Category Archives: This or That

Alternative Sports Facts

Green-Bay-Packers-shoot-for-first-win-in-BuffaloIt was great seeing the Packers make it to yet another Super Bowl. Don’t believe the liberal media, with their fake news, which says the Falcons won. The Packers won, period. I look forward to them defeating the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

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The Gold Pitch

You’ve seen those alarmist commercials, often on cable news, which want you to invest in gold. They tell you about a coming global economic collapse which will make your money worthless. But if you have gold, you’ll be okay.

SO, they urge you to send them your money–which, of course, will become worthless–and they will send you their valuable gold. What am I missing here? Why do they want your worthless money? What do they intend to buy with it–platinum?

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Trump: Hitting the Ground Running with the Economy

After 30+ years at the United Brethren national office, I’ve seen (from the sidelines) hundreds of pastoral transitions occur in our churches. It’s always nice when a church is all primed to move forward–problems have been dealt with, the congregation is unified, finances are doing well, good leadership is in place. You know that the next pastor will be able to hit the ground running.

I kind of view the Trump presidency that way, at least when it comes to the economy. I like what he did with Carrier, and that most corporations are going to think twice about relocating operations overseas. That’s a great way to use the famed Bully Pulpit. I think the economy in general is primed for him to move forward in job creation, revitalizing the middle class, and other areas.

It was reported this week that in December, the economy added jobs for the 75th month in a row, which is a record. The inflation rate has been very low for many years now (1.6% or lower for the past three years), stocks are up, exports are up, domestic oil production up, gas prices down. The auto industry, once on the brink of collapse, is now humming along nicely.

Of course, a great deal remains to be done. I don’t want to paint a totally rosy picture. Many people are unemployed and under-employed, or are working at very low-income jobs. But nothing ominous, economy-wise, faces the incoming president. It really does remind me of a church which is ready to move forward.

President-elect Trump should be able to take office and hit the ground running. No impending economic meltdown to address, no major industry facing collapse. Problems will arise, obviously, but Trump won’t be hit with them on Day One. He can lay out a path and move the economy forward. I hope that is what happens.

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Why Not Celebrate New Year’s Day in March?

Why does the New Year start in January? Why not a nicer, more optimistic month, like March? Well, it used to start in March. Which explained why the last four months of the year were named after numbers. September (septem) was the 7th month, October (octo) the 8th, November (novem) the ninth, and December (decem) the 10th.

But then along came Julius Caesar. He thought January would be more appropriate, since it was named after Janus, the god of doors and gates. That started in 45 B.C. So when Jesus came along, January had already been imposed across the Roman Empire.

The 5th month used to be called Quintilis (quint=5), but Caesar changed it to Julius to honor himself. The next emperor, Augustus, did likewise with the sixth month, which had been Sextilis. All the previous months were already named after gods–Janus, Februus, Mars, Aphrodite, Maia, Juno.

After the Roman Empire went away, January fell out of favor. Countries did their own thing. March became popular. But in 1582, Pope Gregory created the Gregorian calendar, which restored January 1 as New Year’s Day.

The British Empire didn’t adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752, which means the Founding Fathers grew up celebrating the New Year in March. Russia held off until after the Revolution in 1917. So godless communists also preferred the Pope’s calendar, apparently.

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Conservative Newspapers Opt for Clinton

I stumbled across a list of newspaper endorsements from the primaries. Nobody pays much attention to newspaper endorsements. However, I found it interesting that John Kasich–the guy I voted for–had 52 endorsements, more than any other Republican. Marco Rubio was second with 22. Trump had just four, including the National Enquirer and the paper owned by Ivanka’s husband.

I sure wish Kasich had won the primary. I’m quite certain he would have sailed to the Presidency. From a political resume standpoint, Kasich and Clinton had the two best resumes. It would have been great watching them square off in truly substantive debates about policy (as did, mostly, Obama and Romney). But, Republicans chose Donald Trump, the only candidate more flawed and damaged than Clinton, and it will cost them the election.

I realize (now) that the Republican Party has changed in fundamental ways, becoming an electorate motivated too much by fear and anger, and overly willing to give a pass to lots of very, very immoral stuff. I’m guessing, sadly, that this mindset will become even more entrenched by 2020. Kasich, like me, doesn’t fit in that party anymore.

Several newspapers which have been conservative bastions have endorsed Clinton this year. The Dallas Morning News and Arizona Republic had NEVER endorsed a Democrat for president, and the Cincinnati Enquirer hadn’t endorsed a Democrat in nearly 100 years. During the primaries, all three of those newspapers endorsed John Kasich. For the general election, they very surprisingly chose to endorse Clinton.

Most recently, the USA Today sided with Clinton, or at least against Trump. Their article was excellent.

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Two Success Stories

Renee (left) and Alicia.

Renee (left) and Alicia.

Alicia's baptism by Kevin Whitacre and Tomi Cardin.

Alicia’s baptism by Kevin Whitacre and Tomi Cardin.

Renee's baptism by Kevin Whitacre and Tomi Cardin.

Renee’s baptism by Kevin Whitacre and Tomi Cardin.

Yesterday, Pam and I attended the graduation of two women from Redemption House Ministries.These are always such joyous occasions, and I always find myself fighting back at least a few tears as their journeys are told.

Renee and Alicia came to Redemption House Ministries a day apart in January, and completed the six-month program with flying colors. It’s a huge accomplishment in their lives. Interestingly, my pastor, Kevin Whitacre baptized both of them a few weeks ago during Anchor Community Church’s annual baptismal service.

For Renee Russell, it was a case of third-time’s-a-charm. All three of Fort Wayne’s superior court judges have now sent Renee to Redemption House. She was one of the original residents when Redemption House started in 2012, but left after a few months. Two years later, she came back, but returned to prison after just a few days.

But this time, everything came together. Renee was ready. She quickly found a job in sales–pretty much created a job for herself, the way it was told–and keeps getting promoted. Throughout the six months, Renee’s story has been one of life transformation. There were a lot of tears this afternoon as we heard Renee’s story, and as Redemption House staff and residents testified to what they’ve seen occur in her life–not only during the past six months, but since 2012, when she was a totally different, very broken person.

Alicia Hart is just 21 years old, and has her eyes on entering college and becoming a dental hygienist. Staff members spoke about her age–how she has such potential, getting a handle on her life at such a young age, while others wander in their own wildernesses for decades. She’s moving in with her mother, who was there and struck me as a wonderful person. She said it was one of the best days of her life, sitting there and hearing people talk so glowingly about what has occurred in her daughter’s life. Choked me up, I tell you.

Paul talks about becoming a new creation in Christ. I give you Renee and Alicia.

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The Odd Infatuation with Putin

gunshowsign-1-2-16

This morning I went to the huge Indy1500 Gun Show in Indianapolis. One major gun vendor was inundated yesterday with people wanting to buy handguns, their inventory severely depleted. I overheard one of the salesmen: “Barack Obama opens his mouth and people go crazy.” Indeed. The gun community (Your Truly excepted) is the most knee-jerk bunch of people you’ll ever come across.

One vendor had this sign on display. I’ve written before about my old-school thinking about the President, regardless of party–that by virtue of office, he deserves respect, not the ridicule which has been directed at President Obama for 7 years.

Anyway, I looked at this vendor and said, “So you’re using a communist dictator to publicly mock America’s president.” I noticed a somewhat stunned look on his face as I walked away.

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Thank You for Caring

Ed Stetzer, a Christian researcher whose straight-talk writing I follow, recently took his daughter on a campus visit to Wheaton College.

Wheaton is amidst a controversy. A woman professor donned a hijab to show solidarity with under-fire Muslims. That part was good. But she pushed the point by saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God. There are actually some theologically technical arguments to be made in her favor. BUT, Wheaton College suspended her. They felt her words went beyond the college’s statement of faith. Which they do.

Stetzer applauded the professor for caring about justice for marginalized people. But, he agreed with Wheaton’s decision to stick by its doctrinal beliefs. For his daughter, he wanted a school that cared deeply not only about justice, but about its beliefs.

During the past 30 years, Huntington University has released a couple of professors, with pressure from the denomination, because they held beliefs which went beyond what the college and the sponsoring denomination believed. There is a place for academic freedom, but an institution doesn’t adapt long-held theological views to fit its employees. So–blessings on them, but HU isn’t the best place for them. That seems to be Wheaton’s approach. This professor will land somewhere more compatible with her views and continue a good career.

Anyway, during the Stetzers’ campus visit, Wheaton students were demonstrating–some in favor of the professor, some in favor of the administration. Stetzer sided with the administration. BUT, he took his daughter over among the demonstrators. He wrote:

“I was not there to join in or oppose—I just wanted my daughter to see passionate students speaking up because they cared. There’s a lot of talk about making a difference, but not a lot of action beyond Facebook posts. So, we literally walked through the protest, listened to their voices, and prayed for and with them….Their willingness to speak up and take action made us more interested in the school, not less.”

I’ve seen my own pastor, in responding to complaints, say, “Thank you for caring.” Doesn’t mean he agrees or will act on their complaints. Just means he appreciates that they cared enough about the church to say something.

We live in a climate that demonizes opposing views. To applaud people who hold a view you disagree with…that is SO refreshing.

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Happy Thoughts

Providing Christmas cheer. I received an email from American Patriot Daily News Network, whose tagline is “Helping You Live the American Dream.” It began with these happy thoughts for the holidays:

“It’s like handing your enemy a loaded shotgun — and then wrapping your mouth around the barrel…Buried in the sea of refugees flooding the United States lurk the bloodthirsty ISIS thugs who stand ready to bring the barbaric brand of terrorism to our shores. And unless you act today, I’m worried this madness will not stop until our country starts pulling severed heads off the streets and dead bodies out of the rubble.”

Apparently, to stop the impending carnage I must sign their petition and send them money. The only question is…who exactly are you?

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Reporting from the War on Christmas Frontlines

Please, please, enough with the, “I know it’s politically incorrect, but I’m gonna say Merry Christmas.” Let me just stipulate in advance that, yes, you are a remarkably spiritual person, as is everyone who says Merry Christmas. It is, indeed, the mark of a true Christian. In fact, there is no better way to win the world to Christ than by shouting “Merry Christmas!” on every street corner. But I think people have gotten the idea, and we can back off just a bit without undermining the Great Commission. Some people might even view us Christians as a little less annoying.

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