WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Yuletide Holidays Forum

So.... which stories / issues / topics grab your interest over this holiday week?

Topsy-turvy weather: We've experienced some bitterly cold weather and three "winter" storms even before winter officially began. Then, with the official start of winter on Saturday, the 21st, a warming trend could deliver record-smashing high temperatures on Sunday the 22nd -- 70 degrees or above.

Senator Carper expressed skepticism over the chances that Fisker Automotive - even under new ownership - would ever restart auto production at the old G.M. Boxwood Road plant.

Wilmington's Mayor Dennis Williams continued to backpedal from his earlier remarks, widely interpreted that Police Chief Christine Dunning could be out of a job, with little let-up to the city's street violence. With rumors that the mayor would sack Dunning after the holidays, Williams insisted Dunning remains the chief of police.

If you've shopped at a Target store recently, and used plastic to pay for your purchases, have you been checking your bank accounts for mysterious transactions? Target reported about 40-Million credit & debit card accounts might have been compromised by a data breach. Compromised information included customers' names, credit & debit card numbers, card expiration dates, and the three-digit security codes found on the backs of cards.

Pennsylvania's governor and that state's shale industry suffer a blow at the hands of Pennsylvania's Supreme Court justices. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court repudiated language in the commonwealth's Oil & Gas Act that stripped local governments of their power to decide where natural gas drilling could occur within their boundaries -- if anywhere.

Just before the holidays - in three short days - two tenets of the National Security Agency's massive surveillance of citizens' telephone records appeared to have been undermined: The assumptions about the secret surveillance program's constitutionality and the efficacy of such a massive data sweep in achieving its overriding goal - protecting the nation from terrorist attacks.

President Obama has exercised his office's powers to commute the sentences of eight crack users, addressing the massive racial disparity between those serving prison terms for crack possession vs. those incarcerated for carrying cocaine.

The United States and India have confronted a crisis in bilateral relations with the arrest of India's deputy consul general in New York City, Devyani Khobragade, which including humiliating strip and body cavity searches. U.S. authorities charged her with underpaying an Indian household worker and lying about her compensation to obtain a U.S. visa for the woman. The story has utterly dominated India's media and triggered big protests and threats of retaliation against U.S. diplomatic interests in India. It has also fueled a conflict within the United States between law enforcement and the U.S. State Department. Many facts remain in dispute among the parties. And consular officials do not necessarily enjoy the full diplomatic immunity of top Embassy officials, especially for alleged personal misconduct. Bottom line: You have a right way and a wrong way to handle such matters. If a diplomat's conduct is thought to be unconscionable (not a slam dunk in this case), you protest to that country's embassy and/or expel that diplomat from the country, particularly if the case involves no violence or physical abuse. Some folks in the Obama Administration reportedly knew about this developing case for months; someone dropped the ball.

The controversy grows over "Duck Dynasty" reality star Phil Robertson. Video has surfaced of Robertson delivering an apparent anti-gay rant, purportedly in front of diners attending a wild game supper at the Berean Bible Church in Pennsylvania in 2010. Incendiary quotes: Such people are "ruthless", "full of murder", "arrogant", and "liable to invent ways of doing evil". So were A&E higher-ups unaware of Robertson's fervent views before they signed him up? Will it matter that "Duck" is the highest-rated cable reality program ever? Should anyone be surprised that someone from that background and milieu (God & guns) might hold such views? Indeed, GQ may very well have sought a collision of cultures with that interview. (I confess I had never heard of "Duck Dynasty", before stories about Robertson's remarks for the January 2014 issue of GQ magazine.)

Interestingly, Robertson's remarks about gay people have drawn significantly more media attention than his assertion, in that same GQ interview, that African-Americans were "singing & happy" in the old segregationist, Jim Crow South. (The NAACP has condemned the remarks.)

Republican politicians are coming out to defend Robertson (more on religious freedom grounds than on the racial stuff!)...

Robertson's home-state Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) called Robertson & his family "great citizens." From Jindal's statement: "The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment."

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX): "If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson..."

Parallels to the furor which engulfed Chick-fil-A last year.

Posted at 8:57am on December 20, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 9:34am
I only recently started watching Duck Dynasty...I can't stand reality shows and rarely watch television anymore, but there is just something different about these guys/gals that make me laugh and like them...they seem like real people who love their families, God, and life.

A&E knew full well Phil Robertson's view of Christianity/sexuality as he delivered a sermon on homosexuality in 2010 that's been floating around YouTube for quite some time.

The support on Facebook, Twitter, and various other social media outlets is amazing... Is something as trivial as a T.V. reality show going to be the catalyst for the "American Spring"? Instead of a vendor setting himself on fire (beginning of Arab Spring) Millions of Americans are "up-in-arms" over a reality show... albeit a show that exhibits Christian morals and faith in God.

The Robertson family threatened to quit the show if A&E ever removed God (their faith) or guns (their livelihood...Duck hunting) from the show. The Duck Dynasty will continue, even if not on A&E; it's up to the network to decide if they will listen to "special interest" groups threats or the fans of the show. This show is the highest viewed/biggest moneymaker of all reality shows so far and A&E's "cash cow"...so the outcome should be very telling.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 9:52am
Let's discuss this Duck Dynasty issue. Many of his supporters on Facebook are up in arms over this and claim his 1st amendment rights have been violated. Is that true? I'm not so sure. The 1st amendment in the U.S. Constitution protects you, me, and Phil of Duck Dynasty from THE GOVERNMENT harassing, prosecuting, or bothering you for expressing your opinion [other than advocating overthrow of the government]. It does NOT protect you from your employer if you say something your employer deems offensive. Also, from what I understand, most acting contracts these days have clauses that forbid the actor from saying stuff that damages the network's or company's brand name [Remember the guy who did voice of the Aflack Duck in their TV commercials who said something offensive and lost his job a few years ago?].

So it would appear Phil crossed the line from A&E's perspective. They suspended him, not fired him. ort of giving him a serious warning about shooting off his mouth and offending some of A&E's other viewers who many of their paid sponsors desire to reach [the LGBT viewers]. This was a business decision.

Try going public saying something offensive about your employer or make some negative statement about a group of your fellow co-workers, be they females, or some other protected group, and see how fast you'll be looking for a new job. First Amendment rights deal with the government only, not your employer. Phil was lucky; he's only suspended, not fired.

Here is the CNN link which posts some of the things Phil said in the GQ article. Some of which I'd be embarrassed to post here...


It's one thing for someone to share what God's Word, the Bible says about homosexuality, but Phil did far more than that, and frankly I'm disgusted and embarrassed by his words. The other question I have for Phil, as a Christian, where is your Godly love for the sinner? Does he think making such a statement will make it easier for an LGBT person to ever try going to church to hear the Gospel message of Christ, so he/she too can receive God's grace, love, and forgiveness? THAT should have been his objective. Frankly, it seems to me that he may have been simply trying to create a media storm to boost their ratings even higher. Nothing draws listeners and viewers better than controversy.

As a public figure [star of a popular cable TV show - never have watched it, so can't comment on how good the show is - just not interested in watching a bunch of "red necks" making duck calls], he should have realized that anything he says would be in the news, especially something like that.

Again, it's one thing to discuss what the Bible says; it's something else to say some of the stuff he said. The 1st amendment protects us from the government, not our employer.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 10:00am
Thank you for using "Yuletide" (and the inclusive "holidays"). Yule is a Norse-Germanic winter festival celebrating Odin, high father god of Asgard.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 11:10am
Mike: I agree with you in the First Amendment comment...protects from govt not employer...but is OK to refer to a person as a "redneck" in our current P.C. world?

As someone who has actually watched the show and read the GQ interview I have no problem with Phil's theology...though he could have said his beliefs in a little less "course language".

BTW, as this media firestorm brews...Phil and family went to church to pray for a member of the congregation who has cancer. This family has their priorities in the right order...God, family then business. Maybe you should check out the show and form your own educated opinion.

"I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."~Phil Robertson

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 11:17am
Interestingly, Robertson's remarks about gay people have drawn significantly more media attention than his assertion, in that same GQ interview, that African-Americans were "singing & happy" in the old segregationist, Jim Crow South. (The NAACP has condemned the remarks.)

You need to put the comments in the proper context...he was saying the black individuals with whom he worked were godly and happy people even if they (like he and his family at the time) were dirt poor.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 11:55am
EarlGrey; Phil referred to himself as "white trash", redneck seemed kinder.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 12:43pm
Scrooge McDuck
Ludwig Von Drake
Donald Duck
Daisy Duck
Huey, Dewey and Louie
Webby Vanderquack

Life is like a hurricane
Here in Duckburg
Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes
It's a duck-blur
Might solve a mystery
Or rewrite history

DuckTales (oooh ooooh)
Every day they're out there making
DuckTales (oooh ooooh)
Tales of daring do bad and good
LuckTales (oooh ooooh)

D-D-D-Danger! Watch behind you
There's a stranger out to find you
What to do? Just grab on to some DuckTales

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 1:10pm
EarlGrey; Phil referred to himself as "white trash", redneck seemed kinder.

Mike: True, but in P.C. world he (and his friends) can use those names (white trash/redneck/cracker)...it's when others use the name that it's considered "offensive" (Same principle as the N-word)

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 4:38pm
EarlGrey: I understand your point. But as you also realize in the PC world there's a very large double-standard so what you said doesn't apply.

You forgot rule #1 in the PC manual: White European males can be called names and bashed in the PC world. It's not considered racist since White European males are the cause of ALL the world's problems.

If you remember what Kavips said last week or the week before, until Blacks get to have plantations with whites as their slaves, they cannot ever be racists. That's rule #2 in the PC manual.

I've never gotten the impression Rednecks are offended by being called Rednecks. A number of comedians are making pretty good money being Rednecks [Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, and some others]. All the Rednecks I personally know seem to consider being called a Redneck as a badge of honor. I don't think they'd appreciate being called White Trash, though, and was surprised to hear Phil of the Duck Dynasty call himself that.

I don't think blacks consider it a badge of honor when a fellow black calls them the "N" word. They may not get offended as they would when a white uses the word, but I don't believe they consider it to be a great honor either.

So based on all that I'm still going to call Phil a Redneck; or as the character Ziva DaVead [sp], from NCIS, would call him, a Redshirt.

In fact many of these Rednecks, I personally know, are really upset with A&E for kicking Phil off the show as they're big fans of the show. They've been posting plenty of stuff on FB complaining about it, trying to get folks to sign a petition to bring Phil back, etc, etc.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 5:47pm
MikeFromDelaware: You agonize about whether this individual should be called a "redneck" but you feel entitled to call him a sinner and make judgments about his lifestyle. I look forward to the day you share your judgements with wrong person and get smitten on the right cheek. You and Earl are just as bigoted but you two are more covert than this Duck guy.
Notice that he was in a church with a roomful of "good Christians" who applauded him.
I also see that this week your Methodist buddies defrocked one of their ministers for officiating at his son's gay wedding.
You people are hateful. Tell your god to rapture you all quickly so the rest of us can be left alone.
Watching TV and I see Marlo is on again hustling donations for daddy's hospital. That hospital is the most disgusting example of the Christian mind-set. Daddy's career is stalled, so he prays for success and promises to build a shrine if he gets it. It's illegal to bribe public officials but OK to bribe god. Danny isn't building a hospital because he cares; it's pay-off. I also have read Danny was a real SOB, which is why Jean Hagen and Sherry Jackson quit the show. And Marlo is a spoiled, obnoxious Hollywood princess who bullies and terrorizes the people who work for her. Christianity in action.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 6:16pm
Billsmith: I totally do not understand your comments above. Who did I call a sinner? I've said in the past that according to God's word we all are sinners. I always point to myself as a sinner, so I don't get your comment.

Who is this televangelist you're discussing. I have no use for televangelists & never watch them. So I truly have no idea what you're talking about. Obviously you watch way more TV than I & apparently even are watching televangelists (which to me is as pathetic as watching bowling for dollars or soap operas). You obviously have far too much time on your hands. Maybe you should get out more & go to a library so you can learn some new things other than what you were spoon fed by your professors.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 6:18pm
I think this flap is hilarious, and for one I applaud A & E for their choice... For one, they have good lawyers... That applause is for the fact that they suspended the character "indefinitely".... Not too early for some, not to late for others, and they made their part of the problem go away... (That part would be the..."well, what are you going to do about it" question.) And they still have all options open at some further date when or if things finally settle down... That is the biggest takeaway from this whole thing... Well Done, A & E.... Very smart plan of action.

With this case, Homosexuality is just a diversion... Personally I find their creepy Joesph Smith beards, far more of an insult to masculinity than what someone secret sexual preference in private... What on earth were they thinkin with those ridiculous pieces of facial hair? I mean, how ridiculous can one be to think something like that, makes other people say "cool.. I want one? " An uncut is the poor white man's equivalent of wearing his pants on the lower end of his butt... It's the older man's version of getting one's tongue pierced. All are offensive to some and all are passing trends as ridiculous as bell bottomed jeans...

(Of which based on what little of each's personal life has been gleaned here were probably worn at least once by all but Mr. Pizza... )

Anyways... this is how funny Americans are. That this is even an issue... Bottom line, one doesn't insult their boss, and A & E is run by gays...

My guess is the show wisely goes on, but only after an apology and acceptance speech admitting that bashing gays was a communist plot and just plain wrong... If Duck Dynasty doesn't like those conditions... let them move and take their show to Russia. I understand they'd have a sympathetic audience over there relative to their anti-homosexual views, however they might get their show pulled for being too outwardly religious....

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 6:23pm
Billsmith: In the case of the United Methodist pastor, he knew what the UMC's rules are & chose to disobey. The UMC'S did the correct thing, just as any other employer would do if an employee broke some major rule they have. Of course saying any of this is the usual waste of time, because only you are correct & the "evil Christian Church" did thus and such blah blah blah blah. Just once, I'd like to see a post here from you where you actually say something good about the Christian Church. I know, ain't going to happen.
Be at peace.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 6:26pm
The above said, I went to GQ to see what he said, and really thought it was not that bad... I may have missed something... and coming to the story late, being uninterested, and having the hindsight to see the hyperbole on both sides,... my thought process is that both sides went off the deep end... Mr. Robinson and GLAAD who wrote the initial letter of compliant. Still as said above, if I were in A & E's position, I would have done exactly the same thing, because to take a stand for either side here benefits no one, and would eventually pull the network down...

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 6:44pm
MikeFromDelaware: GQ was tame compared to what he said at a church "wildgame" dinner in nearby Pottstown, Montgomery County, PA.

"Women with women, men with men. They’ve committed indecent acts with each other. And they’ve received in themselves the (garbled) for their perversions," Robertson says, his voice rising. "They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God-haters."

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Videos_Duck_Dynasty_preached_anti-gay_remarks_at_Pottstown_church.html#MOFCrLmQWdb3T9Sz.99

The story includes a video of his church remarks. You can see for yourself.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 8:05pm
Billsmith: I'll pass, what he said in GQ interview was bad enough & you shared some of what he said at that church gathering . I've not defended his actions at all. As I said earlier he's lucky he didn't get fired.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013 11:53pm
bill: I read your linked article and noticed this portion right above the quote you posted:

In the videos, Robertson did muse on a range of topics, including gays. But it's difficult to tell if he is speaking solely of gays in recorded diatribe, or if he was referring to anyone committing what he viewed as are immoral acts.

Just like in the GQ article (and other sermons found on YouTube) Phil included ALL SINNERS (including homosexuals and himself) need Jesus.
We are all sinners...saved by grace.

IMHO, both GLAAD and the NAACP "jumped the shark" on this one. Nothing said was bigoted, hateful or racist unless you are overly sensitive/paranoid about sex or race yourself.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 12:11am
Redneck is a derogatory slang term used in reference to poor, uneducated white farmers, especially from the Southern United States. It is similar in meaning to cracker (especially regarding Georgia and Florida), hillbilly (especially regarding Appalachia and the Ozarks), and white trash (but without the last term's suggestions of immorality).

By the 2000s, the term had expanded in meaning to refer to bigoted, loutish reactionaries who are opposed to modern ways,and has often been used to attack white Southern conservatives. The term is used broadly to degrade working class and rural whites that are perceived by urban progressives to be insufficiently liberal. At the same time, some Southern whites have reclaimed the word, using it with pride and defiance as a self-identifier.

Mike: The above definition/description of "redneck" is from Wikipedia...it sounds like the white version of the N-word to me.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Dec 21, 2013 12:50am
EarlGrey: obviously those "rednecks" I know fit into that last definition where they claim the name. These folks love guns, seem to be proud of being ignorant, hate anyone liberal especially Obama & Hillary are from the South, are fundamentalist Christians who quite often don't consider someone who's a United Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, & definitely Catholics to not be saved or even Christians. So at one time the term Redneck may have been a negative term, but apparently no longer for those who embrace that lifestyle as the Duck Dynasty folks appear to do as well.

In many ways these "modern" rednecks have similar MO's as many TEA folks, obviously not all TEA folks fit the "redneck" definition, but the similarities are striking.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 5:16am
And the rednecks are busy over in Jersey, too....
Attempt to burn down atheists' Saturnalia billboard in South Jersey

A South Jersey billboard proclaiming “Keep the Saturn in Saturnalia” was torched Tuesday night by two unidentified men who fled in a pickup truck after only charring the sign’s steel support beams.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/Attempt_to_burn_down_atheists_Saturnalia_billboard_in_South_Jersey_.html#fU7May7zArC72ZzS.99
"Fled in a pick-up?" The redneck vehicle of choice. Before they burned it, the good Christian rednecks were out picketing. Once again, freedom of religion is something they think only applies to them.

Meanwhile, Christian hypocrisy is at working in the Yule-Saturnalia-Solstice season. Religious broadcasters, eager to show they can serve both god and mammon, are switching from religious music to all-Xmas formats to lure more listeners, advertisers and almighty dollars. Only, like regular stations, they are emphasizing popular holiday music - not traditional religious Christmas carols. During "the season" there is less reference to Jesus in their musical offerings - not more. They are putting the Chipmunks in Chipmunkmas. The Crosby in Crosbymas. The Celine in Celinemas.


And it looks like Mr. Duck is being fired and will now have plenty of time to share his homophobic rants in church basements. After the civil rights bill passed, it took more than 20 years before racial bigots had to take their sheets and hate speech and stay in the closet. I wonder how long it will take the homophobes to go into hiding.

MikeFromDelaware: No big need to watch that video. As I watched part of it (I couldn't make it through the whole thing), what struck me is how much Mr. Duck sounded like Mr. Pizza. Nothing on the video you haven't read here before.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 8:11am
First, a judge ruled against Utah's anti-polygamy law. Now another judge has ruled against Utah's anti-gay marriage law. Legal grass just across the state line. Utah might actually become a fun place to live.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 9:35am
For those of you who think the Obama administration isn't hellbent on creating a police state, read this story out of Reading, PA:


The Gestapo is here!

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 9:55am
Well, this time Pizza is right ... while you slept, this was passed by the Senate, tucked into a $607 billion military authorization.....

Section 1021 of the NDAA bill of 2012 allowed for the "indefinite detention of American citizens without due process at the discretion of the President."

More specifically, Sec. 1021, says any person who commits a “belligerent act” against the country can be imprisoned indefinitely “without trial” until the vaguely-worded period of hostilities has come to an end.

Get this. An amendment to block such action was actually passed by the Senate.... Called the Feinstein amendment.

It declares that “An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”

This passed the Senate, but was quietly dropped from the House-Senate conference and was revoted on without it...

To paraphrase Cheney... Be afraid, very afraid...

Though bashed on these pages frequently, it should be noted that Ted Cruz and Rand Paul both voted "nay" or against it's passage. The bill passed 84-15. Both Delaware Senators voted to give our President the right to imprison legal American citizens without cause or to have a right to a trial...

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 10:07am
The article to which Pizza offered a link is about Reading police running checkpoints. Motorists are pulled over and required to give a cheek swap to determine what drugs are in their system. It is sort of Nazi-like but Obama is not involved. And Delaware cops have been running those checkpoints for years - apparently with full approval of the local media which given them favorable coverage.

Not everything is about Obama, Pizza.

What Kavips describes is nothing new. Lincoln did it. Wilson did it. FDR did it. The more power you grab, the more you violate civil liberties and human rights, the more likely historians are to say you were a great president. Tea baggers rant about "dictators," but deep down the really want a Fuhrer. "Sic semper tyranus."

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 10:16am
Billsmith: Correction. The police are being paid (bought) by the White House Drug Task Force to do these "surveys". The issue here is that pulling people over is not necessary and falls under the category of unlawful search and seizure. When you see spotlights in your rear-view mirror, you automatically assume the police think you've done something wrong. It's completely unethical for the police to do that for any other reason, and the Reading police should not be doing this.

What may be in question here is whether or not the method of taking the survey was the police's idea or the White House's idea, but given this administration's track record with the NSA, health care "reform", etc. I wouldn't trust 'em any further than I can throw 'em.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Dec 21, 2013 10:17am
Billsmith: Interesting article about Christmas music on the radio, especially Christian stations. I don't listen to the various Christian CCM stations in the area [89.1 WXHL or 106.9 K-Love forget their calls]. So I don't know if they're doing that too.

The only Christian stations I listen to on the radio are for music: 94.5 WDAC Lancaster and 950 WKDN Family Radio. Family Radio plays a lot of great orchestra arrangements of Christmas music this time of year, so I've put it on for the music, switch stations when they start preaching. Same with WDAC, I listen mostly for the music. WDAC also airs some Christian radio drama's and I've listened a time or two to them. Some of them are well produced. As far as I can tell neither WDAC or WKDN are airing secular Christmas music. I don't believe they're airing "secular artists" singing religious Christmas songs either. So no Bing, Sinatra, or Perry Como singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen either.

My favorite Christian music station is Lutheran Public Radio [online] http://lutheranpublicradio.org/. They play church music from all the various century's of church music following the church liturgical calendar, and no CCM. When they play Christmas music it is religious, no Santa, reindeer, snowmen or sleigh rides, and definitely no Hippopotamuses, just worship music. For a follower of the Risen Christ, this is a great place to go to be uplifted and refreshed. Kind of a musical sanctuary where Christ is proclaimed. No preaching just music.

But to Bills' point, yes I not happy that many Christian radio stations are dumbing down their musical selections and not being faithful to their supposed ministry, bringing Christ to the world via the radio. There are plenty of other radio stations where you can be bombarded with "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Grandmother Got Run Over by a Reindeer", etc, that their so called Christ centered stations should stay Christ centered with their Christmas music. Yep, I think they've sold out, trying to water down the message to make a buck.

They are doing the "seeker friendly" thing, like Saddleback Church and Willowcreek Church have taught the Evangelical churches to do. We'll dumb it down, have no pews only chairs or theatre seats, no Bibles in the chairs, no cross on display and definitely no Crucifix, use no religious "Christianese" words, teach the prosperity gospel rather than take up your cross each day in Christ, etc. So now the "seeker" mentality has come to some Christian radio stations. It's kind of like Political Correct Christian Radio. Let's make it hip and cool so we sound like the "world", don't want to offend by being too Christian.

We are to be a people set apart, living in the world, but not of the world. I realize the Evangelicals here won't agree with my perspective, that's fine, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this issue.

On the other issue Billsmith posted, how sad it is that some folks in the zeal to proclaim Christ at Christmas act in a way that is NOT what Jesus would do. These so called Christians have forgotten what St. Francis of Assisi famously said: "Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary use words". So big deal the Atheist's paid for a billboard that poked fun at the Christian banner. As the article says, that is THEIR constitutional right, just as it is for you. It either works for everyone or it works for no one.

We, as Christians, need to realize that we live in a post Christian world, like it or not, that's the truth [kind of the 21st century version of Ancient Rome]. Most of us here grew up in what was the tail end of the Christian world, where all things Christian were embraced and welcomed. In the 1950's and early 60's those folks who didn't embrace Christian thought, ideals, or morals were considered to be the fringe of society in the US; today we Christian's are considered to be the fringe of society. Yep, it's flipped 180 degrees during our lifetime.

So for those of us who grew up during this change its rather confusing. We need to ask ourselves what did Jesus do in his world? Did he rant and rave about Roman injustice, seeking to overturn their government, etc, etc? No, he simply said, give to Caesar what is Caesar and give to God what is God's. Jesus simply went about his Father's business, quietly touching one heart at a time, with his love, grace, and forgiveness. THAT's what today's church needs to do. Jesus wasn't political.

Think about this for a moment. I believe one of the greatest barriers to someone even considering to be a follower of Jesus Christ, in the US is, politics. The conservative part of the church has become so political that when I share Christ with someone, almost always they'll say to me, I could never become a Christian, because I could NEVER become a Republican. I come back with, I'm not a Republican, what's that got to do with becoming a Christian? The Christian's they see on TV and hear on the Radio 99.9999% of the time are ultra right wing conservative Republicans, most of these folks I'm talking to are liberal Democrats. Jesus wasn't a DEM nor a Republican/TEA party person.

So even though we may not enjoy seeing such a billboard mock the Keep Christ in Christmas billboards or the secularization of Christmas, etc, those folks have that right to do that, just as you and I have the same right to keep Christmas a Holy Day. It's not our job to try to make them keep Christmas as a Holy Day. It's our job for us ourselves to keep Christmas as a Holy Day.

Worship Christ in how you act and treat others. Let the love, grace, and forgiveness that Christ gives each of us who call Jesus, Lord and Savior, be what others see and leave that other stuff, it doesn't help bring others to Christ and that's the bottom line to all we should be doing.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 10:18am
Do storks really deliver babies? Watch this short video to find out if it's true or just an old wives tale:


Mike from Delaware
Sat, Dec 21, 2013 10:32am
I believe I have to side with Mrpizza and Kavips on the police DNA swab checkpoint in Reading PA.

Federal money is being used. Whether or not Obama personally knows about this project is hard to say, but as President Harry S. Truman famously said, The Buck Stops Here. So yep Obama and his band of merry men/women own this intrusion of our freedom.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 10:52am
MFD: I basically agree with your post about Christianity, radio stations, etc. Where I would differ with you is where you say teach the prosperity gospel rather than take up your cross. I would submit to you that teaching the prosperity gospel is part of taking up your cross, especially since Jesus himself taught prosperity and that poverty was one of the things he bore on the cross.

So as it is in one of the Ford car commercials, it's better to have nuts AND bolts rather than nuts OR bolts.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 11:10am
Guess I should post a link to the commercial I'm referring to just in case there's anyone who hasn't seen it:


I like "and" better.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 11:45am
I don't know much about Duck Dynasty, and don't really care as I'm not into the reality show culture. What I will say is that while Phil Robertson's comments may be a bit on the fringes, it's still important to have people like him and Ed Snowden who are willing to take risks and publicly speak out against the evil being imposed upon regular everyday decent tax-paying Americans.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 11:50am
MikeFromDelaware: It sounds like you consider seats, instead of pews, in churches part of the "dumbing down" process. Pews are fairly recent. Originally, churches were standing-room only, with no seating. Later some benches along the side were added. Pews are are few hundred years old and were originally like field boxes in ball parks, reserved for the well-to-do who paid for private seating. Then the boxes were removed and benches with backs were open on an unreserved basis (no charge). So, auditorium seating sound like a logical next step. A church after all, especially in protestant churches which emphasize preaching (sermon = lecture), is functionally a form of auditorium. Add music and it also functions as a concert hall. Maybe the next step is stadium seating. It takes away from any experience getting stuck behind a tall person or a woman with a hat. So, what's wrong with seats in church? (I think you might draw the line at cup holders, though.)
The Bible says nothing about church architecture or interior design but a lot of Christians seem especially attached to medieval motifs.

Sat, Dec 21, 2013 12:01pm
Bill: To the contrary, the bible does speak of church architecture. Read this link about the Temple of Solomon:


Sat, Dec 21, 2013 12:59pm
Pizza: The temple was not a church. The Bible mentions the temple, it describes the lay-out. It does not say the design was divinely specified. Funny, how you people keep saying OT stuff no longer applies - except when you want to apply it.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Dec 21, 2013 3:35pm
Billsmith: I agree that chairs don't make a worship service less holy, in fact my church has chairs(nice padded chairs). They are more comfortable than pews to be honest about it. I guess what I've grown uncomfortable with is the show or entertainment aspect of the "seeker" movement. Those church services are more like going to a rock concert than worship. I keep waiting for everyone to pull out their lighters & lit them. The over casualness of the service somehow to me plays down the aspect that you are standing on Holy Ground. That's just me.

Mrpizza: I don't interpret Jesus words to mean physical wealth in this world, but spiritual wealth here & being in his presence full joy unspeakable in the next. Given that most Christians are not mega millionaires seem to back my point; or that all through church history 99.9999% of Christ followers were not following The Lord very well as even the Apostles were not wealthy neither was Jesus (he had no tomb & wealthy Nicodemus gave Jesus his to use for his burial). So folks like Joel Olstein is saying St. Francis of Assisi had it wrong. Sorry, but I see far more of Jesus in how Francis walked his walk following Christ than I get from hearing anything Olstein ever says.

I like nuts & bolts too. Except mine are Law & Gospel. The Law shows me that I can never meet God's Standard on my own, The Gospel shows me that the love, grace, and forgiveness through the shed blood of Christ is the only way to be clean to be made acceptable to God. It's all about what God has done & nothing about me.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 12:11am
Mr. Pizza, the only thing you need to know about Duck Dynasty, is that they are quacked up...

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 1:09am
MFD: Okay, I get it. Christians are supposed to be poor so they can't help anybody else.

Kavips: Duck Dynasty may be quacked up, but homosexuality is much more quacked up, and is a moral cancer sucking the blood out of American culture.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 4:54am
MikeFromDelaware: This is what's so sick about Christian dogma. You just summed it up. It says: You are not good enough. You will never be good enough. You can't take credit for anything good (only when you screw up). But god will cut you some slack IF, out of hundreds of possible belief systems, and with no actual information, you pick the correct belief system. Sort of like "Let's Make A Deal" with hundreds of doors. Then you get to spend eternity with no pleasure (or pain) other than sucking up to this god (who seems to require the approval of these not-good-enough creatures). Pick the wrong door and instead you get eternal pain. Great way to design the universe that benefits no one - except the clergy who use this story to suck people in. No "joy" in any of it. And your god's obsession with blood is really out there.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Dec 22, 2013 7:26am
Mrpizza : It's not a sin to be rich, but as a Christian it's not supposed to be our main goal in life. Our lives, as a Christian should not be all about making the most money possible. Jesus said you can not serve both God & money.

Billsmith: you miss the point. God has given us a gift, we don't have to do anything to deserve the gift other than to accept it. You go to a banquet & set before you is all this wonderful food, as a gift. All you have to do is pick up your fork & eat. If you don't pick up the fork you starve to death. It's that simple.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 7:57am
MikeFromDelaware: (1) Are you forced/required to go to the banquet? (2) Are you allowed to leave the banquet and go have dinner at MickeyD's? (3) Are you under any obligation for the banquet? (4) Is the banquet one of those "you eat what's set before you and you like it" deals? If you answer "yes" to any of these, the banquet is not a "gift" and comes with strings attached.
PS: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

This god-concept you all have imagined is a real piece of work. This god you created in your image says more about you than any supernatural being. Any resemblance between the god you imagine and what's really out there is purely coincidental.

Clearly the Bible is like an ink-blot. What you see in it comes from you. Everybody is different and everybody sees something different. The difference between the Bible and an ink blot is people who see the ink blot as a flower and those who see it as a spider, don't say the other is WRONG and try to persecute and kill each other.

Jesus also said that big about a camel going through the eye of a needle and rich people getting into heaven. You don't accumulate a lot of money or hang onto it without greed and "serving" money. However, Calvin said wealth is a sign of god's favor. Only the favored (elect) are going to be saved. So, only wealthy people get into heaven. If you are not wealthy, successful, accomplished and good looking, you are not one of god's elect and god decided before the beginning of time not to let you into heaven.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Dec 22, 2013 9:10am
Billsmith: That's one reason I'm not a Calvinist, as he apparently was the first to preach a Prosperity Gospel.

No where does Jesus strong arm you to sit at the banquet, you are invited, not forced, to come partake the banquet.

Bill, your real issue is you want to tell God what his will should be, you want it to match your will. It just doesn't work that way, not for you, me, or anyone else. I realize this is a deal breaker for you as you've already gotten up from the banquet table some years ago and told the host, no thank you, I prefer MickeyD's.

Note that God didn't grab your arm and say, NO you can not leave. It's a free choice. He may have said, I'm sorry to see you leave and will miss you, but I respect your right to choose. No one can force you to sit and eat at God's banquet.

What's cool about God is you are also allowed to come back to the banquet if later you change your mind, unlike the old high school dances where if you left the dance you were locked out and would not be allowed back in. So if MickeyD's gets boring or causes you to be unfulfilled, etc, then God through his Son Jesus Christ welcomes you to have a change of heart and come back and rejoin the banquet. He'll even give you a clean new plate and utensils to use, in other words you get to start fresh.

All of heaven rejoices over just one sinner that comes to Christ. If that is the case, that kind of implies its an important decision. But in any case, YOU get to choose. By the way, what is my role at the banquet? Obviously Jesus is the host, I'm only one of the servers at the banquet hoping to seat you at the table. Be at Peace.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 9:30am
Pizza... the percentage of homosexuals today is the same as in 1913, as was in 1813, as was in 1713.... It it a genetic standard portion of the population... greater in some cultures than others. It is genetically passed down, and one cannot choose which gene regulating the sexuality they get...

So if the world didn't end in 1713, or 1813, or 1913, it probably isn't going to end in 2013....

You might as well hate people with blond hair...and blue eyes.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 9:37am
MFD: I have no argument with your statement. The problem is that your definition of rich is according to how this present world defines it. Nobody is saying that all Christians have to be millionaires. You measure everything in dollars and cents because that's the way things are done in the western world. In order to truly understand this message or any other message in scripture, you have to strip away all prejudice based on your environment so you can see things in their biblical context.

To give you an example, you've probably heard all your life about poor people in Africa. GAIN USA, a ministry under Campus Crusade that I volunteer with, collects and ships seed to destitute locations in Africa and sends volunteers and staff to teach people how to plant those seeds and reap a harvest so they can not only feed their families but entire villages. Africans who once had no hope and no future now have businesses and are able to build homes rather than live in mud huts. And guess what? The people prosper without even exchanging dollars and cents. The means of trade is usually barter, but the principle works the same. You sow seed and believe God to bring the harvest.
And believe me, in some of these places I'm talking about the ground had no possibility of producing anything. It was God.

Scripture was designed to work everywhere. If it works in Africa, then shame on America and the American church if it doesn't work here. Not everybody has the gifts and talents to become insanely wealthy, but God didn't call his people to live in squalor either, and you seem to accept that as "God's will". No, people who can't pay their bills are the captives that Jesus came to preach deliverance to, which in practical terms is giving people information that will lift them out of poverty. Of course, they have to want that for themselves, but as long as American Christians are going around speaking unbelief about material prosperity, they'll never learn anything that's going to help them.

Now do you really want to keep people from rising above their circumstances? I didn't think so.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 9:41am
Whoa? Calvin and prosperity gospel? No way. Need proof there... Calvin is always deemed to be the dark brooding spare religious interpreter who promoted the puritan way of stark, simple, lifestyles...

His only mention of being prosperous is on pages 77-80 in his Sermon of Beatitudes....

He says not that getting wealthy is god's reward; he is saying that if your luck is to get wealthy, remember it is still nothing, as with Job can get taken away by God, and one's mind should always be on the afterlife....

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 9:47am
I forgot the quote... sorry...

"To be rich, to be glad, to be satisfied is to be drunk on prosperity and to live the life of senseless beasts".- Calvin

Calvin? Calvin!!! C-A-L-V-I-N !!!!!!

(helium voices...)"Want a plane that loops the loop
I still want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late."

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 9:59am
No, Calvin did not preach "prosperity gospel." He taught predestination and election.

Pizza: Campus Crusade? Aren't you a bit old for that? And I thought you didn't like college students. I had roommate sophomore year who got involved with them. A few years later he became a Buick dealer.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Dec 22, 2013 2:15pm
Mrpizza: what you said about Africa is the correct idea, I totally agree. We as Christians are to use what God has given us to help the lesser than thee, in that case to teach them to farm and give them seed, tools, and knowledge.

That's not what most folks in Prosperity Gospel churches are focused on from what I've observed [that doesn't mean all], its about them being wealthy, because that shows God's favor on them.

How many hospitals, nursing homes, food or clothes closets, shelters, etc, etc, have those churches built? Most of that type of outreach is done by the "Mainline Denominations", at least in this area. Maybe in other parts of the country it's different.

I was basing my thoughts about what Calvin said about wealth on what Billsmith expressed Calvin's thought to be - "However, Calvin said wealth is a sign of god's favor. Only the favored (elect) are going to be saved. So, only wealthy people get into heaven."

I've not been all that interested in Calvin's teachings due to the predestination theology. So I took Bill's words at face value. So I stand corrected.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 4:25pm
MikeFromDelaware: Once again, you buy anything that is what you want to hear. Calvin did not teach that greedy people get into heaven. He did teach that success is a sign of divine favor and election. You could also identify the elect by their wealth and by how they use it. The elect would work hard. The elect would reinvest their earnings to make the world better, in effect continuing the process of creation. This is the basis of Puritan ethic.

You also said you have not studied Calvin because - on the surface - it does not sound good to you, is not what you want to hear. So, you don't buy it. Yet you pass judgement on it and dismiss it.

Mike from Delaware
Sun, Dec 22, 2013 10:14pm
Billsmith: I don\'t believe in Predestination. So I see no value studying Calvin\'s teaching further. Just as others haven\'t studied Luther\'s teaching other than to know he set the wheels in motion for the Protestant Reformation. Most non-Lutherans do not use the Law & Gospel approach in studying the Bible. That\'s a Lutheran approach. I don\'t study Catholic teaching either, just as most Catholics I personally know do not study Luther, Calvin, or Wesley.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 12:00am
MFD: There has been an element of materialism in the American church, and there's been a lot of putting the cart before the horse. I was like that when I was younger before I understood that the purpose of being blessed was to be a blessing. Too many Christians focus on seeking riches rather than seeking the kingdom, but I also recognize that baby Christians need to mature in order to get their priorities straight. Been there - done that.

You are right that the mainline denominations have done the bulk of charity domestically. I don't have stats on what the independent prosperity teaching churches have done, but I think the larger ones focus a larger percentage on international outreach. I do understand that Lakewood (Osteen's church) does a considerable amount of local outreach in Houston, focusing a lot on unwed mothers and drug rehab type things.

There is a man named Calvin who works with me at the pizza joint. Based on the discussion above, I don't think he's the same person.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 12:02am
Bill: Campus Crusade was founded by the late Bill Bright in the early 1960's as an outreach to students. It later expanded into other areas, including international humanitarian outreach, which is specifically what I'm involved in.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 2:14am
Predestination is not as hard of a concept as we seem to be taking it here...

In plain speak, Calvin outlines it like this...

God knows everything that will happen.. He is timeless, above time. So obviously he already knows if you are destined to go to heaven, or not... We have non idea, so we have to do what is necessary to get us there... But philosophically and logically, since God is deemed to know all, he knows what choices we will eventually make and those choice will determine whether we go "up" or "down".

That is really all Calvin says about predestination... Of course, man being what he is, often made the assumption that since they were on the top of the economic food chain, they must be part of the elect... Not so, according to Calvin.

The poor homeless person who gives what ever he has to the even less fortunate, is more of an elect than was a rich, stingy person who sells his children into slavery.

Calvin states that our fate is pre-ordained from the perspective we'd get if we removed ourselves out of our current timelines; but while we remain embedded in our timelines, we must be very careful in case temptation jumps up and snares us just before we die. Back then, one did not expect to live very long as one does today. There were many hazards to cut a life short.

Hence one should live a rigid life with no distractions to keep that last minute temptation at bay.... In England they became the Puritans, and in Scotland, Presbyterians. France called them Huguenots....

That is essentially predetermination. It gets misinterpreted frequently.. If you believe God knows everything, then you are probably in the ball park of being a believer in the "correct" definition of predetermination..

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 4:31am
Kavips: Calvin said a little more than that. God not only knows who will get to heaven, he decided who will get to heaven. Either MikeFromDelaware does not want to hear that, or he does not believe his god is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent (as church doctrine says).
Luther in his writings, said much the same thing as Calvin but did not want to cross the line and say outright that god at the beginning of time chose some people - and not others.
It's sort of like how Christians pray when disaster strikes. Some people live through it and give god credit for sparing them. But they can't bring themselves to cross the lines and state the logic conclusion that god created the disaster in the first place and killed those he selected to die.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 23, 2013 7:23am
Billsmith: so many times I've posted that God is the judge, I've never said man gets to decide. My mistake was in taking what you wrote at face value of Calvin's beliefs. The difference between Luther's predestination beliefs & Calvin's is Luther believed only that we all are predestined to salvation unless we refuse it. God's love,grace, & forgiveness is for all. He didn't agree God pre-picked out who'd be condemned to Hell.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 8:14am
MikeFromDelaware: Fair summary. But since both agree god has known all along who would and wouldn't pick salvation, it's a fine theological point.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 23, 2013 8:44am
Billsmith: Good point.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 8:58am
MikeFromDelaware: Did you ever think that for god the world is sort of like how "It's A Wonderful Life" (or any movie you've seen "a million times") is for us? We know everything that's going to happen. We know every line of dialog. Still we watch it anytime it's on. I guess where Luther and Calvin differ is whether god it like us (knowing everything and how everything turns out) or like Frank Capra (deciding on how everything turns out).

Earl: Re your questions earlier about regulation of legal marijuana, you might find this interesting...

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 9:13am
Maybe Mary wasn't that unique after all. Other ancient deities, most notably Zeus, went around knocking up virgins but people think virgin births haven't happened lately. Maybe not...
Claims of virgin births in U.S. near 1 percent: study

(Reuters) - Nearly 1 percent of young women in a U.S. study who have become pregnant claim to have done so as virgins, according to a report in the Christmas edition of Britain's BMJ medical journal.

The authors of "Like a virgin (mother)" - whose prose is devoid of irony - say such scientifically impossible claims show researchers must use care in interpreting self-reported behavior. Fallible memory, beliefs and wishes can cause people to err in what they tell scientists.

Based on interviews with 7,870 women and girls ages 15 to 28, 45 of the 5,340 pregnancies in this group through the years - 0.8 percent - occurred in women who reported that they conceived independent of men. The figure does not include pregnancies that result from in vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive technology.

Each year, the BMJ Christmas edition publishes untraditional science papers. In addition to the report on virgin pregnancies, the latest BMJ includes papers on whether there is a local baby boom nine months after home sports teams triumph (only a small one, but statistically significant) and whether an apple a day would keep the British doctor away (yes, saving about 8,500 lives in the United Kingdom each year, about as many as would expanding the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs to everyone over 50). ... READ MORE

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 23, 2013 9:15am
Billsmith: I believe that God gave us free will, so even though God gives the banquet to all, only some choose to sit at the table and partake.

A different topic.

I saw a news item where apparently the KKK under the name of the Confederate White Knights is having a recruitment meeting in Elkton, MD.

Interesting the spin they're trying to take on who can be a member.

"The Confederate White Knights of Rosedale, Md., says on its website that its message is no longer based on skin color.

But its criteria for membership demands that joiners not be affiliated with either Jewish or Muslim faiths. They also must be "100% heterosexual," of European heritage and born in America."

Still sounds like darker skinned folks aren't welcomed.

This is the agenda for their meeting. Does it sound familiar?

"But in an interview on the website CecilDaily.com, Richard Preston, imperial wizard of the 2-year-old group, said the meeting will focus on illegal immigration and President Barack Obama.
"Barack Hussein Obama is an illegal president," Preston was quoted as saying. "He needs to be removed from office. We also want 'Obamacare' shut down. It's against citizen's rights."
"On top of that, we want the laws toughened on immigration," he added. "We're flooded with illegal immigrants and our people can't find jobs."
Confederate White Knights organizers told a local newspaper they chose to hold the meeting in Cecil County because of its "conservative mindset."


So it won't be long before the media connects the dots from the TEA party to the Kluxers. This won't be helpful for the conservatives in getting their conservative agenda passed. Being linked in anyway to the Klan is like being linked in anyway to Nazi's. Not a good thing.

The other question that would be interesting to ask is I wonder how many of those Cecil County Kluxers are also TEA party folks?

Now before Mrpizza or EarlGrey gets upset, I'm NOT saying that all folks who are TEA party people are Kluxers, but my guess is, there are SOME Kluxers who, unfortunately, also are TEA party members.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 9:18am
Big Pharma is still at it. As use of medical marijuana to relieve the suffering of chemo-therapy patients grows, the pharmaceutical companies are busy protecting their drug markets against weed. Weed is their enemy. Can't patent it. Can't control it. So look for them to keep pushing doctors to use expensive drugs instead and - oh, yes - spend big bucks to fight legalization.

Tesaro nausea drug effective in late-stage trials

(Reuters) - Tesaro Inc said its experimental drug for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting was found effective in two late-stage studies.

The trials tested the drug, rolapitant, in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy that can induce vomiting.

The patients either received a combination of two drugs to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy or rolapitant plus the two-drug combo.

Tesaro said it continued to enroll patients in a third late-stage trial of the drug, and was preparing for a marketing approval application by mid-2014.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 12:34pm
The Klan was never just about hating Blacks. It was originally formed in opposition to reconstruction and the early advances freed slaves had made (not on their own, of course, but thanks to carpetbaggers and half-breeds). It also attacked immigrants (originally German and Irish immigrants), and Jews and Catholics. In some of their materials, "KKK" supposedly stood for "kikes, koons and katholics." The Klan grew out of the nativist Know-Nothing movement before the Civil War. Such groups have always been around and their appeal has always focused on hating those who are different. And they have always been funded by rich people to keep the anger of the lower classes focused on those outside, rather than inside. Before the Koch Brothers funded the tea party, their daddy funded the John Birch Society.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 2:24pm
Merry Christmas to everyone on Mr. Loudell’s blog!

There’s a place in one of Martin Luther’s nativity sermons where he asks something like, “Do you know what a stable smells like? You know what that family would have smelled like after the birth when they went out into the city?...and if they were standing next to you, how would you have felt about them and regarded them?”

He is saying, I want you to see Christ in the neighbor you tend to despise—in the political party you despise, in the race you despise, in the class of people you despise.

Christmas is the end of thinking you are better than someone else, because Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own...God had to come to you. It is telling you that people who are saved are not those who have arisen through their own ability to be what God wants them to be. Salvation comes to those who are willing to admit how weak they are.

Truly understanding Christmas provides the depth of humility required to serve our world, not in a condescending way but in a way that empowers others and encourages them to also discover the true meaning of Christmas.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 23, 2013 2:46pm
EarlGrey: Amen.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 3:40pm
Earl: Well, back then, except for the elite, most everybody smelled that way. Until about a hundred years ago, streets and roads were littered with horse, mule and donkey pies. And recall the smell of an outhouse and imagine that a routine experience. There was no indoor plumbing - let alone hot water heaters. Soap hadn't been invented. So regular bathing (and laundry) was unheard of. People were used to people who smelled bad because almost everybody smelled bad. Note that two of the three gifts traditionally attributed to the Magi (Zoroastrian astrologers) were used to cover bad smells.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 3:52pm
Julie Andrews got her butt kicked.

Julie's been beaten before. She's had her three best-known Broadway roles taken by other actresses in the movies. And NBC's live broadcast of the Sound of Music Broadway musical (Julie took Mary Martin's Broadway role), NBC's musical broadcast beat ABC's airing of the movie version. The movie got about one-third the viewers as the live Broadcast of the play. 6.5 million for the movie; 18.5 for the live play. Part of the reason may be director Robert Wise turned the play into a schmaltzified kiddie show and travelogue.

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 8:05pm
Kavips: If I was a person with blonde hair I'd be insulted by your comparison of me with homosexuals. You can call it genetic all you want, but you're probably reading a different bible than what I read. I guess yours is the Journal of the American (Liberal) Medical Association.

Tue, Dec 24, 2013 5:40am
Kavips: Bible doesn't mention DNA. I guess that's just a liberal plot, too. Earth is flat. Sun revolves around the Earth. Earth created in six days (6,000 years ago). All those liberal plots. And when somebody shoots up a school, let's forget those liberal shrinks and call an exorcist. If god wanted people to fly, he'd give them wings. No cars; a donkey was good enough for Jesus. Electric lights, another liberal plot to get people staying up late to sin. Jesus used an oil lamp. Pizza is proof that if the Jesus Jumper/Tea Baggers take over, they will take us back to the middle ages. Welcome to Salem, Mass - circa 1692.

Tue, Dec 24, 2013 9:12am
More commie brainwashing from the liberal media this holiday season.
Was 'It's a Wonderful Life' really communist propaganda?

FBI investigated classic Christmas film because it portrayed banker Mr Potter as greedy and evil

* FBI informants claimed the movie was a vessel for communist messages
* Claimed screenwriters Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich associated with known communists
* Report was part of 2,000 page document compiled about communist 'influence' in Hollywood

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2528752/Was-Its-Wonderful-Life-really-communist-propaganda-FBI-investigated-classic-Christmas-film.html#ixzz2oOuNOh9m

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Dec 24, 2013 11:38am
I watched our DVD copy of Good Night and Good Luck - the Story about Edward R. Morrow and his battle with Sen. Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare last night.

McCarthyism, the scary thing of the post WWII era of the late 40's and early 50's. Ole tail gunner Joe, ruining many people's lives by simply accusing them of being a Communist. All they had to do is have read a left leaning book, magazine, or newspaper.

Interestingly, many of those folks targeted had explored what Communism was about during the 1930's, but had not accepted its precepts [Murrow had been one such person apparently], kind of like youth who were Hippies in the 1960's, who later grew up into responsible adults in the later 1970's and 80's. Can you imagine them being investigated in the 70's and 80's for being a Hippie subversive as the youth of the 1930's were?

Freedom should allow folks to explore different ideas and thoughts without the fear of the government coming after them.

Who'd have thought, that those knuckleheads in the FBI, lead by ole J.Edgar Hoover and his band of merry men thought "It's a Wonderful Life" to be a Commie movie.

Frankly the movie was spot on. Which group of people pushed our nation into the Great Depression of the 1930's - the Bankers. Which group did the same thing again to push the nation into a great Recession that almost became a Depression in 2007 - again the Bankers. So it seems to me that the movie has been proven to be correct. The Mr. Potter's of the world are still out there. They may look different than Lionel Barrymore, but that same greed and loathing of the little guy is very present in our world today.

This is one aspect of the TEA party that makes me uncomfortable with them, as they too seem to have no patience with those who do not see the world as they just as McCarthy did in his time. They also seem to loathe the little guy, who's struggling to get by. I could easily see some of the extremists in the TEA party launching "new McCarthy hearings" [aka witch hunts] against those who have a socialistic bent. We've already experienced the TEA folks wanting to cut back programs that help the poor and elderly, while giving more corporate welfare to the Bankers and CEO's of corporations.

Just as we should never forget Slavery, the Holocaust, we should also never forget McCarthyism nor the Mr. Potter's of the world.

Tue, Dec 24, 2013 1:51pm
MikeFromDelaware: Agreed, mostly. George Clooney's film is a good movie but very bad history. The biggest flaw: Murrow, like many others, waited until the "Red Scare" and the Blacklist had run their course, until he finally did anything. Murrow was on much safer ground than the movie let on. "Murrow" (1986) with Daniel J. Travanti as Murrow was a better screen bio. And "The Front" (1976) is a much better depiction of what it was like at the time.

Funny thing about "It's A Wonderful Life," since it was made we've also had the S&L crisis of the 80s and 90s, and the collapse of the housing market of the 00s. Sometimes there's not a lot of difference between the Baileys and the Potters, and maybe letting people borrow to buy a house isn't always such a good thing. In any case, the real world today turns out to be pretty much like the alternate universe with no Jimmy Stewart. But it's nice to believe in a place like Bedford Falls (or Mayberry, created by the bartender who punches out George Bailey). And I enjoy seeing Major Seth Adams and grocer Herbert T. Gillis.

Tue, Dec 24, 2013 3:48pm
PS: In a way, things haven't changed. After the Pope issued his criticism of "the Potters" of today, Rush called him a "Marxist." And notice how often Pizza and tea baggers, in general, like to trot out the s-word and the c-word, especially for Obama or anyone who doesn't agree with them. If another McCarthy came along, the tea baggers and religious right would be cheering him on.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Dec 24, 2013 4:42pm
The difference between the Bailey's type bank [savings and loan] and the majority of banks today is his bank was local. So he could knew his borrowers personally. He could work with the person having a problem, whereas today's banks are more like Potter, the big corporate institution where the only ledger speaks and making as much profit as possible is the only game for such an institution.

Yes, good point about Pope Francis already being called a Marxist, by some including Rush and unfortunately the Socialist and Communist words by others.

I know you won't believe this, but I've even had some very conservative people [some from Fundamentalist churches and others who are not Christian at all by their own admission, but Fiscal Conservatives] who have called me a bleeding heart liberal, Socialist and Communist, because I believe we need some sort of healthcare system for everyone. Some of the Fundamentalist/Evangelical types have said that as a United Methodist, and now as a Lutheran I couldn't possibly be saved and know Jesus Christ as my Savior.

On the other hand, I've also had a number of folks on the left call me a TEA party conservative and right wing nut job, not to mention Bible thumper, member of the God Squad, homophobe, and pointy headed Christian to name a few.

So both sides do the name calling thing as I've had names hurled at me from both sides of the isle.

The extremes of either side can be dangerous, because they see ONLY their way as acceptable, no compromise, no meeting in the middle, etc. Communism is the extreme end of the leftwing socialistic system, just as Fascism is the extreme end of the rightwing conservative system. Both extremes have proven to be quite deadly when given too much power.

Tue, Dec 24, 2013 7:44pm
MikeFromDelaware: Agreed, there's name calling from all directions. Localism is an important issue in the financial industry. However, it should also be pointed out that Potter's bank was local, too. The "financial services" industry has managed to get rid of laws which blocked banks from opening branches, and expanding from one city to the next and across state lines. And they've managed to blur the distinctions between banks, thrift institutions (like the Bailey Building and Loan), and stock brokers. It's a cycle we've seen several times ... 1873, 1893, 1907, 1929 ... and each time regulatory hurdles have been put up to stop the games bankers play, and after a few years the banking lobby starts dismantling them. Except this last time, when the Potters got bailed out but were not stopped from continuing to play games. Let's not forget Delaware has benefited from Potter-friendly financial regulation (as it did earlier from munitions and chemical warfare). And regular folks seem willing to let the Potters of the world get away with stuff in return for ATMs and easy credit cards.

Tue, Dec 24, 2013 10:40pm
Bill: You've read my mind. Where's McCarthy when you really need him?

Wed, Dec 25, 2013 5:03am
Pizza: With Adolph, somebody else you'd cheer.

And I see that as you complain about the government spending your money on things like healthcare and education, your ilk is raising postage rates with the excuse that business is down (a sure way to drive it down some more). I also notice the price of bad chain pizza keeps creeping up.

Wed, Dec 25, 2013 6:27am
Thanks Bill. Merry Christmas!

Wed, Dec 25, 2013 8:51am
Pizza: Humbug!

Wed, Dec 25, 2013 4:07pm
MikeFromDelaware sometimes complains that Christmas has been "sanitized" of any association with Christianity. It seems like they lost something when they allowed department stores and other commercial interests to change Christmas from a religious holiday to a public holiday.

In any case, I watched Michelle and the greatest president in our lifetime do their holiday message and wanted to toss my Christmas cookies. First, they sat there like Ken and Barbie local news readers, looking at the camera and never each other, over-acting like William Shatner, and making pre-scripted faces at designated moments. The script was entirely promotional and self-serving, with little real connection to the holiday it purported to recognize. No class at all.

And I watched the Queen's Christmas message and found it has everything the Obamas' lacked - especially class. The Queen spoke as a Christian (she is supreme governor of the Church of England) but without flaunting her religion, acting holier than thou or self-righteous, and without excluding anyone who did not share her religious convictions. Beyond that, her comments seemed personal and personally felt. For all the pretense of the imperial presidency, seeing the Queen showed what the real thing should look like.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Dec 25, 2013 4:47pm
Billsmith: Thanks for the links. I watched both.

I agree with your assessment of both totally.

Thu, Dec 26, 2013 6:57am
"I agree with your assessment of both totally."

Wow! A Christmas miracle!

The great flaw in the US system is it combines the roles of head of state and head of government in one person. Presidents are expected to perform symbolic duties and run the government and few have done a good job of both (some have done a good job of neither). The Queen has almost no power but great influence. Prime ministers (heads of government) brief her weekly and she asks very pointed and probing questions in absolute secrecy. She has done her homework, so they must do their homework. And her questions, often Socratic, often force prime ministers to examine their plans and policies. Presidents, in contrasts, have no comparable experience.

And, regarding the Queen's comments on reflection. Her biographers have written that she does keep a diary. And the prime ministers' briefings force them to reflect.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Dec 26, 2013 9:19am
Billsmith: In one sense, the VP is similar to the Queen, no power, has influence, and performs symbolic duties, but definitely doesn't have her class.

I can imagine VP Biden's Christmas message: Hey gang, this is a big [bleep]-ing deal.

Somehow, it's just not the same.

Thu, Dec 26, 2013 12:08pm
MikeFromDelaware: Big difference is the VP is very subordinate to the president and except for presiding over the senate, does nothing the president does not assign him to do. The PM does to Buckingham Palace (or wherever the Queen is); the Queen does not go to Downing Street. The PM bows when he enters the Queen's presence and calls her "Ma'am." If there's some big disaster, people expect the president to show up and are disappointed if it's the VP. Nobody is disappointed when the Queen shows up. When parliament opens, the Queen delivers the throne speech (although the government writes it for her). Biden does not deliver the equivalent of the throne speech. In Commonwealth countries which have retained the monarchy, the Governor-General, the Queen's representative, performs her symbolic duties unless she is in-country.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Dec 26, 2013 3:25pm
Billsmith: Some interesting bits of info on the Queen. Thanks.

Fri, Dec 27, 2013 9:35am
"Sic semper tyranus."~billsmith

I agree with that statement 100%

Fri, Dec 27, 2013 9:36am
Molon labe~King Leonidas I

Fri, Dec 27, 2013 4:25pm
MikeFromDelaware: FYI. Think you'll find this interesting. I admit even I found it interesting.
Pastor Leads A New Brand Of Church For 'Sinners And Saints'

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Dec 27, 2013 8:12pm
Billsmith: Interesting story. Yes, she's a bit unconventional, but will have appeal to some. What may happen is maybe some of these folks at some point will get a Bible and start reading it, asking questions, studying, etc, and exploring what God has said in his holy word.

This in some ways reminds of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. I remember how upset folks were that a Rock opera was telling the story of Christ and then left out the resurrection, it ended with the Crucifixion.

I saw that Rock opera performed on stage while in the Air Force stationed at Pease AFB in Portsmouth NH. Very well done and powerful. The last scene was the crucifixion. It was so dramatically and powerfully done that folks left the theatre in silence. No talking, silence. I seem to remember reading that that rock opera caused many to start searching to learn more about this Jesus that was beaten and hung on a cross. Who would have thought that God would use a Rock Opera written for a secular purpose.

This new Lutheran pastor, while I may not agree with everything she says, and the "saltiness of her language", etc, but God may be able to use her to reach some folks the "traditional church" be it Lutheran or not, hasn't been able to reach.

People are hungry for God and are searching.

Thanks for sharing.

Fri, Dec 27, 2013 10:45pm
bill: I read about her a few weeks ago and she sounds pretty interesting. Many years ago, while on a mission trip working with homeless teens in Denver, found a really cool church called Scum of the Earth...it was aimed at homeless teens and all other "misfits". I loved it.

You might find Shane Claiborne interesting...I heard him speak a few years ago in Philly...he also isn't your typical Christian.

Sat, Dec 28, 2013 5:03am
It always strikes me how so many Christians get upset over the crucifixion of Jesus but don't seem to care what happens to anybody else. A few years ago when viscous bigot Mel Gibson made his crucifixion movie, there were news reports of people coming out of it weeping, wailing and visibly agitated. Yet a major proportion of "good Christians" continue to support the death penalty for "the least of these, my brethren." I never heard of Christians getting worked up over the final scene in Spartacus in which the Romans crucified thousands of slaves, with crosses put up like utility poles along the Appian Way. They were killed because they wanted to be free. None expected to be back in three days. But Christianity tells slaves to obey their masters, so I guess they get no sympathy.

MikeFromDelaware: It sounds like the church in Denver does the traditional liturgy (what you call "the Lutheran mass") with traditional hymns. The pastor's language sounds "informal," rather than "salty." But I find way too many clergy to be mealy-mouthed and pretentious in their speech (especially those who think "god" has two syllables). But those tattoos are repulsive (and a violation of Torah).

Sat, Dec 28, 2013 5:06am
MikeFromDelaware doesn't like how much assembly line auto workers get for screwing on lug-nuts. Y'all ain't heard nothin' yet. Broadway stage hands can clear over $400,000 a year for doing as little as setting up music stands for the orchestra. This explains why tickets are passing $200 a pop.

Sat, Dec 28, 2013 8:49am
Wingnuts: Don't worry about the liberal news media (if any). Nobody pays attention to them anyway and most everybody is suspicious of them. It's movies that are going to get you.
Can tear-jerkers turn you liberal? As Good As It Gets and The Rainmaker make you soppy, says study

* Political scientists found that Hollywood movies can change attitudes more than advertising and news reports
* The researchers noted a leftward shift in attitudes after the participants saw a film with a liberal message

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530224/Can-tear-jerkers-turn-liberal-As-Good-As-It-Gets-The-Rainmaker-make-soppy-says-study.html#ixzz2omFQMk61

Sat, Dec 28, 2013 9:49am
I thought robots were screwing on those lug nuts these days.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Dec 28, 2013 10:52am
Billsmith: I noticed the hymn in the background too on the NPR interview with the pastor from Denver. Like I said, she will appeal to some. I agree the tattoos should be covered, but she's probably using them to gain street creds. Her congregation probably can relate so not an issue. Obviously, she's ELCA Lutheran.

What she probably will need to do, in order to try to keep the more intimate setting her folks like, is to have more than one service, and eventually branch out spinning off a second church somewhere in the area with another Lutheran pastor who has a similar vision for how to do church. The informal nature has appeal and I believe God can and will use it to bring people to him.

I agree with you, I don't like the pious mealy mouthed "girly man" preachers who seemed to never have been in the real world ever, much less ever worked a real job ever in the real world. These mealy mouthed pastors tend to say God in a way that we who sing in a choir pronounce God so that in singing it sounds like God to the ear [especially when there's a pile of voices singing it at the same time], but in speech sounds very formal and snooty [Gaud]. These mealy mouth preachers read the scriptures with a deadpan voice, no emotion. Oh you wicked Galatians. Really??? Shouldn't that be read more like OH! You wicked Galatians !!! Paul is reaming them out, shouldn't the reading of that sound like a reaming out? Rather than sounding like, please pass the potatoes. People forget these were real people, who had real feelings, got angry, sinned, laughed, cried, etc. So to read the scriptures without feeling is to miss much of what God's word was saying, in my opinion.

I also agree about the Evangelical preachers who say Go-od or get loud and start putting an A after words, Go-od-a, saved all of you from your sins-a.

Obviously the Amalgamated Stagehands Union Brotherhood Local of the Theatre District in NYC has one heck of a contract. I'm definitely in the wrong line of work. Yea, you're right, that does make the lug nut guys salaries look pretty paltry in comparison. Sure glad they aren't government union employees or we'd all be paying their salaries via our taxes.

The article about how liberal movies can sway more folks than liberal news reports doesn't surprise me. Seeing how Scrooge was a self-centered person, or how the New Deal helped poor working class folks in Steinbeck's book turned movie "The Grapes of Wrath", or how blacks were mistreated in the South in various movies on the subject, etc,[Driving Miss Daisy, The Help, the TV series Roots, etc,] do more than hearing a news anchor read a story.

One exception to this was the film footage we saw back in the 60's on both CBS [Walter Cronkite] and NBC [Chet Huntley and David Brinkley] of Bull Conner and his police thugs beating the crap out of blacks and sicking vicious police dogs and spraying them with water cannons that actually knocked the people over, who were just parading down the street with signs peacefully, bothering no one. Or the video of Rodney King getting the crap beat out of him by the cops AFTER he was down on the ground and totally defenseless. That sort of violence was so over the top that folks across the nation were upset. But generally the news doesn't show such things to such an extent, whereas the movies get 90-120 minutes to help to make folks real to the viewer so when the bad stuff happens we can more easily relate. So I agree with the article.

I'm surprised they never made a movie about Matthew Shepherd as just the description in the news was upsetting, can't imagine watching a movie showing the evil those so called people did to him.

Was this the original Sparticus with Kirk Douglas or the new one? I saw the original many years ago and just don't remember much about it, but it probably wasn't that graphic. I've not viewed the new version, as I'm not into real graphic violence and tons of blood [don't watch CSI or any of its spin offs for that reason]. Didn't watch Gibson's movie about Christ either. Saw the trailer at church and that was far more blood than I wanted to see. So once again, don't lump all Christians into the same pot.

Remember Bill, there are moderate and yes liberal Christians out there. We just don't make the news like our more conservative Evangelical brothers in the Lord do. Lutheranism is a very quiet faith that most folks know is out there, but you never really hear much about it in the media. Both ELCA and LCMS Lutheran churches simply go about their business of worshiping the Lord, and trying to follow God's will in their lives. Neither is very political as I fit in well with either ELCA and LCMS remembering I'm neither a DEM nor a GOP/TEA person. You may not agree with some of their teachings or beliefs, but political they aren't.

Sat, Dec 28, 2013 11:54am
MikeFromDelaware: The Missouri Synod does not ordain women. According to their website, House for All Saints and Sinners is considered an ELCA mission, not a congregation. They actually meet in an Episcopal church. Two services late Sunday afternoons.
I've been thinking about going out to Denver to pick up some "Rocky Mountain High." Maybe I'll stop by.

Spartacus was one of those liberal movies J. Edgar hated. The original, I haven't seen the remake. The screenplay was by Dalton Trumbo, who had been blacklisted. Kirk Douglas was also executive producer and insisted Trumbo get screen credit under his own name, which was still a controversial move when the movie came out. I last saw Spartacus when it was re-released to theaters several years ago with deleted scenes restored. It is probably one of the better - and more literate - sword and sandals epics. The ending is the mass crucifixion of all the members of the rebellious slave army. You've said you don't get cable (where it's shown regularly) but it's worth getting from Netflix. Stanley Kubrick directed. Excellent cast.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Dec 28, 2013 1:32pm
Billsmith: yes that's why I suggested it was an ELCA Lutheran, also because she performed a Civil Union ceremony.

I'll have to check out the original Sparticus via Net Flix, I'm sure they have it.

Sat, Dec 28, 2013 5:18pm
MikeFromDelaware: By the way, it was "foolish Galatians," not wicked. Galatians were Celts living in Eastern Anatolia (Turkey). Celts also gave their name to Gaul and today live in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and South Boston. St. Paul probably never sent the letter because Celts would have kicked his butt.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Dec 28, 2013 7:37pm
Billsmith: You are correct. As a Catholic we were never required to memorize Bible verses [only the Latin of the Mass] and of course the Baltimore Catechism. When I was in the Evangelical type churches, I stunk at memorized verses. I usually look them up, but thought I had that one, obviously I didn't.

I looked up in some of the various Bible translations and most do say Foolish, none say wicked.

the JB Phillips Bible says: O you dear idiots of Galatia. [I sense some real anger in that verse, again, requiring some inflection not deadpan].

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA) and the Darby Bible say: O senseless Galatians,

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) says: You stupid Galatians!

I looked up in my Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament words for Foolish as used in Gal. 3:1 it says: The Greek word used for foolish is: Anoetos signifies not understanding to perceive not applying, senseless an unworthy lack of understanding, sometimes carries a moral reproach and describes one who can not control their lusts.

In any case, it is a strong word. So maybe the Complete Jewish Bible gives the best word, Stupid. You stupid Galatians ! Still needs to be said with emphasis, not dead pan.

Sat, Dec 28, 2013 10:27pm
MikeFromDelaware: In context, apparently what St. Paul considers "foolish" is "lapsed" converts. But I agree with you main point. The quality of preaching is in decline.

When I was in college, the university (in it's wisdom) decided to do away with the speech department and most of its courses, including the basic course in public speaking (you had to get up and make a speech each week). They decided public speaking was obsolete and replaced it with a course in interacting in small groups or one on one. I never had occasion to speak from a pulpit, lectern or platform but I did make a lot of presentations. Fortunately, I had taken the course before they killed it.

Public speaking used to be considered an essential art; rhetoric was one of the seven liberal arts. Aristotle wrote a text on it. Even politicians are almost all terrible speakers. Preachers used to be the last group that still practiced effective platform skills but that seems on the way out, too. The Black church is about the only place where good public speaking is still practiced.

Worst of all is preaching in the Roman Catholic churches. Probably this is because parishes can't hire and fire priests but maybe they wouldn't have so many "lapsed Catholics" (including Celts, who were once the backbone of the US church) if the message were better delivered.

Complete Jewish Bible? The epistle was written in Greek, not Hebrew. But "stupid Galatians" does sound sort of lower East Side. But in context, if St. Paul had delivered the epistle as a sermon, I wonder if he (assuming he was a good preacher) would have used the kind of haranguing tone you envision. Some translations say "silly" or "irrational" which with "foolish" suggest St. Paul was not going for a tone as condemning as "stupid" implies.
Curiously, the Greek word "anoetoi," refers to a lack of understanding, a mindlessness, a being driven by the emotions rather than by the mind, and is the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic word "raca'. The bit about being driven by emotions, not the mind, sounds like Mister Spock coldly putting down Dr. McCoy. So, St. Paul might have used a cold, Spockian deadpan.
Jesus said, "Anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Matt 5:22) So, Jesus might not have approved of St. Paul's approach.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Dec 28, 2013 11:42pm
Billsmith: good point about public speaking classes. I took a public speaking class in high school. Also competed in an Optimist Speech Contest here in Wilmington won 2nd place.

Paul seemed to be a spartan type of person. God had plans for Paul in terms of speeading the Gospel around the known world of their day; but you make a good point that Jesus may not have agreed with Paul's approach at times. There personalities are different. We'll not know for sure until eternity.

Sun, Dec 29, 2013 1:48am
New York Times just unleashed a bombshell this Sunday, stating that Benghazi was indeed a reaction to the anti Muslim video, and it's attack had no connection to Al Qaeda.....

Darrell Issa, Earl Grey, Rick Jensen to name a few, all look pretty silly now.


Sun, Dec 29, 2013 5:16am
Kavips: Is this something new? The video as the trigger as been known almost since the embassy attack happened.

And Jensen has always looked "anoetoi" (silly, stupid, foolish, irrational, idiotic) but that's the type of listener to whom he wants to appeal.

MikeFromDelaware: Saul of Tarsus didn't spread the gospel; he corrupted and distorted the gospel. What I reject in Christianity started with him, not Jesus. He's no different from the prosperity gospel preachers (among others) of today who twist things to pander to their audiences. St. Paul is a classic opportunist. Strange you seem to give Jesus and St. Paul equal standing and their respective comments equal authority.

Sun, Dec 29, 2013 5:23am
The biggest hypocrite in our lifetime strikes again...
The Obamas didn't go to church on Christmas Day despite the President urging Americans to remember the holiday's religious meaning

* The Obamas skipped church this Christmas
* The family is on a 17-day vacation in Hawaii
* Earlier this month, the President asked Americans not to forsake Jesus as they exchanged presents on Christmas

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530358/The-Obamas-didnt-church-Christmas-Day-despite-President-urging-Americans-remember-holidays-religious-meaning.html#ixzz2orFUiqeJ

So, how much do we pay for these annual jaunts to Hawaii? And how much comes out of his own pocket?

Sun, Dec 29, 2013 5:29am
More hypocrisy... FemiNazis demand "equality" except when it's inconvenient, gets in the way of having it all, costs money or is just too hard....
U.S. Marines WEAKEN fitness requirement for women, won't make them do three pull-ups

* Just three out of 15 female recruits managed to graduate from the Marine Corps' infantry training program in November
* 55 per cent of women – including active Marines – can't do three pull-ups, while just 1 per cent of men fail the exam
* The new standard was ordered by the service's commandants in late 2012
* Now the Marines say they're scrapping the requirement for now, allowing women to pass their physical fitness tests without the new challenge
* Existing standards allow female Marines and recruits to pass muster by hanging for 70 seconds from a pull-up bar with bent elbows
* May women in the Corps insist they're meeting the new minimum requirement
* Female Marines will be eligible for full war-zone combat duty in 2016

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530172/Women-U-S-Marines-SPARED-new-physical-fitness-requirement-wont-three-pull-ups-pass-muster.html#ixzz2orGyYpGP
They have known this was coming. Apparently, they couldn't be bothered to go to the gym and start working out and working up to the requirement. No, that goes against FemiNazi entitlement. Typical spoiled brat mentality: I want it. Therefore I should have it. Therefore you must give it to me. Or I'll cry.

Sun, Dec 29, 2013 5:53am
Before one percenters and the major corporations backed the tea party, their predecessors backed the Nazis - including leading members of the Republican Party. Anti-Brit/Pro-German sentiment was widespread in the US, even after the war began in Europe. Big money people saw Hitler as a bulwark against communism and good for business. European subsidiaries of US companies were among Adolph's biggest suppliers. Among Hitler's enablers were the Dulles Brothers, who later ran US foreign policy and intelligence and promoted right-wing dictatorships around the world against Democratically elected governments. And later Senator Prescott Bush (father and grandfather of guess who?).
The spying Scotsman who hunted the Nazis of New York: The amazing story of Britain's clandestine war on Hitler's agents... and his big-money backers in the US

* 'Secret battle for America' fought far from the front lines during World War II
* Lost documents find British agents took on Nazi sympathisers in the US
* Crew headed by Donald MacLaren destroyed Hitler's plan for empire

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530447/The-spying-Scotsman-hunted-Nazis-New-York-The-amazing-story-Britains-clandestine-war-Hitlers-agents-big-money-backers-US.html#ixzz2orMXkBFC

Sun, Dec 29, 2013 11:26am

Comment is free

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on
Few of the politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue how it actually works (and doesn't)


Mike from Delaware
Sun, Dec 29, 2013 12:14pm
Billsmith: No, Paul is not Jesus, but his letters to the churches are valuable teaching lessons, as those various churches had some issue or issues that he addressed. The Church canonized those books of Paul's to be included as Holy Scripture, so yes I do take them seriously.

But Paul still is a sinner saved by God's grace, love, and forgiveness just as any of us who call Jesus, Lord and Savoir. Same goes for Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, and even Mary [Jesus' Mother] all are sinners saved by God's grace, love, and forgiveness. God used them in a special way to bring salvation to the world, but all of them are still sinners saved by grace.

Sun, Dec 29, 2013 2:24pm
MikeFromDelaware: And that is the great irony. When you left the Roman Catholic Church, you rejected the infallible teaching authority of the church and accepted scripture as the sole authority. Yet, scripture is a product of the teaching authority of the church. Church officials edited the texts and decided which books to include and exclude. Then Martin Luther went back and excluded some books, and considered excluding others. Modern Bibles often include alternate versions of the text from different old text or codex. So, if the church is not infallible, the scripture it selected and edited can't be infallible.
And if you recall, the Roman Catholic Church does not treat Gospels and Epistles as equal (neither do Lutheran and Episcopalian liturgies for that matter). In the mass, only deacons and priests read the gospel.
Rainy afternoon. I think I'll pour some wine (no weed available), light some candles, put on some soft jazz and read the Song of Solomon. It's not the Kama Sutra but it's still pretty hot.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 30, 2013 12:02am
Billsmith: all humans are fallible including the Pope. No church has all the truth, but the one thing they all have is Christ. Jesus is the key. God chose to allow fallible men to run the churches so there will be problems & mistakes, but the bottom line is having faith in God's Son Jesus Christ. No one is saved because of they are Lutheran, Methodist, Assembly of God, Baptist, Non-Denominational, fundamentalist, or Charismatic, etc. Christ is where salvation is found. Luther had the right idea: Christ alone, Scripture alone, Faith alone. I've been to many different types of Christian churches in my life. For me, the Lutheran approach comes the closest for me. Each Christian needs to determine that for themselves. So Mrpizza has found a different church that helps him to express his worship & faith in Christ than I; same with Earl Grey, Allan Loudell, & Jim H. All of us worship the Risen Christ yet worship him in different ways at different churches as each of us believes God has lead us. I can't explain it any better than that.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 7:09am
MikeFromDelaware: A fallible organization with fallible leaders can't produce an infallible document. One of the major flaws of Christianity is it requires an infallible authority and correct answers. And because of this, its adherents go out and kill each other over who is right. People who don't depend on the absolute authority of some ancient collection of myth, poetry and folklore seem better able to find for themselves whatever truth might be in it. Because St. Paul corrupted what Jesus and Judaism had to say with stuff borrow from pagan religions and mystery cults, Christianity is less evolved than Judaism and both are less evolved than Buddhism, which Jesus also studied.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 30, 2013 8:11am
Billsmith: the part you miss is God inspired the words that were written & inspired them as to what books were the inspired ones as many books were written , not all by God'd prompting. I realize you don't accept that premise, but that's part of the faith thing. So for the follower of Christ the Bible is God's inspired & infallible word.

Even Galileo believed that as he said, the scriptures are always correct, it's our understanding of what it says will change as we learn more.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 8:44am
kavips: Looks like the NYT is in full spin to re-write the Benghazi story and delete all connections to Hillary and "the greatest president ever ever"(LOL).
Your favorite website (breitbart) pokes quite a few holes in the new Benghazi narrative posted on the New York Times.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 9:08am
MikeFromDelaware: Galileo was trying to save himself from being burned at the stake.
And while the Bible may be infallible for you, it is not for all Christians. Of course, you dismiss anybody whose "understanding" differs from yours as wrong.
The purpose of Christianity and all monotheist religions is to...
To make yourself right and others wrong.
To dominate and avoid domination.
To justify yourself and invalidate others.

That's why the so-called religious right wants to force everybody to say their prayers, think the way they think and to live the way they decide.
Galileo recanted. He survived. So did his findings. Despite the Pope's and Luther's best efforts.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 9:19am
bill: If Christianity were anything like you describe, I would have nothing to do with it either...but true Christ-centered believers do not want what your posted list says they want.

15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”<
~Mark 2:15-17

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 9:57am
Earl: Nobody likes paying taxes, tea baggers especially. Reasonable people can disagree about government spending or the formulae by which taxes are levied. But that doesn't make IRS employees the same as "sinners." Tax collection is a necessary function; just like money changing.

And the gospels smear and slander Pharisees. Somewhat ironic because the comments attributed to Jesus are well within the mainstream of Pharisaic teaching; Pharisees were saying much the same thing as Jesus for the previous hundred years. Pharisees formed the basis of Judaism and scriptures' unwarranted and inaccurate attacks on Pharisees are blatantly anti-Semitic. If the gospels are infallible how come they get their facts wrong about Pharisees and disparage people who don't deserve it?

Too much of scripture makes no sense and Christians refuse to apply critical thinking and logic to it.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 30, 2013 10:03am
Billsmith: EarlGrey said it well and his view mirrors mine as well. So using Earl's words: " If Christianity were anything like you describe, I would have nothing to do with it either...but true Christ-centered believers do not want what your posted list says they want."

The key phrase is true Christ-centered believers do NOT want what your posted list says they want.

Billsmith said to me, "And while the Bible may be infallible for you, it is not for all Christians. Of course, you dismiss anybody whose "understanding" differs from yours as wrong."

Bill, you blow by the stuff you don't want to hear as I posted above just prior to your statement: "Christ is where salvation is found. Luther had the right idea: Christ alone, Scripture alone, Faith alone. I've been to many different types of Christian churches in my life. For me, the Lutheran approach comes the closest for me. Each Christian needs to determine that for themselves. So Mrpizza has found a different church that helps him to express his worship & faith in Christ than I; same with Earl Grey, Allan Loudell, & Jim H. All of us worship the Risen Christ yet worship him in different ways at different churches as each of us believes God has lead us. I can't explain it any better than that."

So we all may have a different approach in our worship and some of our beliefs, but we all worship the SAME Risen Christ and are brothers [and if Kavips is a Christian a sister in Christ - I believe Kavips is a woman based on things she's written here, if I'm wrong Kavips I apologize] in Christ. I may not agree with Mrpizza's Prosperity Gospel Church's understanding of the Word, but he and I are still brother's in Christ. He probably doesn't agree with my Lutheranism, but I'm sure he'd say, he and I are still brothers in Christ. THAT's the commonality, Jesus the Risen Christ.

Sure we Christians are like a family, we'll argue amongst ourselves as each of us is at a different place and understanding in our respective walks with Christ, but we're still all members of the same family of Christ.

The Jews did the same thing as one faction had a different view than the other faction and so on [Pharisees vs Essene's vs Sadducee's, etc] yet all were brothers in the Jewish faith. So we Christians have continued the Jewish tradition of arguing the scriptures with one another [Catholic vs Lutheran vs Methodist vs Baptist vs Assembly of God, etc]. It's the same thing.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 10:30am
bill: If you are so well-versed (pun intended) in scripture then you should know why the tax collectors were viewed with disdain by ordinary citizens.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 12:09pm
Earl: Disdain by ordinary citizens is one thing. Blanket condemnation of a class of people by holy writ is another.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 2:31pm
Looks like A&E has decided to stick with their "cash cow" Duck Dynasty vs the bogus GLAAD/NAACP claims of "hate speech".

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 30, 2013 3:41pm
EarlGrey: Both A&E & the Robertson family are raking in the cash from both the show & products. The CNN article I read Friday night mentioned the Robertson family is now willing to work with both LGBT folks & Blacks. So apparently the Robertson's had to make some concessions to close the deal. So it's not as one sided as some TEA folks on FB have been claiming. This is business for both, & both stood to lose tons of money, thus a comprise was formed. A win/win for both sides. Follow the money.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 9:17pm
Unfortunately, fewer and fewer Christians are willing to choose truth over the almighty dollar.

Mon, Dec 30, 2013 11:15pm
Mike: If you have a link to the CNN article can you please post it? Nothing I've read has said the Robertsons have backed down on anything...

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 30, 2013 11:55pm
EarlGrey: Here is an important part of the story why Phil Robertson is back on the show and apparently not being reported on Fox News or on Right wing Talk Radio. Again, had their show gotten lousy ratings, Phil would have been fired, not suspended, and there would have been no incentive to work a deal. Follow the money trail. Below is from the CNN article:

"Fred Sainz, a representative of the Human Rights Campaign, told CNN's Brianna Keilar in a telephone interview on Friday. "We think it's actually a positive outcome, and we want to thank A&E for their attentiveness and collaboration over the course of the last few weeks." Sainz also said, "We've received assurances also that the Robertson family is now open to working with African-American and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people to address the real harm that such anti-gay and racist comments can cause."


Tue, Dec 31, 2013 5:20am
Anybody remember when A&E had class (the "A" used to stand for "arts")?

Tea-baggers complain about PBS, that it's "liberal" and gets taxpayer money. When cable was starting to be widespread, A&E, Bravo and some others started up with the stated purpose of offering fine arts performances, documentaries, and imported shows on private sector channels - giving PBS a run for our tax money. Well, all of them have dumbed down and now do reality shows glorifying obnoxious and ignorant people. PBS has the field to itself.

Tue, Dec 31, 2013 5:35am
The "slippery slope" is NOT from gay marriage to pedophilia. It's from redneck anti-gay bigotry to pedophilia.

'You got to marry these girls when they are 15 or 16': Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson wades into new controversy as he advises men to marry underage girls in newly unearthed video

* Video of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson telling an audience at a Georgia Sportsmen's Ministry talk to marry girl's as young as 15 has emerged.
* The video dates from Georgia in 2009 and follows the Robertson family patriarch's controversial comments on homosexuality and race-relations.
* The video has been discovered just days after Robertson was reinstated to the hit reality-show by A&E.
* This followed a huge backlash against his 9-day suspension - which his supporters said violated his First Amendment rights.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2531462/You-got-marry-girls-15-16-Duck-Dynasty-star-Phil-Robertson-wades-new-controversy-advises-men-marry-underage-girls-newly-unearthed-video.html#ixzz2p30MdR4t

Thu, Jan 2, 2014 10:06pm
Isn't Bill just an angry young man?

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