Friday, March 30, 2007


I wish I were a photographer. Not as a profession, just someone that understands the subject, knows what "F stops" really mean, is able to see a great shot, etc. They--people that know about these things--say the best way to become a good photographer is to take LOTS of pictures. So, I'll try. To that end, I joined a "photo group" on flickr today--aptly named flickr: Friday Photo. One of the "rules" is that group members post photos to the group on, of all days, Friday and also post same photos to their personal blog (at least that's how I understood it). Anyway, below are my first two contributions.

I work for a manufacturing plant that designs and builds shell-and-tube heat exchangers (refinery equipment), which in simplest terms are over-sized radiators. This shot was taken in our machine shop where we have some VERY OLD drills. They still work, but they aren't used as much since we purchased a couple of "gantry system" machines that do most of our drilling; some machining.

This picture is a pile of tubing odds and ends. This is what is left after all the tubes are cut to size for each exchanger. I liked all the different angles. And that is my intial foray into the flickr: Friday Photo

Click here for my flickr photo page.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why I'm Not Relevant (i.e.Emergent)

The past couple of days, I've been watching (and participating) in a dialog at the Relevant Christian blog. The "Relevant" folks-- comprised of Aaron Crawford, Jimmy Eldridge, founder and main contributor of the blog, and Pastor Timmy Gibson¹ (how come Aaron doesn't have a name that ends in "y"?) --recently aired their frustration with some Christians in a post entitled: Why Christians Su*k

Well, the title of the blog certainly caught my attention, so I headed on over to see just what had these fellows so upset. In their own words, the "relevants" explain their upsettedness (I made that word up) as follows:

This is one of many reasons I am finding it difficult to "like" Christians. Yes, I of course in reality love Christians, shoot I am one! This is just my way to VENT my frustration over the Pharisee type Christian who violates the John 8 scripture where Jesus has a women caught in adultery thrown at His feet to judge. And if you know the story, Jesus of course DOES NOT judge her to a hot hell. But He does address those Pharisees who brought her to Him to judge by saying, “ye without sin cast the first stone.” Thank God that didn’t happen today, because I truly believe some Christians would be throwing stones. And that my friends is what bites my tail! Christians who think they stand in the position as Jesus… perfect and able to cast stones.

Several people, including myself, commented on the post, particularly the choice of title. My comments were more focused on what I saw as a misinterpretation of the passage. I stated that in order for "adultery" to have taken place, there had to be a man (noticeably absent) involved with the women. Additionally, I saw the Pharisees' actions are more of a trap for Jesus than a path to guarding of the the Law they supposedly revered. In response to Pastor Timmy's statement: "Jesus of course DOES NOT judge her to a hot hell", I pointed out that though Jesus apparently saw the adultery charge as a ruse, he DID tell the woman to "go and sin no more" implying that she was not entirely guiltless. Jesus loved her enough to confront her with her sin.

My comments were never really addressed...but they had plenty to say to those that disagreed with the title of the post. The next day, the "relevants" posted a follow-up entitled "No Apology Necessary" which began with: seem to have pi**ed some people off with a blog entitled "Why Christians Su*k". (They didn't use the asterisks). The post went downhill from there. As of today, there are 150+ comments on THAT post, consisting mainly of the "relevants" defense of their language. It's really not worth the time to trudge through.

OK. That's the background-- so here's why I'm not "relevant", aka "emergent." I don't claim to be an expert on the emerent church/movement, but from what I observed at the Relevant Christian blog and other places, I get the impression that "emergents":

  • Enjoy using "off-color" language.
  • Use same language for effect. One of the "relevants" stated that his language was my “culture” if you will. There is no attempt on my part to be “cutting edge” as you put it…that just happens to be the way God designed me.
  • DON'T like people to disagree with them. They get down-right ugly about it.
  • Frenquently pull Scripture out of context to make their points.
  • Don't like to comb their hair (based on some of the bio pics I saw)
  • Have some really unBiblical doctrines-- Pastor Timmy claims to be "born and raised a Christian." (See the "Su*ks" post)
  • Think their method of doing ministry is the ONLY way of doing ministry...until next week when they change their method to what ever seems to be more relevant.
  • Think "sin" is a bad word.
  • Enjoy using "off-color" language...or did I already mention that?

EDIT: 03.30.2007 - has a new post entitled: "True Relevance Part 1: Stats Don’t Mean Cr*p!!!" I'm trying to imagine my own pastor saying something like that from the pulpit or even in everyday conversation...nah, wouldn't happen.

¹ Timmy Gibson is the pastor of Olathe Life Fellowship in Olathe Kansas

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fred Thompson

I would vote for this guy if he got the Republican nomination.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Peculiar People

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous: light. -- 1 Peter 2:10 (NASB)

We've been studying the book of 1 Peter in Sunday School the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, we spent some time on the passage above. Up to this point, Peter has encouraged us by reminding us that we have a "living hope" (1:3) that has come to us through the "living word" (1:23), purchased with the "precious blood" of Jesus Christ, our "living" Savior - the "living stone" (2:4)

But you or because of these things, Peter states that we--Christians--are a "chosen people." The KJV translators rendered the word "chosen" as peculiar. I think I like that translation a little better. If we belong to God ("a people for God's own possession"), then we are peculiar or different, especially in today's world. Not everyone belongs to God, and at times -- actually, most of the time-- those who don't belong to Him seem to revel in that fact. They even "...think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you." --1 Peter 4:4 (NIV)

We are peculiar to the world, but we are also peculiar or "special" to God. He chose us. We are His. And nothing or anyone can alter that. (Romans 8:38-39) Knowing that we are "special" to God, that we belong to Him, should cause us to praise Him!

I don't mind being called peculiar...actually, it's an honorable and comforting label...if you belong to God.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Wisdom of Mark Twain

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Voter Registration System

According to a study conducted by the State Education Agency, about one-third of the people living in the nation's capital (Washington DC, for the geographically challenged) are functionally illiterate! About one-fifth nationally are functionally illiterate. (Phew! That's a smaller percentage, boys and girls, which makes me feel better about the situation.) You can read the Associated Press story here.

This kind of information ought to make our heads explode!!! Why? Because many of these same illiterates are VOTING!!! And will be voting in 2008!!! And here's the big question (and connection): if you can't read, if you're functionally illiterate, what are the chances you can cast a semi-intelligent vote re: an issue you don't understand...BECAUSE YOU CAN'T READ!!! (Yeah, yeah, someone could tell you--you could hear about it on TV or radio, but we all know the media is biased. You need to be able to read, to assimilate some information for yourself.)'s my plan. Effective today, absolutely NO ONE is a registered voter. End of discussion. If you want to vote in an upcoming election, you must do ALL of the following:

  • Go to your nearest voter registration office in person to register.
  • Present three (3) forms of ID such as an official picture ID-i.e. state issued driver's license, a birth certificate from an AMERICAN hospital and an official social security card. These three items could vary, but in essence, you will need three forms of ID, proving you are an American citizen of eligible voting age.
  • You must be able to read the entire Gettysburg Address, IN ENGLISH, in two minutes or less.

The down-side to my plan: it might eliminate a significant number of members of Congress.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Day and More Illegal Aliens

Yesterday was Saint Patricks Day--the "holiday" in which we celebrate the Irish, patron saint of beer. I missed it. I put Weed and Feed on my yard instead of drinking...actually I don't drink, so I guess it really doesn't matter.

I did a "ride-a-long" with a local police officer last Friday. The "ride-a-long" program allows private citizens to see first-hand how the police department works. I spent pretty much all day riding with an officer; "we" wrote a few speeding tickets, checked on a reported stolen vehicle, intervened a situation at a McDonalds where an irate customer was "screming and cursing the store manager" (McD's had messed up her order- she said "no salt" on her fries, but they put the salt on anyway), and we took a report on an assault and battery-someone had really beat the guy up pretty good.

One of the traffic stops involved a young, hispanic women we pulled over for speeding and following too close. When the officer asked for her driver's license and proof of insurance, she calmly and very politely stated: "I'm illegal" and handed him an "ID" that contained her picture, address and other vital information. The top of the ID was labeled "USA ID System". I wasn't aware the United States had a nation-wide "ID System." She was very matter of fact about her status. I asked the officer why we didn't just haul her in (because she is illegal), to which he replied (not an exact quote, but close):

We don't have the room to arrest every one of them (illegals) we stop. She was issued four citations: speeding, following too close, no DL, and no insurance-- that'll hurt, but the fact of the matter is, she'll probably be back out here again.

She had two little girls in the back of the car. I told her if I caught her without a license or insurance again, I'd take her in, impound the car, and take her kids to DHS. That seemed to get her attention.

I asked the officer, "I spite of the fact that she got four tickets and a stern warning, isn't she going to to be in violation AGAIN the second she puts the car in "drive?" "Yes," he replied, "I told her to that I was going to let her drive back home. We just don't have the room to take them all to jail."

And that my friends is a SMALL part of what we are dealing with. The illegals drive without licenses and insurance. They are willing to run the risk of getting caught. And the fines--if they avoid them long enough--are less than the cost you and I pay for insurance.

On a related note, WorldNet Daily ran a story a couple of days ago reporting: "The costs associated with the birth of illegal aliens' babies now makes up the biggest emergency Medicaid expense." Read it here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The General's Opinion

General Peter Pace has come under fire for recent comments in which he stated that homosexuality is immoral. He also equated homosexuality with adultery. A senior staffer told CNN that the General has no plans to apologize for the comments. From what I've seen and read, it appears the General was asked his personal opinion about a subject, and he gave it.

And now for the shocker...are you ready...hang on to your hat...a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network stated: "Gen. Pace's comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces..."

Who would have EVER seen that coming? Read the full story here.

...God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Romans 1:26-27, NIV)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Busy Week and Illegal Immigration

It's been a very busy week. We sold a huge file for a major refinery project that will keep us busy (along with all the other work) through August 2008. My job entails gathering all the required welding information, and creating "weldmaps" (assigning weld locations) for all the components. I know, it doesn't sound all that exciting, but it pays the bills.

The remainder of the week (evenings) was spent helping my youngest son with a school assignment: building a bridge out of toothpicks. The bridge will be entered in an "engineering competition"; first prize is $100 which is awarded according to the amount of weight the bridge supports before failing i.e. collasping or deflection of the road bed of more than 2 inches. It was a fun project and he thinks he's got a winner...and that's all that really matters.

Call me a "hate-monger." I'm really not, but I'm sure people will think I am. Before I begin my rant, I have to say that one of my best friends is Hispanic (he and his family are here legally). He and I have discussed this topic—we probably don't agree on all the aspects, but we both agree in general that "illegal immigration" is a BIG problem. That said…

The Oklahoma House recently approved a bill (HB 1804) that would address some of the problems we face in our state due to the influx of illegals. The bill must now be approved by the State Senate before being sent to Governor Brad Henry for his signature.

A key element of HB 1804, the Basic Pilot Program, uses federal databases to determine work eligibility. Oklahoma would be among the first in the nation to enroll in the program, and employers would be required to use the database system to confirm employees' legal status.

The bill's author, Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore), says there are five major components to the bill:

  • Ending identity theft by restricting access to government identification and information
  • Stopping voter fraud by requiring proof of citizenship
  • Ending taxpayer subsidies for illegal aliens
  • Enhancing law enforcement so that state and local law enforcement will be able to detain and hold illegal aliens
  • Penalties for employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens.
  • Enhancing law enforcement so that state and local law enforcement will be able to detain and hold illegal aliens.
  • Penalties for employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that, in 2002, illegal aliens cost the federal government (i.e. taxpayers) more than $23.6 BILLION while paying in only $16 billion in taxes! Where are those tax-payer dollars going? According to the study, $2.5 billion went to Medicaid; $2.2 billion to treatment for the uninsured; $1.9 billion to food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches; $1.6 billion to the federal prison and court systems; and $1.4 billion to federal aid to schools. A billion here, a billion there...and pretty soon we're talking REAL MONEY!!! Granted, SOME taxes were paid by illegals, but the amount going OUT is way more than what is coming IN! (And keep in mind, these are 2002 figures!)

Some people will argue that we should give amnesty to the illegals, which would then (they believe) eliminate some of the costs since they would supposedly be paying more of their "fair share" of taxes. However, according the CIS: "...[when all] costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion in 2002. We also estimate that, if there was an amnesty for illegal aliens, the net fiscal deficit would grow (emphasis mine) to nearly $29 billion." For more of the CIS study, click here.

So what can be done? If you live in Oklahoma, contact your State Senator and urge him/her to support HB 1804. If you don't know who your Senator is, can help.

Additional information on HB 1804:
Jurist Legal News and Research
HB 1804 actual text of bill

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Thanks, Al

I am indebted to Al Gore for inventing the Internet. Because of this amazing technology, this morning:

  • I was able to read email from a couple of family members that live out of state.
  • I also went to an electronics store's website and checked the availability of some "earbuds" I'm wanting to buy today.
  • I went to a local bookstore's website and checked the time for a book signing they are hosting this afternoon.
  • I checked out a couple of blogs that I hit on a regular basis (Another candidate has thrown his hat into Presidential ring. He gets my vote.)
  • I can look up general information on sites like Wikipedia, or if I'm looking for something more specific, such as a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, I can find that here.

Thanks, Al.

Saw a very disappointing thing on the news last night: a man I used to be associated with was arrested for allegedly making sex proposals online (an obvious down-side to the Internet). He was charged in a county court for attempted abduction of a minor for lewd purposes. Authorities say he thought he was chatting online to a 13-year-old girl. (Turns out it was a concerned citizen posing as a child to lure predators. Police call them "cyber vigilantes.")

I don't get it--what was this guy thinking? I guess he's never seen Dateline's "To Catch a Predator." Now he's been publicly exposed as a predator and lost his job. This will probably destroy his marriage. All because he decided to "talk dirty" to a child and then made the stupid decision to meet the teenager for the purpose of having sex with her. Part of me is glad he got caught--maybe now he'll get some help. (By the way, I think he should be punished; he DID break the law.) Maybe his story will scare others and they will think twice before acting out their "fantasies." Another part of me feels pity for him--I'm praying for him to repent and turn to God.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Money from God

A Hobart, Indiana man is in jail for attempting to cash a check "from God." Twenty-one-year-old, Kevin Russell was arrested after he tried to cash a check for $50,000 at the Chase Bank in Hobart; the check was signed: "King Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Servant." Read the story here.

At the time of his arrest, Russell had several other checks with him that were signed the same way but made out in different dollar amounts, including one for $100,000. He is being held at the Lake County Jail on a $1,000 bond.

Wonder how he'll pay his bail?