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Worst Example of Journalism I have seen since High School!

16 Feb

Worst Example of Journalism I have seen since High School!

This article is an example of purple prose. It is an example of a tempest in a teapot. And, for those who dislike such phrases from bygone eras, it is also an example of rampant racism (or some other type of “respect of persons” as forbidden by the Bible).

Let’s list the reasons why:
1) The “crisis” seems to have started right before Jason Cosby, the Virginia Beach Director of Public Works, was sent to Afghanistan on a mandatory military deployment. I would suspect someone at the city didn’t want to hold his job until he came back (as required by the law called USERRA). So they started a trumped up process to fire him . . .
2) The “infractions” are so vague and minor (if this news article can be believed) that they would probably apply to hundreds of other employees of Virginia Beach. There is no evidence that any other employee has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb like this. It is as though Mr. Cosby were suddenly looked at under a microscope to pick apart any mistakes made during his twenty years with the city. I regard that as racism (or at least as undue scrutiny of just one person) until I see evidence that everyone else has been subjected to the same level of inquiry. Who else was followed around at Virginia Beach rec centers to see whether they actually worked out when they swiped in, for example?
3) The article does not specify, in most cases, what was done when these infractions came to light. They could have been innocent mistakes that were later made right. For example, I once grabbed my business American Express card to pay for some Christmas presents I bought while on travel. I was shopping with a friend and not paying attention. That card was the one on top in my wallet. Since I had to pay the card off anyway, after my return, it was a “no harm, no foul” situation which I brought to the attention of my supervisor. I believe many people accidentally use official credit cards to pay for things at some point in a twenty year career. It is what they do when they find that out that matters!
4) Mr. Cosby is not currently profiting from receiving city pay (only benefits like medical, which the military also offers in most cases). The first year, the city paid him the differential between his city salary and his lower Army salary, as required by law. This is, again, a common factor for all people who work a full-time job while maintaining a reserve career in the military. If people don’t like the way that works, they need to lobby to change the system, not persecute one person who is doing it as though he were doing something wrong. In this case there not only is no fire, there is no smoke!
5) The article smears a decorated veteran with a 20-year city career that was, until now, regarded as exemplary. He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech, two of them advanced degrees. His case is making its way through the city system, with lawyers on both sides working it. Why put this case in the paper to be tried in the court of (ignorant) public opinion by many people who don’t understand the USERRA law and how it is used to get quality military personnel to serve in places like Afghanistan?
6) At best, releasing the requested freedom of information files in the paper today is meant to sell papers. At worst, it is meant to produce an online lynching of someone who is, due to the ongoing process, not allowed to talk to the press and defend himself. Ya know?

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Virginia!

14 Feb

Happy Valentine's Day, Virginia!

So much has changed since yesterday in the state of Virginia, but yet so much remains the same.

The gospel of Jesus Christ still remains the antidote for the sin problem of the entire human race. Our problem with anger, our problem with selfishness, our problem with sexual sin, our problem with wanting to make a name for ourselves independent of God, and independent of the design and plan He built into the human race.

When Jesus came, during the Roman Empire, He defined marriage as between one man and one woman for life. So many of us nowadays fall woefully short of His definition.

Jesus then went on to concentrate on bringing the gospel, His good news, to broken, sinful people.

He did not rage against the machine.

He didn’t preach against the polygamy that was occurring in every part of the Roman Empire except Israel at that time.

He didn’t preach against the marriages that were marriages in name only, to produce heirs, while the men involved in them carried on with dozens of other women, or men, or young children.

Jesus addressed sin as sin; He addressed sinners as sinners. Yet He did more. He loved sinners. Often they received His love. They were then loved back into wholeness by the very Son of God!

Jesus is still doing that only . . . He is using the hands and feet and hearts of people who are alive in Him on earth right now. His Holy Spirit empowers us to love sinners and to lead them to Christ, that the Holy Spirit may dwell in them, too, breaking the hold of sin over their lives, as He has broken the hold of sin over our lives.

John, the Apostle of love, writes often of how Jesus said that that would be the only way the world around us would know that God is real and that He is love–when they see our love for each other and for lost people around us.

That is God’s plan for redeeming a lost world. Us. So we had better take it seriously.

Remember, the only time anyone ever threw a sexual sinner on the floor in front of our Saviour, He told her He did not condemn her.

And to go and sin no more!

That is our message for a broken world, and our message for Virginia today.

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The Hipsters, who Distance from the Fundies, Review Ken Ham through their Lens of Christianity

5 Feb

The Hipsters, who Distance from the Fundies, Review Ken Ham through their Lens of Christianity

Disclaimer: not all young Christians are hipsters and not all hipster Christians spend their time acting like they would like to hide the fundamentalist folks in Christianity in a broom closet, along with their hardworking old grandmother who makes them feel ashamed in front of their friends by her terminal lack of coolness.

But there are enough young hipsters like that in Christianity to be ironic.

Ironic because they denounce fundamentalists for hating them and trying to make them go away.

They denounce us while using these same tactics against us.

Enough already. Mom here! I don’t care who started it. Let’s just stop it. We are all part of the same Christian camp.

The above post doesn’t address many things theologically.

If you want to be a hipster Christian and defend marriage as being other than Christ defined it (one man, one woman, for life), then show me where the moral authority comes from to do that.

If you want to believe in theistic evolution, explain to me theologically how death came along before Adam and Eve fell.

If you want to reconcile a world that is millions of years old with a Saviour who was born of a virgin, explain to me how a God who wasn’t capable of creating an old universe in the Old Testament (with starlight already in progress, since stars that we can see are millions of light years from earth) suddenly became capable of creating a virgin birth in the New Testament.

There are lots of things that need to be addressed theologically by the above post. They were not even attempted. The writer merely did some terminally cool posturing. I throw a flag on his play.

And just sneering at fundamentalists does not count as a logical argument. In fact, that is called an ad hominem argument, for anyone who is truly looking to learn the fair rules of debate.

Just sayin’

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Poverty . . . Any Ideas?

31 Jan

Poverty . . . Any Ideas?

This piece, on worldwide poverty, brings to mind our microcosm in the U.S., as addressed by the President in the State of the Union address Tuesday night (January 28, 2014).

I had some thoughts on the wage inequality that the President raised. I don’t believe it will be touched by raising either the federal employees’ minimum wage to $10.40 an hour, nor the country’s minimum wage to $10.40 an hour.

First of all, most federal employees already make far more than $10.40 an hour, so that statement was just window dressing anyway.

Secondly, what can be done on $440 a week? Not much here. Even two married people, both making minimum wage, would be barely able to scrape by on $880 a week in coastal Virginia.

Should we federally control prices? In a free market? Never. That would be the worst of Soviet communism, come to fruition on our own soil.

So how do we equip people to live in this expensive economy?

Certainly not by preparing them to be minimum wage workers all life long.

Our newspaper, not a bastion of liberal nor of conservative thought, laid it all out again last week (these statistics are well known and have often been reported by bipartisan sources): point #1) there is a huge difference in wages between high school graduates (or dropouts) and college graduates, point #2) college graduates tend to marry each other and point #3) college graduates are the ones who still believe in the institution of marriage and embark on it, trying to make it last (high school graduates and dropouts tend to be the ones who believe that the entire institution of marriage is flawed so we should all just cohabitate whenever we wish).

I have had people who don’t believe in the institution of marriage try to give me anecdotal evidence that suggests the above points are not true. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. But the points are true.

So, given that, I was less than encouraged that neither the State of the Union nor its rebuttal led to a discussion of strengthening the family.

It seems that finishing college and embarking on long-lasting marriages is the way forward economically for Americans.

Yes, we used to be able to make it in single-earner households. Some, by drawing down their requirements, still do. But most of us do not. World War II changed that by putting women to work. The economy grew to the point that it costs the wages of a husband plus the wages of a wife to live.

Society shifted. Life is like that.

Any constructive ideas from others about the way forward?

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Slippery Slope: How Private Schools and Racial Segregation Can Go Hand-in-Hand

20 Jan

Slippery Slope: How Private Schools and Racial Segregation Can Go Hand-in-Hand

A thoughtful article.

I do have to give a shoutout to my own church and its academy. I haven’t done an exact count, but the academy seems to be approximately 50% non-Caucasian, with students who are black, Asian, and Hispanic all there. And the most popular ethnic group nowadays–those beautiful kids who are of such a mixture of heritages that you couldn’t even classify them if you wanted to do so!

That, my friends, is heaven.

We are advantaged here by having the military as the great integrator. In our area, we host all five military branches. People are comfortable with those of other races because they learn to be comfortable at their government/military jobs.

I suppose a place like Jackson, Tennessee (in the article) isn’t advantaged like we are with a working environment in which people of various races get to know each other well.

But our church also reaches out to all ethnic groups and has a low enough tuition for the private school that it is more easily accessible for members of ethnic groups who might be the first in their family to consider private education. It is a sacrifice for everyone, but it is one that an increasing number of African-American, Asian, and Hispanic parents are choosing at our school . . .

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Anti-Gun Mayor Imprisoned after Holding A Man Captive and Firing a Gun . . .

17 Jan

Anti-Gun Mayor Imprisoned after Holding A Man Captive and Firing a Gun . . .

There is so much wrong here . . . where do we begin?

The least of the mayor’s difficulties is firing his gun inside his residence (even with his membership in an anti-gun group).

It seems that, while having his “complex life involving bisexuality” he committed acts of stalking, misuse of government resources (having the police go pick up the person he was stalking–how frightening), unlawful imprisonment (making the stalking victim stay with him for three and a half hours), underage drinking (odd that giving alcohol to a 20-year-old is a crime, while consensual sex with a 20-year-old would not be a crime), attempting to have a sexual relationship with that 20-year-old (non-consensual, therefore a crime, no matter who you are), and bondage.

This is a perfect time for the gay people of good will in our nation to loudly denounce this sort of thing. Just as heterosexual (and gay) men of good will have spent forever saying that it is wrong for men to force non-consensual sex on women. Being an emotional basket case is not an excuse for breaking the law and I am glad this mayor had the book thrown at him.

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2013 List of Countries Where Christians are Most Persecuted

16 Jan

2013 List of Countries Where Christians are Most Persecuted

This is the real McCoy, folks. Places where you can be beat up or killed for being a Christian. Not the faux persecution we speak about in the States when we actually mean that Phil Robertson makes a little less money due to his faith (or not, maybe he is making more money now–who knows?).

If we know this list, we can pray for our Christian brothers and sisters, worldwide, with wisdom.

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