Thursday, February 25, 2010

Disgusting! And Disgusted!!

Now that today's political charade in Washington, D.C., known as the Healthcare Summit is in the history books, it is time for some honest talk about the so-called leadership we have in the nation's capitol.

The president's arrogance was on display from the first minute of the conference. At one point, when republicans pointed out that the amount of time they had been allowed to speak up to that time was minimal compared to the democrats, the president said it was mainly because of his opening remarks but that he didn't take into consideration any time constraints because he is the president. He brushed off John McCain's comments with a very pointed statement about the campaign being over. Huh??? I don't think the president is aware of that since he never seems to stop campaigning himself!!

The attitude of the democrats once the meeting was over was that they were going to go ahead and push this thing through and be done with it. Republicans tried to make their points but their comments feel on deaf ears. Both sides did their fair share of political posturing and for what purpose? A sound bite on the evening news? Someone should tell the whole lot of them that Americans are completely fed up with the political process and are very angry with the whole system.

Americans trust their government less and less each day and that is a dangerous situation. When the public's trust in their government fails, something has to take the place of the vacuum created by such an atmosphere. Average, middle class Americans, who never before were politically involved, have finally--and thankfully--begun to get involved in the process. If the politicians in Washington and elsewhere do not think that the American people will simply stand down from this situation, they have another thing coming.

The people have time and again spoken through polling data that they do not want healthcare reform as it is in its current proposed form. This is not debatable. But the democrats, as demonstrated by their behavior today, have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are either totally deaf or more arrogant than anyone could ever imagine. All of this bickering and posturing must come to an end! Nothing is getting done in Washington because all of our elected officials are too busy running for office. Too many special interests crowd the halls of congress. The voice of the people, growing in volume every day, has been ignored by our elected officials up till now.

I suggest we all become involved in this fight. We need to be informed and inform our representatives and senators exactly what we expect of them and if they do not follow what the will of the majority happens to be, what consequences will follow, namely defeat at the polls this November.

I am neither a democrat nor republican. My allegiances do not lie with the tea party. I am simply an American concerned that the future generations of Americans will not see the kind of life I have enjoyed all these years because of the arrogant selfishness of our supposed leaders! Am I alarmed? Yes I am! And I am not easily alarmed! But the time has come to stand up for the heritage of this country and fight for healthcare reform that is effective and will help the most people. We need to hold our representatives and the president's feet to the fire through accountability of their actions. We have to make this known to our elected officials because if we fail to do so and this horrible legislation is allowed to become law, we will have no one else to blame but ourselves!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


With Ash Wednesday we enter the season known to many Christians as Lent. Many don the ashes obtained from the palms of the previous Palm Sunday as a way of proclaiming their sinfulness and need of God's tender mercy. The ashes, then, in the form of a cross, attest to this time as a period of repentance and reconciliation.

This is a time of deep introspection revolving around our relationship with God. It is a time of self-sacrifice so that we may draw nearer to the Creator. And while it is a time of deep introspection, it is also a time of reaching out to others who may have lost their way in the world.

During this time we are encouraged to pray more frequently, seeking the mind and will of God. It is very easy for us to become lax in our prayer lives as the year flows by because we are not reminded very often of our relationship with the Almighty.

Lent is also a time to grow and mature in our faith. So many of us have immature notions of who God is and the role He plays in our lives. How do we come to know God outside of prayer? We study and prayerfully consider Sacred Scripture. Here we come face to face with the Word of God and it is here in which we come to understand our true destiny and purpose in life. We discover more clearly our sinfulness and find that with our most compassionate God that His mercy knows no bounds.

Lent is also, perhaps strangely, a time of joy. This joy is rooted in our knowledge that what follows the season of Lent is the greatest celebration of the year: Easter. Jesus raised from the dead! How can we not have great joy burning in our hearts with the knowledge that the Savior of the World took on my sins, died for me, and then rose from that death all out of sheer love for me?

Lent is also a time for us to deal with our imperfections. In a Navajo rug there is always one clear imperfection intentionally included into the pattern. The purpose of this is, according to the Navajo philosophy, is to provide a place for the Spirit to move in and out of the rug. The Eastern mind (a mind that Jesus would very easily understand) understands perfection in this way.

The Western mind sees perfection as something without any flaws whatsoever. But perfection is no the elimination of imperfection. Rather, perfection is the ability to recognize, forgive, and include imperfection. Think of this. Our Creator who is perfect sees us perfectly with all our imperfections and, at the same time, accepts and embraces our imperfections. Jesus spoke of perfection and imperfection. "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt 5: 48)

When we first hear this statement of Jesus, it seems that He is telling us to achieve an impossible goal. How can we possibly become perfect as God is perfect? We are imperfect human beings and will never be perfect in this existence. Then, what could Christ mean?

In light of the Eastern meaning of imperfection that Jesus would have been well acquainted with, it means that we need to be accepting of one another, imperfections and all. It does not mean that we have to become without flaws. At the same time, it does mean that we do need to strive as best we can, though.

During this time of Lent then, one of the goals that I have is to begin to accept others with more understanding and compassion. I need to come to the realization that God does not expect me to be perfect nor does He expect anyone else to achieve that same level. In accepting others the way they are, we being to draw more closely to the way that God sees us and, in that vision, we become closer to the Father.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing!

Another Super Bowl has come and gone. Many people who don't usually watch NFL football tune in on this day just to be a part of the event. Many tune in just to see the commercials which generally range from beer companies to car companies to online web developers to just about anything else you can think of.

This year, one commercial drew the ire of many women's organizations as well as Planned Parenthood. The commercial in questioned, sponsored by Focus on the Family, starred Tim Tebow, this year's Heisman Trophy winner (the best college football player) and his mom. In the thirty second spot which ran during the first quarter of the game, Mrs. Tebow recalls her decision to continue her pregnancy with Tim after being diagnosed with a dangerous illness. Doctors advised that she terminate the pregnancy because the treatment of the illness was likely to have severe consequences for the baby. Mrs. Tebow made the choice not to have an abortion and gave birth to the baby boy who would one day be named the Heisman winner.

Women's groups along with other pro-choice organizations screamed foul. They pressured CBS not to run the ad since it was, in their words, divisive and mean-spirited. They shouted as loud as they could that the spot was unfair and prejudicial. All this without ever seeing the ad! Fortunately, CBS did not cave into the enormous pressure it must have felt to pull the ad. It ran only once during the game and if you weren't watching closely, you might have missed it.

The reaction of the those who favor abortion and a woman's right to choose to the commercial tells us a lot about their true agenda. Mrs. Tebow was faced with a horrible dilemma. She knew that if she kept the baby and received treatment, the chances of the baby in her womb of being severely deformed at birth were quite high. Yet, she could not bring herself to make the decision to kill her child. (Yes, I use the term "kill" because that is what abortion is!) The irony in all of this is that NOW (the National Organization for Women) and the other organizations that cried foul so loudly have as their main cause, a woman's right to choose between abortion and life. Yet, that is precisely what Mrs. Tebow did! She made a CHOICE!!!! How can these groups protest this if what they claim to stand for is not abortion, but the right to CHOOSE abortion?

It is clear that NOW and others have as their main focus not a woman's right to choose, for if they did they would be applauding Mrs. Tebow for her courageous CHOICE! No, these groups have as their agenda abortion. They are only for CHOICE if that CHOICE is abortion. If a woman should choose life then, obviously, she has been duped by the far right radicals into thinking that the "thing" growing in her womb is a child. These poor dunderheaded women who choose to carry their children to term despite medical advice are also obviously stupid and deranged for, who in her right mind, would choose anything but abortion when faced with Mrs. Tebow's situation?

It is time to call things as they are, to forgo the politically correct language and attitudes that have stifled the truth for far too long. Abortion is and always has been and always will be a diabolical evil. It is the taking of the most innocent of human life in a violent manner. Nothing good comes from abortion. There is only the delusion that somehow killing a baby in the womb is solving some great problem that its mere existence is causing an insurmountable problem.

NOW and all the others need to be called out on this. There is no room for dialogue here because truth is truth regardless of what someone might feel or think. The lives of over 50,000,000 babies have been legally snuffed out since the horrific Roe v Wade decision in the seventies. We look with disdain and superiority at the Nazis during WWII who killed 6,000,000 Jews and another 6,000,000 other "undesirables." This is but a drop in the bucket when compared to 50,000,000.

We need to treat those who choose abortion with compassion and gentleness because this decision has no easy points to it. But we must be firm in stating that the abomination called abortion must be stopped through peaceful and legal means. Future generations are at stake!

Friday, February 5, 2010

And a Child Shall Lead Them!

There are moments in life, usually the little, insignificant moments, that reach out and touch your heart with such a deep sense of love and gratitude that you don't know quite how to react nor what to say. That sums up what it is to be a grandparent. Let me explain.

I am blessed to have a seven year old granddaughter who is beginning to learn the lessons of one of Jesus' teachings, namely, whatever you do for those who are needy, you do it for Christ. Through her church, Aliyah has learned so much about the love that Jesus has for each one of us regardless of our status in life. Recently, her Sunday school class has undertaken a project to raise money for a little boy named Carlos and his family. Apparently, the family is quite needy and in want of nearly everything. The assignment was simple. Do chores for mom and dad around the house and the money that you get for an allowance goes into a fund for Carlos and his family.

Aliyah, with her usual energy and enthusiasm, has launched into the project full speed ahead. She has worked hard around the house helping mom and dad with all sorts of things. Each penny is carefully accounted for and placed in a special space so that she can proudly give her earnings on Sunday to the cause. Her mother--our daughter-in-law--recently blogged about this. We were so touched by the gesture that we decided to contribute to the cause asking Aliyah to do some extra chores that mom and dad might have for her so that she could earn our small contribution to Carlos.

Today, when the mail was brought into the house, Aliyah found our envelope addressed to her. She opened the piece of mail and began to read the note that we had placed inside. Her mom said that as she began reading the note, a huge smile began to appear on her face. She danced around the room, saying that this was the best day since Christmas. Most touchingly, she was happiest because now Carlos had even more money to help his family that she worked hard to produce.

With all the trouble in the world, the turmoil of war, the unrest at home between political parties and various philosophies, it is heartening to see something like this take place that cuts through the static we call "reality!" For at the heart of this story is the soul of a little girl learning about the joys of giving of herself and her treasure, sacrificing so that someone who does not have the riches she has may at least find some relief from the burdens of poverty. Her joy is the joy of the gospels as we should have the faith of little children, rejoicing always in the teachings of the Master.

As this day ends, I am very thankful for my son and daughter-in-law who understand the importance of putting faith into action and teaching that to their two sweet daughters. If the world would allow this kind of gentleness and loving concern more often, perhaps the struggles that we do face would have very different outcomes! Thank you, Aliyah, for allowing us to be a little part of this most important lesson of life.