Thursday, March 27, 2008

Babylon and the World Wide Web - Mar 27

So many people overlook the book of Genesis as a significant contributor to Bible prophecy. Diligent study of this much revered book reveals some startling facts about modern technology and its true beginnings.

The Tower of Babel

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:1-4)

You know what happens next:

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." (Genesis 11:5-7)

God Cannot Deny Himself

Funny how the LORD refers to Himself in the plural form. 'Come, let us go down' He says. This is not a fluke. In Genesis 1:26 He uses the plural form 'us' and 'our' instead of the singular 'me' and 'my'. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.

One Language and a Common Speech

Don't you find God's objections most curious? God says "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." What's the lingua franca of the internet? It's English. It's the one language and a common speech now in global usage. The majority of information being exported on the web is in English. Much of the instruction the world receives is in English, usually to mixed results. None of this could have come about except for two important events:

a) The rise of American power after WW II and;

b) The world wide web was originally created by the American military and is currently HQ'ed in California.

History Comes Full Circle: Modern Day Iraq

The plains of Shinar where the Tower of Babel was built is in Iraq. Guess which country once had the Garden of Eden?

The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. (Genesis 2:14)

Even the Muslims refer to Iraq as 'The Land of Two Rivers'. No other country can boast of these two unique rivers. Seeing as the Garden of Eden was a big place, I bet you Baghdad was right smack dab in the middle of it. Man's rebellion against God began in Iraq. Original sin entered this world through Iraq. Abraham and Sarah sojourned there too a long time ago. Where are we today? Trying to rebuild Iraq with American dollars. I firmly believe that history is linear and not circular. However there's something about 'returning to the scene of the crime' that piques my curiousity. The internet may be distinctly American in its origins but the real birthplace is where Adam first sinned and corruption entered the Earth.

Johnny Cash

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Contenders, Pretenders and Defenders - Mar 25

Time to change things up. My last post was a little on the heavy side so I'm going easy this time. The title of my post says it all.

Barack Hussein Obama: 2008 Used Car Salesperson of the Year

The man is thoroughly deserving of the title. As I see it, there are two, not three, legitimate contenders for the Oval Office. One is John McCain who is looking more presidential with each passing day and the other is good ol' what's-er-face. Uh, that's Hillary I'm referring to. Obama, despite leading the Dem delegate count, looks more and more like a local used car salesman. And not in a good way either. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing more manlier than two (or more) guys talking about cars. So I actually like kibbutzing with car salesmen for some strange unfathomable reason. But Obama? No way. I imagine the sales pitch would sound something like this:

BHO: This car can be yours for $12,000!
Me: But the sticker price says $8,995!
BHO: Ah, but you forgot to add the racial aggravation surcharge!
Me: What the (bleep) is a racial aggravation surcharge?
BHO: Well you see my pastor told me that the gov't hands out guns to black people to kill each other. Not to mention HIV which is injected into blacks by the feds. Plus 9/11 was inside job designed to erect a police state against (you guessed it) blacks! Hence the surcharge.
Me: ???? ????
BHO: But of course I was never there when he actually said all that (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). I mean I've only been going to the same church for twenty years so how could I have known my pastor's true feelings?
Me: ???? ????
BHO: So do you want to buy the car?
Me: Screw you. I'm outta here.

So the blacks got screwed by 'The Man'. Well Boo Hoo. They can join the long line of the oppressed right behind the NA Indians, the Jews, Hispanics, the Roman Catholics, Asians and every other racial/ethnic/religious group that faced stiff opposition from the 'powers that be'. Playing the victim card with the American public will get you nowhere. Nor am I apologizing to blacks (or anybody else for that matter) for being white. Not just any white guy, but a pasty white Anglo-Canadian with English roots who votes Conservative. So there.

Who's the Real Defenders of Civil Liberties?

I'll give you a hint: It isn't smarmy and smug liberals. No friends, it has always been God-fearing middle class working Americans (and Canadians too) who are the true defenders of human freedom. Liberal sociopaths who care nothing except for their own political rights and sexual freedoms have never lifted a finger for the defence of liberty. Who's defending Iranian gays from the jihad being waged against them? None other that Robert Spencer. Yes, THAT Robert Spencer, Catholic conservative and director of Jihad Watch. Not one Hollywood liberal with an axe to grind against America and the church will take up the cause. Who's defending Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American being sued by a Saudi billionaire by way of a British court? Not the liberal media save three (NY Post, NY Jewish Week and the SF Chronicle). Can't have successful and empowered women put on a display lest they offend delicate (male) Muslim sensibilities. A direct assault upon our cherished freedoms and the MSM doesn't even blink. It's worse than indifference. It's dereliction of duty. Heck, it's outright cowardice in the face of the enemy.

Craven Dhimmitude: Laura Bush in Saudi Arabia

So please don't talk to me about how good it is that we have all these secular-progressives to (mis)lead us. We do all the heavy lifting while you hog the spotlight? I don't think so. It has always been those individuals raised with strong Judeo-Christian values and ethics that have been the vanguard of freedom. The same cannot be said of our lib-left friends.

Johnny Cash

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Most Offensive Post I've Ever Written - Mar 23

Happy Easter everyone! Thought I'd stir things up a bit:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

I love this piece of scripture. I'm quite sure this would never get past the secularist censors!

Jesus: The Name That Is Above All Names

Not Mohammed. Not Buddha. Not any Jewish rabbi or sage. Not any other founder(s) of any other religion comes close. Jesus Christ has no rivals:

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

Listen up Muslims of the world! It is Jesus and Jesus Christ alone who is fully able to forgive. Mere religion cannot save. I don't care how pious you are. I don't care a whit if you've ever been to Mecca and done your five pillars of faith. Without Jesus you will go to hell. Only He can deliver you from this terrible fate. Yes, you will pay a steep personal price. You may even be killed. But you will have eternal life.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:14-17)

Understand the spirit of Antichrist is very much a part of Islam:

This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (1 John 4:2-3)

This is how we know the 'angel' Jibreel (or Gabriel) was a demon who deceived Mohammed:

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15a)

YOU (Yes, YOU!) Have A Date With Deity

True whether you wish to acknowledge it or not. You WILL bow your knee before Jesus Christ and you WILL confess that He is Lord. There is no escape. And He WILL judge everyone:

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son. (John 5:22)

The world does not want to hear this business about judgement. Yet I must be faithful to what the scripture teaches. Indeed we are all sinners:

There is no-one righteous, not even one; there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no-one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practise deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips.

Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.

There is no fear of God before their eyes.
(Romans 3:10-18)
(See also Isaiah 59)

A murderer does not go to hell because they murder. Rather, they go to hell because they carry the baggage of unbelief. So too will you suffer the same fate if you carry on in your unbelieving ways. Oh friend, it doesn't have to be that way! Jesus forgives! He is willing that none shall perish but that all shall come to everlasting life! Accept Jesus' pardon today. He is waiting!

I really hope you got offended. Personally I think it's one of my best posts yet.

Johnny Cash

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bear Stearns and Black Horses - Mar 21

Good Friday everyone! Thought I'd share this little nugget from stratfor. The original link to this article can be found here. Another related article is found here too. Both require memberships to access. Or you can just listen to the stratfor free podcast on this subject.

I found this article fascinating. The Bible talks about financial 'birth pangs' in the last days:

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!" (Revelations 6:5-6)

My friends, we are not there yet. These are simply shadows of things to come. Take note of the massive gov't intervention used in both the American and the U.K. cases. Calls for greater regulation and oversight is always a portend to global government.

Johnny Cash

Global Market Brief: The Bear Stearns Bailout and Calls for Oversight

March 20, 2008

Bear Stearns Cos was the first major Wall Street player to fall under pressure from the housing and credit market crises. The Federal Reserve’s historic rescue — in which the central bank extended credit to investment banks and guaranteed up to $30 billion of the failed investment bank and securities trading brokerage so it could be purchased by JP Morgan Chase & Co. — marked a new level of U.S. government intervention in the financial markets.

The U.S. financial community will have new expectations and requirements. This is underscored by a March 20 announcement from Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the U.S. Congress House Financial Services Committee, that he favors the creation of a new regulatory body (or new duties within the Fed) to monitor credit institutions’ risks. However, what is taking place now is large-scale tinkering, not a fundamental shift away from the underlying philosophy of American financial markets — a philosophy designed to punish mismanagement and promote economic efficiency and returns on investments.

When to Bail

The Fed has heretofore reserved the use of the discount window (a monetary mechanism in which the central bank makes short-term loans to banks facing liquidity shortages) for commercial banks. But the Fed created a similar system for the much more complex world of investment banking when it announced March 14 that it would extend unlimited credit to investment banks and brokerage houses for six months. This move, which secured $30 billion in funds from the Fed to back up some of Bear Sterns’ assets as part of the JP Morgan Chase deal, prevented what could have been a domino effect across financial markets. If individuals and institutions could not make transactions from their Bear Stearns accounts because of the firm’s lack of cash, those individuals and institutions would have lacked the money to pay up on other liabilities, potentially triggering a wave of bankruptcies. JP Morgan Chase’s Fed-insured buyout guarantees that Bear Stearns’ trading obligat ions are met and prevents the start of a cascade of bank failures.

Whenever the government of a predominantly free-market economy makes such interventions, critics often say the government is “undermining capitalism.” Such interventions can bring about the so-called “moral hazard” condition in which investors make unsound and overly-risky decisions because they know someone or something will eliminate or soften the blow of unwise business decisions. In this case, laissez-faire advocates fear that banks will be less inhibited with reckless lending in anticipation of state assistance if there is a massive run on their funds. Some say that if negative consequences are softened or removed, investors eventually will only see the possible rewards of such behavior, resulting in a bubble that must eventually burst.

The United Kingdom recently experienced a dilemma directly related to the subprime meltdown. When Northern Rock bank was faltering, London decided to nationalize it rather than risk a cascade of failures throughout its financial houses. The government has pledged to sell the bank’s assets to the private market when the global credit crisis diminishes, but British taxpayers will ultimately bear any risks associated with any of the bank’s failings. This decision led to accusations that the Labor government was backing away from its decade-long commitment to more pro-market economic principles.

While the U.S. government did not nationalize a major private financial institution, it did intervene to back up the assets of a failing institution, insuring that investors whose money was managed by Bear Sterns were allowed to continue market transactions. However, this was not — and will not be — without considerable costs to Bear Stearns’ management and shareholders. Institutions and individuals who put their savings into or worked at Bear Stearns are not being “bailed out.” Half of the firm’s 1,400 employees could be laid off during restructuring. Bear Stearns shareholders are being offered $2 per share in the JPMorgan Chase acquisition; shares were priced at $50 each at closing the previous night.

Had the government supported the management and shareholders of Bear Stearns throughout this turbulent period, a fundamental change in American capitalism may have been abreast. However, those directly involved with Bear Sterns are profoundly hurt by the week’s events, and such harsh realities promote the efficiency of U.S. markets and high returns for investors.

Had the Fed bailed out a smaller firm whose failing would not have seriously affected global markets, as is often done in Asian economies, then fears that the Fed is not properly guarding against moral hazard would be well-founded. However, in the Bear Stearns case, the stakes were too high.

Why the United States Will Not Be Japan

In the United States, the financial system’s efficiency and robustness are maintained largely through self-regulation that often entails severe legal ramifications and little mercy for failing companies. This fear keeps managers in check. While the safety net exists for depositors rather than the failing businesses and shareholders, U.S. financial institutions will remain competitive. Were the United States headed in the direction of Asian financial markets — in which non-performing loans (NPLs) are a way of life and government bailouts are commonplace and not viewed negatively — then there would be cause for concern.

In contrast, the Japanese government often lavishly protects firms suffering from sudden bouts of illiquidity or insolvency, as well as the firms’ shareholders and management (such protection is often greatest for the worst-performing institutions). During the 1990s, Japan experienced a wave of bank failures, but the country’s banking regulator — the Financial Reconstruction Commission — was protecting the banks. As the banks were cleaned up, few managers faced charges of wrongdoing or corruption leaving the system open to further mismanagement.

Japan’s financial system is dominated by “relationship banking,” broadly defined as the nurturing of personal relationships that often trump sound financial decisions. The system also emphasizes maintaining social and political stability, a characteristic found in most East Asian financial practices. Ultimately, this prevents the markets from exerting discipline on bank managers and eliminating NPLs. In Japan, the expectation of bailouts means that policies and personnel do not change and problems are allowed to fester.

Japan can only continuously fund and bail out its financial sector by maintaining a stranglehold on the ultimate source of money: Japanese depositors. In order to fund the financial system, Japanese and many Chinese consumers are forced to deposit their money into government-influenced institutions. This does not occur in the United States, which does not prop up banks.

New Needs and Regulations

A fundamentally new development is unfolding, however. Until this crisis, the Fed had not opened up its credit window to investment and brokerage firms which are less tightly regulated and typically more speculative than normal banks. Now, however, the Fed is offering to be a lender of last resort to 20 major Wall Street firms. It is allowing investment banks to borrow money in return for collateral; thus, these firms’ assets could be put on the line. With the entrance of the Fed into their affairs, investment banks and brokerages could look back at this period as the point when they lost their full independence.

Most firms take pride in their independence. Outside assistance can indicate that their houses are not in order. However, the opportunity the Fed is offering could encourage more risk-taking and leveraging, ultimately leading to more bad loans. Now that the Fed has established itself as a safety net, its key challenge lies in determining how much collateral it will require to prevent firms from undertaking too much risk under the assumption that they now have access to easier money.

The House Financial Service Committee’s Frank addressed these concerns head on by calling for a reassessment of capital, margin and leverage requirements for the financial sector. Frank’s call for a “risk regulator” is vague at this point, but if it catches on, it could move significant oversight away from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to the Fed or lead to the creation of a new regulatory body. The Fed’s new role as a source of money for investment banks would never come without new restrictions and new government powers — and they are coming.

In the short term, new regulations could exacerbate the current credit crunch by creating more confusion and barriers to liquidity. But in the long term, the U.S. government will be obliged to regulate investment banks the way they do regular banks, as the former increasingly compete against the latter, and they all obtain similar insurance guarantees. If regulations are not extended to investment and securities firms, those firms would be able to access the Fed as banks do but without submitting to oversight and risk assessments.

If policymakers begin to demand that the Fed or another body have an active role in investment banks’ activities, the final critical question will be the degree to which these houses will have to open their book to regulators, as other banks already do. In the past 10 years, most have opened their books a crack in order to list on the New York Stock Exchange — a move that many insiders fought. Any increased Fed support will require more openness than just a crack.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Judgement of a Divine Nature - Mar 16

This is the last part on my trilogy on judgement. Sorry for the delay in posting!

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matthew 21:18-21)

I think whenever we see a fig tree being used in scripture we must ask ourselves, 'Is this literal or figurative?'. Now I do believe that the fig tree that Matthew speaks of is quite literal. Jesus saw an actual fig tree, cursed it for its unproductivity and it did indeed wither on the spot. Yet when the disciples asked Him why did it wither so quickly, Jesus gives a mini-discourse on the importance of faith. Clearly, there is much more going on here than simple agriculture.

So What Is The Fig Tree Exactly?

Hard to say. Just prior to the cursing of the fig tree in Matthew 21 Jesus makes His triumphal entry on this very Palm Sunday. This raises all manner of commotion within the walls of Jerusalem. 'Hosanna in the highest!' the people shout while the Pharisees plot to kill Him on the Passover. Again, the order of the stories is not by accident. Jesus knows full well his cruel fate on the cross. It is precisely this rejection that seals Israel's fate:

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:11-12)

So the fig tree is Israel isn't it? Well, not exactly. There is a divine order to God's redemption plan. Jesus the Messiah was presented to the Jews first whom they then rejected (v. 11). After that, the Gospel was presented to the Gentiles (v. 12). Jesus is therefore cursing ALL unbelief, not just from His own people.

Anti-Semitism and Replacement Theology

The church has never replaced the Abrahamic covenant. His relationship to His own people and their special attachment to the land of Israel is an everlasting one. All the leftist academics and Islamic scholars don't have a leg to stand on:

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:7)

It is nothing short of suicidal to declare otherwise. While He has interrupted and suspended it from time to time, God has never abrogated or nullified the Abrahamic covenant. God's love and faithfulness for His people has never ceased.

Wanna Become a Lightning Rod for the Wrath of God?

That's easy. Just keep cursing the Jews:

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3)

Look at what the United Nations is doing! We who study scripture are saddened by all the vitrol hurled Israel's way. Yet none of us are truly surprised. Christians are called to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and to defend the veracity of scripture. Let us also never forget our obligation to the Jewish state. May Israel live forever!

Johnny Cash

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Judgement of a Legal Nature - Mar 9

This is part two of my little series on judgement. In my previous post, I discussed judgement between people. Here we will discuss how we are also held accountable by secular authorities as well.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"

"Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away. (Matthew 22:15-22)

The Question of Human Sovereignty: Two Schools of Error

Is Man sovereign? Yes, God has ordained human gov't. Man has been given the authority to draft, legislate and enforce laws as he sees fit. However there are two streams of thought which contradict this Biblical view:

Materialism: The First Error

Also known as atheism or secular humanism. If God doesn't exist, then human law is the only body of jurisprudence that matters. This is a deliberate act of disobedience towards the ultimate Law Giver:

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:20-21)

See that? Man is without excuse. Leaving God out of the equation can only lead to disaster. This I believe is what is happening in the Western world. We have become arrogant and prideful. The idea that we could have formulated the law all by ourselves is to hold God in contempt. Which leads us to our next point:

Theocracy: The Second Error

The 23rd chapter of Matthew is often overshadowed by the 24th and 25th chapters, known as the Olivet Discourse (see also Luke 21 and Mark 13). Yet this chapter shows an angry Jesus taking the Pharisees (who are the teachers of Jewish law) to task:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:27-28)

Do we still suffer the same problem when we give so-called 'Men of God' too much power? Absolutely. Indeed, little has changed. The corrupt and sinful nature of man does not end when we put on religious garments and parade about. Jesus warned the Pharisees that it is far better to have a pure heart than power and prestige. If you want to find the Devil, check the pulpit first.

Do Criminals Truly 'Get Away With It'?

Have you considered the long-term picture here? Kingpins and crooks may seem invincible for a while but in the end their judgement comes. As I've stated previously, timing is crucial when bringing forth judgement. Justice delayed may be justice denied, but consider this: Premature justice renders us half a verdict. It may take years of surveillance and gathering evidence by the cops before the trap is sprung. In the meantime, the criminal enjoys a false sense of security. Is he getting away with it? In the short term yes, but long-term justice is delivered. From our human viewpoint we see delay rather than the grace of God. However, the window of forgiveness that God offers us is there for a limited time. Once it closes, judgement must follow. Don't envy after the riches of the wicked. Judgement will come and their wealth shall be dissipated.

In the third part of my trilogy, I shall discuss judgement of a divine nature. Sure to be a hit with my readers!

Johnny Cash

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Judgement of a Personal Nature - Mar 8

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

Is there a more misconstrued piece of scripture than Matthew 7:1? How quickly they fail to mention the next verse!

Judging According to the World's Wisdom

Whereas Man judges by what he sees on the outside, God judges the heart of the individual. Many use this verse out of context, justifying their bad behaviour. When sin is uncovered in their lives, they say 'Judge not lest ye be judged!'. I'm quite sure Jesus did not say this with the idea that it can be used as a cover for illegal, unethical and immoral activity. It was never to be used as a banner of ignorance in the face of overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing.

Judging According to the God's Wisdom

Looking at verse two, we are given a warning. By the same measure we judge others we too shall be judged. The use of gossip, slander and whispering campaigns are forbidden. As I've stated before, free speech is meant to be used as whistle-blower protection. It is not meant to be used as a shield to say all manner of false accusations and then hide behind the skirt of the law. Free speech was never meant as an absolute. You say it, you'd better be able to back that statement up. Neither God nor human law allows us to abdicate personal responsibility.

So is it OK to Judge Someone?

Yes it is. Nowhere does the scripture say we are expressly prohibited from judging someone ever, ever, ever. You ARE allowed to judge someone provided you've done your due diligence. Jumping to conclusions, false accusations and hot-headedness can cause irreperable damage to a relationship and leave long-lasting emotional scars.

It Might Be Not For You To Judge Right Now!

That tends to be our first emotional response. Nothing wrong with emotions mind you, indeed they are a vital part of our human nature. However, timing is critical. It may be for you to judge but at a later time and date. Or it may be for someone else who is eminently more qualified than you are to judge (be it now or later). Which brings me to my next point:

The Self-Appointed Expert: A Frankenstein Monster

I doubt there is nothing more contemptible then the SAE. What Godzilla did to Tokyo was kind compared to the destruction that self-appointed experts leave in their wake. If we are sick we seek the advice of a doctor. If we have a toothache we consult a dentist. If we are in legal trouble we hire a lawyer. Why do we seek out their advice? I can think of two reasons:

Practical experience. You don't want someone who is learning on the job. You want an expert who has seen this before and knows how to react.

They've done their research. Technology and regulations are forever in flux. It makes sense to ask someone who is up to date. Constant reading is the burden every professional must bear.

In my experience it's not so much the unsolicited advice that bedevils us, it's the unqualified advice that annoys us. Why then do we persist in offering judgements on things we know nothing about? We fancy ourselves as knowledgable but our actions and words betray our ignorance. Everybody has an opinion, but not every opinion matters.

A Divine Warning

If you judge righteously, you will be accorded righteousness. But beware! If you judge wickedly you yourself will be accorded wickedness:

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22: 11)

Johnny Cash

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The New Face of Infantry Tactics - Mar 4

I managed to fortuitously stumble upon this by way of Jewish World Review. You can read about it on the America Agility site as well. It's a mobile two-seater called the 'Jake'. It can be armed with a heavy machine gun (like a 50 caliber or 7.62mm GPMG) or it can be operated by remote control. Wireless communication between them significantly reduces the need for shouted commands. It was designed initially for people with mobility problems but it soon became apparent how the military could use it in an urban setting. An infantry soldier on foot is limited in his ability to cover large distances due to the weight of his personal kit. A Humvee is too cumbersome and presents a large platform for enemy combatants to target. The Jake fills that tactical gap between the two. Anyways, watch this video and be amazed!

Johnny Cash

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Gone Baby Gone - Mar 2

I did promise that I would change things up didn't I? Here now is my first movie review. Yay! I LOVED Gone Baby Gone. I would warn you though, the subject matter is pretty dark. Not for the littles ones, that's for sure.

From left to right is Morgan Freeman as Boston police captain Jack Doyle, Casey Affleck as P.I. Patrick Kenzie and the very lovely Michelle Monaghan as Angie Gennero. Curiously, both Casey and Michelle have in common older celebrity siblings. Elder brother Ben Affleck directed GBG and casting his younger brother in the lead role was a stroke of genius. Rare for him but even a stopped clock is right twice a day! I also think Casey is a better actor than Ben. Michelle's face may look familiar to you as the kid sister of Bridget Monaghan (the mother of Patriots QB Tom Brady's love child). Man, there's some scary good genes in those families!

(Correction as of March 10/08: Michelle Monaghan and Bridget Moynihan are not sisters. My bad. Promise I'll do a better job of researching next time. Ben and Casey are still brothers though. At least I got that part right dammit!)

You may remember Good Will Hunting. It won an Oscar for both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon for best screenplay. Like GWH, Gone Baby Gone is set in the city of Boston. Better to stick to a city you know then to try and be clever. Apparently their baseball team isn't that bad either!

I found it most curious that despite the darkness and despair, Gone Baby Gone uses a tonne of Christian imagery. It's abundantly obvious both Affleck brothers were exposed to the Catholic church at an early age. Early on in the movie, in a voice-over by Casey, he asks his priest how one can be saved yet still avoid the evil that surrounds us. The priest quotes from Matthew:

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

An interesting choice of scripture, one that shows great wisdom. Now I'm going to warn you that there's an amazing plot twist near the end. I won't tell you what it is or even give a hint (rent it yourself!). But the movie asks two basic moral questions:

1) Does the end justify the means?

2) What would you do if the truth was staring you right in the face? Would you deny it and walk away or would you act on it?

I'm a firm believer that the truth will set you free. However there are two harsh realities we face when revealing unpopular truths:

1) You WILL face opposition. Not just from your enemies, but from your family and friends.

2) There is a personal price to be paid.

So why do it? I mean nobody really wishes for adversity in their lives. Facing opposition and clamor is no picnic. But I think the decision to tell the truth is correct in the long term. Many take the easy way out and walk away from the truth. Yet their lives are burdened with guilt. In the end they still pay a steep personal price! What is the antidote to all this? The answer is simple:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

Nobody has to go through life carrying their guilt around like it was some millstone! Redemption is always a prayer away. Ask for forgiveness today and Jesus will pardon your sins. Please do it today. I promise you on the authority of scripture He'll do it!

Johnny Cash