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Someday my prince will come

I must admit I view the Royal Wedding hoopla with a bit of skepticism. I remember years ago a show called lifestyles of the rich and famous, this was essentially replaced by the Kardashians. These are people that live in a fantasy land much like the Royals of old. My issue is I believe they induced an unnecessary jealousy for people, many of who in the middle class in the West live far easier lives than about 80% of the rest of the planet and have more conveniences than at any time in history.

The reality is for most of the world outside the industrialized west and for most of history, the common man has lived an uncommonly difficult life. And they spent a vast majority of their days toiling to survive, not worrying about leisure activities. The fact of the matter is things like basic medicine, sanitation, clean drinking water, are very recent developments in human history. I find this jealousy very unhealthy.

But I find the fantasy of the Royal Wedding to be just as unhealthy. As far as the Royal Wedding I have a few thoughts for those dreaming of Windsor Castle:

For the ladies, your Prince will have to get a job, his life won’t consist of making appearances at social events, he will have to be a Father, he won’t have a staff of nannies. Chances are he will need to work on the mini-van and it won’t be a Bentley. And I hope your story book wedding doesn’t cost 43 million. There are a lot better causes to spend the 43 mil on.

For the men, chances are the new Princess won’t look like Meghan Markle. Meghans job is to go the gym so she can look good on the screen, and to make appearances at social events. It’s a tough gig, but it pays real good. Chances are your princess won’t have “the help” to keep her place clean. And she’ll have to be mom to the kids. And if you call her up for a date, her people won’t return the call to your publicist.

Personally, I just don’t get this fascination with the Royals, they simply have no idea of the reality of daily life for normal people.


The Immigration conumdrum

“We have met the enemy and he is us” Pogo, a character in Walt Kelly’s comic strip by the same name.

I agree with Charles Kruthamers assertion that the US could absorb millions of more immigrants if it had too. I have no fear of Muslim “hoards” (although I do think Islamic terrorist intend to infiltrate this country) and I have no fear of Mexican “rapist and drug dealers” we have enough of them in Hollywood already. And the reality is this country has assimilated millions from other countries who have no history with the founding enlightenment principles of our country from Europe and Asia for a good two hundred years.

Does anyone seriously believe that the Irish fleeing the Potato famine in the mid 1800s understood Freedom of Speech or Religion? In fact a cursory read of the History of Europe shows that a vast majority of Europe had no idea of Freedom of Religion (much like Islam today) until around 1900. They may have come here seeking it, but the American experience was not something they were familiar with in their home cultures or anything close to it.

The problem is not that Muslims or Hispanics are coming from cultures where they can’t learn to become “Americans” or learn to assimilate into our basic values. In fact if you look the earlier generations of Muslim and Hispanic immigrants, they have become as Americanized and anyone else, and they have shown a strong entrepreneurial ethic and a desire to get involved in the political discourse.

But we aren’t interested in making immigrants into Americans anymore. While there is no doubt as a country we don’t live up to our ideals and still have along way to go in integration. I still agree with Dennis Prager that the US is “the most successful experiment in the integration of other races in history”. If you don’t believe it look at the history of the N Africans in France or Jews and Gypsies in Eastern Europe. Heck, even in Africa two black African tribes hacked each other to death by the thousands less than 25 years ago. We must remember integration is a VERY new idea in human history, for years tribes lived amongst themselves and hated the other. They still do in many homogeneous countries like Korea and Japan for instance.

Instead we spend hours pontificating about the evils of Western Civilization and America in particular and promoting divisive ideas like White Privilege, Safe Spaces, and diversity. Our education system, has become a refuge for trite Marxists who refuse to debate their ideas, they just proclaim them and declare the other to be some kind of hater, how ironic? A little drop of reality here, ALL CULTURES AND IDEALS ARE NOT EQUAL. A vast majority of the planet doesn’t believe in integration, and equal rights for others including women, gays, etc. In fact rape IS a cultural value in many countries.

The values of Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly, Private Property, and Self Protection are very new values in History, even enlightened Europe didn’t have anything approaching full participation in the political or freedom of religion until around the very late 1800s. The US was WAY ahead of its time, and we should be proud of that. In other words we are teaching our own children and immigrants to detest our values, suicide anyone? And then we’re surprised when a second generation Muslim immigrant becomes a mass killer.

I have no problem discussing ways to get better, and no doubt we NEED to get better. But the next time you here someone bloviating about the “evils” of America, please ask them compared to what?

“Happiness is a warm Gun” John Lennon

“I have a very strict gun control policy, if there’s a gun around I want to be in control of it” Clint Eastwood

” An unarmed man can only flee evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing it” Jeff Cooper

A few facts:
Over 60% of all gun deaths in this country are suicides, and study after study has shown that there is no correlation between a countries suicide rate and gun availability. The United States ranks #48 in suicide rate behind Sweden, Belgium, Russia, Japan, Finland, and India, among others. Obviously most of those countries have stricter gun control than the US. And yet the Anti-Bill of Rights crowd ALWAYS includes suicide in it’s statistics of Gun violence. The fact is you can’t include gun deaths by suicide in the discussion of gun violence because people who want to commit suicide do it with whatever is available.

In 2016 Handguns accounted for the most used weapon in Murders, no surprise there. 7105 murders were committed with handguns. Handguns are the first weapon of choice for criminals, and for those who want to defend themselves from criminals for obvious reasons. Knives were #2 at 1604, followed by fist and hands at 656, and then clubs of some sort at 472, followed by rifles at 372. And remember not every rifle used in a murder was an AR 15. And yet even though your chance of getting murdered by a Calloway Nine Iron is higher than getting murdered by a rifle. We have a segment of society that is somehow illogically convinced that prohibiting a type of rifle will make a dent in the murder rate.

The reality is a gun ban that doesn’t include handguns would have no effect at stopping mass shootings. The worse school shooting in our history was committed with a Glock 9 mm at Virginia Tech. The simple ballistic fact is that a handgun would be a far more effective weapon of choice for someone with the evil intention of premeditatedly killing school children. I heard someone claim that a school security guard armed with a pistol, wouldn’t stand a chance against a school shooter with an AR 15. Perhaps that would be true on a football field, but in the close confines of a school hallway or classroom a trained individual with a pistol will have a serious advantage in stopping power, maneuverability, faster reloading and concealment.

The biggest reason for the AR15’s popularity is found in our history. When thousands of GI’s came back from WW1 they bought Springfield 1903s to hunt with. After WW II the M1 Carbine and M1 Garand were the most popular sport rifles. GI’s learned how to shoot those guns and came home and purchased them for protection and sporting use. The cycle was broken a bit in Vietnam because the M16 didn’t function that well. But it was restored again after Iraq war one. Again thousands of GI’s learned to shoot on M4’s and came home and bought the civilian version of them. I suspect it’s for one reason, they are good guns. accurate, reliable, modular and functional, which is generally what people look for in a gun. I bought mine after the LA riots. Law Enforcement abandoned that city and Korean shop keepers protected their homes and businesses with AR’s. The same scenario (need for an AR) occurred after Katrina and again in the Baltimore riots. When the cops leave, thirty rounds doesn’t seem like a lot of ammo.

Here’s why I believe that any proposed AR15/Assault Weapons ban would be a failure:
1) We already did it, tried it for 10 years, and it we saw a faster reduction in gun crime after we revoked it. How many times do we have to try something that doesn’t work before it fits the description of insanity?
2) High capacity magazines are the normal now and needed for self defense. The reality is the bad guys already have them, millions of them. This is why the police switched to Glocks after the LA shootout. We should never put ordinary citizens in the position where they are out gunned routinely by the criminal element in our society.
3) Even if we did ban AR15’s and were successful in confiscating every one of them (fat chance of that), we would still not make a dent in real gun violence. Like I said before your chances of getting killed by a Calloway Nine Iron may be higher.
4) Since it won’t work, the anti Bill of Rights crowd won’t stop there. I’ve already shown that mass shooters will still do their thing with or without AR15’s. So the next step and it WILL happen will be an attempt to disarm private citizens completely.
5) I don’t trust that only the government should have the “good” guns. No I’m not joining the militia or ANTIFA (both are armed anti government groups). But I do believe that there is a certain level of accountability to government with the knowledge that citizens that believe in individual rights are armed in this country. I also find it utterly irrational that the same politicians that support Black Lives Matter and seem to believe most cops are racist thugs on one hand, believe that only those same racist thugs should be the only one’s with guns. Please reconcile that piece of logical dung for me? Someone?
6) Laws don’t work, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them. It just means that laws don’t prevent crime from happening, and shouldn’t be used to prevent crime, but to punish those who commit crime. Gun Free Zones or Criminal Empowerment Zones as they should be called haven’t prevented ONE mass shooting. CA assault weapons ban didn’t prevent San Bernardino, our ban on minors being armed didn’t stop Columbine. The only thing an AR15 ban would do is turn law abiding citizens into criminals for possessing something that have a Constitutional right to own.

Jerusalem and the Jews

“When people criticize Zionist they mean Jews, You’re talking Anti-Semitism” Dr. Martin Luther King

I am writing this post in response to a Palestinian brothers comments about the Trump Administrations declaration on Jerusalem found here:

First I want to make this clear, I do not see Donald Trump as a great Christian leader or the Christian answer to America’s problems. Like the previous President I have no idea about his personal faith and will leave it up to God to judge, it’s frankly something I’m not equipped to do.

Second, I do not view the Christian relationship with Israel-Jews as a means of fulfilling prophecy. My father had a quote I use to love “we (Christians) love the Jews of the bible and the Jews of prophecy, but we haven’t met our Jewish next door neighbor”. While there is no doubt Christians are called to love the Jews and they no doubt have a special place in our faith, we are called to love all people. And I agree with Pastor Sara that when the Jews are oppressing someone we are called to seek justice as we are called to seek justice for all people.

I am a “Christian Zionist” because I believe it’s right, the right side of history.  Being brought up in a family as a Jewish believer whose non-Jewish father helped to build the Jewish State in 1948-50 because of the burden God had given him for the Jewish people. I have always taken a special interest in the history of the area.

Most importantly to Trumps declaration of the capital of Israel being Jerusalem, It is non-sequitur. The fact that so many Palestinians find it offensive speaks to the hatred and mythological view of the history of the area. And the reaction of many world leaders and amongst some of the left speaks of rising anti-Semitism especially in Europe.  Trump recognized reality, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for years. To not recognize it is clearly an act of hatred to the foundations of Judaism. Why should Israel be the ONLY country in the world in which it’s declared Capital (legitimacy) is not recognized? As far as the US embassy, like the Knesset there is no intention to build it in the old city. And the new city has not been under dispute in any negotiation as it has been part of Israel since 1948.

More importantly this decision is a reaction to the vile anti-Semitic resolution that Obama supported as he went out the door in the UN. That resolution which states that any Jew residing in Jerusalem is a war criminal would be the equivalent of saying that Catholics shouldn’t be allowed in the Vatican, and Muslims should be banned from Mecca. Judaism has been inexorably tied to Jerusalem throughout its history, it is certainly the “holy city” in Judaism. Every year the Passover ends with the prayer next year in Jerusalem. I don’t ever recall a passage in the scriptures directing us to pray for the peace of Tel Aviv.

Not only that, contrary to some questionable history being promoted lately. Jews have resided in Jerusalem through out its history, and as late as the 1880s were a majority (well before Zionist migrations from Europe) in the city. A city that at the time was viewed pretty insignificant by most of the population of that Ottoman Territory.

I’m not going to get into the history of the area, I do question the view of Brother Sara’s that Palestinians in the numbers he stated have resided in Jerusalem for generations. The population of the whole city in the 1905 Ottoman census was 36,000.

In short the Jews are the only people who have ever in history had Jerusalem as their capital, and the only people who have allowed people of all faiths to worship there freely. They haven’t called for a Muslim free Jewish State, while the Palestinians are still calling for Juden free Palestinian State. I believe in this case Trump merely recognized reality, and the morally correct reality.


A good friend of mine recently posted an article about No Go Zones in Europe and the US basically arguing that while there are high crime areas, they basically don’t exist. I responded and I’m not sure she understood my response.

I am not arguing for a Muslim ban in the US, although I think we certainly need to ban immigration from certain countries that are either failed states or allies with terrorists. But the issue there is not with the Islamic faith or Arabs in general. It is with the unreliability of those current governments to provide any kind of background information about potential immigrants.

My issue with Islamic immigration is not Muslims, it’s the failure of the West to value assimilation (we use too) over diversity. A recent pew poll of Muslims in Great Britain included the view that over 50% believe homosexuality should be illegal, and 35% believe Women should always be subservient to their husbands, 31% believe that Muslim men can have more than one wife. Another poll showed similar view on Blaspheming the Prophet (making it illegal) and religious conversion.

These are Muslims who have been in country in many cases for a couple of generations, and yet they don’t accept the Western Values of Freedom of Expression, Association, religion or freedom of the Press. Why? My argument is because we in the West no longer believe in them ourselves. The last administration referred to “universal values” frequently including in a proclamation after the Charlie Hebdo attack (for the record the writers at Charlie Hebdo would be prosecuted today under French “Sharia” anti blaspheme laws). But they failed to define them and in some cases apologized for them.

If we believe that Western Civilization is evil, or the cause of all of the troubles in history then assimilating others into Western Values is going to be impossible. IT IS NOW! While not perfect its Western Values that ended Slavery, brought the enlightenment, modern Science, Education, I could go on. We have leaders in all fields that not only appear to be ignorant of this, but in many case promote the absurd equality of all values.

Our values are not universal, there are One and a half billion people on the earth of whom about 30% believe that we should have capital punishment for Homosexuality, Blaspheme, or conversion to a different faith. Those beliefs are simply not compatible with Co-exist bumper stickers, and with one group having 4-6 children per couple and the other having 1 1/2 children per couple and apologizing for their values take a guess at who has the power in 20 years.

There will soon, probably within a decade be whole countries in Europe under Sharia law. And it won’t be the Muslims fault, it will be our fault because we didn’t stand up for our values, and sacrificed Assimilation to the altar of diversity. Western Civilization is ending, and it will be death by Suicide not murder.

Emotion Part Deux

A few quick points of follow up to my last piece:

I like Irony, perhaps it’s the reason my all time favorite band is Steely Dan. Occasionally Irony doesn’t get translated well on line, so keep that in mind, I wasn’t advocating an either or position. This is true even though parts of the last piece went over like a rousing rendition of “Old Rugged Cross” at Joel Osteen’s church.

Second, I was speaking about a specific genre of Worship music, the Elevation/Hillsong/Vertical/Jesus Culture church strain. Almost none of what I said applies to Urban Gospel. You certainly don’t see tracks/clicks/cues in most Urban Gospel, in fact it’s rare to see charts. I would argue that some of the best musicians in the world are holding down the chairs in the rhythm sections of Black Church’s. Urban Gospel isn’t without issues, but lack of emotion isn’t one of them.

Third, I was not advocating an either or position. There is no doubt that music that teaches the great truths of the faith is valid and has a place in worship. My argument was two-fold.

First, I think some of the modern music in this genre sacrifices quality songwriting for the sake of presenting doctrine. And as a result it fails at both goals. There are also some GREAT songs in this genre. A great example is “Ever be”. Your praise will ever be on my lips is a line you remember in a memorable melody. I’d like to see more of that frankly.

Second, there is something to be said for simplicity in worship. I think of the song “Give Me Jesus”. That song has a little bit of soul, to borrow a line from Kings X. The lyrics are simple yet incredibly profound, it grabs you, it moves you. I’m just saying I’d like to see more of that. Nothing wrong with teaching, but that song doesn’t teach, it PROCLAIMS! It doesn’t expound, if CONFESSES! Please give me more Jesus in our worship.

Getting Emotional about Worship

Fletch Wiley’s post on FB about click tracks and loops in Worship music got the wheels turning in the last couple of weeks. Fletch holds and it is arguably true that worship teams don’t learn to play with each other when they use tracks, they are playing to the tracks. And many times what happens isn’t creative spontaneous innovation but instead is mindless play the part duplication. It limits musicianship and turns worship teams into “worship cover bands”.

I also suspect that in our new Church-lite millennial services singing “Holy Spirit you are welcome in this place” should come with the tag line, you’ve got thirty-seconds between the greeting and the video.

But to me the real issue is twofold. One, the Hillsong’s of the World and leaders of this new worship movement have really put an emphasis on current pop concert production values. The problem is they can do it with an extravagant multi-media light/smoke/effects/synced video presentation that even some wealthy churches can’t recreate.

The issue is, it is these modern production values often, and not the song and the music that move the audience-congregation. For the record that is a great thing, there is nothing wrong with leading people into worship with a well set up multi-media experience.

And it may work at a Hillsong, Vertical church, or Jesus Culture event but it’s very hard if not impossible for the local church worship cover band to recreate. So what you’re often left with is a worship cover band without live mega concert production trying to fill a gaping hole in creating an atmosphere of worship.

The second thing I’ve noticed is many of the songs themselves lack the hook and easily sung phrasing and lyric flow that allows a someone who is unfamiliar to sing along without really concentrating on getting it right.

The music leader at my church talks about “teaching with songs” and that is certainly one legitimate place our music should take us. But, a church goer taking in great theological truth isn’t as likely to emotionally connect as someone thanking or praising God for his work already accomplished. While singing a creed is good, and no doubt has its place. It won’t take us to the emotional place of sensing Christ’s great love and Sacrifice, or God’s faithfulness, mercy, and compassion. Those things should stir a deeper place. We should GET LOST in them as they become real too us.

We need good theology and I’m not in any way disputing that we should be sure our music is doctrinally sound. But as Charlie Peacocks song says “you can only possess what you experience, truth to be understood must be lived”. Our songs need to take us beyond understanding to experience. And in many cases the simplicity of a chorus that proclaims Gods goodness is more useful for a body to come together in praise and worship. I recall the simple Bill Gaither Hallelujah, one Word, three chords, it’s easy to get lost in that.

What I’m saying is I believe we need a bit more confession in our songs like proclaiming God will bring us “thru it all” and remembering that “we learned to trust in Jesus, learned to trust in God, and depend upon his word”. We need to be moved recalling what God has already done for us. Andrae Crouch got it right, we need the simple truth that “can’t nobody do me like Jesus”.

David was MOVED, and danced when he saw the Ark of the Covenant being brought back, it embarrassed those around him. But David didn’t care, he was lost in Gods glory. I think its time for us to get emotional about worship.