Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rope Burn?

When they were preparing to hang Saddam Hussein, I noticed they placed a black cloth around his neck before slipping on the noose. Were they really that concerned about him getting rope burns?

I read somewhere they also use the little alcohol wipe on inmates before executing them by lethal injection.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hang 'Em High

Considering the following "Saddam Timeline:"

  • 12/13/03 - Captured by US forces.
  • 10/19/05 - Trial for crimes against humanity begins
  • 11/05/06 - Sentenced to death
  • 12/26/06 - Appeals court upholds death sentence
  • 12/30/06 - Execution
From time of capture to time of execution was just over three years. Compared to the judicial system in the USA, that's lightning fast! I wonder what the chances are of having the Iraqi officials take over the prison system here and doing a little "house-cleaning?!"

There are 168 inmates awaiting rulings on appeals to their death sentences in the state of Oklahoma. Eight are awaiting retrial or new sentencing hearings. One of those inmates is a sleazebag named Corey Hamilton (pictured right). The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals recently set a Jan. 9 execution date for 37-year-old Tulsa County killer. Hamilton was convicted of the Aug 17, 1992 killings of four individuals, each of whom were shot in the back of the head at point-blank range, during a robbery of the restaurant where they worked. The four men stole $2100 before killing the employees.

Co-defendant, Donnie Eugene Daniels testified against Hamilton, naming him as the sole gunman. Daniels recieved five life sentences for his part in the robbery/murders. Another co-defendant, Hamilton's brother, received four no-parole life sentences and one-life sentence; the fourth defendant in the case is serving four life sentences. Corey Hamilton is in the fifth stage of appeals.

Before I make my point / finish my rant, I'd like you to "meet" Hamilton's victims:

Joseph Gooch was an only child; he was 17 when a bullet to the head cut short his life. Gooch was a junior at Edison High School who liked working on cars, was second-chair trumpet in the band. He had hoped to join the U.S. Air Force and become an aerospace engineer. It was his third day at the restaurant.

Ted Kindley graduated from Rogers High School and was attending Tulsa Junior College. He took a second job to pay for college, but was given a raise at Lee's so he could quit the second job. He was 19 when he died.

Sendy Lara was 27 and a young mother who left behind three children: Amanda, 6; Gilbert Jr., 3; and Miranda, 18 months. She was not scheduled to work that evening- the restaurant called her in.

Stephen Lee Williams' mother, Janice Ramsey wonders what her 24-year-old son would have been like had he not been shot that night.

None of these people were given an "appeal"; instead they were herded into the restaurant's freezer, and shot execution style. No second chance. No nothing! And now I hear that poor little Corey Hamilton is claiming "cruel and unusual punishment" should the execution by lethal injection be carried out. Hamilton's attorneys asked the court to delay the execution, contending Oklahoma's injection procedure creates a severe and unnecessary risk of failure and conscious physical suffering. FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD! He murdered four people in cold blood-- didn't ask them if THEY thought it was cruel or might cause "physical suffering!!!!" (Note: I have never experienced it, but I have to imagine that being shot in the head with a gun at close range would cause PHYSICAL SUFFERING!)

Personally, I don't give a hoot about Hamilton's (or any of the other convicted killers on Oklahoma's death row) Eighth Amendment rights. It's been too long! Hang him. Inject him. Put him in front of a firing squad OR all of the aforementioned. This appeals mess where a murderer sits around for years crying about their "rights" is ridiculous (in Hamilton's case 14 years)!

Where's the number for that Iraqi "hanging squad?"

(Biographical sketches of victims and details of Corey Hamilton's crime take from various articles in the Tulsa World)

Oh, yeah...Happy New Year.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Nip It in the Bud!

I received the first six seasons of the Andy Griffith Show on DVD for Christmas. 189 episodes!!! It doesn't get much better than that. Oh yeah, I got a pair of the Bose Triport headphones, too. Spent the day with the in-laws and out-laws and ate too much. A very enjoyable day with the fam.

"God With Us"

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. --Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's the Same Every Year

Every year around Christmas, we do the same thing. One night, when everyone is home (and that's getting tougher to do each year), we get together a bunch of snacks and watch "A Christmas Story"-- you know, the movie where Ralphie's mom keeps telling him: "you'll shoot your eye out!" We've been doing this since the mid-80's. Our favorite scene is when "Flick" sticks his tongue to the flagpole and all the other kids leave him out in the snow because "the bell rang" (you'd have to see or know the movie to understand the context). I love it.

M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S!

The Lord Will Give You a Sign...

I read several blogs each day. Some of them for entertainment, some to keep up on what's happening in various "movements." One blog I've recently started reading is The Theologian's Cafe. Each day, he posts a question or two such as: "What is the maximum amount of items someone should check out in the self-check out line labeled fast lane?" or "Should an obese passenger have to pay extra for a plane ticket?" Some of the topics are prompted by current news items or events; others, who knows where he gets the inspiration for the question. of the questions yesterday (12.20.06) was "Do you believe the part of the story that said Jesus was born of a virgin?"

The range of answers was interesting to say the least. Lots of people said "Yes"; lots of people said "No." Some answers revealed a lack of understanding of the question all together. One responder wrote: "Can anyone NOT be born a virgin?" Some answers defied logic: "No. Even though I believe in God and Jesus, I don't believe everything in the Bible."

The answer that really got me was: "Actually, my pastor told me, back then virgin meant young woman, not someone who hadn't had sex..."

A couple of thoughts come to mind here.

  1. If Mary wasn't a virgin (chaste; having never had sexual relations), what's the big deal? Where is the miracle? Isaiah 7:14 says: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." Where's the "sign" if Mary is simply a "young girl?"
  2. How in the world is that Pastor able to read the Bible and come up with an answer like that?

You can read the whole thread here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Once Saved, Always Saved...Maybe

Cruising Slice of Laodicea this morning, I came across a link to this "advertisement" on Robert Schuller's website for a free ticket to heaven. According to the website, the ticket reads:

Each card says simply this: "Anyone who comes to Me, I will in no way cast them out" (the words of Jesus Christ). Beneath Jesus' beautiful invitation into a relationship with Him, you may accept by signing your name. Once you accept Jesus as your personal Savior, it's guaranteed that, in that day in which there is no sunset and no dawning, He will open His arms and receive you with a loving embrace that can only come from Him.

There is no mention of repentance, changed life, obedience, etc. Just sign the card and you're in. Sounds pretty simple; sounds pretty easy. It sounds a lot like what many people think "once saved, always saved" means. You get "saved" and then you're "in" for life.

I used to attend a church that taught a person could lose their salvation; they were very quick to point out the Baptists that believed "once saved, always saved" and lived like heathens. And yet, I never knew a one of them that had ever experienced losing their salvation. In fact, those I asked couldn't recall anyone that had lost their salvation, and then "found it" again. But they believed it could happen. They defended the doctrine; some even taught it. But no one had ever experienced or seen it.

I even knew some--still know a few--that live(d) liked they'd never been saved. No changed life, no changed heart, no love for Christ, His church, God's Word, God's get the point. They've hung their hat on the fact that they signed a card, were baptized, and/or made a public confession. If that doesn't sound like that same thing they chided the Baptists for, well then, I just don't' know...

I believe the doctrine of "once saved, always saved" aka Perseverance of the Saints or Security of the Believer. I believe that genuinely saved people are secure in their salvation and that God would never revoke their salvation, nor could they. I believe that a genuinely saved person will LOOK and ACT like a person whom God has saved. Their "heart of stone" will become a "heart of flesh" (Eze 36:26) I believe the words of Jesus: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:27-29)

It's not original with me, but actually, I prefer "IF saved, always saved." Those God genuinely saves, He keeps for all of eternity...whether they are carrying a "ticket to heaven" or not.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Men are Happier

It's been a while since I posted-- just been busy with work and Christmas activities. We had a Christmas party for all the adult classes on our floor of the church a couple of weeks ago. We opted not to go the traditional "dirty santa gift exchange" and instead had everyone bring an item to be auctioned. The proceeds (we raised over $1100) of the auction went to Christmas Missions. I got caught up in a bidding war for some homemade deer jerky. I'm not saying what I ended up paying for it; I'm guessing the final cost was somehwhere around $28+ per pound. It was GOOD! As far as the rest of the party went, in typical Baptist fashion, there was more food than we could eat. No one went home hungry--if they did, it was their own fault.

I got the following list in an email from a friend this morning. I think he's on to something.

Men are happier because:

  • Your last name stays put.
  • The garage is all yours.
  • Chocolate is just another snack.
  • You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
  • You can wear NO shirt to a water park.
  • Car mechanics tell you the truth.
  • You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
  • You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
  • Same work, more pay.
  • Wrinkles add character.
  • People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
  • The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
  • New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
  • Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
  • A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
  • You can open all your own jars.
  • You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
  • If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
  • Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
  • You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
  • The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
  • Your belly usually hides your big hips.
  • You can "do" your nails with a pocket knife.

Checking out my list of blogs, I found several to be noteworthy. Calvinist Gadfly had a post by John G. Reisinger entitled God's Part and Man's Part in Salvation that I thought was a pretty good read. Check it out.

If you're still wondering what you should get Benny Hinn for Christmas, Jim at Old Truth has some ideas.

A couple of recent posts by Scott Hill at Fide-O are pretty good. He's found an interesting approach to tithing--bear in mind, he's not endorsing it. Check out God is Faithful 100% Guaranteed and Tithing Money Back Guarantee here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I Swear on the Bible?

Mike Adams has some interesting and thought provoking thoughts in this commentary about newly elected Congressman, Keith Ellison. Mr. Ellison is not only the first black elected to congress from Minnesota, but he is also the first ever Muslim member of the U.S. Congress.

I am not a "Muslim supporter" (I don't necessarily hate Muslims either) nor do I really care what color skin Keith Ellison sports...what caught my attention is his decision to use a Koran instead of the Bible during his swearing-in ceremony next month. Hmm-- I hadn't really given that "gesture" much thought until I read some of the respondents to Dr. Adams' coluum. This one in particular:

Didn't Bill Clinton take an oath on a bible? Didn't Teddy Kennedy? Chuckie Schumer? Hilliary?...And the value of taking an oath on the bible is ...what? Just asking.

Associated Press story at

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Let it Snow!

We have been homebound for the past three days due to a storm that dumped over 10 inches of snow in the Tulsa area. For you folks up north, I know that isn't much, but here in the "Bible belt"-- that's a GOB o' snow!!! (gob slang "a whole lot!) It hasn't been bad though--I've spent the time rebuilding our church's website so that is displays correctly in Internet Explorer and FireFox. I also reworked the banners at the top of the pages so that everything is more uniform. I haven't uploaded all of it, so I'll post the link later.

Illinois Senator Barack Obama appeared at Saddleback on Friday "and declared that condoms should be made more widely available to fight AIDS." A CNN story reported that

In a show of political unity, Obama took an AIDS test with a potential White House rival on the Republican side -- Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas. Brownback draws his support from the conservative evangelical community, but Obama has been urging liberals not to allow the Republican Party to claim it is the party of Christians. Warren also was tested.
Question: Why is Rick Warren getting tested for AIDS?! Oh, the rest of the CNN story here. Commentary at Slice of Laodicea here and here.

On a more seasonal note, tonight we put up our Christmas tree. We've had the same artificial tree since Ryon (our oldest) was three or four. We tried the live tree route a couple of times, but just didn't like the mess-- dead needles, etc. All of the ornaments are hand-made by us or friends (except for the red beads and lights, of course). We listened to Christmas music and was just like the Brady Bunch Christmas. If you're looking for a great Christmas CD, check out Jim Brickman's Christmas Romannce available at Target stores or Jim's website.