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What Makes Something Wrong?

Sunday, February 19, 2017  |  posted by John Schroeder

So this morning I wrote about the need to focus more on God than on ourselves as a way to enrich and improve our lives.  And then reading the news I came across one of the most stunning things I have ever read.  From USAToday this past Wednesday:

A New York-based advocacy group called Parity is asking Christians who favor LGBT equality — “queer positive Christians,” in their parlance — to show support by wearing “glitter ash” on their foreheads to mark Ash Wednesday on March 1.

[…]

“This is a way for queer Christians and queer-positive persons of faith to say ‘We are here,’” said Marian Edmonds-Allen, Parity’s executive director. “It is also a way for other people to be a witness to that and be in solidarity with them.”

I want to be very clear about something – this is vastly and hugely wrong – but not because the particulars involved anything to do with sexuality.  This is wrong because to co-opt Ash Wednesday for any purpose, including worthwhile advocacy, is to cheapen and rob Ash Wednesday services of what they are really about.  This would be true if it were Cleveland Browns fans trying to tell us “We are here” just as much as it is for the particular community involved to do this.  This is focusing on the self instead of on God. Continue Reading

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There Is Always A “But…”

Sunday, February 19, 2017  |  posted by John Schroeder

Ask a liberal their favorite Bible verse and most of the time you will get one of the ones about caring for the poor, and there are a lot of such verses.  I do not dispute nor disagree with them.  Yet there is always a, “But…,” that it seems like I get cut off before I can deliver.  The Old Testament spends massive amounts of time establishing and protecting private property.  Clearly the Biblical view of caring for the poor is a matter of charity, not compulsion.  It is a matter of sharing out of an open and loving heart, not taking for redistribution.

Most Christians are aware that Jesus said He came, “not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it,” as we so often hear quoted when someone seeks leniency in the application of some moral prohibition.  And yet you never hear such things when it comes to the application of the moral mandates like feeding the poor or caring for the elderly and widows.  Jesus came to change our hearts such that obeying the moral prohibitions would be a matter of expressing our nature, and so with the mandates.  I am always struck about by how much energy we put into morality when we should be focusing our energy on allowing Jesus to alter our nature such that morality requires no effort.  How do we do that?

I think one answer lies in the liberal’s least favorite Bible verse, “For you always have the poor with you…,”  But we really should consider the verse in context:

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.  But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?  For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me.  For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.  For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial.  Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

In a nutshell, Jesus rebukes the disciples for worrying about the poor and that particular servants morality instead of focusing on Him.  And therein lies the answer to our question – we need to focus on Jesus. Continue Reading

CBS News John Dickerson On The Elite media, President Trump And The Public’s Opinion Of Both

Friday, February 17, 2017  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

John Dickerson, host of CBS News’ Face The Nation, joined me for a short but interesting review of yesterday’s press conference by President Trump, with a particular focus on what the president had to say about the media:

Audio:

02-17hhs-dickerson

Transcript:

HH: California is going to be washed out to sea if you believe local news today, and I simply do not believe that from the West Coast. I’m joined by John Dickerson, CBS News host of Face the Nation. John, if we’re not here on Sunday, I’m sorry I didn’t warn you, but the local news is a little alarmist about a storm headed our way.

JD: Well, you know, I guess they pay only a smaller penalty for being alarmist than if they say it’s going to be bright and sunny and everybody then gets caught in the…

HH: Exactly.

JD: So they’re playing the odds, Hugh.

HH: They’re playing, no one ever remembers the storm watch you didn’t have. John Dickerson, Mike Dubke of Crossroads Media named White House Communications Director overnight. If you say Crossroads, that means Crossroads PAC, which means Karl Rove, which means Mike Dubke is of the old GOP establishment. And a lot of Trump originals are upset with this. I think it’s a good move showing a maturing White House. What do you think?

JD: I think it could very well be a maturing White House. It could also be, one of the things I hear again and again, I mean, they’ve got a lot of slots to fill, and they are not filling, this position was hard to fill. And I heard the pitch they were making for it, and it was not always on the merits of serving the country. And it’s hard to fill these slots. We’re seeing it’s hard to fill the National Security Advisor slot, and so which is not to take anything away from Mike Dubke. I’m just saying that you can’t be a purist if you’re a Trump loyalist. You’re going to have to bring in people from the wider circle. Continue Reading

Oroville – The More We Learn, The Worse It Gets.

Thursday, February 16, 2017  |  posted by John Schroeder

As what could be, even under normal circumstances, catastrophic levels of precipitation begin in Northern California, and we continue to receive reassurances from the powers that be, there are some people doing some excellent investigation into just how the Oroville dam got into this mess.  The particular source of interest today is a British newspaper, The Daily Mail, under the sensationalist headline:

 It ain’t over yet: California’s crumbling Oroville Dam will be hit by a FOOT of rain as engineers race to repair erosion after years of ‘patch and pray’ quick-fixes

There is a lot of coverage out there with such attention grabbing headlines. I usually go past them pretty quickly because I am more interested in information than in impact – but this piece contained some pretty amazing information.  Here’s the meat:

Earlier it was revealed cracks in the main concrete spillway have been included in site reports since 2009 but crews have been resorting to quick-fix concrete solutions to try to stop them from getting worse. 

The repairs that have been going on for years were labeled shoddy by Robert Bea, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at University of California, Berkeley. 

‘It’s ‘obvious those repairs didn’t work.’ We don’t have details on the repairs, but they put cement into the cracks and troweled it over. I call it “patch and pray.”

Inspectors with the state agency that both operates and checks the dam, the nation’s tallest at 770 feet, went into the half-mile-long spillway in 2014 and 2015 and did not find any concerns.

‘Conditions appeared to be normal,’ the inspector wrote in reports from both years. The most recent report which deemed the dam safe was in August last year when a team of inspectors checked it from only from afar.

The inspection was ordered as California was enduring a five-year drought which meant that until last year, the spillways had gone largely unused.

I would call that repair technique just “pray.”  But that takes a little explanation. Continue Reading

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