I recently purchased and began reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis, of course, is a well known Christian writer. He is well known for his children's series, The Chronicles of Narnia. (Note, Disney will release a movie(s) based on the series.) If you have never read anything from C.S. Lewis, go to your local bookstore or library and pick up one or two of his books. Mere Christianity is another excellent book. C.S. Lewis' insights into human nature and how God works with us are amazing. For instance, in The Screwtape Letters, Lewis notes the differences between how God works and how Satan works. God seeks for us to turn our wills over to Him, thus becoming one with Him. Lewis points out, however, that He does this while preserving our uniqueness. Alternatively, Satan and his ilk seek to bind the will of man and subjugate man to him. Satan seeks to undermine the uniqueness of each person, instead prefering to move men and women from who they really are. God seeks willing servants to make them sons and daughters, Satan seeks slaves.
It reminds me of a comment someone once made about the things of God as compared to unrighteous, or devilish things. He noted that studying the scriptures, prayer, church attendance, doing good deeds, etc. take work and effort. While we can form good habits relative to such things, we contantly have to renew our determination to do such things. They are not addictive. However, many things Satan would have us do are addictive. I mentioned gambling and pornography the other day. Drugs also are addictive. These things sap the will of their participants, thus binding the addicted to the substance or practice which moves the addict further and further from who they really are and who God wants them to be. Just think about it. Those activities that are best for us take our work and effort. God does step in to help, reassuring us, oftentimes, that what we are doing is good, but the feeling fades. We are then left to ourselves to determine, for ourselves, if we will stay the course. Will we bend our will, our desires, to the things of God? That is the question. Of course, we are not alone. God does give us His grace, the divine enabling (and enobling) power available to us through Christ's atonement, to be all that He wants us to be. Will we accept the gift? Will we make the effort?
Anyway, I would encourage readers, religious or not, go read some of C.S. Lewis' works and let your mind think on profound and important issues. We live in a world that does not encourage deep and serious thought. Hopefully, we all are bucking that trend.
George likes his Yankees spicy
Ordinarily, I don't take pleasure in the suffering of others. But I'm certainly willing to make an exception in the case of the Evil Empire.
The omnipotent New York Yankees are 9-13 and have assured themselves of a losing April. Those dad-burn Yankees are lodged in fourth place in the AL East -- just one game in front of the knuckle-dragging Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
George Steinbrenner already has blown one gasket, issuing a statement of his marked displeasure in the performance of his $200 million men.
By my count, the month of April cost King George $28 million in player salary -- or just a shade over $2.1 million per loss. That's a shame.
Surprise--The Left Hates Christian Conservatives
Stanley Kurtz writes about the secular left's hatred of Christian conservatives over at NRO today. Of course this is no real surprise. Secularist liberals have always despised the devoutly religious. We see this throughout history. I firmly believe there are those on the left who would not hesitate to put Christian conservatives in concentration camps given the opportunity. It will be important for Christians to continue to be aware of societal trends, because gulf that divides the "world" and true Christianity continues to grow.
LDS Church President Takes On Moral Issues of Our Day
Some of you may be aware that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a semi-annual General Conference each October and April. At these conferences, the general church leaders speak on a variety of topics over the course of two days. In the last several, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley has addressed some of the troubling moral issues of our day. Last October, he spoke to the evils of pornography. Just a couple of weeks ago, his discourse focused on gambling. (The Church has also put together a list of additional articles on gambling.) Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church also spoke about pornography in the most recent conference. (Elder Oak, a former attorney and Utah Supreme Court Justice, has given some great speeches. See here and here and here and here.) In the past, President Hinckley and others have spoken out against same-sex marriage in General Conference and in other venues. (See here and here). It is sad that such things must be dealt with, but it is refreshing to see clear doctrines taught and morality promoted.
That is the title of an article featured this week at NRO. The author discusses a recent speech by Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the use of international law to interpret the U.S. Constitution. Let me first say that Ginsburg, Stevens, Bryer should all be removed from the Supreme Court. I wouldn't mind seeing Kennedy, O'Connor and Suter retire either. We need real judges who understand their limited role in our government system. How someone like Ginsburg who has such a distorted view of the law and the role of the judiciary can be a Supreme Court justice is beyond my comprehension.
Cookie Monster No More
Jonah Goldberg makes some excellent points about the death of the Cookie Monster of Sesame Street fame. Well, he doesn't really write about the Cookie Monster dying, but Goldberg does discuss how the politically correct producers of Sesame Street have essentially eliminated what the Cookie Monster was-- a monster who eats cookies (or, as is noted in the article, anything that looks like a cookie).
You know, when I was growing up, my favorite characters on Sesame Street were Grover (primarily when he was Super Grover) and Cookie Monster. I don't remember ever thinking, "Oh, the Cookie Monster eats cookies all the time, so should I." I do remember thinking, "I like the taste of cookies. I want to eat them all the time." However, that was separate and independent of what the Cookie Monster was or did. Fortunately, I had parents who said, "No, you are not going to eat cookies all the time. Eat your vegetables." I even had a brother who spent the night at the kitchen table because he wouldn't eat his peas. (Good thing the statute of limitations has run, or some of our liberal readers might be tempted to call children's protected services on my mom and dad. My brother is now 27 years old, and near as we can tell, he has no lasting emotional scars from the experience.)
If you want to solve childhood obesity, get parents to do their job. It really is that simple. Don't blame Sesame Street, or McDonalds, or Nabisco. Problems with children (whether obesity, illiteracy, or behavioral problems) are a reflection, by and large, of bad parenting. It's just that simple. Fix the parents and you fix the children.
See, This Is the Problem...
Click here for .. well, I don't know what to call it, but it starts like this:
Vermont Supreme Court Justice John Dooley III said yesterday he would like to see the Vermont Constitution modernized, saying some of its language is "incredibly old, incredibly vague and incredibly broad."
"The reality is that Vermont has the oldest Constitution, the least amended constitution, the shortest constitution, and the only constitution I think that hasn't gone through some kind of constitutional conference, type of convention kind of process to modernize," Dooley said.
He delivered his talk, titled "Gay Relationships and Judicial Activism: the View From the Bench," to about 200 people attending a conference on "The Role of Ethics in Public Life" at the University of Vermont.
And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is: Guilty
is the title of this hysterical piece in the Washington Post. It seems the Democrat strategy for judges is becoming clear -- paint conservativces as nuts who want to harm judges.
I must have read fifteen stories in the past two weeks about how out of control conservative criticism of judges is. But it seems that Scalia or Thomas can't speak anywhere without having protection, and certainly without being protested by nutcase lefties. Do you ever see conservatives out protesting against Ginsburg or Stephens? I don't.
So which jurists really have legitimate reason to fear for their safety -- conservatives or liberals?
True story of Jesus, Rush and a 3-year-old little girl
So, it's Thursday morning, and I'm slugging through my first pot of coffee, trying to concoct a plan for the rest of the day. I've got clips of Rush's Wednesday radio show playing on the computer, and he's talking about what the media's reaction would be to the Second Coming:
"In this day and age, can you imagine, Jesus Christ actually reappearing, not
the Second Coming, just reappear. Well, make it the Second Coming, whatever. Can you imagine the reaction around the world? Forget around the world, just stick with America. Can you imagine all of the different people that would be
demanding all kinds of proof that wouldn't believe anything? ... You know as
well as I do that the number of people who would be scared out of their wits and
would be doubting this and would be doing anything they could to disapprove it
would gear up like they've never geared up before."
Just as Rush finishes up his point, my 3-year-old daughter Reagan, who is more interested in the Dora the Explorer pictures on her box of Kix than what her dad is doing, comes up from her cereal feast and out of nowhere says:
"Dad, it's 6-30 John."
"What?" I asked.
"It's 6-30 John."
"What are you talking about?" I asked again, more confused than anything.
And, she says it again. So, I turned to the Good Book, and, folks, this is wild. I give you John 6:30:
"So they said to him, 'Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe
you? What work do you perform?' "
I tell you, I couldn't possibly make up that story!
In the midst of this article from the Washington Post on the Red Lake shootings comes this quote:
"It used to be when you saw someone who's a non-Indian coming on the reservation, there's only one reason -- he's either an FBI agent or a Mormon," said Mike Fairbanks, a 40-year law enforcement veteran and a member of the Red Lake Chippewa.
Larry the Legend
The newsroom TV is on here at work, mostly to monitor the pope's declining health so we can change gears for what's going into the paper. Plus, I like the background noise; it keeps me from thinking too much. Anyway, Larry King is on, interviewing one priest after the other, and really making a fool of himself.
Here are two of Larry's questions that caught my attention:
1. "At his heart, the pope really was about socialism, right?"
2. "Catholics really aren't evangelicals, are they?"