Pray for Britney

It is so easy to dismiss Britney Spears and write her off. I read this from her website and just want to pray for this lost young girl.
"I had a manager from a long time ago come in and try to direct me and my life after I got my divorce," writes Spears. "I was so overwhelmed I think that I was in a little shock too. I didn't know who to go to."

"I realized how much energy and love I had put into my past relationship when it was gone because I genuinely did not know what to do with myself, and it made me so sad. I confess, I was so lost," she writes.

"I think the whole problem was letting too many people into my life," she continues. "You never know another person's intentions or what another person wants. ... I have had to cut so many people out of my life."

Spears also says she is "having to face a lot of things" as she raises her two young sons. "A lot of insecurities from when I was little are coming up again," she writes. "It is like we are never good enough."
Please join me and let your heart break in prayer for Britney ... and for Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton ... and for all of the lost young people in our country. These young men and women need our prayers and not our judgment.

Ashes in Orbit

According to this article:
Cremation rates in the United States have risen from 20% to 30% since the mid-1990s, according to the Cremation Association of North America. The association projects that by 2025, the rate will be 50%.
Not sure what I think about cremation. I have to admit that, as I get older, I think a bit more about this option. Of course, for as little as $495, you can send your ashes into orbit J ... are you interested?

Yogi Berra Quotes

Some of Yogi's best from here and here and here:
It's deja-vu all over again.

If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be.

Never answer an anonymous letter.

A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces. I'm not hungry enough to eat eight.

You can observe a lot just by watching.

You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours.

If you ask me anything I don't know, I'm not going to answer.

I really didn't say everything I said.

Kelsi Ezell: "You Inspire Me" Award Winner

This story from our local KC newspaper tells a great story of a young person who has hung in there and overcome adversity. Kelsi Ezell is the receipient of my very first "You Inspire Me" award. Here are a few excerpts fom Kelsi's story:
Her cousin was murdered in 2004. Her aunt died suddenly. Her family adopted her cousin’s two little boys. And she suffered two strokes that left her with no peripheral vision in her left eye.
Quiet, shy and reserved, Kelsi acknowledges that her high school years were rough.

“I guess I was overwhelmed,” said the Kansas City resident. “Everything just got worse and worse. I was so scared. I would cry a lot by myself.”

Kelsi said her high school years had taught her a few things. She’ll “never, ever, ever” touch illicit drugs. Her zero-tolerance stance was shaped by her cousin, Jamie Wilson, who was killed in a drug-related shooting in Kansas City, Kan.

Kelsi said that she would drop any of her friends who used drugs. As a result, her circle of friends shrank dramatically — it’s now limited to her boyfriend and Ashley.

“It kinda sucks not to have friends because you’re making a good decision,” she said.
Life in the Ezell household became more chaotic in January 2006 when Kelsi noticed she couldn’t see.

“I thought I had something in my eye,” Kelsi said. “Then I had a CAT scan and that’s when they told me I had a stroke. They said it was small enough that I was lucky that my vision was the only thing affected.”

Again Kelsi had to adjust.

When Kelsi reads a book, she has to move her head. Putting on eye makeup used to take 30 seconds; now it takes five minutes. And Kelsi said she had actually become a better driver after the stroke because she was more alert.

This year, Kelsi won two scholarships — the Missouri Bright Flight scholarship, which is awarded to the top 3 percent of students taking the SAT or ACT, and the Horatio Alger scholarship, which is given to students who have overcome adversity. Kelsi will attend Park University this fall.
Bravo Kelso!! You inspire us!! Well done!! Best wishes for much success in school and in life.


This cartoon reminded me about how much spin is entrenched in our culture. I think that maybe Henry Kissinger was one of the first modern day spinners when he said:
It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true.
Here are a few definitions that I found:
Spin: (slang) a particular viewpoint or bias, esp. in the media; slant

Spin: a distinctive interpretation (especially as used by politicians to sway public opinion)
Here is my acrostic style definition:

Special Personal Interprative Notion

It is a sad fact that, even in no-spin-zones, spin can be exchanged for reality and truth. In politics, work, entertainment and in religion spin prevails often masquerading itself as 'the truth'. Have you experienced spin on a personal level?

This just in from Junior High

Acting like a teenager in Junior High School Rosie O'Donnell said she may never speak to Elisabeth Hasselbeck again.

Remembering Red Skelton

I love Red and remember watching his TV show when I was growing up. I added this one to my Need A Laugh? blog sidebar.


From Agnus Day ... in honor of Pentecost Sunday ...

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. - Acts 2

Iraqi Religious Intolerance

An Islamic group in Baghdad says:
“Get rid of the cross or we will burn your Churches”

In the Dora quarter threats continue to be made against Christians. In the last two months Christian parishes have been forced to give in to extremist pressure, only the Church of Sts Peter and Paul has withstood so far. A fatwa forbids the practice of Christian ritual gestures. Read more here.

Blood of Iraqi Martyrs

Over the past three years, Iraqi Muslim extremists have targeted Christians in systematic attacks, aimed at driving them from their homes, their work places, and their churches.

Just last week, a group of armed Muslims set fire to St. George’s Assyrian Church in the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad, completely decimating what remained of a church already hit by a deadly fire-bombing in October 2004.

It was the 27th church to have been destroyed by Muslim gangs since the liberation of Iraq from Saddam and his thugs.

“The bombing of St. George’s Church should leave no doubt in any one’s mind that a process of ethnic cleansing has begun,” the Rev. Dr. Keith Roderick of Christian Solidarity International told me.

“Unfortunately, the US has put very little pressure on the Iraqi government to establish, as guaranteed by provisions in the Iraqi constitution, an autonomous federal unit of self governance and security for these minorities,” he said. Read more here.

Sad that our Christian soldiers risks their lives to provide these folks an opportunity for intolerance. I often wonder where Iraq will end up for Christians and churches. Will our American presence in Iraq cause the gospel door to open wider or close a bit further?

Spiderman 3 | ★★★★

Ann and I saw this one on Wednesday. I guess three of these is just too much for me. One nice touch was when Peter Parker forgave his uncle's killer. If you want positive - Scott liked it.

On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★
... but if I were a kid I'd probably give it ★★★★★★★★★

Season Finales

Have to admit that my DVR screwed up and I missed the CSI (Las Vegas) finale. I caught the Heroes, Housewives and Idol finales - liked Heroes, think I'll stop watching Housewives (how did I get hooked in the first place?) and thought that Idol was okay. What did you think?


In this photo released by Melynne Stone, Jamison Stone, 11, poses with a wild pig he killed near Delta, Ala., May 3, 2007. Stone's father says the hog weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. If claims of the animal's size are true, it would be larger than Hogzilla, the huge hog killed in Georgia in 2004. Read more here.

The Code of the West

Last Tuesday I spoke to about ten inmates at our city jail about codes. I told these guys about the Don't Snitch code, the USMC code and the following Code of the West:

  • Don't inquire into a person's past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
  • Never steal another man's horse. A horse thief pays with his life.
  • Defend yourself whenever necessary.
  • Look out for your own.
  • Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.
  • Never order anything weaker than whiskey.
  • Don't make a threat without expecting dire consequences.
  • Never pass anyone on the trail without saying "Howdy".
  • When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within shooting range.
  • Don't wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the horse. A nod is the proper greeting.
  • After you pass someone on the trail, don't look back at him. It implies you don't trust him.
  • Riding another man's horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man's horse.
  • Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim.
  • Never try on another man's hat.
  • Give your enemy a fighting chance.
  • Never wake another man by shaking or touching him, as he might wake suddenly and shoot you.
  • A cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.
  • No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.
  • Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.
  • Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.
  • Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand, to show your friendly intentions.
  • Be there for a friend when he needs you.
  • Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy. This was also known as "the rattlesnake code": always warn before you strike. However, if a man was being stalked, this could be ignored.
  • Never shoot a woman no matter what.
  • Consideration for others is central to the code, such as: Don't stir up dust around the chuck-wagon, don't wake up the wrong man for herd duty, etc.
  • Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in hazardous fire areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas.
  • Honesty is absolute - your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract.
The heart of my message to these guys was Our Code of Living - I told them that acting with integrity, loving mercy and walking in humility would change their lives.

Caption Needed

Heart Prayers Work

Danny Simms asks Do You Really Believe Prayer Works?. Here is the way that I responded:

Sadly, I must admit that most of my prayers come from my head and are filled with fear, insecurity and all sorts of fleshly stuff.

Occasionally I connect with that deep place in me where I genuinely commune with God - these times are so revealing.

Yesterday was such a time. I prayed asking God to forgive me for doubting Him during this real difficult season in my life. He shocked me when He responded that I didn't need to be forgiven. He said that He understood. In that moment I experienced grace and comfort at such a very deep level.

Connecting with God at a heart level brings us into a place of communion that head praying cannot.
Comments closed here so pop over to Danny's Place and share a prayer story with him - or just answer his question :)

Is there really a Difference?

From the GodTube Blog.

Nick Names

Milly has a post on Nick Names at her place. Here is what I commented:
Growing up (and whenever I visit my relatives in NY/NJ) I was called Bobby ... okay until I returned home from the Army.

I was tagged 'Egghead' and 'Eggy' after I got buzzed at the barbers - guess my head looked like an egg ... HATED that one ... stuck for years in Junior High.

In the early 80s I was tagged with 'Eddy' by a co-worker ... hated that one too.

Parents should take note of name-spins when they name their babies.

I guess, for know - if you need a nickname you can call me KB :)
I turned comments off here so that you would go over to Milly's place and share your Nick Name story ... and to keep you from giving me a new nick name :)

Garfield on the Oil Crisis

A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country.

Well, there's a very
simple answer.

Nobody bothered to
check the oil.

We just didn't know we were getting low.

The reason for that is purely geographical.

Our OIL is located in ALASKA, California, Coastal Florida, Coastal Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Our DIPSTICKS are located in Washington, DC!!!

Hat tip to Kim Thomas.

Identity Theft

This cartoon is truer than I want it to be. A few weeks ago we got new Visa cards in the mail with a different account number. When I called Visa I was notified that our old account number was compromised when TJ Maxx computers were hacked back in January. So, in light of that, I thought I'd give you a few sentences from the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) on the topic.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft.

The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make—or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.

Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit. Read more here.

Etch A Sketch Artist

Ever been to The Etch-A-Sketchist blog?

US Marines Code of Conduct

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them in every way.

When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country or its allies or harmful to their cause.

I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free.

I will trust in my God and in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

You can read more about the code here.

BAM!! Another Notch!!

Just for those of you who have never seen Emeril on Food TV.

What People Say About Fear and Courage

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. -Franklin D. Roosevelt

One man with courage makes a majority. -Andrew Jackson

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. -Ambrose Redmoon

It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, "Always do what you are afraid to do." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear breeds fear. -Byron Janis

The greatest test of courage on the earth is to bear defeat without losing heart. -R. G. Ingersoll

All serious daring starts from within. -Harriet Beecher Stowe

Never let the fear of striking out get in your way. -Babe Ruth

Often fear of one evil leads us into a worse. -Nicholas Boileau-Despresaux

Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared. -Eddie Rickenbacher

It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. -Aesop

One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this. -Don Quixote

Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

No passion so effectually robs the mond of all its poers of acting and reasoning as fear. -Edmund Burke

Fear makes strangers of people who should be friends. -Shirley MacLaine

FEAR is just a four letter word -Anon

If you are dealing with fears and insecurities from old head programs, have compassion for yourself. Just love your insecurities, fears and resentments. Release and forgive them as they come up. Judging, beating or repressing insecurities just gives them power. Then you have a pattern that never gets resolved. Recognize that your real security is built from your relationship with your own heart. -Sara Paddison, The Hidden Power of the Heart

Dragon Skin

It is good enough body armor that nine American generals in Afghanistan are wearing it in place of the standard "Interceptor OTV" armor issued to the troops they command. It offers such great protection that the U.S. Secret Service agents guarding the President of the United States wear it, and it is good enough that a civilian contractor in Iraq was shot eight times in the torso at close range and survived without even suffering soft tissue trauma. But the same armor, already in mass production, is apparently too expensive to provide to the men and women fighting and dying in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) every day...

A complete suit of Dragon Skin armor, at more than $5,000 per copy, currently costs about five times as much as Interceptor OTV body armor being issued to the troops. Inceptor armor is primarily produced by two giant companies, Armor Holdings Corporation, the current darling of the Defense Department that has more government contracts than a junk yard dog has fleas, and Point Blank Body Armor, the flagship company of DHB Industries that is currently in the dog house. They can both afford to make it cheap.

Several armor experts, who design, manufacture and sell body armor to individuals and police agencies said that size, cost, and accessibility is what drives the Pentagon's decision on what to buy and whom to buy it from. The same explanation begs the question of how much the lives of America's fighting men and women are worth, they said. Granted, Dragon Skin does have a hefty price tag, but it also save lives, they unanimously agreed. Read more

Reports like this one (as seen on the Today Show this morning) make me sad because of the hypocrisy of our military leaders. I want THE BEST for our soldiers - my son being one of them.

Sign Me Up!

This post originated by accident from my mobile (i.e. phone) account. I was expermenting with it and actually didn't know that I had posted anything. Since 4 of you already commented on this I feel obligated to write something - here goes:

I googled "sign me up" and got the following sites: web-based software that simplifies online payment processing and database management for event registrations, membership management, donation collections and fundraising campaigns for clubs, corporations, charities and associations.

Sign Me Up!: The Parents' Complete Guide to Sports, Activities, Music Lessons, Dance Classes, and Other Extracurriculars

Sign Me Up!: A marketer's guide to creating email newsletters that build relationships and boost sales

Sign Up for Africa Action, the oldest organization in the U.S. working on African affairs. professional online class registration software solution for all your online registration software needs.

I think I could find more if I tried but this fun post is now ended. Thanks for signing up ... and feel free to email me with your cards and letters of support for my presidencial candidacy :)

Remembering Jerry Falwell

Jerry Falwell, a pioneer among pastors and televangelists who later became a leading voice in the national debate over Christian values, has died at the age of 73. Read more about Jerry here. In remembrance I give you a few of his quotes:

I believe with all my heart that the Bible is the infallible word of God.

I think pornography is a scourge on society.

If I were president of the United States, I would include Moslems in my presidency.

In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time- calling upon God.
Please join me in praying for his family.

Famous Last Words

Here are some famous last words posted by Patti in a comment to this post on the Dilbert Blog:
I can do that with my eyes closed.

My dad can take your dad

I'll be back before you know it.

Trust me

Don't worry, my parents are asleep

This won't hurt a bit.

Lightning never strikes in the same place twice.

The worst is over

Look hands!

Don't worry. This boat can't sink.

Umbrella? There isn't a cloud in the sky!

We've got plenty of gas, don't worry.

I'm sure we'll be there in a minute.

I never get lost!

Give me a good tool and I can build/fix anything
Any additions? My entry is "God would never do that!" :)

Where Do You Sit In Church?

This cartoon originally appeared in the Church Times and is taken from ‘The Dave Walker Guide to the Church’, published by Canterbury Press.

Ann and I usually sit about 5 rows back with our small group. I wonder, could we be just trying to blend in as the cartoon says or is it something else :) Lately we have been sitting in the back due to our mobility issues. So where do you usually sit?

Kansas Tornadoes, the Guard & Iraq

Kansas disaster renews National Guard debate
By Carey Gillam

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (Reuters) - Critics of the Iraq war said on Tuesday the Bush administration's failure to replenish vital National Guard equipment sent to Iraq caused Kansas to fall short in responding to last week's tornado disaster, and other states were equally vulnerable.

The White House and the Pentagon rebuffed the criticism, saying Kansas and other states had adequate resources that they could share in event of disasters like the Kansas tornado that leveled one small town on Friday and killed 10 in the area.

The debate was ignited by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who said on Monday the federal government had failed to replace state National Guard equipment deployed to Iraq and the lack of equipment was hindering rescue and recovery efforts after a weekend of violent weather in the Midwestern state. Read more here.

Crossword Puzzles

I like to do crossword puzzles. Ann and I are currently working through one of these Simon and Schuster books. So I found it interesting to read that Bill Clinton is designing a crossword puzzle for The New York Times. The theme of the puzzle is "Twistin' the Oldies," - gotta wonder what kind of clues this one-time Rhodes Scholar will throw at us.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Something to think about. Any answers?

For Husbands on Mother's Day

Whether a man winds up with a nest egg, or a goose egg,
depends a lot on the kind of chick he marries.

Trouble in marriage often starts when a man gets so
busy earnin' his salt that he forgets his sugar.

Too many couples marry for better,
or for worse, but not for good.

When a man marries a woman, they become one; but the
trouble starts when they try to decide which one.

If a man has enough horse sense to treat his wife like
a thoroughbred, she will never turn into an old nag.

On Mother's Day, the wise husband always forgets
the past - but never the present.

86 in a Row

I know that you enjoyed that a bit too much :)

Twists of Fate

Sometimes blessings can really surprise us. Consider this:
John Brandrick, 62, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago and told that he would probably die within a year.

He quit his job, sold or gave away nearly all his possessions, stopped paying his mortgage and spent his savings dining out and going on holiday.

Brandrick was left with little more than the black suit, white shirt and red tie that he had planned to be buried in when it emerged a year later that his suspected "tumor" was no more than a non-life threatening inflammation of the pancreas.
John wants to recoup his losses from the medical community and says:
"I'm really pleased that I've got a second chance in life... but if you haven't got no money after all this, which is my fault -- I spent it all -- they should pay something back."
What do you think? Does anyone owe anything to John? And what would you have done if you were in John's place?

Deployed troops battle for child custody

By Pauline Arrillaga, AP National Writer
Sat May 5, 5:22 PM ET

She had raised her daughter for six years following the divorce, handled the shuttling to soccer practice and cheerleading, made sure schoolwork was done. Hardly a day went by when the two weren't together. Then Lt. Eva Crouch was mobilized with the Kentucky National Guard, and Sara went to stay with Dad.

A year and a half later, her assignment up, Crouch pulled into her driveway with one thing in mind — bringing home the little girl who shared her smile and blue eyes. She dialed her ex and said she'd be there the next day to pick Sara up, but his response sent her reeling.

"Not without a court order you won't."

Within a month, a judge would decide that Sara should stay with her dad. It was, he said, in "the best interests of the child."

What happened? Crouch was the legal residential caretaker; this was only supposed to be temporary. What had changed? She wasn't a drug addict, or an alcoholic, or an abusive mother.

Her only misstep, it seems, was answering the call to serve her country.

Crouch and an unknown number of others among the 140,000-plus single parents in uniform fight a war on two fronts: For the nation they are sworn to defend, and for the children they are losing because of that duty. Read more

Funny Prayer

I lifted this one from Barbara's Place.

Simply Christian

Codepoke at Familyhood Church recommends this book saying that NT Wright agrees with him on many things. Here is the beginning of his review:
Simply Christian is NT Wright's highly persuasive explanation of why Christianity makes sense. Everyone is fond of pointing out that this is Wright's Mere Christianity, and as much as I'd love to top that statement, it's straight up accurate. If you liked Mere Christianity, Simply Christian should wind straight into your heart.
Read the rest of his review here.

Life Imitates Cartoons

It is said that life imitates art ... maybe it really imitates cartoons. Scott Adams has made a living from real life stories from his viewership. Did you know that Scott has a blog? I just found it today and added it to my Bloglines subscriptions.

I added a CARTOONS tag to my blogsite and was surprised to discover how many of my posts included a cartoon ... I guess it is just another example of how life imitates cartoons :)

The Hoax | ★★★★★★

Ann and I spent part of our Date Night this week at the movies and watched this based-on-a-true-story movie starring Richard Gere and Alfred Molina. It is the story of Clifford Irving's bogus biography of Howard Hughes and how he deceived the book publishing business in the early 1970s.

I found the movie to be pretty entertaining and intriguing. I thought that Gere and Molina made the characters real and personable. I was surprised by a gratuitous nude scene which contributed nothing to the story line and should not have been included. I think that one message from the film is that people are often conditioned by their environment and their greed to believe a lie and embrace a fantasy. I thought that the movie presented a scathing commentary on the greed of McGraw Hill publishing and Life magazine. It also showed how a man with no moral compass acts in the face of rejection.

On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★


A few nights ago our small group got on the subject of funerals and epitaphs. Interesting enough Matt's post referenced a Des Moines article about epitaphs. In the article the author posted the following epitaph from Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Ariz.:


He then offered a few choices for himself:





















I have closed comments here, so go over to Matt's place and tell him what you want your epitaph to be.


Animusic is a content creation company. Their principal focus is the production of 3D computer graphics music animation. I got this video by email from my young friend Michael. It is just fun.

Both the graphics and the music are entirely digitally synthesized. Virtual instruments are invented by building computer graphics models of objects that would appear to create the sound of the corresponding music synthesizer track. Graphical instruments range from being reminiscent of existing instruments to arbitrarily abstract.

Another Look at John Edwards

From Edwards rises to the moment:
It’s rare that a presidential candidate -- a Democrat, no less -- tugs his glasses off and says, “Let’s pray." It's rarer still that the candidate concludes, “In Christ’s name.”

In an era of scripted and sterile campaign events, the massacre at Virginia Tech produced a striking spurt of resourcefulness and spontaneity from John Edwards and his staff.

If the presidency is about big moments, Edwards set himself apart from his competitors in both parties, all of whom responded more sluggishly – and with mere written statements -- to a tragedy that would quickly reshape the national dialogue.
I began the campaign season mildly attracted to Edwards then was put off by his $400 haircut. Maybe I need to check him out again?

One Woman's View of Complementarian History

This video is a follow-up to my Spiritual Soldiering post.
You can find the author's comments about the video on her blog.

I am not too sure what I think of the video yet.
All I know is that it made me sad.

Disposable Workers

By Chuck Colson

Why Capitalism Needs Christianity

Last week, electronics retailer Circuit City announced that it was laying off 3400 employees.

What made these particular layoffs noteworthy was not their size but, instead, Circuit City’s stated reasons. They had “nothing to do with [employees’] skills or whether they were a good worker or not.” Instead, “it was a function of their salary relative to the market.”

In other words, Circuit City was laying them off so it could replace them with people who make less. Rotten!

To be fair, Circuit City is not alone in this practice. It is part of a “new way of controlling labor costs in the service industry.” Employers “determine the prevailing market wages for particular jobs in various geographic regions” and “then find ways to make sure that their workers’ salaries stay within that range.”

There is no consideration of an employee’s productivity or quality of work. Nor is there any claim that the company can’t afford to pay what the workers are currently making—only that it doesn’t have to.

It is hard to imagine a clearer example of how rapacious unrestrained economic power can be. With all due respect to the late Milton Friedman, corporations’ social responsibility goes beyond maximizing shareholders’ returns.

But even if you do not think that unapologetically getting rid of workers so that they can hire cheaper workers is degrading and dehumanizing, it goes against your self-interest.

That is because it undermines the moral and cultural consensus that sustains free-market capitalism. Michael Novak has written about what he calls the “three-legged stool” that makes democratic capitalism possible: economic freedom, political freedom, and moral restraint. Take away any of these three and the system collapses.

Christianity’s great contribution to this consensus was that it provided capitalism with a moral dimension that capitalism could not provide for itself. Its teachings about the necessity for moral restraint in the marketplace were rooted in the Old Testament concerns for social justice, fair wages, and care for the poor. It incorporated the consistent biblical teaching about human dignity, including the dignity of honest labor.

Thus, when poet William Blake wrote about nineteenth-century England’s “dark satanic mills,” his criticism invoked unmistakably biblical language and imagery.

Christianity provided more than a basis for criticism of capitalism—it helped forge an alternative that kept what John Paul II called “the circle of exchange” going. In the aftermath of World War II, democratic capitalism in Europe appeared to have failed, leaving communism as its likely successor—until, that is, Christian statesmen like Konrad Adenauer of Germany created an alternative to amoral capitalism and socialism. It was called Christian democracy, and it saved Western Europe from communism.

Closer to home, there are companies like ServiceMaster and Herman Miller, which are run explicitly on Christian principles and have proven that a concern for your employees’ dignity is not incompatible with making a profit.

Christianity has shown that capitalism can be the servant of justice, which is why I am so disturbed at Circuit City’s actions. It is yet another reminder of Christianity’s diminished cultural influence, which leaves people as disposable commodities and dehumanized. This is a sober reminder of why restoring Christian influence is so urgent.

This article is a repost from Breakpoint.

Let Combat Veterans Blog!

I just read that the Army is clamping down on soldiers' blogs. The Army says that they want to ensure that sensitive information about military operations does not make it onto public forums. Reviews will be needed for Web site postings, blog postings, discussions on Internet information forums and discussions on Internet message boards, according to the Army directive.

Call me a cynic but I wonder just how many blogger security breech incidents the Army has documented. I wonder if this is just another way to silence combat veterans who want to share their experiences with the world. Perhaps the administration is a bit uncomfortable with the idea of information coming from an uncontrolled source. I guess I'd file this one under paranoia in the give-me-a-break file.

If you are interested in a few more of my thoughts about our wounded warriors please see my comment at Karen's wounded warriors post.

Spiritual Soldiering

An interesting 9 minute video by Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. This is my first viewing of Driscoll in action and I can see why so many people are attracted to his speaking. Bill Hybels criticized this video because it did not speak of women church planters.

I found it interesting how Driscoll equated soldiering and warfare with manhood. Of course, in the flesh, this might be a somewhat realistic picture of soldiering ... but in reality ... hello ... I know way more gals who pray and fight spiritually than guys. Sad that Mark uses 'soldier' language the way that he did. I thought that this video seems to be a very carnal take on 'soldiering'.

The cornerstone of spiritual soldiering is humility of heart ... maybe it is why we guys are so bad at it. I would be interested in a contrary (to my) perspective on the video if you have one.