican Party suddenly undergo a religious revival in 1980? We may hope so, but remember, we are talking about politicians here. It is also noteworthy that Barry Goldwater himself was never comfortable with this new partnership, famously stating that “Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the a**”.


Consequentially, some have questioned the validity of Falwell’s activism on legal grounds. Did the Reverend promote an illegitimate union between Church and State? I would answer a qualified no. Contrary to what some may claim, being a member of the clergy does not take away a person’s free speech rights. The law only prohibits ministers from endorsing candidates from the pulpit or from using church funds to support political campaigns. On their “own time,” they are perfectly free to speak at rallies, knock on doors and support their candidates of choice in whatever way the see fit.


At the same time, while Falwell’s right-wing crusades may have been legal, the question remains, were they wise? Although people of faith certainly have vital roles to play in the public arena, was all of the “Wrap the Flag Around the Cross” bravado really the best way to get the point across? The fruits of these efforts, at best, were mixed. Conservative pundit Cal Thomas, a former associate of Falwell’s, rightly points out that:


“The flaw in the movement was the perception that the church had become an appendage to the Republican Party and one more special interest group to be pampered. If one examines the results of the Moral Majority's agenda, little was accomplished in the political arena and much was lost in the spiritual realm, as many came to believe that to be a Christian meant you also must be ‘converted’ to the Republican Party and adopt the GOP agenda and its tactics.”


Nonetheless, the many positives of Falwell’s legacy will live on through his family, through the great church and university he founded, and through the lives of the countless faithful whom he inspired to make a difference in a dark world. Whether we agree with all of his methods or not, those are achievements that can all respect and learn from.

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2007
12:40 am

watching_ships
If you have the time, please lift up this ministry (GodlyGals) in prayer. It's become clear that we are under spiritual attack. But we know who wins in the end. Please, say a prayer for GodlyGals. God has good plans for this place and He has not abandoned us, nor will He ever.

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:20-22

Pray that God's purpose will prevail in this ministry, not man's.

And if you have the time, and feel in your heart that you'd like to become a part of this ministry (where most of the stuff happens) please visit us at http://www.godlygals.com/board because we would love to have committed young women who desire to know God more. Thank you for your prayers.

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Sunday, June 24th, 2007
4:28 pm

prog_neeber
Hello everyone

I'm from the UK so although I feel I have a fairly good grasp of the highest level US politics I'm not quite there yet, I want to find out more about a guy who seems to be a presidential candidate. I think his name is Sam Brownback. I heard an interview with him on the BBC and I tended to agree with alot of what he was saying, can anyone tell me abit more about him please? What he really believes in and whether he does a good job in Kansas? Is there anyone else in this community from the UK?

According to health records etc in this country there were two hundred thousand abortions carried out in britain last year. Now I keep hearing this argument time and time again that britain needs more immigrant labour to keep it's workforce going and we'll probably keep needing them for another generation or so. Just lets say we cut the abortion rate by....oh 100% surely there'd be no need for mass immigration and considering most of them are coming from Poland, who've such a shortage of workers they're using prison labour to build football stadiums, it's just logical that's all.

Also if anyone wants a good read try "The Dorkins Delusion" by Alister McGrath

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Monday, April 30th, 2007
9:24 pm - From Sandi and James-Bella Has Passed

james_01
This is not the update I wanted to write after today's doctor visit, but . . .


Our angel-baby has flown. Sometime within the last few days, Faith Isabella decided this world was not for her and returned to God.


We are waiting for the doctor's office to call back and let us know about starting the procedure to induce labor - they won't give me a c-section unless the labor induction doesn't work. It is major abdominal surgery, after all, and since there is obviously no danger to the baby, it's considered too risky for me.


At this time we don't have any arrangements for the funeral, although we are sure that we will be having one. She was here, she mattered, and I want her remembered. She drew the whole world together in prayer, and people who have lived for decades can't say they have done something that wonderful in their lives! How awesome is God that He let her accomplish so much, in so little time!


At this point we vary between numb and hysterical, with a short sidetrip to laughter now and then due to some of the medical stuff they have to do to induce the labor. Please keep us in your prayers. Although we knew the predicted outcome, we just weren't prepared for it.


I will post again when we know more about the timeline. My most fervent wish is that all who can come to her funeral do so - please, I need to see how many people she impacted, to know for sure that she was here for a reason, and that she accomplished something wonderful.


Thank you so much for all your prayers, thoughts, hopes and wishes. You will never know how much strength you gave us, and how much we appreciate all of you.

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Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
9:33 pm - What Kind of a Man?

lady_j_usa
WHAT KIND OF MAN WOULD DO SUCH A THING?

Jack Tilley, a Sergeant Major of the Army, was with a group of people who recently were visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC.

He saw a Special Forces soldier who had lost his right hand and suffered severe wounds of his face and side of his body. Sgt. Tilley wanted to honor him and show him respect without offending, but what can you say or do in such a situation that will encourage and uplift?

How do you shake the right hand of a soldier who has none?

He decided to act as though the hand was not missing and gripped the soldiers wrist while speaking words of comfort and
encouragement to him.

However, there was another man in the group who knew exactly what to do.

This man reverently took the soldier's stump of a hand in both of his hands, bowed at the bedside, and prayed for him. When he finished the prayer he stood up, bent over the soldier, kissed him on the head, and told him that he loved him.

Sgt. Tilley was awed by the powerful
__expression of love for one of our wounded heroes he was witnessing! "What a beautiful Christ-like example!" he thought, moved to tears.

What kind of a man would do such a thing?

It was the wounded man's Commander-In-Chief, George W. Bush, President of The United States This eyewitness account was told by Sergeant Major Jack Tilley at a Soldiers Breakfast at Red Stone Arsenal, AL,
and recorded by Chaplain James Henderson, who was stationed there.


Pass it on.... the PRESS WON'T- ! !

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Thursday, April 19th, 2007
5:12 pm - Bella-From Sandi

james_01
News - good and not great, but not really bad.



Not great but not really bad - I had to postpone my next doctor appointment until Monday the 30th, due to the boss and the other loan officers being out of the office all day. So, not great news, but not bad either. Just a postponement. The next appoinment will be a big long one, as they are doing another anatomy scan to see how Bella is progressing, and to see if they can get a better look at her heart and other organs and fingers and toes. Which leads me to the good news . . .



Either I have swallowed a passel of Mexican jumping beans, or this baby is moving moving moving! She kept me up most of last Friday night, because I didn't want to go to sleep and miss feeling her moving. And Saturday evening, apparently she had some music going on in her head that required foot tapping.



So, don't worry about not hearing from us on Thursday - we'll just have to wait to Monday to get an update this time!



Thanks for thinking, hoping and praying. Keep it up!



Love,



Sandi, James, Neely, Zoe, and our Bella

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Monday, April 16th, 2007
12:09 pm - please pray

watching_ships
(cross-posted to godly_gals)

As many of you may know, there was a shooting this morning at Virginia Tech. They are now reporting that 22 people are dead. Please keep the families of these victims in your prayers, along with those who are wounded.

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Sunday, April 8th, 2007
11:04 am - Easter Column, Part 2

james_01
The Easter season is a joyous celebration of hope and new life that unites Christians all around the globe, and has had a profound effect on the world we live in. Although our reflections on Jesus' death and Resurrection may be dismissed by some as simply being trite religious devotion, they point to events that are firmly rooted in human history.


Think for a moment about the objections raised by skeptics: "Churches are full of hypocrites." "Religion has caused wars and atrocities." "If that's what Christianity is all about, I want no part of it." But that is not what Christianity is all about. I certainly do not deny that some heinous things have been done in Christ's name, but that is totally irrelevant to the ultimate truth of Christianity, as none of these things can undo the historical reality of the Resurrection.


On numerous occasions, prominent scholars have researched this topic, and to the surprise of many, have strongly verified the historicity of the Gospel accounts. For example, Dr. Simon Greenleaf, who was the Royall Professor of Law at Harvard University, was considered one of the world's top authorities on legal evidences. After applying this expertise to the Resurrection, he concluded that it was, in fact, an historical fact. His research is available in a book called "The Testimony of the Evangelists." Furthermore, British lawyer Frank Morrison set out to write a book repudiating the Resurrection and instead found the evidence so overwhelming he became a believer himself! His findings can be read in his book, "Who Moved The Stone?" Similarly, journalist Lee Strobel began his quest as a skeptic attempting to discredit the Christian faith, but wound up having his own life-changing encounter with the risen Jesus. His story is told in the popular book "The Case For Christ."


One of the most striking evidences for the Resurrection is its immediate impact on the religious world of the day. With the founding of the church in 32 AD, we see a sudden change in the day of worship. This is significant because all of the early Christians were Jews coming from a strict background of observing the seventh day Sabbath. Once they became Christians, however, they made their day of worship Sunday, the first day of the week, to commemorate Christ's Resurrection on that day. It would have taken a very significant event to altar such a deeply seated tradition.
In addition, we see new ordinances (baptism and communion) practiced from the very beginning of church history as reminders of His death and Resurrection. The First Century Church has also left numerous other monuments, such as hymns, art and church readings done in honor of the Resurrected Christ.



This brings us to the strongest evidence of all: The fact that the risen Jesus was seen alive by over 500 eye witnesses! Jesus' post-Resurrection appearances are verified not only by the Bible, but by secular history as well. Josephus writes: "...he appeared to them alive on the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him." If these appearances were a delusion, how could this many people testify to the exact same thing? This is especially significant when we consider that many of them were tortured and killed for bearing witness to it. Would people endure this for something they knew to be false? We also see the dramatic conversions of two previous skeptics: James, brother of Jesus and a brilliant scholar named Saul of Tarsus, who we now know as the mighty apostle Paul.
Furthermore, Paul also states that most of these 500 witnesses were still alive at the time (1 Corinthians 15:6). In other words, the reader could easily ask them about the things they had seen.



The Resurrection narratives strike at the very core of who we are as human beings. We gaze into a loved one's coffin knowing full well that one day we are destined to be there ourselves. Until the fear of death is dealt with, we will never truly learn to live. May the hope and beauty of the Easter message be a reality in your life this season, and always.

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10:51 am - Easter Column, Part 1

james_01
Published in The Daily Beacon, Monday, March 26, 2007


In two weeks, we will reach the culmination of the Lenten/Easter season. As we take this time to reflect on the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, I would like to present a two-part series about what makes the Easter holiday so important. Regardless of your own religious beliefs, I hope that these articles will at least give you a deeper appreciation of these events, which have literally split history in half.


Historians estimate the date of Jesus' crucifixion as being around Friday, April 7th, A.D. 30. The religious leaders of the day, jealous of His influence and popularity, had turned Him over to the Roman government to be tried for false charges of sedition. Although the occupying Roman Empire gave the Jews a great deal of freedom in conducting their legal affairs, Roman approval was required for an execution. In order to avoid a riot, and thus preserve his standing with the Emperor, Governor Pontius Pilate reluctantly consented to the crowd's demands to have Jesus crucified.



The first step in this horrible process was a brutal beating with a leather whip, which was called scourging. While Jewish civil law limited the beating to forty lashes, the Romans recognized no such law, and thus were at liberty to beat the person as viciously as they pleased. The beating itself was often fatal. Geikie's "Life of Christ" tells us that:



“Victims condemned to the cross first underwent the hideous torture of the scourge...(Jesus) was beaten at the pleasure of the soldiers, with knots of rope, or plaited leather thongs, armed at the ends with acorn shaped drops of lead, or small sharp pointed bones...Under the fury of the countless stripes, the victims sometimes sank-amidst screams, convulsive leaps, and distortions-into a senseless heap; sometimes died on the spot; sometimes were taken away… to find deliverance in death.”



After the scourging, it was off to the hill known as "The Skull," ("Golgotha" in Aramaic, "Calverius" in Latin). This was the designated place where local executions took place, some by stoning, others by crucifixion. According to Unger's Bible Dictionary, crucifixion was used by a number of ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians and the Persians. It was used by the Romans from the very beginning of their history, until it was eventually abolished by Emperor Constantine. In any scenario, it was reserved for slaves and for the worst kind of criminals.



Large, rusty spikes were driven into the wrists and feet. The cross was then erected, with the person's body suspended about four feet above the ground. What followed was a long, excruciating death so horrible that mere words cannot begin to do it justice. Medical Doctor Gerald H. Bradley gives us a look:



“This was the most agonizing death man could face...He had to support Himself in order to breathe...the flaming pain caused by the spikes hitting the median nerve in the wrists explodes up His arms, into His brain and down His spine. The spike burning through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet jerks His body erect, then the leg muscles convulse and drive His body downward...beating Him against the cross. Air is sucked in, but cannot be exhaled until the buildup carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood stream stimulates breathing to relieve the cramps. Exhaustion, shock, dehydration and paralysis destroy the victim. The heart is barely able to pump the thick blood as each of His billions of cells die one at a time. Prior to His death in all His agony, Jesus is in full control of His mind. He asks the heavenly Father to "Forgive them; for they know not what they do."



If the story ended here, we would have a beautiful account of a man dying as a martyr for His cause, but nothing more. What makes Jesus' death stand out is what occurred three days later: The verifiable, historical reality of His Resurrection! Next week, we will look at a few of the evidences for this remarkable event.


Stay tuned!

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Thursday, March 29th, 2007
4:51 pm - Baby Isabel Update-From Sandi

james_01
Hi, everyone. I had an anatomy scan done on Bella today. Good news/Bad news.



Good news - still a good heartbeat, she is normal size for a bean of her gestational age (she's growing right on time), and her kidneys look great.



Bad news - she has a fluid buildup on the back of her neck and head (I can't remember what it's called), fluid pockets in her abdomen, general edema (swelling) of the whole body, and fluid on her lungs. They couldn't get a good look at her fingers and toes, nor her heart. The fluid retention is the scariest part - everyone there at the doctors office tells me that most Patau Syndrome (aka Trisomy 13) babies with swelling like that are not long for this world. At this point we are taking things in two week increments (which is how often I have to go to the doc), and see how things go.



If Bella stays where she is past 26 weeks, I can have a c-section when it's time for her to be born. If sooner, they will probably make me go through regular childbirth, since she won't be able to live outside the womb. So they say. I thought they could live if born sooner than that, but that may not apply to a Patau baby.



I'm so . . . torn. Part of me refuses to believe that this is happening, that even if it is happening, it will reverse, or be totally untrue upon birth. The other part of me . . well, she's not so optimistic. It's very, very hard to go through each day, feeling this child moving inside me, knowing there's a possibility that she may never see the light of day. Sometimes, like right now, my hope runs dry. Then I run on faith, and even that seems sparse some days.



I'm sorry, guys, to get so maudlin. I can't always be Miss Perky Optimist, although I sure wish I could be. You all be strong for me, okay? Because sometimes I can't do it on my own.



Please. Pray.



Love,



Sandi


James, Neely, Zoe, and our Bella

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Saturday, March 24th, 2007
6:47 pm - Last Week's Column: Capital Punishment shows value of life

james_01
Published in The Daily Beacon, Monday, March 19, 2007


In recent weeks, the death penalty has been a frequent topic of discussion here on the Beacon editorial page, with practically all of the arguments being in opposition. I can certainly respect the convictions behind that viewpoint, as I struggled over the issue for many years myself. Nonetheless, I have come to believe that a mandatory death sentence for certain crimes is not only ethical, it is absolutely necessary for a stable and just society. While my own personal views may very well be in the minority, I feel that I must offer the other side of this debate.



For the most part, the previous columns have focused on two facets: the ethics of a punitive death penalty and the deterrent value it offers. These are certainly important concerns that I will also address. However, I would also like to introduce a third premise: the need to make a statement about how our society values life. If we hold human life in proper regard, then the only sufficient penalty for taking it is for the murderer to give his or her own life. As Ed Koch, the liberal former mayor of New York, points out: “... it can be easily demonstrated that the death penalty strengthens the value of human life. If the penalty for rape were lowered, clearly it would signal a lessened regard for the victims’ suffering... When we lower the penalty for murder, it signals a lessened regard for the value of the victim’s life.”



While the right to life is foundational, it can be forfeited. This concept is found in both the Judeo-Christian scriptures (Genesis 9:6; Ezekiel 13:19; Acts 25:11; Romans 13:1-4, etc.), as well as in the U.S. Constitution. According to the Fifth Amendment, no person shall be “… deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” In other words, if, through this due process, a person is found guilty of a capital crime, the State has a right to impose capital punishment.



Some may object to my use of the Bible in this manner: “But what about ‘Thou shalt not kill?’” A better translation of this verse is “Thou shalt not murder.” While all murder is killing, not all killing is necessarily murder. By definition, the word “murder” means to willfully take the life of an innocent person. This commandment could not have been a prohibition of capital punishment, since in the very next chapter, God specifically commands the death penalty for a number of different offenses.



In the debate over capital punishment, the word “compassion” is often used, and rightfully so. However, when properly carried out, the swift execution of violent criminals is one of the most compassionate things a just government can do. It permanently removes the offender from society.



It also sends a powerful message to would-be criminals. Although some have argued otherwise, the facts remain unchanged: The deterrent value of a consistently enforced death penalty is a powerful restraining agent against crime. In fact, according to a 1985 study by Stephen K. Layson in the Southern Economics Journal, each execution performed in the U.S. deters approximately eighteen murders. For example, in a 1961 California case known as “People v. Love,” the convicts specifically admitted that their decision not to kill hostages was motivated by fear of the death penalty.



It is a horrible thing to have to take a human life. In a perfect world, capital punishment would not be necessary. It is an unfortunate fact of life that, as long as crime and violence exist on this planet, there will be a need for a properly exercised death penalty to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Failure to do so is an insult to every person who has ever been the victim of a violent crime. In the words of former Mayor Koch:



“The death of anyone - even a convicted killer - diminishes us all. But we are diminished even more by a justice system that fails to function. It is an illusion to let ourselves believe that doing away with capital punishment removes the murderer’s deed from our conscience... When we protect guilty lives, we give up innocent lives in exchange.”

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Friday, March 23rd, 2007
7:11 pm - Update on Baby Bella

james_01
For those of you who read my blog regularly, you have no doubt noticed that I have not written anything about the baby lately. Sadly, there has been a reason for that, which up until now, we have not shared with anyone other than our close friends.


Recently, the baby (who is a girl, Faith Isabella) tested positive for a rare chromosomal condition known as trisomy 13. The doctors say that the chances of her carrying the child to term are slim, and even if she does, that the baby will likely be stillborn or only live for a few days.


However, there is good news. Sandi's latest exams show that Bella has a good, strong heartbeat and is growing at the rate she should be. Plus, Sandi is now into her second trimester. This is really a huge goal, because a lot of Trisomy 13 babies miscarry in the first trimester.


Friends, God is a God of miracles, and we covet your fervent prayers during this time. Please pray for our family, for strength and knowledge for Sandi and me, for wisdom for the doctors, and for a healthy life for Bella. Please also share this with your churches and any prayer chains you may be involved in. Thank you so much for helping us through this time. Never were people more appreciated than each of you.

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Thursday, March 8th, 2007
9:10 pm - Redefining cowardice.

cyberknight76
It looks as if the Democrats are trying to replace the word "retreat" with "redeploy" and they are all on board. Over the last few days in various media outlets the terms "withdraw" , "remove", and "retreat" have been replaced by "redeploy". But while the word has been changed, the message that will be sent to our enemies will be loud and clear.

Today democrats voted a large sum of money for Iraq, but there were so many strings attached to the money that the true agenda was quite obvious. "Retreat... Er.. Redeployment begins March 2008".

Avoiding a strict and specific timeline is something that military analysts have been saying since the beginning, and even amid the news on liberal media channels that Iraqi's are happy to have US soldiers there, the surge in troop strength IS working, and the Iraq government is fulfilling their promises, the house Dem's were still determined to have their way.

ABC news, not exactly known for right wing, conservative thoughts on the war reported today that this would be "an ugly fight (for the democrats)"

The president responded to this all by stating "Equally important to funding our troops is giving our commanders the flexibility to carry out their missions, without undue interference from politicians in Washington" And I agree with him. Let's hope his VETO PEN has ink in it.

The ABC news version of this story can be found here.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2007
8:42 pm - New Column (a Little Late)

james_01
Term Limits Improve Government


Published in The Daily Beacon,Monday, February 26, 2007


Not long ago, I was entering the drive through window of a fast food place, when I saw a bumper sticker which summarized my political philosophy quite well: "Politicians are like diapers. Both need to be changed regularly!" In our own local government, the issue of term limits has been hotly debated in recent months, but the underlying principles are as old as our nation itself. Over and over, human nature has proven to me that every elected official, from the President down to the local school board, should be subject to term limits, period.


Thomas Jefferson observed that "if some termination to the services of the chief Magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his office, nominally four years, will in fact become for life," Unlike the dictators, kings and emperors of other nations, our officials are selected to serve the people, not vise-versa. While most people may enter public service with noble motives, the opiate of political influence often proves difficult to handle. Like no other institution, politics has repeatedly proven Orwell’s maxim that "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."


The need for term limits has been recognized throughout our nation’s history, starting with President George Washington. Although Washington’s decision to serve no more than two terms was primarily due to health concerns, it set a model followed by all subsequent presidents until Franklin Roosevelt broke the tradition by being elected four times. This prompted the newly elected Republican Congress to amend the Constitution to prevent the presidency from evolving into a dictatorship. The result of their efforts was the Twenty-second Amendment.


Although term limits is generally thought of as a conservative issue, that has not always been the case. As President Ronald Reagan’s second term was coming to an end, some Republican lawmakers began to push for a repeal of the 22nd amendment so that he could seek a third term. It was later, during the administration of George H.W. Bush that the GOP again picked up the term limits gauntlet. The elder Bush was a strong advocate for expanding term limits to Congress. In the Republican Revolution of 1994, the issue was a key part of the “Contract with America.” Not surprising, however, the issue eventually faded after the Republicans were the party in power.


This was unfortunate. The fact is that term limits address the concerns of both conservatives who are concerned about the government getting too big, as well as liberals who want a more level playing field. This is why people of both parties would be well served to study the issue more carefully. Such an effort would help to clear the path for new faces and fresh ideas to emerge as never before.


Would term limits be an instant "cure-all?" No, but over a period of time, I do believe we would begin to see a more honest, efficient and accountable government. Gradually, beltway elitists would be replaced by private citizens who knew that they would have to return to the real world and live under the laws they had made.


You might say, "But we already have term limits. They’re called elections!" True enough, but this argument is both overly simplistic and self-defeating. Not only are elections often stacked in favor of the incumbent candidate, they are often decided by uninformed voters who think of elected officials in celebrity terms. How many times are votes cast based on which candidate is taller, better looking or simply has more name recognition?


Although the concept of a “virtuous electorate” is certainly a noble ideal, it is simply not a reality. The potential for these sorts of abuses requires us to put up proper restraints. Term limits are one of these restraints which would bring some much needed “fresh air” to the corridors of power.

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Monday, February 19th, 2007
3:59 pm - Today's Column

james_01
Christians No Foes To Progress


Published in The Daily Beacon, Monday, February 19, 2007


Adolf Hitler once remarked that "Once the enemy has been identified, all proof becomes automatic." When society looks for scapegoats, religious groups have always been an easy target. In today’s world, one of the more common pariahs has been the so-called "Christian Right." However, as we will see, this term is often more caricature than reality. Of course, the movement does have its visible spokespersons (Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, Bauer, etc), but when it comes to individual, everyday citizens, the question becomes a bit more complex: Exactly what makes one a part of the "Christian Right?"


Since the majority of Americans profess to be Christian, few would ridicule a person following that faith in their personal lives. On the other hand, many would argue that "It’s OK to be a Christian, just stay out of politics." Of course, if we followed this logic, we would have to repeal both the anti-slavery movement and the civil rights movement, as they were spearheaded by Christian ministers. Still other would argue that the problem is “legislating morality,” but all civil laws, even the speed limit, legislate morality to some degree.


Martin Luther King wisely observed that "The church is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state." Contrary to popular belief, the goal is not to establish a Christian Theocracy in America (a few "Kingdom Now" reconstructionist groups aside). Rather, the conscience Dr. King spoke of is alive and well in the hearts of Christian citizens who desire to follow Jesus’ command to be light to a dark world. Of course, this involves challenging the "status quo," and often it involves being misunderstood and misrepresented.


For example, if simply opposing abortion is such a "fringe" position, then that fringe would include the very founders of the feminist movement. Pioneers such as Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Gage and Elizabeth Cady-Stanton all saw abortion as an act which devalues human life and in doing so, hinders the progress of women.


The pro-life movement is made up of people from every belief system, including some with no religious belief at all. The underlying concern is that the demeaning of human life is a very dangerous thing. Given the advances in prenatal medical technology, we can detect an unborn child's heartbeat as early as three weeks. Why, then, is it so "extreme" to acknowledge that child's personhood?


Another hot-button issue for Christian conservatives is the "Intelligent Design" debate. It is unfortunate that such a false dichotomy is so often drawn between the worlds of science and faith. Copernicus, Newton, Keplar, Pascal, Mendel, Pasteur and countless other scientific luminaries were Christians. They would no doubt be appalled at the way their beliefs are being ridiculed by supposedly "enlightened" secularists.


Philosophical and theological enquiries are necessary to any discussion about the origin of life. If we take them away, then our only alternative is to define the universe in totally materialistic terms. Again, it is not only Christians who are uncomfortable with this. Consider the following: "The products of pure chance in the random combination of genes is an invitation to nihilism and spiritual poverty...the view that all aspects of reality can be reduced to matter and its various particles is . . . as much a metaphysical position as the view that an organizing intelligence created and controls reality." Interestingly, this quote comes, not from the podium of a Creation Science rally, but rather from a man named Tenzin Gyatso, otherwise known as the 14th Dalai Lama! Do these concerns make him a part of this “radical Christian Right?” Hardly!


Many other issues could be addressed, but these sorts of questions are not going away. Religious faith should not disqualify a person from offering answers to them.


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9:13 am - Duncan Hunter

lady_j_usa
This is the best canidate I have found so far.

http://www.gohunter08.com/

He's not yet a front runner but his ideals are supurb.

Any comments?

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Thursday, February 8th, 2007
6:09 pm - My First Daily Beacon Column

james_01
My column debuted in last Monday's edition of the Daily Beacon, and will be appearing biweekly on Mondays. Enjoy!




Blanket Group Labels Inaccurate



Wow, it’s finally here! I would like to begin my first column with a word of thanks to the Beacon staff for giving the old guy a place to share a few thoughts and random ramblings. I hope that the twenty years that I have been a part of the UT community, both as an employee and as a student, have given me some unique perspectives that will provide you with a little food for thought.


I will start with a caveat: If you have an aversion to those right-wing religious fanatics who shove the Bible down people’s throats, then it’s only fair to warn you that I’m one of them. Okay, so that may be a bit of a stretch. While it is true that my political views generally lean right-of-center, I am not a blind partisan. You can be assured that I will not simply be regurgitating Rush Limbaugh’s latest talking points. And no, I won’t really shove a Bible down your throat.


Generally speaking, Evangelical Christians are not just a group of mind-numbed robots that blindly do the bidding of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. We have lives. We have hopes, dreams, joys and sorrows just like all other human beings. And contrary to popular belief, we do know how to think for ourselves. For example, try asking a group of Evangelicals about their opinion on the Iraq war, how to fix the economy or what to do about global warming. You might be pleasantly surprised at the diversity of opinion you would get in response!


My faith will be reflected in my writing, and I make no apologies for that. However, that does not mean that I will simply be giving you a theological treatise every time. To paraphrase T-Bone Burnett, sometimes you write about the Light, and other times you write about what the Light enables you to see. Often, following that Light puts you into categories that defy classification.


This is especially true in regards to politics. For all of the passion and animosity they provoke, "conservative" and "liberal" are actually very ambiguous terms. If you call yourself a conservative, exactly what is it you want to conserve? Historically, it has represented the desire to preserve positive things such as tradition, morality and patriotism. Unfortunately, it has also been used to defend atrocities such as racism, anti-intellectualism and blind allegiance to the status quo.


Similarly, the word "liberalism" bears the undertone of compassion and generosity, which obviously, are wonderful things. Yet even these noble motives can go horribly astray if they are not kept in proper perspective. In his book How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Found Inner Peace), journalist Harry Stein sums it up well:
"I, for one, can respect serious souls who continue to believe that liberalism remains the road to an honorable and humane future. But a lot of contemporary liberal dogma is not so much forward looking as based on contempt for the past, including what many of us see as our best traditions and most essential values…”


For these reasons, many Americans (myself included) are finding it more and more difficult to fit in with organized political parties. In several states, voters have been registering as independents almost as often as they have registered as Republicans or Democrats. Perhaps more than ever, the U.S may be positioning for a major paradigm shift in which individual conscience will finally be more important than party labels.


As we sort through these issues, I do not claim that I will be totally objective (no one is), or that I will be an unbiased observer (this is the opinion page, after all). But I do pledge that I will always respect your intelligence, and that I will keep this column free from sensationalism and personal attacks. Honest, thoughtful dialogue is becoming a lost art in today’s world, and if I can make some small contributions to help remedy that, then my work will have been worthwhile. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the journey together!

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Friday, January 19th, 2007
10:43 pm

lady_j_usa
It is time to change from REDNECK humor to TRUE & AMERICAN Humor! Only I don't see it as Humor, but the correct way to LIVE YOUR LIFE! If you feel the same, pass this on to your True American friends. Ya'll know who ya' are...

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, "One nation, under God."

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You still say "Christmas" instead of "Winter Festival."

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You bow your head when someone prays.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You treat Viet Nam vets with great
respect, and always have.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You've never burned an American flag.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You respect your elders and expect
your kids to do the same.

God Bless the USA! and may the U.S.A. BEGIN TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP GOD the way we used to!!!

(Show Your Support)

8:31 pm

lady_j_usa
WE MUST REMAIN ALERT!!!

Probable U.S. Presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black Muslim from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita, Kansas.

Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii.

When Obama was 2 years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a radical Muslim from Indonesia.

When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia.

Obama attended a Muslim school in Jakarta. He also
spent two years in a Catholic school. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.

Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never
again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Osama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the
western world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.

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Sunday, January 14th, 2007
11:23 pm - Goings on at GodlyGals!

watching_ships
cross-posted to godly_gals and other Christian communities

Here are a few things that are going on right now at the GodlyGals message board:Collapse )

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Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007
10:03 am

lady_j_usa
Sorry for not posting in a while but this is a good one,

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was a vowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes."

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am God. I'm still waiting."

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his Chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

The Marine calmly replied, "God was too busy today protecting America 's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid shit and act like an asshole. So, He sent me."

THIS IS GOOD, KEEP IT GOING. Amen


All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke -


"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?!!?"

- Jay Leno -

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Monday, December 25th, 2006
8:54 am - Merry Christmas!

watching_ships
Verse of the Day

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6

godly_gals...Join the boards!

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Monday, November 13th, 2006
7:25 am

watching_ships
In a recent devotional by Elisabeth Elliot, she listed 8 questions to ask before a church should decide to boot out a pastor.

(taken from godly_gals and GodlyGals boards)

"Before we take such a position of sovereignty, assuming we know the root of the trouble and are warranted in enforcing our "solution," might we not ask ourselves a few questions? (I do not refer here, of course, to cases which unequivocally call for dismissal, such as immorality or heresy.)

1. Who called this pastor? Was it the bishop? The church? Was the decision prayed over? Do we believe in the Holy Spirit's guidance?
2. Do we understand the shepherd of the flock to be one who bears responsibility and authority? "Encourage and rebuke with all authority" was the apostle Paul's word to a young shepherd (Titus 2:15, NIV). To Timothy he said, "Command and teach" (1 Timothy 4:11, NIV). "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority...so that their work will be a joy, not a burden" (Hebrews 13:17, NIV). Have we respected that divine assignment?
Read more...Collapse )

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Tuesday, October 31st, 2006
7:38 pm - Volunteer with the Republican Party!

gop13
Hey all,

If you are in the Sarasota, FL area, the Republican Party of Florida would LOVE to have you walk door to door with us!

***More info behind the cut!Collapse )

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Friday, October 27th, 2006
3:19 pm - Wow, a Liberal Democrat that tells it like it is!

tallymatt
Wow, I am truly impressed by this article I came across by a woman named Camille Paglia, who is obviously a Liberal Democrat and self-proclaimed Atheist.She's not a far Left personality though. Much of what she wrote when she opined on many issues I agree with. There are some parts I disagree with but most of what she said I see as telling it like it is. I wish we had more people like this. She cuts through all the partisan bullcrap.

I encourage everyone to read, Both Liberal and Conservative. I think on most issues she really nailed it. She even opines about what she thinks about religion as an Atheist. I thought she gave good answer on the issue of religion.

There are about 5 pages to read, the label at the bottom that says Pages 1 2 3 4 5, so click on each number after you are finished. Be sure you read it all. It really was a great read.

A Liberal Atheist Democrat that tells it like it is! (Click Here!)

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