Monday, May 28, 2012

Cannibalistic Demoniac?

According to The Palm Beach Post News article, Miami police shoot, kill naked man who was 'eating' face of another man:

One man was shot to death by Miami police, and another man is fighting for his life after he was attacked and his face allegedly half eaten, by a naked man on the MacArthur Causeway off ramp, police said.

Is this for real?

The article further says:

The officer, who has not been identified, approached and saw that the naked man was actually chewing the other man’s head, according to witnesses. The officer ordered the naked man to back away, and when he continued the assault, the officer shot him. The attacker continued to eat the man, despite being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said they heard at least a half dozen shots.


Two questions come to mind:

First, what would possess a man to do such a thing as this?  Actually, I believe that the question answers itself.

Secondly, why was this police officer’s first response to shoot the cannibalistic attacker?  Don’t the police still carry their batons?  And what about a taser?

Was this so horrifying that the officer reacted in terror?  Surely it is horrifying.  Who but a demented devilish creator of horror stories and movies would imagine such a thing?  Well, the devil, of course, but whom else?

Perhaps the report does not tell the full story.  Perhaps the police officer did try other methods of stopping this horrible act before shooting the attacker.

But what of this attacker?  How does one explain his actions?  What of the superhuman strength?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Progressivism ≠ Evolution

I’ve been very busy and emotionally taxed and so I have not expanded the discussion from the post immediately preceding this one: “Progressivism in Churches”. However, two very pointed comments were offered, both of which are worthy of further evaluation.

My atheist Internet acquaintance and perhaps even friend gave an opposing comment while my brother in Christ gave a supporting comment.  In order to make this further examination of the issue easier, I will include the two comments here.

Canadian Atheist said...

     NA, religion either evolves with society or it dies. Christianity is dying. Young people are leaving the church in droves, women are as well. Pretty much every Christian sect is losing numbers well below the increase in population. Mormonism is a significant exception. Atheism and agnosticism are growing at a phenomenal rate and has already engulfed most of Europe.

     My latest blog post looks into this in a bit more detail. I invite you over to have a look. :)

Gary Cepek said...


     Your post's presupposition is that a person's faith is personal, yet it's origin and maintenance is not of the person himself, but through and only through the Means employed by YHWH Theos. No individual is capable of Christian faith, even though every individual is capable of reason. Therefore faith exists only where YHWH Theos' Means are taught and applied as He has given them. You observe that the exercise of human reason in understanding and applying what faith believes moves them further from the faith.
This presupposition is unreasonable but totally Biblical.

     Canadian Atheist observes that religion either evolves with society or it dies; particularly this is true of Christianity. His observation is reasonable but totally un-biblical. He correctly stands by his reason. That's because faith is not reasonable.

I have points of clarification and correction to declare in response to both comments, even though I am actually in agreement with Gary, even full agreement.  I do have points of clarification, however, for Gary’s points.  I also have some friendly points for my Canadian friend’s comment.

Gary’s point that faith is not reasonable, is true from the perspective of the fallen and corrupt reason with which we approach what we observe and try to examine these things.  But faith is not truly unreasonable.  It is actually reasonable to the very highest degree.  For the first two people, those who were created in the image and likeness of God and walked in the fullness of knowing Him in His Holy Communion, faith made perfect sense.  Faith and trust in their loving Father was the only reasonable perception.  Before the couple chose to enter into the knowledge of Good and Evil, they knew only the goodness of their Father and His will.  They had no false notions of free will, because their wills were truly one with God’s will.  And so they were truly happy and content.  They basked in the true freedom of the unity of their wills with the perfect will of God.  They knew no deviant ways.  For them there was only the one way, and it was perfectly good.

But then came the tempter to them and they turned from the faith in which they had been created to look to a deviant way of thinking.  They looked to the way of Evil.  They then became one with Evil and became separated from Good, for Good is of God.  Their response was unreasonable.  They chose to walk away from the freedom and light into the bondage and shadows of darkness and confusion.  Never again would they be free to live without having to consider whether their actions and choices are good or evil.  Never again would they be free to look to their reflections and see themselves as God had created them.  Now they experienced shame.  Now they experienced self-doubt.  Now they experienced fear of every sort.  Now they tried to hide from themselves and especially from the One who is truly Good.

But even now, faith is still genuinely reasonable.  Even the pseudoscientists have to admit that faith is good, although they know not where faith originates nor upon what it clings.  But faith is entirely reasonable.  It makes perfect sense, that is, when one encounters that which is to be believed and trusted.

For example of the use of reason regarding faith:

     And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.  (Acts 17:10-12)

It is this reasoning that is regenerated in the heart from above that becomes the new will and the new mind and the new life of the regenerated believer and of the believers together as the Church.  They embrace one Way.  They hear the one Truth.  They share in the one Life.  They know of one Baptism, one Lord, one Faith.  They partake of one holy meal together.  They are inhabited by the one Spirit.  They are made to be one body together, the body of Christ, the Church.

My Canadian friend speaks from a perspective of atheism and agnosticism.  Agnosticism is a-knowing, or without knowledge.  Atheism is a-goded, or without god.  These are really one in the same, the religion of the world.  These actually include all of the religions of the world, save the true knowledge and Communion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Canadian speaks from the perspective of the world, which includes most who imagine themselves to be Christians.  Sadly, there have never been very many true Christians in the world.  The Scriptures always speak of the true Church as a remnant and a tiny flock.  Thus, the witness that is observed in the world is usually a corrupt and false witness.  Therefore, the observation that religion must evolve to survive is falsely presumed.  After all, this is what is observed in most of the churches and church bodies.

But this notion of surviving through evolving is entirely untrue, even for the worldly religions.  This can be seen most clearly when one realizes the fact that what is really described is not evolution but devolution.  When a religion is compromised to conform to society, that religion devolves until it completely disintegrates and is absorbed into the ways of the society.  The identity that was once clearly proclaimed and professed and lived is eventually lost.

This notion of setting aside the things that differentiate the religion from the rest of society as a move toward survival is like saying that a planet that breaks up into smaller pieces when colliding with an asteroid is survival.  Far from survival of the planet, what occurs is total disintegration into an asteroid belt.  It is no longer a planet.  The planet has ceased to exist.  It works the same way with religions.

This is even more pronounced with regard to those who profess to be the Church.  When churches and church bodies surrender their doctrine and practice, breaking up the unity of the faith and communion, they cease to be the Church.  The true Church, the true body of Christ, does not die.  However, the pieces that become separated from the body do die.  They are no longer untied with and alive in Christ.

Sadly, very few people ever even recognize the true Church on earth.  This is as the Lord Jesus explains to Nicodemus in John 3, when He says that no one can perceive the kingdom of God unless he be generated from above.  Faith is that through which the kingdom of God is perceived.  How can one who has not been regenerated recognize the kingdom of God?  How can such an unregenerate person speak concerning things of the kingdom of God, the body of Christ?

This is made worse by the fact that there are many churches and church bodies that falsely represent the true faith.  They do not hold to the pure Word and the pure Sacraments.  Thus they turn the life of the Church into a life of seeking to follow rules and regulations.  The freedom of living by grace through faith is never taught or embraced.  The God of mercy and grace is presented as a God of judgment and condemnation.  Even His great sacrifice of His own life on the cross is presented as something other than an act of grace.  The Sacraments are made to be demands for commitments and decisions and obedience.  Prayers are perverted to be means of obtaining favor rather than the communication of favor.  Works of every kind are piled up as requirements for acceptance by God, even though He has declared that His works are what bring us near to Him and keep us united with Him.

As this legalism becomes more and more prevalent, those who claim to represent the Lord and the true Church become more and more obsessed with control.  The Gospel becomes discounted as the power of God unto salvation, and various traditions and rules become the safeguards.  Then these “leaders” seek to have the power to enforce these.  They grasp after power, including secular power.  Then they enact atrocities like have occurred under the papacy, and under the Calvinists and Puritans and others.  Witch hunts and heretic trials are enacted.  People are tortured and murdered, all supposedly in the name of Jesus, even though He strictly condemned such ways.

How through these things would anyone looking on even begin to perceive the true Church, the true kingdom of God?  Who would learn of the God of grace from such monstrous actions?

This is not the way of the true Church.  The true Church is gathered by the Holy Spirit to the pure Word and the pure Sacraments.  The saints congregate with the sole intention of hearing the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ proclaimed and the absolution pronounced and the Holy Communion to be administered.  These saints seek no glory or power for themselves.  They gather to examine themselves, to confess their own personal miserable condition, so that they may hear again God’s gracious answer.  They have no desire to cast judgment at others, for they are concerned with receiving remittance of their own guilt and sins.  They rise up rejoicing and praising God for His goodness.  They come as one to the Holy Table to receive the very means of their salvation and new life, the body and blood of their Savior God.  They share together in this gracious life and they go home and to work displaying this in their daily lives.  They seek the good of their neighbors and countrymen, not from obligation, but from love.  They share the good news through which they have been regenerated to this new life.  They seek to protect the helpless in whatever ways that they can.  They obey the laws of the land out of love for their fellow man, knowing that good order benefits everyone.  They endure ridicule without returning evil for evil.  They love and bless those who persecute them.  In as much as is in their power, they live in peace with all men.  All of this flows freely from hearts filled with the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.

But this is not the way when the churches compromise the doctrine and practice that has been handed down by the apostles.  When the churches look away from the pure means of grace and begin to modify themselves to be more like what people seek in the worldly circles, this peace that is provided through the pure means of grace disintegrates.  As the unity disintegrates the life and identity of the churches disintegrate.

Throughout history, such unity and communion has been rare.  Compromise is the prevailing way.   But where the saints count the pure means of grace to be more important than anything else in the world, there the true Church still thrives.  There God still is with His beloved and they share together in the Communion of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Whether it be a gathering of two or three, or a gathering of thousands, there the Church thrives and enjoys all the blessings of heaven and everlasting life and hope and joy.

Thus I grieve to observe the many who turn away to the ways of compromise and disintegration of the life and faith of the true Church.  Yet I also remain confident and unmoved and filled with ceaseless joy in knowing the faithfulness of the Lord in preserving His Church on earth until the day of the final consummation.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Progressivism in Churches

Disintegration in the churches is an issue that weighs heavily upon my heart and spirit as I observe the secular progressivism encroaching and overtaking the various congregations and church bodies.  As the congregations and church bodies move farther from the apostolic doctrine and practice the churches lose their integrity, becoming more and more loosely defined until their identity becomes blurred with the world.  More and more the people speak of gray areas and uncertainty until in the end, nothing really matters anymore and darkness and disillusionment are all that remain.

I have developed a graphic to illustrate how the bright illumination of the Pure Word and Sacraments becomes less and less visible in the lives of the people, congregations, and church bodies as they move farther away from the historic liturgy and doctrine and practice proclaimed by the apostles.

(for larger view click on graphic)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Whom Shall We Trust?

Whom Shall We Trust?

This question is one that always looms before us.  Whom shall or can we trust?

On this blog I include links to Alex Jones’ Prison Planet/InfoWars because this site presents much valuable reporting of information.  Included in this is exposure of the dangers of processed free glutamic acid and aspartic acid being added to our foods and vaccines.  This really is very important news.

However, also on this site is the promotion of products from which Alex receives income to support his news network.  Among these products are the Youngevity products, including one that Alex promotes highly, Beyond Tangy Tangerine.

Here is the product label listing the ingredients from and

In the “OTHER INGREDIENTS” section are other items of concern, but specifically listed under the amino acids are aspartic acid and glutamic acid.

Both of these are in free form, having been processed, and therefore having the effects of excito-toxins.  Alex has rightly made a big deal about the dangers of both of these when they exist in this free form and are added to our foods to be ingested.

So I e-mailed him and his associates at every e-dress provided on their contact page, drawing to their attention that they were promoting a product that includes the very things that they are warning people to avoid.

Sadly, I never received a response and Alex continues to promote this product heavily.

My conclusion is that I cannot trust Alex not to compromise when money is at stake.  This is typical.  It is true of many companies, news sources, and even the mainstream church bodies.

So who can we trust?

As a pastor I have always admonished those entrusted to my spiritual oversight that they should never trust me and what I say without being certain that what I say is actually in accord with the Scriptures.  While I explained that it is right for them to give their pastor the benefit of the doubt and not to suspect him, they nevertheless should do like the people of Berea, in Acts 17:10-12, who carefully examined what St. Paul preached to them to be sure that he was preaching what the Scriptures declare before they received his preaching as true.

Regarding the Gospel, this is the most important area in which we must be absolutely certain of what we are hearing and receiving.  But we should also apply this caution to those to whom we turn for our news and nutrition and health information.

After all, what we don’t know can indeed hurt us, especially if we do not know that we are being fed spiritual and/or bodily poison.

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Ron Paul Has Not Suspended His Campaign

I was quite disheartened by the e-mails that I received from NewsMax and other so-called news sources.  They reported that Ron Paul had dropped out of the race.

I found this very odd, considering the videos of interviews with both Ron and his wife that I viewed that same day.

Huh?  What happened?

Today, after receiving more e-mails with similar headlines and reporting, I decided to visit the Ron Paul 2012 Official Campaign Website, where I read a very different reporting.  One page says, Ron Paul Has Not Suspended His Campaign.

From that page:

“Asked if this is a dropout, Paul’s campaign manager Jesse Benton said ‘Absolutely not! We are focusing our efforts squarely on winning delegates and party leadership positions at state conventions.”

Here is the video:

I am very glad to hear this.  While I personally do not believe that the leadership of the Republican Party will ever allow Ron Paul to be their nominee, I am very glad that he has not dropped out and will continue to show the party leadership for the frauds that they are and will continue to bring to the fore the real issues facing our nation and society and world.

I personally am convinced that it does not matter how many votes or delegates Ron Paul receives as far as his nomination to the Republican ticket is concerned.  He will not be the Republican candidate.  End of story.  The elite will find a way to prevent it.

I would love to see Ron Paul run on the Constitution Party or the Reform Party or even the Libertarian party ticket or as an Independent after the Republicans close the door.

I would love to see the citizens become aware of the total fraud of the two party system and turn out in massive numbers to elect Ron Paul and then see how the elite manage to put Obama back into office anyway.  Actually, I do not really want to see this last part, because of what it means for our nation and world, but at least the world would see.  Sadly, the government is preparing for this and will take action against the citizens when they protest.  The preparations are being made, as even the mainstream media reports in a half-hearted manner.

It appears that 2012 will most certainly be a year of Change.

- - -

Monday, May 14, 2012

Government versus Small Business Income

From Top 30 Most Profitable Small Businesses During 2008, here is a table of the reported profit margins:

This is a listing of the profit margins for the TOP 30 most profitable.  The margins of profit range from 7.65% to 16.92%.  This is for companies that actually produce something for the moneys received.

At Kansas Dept. of Revenue Publication 1700: All city, county and special jurisdiction sales tax rates is the official listing of sales taxes for the various cities in the state of Kansas.

For Wichita the sales tax rate is 6.3% for the State + 1.0 for the city for a total profit margin of 7.3%.  And for this the government’s only production is legislation requiring that the people pay this fee/tax for what others have produced.

In addition to sales taxes are the road taxes on gasoline sales, property taxes on real property and equipment, licencing fees, registration fees, 911 fees, and the list goes on and on.

But even at 7.3%, this matches or at least approaches the entire profit margin for many small businesses.

If businesses can operate and even grow with this rate, why can the government not do so?  If this is the income level of successful business investors, the income level with which they buy homes and provide for their families and purchase cars and pay taxes and purchase insurance and prepare for retirement, why is this not enough for the government?  Why is there never an end to the talk of increasing taxes?

Do you know the answer?

There is a saying: “Follow the money.”  Indeed, if one follows the money one will answer the question as to why the government never has enough.

The answer is very disturbing, even angering.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rogate versus Mother’s Day

Today is The Fifth Sunday after Easter - Rogate.  Rogate is Latin for “Ask ye,” from today’s Gospel reading:

     And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.  These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.  At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:  For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.  I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 
     His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.  Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
(John 16:23-30)

The Lord Jesus tells His disciples: “For the Father has affection toward you-all because you-all Me held in affection and have believed that I from God have come out.”

Love is not a very good translation for this is not agape but philos.  This is not agape.  It is not the unconditional unidirectional love of John 3:16 by which God was moved to give His only-begotten Son to save the world.  This is the relational response of communion.  This is the Fatherly attitude of God with His adopted children who have been regenerated into the life of the body of Christ, who live in His agape, abiding in His Word, being guarded and kept in His peace that surpasses all understanding.

This is a lot like the emotionalism of Mother’s Day, where children of all ages desire to demonstrate that inborn affection that they hold for their mothers.  When that bond that was created through nine months of gestation and then the tender care of nursing is not broken by various interfering factors, the children and their mothers continue to hold each other in affection, desiring to be close.  And even when this bond is stretched or even broken, there often remains the desire for the closeness to be reestablished.

In the case of the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, God the Father affectionately listens to the prayers of His sons, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”   (John 1:13)

Within this holy household of faith, the Church of Jesus Christ, these beloved children whom the Father holds in deep affection are brought through the urging of the Holy Spirit into the unity of the one true faith.  They confess together the same doctrine.  They embrace the same practice.  They live and breathe and think and speak the same, in communion with their Lord Jesus.  They grow in this affection for their Lord and for one another until they truly think and speak as one.  They pray the very will of God that is has been made to be their own will.  And thus, God does and even must grant their requests.  After all, they are praying what He Himself has produced in them.

This is demonstrated in the Collect of the Day for this day of Rogate as well as last Sunday’s Collect.

     “O God, from whom all good things do come, grant to us, Thy humble servants, that by Thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be right and by Thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. ”

     O God, who makes the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant unto Thy people that they may love what Thou commandest and desire what Thou dost promise that among the manifold changes of this world our hearts may there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

Notice what is prayed.  Notice what is taught.  Notice what is confessed.  Notice what is promised and granted.

Today I called a dear friend, a pastor in another state.  We spoke on the phone for nearly four hours.  In our conversation we each shared many things, things from our past, things currently taking place, things of deep theological nature, things of the life of the Church.  In our conversation we did not disagree on any point.  As we discussed very important and deep matters, we were in true concord.  He spoke of things that he learned and received from me and I spoke of what I learned and received from him.  Even as we each heard new things that we had not previously given proper attention, as we heard these things from one another as they flow from the Holy Scriptures, we readily agreed with one another.

This is what God promises.  His sons, His daughters, will hear and acknowledge together what He reveals as His Word and Will.  His children will readily move toward the unity of the true faith.

Afterwards I called my mother.  We do not share this unity together.  We hold each other with the affection of blood, but not of Spirit.  We do not even dare to converse regarding the deep things of faith, because we have not that common bond.  Over the years she has remained with the church body that has departed from that united confession and practice and faith.  She has moved in the same direction, a direction that no longer allows us to speak openly in full agreement.

I also encouraged my wife to call her mother, with whom we are estranged.  She, too, has chosen to remain with the church body that has drifted into the worldly and disintegrated ways.  My wife and her mother both expressed their desire to be close, but the discussion ended with acknowledgment that her mother no longer believes such unity to be possible.  Her mother openly denies that it is possible for the Church to have what my friend and I expressed in nearly four hours of intense theological discussion, true unity and agreement.

My wife and I were very saddened by this, but as we were expressing our deeply felt grief another dear pastor called to share the jubilant news of the baptism that he performed this very day.  A sweet newly born baby was baptized into the body of Christ from a couple who were unmarried and not members of Christ’s body when this baby was born.  But now the parents are eagerly receiving the pure Word from this pastor, and are excitedly growing in the faith that has been handed down by the prophets and apostles and the Church to this very day.  And so our hearts turned from sorrow to great joy in the Lord and His faithfulness.

It boggles my mind that my family and my wife’s family no longer believe this to be possible.  Once upon a time they professed this as their belief, but no longer.  They have chosen tolerance in place of unity and the pretense of not judging for falsely judging both us and the faith of Jesus.  But the unity that God promises does still exist in His Church, not only the Church triumphant, that is, not only the Church in heaven, but also the true Church on earth.  For where Jesus is truly confessed as Lord, that is, where the Word rules the Church, true unity is produced.  It cannot be otherwise.

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Help Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

I imagine that you received one of these in the mail, too.

The program is presented at Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive™.

On the surface, this appears to be a very noble effort and cause.  Surely the providing of food for those who are hungry is a noble endeavor that I support wholeheartedly.  Yet I did not do so through this particular program.

Why not?

For starters, my wife and I are at an income level that would qualify us for the food stamp or “vision” food assistance program.  But this really is not a factor, as we do give food and help to others, only not through “programs.”  Unless, of course, one counts the government programs paid for through the money that the government and the FED steal from us.  But then, that money is not actually used to help people, nor even to pay for the government’s budgeted items.  That money goes to the FED.  The actual programs and budget are never actually paid as the government just borrows more money from the FED for these.

But to the real reasons that we do not give to such programs as this by the postal carriers, first consider the companies for whom they advertise.  Yes, this program is an advertisement for the companies and products displayed both on the post card and on the web site.  Of those listed, besides the USPS itself, we do not support any of these companies nor their products.  Of the products shown as examples in the Food Drive bag, not one product is one that we consider safe for eating.  We do not buy any of these products because of the food additives (toxins) contained within them.  Every one of these is loaded with processed glutamates and other toxins.  We do not buy these or similar products for ourselves and we will not give them to others.  Moreover, every one of the displayed items are overpriced.

Moreover, we have no real knowledge of the workings of this organization.  What we clearly can see from their post card and web site is that they promote companies and products and organizations that we do not support.

Additionally, to whom is the credit given for these donated items?  Is the love of God in any way declared to the recipients of our gifts if we donate to this organization?  Is our own love (generated in us through God’s love at work in us) in any way directly shared with those who will receive these items?  Do those who receive these receive them as gifts of love from us, or are these gifts portrayed as coming through this organization that promotes things that we actually oppose on account of the harm that these companies, products, and organizations cause or promote both to people and society?  How many of these groups even openly oppose the Gospel and Christ’s Church?

Then also, is the false notion presented by the program that by giving a bag of food items that the problem of hunger is being stamped out or eliminated.  This is a scam and a farce.  The problem of hunger is not one of people having no food available, but one of their means of providing for themselves being stolen from them by the very companies and government promoting this program!  The poor will always be among us, but in this nation with all of its blessings, all of its resources, all of its technology, all of its capable people, most of whom are willing to work, hunger and homelessness should not be a rampant problem.  The problem is being manufactured or perpetrated upon our people by those who have been entrusted with protecting us.

When we buy into the notion that through a non-committal form of helping, that through giving a bag of canned goods to be picked up by the letter carriers to be given to a massive distribution center, that through this hunger is being stamped out, this is nothing more than hypocrisy.  This is a “washing of one’s hands” of the problem.

Certainly the giving of such gifts is a good effort.  But if this is the end of it, then it really amounts to nothing more than attempting to excuse oneself of the responsibility of true love for neighbor and brother.  Cain falsely cried, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Cain brought gifts or offerings to the Lord in this same way, as an act of obligation and not an act that flowed from true love of God.  Abel acted in response to God’s love working in him so that his acts were also acts of love toward God and toward all.  Cain actually rose up in anger and killed his brother on account of this disparity.  When we throw a few canned goods at the needy, and turn a blind eye to how our programs and leaders and corporations and banking system are destroying their hope of independence and productivity, are we really doing any differently than Cain?  Are we not also murdering our brother?

If indeed we truly want to stamp out hunger, if indeed we do count ourselves as our brother’s keepers, should be not be seeking to stamp out the causes of hunger rather than merely throwing a few cans at the hungry and telling them to go back out into the streets and the unemployment lines?  Shouldn’t we be stamping out political parties that speak of effecting change and acting conservatively, while actually promoting the status quo of this unjust and ungodly abuse of widows and orphans and other struggling people?  At the current rate, how long will it be before we are those at whom these cans are being thrown?

“Here, have a bag of canned goods and go away.”

To turn to use of a pun, is this not food for thought?

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Filtered & Blocked

My wife informed me this week that at the public/government school where she works that when she visited my blog this is what she encountered.

I asked her to try some other blogspot sites, but they were not all blocked as social networking.  One other that we tried was.  We tried Canadian Atheist, who is listed as one of the followers of my blog, and his site was blocked.

Though we only tried a few, it appears that the school’s filtering system is blocking religious content.  And while the Canadian Atheist would argue the point, atheism is counted as a religion.  Moreover, he talks a great deal about religion and religions.  At any rate, even his atheist blog is blocked.

On the other hand, at least in the California reeducation centers for minors, a.k.a., public schools, homosexuality is pressed upon the students through Harvey Milk Day, as is reported at 'Gays' to YouTube: Don't let anyone see THIS!.

This article reports that the video Save California was actually pulled by YouTube.

This is the video:

Through the government reeducation centers pseudonymed as public schools, and through the mainstream media, including TV and movies, America has been and is being changed.  I daily am made aware of this as I hear people speak, using harsh and dirty language that I would not have heard thirty or forty years ago.  Profanity and even curse words that people avoided in times past are now part of common conversation.  These words are not new, but their common acceptance and use are.  And this trend is growing as these things are propagated especially in the various forms of media.

But the choice of words is not the end of it.  People’s lives reflect the changes as well.  Divorce is more common than life long marriage.  Anger and rage and hatred overflow everywhere.  Depression is counted as a disease for which people need to be prescribed drugs.  Sex change operations and drugs are touted as proper for those who experience confusion regarding their understanding of sexuality.

Yet teaching of the loving God who created us to live in the joy of the identity that He has given to us and has reestablished for us in Christ Jesus is treated as taboo.  Teaching people that their hope is restored in the renewed communion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through the means of grace is rejected even by the mainstream churches.  Even pastors can be heard cursing like sailors.  So-called churches teach tolerance of divorce and acceptance of sexual deviation.  Abortion is taught even by some so-called churches as a reproductive right.

And people wonder how it is possible that murders, rapes, suicides, child abuse and molestation, drug and alcohol abuse, and endless other hideous things are on the rise in our society.  During His earthly ministry the Lord Jesus looked upon the people with compassion as they were like sheep without a shepherd.  Yet today His Gospel has gone forth into all the world, and people are as lost today as they were then, wandering aimlessly, seeking direction for their lives in all of the wrong places.

Oh that people would hear.  Oh that people would receive the rich blessings that He purchased for them and offers freely through His means of grace in His true Church.  Oh that the churches truly were the Church and offered these means of grace as He has ordained them.  Truly our society would be different.  Truly the churches themselves would be different.  How truly blessed we all would be.

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Is this "Cool" ... "No need to panic"?

Officials conduct military training in So. Fla.

One tourist calls it “cool.”

Reported in segment 1:48 of the video: “Some people even called 911,” and the police officer kindly explains, “A lot of people have called in a panic, there’s no need to panic.”

When I was young the popular TV show SWAT was considered to be cool.  I thought so, too.  I never really thought about the implications of police being trained and programed to act as assassins in body armor.  I never really moved beyond the presentation of these special weapons and tactics as noble protectors of the populace.  I never really thought it through to the point of considering that police were being specially trained to kill Americans by the order of their superiors.

Is this cool?  Or should the people be concerned?

Under the guise of fighting terrorism, this special training is being expanded beyond anything that any common citizen would ever have imagined even a few years ago.  Military and local police are now being trained together to “fight terrorism” and “civil uprising.”

The NDAA gives these enforcers of “peace” the authority to act openly in ways that have never been done openly.  Citizens can now be arrested and detained indefinitely without legal representation (and worse).

The kindly police officer informs us:  “A lot of people have called in a panic, there’s no need to panic.”

Are we being taught not to have concern over such maneuvers?  Are we being programmed simply to accept such things as common place events in our society?  Are we being set up for this sort of thing being done in our cities as what is to be expected?

At what point do the citizens have cause for being concerned?  At what point do we as Christians have cause to be concerned for our neighbors and countrymen?  When does love for neighbor move us to stand up and cry: “Whoa!  What is this?”

Have we ever seen any cause to question the leaders of this country and the world?  How many times did the American Indians trust the government to honor the treaties that were signed only to be abused yet again?  How many KKK members were in government and law enforcement, with no protection for those who were abused and even killed?  What of those who were imprisoned in the concentration/detainment camps for the people of Japanese ancestry?  What of those who have had their businesses and homes raided by the IRS enforcers?  What about the arrest of gentle and honest farmers selling raw milk to people who desire it?  How about what was recently done to Mr. Del Rio as reported at Austin Steals Elderly Veteran’s House for Crime of Having Fallout Shelter.  According to the report:

The city began its theft by sending the code enforcement team to Mr. Del Rio’s home early one Saturday morning in May of 2010. After the retired Air Force reservist, Vietnam veteran, and former state employee put on some clothes and opened the door, he was rushed by an Austin Police SWAT team. He was detained and interrogated over a period of ten hours.

Here stands the man:

The city sent a SWAT team.  In what way is this justifiable or even rational?  When we hear of these things being done to our neighbors and fellow countrymen, should we not become alarmed?  These things are happening all over the country.  These are happening with the approval of both the Democrats and the Republicans.  When the police are the ones being used in this way, to whom can a citizen turn for help?  When the judges do nothing and the media presents these as “cool” and stupid citizens accept these things as “cool,” or say, “What can I do about it?” the situation grows in intensity.  Isn’t it time to say “No more!”?

For a closer view of what is coming, see U.S. Army Re-Education Manual: Yet More Chilling Revelations.

From above, if a SWAT team was sent to intimidate and arrest Mr. Del Rio, a retired citizen who has served his country in many capacities, for whom are these detention camps being built?  Whom are the government leaders labeling as people who should be detained and/or reeducated?

Last year in my post Where have all the police gone? , I shared a late night event where over 40 police cars and a helicopter converged upon a local bowling ally on account of an off-duty police officer working security who encountered two unruly men.

Are such things not indicative of matters becoming out of control, or at least, not being focused primarily upon protection of the people?

I find these things very concerning.  I hear of people going hungry, unable to afford medical care, losing their homes, being mugged because they cannot afford to drive and have to walk home late at night from their jobs.

I am concerned because the most precious treasure of mankind, the pure Gospel, is being misrepresented so that people are becoming hardened to it and to belief in the God of the Gospel.  Ultimately, this is my greatest concern, as the church bodies become more and more corrupt, and the government and society follow.  The healing and peace and joy and comfort of the Gospel is being buried or transformed so that people are not receiving these blessings and benefits, and both society and the country are moving in a direction toward destruction.

How sad.

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Monday, May 07, 2012

Collects and other Extra$

As I pondered and relished the great content of the Collect for this past Sunday, and as I reflected upon the richness of the Collects that belong to the saints as they have been handed down through the generations, I thought that I would check in LSB to see how the “new” hymnal offers these to those who look to the hymnal for their devotional resource.  To my great dismay I discovered that the new LC—MS hymnal does not make these rich treasures of the Church available to the people.  Rather, the people must purchase them at an additional cost, AND, they must obtain permission to use them.

According to the LC-MS’s highly regarded and praised Pastor Weedon in his post entitled Collects Revisited :

     Live and learn. A good friend told me today that CPH holds the copyright on the collects in LSB, and therefore that I cannot legally publish them on my blog. Sorry about that, folks. I know, it seems utterly silly - how can a publishing house copyright the ancient collects of the Western Church?

He additionally says:

     I am still waiting to see if the collects from TLH are under copyright; again, since most of them are directly out of the Book of Common Prayer, I don't know how they could be.

Well, CPH did copyright TLH and for many years told the people that they were not free to use the material, even though the Preface on page two clearly gives open permission to one and all to use all of the material freely.

What was the LC-MS and CPH thinking?

In the name of the $ and of the $ and of the $!!!

TLH also has all of the Collects listed in the section entitled: “Introits, Collects, and Graduals for the Church Year.”

Why was this done?

Again, this is clearly stated in the Preface on page two, which I shall reproduce again here:

I. N. I.

     The Lutheran Hymnal is intended for use in church, school, and home. The committee entrusted with the task of compiling and editing has earnestly endeavored to produce a hymnal containing the best of the hymnodical treasures of the Church, both as to texts and tunes, in accord with the highest standards of Christian worship. It is our sincere prayer that these treasures may be cherished by God's people wherever the English tongue is used in public or private worship. We have freely used whatever we found of value and, by way of acknowledgment, have carefully indicated all sources. In turn, we freely offer for the use of others all original contributions or translations made by the committee as such or by its individual members.
     "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father: to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever! Amen."


In LW the material was copyrighted without any permissions given in the preface, but at least these treasures were included in the hymnal for the use of the people in the regular congregating for the divine service and also in their personal devotions.

But LSB completely omits these, in addition to copyrighting them.  Having thus stolen them from the people they offer to sell them separately for four dollars per copy, here, explaining how generous, thoughtful, and accomodating they are here.  They add this warning and disclaimer:

It has been designed to be of such a size that it could easily fit in the back of a Pew Edition of Lutheran Service Book, but it should be mentioned that doing so may potentially stress and/or break the binding of the Pew Edition itself.

This breaks my heart.  But then, this is exactly what one would expect from the LC-MS and CPH.  It makes me ashamed to have to admit that for most of my life that I was a partaker of the activities of that church body.  Such things as this are why people become disillusioned with the Church and with the precious Gospel that is sold for silver and gold, actually, worse, for fiat money.  I cannot even begin to give an accounting for the number of people that I have met who express such disillusionment and resultant distrust and unbelief on account of such ways of the LC-MS and the mainstream incorporated churches.

Yet the Church’s treasures are still available.  TLH has held them before the world for generations.  CPH has jacked up the price for new copies of TLH, but they can still be purchased.  Moreover, portions are now available for downloading on the Internet.  And once people obtain these for themselves, they are free to use them at will.

Thanks be to God that these treasures are available to us, if only we desire to use them.

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From Whence Comes Good Gifts?

Yesterday was a very warm day, especially for me, as I was fulfilling my duty as husband and chief barbeque chef.  We decided that barbecuing a turkey would be a good choice for this week’s meat supply for our suppers.

As I prepared the fire, the robins splashed about in the two pans of water that I have in the yard for the birds and squirrels and other by-passers of our back yard.  One of the robins perched on the fence and looked back at me as I worked.  I said to him, “You’re welcome.”  Then I thought and said, “Do you even know that I am the one who sets the water out for you?”

It seemed to me a fitting reflection of this Sunday’s Epistle reading.

     Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.  (James 1:16-21)

How often we forget that every giving that is good and every gift that is complete is from above, coming down to us from the Father of lights.  How truly good and gracious and loving our heavenly Father is we really do not realize.  We do not even understand all that we need for our lives, yet the Lord ceaselessly provides everything, even without our knowledge or understanding, even without our asking, even without our faithfulness.  We abuse ourselves and He reaches out to us offering healing.  We wander into foolish ways and He calls us back to the straight path of safety.

Oh, that we would hear Him, truly hear Him, even as the Collect of the Day leads us to pray and confess:

     O God, who makes the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant unto Thy people that they may love what Thou commandest and desire what Thou dost promise that among the manifold changes of this world our hearts may there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Troubling News

This week has been one of dealing with troubling news.  In addition to the ongoing advancement of the march against our freedom as Americans, some very personal troubling news surfaced and became prominent for us.  My mother called on Friday morning a week ago to share the news that my sister-in-law had been found dead sometime in the latter part of the previous day.  At that time Mom had very little information beyond that my sister-in-law, Kimberly, had been found dead between 4 and 8 pm Thursday.

The news was relayed to Mom by my brother-in-law, who had received it from Kimberly’s live-in boyfriend.  As more information became available we learned that the boyfriend was the one who found her dead on the floor.

Such news comes hard and is deeply distressing and heart wrenching, even though it was not entirely unanticipated.  Kim’s death did not occur without warning.

Sadly there is a long period of serious dysfunction in our family.  While most of the family disagrees with me, this dysfunction is the direct result of the disintegration of the identity and integrity of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod and the family’s refusal to acknowledge and flee the pernicious changes in doctrine and practice.  Little by little, the family was changed by their communion in this ever-changing communion.  The unity and stability that was once enjoyed by all in the family was eroded until only chaos and dysfunction and animosity and confusion remained.

Personal dysfunction ensued.  Things became very, very troubled in the family.

This dysfunction extended to Kimberly so that she eventually left my brother, taking the children, filing for divorce, and many other hard actions.  Many painful court actions continued throughout this drawn out ordeal.  Much more destruction of family relations grew.

Within the first week of this action, Kimberly asked me to be her friend on Facebook.  Since this was my only means of contact I tried to express both support of her in her struggle, but also warned her of the destruction that she was bringing upon herself and her family.  I urged seeking answers together in the Lord.  Sadly, she immediately removed me as one her Facebook friends.  It would be almost three years before I would again have opportunity to have contact with her.

Kim began using and abusing drugs.  She was arrested several times for drugs and for stealing.  She failed to appear in court regarding those issues and regarding the divorce proceedings that she initiated and pursued and was found and arrested and held without bail.  Since her parents reportedly had lost hope for her, she was now very much alone.  She had abandoned some time earlier her children, whom the court had returned to my brother’s custody.

Having learned that Kim was now in jail, I called the facility to learn the proper address and mailing information and began writing to her to remind her that we still loved her and desired the peace of the Lord to be hers.  During this time I wrote several times and sent two sermons, but without any response from her.  I continually expressed our love for her and especially God’s love and forgiveness for whatever things were on her heart.  Having shared the mailing information with my mom, she also wrote to her with assurances of ongoing love.

After her death, her boyfriend called my mom and told her that Kim had received the letters but wondered whether we could be sincere in expressing love for her.

I have spent many hours over the past week in phone conversations with my mom and brother, and briefly with my nephew and niece.  It has been a very hard time for them all, and for Kim’s side of the family as well.  Much painful injury has occurred.

Sadly, this sort of story is not at all uncommon in our society today.  In fact, such unrest and dysfunction and disintegration of family is counted as quite common.

Growing up I never imagined such to be possible in my family.  We lived together in the clear and confident confession of the one true faith.  We found solace and reconciliation in the Lord’s forgiveness and Communion.  The grace, mercy, and peace of God in Christ was the foundation of our life together.  We knew and believed that all of our shortcomings and failures and wrongdoings were washed away in our baptisms and that in the Holy Communion the Lord restored His life of true unity to us.  While our sinfulness certainly was a daily issue for us, we nevertheless were safe in the Holy Communion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and the communion of the saints created and maintained in communion with them.

We watched in dismay as other families, even portions of our extended family, tore themselves to pieces.  But we never imagined such to be what we would ever experience.

Sadly, a very beautiful member of our family suffered greatly in her heart and mind and life until her body finally succumbed to the stresses that overpowered her.

Her obituary and picture can be seen here.

It really says nothing at all about her.  She really was a very lovely woman and a treasure to us all.  Now we are left mostly with questions and the need for healing.  Her children especially are left with many questions, questions that they will have to accept as unanswerable.  But they rejoice to be united again with their father in his loving care.

My main point in sharing this is that in Christ such sad and disheartening things are washed away so that true unity and joy and comfort and peace and stability are restored to us both as individuals and families, and yes, even as communities and societies.  The disintegration that we observe around us matches the disintegration of the churches.  When the churches stood as one in the one true faith, true concord and harmony were the observed way.  This is clearly demonstrated by the accounting given by Luke in the book of Acts.  As long as the preaching of the cross was embraced without adulteration and Baptism and the Holy Communion were administered without alteration from what the Lord instituted, God’s peace that surpasses all understanding was enjoyed by all.  But wherever human understanding was pursued in place of the faith worked through the ordained means of grace, the peace of God is lost through the ensuing disintegration of our own heresies (opinions and interpretations).

My family is facing a great loss, both through the death of our dear Kimberly, and through the death of our family.  Our family died quite some time before this death extended to Kimberly personally.  But Kimberly was baptized into the name of the Lord and His holiness and the Holy Spirit was poured out to her in accord with God’s promise concerning Baptism.  Thus we have hope that she was yet kept safe in God’s grace by His never ending mercy.

Moreover, there is yet hope for the family and for all of the families of the earth.  God’s Church on earth is still standing, even if found in the gathering of two or three to the pure means of grace.  God’s pure Word and Sacraments are the hope of the world, as He comes to us and gives Himself to us and with Himself, all of the blessings of heaven and everlasting life.  While the church bodies refuse to repent and be turned back again to the one true way, the Church continues to be gathered by the Holy Spirit and kept together with Jesus Christ in His one true faith.

This is truly good news or Gospel.  This is the true hope for the world.  This is where true peace and concord are found and enjoyed.  Through this families are restored, no matter how badly they have been shattered.  Through this communities are brought together to rejoice in God’s goodness.  No matter what else occurs around us, the Lord is faithful to His promises and He does work His miracles for us through His Church on earth and the means ordained for her use and administration to her children.  Through this, troubling news is transformed to truly good news of peace and hope and joy.

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A Tiny Nature’s Haven

Last week I began working to prune an Amur maple that had grown as a multiple stem tree and had overgrown the area in which it had been planted.  The two secondary main stems needed to be removed, and it needed to be deadwooded and cleaned and headed back from the three walls and roof.  As I began approaching the tree I found a baby rabbit in the enclosed bed looking up at me from the foot of the trunk of the Amur maple.

Then, as I began working in the tree I discovered a robin and her nest in one of the boughs to be removed.  She was quite upset.  She squeaked loudly and continually, which is an odd sound for a robin.  Then she began swooping at my head, but without actually making contact.  I warned her not to do this as I did not want to hurt her and I did not want to knock her baby and unhatched egg to the ground.  The baby appeared to have been hatched that day, perhaps only hours earlier.  I kept telling her that I was aware of her nest and that I would be careful not to destroy it.  But she continued squeaking and squeaking.  I kept assuring her that I would not hurt her babies and that I would move her nest to a new and safe location in the tree and that if she is a good momma that she will return to care for her babies.

Finally I changed my tone from apologetic to a firm and direct address, saying, “Listen, I know that you can understand me as the Lord can make my words understood to you, so listen.  I will not hurt your babies.  I will move the nest to a safe location and if you are a good mamma, you will return to take care of them.”  After this she stood on the roof looking at me for a few moments and then flew away.  I was able to relocate the nest to a safe place in the remaining tree branches and she returned to care for her baby and egg.

As I worked on the ground removing the two secondary mains,  I was very much startled when a momma duck suddenly took flight as I was working.  Her nest was in the corner behind me.  After she flew off, making quite a startling flutter, I saw her nest with six or seven eggs.  I was careful as I felled and dragged the large branches so as not to disturb her nest, nor the robin’s nest.  Momma Duck also returned to her eggs after I finished working in that little alcove.

Both mommas returned to their precious ones shortly after I cleared my equipment and branches from the alcove.  I was still working in the same area of the yard when they returned.  Momma robin returned to her nest and sat overlooking the front lawn.  Momma Duck flew back, landed in the grass and paced a bit, looking over her shoulder at me for a few minutes, and then flew back to her nest.

Such little adventures add considerably to the time required to do my work, yet I receive a sense of satisfaction and joy when I am able to save the little families from destruction.  I have moved other nests in the past, too.  If at least one of the eggs has already hatched, the rate of success is much higher.  It also helps when the nest can be kept in the same tree.  But even when it must be moved to another tree, if the babies have hatched so that they make some noise, sometimes the momma finds them and resumes her motherly care for them.  This baby was so newly hatched that it did not even make any noises.  But Momma Robin did find her babies.

Anyway, I thought that I would share this little bit of joyous success that I enjoyed this past week.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

More Brainless Bandwagon Slogans

From the left, from the right, are there any Americans left who actually see beyond the bandwagon slogans of the two parties?

Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that is the epitome of thoughtless, mindless politics.

I was furious when I saw this.


Stupidity, especially willful stupidity that steals and destroys any hope for genuine progress from all who exert genuine thought and energy and effort toward helping their neighbors and countrymen and mankind, infuriates me.

This bumper sticker has been around since last year, it seems, yet this is the first one that I have seen.

While I am not a tea party person, the mindset of this promotional propaganda reeks of a foul stench.


At least the tea party people are alert enough to see the daily destruction around them.  Sadly, they listen to farcical pretenders of conservativism who say just enough of the right sounding rhetoric to convince people that the issues are being addressed.  Sadly, these globalist shills never allow the talk to move toward addressing the base problems and their solutions.  For example, they talk about the “mistakes” of the FED, but never speak of the fact that the FED IS the MISTAKE.  Actually, it is much worse than a mistake, but at least that would be a beginning.

Here is further exemplification: Krugman: Fed Should Allow Inflation Above 2% Target.

Newsmax reports this in its “Moneynews.”

This is not reporting anything but the propagation of enormous lies.  2% inflation?  Is there anyone in America who actually purchases items at retail who believes that inflation is at 2% now?  Anyone purchasing regular household items knows that the prices of many if not most items are at least 30% higher than last year.  Moreover, many items have been reduced in size or quantity.

Who in the media, including Rush Limbo and Hop Along Hannity and Bill O’Really and Mark Leviathan or any of the Faux News Radio hosts, who is exposing this farce?  Who is calling for elimination of the FED, which is the cause of perpetual inflation so that 10% is called normal and leveled to zero in the statistical accounting?

Who is openly reporting and denouncing the NDAA?  Who is exposing the continual legislating in the federal, state, and local governments that with subterfuge are implementing the UN Agenda 21?  Who is warning that the Green Movement and Sustainable Living propaganda has nothing whatsoever to do with preserving the environment but is more subterfuge for usurping the people’s rights to own property, to move and travel freely, and to utilize goods and resources in accord with their own designs and liberties?

I daily speak with people and find that hardly anyone has even heard of the NDAA, the UN Agenda 21, the fact that FED is a private corporation owned and controlled by international banking concerns, and many other issues that most certainly concern them.  In my experience, when people hear of these they commonly are shocked.

Sadly, people who proudly display bumper stickers like this are wandering in a fog.

But worse than that, they are willfully enabling the destruction of the USA and the Constitution and the rich blessings and liberties that these lazy followers of “progressive thinking” abuse and often unknowingly despise.

Will the people of America awaken from their stupor?

For the “progressive minded” who mock the tea party movement while imagining that drinking green tea will save them, it seems hopeless.

And what of the tea party followers?  Will they see how they, too, are being led to half-truths or to the truth at only lower levels of knowledge?  Will they continue to look back to the Boston Tea Party as though that actually accomplished anything?  Will they continue to place their hope in the Republican elitists for their salvation?

And what of the self-fashioned Christians who respond that they do not concern themselves with such things because they know that God is in control.

Do they ever actually listen to this God who has warned us that these things come upon us because we feign faith in Him while not actually living in accord with the true faith that He gives?  What about “Love your neighbor as yourself”?  Does this not include looking after the widows and orphans and acting on their behalf so that the bankers do not steal their homes and throw them into the streets?  Does this not include more than donating to the food pantry and the Salvation Army, extending also to electing leaders who overturn the unjust laws that allow the big banks and the big corporate monsters to continue poisoning the population with false propaganda and with poisons in the food and water and milk and air?  Does it not include protecting the right to own property and to use it as one determines so long as it does not harm others?  Does it not include the decrying of usury and especially exorbitant usury that destroys the economy and robs people of their homes and livelihoods?

Yes, God IS in control.  But He has given us the responsibility and privilege of being His vessels through which He pours out His blessings to family and neighbors and countrymen and fellow man.  He gives us our talents and minds and knowledge and emotions and bodies and muscles and employment and houses and all that we need for this body and life, but He gives these to us to be utilized in the same way as He gives them, for the benefit of all.

If we do not act in accord with what He has declared as our responsibility in this world, then what are we saying of His control?  If we hide behind “Judge not” as if this were genuine expression of love, if we refuse to judge those things that He Himself has commanded that we judge in accord with His declared judgment, if we refuse to act in accord with what true faith and love demand of us, what are we really saying and doing?

This dilemma is even more concerning than the mindless ways of those who think that progress is somehow properly associated with what the so-called Liberals promote.  For when Christians imagine that faith without works can be counted as a living faith, what hope remains?  James speaks very forthrightly to this issue, as does also St. Paul and St. Peter, and of course, the Lord Jesus Himself.

Just to be clear and to avoid misunderstanding, our works most certainly do not have salvific value in themselves.  Our works are only counted as good for the sake of Christ’s merits.  Our lives are counted as holy only on account of being baptized into His Holy Communion.  But as members of His body in His Communion, our lives are changed.  Our very minds and mindset are changed.  Our hearts and ears and eyes are opened to see and perceive God's good and gracious will so that we begin to live in accord with His will.  His will is truly good, and as we grow in realizing this more and more fully, our will becomes more and more good, too.  When our will is changed in this way, so also are the actions that flow from this renewed will.  As a result, our actions produce much happiness and contentment for ourselves and for those with whom we have daily interaction.

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