Berean Blog

Random thoughts from a Doulos Theos (servant of God)

Location: Rocky Point, North Carolina, United States

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Beware Takiya

Greetings to all after an involved week!

Today, Reuters and the Associated Press are breaking the story of a new tape purported to be from our old friend, Osama bin Laden. As I post this, AP is also reporting CIA sources as identifying the tape to actually be the old weasel himself.

Normally, I don't pay these tapes much mind when they "surface" -- they usually say the same things anyway. However, today's episode contains a truce offer! Here's the text of the tape.

Praise be to God, our conditions are always improving, becoming better, while
yours are the opposite.

Really?? I may be unemployed, but I'm not hiding in a cave somewhere, wondering about my next dialysis treatment.

Iraq has become a point of attraction and recruitment of qualified resources.

Is he talking about terrorism resources? The recent peaceful elections in Iraq and their growing sovereignty is what throws me off.

At any rate, I find it provocative that bin Laden sounds a lot like American liberals, no? If the rational reader finds it ironic that the fox surfaces in the midst of international disgrace and a losing cause to offer a truce - as if it's his to offer - may I offer an opinion?

Getting to the subject of this post, I couldn't help but think of the Islamic principle of Takiya, which has historically been used by Muslims losing a conflict, and needing time to rest and regroup. Most famously, Muhammad himself used it in the Hudaybiyah region to put the residents of Mecca at ease before breaking the truce and conquering them two years later.

Arafat used this same term after the Oslo "peace" accords with Israel to reassure Palestinians that their time was coming to drive the Jewish people from their God-given land.

Takiya, to the Arab, means to lull the enemy into a false truce in order to strengthen your position and resources to eventually attack an unsupecting target.

I can't help but wonder if this is the same concept bin Laden has in mind now. If so, we have no option but to stay the course. Freedom is on the rise (regardless of the hopes and aspirations of the liberals and terrorists).

With all my qualms with the Bush administration, I am very glad that we can count on them to respond strongly to this latest bluster.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I've been thinking about an incident I endured in 29 Palms, California in the early nineties. I flew from Camp Lejeune to "the Stumps" for advanced training at Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School (MCCES). A group of us arrived late at night into Palm Springs, then were bussed to our destination, where we received billeting and finally got to bed at about 2 A.M.

We awoke at about six o'clock to begin the process of "checking in", a method of taking a photocopied sign sheet to each segment of the command in order for our inclusion into each database or file system (medical, dental, mailroom, etc.). MCCES is on a sprawling base, and since none of us had vehicles, we skipped breakfast to make better time.

By the time lunch was close at hand, we had walked a couple of miles in the California desert heat, with no food for hours and little sleep, and I was feeling a bit light-headed when we decided to make the medical department our last stop before getting some chow.

I was seated in a school desk chair (you know, the kind where a half-desk wraps around one side of a straight-backed chair) and had a Navy Corpsman with a broken arm come in to draw a vial of blood from me. Normally, getting blood drained from my arm isn't high on my must-do fun list, but as I watched this hapless sailor fumble around with the tourniquet band and needle I was becoming uneasy!

As I started getting queasy and began seeing small white spots of light in my field of vision, I was wondering if perhaps this was a bad idea. That was the last thing I knew until I felt a blunt pain from a hard blow to my chin; I had passed out and slid right out of the chair, stopped only by my face meeting the desk!

In immediate hindsight, I realized the lack of sleep and food, combined with the physical exertion and heat were just too much, even for a 25-year old Sergeant of Marines. I discovered that day that I was not invincible, after all!

I can apply that to current circumstance. I was recently contacted by an old friend (correction: a long-time friend!), who asked how I was handling all that was happening right now. To quote her (because I don't think she'll mind), I have quite a full plate.

I suppose I do -- I know there are others who have handled, and/or are handling much more. She (correctly) pegged my dear Dee as a major source of strength, but I would also have to testify to the strength that comes from other than human sources. Much as I learned over a decade ago, I have to come to terms with the fact that I am no more invincible than I was then.

Psalm 37:23-26 says:

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth
him with his hand.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen
the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

If that is true {and I know it is}, if I allow my Daddy to set the course, I must follow it, and let Him take care of the details. Behold, God is my helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. (Psalm 54:4) For he shall deliver the needy when he cries; the poor also, and him that has no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
(Psalm 72:12-13)

Matthew chapter six is an excellent reflection for us in this time. Yeshua reminds us that we can behold the beauty of nature, knowing that Hashem provides for even the little birds and flowers, and challenges us to look beyond daily needs.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we
drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
(Matthew 6:31-33)

Will I keep all of this in mind, even as Mike is still in the hospital showing little sign of improvement, I have no immediate signs of employment, and I'm not sure how next month's bills will be paid on time? I can only say I'll try to remember that I'm not invincible, and if I mind how I maintain life, He'll mind how we sustain life!

All of this is temporary. All of this won't matter soon. All of this will be further proof of His faithfulness, and I'll be saying:

The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon
him in truth.
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
(Psalm 145:18-21)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Today, I got a vivid reminder of one reason I love North Carolina -- the weather.

I used to have a commanding officer that said, "If you don't like the weather in Southeastern North Carolina, just wait 15 minutes!" I've heard that same expression used in other portions of the country, but I'm just biased enough to snort derisively {okay maybe not, but doesn't it just sound good??}.

Overnight last night, it was almost freezing. Tonight, the brood sat down to enjoy our latest Netflix proffering (more on that later), and the following thought occurred to me as I waved away an insect that flitted past me. I'm sitting barefoot in my second-hand easy chair (picked up for a steal at a roadside sale) in front of our open front door in shorts, wondering if I should change out of sweatshirt into a t-shirt -- in January (residents of the north, I'd apologize, but it wouldn't be sincere!)!

I'm thinking of reconsidering wearing shorts, though. A week or two ago, my mother-in-law stopped by to drop off a few things for my lovely bride, and I walked out on the back porch (in shorts) to see her off. It was then I realized that she had a couple of her friends with her, one of whom just happens to be a wonderful family friend and member of our Sunday School class. This friend is a dear woman in her 60's, originally from New York City, who is very opinionated and not hesitant to share her opinions with anyone within earshot. She opened her window of the car to remark, "Oh Lee, you got some nice legs!"

I share that story in order to share this one. My mother-in-law brought a woman to church yesterday who originally met us when we went to a Christmas party at Gresham Place (where Mama lives). Before I started teaching, I walked over to greet our visitor, who was sitting with Mama and this aforementioned friend.

As I walked away, these three ladies were talking loud enough for me to hear the visitor remark that I had a wonderful smile. The former New Yorker responded, "Yeah, and you should see his legs!" As I pondered responding, I heard Dee speak up, "He's mine!" I dunno, does the average Sunday School teacher deal with this???

Exciting news today! Ted Kennedy is publishing a children's book!! Is this really credible? Is this not like O.J. Simpson or Robert Blake writing a book on marital intimacy?

We watched a comedy video tonight that I wasn't sure I'd like. However, the Blue Collar Comedy Tour is a gem. I laughed so hard, I'm pretty sure my heart briefly stopped! As the video ended, we were all still rolling, and one of the Arrows said,
"I have to go to the bathroom, and I don't know if I can make it!"
"Get out of your mother's chair!!"

It's been awhile since we all laughed together quite so much -- it was a nice break.

It's late, and I really should end this. Love to all...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Is 2006 over yet?

We are one week into the new year, and it feels as if months have elapsed! The eldest Arrows returned from Alabama spiritually super-charged to discover that their dad was in intensive care with extremely odd and life-threatening symptoms, my sister is recovering from pneumonia, one of the young adults from the church the Arrows attend on Saturday has been discovered dead, we have a contact from the Christmas outreach at Gresham attending church tomorrow, and the job search is still in progress with no immediate resolution in sight.

Is 2006 over yet?? It's been said that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans...{sigh}

I don't know how many of you wasted the necessary time to view NBC's new nighttime soap, "The Book of Daniel", but if you didn't catch it, you can be thankful. You didn't miss anything. Well, not anything but a comedic farce masquerading as a serious commentary on American society. Oh, and they made the central character an Episcopalian priest so they could generate publicity by the predictable outcry over the blasphemous and insulting content.

I daresay if the show included Muslims and Mohammed in place of "Christians" and Christ, this wouldn't even be an issue, because they wouldn't risk offending that minute percentage of the population. What I still can't fully understand is why it's supposed to be alright to offend the majority of Americans that claim the title (if not the lifestyle) of "Christian".

I performed my obligatory duty of contacting the local NBC station before the first airing. The response letter I received is as follows:


Thank you for taking the time to e-mail us your concerns regarding the
NBC show "The Book of Daniel". We appreciate your views and have forwarded your
e-mails to NBC executives.

It's important for you to know that the show is not as it's being
portrayed. I waited to respond to you until we had actually seen the first
episode. Yes, it is about an Episcopal priest with a dysfunctional family that
represents a composite of some family issues familiar to many parents and
children today. The priest has the ability to see and hear Jesus as he goes
about solving his family's and church's problems. Is it edgy? Yes. Is it
anti-Christian, disrespectful or blasphemous? We don't believe so.

After reviewing the premiere episode, we have decided it will air on
WECT this Friday as scheduled. We've spoken with a large number of General
Managers at NBC stations throughout the country, many of whom are deeply
religious, and, after viewing the pilot as we did, they have also decided to air
the program. As of this morning, not one NBC station in the entire country has
decided to censor this program. I understand the controversy that has been
created in anticipation of this show, but I really believe, in this case, the
vast majority of the residents of Southeastern NC and Northeastern SC prefer to
choose for themselves which programs they want to watch and which ones they
elect not to watch.

My suggestion to you is this…you really have two choices…you can watch
the program and make an informed decision for yourself…or you can choose not to
watch it. That's the way free choice works in this great country. If you don't
like a particular program, turn it off…vote with your something
else. I'm not being flip. If enough viewers refuse to watch a show, the network
will cancel it. And that's the way it should work. I shouldn't be making the
viewing choices. You should. Because it's a free country and that's the way we
should keep it!

While we understand that some viewers will not watch the first
episode...or any episode...of "The Book of Daniel", we hope you will acknowledge
the many other fine programs provided by NBC and WECT, including WECT's 22 hours
of #1-rated local newscasts each week, our 24/7 weather channel WECT Weather
Plus, the locally-filmed NBC hit "Surface", ACC Basketball, The Downeast
Gardner, and, this February, the 2006 Winter Olympics from Torino, Italy on

Once again, thank you for taking the time to communicate your
concerns…we really do listen. We may not always agree with each other, but you
can always be sure you were heard.

Warmest regards,
KD Karl Davis,
Vice President/General Manager
322 Shipyard Blvd
Wilmington, NC 28412

Okay, so I followed his advice.

The Father (Daniel) is a pill-popping, cigar-smoking, foul-mouthed justifier of sin whose only redeeming quality is that he truly loves his wife. He makes one attempt at quoting Scripture in the entire two-hour pilot, and can't even do that right (the writers have him quoting from "Corinthians 10", apparently overlooking or being ignorant of the need to designate which one). He has regular visits from "Jesus" (usually in conjunction with popping his "Canadian headache pills with a small dose of codeine"), a vision that seldom says or does anything in character with the Lord and Savior that I know.

He has a Catholic priest friend (because apparently, the producers wanted to offend another segment of Christianity) who has mob ties, an alcohol-dependent wife, and more plot twists than should be in any long-running show. I don't see this show lasting very long, even if Christians don't keep pressure on the advertisers.

Daniel's daughter, Grace may have summed everything up perfectly when she said, "This is a family of freaks." If you want to know more about this idiocy, you can read about it here.

I'll end this now. I value your prayers: for our country, for our local brothers and sisters in the Lord, and of course, for us.