Berean Blog

Random thoughts from a Doulos Theos (servant of God)

Location: Rocky Point, North Carolina, United States

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Here it is, the final day of 2005. At the risk of sounding cliche, the year has gone by almost too quickly. At the same time, it's also a relief that it's behind us now. Bittersweet...

I'm as restless as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs today, and can't quite isolate the reason. I think part of it is the fact that the three oldest Arrows are not only out of the house, but out of state.
They're attending a teen worship gathering in Northwestern Alabama; they left before sunrise on Thursday, and won't be back until tomorrow afternoon. I miss them like only an old Papa-bear can.

In the meantime, we have the twins for entertainment. As we sit here, and Dee is having them try on winter clothes (yes, it's finally cold weather here on the coast), we've been listening to Paul Wilbur on the new stereo my dear Rib got me for my birthday. As the three CD's just finished, I interrupted this post to take requests from Dee.

One of her requests (as not-so-subliminally suggested by Josh) was a CD we gave the Arrows for Christmas, Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia. As I began searching the CD rack for it (which at one point was alphabetized) with no success, I was informed (by the true requester of same) that it "should be on the rack". That means as much to me as "a Republican-controlled government should be smaller" -- in other words, roll the dice, buddy!

After a brief and fruitless search of the area by the man of the house, he proceeded to walk over to the rack and immediately pick it out, with a triumphant, "Here it is!". As I surveyed the vacancy from which it came, I realized my filing error (remember, I was searching alphabetically). As I retorted, "Oh, I should have looked for it between Stuart Little and Luther Vandross!" Priceless...

So, we have an election year encroaching, and November will be upon us before we know it. In the interest of edu-ma-cating my beloved readers, I have included a new link in my Links column to the left.
Since it is quickly becoming time to think about organizing the links in some fashion, I'll spare you the trouble of ascertaining which link is new. It's a link to the national headquarters of the Constitution Party. If you are as tired of broken Republican promises as I was several years ago, you may want to familiarize yourself with this alternative.

I'm a little frustrated with the organization (or lack thereof) of our state's party, but at least the national platform is sound (and Biblical). Of course, they haven't had much of an opportunity to prove themselves faithful to that platform, but I'm looking forward to it.
Really, how could Christian conservatives do any worse than the Reflublicans? At least with the Demobrats, we can expect to be overlooked, but the GOP does it in spite of our support. Phooey on them (and you can quote me on that!).

The clan and I were watching Gettysburg a few nights ago; one of my all-time favorites (along with its prequel Gods and Generals, and most likely its soon-to-be-released sequel, Last Full Measure). Unlike movies like Glory, it is well-researched and actually historically accurate.

As a Civil War aficionado, I have difficulty wholeheartedly endorsing either side of that important conflict. I hasten to explain that remark, particularly since my ancestors were all Union, fighting in regiments from Ohio and Illinois.

From the Union perspective, I can appreciate the honorable effort to preserve the fragile experiment that was elected democracy, as well as end slavery (an abominable institution that almost split the confederacy of the thirteen colonies before they began as a nation).
However, from the Confederate side, I can also fully appreciate the intent to remain sovereign states, as the Founding Fathers intended. Bonnie Blue!

Anyway, we were discussing the battle at Gettysburg as the "High Water Mark of the Confederacy", and what a difference was made by the Union victory. The natural companion to that discussion is, of course, the results had there been a Confederate victory. That victory could arguably have predicated an ultimate end to the war.

I think what makes Gettysburg so intriguing is the near-myriad factors that (combined and/or by themselves) would have changed the outcome of the battle. For instance:

What if...

  • JEB Stuart had been available to provide reconnaissance for Lee's army?
  • Union General Buford had not had the foresight to seize and hold the high ground the first day?
  • Confederate General Heth had not ignored his orders to avoid fighting until Lee's army was fully in place?
  • Union General Reynolds had been delayed by weather and prevented Heth from destroying Buford?
  • Confederate General Ewell had followed Lee's desire (and General Trimble's zeal) to take Round Top before the Federals did?
  • Confederate General Longstreet had not allowed his hesitancy to attack without Pickett to delay his action on the second day?
  • Federal General Warren (not portrayed in the movie) had not realized the vulnerability of the Union left flank, leading to the posting of Col. Chamberlain's 20th Maine on Little Round Top?
  • Chamberlain had not invented the impromptu maneuver to repel a determined Confederate charge that might otherwise have prevailed?
  • Confederate General Hill's health (not portrayed in the movie) not confused troop selection to ensure fresher troops be used in the assault on the Union center?
  • Confederate Colonel Alexander's artillery had been able to provide the support that Longstreet desired for his assault on the Union center (an assault that almost succeeded)?
Any one of these could have allowed a Confederate victory over a timid General Meade (a timidity proven by his failure to pursue Lee across the Potomac, thereby prolonging the War). That was the topic of our family discussion -- what if the South had been permitted to maintain sovereignty as a separate nation??

The ramifications are immense, and I will undertake some of them in another posting.

Have a safe and blessed new year, dear saints. Until 2006, I bid you all farewell.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
(Isaiah 7:14)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7)

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Behold the holiday cometh!

I don't know why I started that way, it just seemed the thing to say (whoa, that rhymed - that was perfectly timed. Hey, it happened again - who'd have thought so then? Hey! Well, never mind...).

I am in good spirits, for no apparent reason other than I am a child of the King, Christmas is almost a week away, shopping has been done for awhile, and all is well in the Doulos world.

It's the rest of the world that concerns me!

I'm carefully watching the Patriot Act reauthorization circus. The House disappointingly passed it yesterday, and it moved on to the Senate for consideration today.
Actually, I just checked on it, and it's a dead horse. Not to be denied though, I'll proceed to beat it for a few minutes.

Having held a sensitive clearance for several years, I fully understand the clandestine society of the intelligence community. I am not enough of an extreme Federalist Patriot to demand full disclosure of governmental workings. I personally know enough of what happens behind the scenes to know that the average American would be appalled at some of what our government calls legitimate activities.
At the same time, I would fully expect some measure, however small, of justification for maintaining such an invasive (and unconstitutional) "blank check" of intrusion into the daily lives of Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public. Perhaps I've missed it, but all I've heard in defense of the (laughingly called) Patriot Act is vague, general, vacuous, lame statements (with no specifics whatsoever) of how many American lives have been saved by the law-enforcement tools authorized by this travesty.
Sorry - I'm not from Missouri, but pretend that I am, anyway. Show me! If national security reasons prohibit details too specific, I understand, but there has been no attempt to defend it other than what equates to, "We're the government - trust us". Ain't gonna happen, Cap'n! Not with this patriot.

As if to prove the point, the story has broken (I believe the timing is a little too perfect) that the FBI utilized spy satellites after the Oklahoma City bombings (pre-Patriot Act), and the NSA spied on thousands of Americans with only the scantiest of justification.

I rest my case.

In case government nosiness isn't enough, we have some liberal elements of our fellow citizens that are attempting to impose their will upon the rest of us.

We have one group presuming to "speak" for polar bears. This is all based, of course, upon assumptions of global warming, which has yet to be scientifically proven in the first place. We then further compound the outing of our stupidity by the fact there is no count available of the bears, before or after these imagined events. Something tells me this should be a fairly quick court case -- but then again, it's in a San Francisco court, which is in the ninth circuit. Perhaps there are results to be feared, after all.

Since polar bears can't object to being "spoken for", cases such as that are almost to be expected. However, the liberal "butt-in-skis" have capitalized upon previous successes and are attempting to further build upon their "we-know-better-than-you-so-shut-up-and-let-us-help-you" dynasty. I'm not a smoker, but this tragedy has me incensed (pun intended)!
Get out of my life!! Mind your business!! Butt out (pun intended again)!!

You know, in all the other happy events, I completely missed the opportunity to make an entry at the conclusion of "The Biggest Loser". If you recall, back on the September 21st entry, I identified Matt as our family favorite, and Nick as having issues.
How nice for our posterity that at the finale, Matt won and Nick didn't bother to attend! I'm a bit disappointed with the rumors that Matt is now dating Suzy, one of the other finalists. I'll leave that alone...

I will send along wishes once more of a wonderful Holy-Day season for each of you. Some of you we'll see soon, others even sooner, but see each of you we shall!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I just left the U.S. House of Representatives website, and had an interesting education.

Not about the House. Not about the website.

About the Democratic party.

I was looking for information on H.R.4437, which is a bill I'm going to be closely monitoring, because it could potentially lead to the creation of a national I.D. card. If that seems harmless, let me tell you that my libertarian sensibilities scream at the further intrusion into our lives charmingly packaged in "safety" and "convenience".
At any rate, the bill is in both the Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees in the House, but Thursday, it was marked up in the Judiciary. I went to the Judiciary Committee to see who its members were, and discovered that the Democrats have their own, separate committee website. Somehow I've missed the fact that this is the case on every committee at which I looked.

Can you believe it? This is the party that accuses the Republicans of being partisan. It's no secret that the two parties can't work together on a national level, but they can't even play nicely in a small group! I left comments to that effect on the Judiciary "Minority website", and my computer locked up. I find that tragically ironic...

A few days ago, for no apparent reason, I remembered the time I dyed my hair. That last statement will shock any and all who know me, so I thought I'd share.

In my California school days, it was in vogue to be tan. Weekend activities invariably included dozens of us "laying out", slathered in tanning oil, proffering our bodies to the sun.
A couple of my buddies (who were probably from the West Coast) introduced me to the use of peroxide, with the temptation to lighten one's hair to complete the "beach bum" look. As a Marine, I didn't have much hair to begin with, but I've always been the sort to do nothing in moderation, so I profusely applied it to my head one fateful weekend.

The instant my scalp began to burn, I should have chosen to heed the omen. I mean, really, my hair color is dependent upon its length, anyway. The shorter it is, the lighter it is, so it was actually unnecessary. Eighteen-year olds don't fully think through things, though (or at least this one didn't).

The following Monday, I received a less-than-desirable reaction from my superiors to my now freakishly bleached stubby locks. In fact, I was summoned before the academic supervisor for questioning. As I recall, he was a Staff Sergeant, which at that stage in my career, was just a few steps short of demigod status.
He demanded of me my ID card. In retrospect, his strategy was to graphically demonstrate my "destruction of government property" (me) by pointing out that my appearance no longer matched my picture thereon.

To my defense, the (black and white) picture quality was of such low quality that it was of no assistance in such charge. To further confound his case, I was still in denial about the true red color of my hair, so my ID card indicated my hair was blonde.

He concluded his bluster by sternly warning me to "knock it off" and dismissed me. It would be quite some time before I would be "called on the carpet" again for any refraction whatsoever (several months, I think!).

How about it? Any hair adventures (or misadventures) out there? I'd love to hear about them, as I'm sure the two or three readers of this blog would!

Have a wonderful weekend, beloved!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Happy Holy Days! If I were strictly fundamentalist, I might be more involved with the current fervor over "Merry Christmas" being replaced with "Happy Holidays".
However, those who insist upon "Merry Christmas" overlook the fact that:
1) Christ Mass was originally a Roman Catholic holiday, instituted with the purpose of absorbing into the "church", pagans who observed Saturnalia. Never mind the fact that our Savior wasn't born in winter, else the shepherds would not have been in the fields "watching their flocks by night".
2) Chanukkah also normally falls around the same time. Since fundamentalist Christians serve a Jewish Messiah, and learn of Him through a Bible written by mostly Jewish writers, this is not a holiday to be overlooked. Chanukkah is even vindicated by the Bible itself (see John 10:22).

Dee and I were discussing this last night, and we remembered the last controversy over the Christmas season. Remember the outcry against the use of "Xmas"? Whatever happened to that fight? It begs one of two (or both) questions:
1) Have people largely stopped using that abbreviation because of the Christian protest?
2) Was it originally instituted as an insult to Christ, but discontinued when it became known that "X" was commonly used in the early church as an abbreviation for Christ?

At any rate, I hope each of you are having a blessed season, regardless of what you may choose to call it! I think if we remember that G-d looks at the heart (I Sam. 16:7), and out of the heart come the issues of life (Prov. 4:23), and what comes from the mouth originates in the heart (Matt. 15:18), then the words of the greeting are of less import than the purpose behind them.

Once again, I started with one train of thought in mind, and drifted into another altogether different! I'll save the now completely unrelated story for another time...!

I had another interview yesterday, this time for a sales manager position for a national insurance company. The interview went wonderfully -- until the point in the screening questions where I disclosed past tax issues. End of interview.
The state insurance comissioner will not allow anyone in North Carolina to be bonded who has outstanding tax issues. Unfortunately (or blessedly), that precludes my being bonded. That's a long story, but the short version involves a military member assigned overseas for a year. Said military member trusts his spouse to file joint tax returns, and even sends blank and signed 1040-forms. She proceeds to file individually, as well as claim thousands of dollars in business deductions for herself, leaving her husband to discover a few years later (during legal separation) that he owes a great deal of money to the Infernal Revenue Service (who are blandly unsympathetic to his plight). {Sigh}

No matter, this waiting time is a growing time. Psalm 37:25 promises that we will not be forsaken, and Matthew 10 and Luke 12 remind us that our Father even sees a sparrow fall to the ground (the lesson being that He sees our needs). I could include Matthew 6:25-34 as well, but I hope my point is made!

We do continue to value your prayers, and we do look forward to seeing each of you, either here in the land of the dying, or when we get home to the land of the living!