Thursday, April 29, 2004

Feeling a bit artsy fartsy tonight and a bit sentimental...a good or a bad combo (depending how you look at it):

The sun will rise tomorrow,
The tides will change and clouds shall roll by,
We'll go on with life the best we can.
Day in and day out again and again,
Yet something will be missing,
A deep hole in our heart.
A pit so deep, where do we start.
The ache we shall feel,
Dullens by the day.
Holding the memories we have made,
Clinging to the past,
Not knowing if,
The roads we are on will ever verge,
You've left an impression,
Each of y'all have,
Missed you shall be,
Alone we are not,
Will we cross paths again,
In this great wide world,
Only God knows the answers,
Yet we dwell on it,
We ponder it,
We wish for it.
We pray for it.
May we see each other again,
Someday quite soon,
Before the evening of life
And well before noon.
Till then take a bit of me with you,
Deep in your heart,
Always with you,
As a piece of yourself is left with me.
I'll see you out there,
On life's lonely highway,
Don't live it your way,
Don't live it mine,
Live it His way,
And all will be fine.

A little off the cuff free verse to all my friends who will be leaving College Station soon to head out into the "real world." But before y'all saddle up and leave Dodge...there must be a least "one last stand in open country".

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Well, I was going to offer an opinion, point of view in the debate that has been ongoing between my good friends Amanda and Andy about baptism, whether infant baptism is Biblical or not and all the arguments for and against it. However, I am not able to that tonight. My mind has been more occupied with the news of the death of former NFL player, Pat Tillman in Afganistan. A death making the news for reasons that I understand, but I think we must remember those who weren't star athletes who are also giving the last full measure of their lives to free others from opression and fight the evilness of Islamic fundamentalism and their terrositic methods around the world.

What makes the story of Pat Tillman so compelling is the backstory. A man who walked away from an NFL career and a multi-million dollar lifestyle to join the Army at about 18,000 dollars a year. He didn't want any fuss made, he was doing what he felt was right, serving his country. Here was a man who could have had a very comfortable life, with every material want able to be met and he walked away from it. He went into the Army and became an Army Ranger, the best of the best.

Society seems awe struck by such a sacrifice and the humility, courage, and nobleness of Pat Tillman's decision. There was nothing special Pat Tillman, he was a man who felt called to serve his country and walked away from the job he had to do so. It is the history of the American volunteer soldier dating back to the American Revolution and the Minute Men to the Civil War, to World War II and into the present day. Men (and women) who go off to war leaving behind jobs and family to do what they feel is right, defend the folks back home. It happens everyday in cities and town across this country.

I hear members of Congress crying for a reintorduction of the draft, so children of privilege can serve, making the rich policy makers less likely to go to war. I give them Pat Tillman as an example as to why that would not matter. Duty, honor, country are such vague ideas today, out of place and belonging back in the 1940s. Many don't understand because they don't want to, but duty, honor, and country are at the root of the American spirit. It is our duty to serve this country in our own ways so that it may continue, so this little 200 year old experiment in democracy can exist in a world that by and large has never embraced such concepts. It is honor that gnaws at us, to do what is true and right by others so that we may not tarnish the good name of this country. Honor that makes us the shining light in the world, when a country finds itself in trouble, it is the U.S. they first turn to. Though we may even be less than friends, we still respond to the calls of those in need. We have the ability to protect the helpless and help the hopeless, therefore it is required that we do so. Honor is doing the right thing, not because it's right, but because we can. Country...what more is there to say, yes we squabble and fight and are divided on many issues, but we all love this imperect country of ours. When push comes to shove, we stand shoulder to shoulder, we give the world a united front and the realization that when we only bicker and squabble because we had nothing better to do. When given something to focus on, this country is of such fine characted it is amazing. This is seen throughout history. I feel blessed to have been born and to live in this country. So many more do not enjoy the rights and privileges that we do, yet we still take it all for granted. This country is special, and we must live our lives and do what we do to keep her special.

Pat Tillman reminded us in death, of what it means to be a Patriot, to be an American. He reminded us that nobleness of deed and action still exist. That men of character still walk amongst us, in the shadow, wanting to avoid the spotlight. Pat Tillman never wanted anything special to be made of him, despite being a pro athlete and walking away from the lights and the glamor. He considered himself no better than any other soldier.

The word hero is thrown around to much, in terms that are so far from it's essence that we have forgotten it. Men and women, serving in anominity, out of the spotlight and not wanting recognition still walk amongst us. They might be a letter carrier who stopped walking the route and went off to fight, they might be a school teacher who is now an MP, they might be your own neighbor who is in a fox hole in the Middle East right now. They are even the football player who gave it all up to serve. Anonymous men to many of us, family and friends to a few selet who know them well enough to understand their choices. Let Pat Tillman's death not be a memorial to just one man, let it be a memorial to all the anonymous names and unknown faces who are not known to all of us. Let us not forget, that these folks are truly heros, spending their time in the shadow, the only satisfaction being seeing the mission completed. Our men and women in uniform who give their lives willingly, who volunteer to be put in harms way for the rest of us.

They are heros and we should never forget them.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

News Items: On Saturday April 17, the crew of the Confederate Submarine, H.L. Hunley was laid to rest in Charleston, South Carolina. In what has been called the last Confederate funeral, the coffins of the crew members, draped in Confederate flags, were first taken to Charleston's Battery and placed in a semicircle, a wreath set in front of each.

Then, a column of the uniformed re-enactors stretching a mile and half took the crew of the Hunley, which sank outside Charleston Harbor, to their final resting place in Magnolia Cemetery, about five miles north.

It took the column more than an hour to file into the cemetery.

Many will contend that the Civil War brought an end to slavery. It most certainly did not, slavery is alive and well all over the world today, even here in the United States. It has been driven underground, out of view, out of mind. Yet it continues and not even seen, because of course...slavery ended with the end of the Civil War. The naive mind ignores what it does not wish to recognize.

The Junior Senator from Massachusetts, Good Grief!

As I sit here this evening watching Meet the Press, Senator Kerry continues to spout a whole lot of nothing. Kerry says he will create 10 million jobs, funny thing is, it's the same 10 million jobs the Bush administration is predicting, and the same 10 million jobs that most recognized and respected economists are predicting.

Senator Kerry, says he is a man of the people. Yeah, the rich people. Don't tell me that he's poor. Overseas homes, multiple residences in the United States and married to the heir of the Heinz fortune. Skiing vacations in the Rockies. Yeah, Ma and Pa Jones can really relate.

Senator Kerry spent the past week touting higher education reform. He wants to make it afforable to everyone. Sorry Senator, not everyone should be allowed into college. Yes, if a student wants to go on to college then we should by all means give them all the means available to attend college. That does not mean that the government should be paying for everyone's college education. Student loans are a fair way of doing so, in no way should the government give a free hand out. It is my understanding that Senator Kerry would like to give the free ride, which in and of itself is noble, but to do so on such a large scale is wrong. If my understanding of this plan is wrong, so be it, but everything I have read in the media points to this being his plan.

Now, Senator Kerry continues to disrespect our men and women in uniform overseas. He continues to push for more UN involvement overseas. He would take Iraq and Afganistan to the United Nation, a venerable den of thieves against the United States. The United Nations is a failed institution which no longer serves its function to the world. Issues are discussed in commitee and idle threats come from its lips. The UN is the paper tiger dictators and terrorists would love to see in power, for nothing would ever threaten their evil ways. If I were in a place of making national policy, the very first thing I would do is to pull the United States out of the UN, lock, stock and both barrels smoking. There is no need for the United States to kow-tow to the UN in matters of our own national security.

Senator Kerry also continues to run from his war record when he served in Vietnam. His return home to the states began his anti-war record and places him in a category equal to that of "Hanoi" Jane Fonda.

Senator Kerry was assigned to Swiftboat 44 on December 1, 1968. Within 24 hours, he had received his first Purple Heart. Senator Kerry accumulated three Purple Hearts in four months with not even a day of duty lost from wounds, according to his training officer. It’s a pity one cannot read his Purple Heart medical treatment reports which have been withheld from the public. The only person preventing their release is Senator Kerry. I question the validity of each and everyone of these Purple Hearts. Senator Kerry did not lose one day of duty, so how could he have been wounded? The Purple Heart is not supposed to cover cuts, scrapes and bumps. It is intended for those who have been truly wounded in service to their country. I do not see how one can be wounded 3 times in four months and not miss a day, unless one was not wounded at all and only was nicked and scratched.

Senator Kerry applied for stateside duty within four days of his third Purple Heart, kicking off his infamous anti-war record. If Senator Kerry was such a great soldier and never missed duty to his "wounds" why would he be so eager to leave his comrades in arms behind. Men in battle form bonds, a band of brothers, no man would turn his back on his brothers. Senator Kerry ran home and became on of the most outspoken anti-war demonstrators. No soldier worth his mettle runs from the front when there is good to be done, unless of course Sentator Kerry was haunted by the faces of the civilians he fired upon, which he has said he did in numerous interviews. Senator Kerry would have people believe that he is a war hero, a man who served his country, and has the respect of his countrymen because of it. Senator Kerry is not worthy of respect, he was an continues to be a coward of the lowest level.

Senator Kerry is nothing but the lap dog of Ted Kennedy. A man who could not continue the family legacy of running for the Presidency due to his own cowardice and murderous ways. Both Massachusetts liberals who say what they think the people want to hear, but who can not take a firm stand and follow it through. Senator Kerry's views are like a flag, it changes direction whenever a wind storm kicks up.

I'm just sick of hearing Kerry and even sicker of hearing the easy questions being asked of him by the liberal media. Wake up folks and smell the Koffi! Kerry doesn't have any business handing George W. Bush his toilet paper, never mind holding his job.

Ok I'm done ranting. Till next time!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

April 12, 1861- April 12, 2004

On the twelfth of April, 1861, Confederate guns opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, thus beginning the bloodiest conflict in American History--620,000 dead--more than all other American wars combined. The Civil War remains this nation's most defining experience, ultimately giving new meaning to the word Freedom. Walt Whitman, a young newpaperman destined to become America's greatest poet wrote "Future years will never know the seething hell and black infernal background of this war-and it is best they should not-the real war will never get in the books."

143 years and it still fascinates me. Take a moment today to reflect upon our nation's past and remember all those who fell, Blue & Gray, who gave the last full measure for something they truly believed in. It is a testament to the American character and way of life. May we never forget their sacrifice.

God Bless!

Friday, April 09, 2004

Well, the Red Sox lost the home opener to the Blue Jays. But, it's still early in the season, so no need to go getting on the boys yet.

I am currently watching the Astros and Brewers game from Miller Park, the only stadium that play polka music during the seventh inning stretch. Yet another example of how the Selig family is ruining baseball.

So three good things happened since I last updated the blog. First of all was some hard work on a proposal for a job my company is going after in China. I was asked to have a full technical evaluation ready for Wednesday morning. It was supposed to be rough draft for an RFP. However, having never done one of these I uses the RFP documents and some old ones and just pieced what I could together, staying up late (after going to the Aggie Baeball game) to get it done. I think the higher ups thought it was pretty good, because they pretty much thought it was good to go with only a few revisions.

Second great thing this week was seeing Roger Clemens in an Astros jersey. Not only is he out of the A.L. East, he's in the N.L.. All that feeling of being burned is gone, and I can once again cheer on one of my boyhood baseball heros. When he left Boston to go to Toronto, it hurt as Red Sox fan, but when he donned pinstripes for that other's kind of like if I was to take the hottest and nicest girl out on a date only to have her go home with another guy who was just being a playa to get what he wanted. It was that bad. Of course, now he's in my home state of Texas, so it's all good (yes I mover here almost 2 years ago, but it's my home and I can only hope that I live out my days here.) So Rocket goes on and goes 7 innings, strikes out 9 or something like that, including Barroid Bonds twice- looking! Oh yeah, and Rocket gets a hit in perfect hit and run play.

Thirdly being I've come to understand the viewpoint of the Session at WPC on the issue the Romish baptism and my family is fine with it too, so it's no longer an issue. And it's full speed ahead on that.

So what started off a tough week, has really turned out good. Last night, was the first goodnight sleep I had all week, and when I mean sleep...I'm talking close to 10 hours and I would have slept through a war, I was so gone.

Now just a reminder to someone who may or may not look at this while out of town....don't forget to bring that movie back with you!!

Well it is time to kickoff the NHL playoffs with Bruins. Could this be the year they bring home Lord Stanley's Cup?
Well if the beards get long, we will know!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

The Boys of Summer are back! Yeah baby! The Red Sox opened the season against Baltimore this evening in Baltimore on a cold, dark, windy night. The game is still going on, and the Sox are down 6-2, but it's just opening night. They might comeback yet, even if they don't..there are 161 games after this one. Baseball isn't a sprint, it's a marathon.

It's been a very mixed weekend. It started off pretty good and rolled well into today, when the other shoe dropped on it.

Now Friday night I skipped out on a guys night of beer and cards, or for some smokes (pipes and cigars I think). I had a great reason though. Yes, it was a woman. Dare I say it a very lovely young lady. A model, a woman of class and grace, and a really good friend of mine. Who I know reads this blog from time to time, so I don't want to use to many superlatives. The work she does with international students and teaching them English and sharing the Gospel with them is just amazing and really inspiring. I'm very much in admiration of all she's been able to do and continues to do. What can I say, she's an inspiration and one of the greatest women I know. It's always good to hang out with you, Amanda. I don't think you realize how much you'll be missed this summer, but the work you're going to be doing to serve the Lord overseas is what you've been called to do. So in the meantime, hopefully we can make the most of it before you leave. Ok, Andy...happy that you know who I was hanging out with and just talking to for about 4 hours Friday night that was so important to skip out in the guys?? It was great and I'd do it again anyday of the week and 3x on the weekend!

So that was Friday. Saturday was a very lazy day. Slept in and due to forecasted rains, decided against going to Snook and ChilliFest, though it didn't rain all day. I ended up doing a bit of shopping at Hastings and was able to find some music and movies, You've Got Mail, Lonesome Dove and the Dwight Yoakam:Reprise Please Baby 4 CD set. I got home, and decided to watch the Patriots season highlight DVD, finally got through that and felt like dusting off the old classic. One of those DVDs I don't keep out in plain sight, cause the guys would bust my chops about it, but Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is just a classic movie, so I watched it. From there Josh made dinner at his place so I met some of the crew over there, then on to Tuscany's after which we went out ways. Ben Vastine and I then headed to the Redlight District (aka. Laura's place) at the invite of Laura Schulte to celebrate the 21st B-day of Laura Deschamps! Happy Birthday to her! Granted her b-day was today and we were contributing to the delinquency of an under aged person, after midnight, it was cool. I got home at 1, turned the clock ahead and went to bed at what was now 2:15 AM. Waking up at 9:00.

Today, was the other shoe. I went to church at WPC as usual and it was the Easter Cantata. Don't get me wrong on this, but I think it would be better served to have it outside the time of the service. To me, it takes the focus of the service and removes it from the LORD, something about whipping out the camcorder and taping the kids singing just doesn't seem right to me.

Anyway, after the service Pastor Wade grabbed me aside for a moment as I was leaving. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am going through the process of becoming a member at WPC and I was aware that tonight was the meeting of a few us with some of the elders to give out testimony and to answer the five specific questions that are asked as part of the profession of faith. I'll give a summary for those who are not familar with the PCA and the reformed faith (i.e. my family members reading this, some of whom I know aren't all that happy about this, but I can only pray through sharing the Gospel with them and through prayer will come to understand)
The questions involve:

1. the aknowledgement of myself as a sinner in the sight of God, fully deserving of His displeasure and without hope, except for in His sovereign mercy

2. my belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of Sinners, and upon who alone I rest upon for my salvation.

3. my commitment to live for Christ

4. My pledge to support the church

5. My submission to the government and discipline of the church and studying its purity and peace.

Also tonight I was able to meet with Wade and two of the elders to give my testimony and answer any question they may have had.

Anyway, back to this afternoon. Wade informed me that my having been baptized in the Roman Catholic church might be a problem. He along with some other members of the session are of the belief that the Roman baptism is not a valid baptism. I have alway beleived in one baptism and I do not see the validity or the scriptual basis for a second. John Calvin, in his
Institutes of the Christian Religion, supports my argument that despite the Roman church being apostate, the baptism was still conducted in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It was not done in the name of Rome or the papacy. Baptism is not of man, but of God, no matter who adminsters it. I was not baptized into the Roman church, but into faith in Jesus Christ. It was no hinderance to Jews to be circumcised by impure and apstate priests; nor was that sign void and needing to be repeated. It was sufficient means by which to return to the real source. Calvin used the following analogy "Among men, if a letter is sent, provided the handwriting and seal are sufficiently recognized, it makes no difference who or of what sorth the carrier is. In like manner, it ought to be enough for us to recognize the hand and seal of our Lord in his sacraments, whatever carrier may bring them." I can't say it better myself.
Knox and Augstine also support my view. The Wesminster Confession of Faith also notes that baptism is a sacrament that is only performed on a believer once, but it does not define a what is considered a valid baptism.

I don't want to sound closed minded to the idea, but Wade and I are meeting for lunch sometime this week to discuss this, (Andy should join us too, for he is very interested in hearing Wade's position on this subject. ) however, I can not see anyway supporting this view in either scripture or the arguments of Calvin and Knox (I have yet to read through Augustine and I am not sure how much weight his opinion would hold because it was pre-reformation). So Wade will need to make one air tight argument to support his view. I would be saddened if this point would prevent my membership at WPC, but I can not based upon what I know, see the validity of a second baptism. A part of me even has considered that by agreeing to it, I am performing some work to gain favor with God. Which in and of itself is against the teachings of scripture as seen in

II Timothy 1:9 " who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace."

Titus 3:5 "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy...."

If the righteousness of works brings anything to justify us, then we are falsely said to be justified by grace.

I might be wrong on this point, but it's something that has crossed my mind and I can't help but feel that by agreeing or accepting a rebaptism, I am agreeing to a work.

If this is going to be such a sticking point, I can not help but believe that I am better off not becoming a member of WPC rather than submit to something that I believe to wrong. Of course, that opens a whole bunch of other things, such as probably finding another reformed church in the area, because I think it would be a bit uncomfortable to remain at WPC.

So my friends, just pray that things will work out according to God's will.

On that note and after the Sox loss...I am going to bed.

from Proverbs 27:19

"As water reflects a face, so a man's heart relects
the man."

Also, sorry for any typos or mispellings, I did this without my glasses on and I don't feel like running a spell check.-Ed