Saturday, April 25, 2009

Death & Taxes

I was going to say that this was cool...but then, that's not quite the word I'm looking for.

Here's a visual graphic of where tax dollars go in the US:

Click here for a graphic that you can enlarge.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Game Day at Kyle Field

I took the kids out to the Maroon & White game after all the severe weather passed through Aggieland. Here's a pic of the kids with the new yell leaders.

My thoughts...

1) That was the most boring Maroon & White game ever. First of all, it wasn't even a game. A 'scrimmage' would be a stretch. The coaches came up with some sort of convoluted scoring system that no fan could understand or keep up with. Why not put real points on the board instead of awarding points for 'pressure on the QB' or 'a play that gained more than 5 yards.' With this system, there were 2 teams: offense & defense. Final score: 115-101. I should mention this was the M&W football game, not basketball. I know, I know, this is to aid the coaches' evaluation, but from a fan's perspective, it was a complete dud. Didn't look like the players were all that into it either.

2) In my opinion, the QB ranking should be Wood, Dorman, then Johnson. Especially for the first half. Jeff Fuller made some great catches that (in the second half) helped Johnson look much better than he played [and I'm a fan of Johnson]. There was something like 4 interceptions by halftime.

3) Jeff Fuller is a stud making some outstanding catches (he is today's highlight reel) & Cyrus Gray had a few good runs including one 22 yard TD.

4) Good news: Aggies won. Bad news: Aggies lost.

5) Final thought: it's going to be a long season. Nothing inspiring to make us think that this year will be any different than the last few (please, Ags, prove me wrong, I'm begging you). The defense did look good, but the offensive line still can't block (which *might* account for why Johnson didn't look all that great--it's hard to when you are running for your life as soon as the ball is snapped).

Other final thought: for crying out loud, Sherman, make the M&W game resemble some sort of a game, or else you will have 3 fans out for the next M&W game.

Okay, I feel better now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Am I My Neighbor's Keeper?

Am I my neighbor's keeper?

I am hearing this question being asked and answered with greater frequency--if not vehemence--in today's political climate. Conservatives are saying, "No, I am not my neighbor's keeper. I am responsible for me, myself, and I." Liberals are saying, "Yes, I am my neighbor's keeper, and this responsibility to our neighbor really has no limits."

Who is right?

I want to suggest that both are right and both are wrong.

My conservative peeps, from their perspective of rugged individualism, insist that they are only responsible for themselves. On the most charitable reading, I think what they are saying is that "the gov't has no right to take my hard earned money and give it to a bunch of freeloaders. A society cannot endure that has a dependent and growing class of people who are unproductive. Therefore, everyone needs to assume responsibility for themselves."

And surely they are correct as far as it goes.

But conservatives are wrong to insist that our neighbor can make no claim upon us. And they are wrong that we are only responsible for ourselves. Life is not simply a case of an everybody-for-themselves game and only the strong survive. The Lord Jesus clearly teaches that we do have a responsibility for our neighbors. And He shows us another way of being human.

When asked what does it mean to love my neighbor in the way the Law commands, Jesus responds with his famous parable of the Good Samaritan. The nice, respectable religious types (& probably 'conservative') noticed the injured man, and passed by on the other side. They justified their non-involvement. Jesus clearly condemns such an attitude. Our neighbor in a very real sense can make claims upon us. Jesus really does expect and call us to love others, even with sacrificial love. His Kingdom is about the shalom of humanity (meaning, essentially, the prospering of humanity). That's why the Samaritan who was moved into action by compassion for his unknown neighbor and who overcome all sorts of cultural & religious barriers, is the hero of the story. He got it.

Liberals, on the other hand, are right in their instincts that our neighbor can make certain claims upon us, but wrong in the way they go about ensuring that neighbor's are loved.

To understand this, substitute the word statist for liberal and you'll understand why (liberals typically answer the right questions with the wrong answer: more gov't). Statists want the government to take care of our neighbors for us. The 'solution' necessarily involves the State taking money (ie. taxes) away from citizen A to give it to citizen B. My liberal peeps say as much: If the State doesn't do it, then who will? And conveniently, those in the gov't who implement these policies gain more adherents and more power, and typically more wealth for themselves.

We are called by the Lord Jesus to be human in a different way than is typically defined by either liberals or conservatives. We are called to be industrious, AND we are called to use our wealth, in part, to serve our neighbors in need. This is not a matter of giving handouts, but seeking real healing of our world. And real healing--real prosperity--cannot be defined by having a permanent entitlement class (the result of statist policy). And it cannot happen if we are only self-interested (conservative policy).

And of course, we'll only be moved to genuine living and love toward our neighbor when we are on board with the agenda of Christ and His Kingdom, which is neither liberal nor conservative. It's not even American.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Great Samaritan, and until we understand that for our sakes he became poor so that we might become rich, how He was THE neighbor we so desperately needed when we were lying dead in our sins--until that reality defines us, we'll be tossed back and forth between the typical self-centered view of conservatism and the state-centered view of liberalism.

When we are Christ-centered, our loves will be ordered after His agenda, and our neighbors will be loved.

Click here to read the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Colbert schools Ehrman

Filed under: You've gotta check this out...
Don't know if you saw this yet or not, but it is great: Colbert schools Bible 'scholar' Bart Ehrman. Note the final shot of Ehrman: speechless.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bart Ehrman
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Sometimes, a little humor is the best ammunition, especially for folly.

Sickness unto death...Britain's worst hour?

Interesting article on the decline of Britain.
Something is rotten in Britain. Young men are stabbing each other to death at an unprecedented rate, the centres of many towns are no-go areas on weekends as drunks spill out of bars and terrorize passersby, and Britons are obsessed with celebrities such as Jade Goody, whose funeral last weekend led to scenes reminiscent of the death of Princess Diana....

And the conclusion of the article:
With such a dramatic confluence of ills, Mr. Mellamphy, an expert in British culture, says it is difficult to envision how British society may begin to right itself.

"There's certainly a need for some kind of a movement [toward] integration rather than resentment," he said. "How exactly they're going to do that, morally and politically, I can't guess."

I know the answer. It starts with "Re" continues with "pen" and ends with "tance."

Only the Gospel can heal. But does Britain want it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Britian's got talent? Brit's got 47 yr. old Susan Boyle

Filed under: You've gotta check this out!
Wow, didn't see this one coming!

I love moments of beauty like this. Echoes of another world.

Keller on the End of Christian America

Filed under: I 'heart' Tim Keller
Newsweek made some ripples last week in their cover story, "The End of Christian America." Here's an interview featuring Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer NYC & author of The Reason for God. [length: 12:01]

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quote of the day...

From NT Wright's Following Jesus:
Without Easter, Calvary was just another political execution of a failed Messiah.

Without Easter, the world is trapped between the shoulder shrug of the cynic, the fantasy of the escapist, and the tanks of the the tyrant.

Without Easter, there is no reason to suppose that good will triumph over evil, that love will win over hatred, that life will win over death.

But with Easter we have hope; because hope depends on love; and love has become human and has died, and is no alive for evermore, and holds the keys of Death and Hades. It is because of him that we know--we don't just hope, we know--that God will wipe away all tears from all eyes.

And in that knowledge we find ourselves to be Sunday people, called to live in a world of Fridays.

In that knowledge we know ourselves to be Easter people, called to minister to a world full of Calvary's. In that knowledge we find that the hand that dries our tears passes the cloth on to us, and bids us to follow him, to go to dry one another's tears.

The Lamb calls us to follow him wherever he goes; into the dark places of the world, the dark places of our hearts, the places where tears blot out the sunlight....and he bids us shine his morning light into the darkness, and share his ministry of wiping away the tears.

And as we worship, and adore, and follow the lamb, we join, already, in the song of Revelation 5.11-14, the song that one day the trees and the mountains and the whales and the waterfalls--the whole world, reborn on Easter morning--will sing with us:

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain...
to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing!

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and power
forever and ever, Amen."