Happy New Year

The best gift I could give you..
watch this one and rejoice in the New Year!
..and remember what Clarence said..

No man is a failure who has friends!

GMAB: Actress is West Virginian of the Year

Give Me A Break!! Jennifer Garner, one of my favorite TV series (Alias) actresses, has been honored as the 2007 West Virginian of the Year by her hometown newspaper. The Sunday Gazette-Mail says it chose Garner for her dedication, hard work and service as an ambassador and role model for West Virginia.

Can you believe that.. in all of West Virgina.. a more worthy candidate couldn't be found? Don't they have people who work at homeless shelters? Or how about public servants like fire fighters or policemen? Was there no other person nominated? Is this the role model that we want to tell our kids about? An actress? Give Me A Break!!

Seeing Gray

This video showcases Adam Hamilton, the pastor of the largest United Methodist Church in the USA.. a church just a few miles from my home. I like the idea of seeing the nuanced grays of life.. guess that is why I posted the video here and have subscribed to Adam's blog.

The Real Hell

4 Wins, 12 Losses :(

GMAB: Co-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto

Here is my gift to you for 2008.. a new category that I am calling Give Me A Break. From today's news I submit to you my first entry in this category:
Benazir Bhutto's 19-year-old son, Bilawal, has been appointed co-chairman, with his father, of the former Prime Minister's Pakistan People's Party (PPP). The first year history student at Christ Church, Oxford, will return to his studies with his father and Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari, effectively running the party.
Give me a break!! Is this England? Is his name William or Harry? Will he be "co-chairing" with a crown on his head? Why do we humans feel a need to appoint untested and unqualified children of leaders to leadership positions? What is this.. church?

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone - Time Enough At last

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Growing up in the late 1950s and 1960s the Twilight Zone was one the highlights of my TV watching life. It was usually broadcast on Friday nights in New York. This is one of my favorite episodes. Burgess Merideth plays a great character and the ending of this particular episode was one of the best ever. If you have never watched this great show do yourself favor and watch this one.. and if you remember it let us know what you thought about the Zone.. any of the episodes.

Discipleship on Steroids

Maybe a few of you have been to this guys class K

Evangelicals on Israel

An excerpt from the CT article titled:
Evangelical Leaders Reiterate Call for
Two-State Solution for Israel and Palestine

Over 80 educators and ministry heads affirm efforts to negotiate lasting peace, and warn of consequences of failure. --David Neff, 12/28/2007

As evangelical Christians, we believe our faith compels us to speak a word together at this crucial moment.

The Bible clearly teaches that God longs for justice and peace for all people. We believe that the principles about justice taught so powerfully by the Hebrew prophets apply to all nations, including the United States, Israel, and the Palestinians. Therefore we are compelled to work for a fair, negotiated solution for both Israelis and Palestinians. We resolve to work diligently for a secure, enduring peace and a flourishing economy for the democratic State of Israel. We also resolve to work for a viable permanent, democratic Palestinian State with a flourishing economy that offers economic opportunity to all its people. We believe that the way forward is for the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a fair, two-state solution.

We are encouraged that the Israeli and Palestinian governments have officially endorsed a two-state solution and that polls demonstrate that solid majorities in both Israel and Palestine embrace this path.

We call on all evangelicals, all Christians, and everyone of good will to join us to work and pray faithfully in the coming months for a just, lasting two-state solution in the Holy Land. We call on all involved governments to work diligently toward this goal. And we covenant to pray for the leaders of all the nations engaged in this effort, hoping for them the blessing of our Lord, who said, "Blessed are the peacemakers."

Microwave Lunchbox

Anyone have one of these? How much do you think it costs?

Plastic Surgery

Tallying the votes it appears that YES got 45%, NO got 42% and everyone else either didn't know or have an opinion.

I think that.. generally speaking.. this question can only be asked in the West.. maybe I am wrong but I think that we in the West are overly narcissistic and preoccupied with appearance.. might be wrong though.. maybe you readers from the East can provide some perspective.

I think that I would probably answer yes with the condition that the surgery would not put undue stress on your budget.. how is that for a Western answer? Okay.. what do you think? And tell us if you have had plastic surgery.. even if you have to answer anonymously.

For the record I have not had plastic surgery.. not that I don't need it J

Grudem Supports Romney

If you are concerned about Mitt and Mormonism.. A few excerpts from
Why Evangelicals Should Support Mitt Romney
By Wayne Grudem
Thursday, October 18, 2007

As an evangelical professor of Bible and theology, I have decided to support Mitt Romney for President (even though he is a Mormon) for two old-fashioned reasons: First, he is the best-qualified candidate, and second, he holds moral and political values consistent with those in the Bible.

Best-qualified: The best predictor of future performance is a person’s past track record. ... He was in the top 5 percent of his class at Harvard Business School and simultaneously in the top 1/3 of his class at Harvard Law School. He is incredibly intelligent. ... He knows how to run businesses, and what makes them profitable. This indicates a deep and also practical understanding of what kind of policies will be helpful or harmful to an economy, and second, an outstanding management ability proven in both state government and in business, which is a good predictor of ability to be an excellent President. ... He also rescued the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. When he was brought in to run the Games he turned what was heading to a scandal-ridden financial and PR disaster into a widely-praised success. This involved massive skill in public relations, media management, diplomacy, morale building, and financial administration. This is Romney’s consistent track record: he solves large problems.

Conservative positions: Romney’s positions on social, economic, and international issues are all soundly conservative. On major issues such as protection of the unborn, a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, strong national defense and victory against radical Islamic terrorists, securing our border, a signed pledge of no tax increases, promoting school choice, and appointment of Supreme Court justices who will interpret law, not make new law, Romney holds solidly conservative positions.

What about his religion? Can evangelicals support a candidate who is politically conservative but not an evangelical Christian? Yes, certainly. In fact, it would demonstrate the falsehood of the liberal accusation that evangelicals are just trying to make this a “Christian nation” and only want evangelical Christians in office. For evangelicals to support a Mormon candidate would be similar to supporting a conservative Jewish candidate—someone we don’t consider a Christian but who comes from a religious tradition that believes in absolute moral values very similar to those that Christians learn from the Bible.

My Favorite YouTube Videos

Following are my top three picks for 2007:

Nothing comes close to this video!

This one still makes me cry!

This one was just fun!

What were your favorites in 2007?

Matthews: Hillary is Evita

As I watch today's issue of Morning Joe on MSNBC I am reminded of Chris Matthews rant on that show last week.. he had my wife and I laughing out loud. They were talking about Hillary's Christmas ad and this is what Matthews had to say:
I always thought the problem with Hillary was, her notion of government was, "I am Evita, I am the one who gives gifts to the little people and then they come and bring me flowers and they worship at me because I am the great Evita. And I give things to people. I give them universal health care; I give them an energy program. I give gifts to the little people. The little people come to me and I give them gifts, like universal pre-K. I am the gift-giver to the little people. Oh, I am the grand, grand woman, the grand Evita. And I give gifts to the little people and they're going to come to me in multitudes and worship at me!"

Give me a break! That's not the transaction. It's our country, it's our government. Public officials get to serve us! They serve us, they are our servants. They are not Evitas; they are not goddesses. We don't look up to them that way. We don't get gifts from them. By the way: we pay for every damn program we get. In fact we pay more for it than we're going to get. What are you kidding: you're going to give us stuff? From where? From your treasury? Where are you going to go? The palace? The palace? We're going to give them to you?

It's the Hillary, it's the Clinton notion of the political transaction: we are the well-educated, sophisticated, smarter-than-you, better-than-you people and we're going to give you little things for your little needs. We've got little things for you; here's a gift for you. Universal pre-K. It's an absurdity. And some ad writer around her, Mandy [Grunwald] or Mark [Penn] should say "Mrs. Clinton, this is the problem you have. You think you're better and bigger than the little people, and you're giving them these things.
You can catch the episode on YouTube where Chris also rants about the Huckabee Christmas ad. Might not be hard news but it is pretty funny. Hattip to Mark for the transcript and picture.

Merry Christmas

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas
From the bottom of my heart

Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson LL.D. MA (1709-1784), often referred to simply as Dr Johnson, is one of England's best known literary figures: a poet, essayist, biographer, lexicographer and a critic of English Literature. He was also a great wit and prose stylist, well known for his aphorisms. Dr Johnson is the most quoted English writer after Shakespeare and has been described as one of the outstanding figures of 18th-century England. Here are a few things that he has said:

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

No man was ever great by imitation.

Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.

Getting money is not all a man's business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.

He that undervalues himself will undervalue others, and he that undervalues others will oppress them.

He who praises everybody, praises nobody.

It is better to live rich than to die rich.

Spooky eBay Transaction

Most of this month has been spent looking to replace my SUV with a wheelchair accessible van.. sigh.

Anywho, last week we thought that we found the right Toyota van for the right price on eBay. We spent several days asking questions and zeroed in on it last Wednesday night and entered the Buy It Now deposit on Paypal only to be rejected 5 times in a row.. never had that happen before.. quite frustrating.. as Ann rolled off to the bedroom a thought crossed my mind.. maybe I should re-read the eBay write-up. Yeah.. you guessed it.. the van had been in an accident.. neither of us caught it the first (and several times after) that we read it.

Of course we took the Paypal glitch as a sign of sorts and didn't buy the Toyota. Bought a Honda (see picture) on Friday from an out of state dealer.. they happened to be having a year-end clearance and dropped their price several thousand dollars from the price we had discussed the week before. An early Christmas blessing.. I love it when that happens.

Crazy for God

My blog friend Julie recently opined about this book and linked to this interview with Frank Schaeffer, the author of this new book. The interview begins with this quote from the book:
The public image of the leaders of the religious right I met with so many times also contrasted with who they really were. In public, they maintained an image that was usually quite smooth. In private, they ranged from unreconstructed bigot reactionaries like Jerry Falwell, to Dr. Dobson, the most power-hungry and ambitious person I have ever met, to Billy Graham, a very weird man indeed who lived an oddly sheltered life in a celebrity/ministry cocoon, to Pat Robertson, who would have had a hard time finding work in any job where hearing voices is not a requirement. —Frank Schaeffer, Crazy for God
Needless to say this intro got my attention big time. Not sure that I will read the book because it seemed, from the interview anyway, that Frank provides a somewhat biased view against the religious right. Here are a few Frank excerpts from the interview:
About his famous family: Dad had a very strong temper. He and mother had a good marriage, in the sense that it lasted. They had a lot of affection for one another, and they were very dynamic. But there was also, as there are in a lot of human relationships, a very dark side. One of those dark sides came out when they were fighting. My father would yell and scream and throw things. Sometimes, it went beyond that.

About Christain Celebrities: My father never would have pictured a day when his work would help lay a foundation for the anti-gay, anti-homosexual campaign being carried out by people like James Dobson and others. ... The idea of watching himself on The 700 Club or a replay of him preaching from Jerry Falwell’s pulpit would not please Dad, given the direction all this has gone. ... Yes. He saw it as a crazy world. He would say things like he thought Pat Robertson was out of his mind or that Jerry Falwell was harsh and inhuman.

On President Bush: He is arguably the worst president in the history of the United States. He is unfit for the office of president of the United States. He has trouble speaking the English language and articulating a point of view. Second, he has led us into a war—in which my son, by the way, fought—on false pretenses. That is a terrible thing. Bush is personally responsible for the displacement of the Christian minority in Iraq. It was the last large Christian minority anywhere in the Middle East, and it has been destroyed. It is ironic that someone who proclaims he is a Christian president has single-handedly started a war that has undone the last Christian minority in the Middle East. Now it is wall-to-wall Islam from Tehran all the way to the Mediterranean with the exception of Israel. There is not one place outside of Syria that still has that intact Christian minority now.
Well, I warned you that it would be anti-religious right. The interview also has interesting perspectives on the politics of the Iraqi War, abortion and homosexuality but I am already negative enough on the right and don't need more fuel for the fire. Take a look at the interview and let me know what you think of it.

Bring Them Home

An Early Christmas

12/23 Update: My son called and said that he landed safely in Colorado Springs! He seemed very happy to be back in the states. Just a few more months and he will return to civilian living. Color me thankful!

12/21: This one touched me on several levels. My son should be heading back to the states as I write this. I am so thankful to God for the man he has become and that he is FINALLY coming home! And I pray that God will bring many more home in the coming year.

Just the Black Notes

Eight Minutes of Education and Inspiration

Hattip to Danny Sims

The Politics of Religion

Recently Newseek Magazine asked this question:
Do you consider people of the Mormon faith to be Christian?
My blog friend Janna has a lively discussion over at her place around this question. Here is how I answered:
If the question was..
"Do you consider Mormonism to be Christian?"
..my answer would be no.. but asking us to make a judgment on people.. and (really) a person (Romney) in particular.. is a place that I will not go.. I will not say that say that Romney.. who appears to love Jesus.. is not a Christian because he was raised in Mormonism.

Really.. an Evangelical can embrace all of the "correct" beliefs at a head level but be utterly lost because they have never bowed their heart to Jesus.. alternately.. a Mormon may not have it all together in their head but may have bowed their hearts to Jesus with everything they know to bow.
I have watched Mitt Romney respond to some pretty hateful questioning about Mormonism.. it has made me sad that so many "orthodox" Christians have been so unloving. To be clear, I don't have a problem with asking a candidate to answer religious questions.. no more than I do asking him other "personal" questions. What I object to is the slamming of a man.. who is faithful to his wife, his family, his church and his country.. because he embraces the faith that he was raised in.

If you are inclined to do so.. judge Romney on his actions while Governor of Massachusetts.. criticize his positions on the issues.. take issue with him for changing his positions.. but don't fault him for being a Mormon.. and don't fault Mike Huckabee for believing in "Intelligent Design" :)

Redneck Christmas Tree

A whole lot of Mountain Dew!

Kansas Caucuses

Looks like I will get a chance to influence the presidential destiny of our nation. For the first time in 20 years Kansas will hold a presidential caucus.. albeit on two different days.. the Republican Caucus in on February 9th.. the Democratic one is February 5th.

I am registered to vote in only one of these contests.
I wonder if I should re-register?

McCain: Have a Blessed Christmas

Go Google Yourself

According to this study:

Googling oneself is more popular:
In a report Sunday, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said 47 percent of U.S. adult Internet users have looked for information about themselves through Google or another search engine.

That is more than twice the 22 percent of users who did in 2002, but Pew senior research specialist Mary Madden was surprised the growth wasn't higher.
So, on that note, I decided to google me and got these results:

"Kansas Bob" yielded about 11,500

kanasbob returned about 4,700

BobLastname about 6470 and

"Bob Lastname" about 278,000

Let me know if you google you and what you find.

TM: Finally a Good Use

I despise text messaging.. well.. maybe that was a bit too strong.. but I really don't like it. So when I read these headlines..
Alltel feature turns voicemail to text
..I thought.. finally.. there could be a good reason to receive a text message!

Top Viral Videos

Time Magazine recently announced the Top 10 Viral Videos for 2007.. those videos that people downloaded over and over again. Here they are listed in my own rank order.. best ones first.. well.. after the first few I didn't like them too much..
Vote Different ..great Obama commercial

Iran So Far ..funny SNL digital short with Andy, Adam and Fred

The Landlord ..with Will Ferrel

Thriller ..odd dance sequence with Philippine prison dancers

Can't Tase This ..MC Hammer remix with tasered UF student

Dan Rather ..on the roof.. no scarf.. not coat

Clark and Michael ..the series preview

Miss Teen USA 2007 ..South Carolina contestant answers a question

Daft Hands ..lame video

Leave Brittany Alone! ..bad language warning.. Time's #1 ..she's a he!
Let me know which ones you would put at the top of your list.

Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison (1983-1901) was the twenty-third President of the United States, serving one term from 1889 to 1893. He had previously served as a senator from Indiana. His administration is best known for a series of legislation including the McKinley Tariff and federal spending that reached one billion dollars. Democrats attacked the "Billion Dollar Congress" and defeated the GOP in the 1890 mid-term elections, as well as defeating Harrison's bid for reelection in 1892. A few of his quotes:
We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.

I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.

Great lives never go out; they go on.

The bud of victory is always in the truth.

After the heavy blow of the death of my wife, I do not think that I could have stood re-election.
He is to date the only president from Indiana.

Favorite TV Commercial

This one topped Time Magazines top 10 TV commercials.

I like the PC vs Mac commercials better.
What is your favorite commercial?

Midwest Without Power

Update from Milly: It’s warm and cozy in the house tonight. We’ve replaced some of the food that had to be tossed. All is good in our home.

Please remember Milly and other people who live in Oklahoma (like my friends Jerry and Marvale), Kansas and Missouri as they are trying to get by with out electricity as they recover from the after effects of the recent ice storm.

Welcome Home Soldiers

My son experienced this kind of airport reception several times as he returned from Iraqi duty over the last four years. He should be in the states by Christmas.. hard to find words to say thank you to him, his comrades in battle and to our Father. This one minute video commercial says it pretty well.. even for a beer maker :)

Moderate KB

Hattip to Casey the Fightin Fundy and QuizFarm.

Okay.. it says Conservative.. but Moderate is listed on top.. and I do prefer Moderate even though I am a Conservative.. just don't want to be labeled Conservative.

What about you? Let me know if you take the test and how you scored.

The Truth: Forwards and Backwards

Hang in for 3 minutes.. it is worth it!

Global Political Agenda

This week Chuck Baldwin wrote an article titled
Christian Right Just Doesn't Get It.
Below are a few excerpts from it:

In 1980 and 1984, I joined my friends in the Christian Right in helping Ronald Reagan achieve two landslide victories. In fact, as the Executive Director for the Florida Moral Majority, I helped my friend, the late Jerry Falwell, register more than 50,000 evangelical voters during those years.

In 2000 and 2004, my wife and I could not in good conscience vote for G.W. Bush, so we cast an independent ballot those two elections. However, there is no question that, to a great extent, it was the Christian Right's almost universal support for George W. Bush that gave him two terms in the White House.

Unfortunately, it has been the Christian Right's blind support for President Bush in particular and the Republican Party in general that has precipitated a glaring and perhaps fatal defect: the Christian Right cannot, or will not, honestly face the real danger confronting these United States. The reason for this blindness is due, in part, to political partisanship or personal aggrandizement. Regardless, the Christian Right is currently devoid of genuine sagacity. On the whole, they fail to understand the issues that are critical to our nation's--and their own--survival.

Republican candidates have learned how to "talk the language." They know that Christians are basically compassionate and trusting people, and therefore prone to being gullible and easily manipulated. They know that Christians have short memories and are desperate to be accepted at the king's table (largely a result of the church-growth movement and mega-church mentality).

Republicans such as Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, and even Rudy Giuliani are all currently receiving fractured support from the Christian Right. However, you can mark this down: the Christian Right (with few exceptions) will eventually coalesce around whoever wins the Republican nomination--no matter who it is. You see, it's all about political partisanship. Principles are only something we talk about during off-election years.

All the pro-life, pro-family, traditional-values, conservative talk is just that: talk. Republicans use conservative rhetoric the same way Democrats use liberal rhetoric. Neither party believes what they are telling their constituents. They merely say what constituents want to hear in order to get elected; after which, they set about to do what their elitist, globalist manipulators tell them to do.

Accordingly, no matter which party wields power in Washington, D.C., nothing much changes. Oh, there might be a little variance here or there, but the overall agenda of the globalists is undeterred. And the Christian Right just doesn't get it. They don't see it. They have swallowed the partisan line all the way to the gullet.

Have you wondered why Mike Huckabee is suddenly getting so much favorable attention from the mainstream media (who themselves are controlled by this gaggle of global elite)? To find the answer as to why a professing pro-life, conservative Christian would suddenly become the darling of the media, look no further than the fact that just a couple of months ago, Mr. Huckabee appeared before the globalist-minded Council on Foreign Relations. (Read his speech here.) And when he did, it became abundantly clear that Huckabee was a man globalists could trust. By the way, as you read Huckabee's speech, you will find that he is George W. Bush on steroids!

This also explains why independent-minded candidates such as Ron Paul are forever cast in terms such as "fringe," or "extremist," or "nutty." The same CFR elite that controls the Washington political establishment also controls the New York media and financial establishments. And they hate outsiders! Of course, outsiders are those who do not share the globalist, utopian, New World Order machinations of the CFR.

A vote for just about every major presidential candidate from either party is a vote for more of the same thing. Of the Presidential candidates in serious contention, Ron Paul, and Ron Paul alone, stands for change. Ron Paul, alone, would truly obey his oath to the Constitution and would work to restore freedom and liberty to the American people. Ron Paul, alone, would kick the globalist elite out of power in Washington, D.C., and restore this country to constitutional governance.

I am usually pretty skeptical about conspiracy theories around the Council on Foreign Relations or the Illuminati.. but this article has got me to thinking. It does frustrate me about how:

:little changes when Democrats or Republicans are in power

:much power lobbyists have.. especially foreign ones

:many foreign companies own once American owned corporations

:much we have given away in trade agreements

:many of our high tech jobs have, and are being, outsourced

:much money we are spending in Iraq

:our borders seem to stay open to illegal aliens

How about you? Do you embrace globalism? Have you ever thought that globalism might be just another word for Babylon the Great.. right out of the book of Revelation?

You might be emerging if..

Barbara linked to this post with the same name as this post. You need to check it out.. if just to see the great pics.. here is a teaser:

You use these words in a positive way:
Missional, Liquid/Aqua, Ancient-Future, Post ____, Jesus, Community, Derrida, Liturgy, Global, Creed, Experience, Social Justice, Conversation, Spiritual, Ritual, Beauty, Art, Blog, Ooze, Journey, Discussion, Open, Random, Culture, Technology
You use these words in a negative way:
Foundationalism, Absolute Truth, Church Growth, D.A. Carson, Calvinism, Modernism, Fundamentalist, Bush, Seeker Sensitive, Preaching, Pulpit, Doctrine, Innerancy, Power, Enlightenment, Rationalism, Meta-narratives, Universal, Judgemental
Depending on your sense of humor, you're a tad irritated with this post.

Media Perspective on Us

I really liked what Cameron said on his blog:
"I could care less what religion Romney is, AND I will not sacrifice principle just to beat Hillary."
I am not.. and I know that many of you are not.. part of the vast right wing Evangelical masses that the media like to talk about.. the one that won't vote for a Mormon or Hillary. I absolutely hate.. I know.. strong words.. how the media/press have figured us out and dismissed so many of us sincere followers of Jesus. They do not know us as well as they think they do.. hope we surprise them next year.

Inspiring Pauline Jacobi

DYERSBURG, Tenn. - A 92-year old grandmother from Dyersburg talked a would-be robber out of taking her money, by praying with him.

Pauline Jacobi just finished putting her groceries in her car, when a man got into her passenger seat.

That man told Jacobi he had a gun, and he would shoot her if she didn't give him all her money.

The spunky 92-year old said no, and then she started talking with the would-be robber.

"I said Jesus is in this car and he goes with me everywhere I go. He just looked around and the tears just began coming down his eyes," Jacobi said.

Jacobi talked with the man for several more minutes. Then he said he was going to go home and pray.

The grandmother then willing gave him all the money she had on her, which was $10.


Casey is surprised about this story that reports of Pope Benedict XVI offering relief from purgatory to Roman Catholics who travel to Lourdes over the next year. I thought that it might help to show this diagram and the following excerpt from catholic.com:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030). It notes that "this final purification of the elect . . . is entirely different from the punishment of the damned" (CCC 1031).

The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.
From Wikipedia:
Mortal sin, according to the beliefs of Roman Catholicism, is a sin that, unless confessed and absolved (or at least sacramental confession is willed if not available), condemns a person's soul to Hell after death. The phrase is used in I John 5.16 -17:
"If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one - to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal." (NRSV)
In all Catholic moral theology, a mortal sin, as distinct from a venial sin, must meet all of the following conditions:
Its subject must be a grave (or serious) matter;

It must be committed with full knowledge, both of the sin and of the gravity of the offense;

It must be committed with deliberate and complete consent.
I am not an expert in this but thought that it would be helpful to understand this theological difference when discussing the afterlife with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.. and please do not use this post as an opportunity to bash Catholicism.. though Luther objected to the selling of indulgences.. we Protestants have our own issues around the raising of money.

Christmas Questions

Hattip to Janna for these questions:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift Bags.. I hate to wrap.. also hate rap.. as in music.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial.. bought one with pre-strung lights a few years ago.. man is it heavy.

3. When do you put up the tree? Week before Christmas.

4. When do you take the tree down? A few weeks after the first of the new year.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yuk!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Bicycle

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My wife.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Our church staff party gag gift.. we play a game where we pick and trade these treasures.

10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received? Expensive electronic trinkets which I usually return.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.. with a yearly note.. not sure that I'll have the energy this year.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? The Nativity Story.. see my review here.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Mid-December.. sometimes a few days before Christmas.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes.. those electronic trinkets.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Peanut brittle

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Pre-strung white lights

17. Favorite Christmas song? Unquestionably, Oh Holy Night.. vote for a few renditions here.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Usually we stay home.. last time we travelled we took a cruise.. it was an exercise in trust.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Maybe if I really tried..

20. Angel on the tree top or star? Angel.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? In the morning, especially when the kids were young.

22. Most annoying thing this time of year? Not really annoying but it is difficult when I remember how hard this time of the year is for so many.. how hard it is for me right now.

23. What I love most about Christmas? The music.. and thinking about the manger scene.. Mary, Joseph, the Magi, the shepherds, the animals.. and the baby Jesus.. God with us.

Feel free to comment & play along if you like. If you participate on your own blog, let me know and I'll come visit!

Iraq: Military Perspective

A few excerpts from this article titled
Military Families Question Iraq War as Support for Bush Slips

Kent Fletcher, an Iraq war veteran, says he enthusiastically voted for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Now, he is a registered Democrat who questions the need for the war, the way it has been managed and the treatment of returning veterans.

"Saddam Hussein wasn't a threat and the culmination of my career was that war and it wasn't necessary," says Fletcher, 32, a financial analyst in Bluffton, South Carolina, who served almost 10 years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows that Fletcher's skepticism about the war reflects a growing disenchantment within the broader military community, long a bastion of support for the Bush administration and Republicans. Among active-duty military, veterans and their families, only 36 percent say it was worth going to war in Iraq. This compares with an Annenberg survey taken in 2004, one year after the invasion, which showed that 64 percent of service members and their families supported the war.

In 2005, Fletcher, the Marine who switched party affiliations, published an editorial in the Huntington, West Virginia Herald-Dispatch newspaper scolding critics of Bush, who he said were also insulting the U.S. fighting forces.

"You don't have to spit on an Iraqi war veteran physically to spit on one metaphorically," he wrote. "We are part and the same with the president's administration."

Fletcher is now a member of Votevets.org, a group that promotes political candidates, particularly veterans who are critical of the Bush administration's Iraq war policies.

That shift in Fletcher's view may reflect a broader trend in the military about dissent. The Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll finds that 58 percent of military families -- the same margin as the overall population -- believe it is appropriate for retired military personnel to criticize Bush even in a time of war.

Slowly I Turned..

If you are too young to have watched the Stooges.. or just need a walk
down memory lane.. you need to watch this classic vaudeville bit.

Candidates Worst Jobs

As a follow-up to this post I have listed a few excerpts from this AP article:

Mike Huckabee remembers a thankless task at Penney's as a teenager, scrubbing away fingerprints only to have customers smudge the glass all over again.

Mitt Romney worked in a sewage pipe on an Idaho ranch when the effluent was still flowing.

In Alaska as a post-grad, Hillary Rodham Clinton spooned the guts out of fish.

"Backbreaking work," Bill Richardson said of his summer of laying sod on Cape Cod.

Fred Thompson: "I've worked in a factory, I was a bouncer at my uncle's drag strip, I worked at the post office, I sold children's shoes, I sold ladies', I sold men's clothing, I was a night clerk at a motel.

John Edwards had awful cleaning duties earlier at the textile mill where he worked summers and part time during school. And the other part of that job was mopping out from under the looms — the grease."

John McCain: The Navy pilot landed in a vicious Hanoi prison and has no complaints about other circumstances of his youth: "I've never really had a bad job."

Barack Obama cleared a construction site for a summer on Manhattan's Upper West Side while attending Columbia University. But he says his worst job was scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins because he ate too much of it.

Rudy Giuliani weighed the priesthood and medicine before pursuing law.

Chris Dodd did construction work for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. He counts his job selling clothes in a haberdashery as his worst job.

John might disagree.. but I think his "job" in Hanoi is probably the worst of the jobs listed.. although Hillary's fish gut spooning doesn't sound like fun.

WWW: Redneck Bank Robbery

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this from the Tuesday edition of WSAV TV News:

We're told around 11:40 this morning, 59-year-old Barbara Joyner, of Callahan, Florida went through the drive thru at the South Carolina Bank & Trust branch on Highway 17 and handed the teller a note demanding money. The teller notified the branch manager, who called Hardeeville Police.

Because the police station is closeby, officers were on scene in less than a minute.

Officials tell us Joyner drove off when police arrived and led them on a brief chase south on Highway 17 and then through the parking lots of the Napa and Dollar General Stores. She was finally stopped on Paynesville Road, behind the stores.

Authorities say she was arrested without incident and is being charged with bank robbery and failure to stop for blue lights.

Christmas Gift Suggestions

I think that these gifts are appropriate any time of the year:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect."

-- Oren Arnold

KB: The One and Only

My friend Barbara asks the question: How many people share your name?
I checked and found out that:

My formal name (Robert) yields:
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

There are 4,780,744 people in the U.S. with the first name Robert. Statistically the 3rd most popular first name. There are 415,717 people in the U.S. with my last name. Statistically the 49th most popular last name.
My nickname (Bob) yields:

LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.
There are 83,447 people in the U.S. with the first name Bob. Statistically the 585th most popular first name.
Kansas Bob yields:

LogoThere are
Only 1
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

There are 0 people in the U.S. with the first name Kansas. There are 1,821 people in the U.S. with the last name Bob. Statistically the 16271st most popular last name.
Okay.. KB came up with a zero.. but you all know that there is only one KB!

The stats are not worldwide so the number only represents USA stats.

So, go here and tell me: How many have your name?

Muhammad Ali

I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.

I believe in the religion of Islam. I believe in Allah and peace.

If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.

I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."

I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin' hell, but as long as they ain't free, I ain't free.

I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.

It's not bragging if you can back it up.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

The man who has no imagination has no wings.

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.

Dale Carnegie

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

"“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare."

"Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do."

"When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health and our happiness. Our enemies would dance with joy if only they knew how they were worrying us, lacerating us, and getting even with us! Our hate is not hurting them at al, but our hate is turning our days and nights into a hellish turmoil."

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."

"Fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind."

"Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed."

"Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have."

"If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive."

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."

Unlavish Joel Osteen

A few excerpts from an Orlando Sentinal article titled Televangelist Joel Osteen shuns lavish lifestyle, visits Orlando today and Friday:

If the evangelical world is looking for a poster child to offset the negative publicity surrounding rich televangelists, Joel Osteen would be a good choice.

Osteen lives a much different life.

He has not taken a salary from his Houston megachurch for two years. He owns one house -- the same one he and his wife, Victoria, have lived in for 13 years -- and until recently he drove a 9-year-old car he inherited from his late father. Osteen pays his own hotel bills, and there is no private jet.

Although the upbeat minister does take collections at services, netting an estimated $43 million a year, Osteen does not ask for money on his broadcasts, which reach an estimated 7 million viewers weekly in the U.S. and 100 other countries. Nonetheless, an additional $30 million comes through the mail. His most recent book deal earned him a $13 million advance.

"We make plenty of money from our books," said Osteen, 44. "But we just live normal lives. We try to be conservative and honor God with our life and with our example."

Evel Knievel: His Last Leap

The man immortalized in the Smithsonian as "America's Legendary Daredevil" passed away on Friday at age 69. I will always remember him as the man who spoke these words in the spring of this year:

"I don't know what in the world happened. I don't know if it was the power of the prayer or God himself, but it just reached out, either while I was driving or walking down the sidewalk or sleeping, and it just—the power of God in Jesus just grabbed me. … All of a sudden, I just believed in Jesus Christ. I did, I believed in him! … I rose up in bed and, I was by myself, and I said, 'Devil, Devil, you bastard you, get away from me. I cast you out of my life.' … I just got on my knees and prayed that God would put his arms around me and never, ever, ever let me go."

Pray for Kelli

12/1 Update: A final excerpt from Kelli's blog:
Apparently, once they opened up my back, they discovered that my condition had worsened since my MRIs. Dr. Borkowski said the rupture was "huge", and that the whole mess was within days of another "explosion".

This explosion would have sent additional shards of bone and jagged disc material cutting through my spinal cord, and could have caused paralysis, as well as complete loss of control of the bowel and bladder.

In other words, I was just days away from a colossal medical emergency.
Kelli is back on her feet these days will small residuals left from her back injury. An amazing climax to this great story. Thanks for praying.

11/23: Two Short Video Updates from Kelli: To God be the Glory!

From Kelli's 11/16 Update: Kelli's friends have raised all of the money needed to cover her back surgery.. WooHoo.. and the money is still coming in. She is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday. This video is a great one to watch in preparation for Thanksgiving. Please give thanks and pray for Kelli.

10/30: Please pray for Kelli who writes:

I'm thirty-one years old, and I cannot get around without a walker. I cannot sit at a desk for more than ten minutes without blacking out from the nausea and pain. ... My life has been condensed to a few bleak moves. A restricted dance of shuffle, shuffle, step, step. Of agony when I sit. Agony when I lay. Agony when I stand.

Courage Under Fire

12/1 Update: Kirk passed away last Sunday. Please pray for his family.

If you are wondering what courage looks like these days please take 11 minutes to watch this moving video. In it Kirk and Angie Rogg speak of the impact that Kirk's April 2007 ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.. also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) diagnosis had on their lives, their family and everyone around them. It is a hard video to watch.. watch it anyway.. let their heart's touch you.. let your heart mourn with them.. and let your mourning cause you to pray.

The companion video that Kirk refers to is posted below. Here is a link to
Kirk's page and one to his church's page on him.