Clinton’s Curdling

03/25/2008, 2:00 pm -- by | 2 Comments

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

The above quote is a patent lie by former first lady, and current Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. This was no hazy recollection or minor embroidering on her 1996 visit to Bosnia, but rather, a huge fumble.

The images currently being looped on cable news are very good ones. Clinton looks comfortable, authoritative, and frankly presidential, as she walks through what appears very much to be a war zone. She looks brave, not dodgy, shaking hands and sharing warm greetings with soldiers and civilians alike. Surveying, empathizing, politicizing. And doing it all, most importantly, without Bill at her side.

This is the first time I’ve seen these images (which surprises me, as an aggressive consumer of all news). It is just the type of spin-worthy capital she needs to convince the electorate that she has some modicum of experience.

But her greed has absolutely spoiled the video, like pouring expired cream into a perfectly good cup of coffee. Curdled, it is no longer of any value to her, but is, instead, something to be poured down the sink. Images of her shaking the hand of a colonel on a shelled tarmac is now proof of a lie, not leadership.

Ultimately, that trip to Bosnia — on which she was accompanied by Sinbad, Sheryl Crow and her daughter — was made after the peace, and served no greater purpose than a photo op.

But this is true of most political visits abroad, so I wouldn’t hold it against her to use camouflage as a prop on the stage of her candidacy. But this mishandling is greed, courtesy of a brain that has entered the realm of untruth and grown unsettlingly comfortable there…

Turns out Bill was at her side after all.

Best of Bweinh! — MySpace Clash

03/25/2008, 9:30 am -- by | No Comments

In this corner, arguing against MySpace, is Steve!

And in this corner, supporting MySpace, is LaKendra!

I was mildly coerced into getting a personal MySpace page and I regret the decision to this day.

It’s not that I think I’m too good for personal networking websites; I love the Facebook and I was using sites like the long-since-obsolete Quickdot when most of today’s MySpace users were still stuffing crayons up their noses and putting anything that wasn’t nailed down into their mouths.

What’s that? They still . . . Okay, that’s a bad example. But the fact remains I was annoying other people through telnet way back before many of you modern MySpacers were even born.

I just hate MySpace.

I hate its clunky, horrifying design, strips of blue flanking unreadable text links and unending advertisements for insurance, movies, and ladies’ underwear. I hate Tom.

I hate the terrible things people do to their own pages; I hate when someone’s lousy taste in music is automatically inflicted on me; I hate the uniformly awful attempts at changing the default layout.

I hate that I can spend an hour ranking my ‘top friends,’ and I hate the way (mostly) girls use their profile pictures to draw attention to all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons.

And I hate, more than anything, how every time I go on the blasted site, I have to clear out solicitations from seminude women, advertisements for natural male enhancement, and spam comments full of broken images and Trojan horses.

As Job says, it’s YourSpace, honey child. Not Mine. And as I toss and turn my way to fitful sleep tonight, haunted by the constant fear that I might have missed the chance at a lower rate on my second mortgage, with every labored breath, I’ll wish I’d held out.

I pray you have the strength I did not.

Or, if you don’t, that you’ll at least add me and our band!

Hey Steve.

How’s it goin? I just moved to the NEW YORK,United States area and I wanna meet a nice guy around here :-). I moved here to NEW YORK,United States a couple of weeks ago for work and now that I’m here I have nobody to hang out with! I read your profile… You’re cute and I liked what you had to say :-).

DO you know whats on most girl’s minds but they won’t tell you or will they. I am telling you this because it is the honest truth, look I should know…

Anyway you won’t believe this. that day I just filled my zip and my address in a form. A few days later I got a Visa Gift Card worth $500,and was told it can be used at any store!!! It really worked when I trying to buy an iPod!! Cost me nothing! LOL….

**~PERSONAL questions~**
Do you think I’m a good person?

Would you let me sleep with you (in the same bed)?

Would you let anything happen in that bed?

If you could change anything about me — would you?

Our lenders are ready to give you a loan! Approval process will take 1 minute!

Plus I’m just graduated college and I’m lookin for a guy who is a little bit older or more mature than me. You say you’re 27 and you’re cute so I guess you’re qualified :-)

if u don’t like out of the box thinkers that leave me alone!noo i’m just kidding really…lol..

And If you weren’t there FRIDAY NIGHT i lost that bet with ryan, so i made those SPECIALpictures available for ONE WEEK ONLY!! rember to stop by my webcam anytime!!


The Poison of Oppression

03/25/2008, 9:00 am -- by | No Comments

“I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
–Luke 19:40

I read a commentary on this verse that interprets it to mean that, had the oppressed people in question been silenced, they would have picked up stones and rocks to voice their rage and displeasure. Anyone who watches CNN knows that this is still the preferred way to confront political oppression among the powerless inhabitants of Palestine. But even if this was Christ’s meaning, the manner of his life and death serves as swift assurance that he uttered it not as a veiled threat, but simply as a commentary on the desperation of the oppressed.

I remember an episode of Remington Steele, where Pierce Brosnan’s character was describing his early life as an urchin on the streets of London. He was homeless and hungry one Christmas Eve when he came upon a street-level window; there he watched a family, gathered around the tree, celebrating together. He described it beautifully, and then was asked how he responded to the scene. Shrugging his shoulders, he said, “I threw a brick through the window and ran away.”

When I watched that scene as a young adult, it was the first time that my previous life as a juvenile delinquent made any sense to me. I was part of an angry pack of youths — we stole from anyone we could, burglarized many businesses, and perpetrated all manner of indiscriminate acts of vandalism on the streets of my hometown. Although I never could have articulated it at the time, we felt oppressed. We hated anyone with nice clothes, or nice houses, or money. And we fought back with the only weapon we had: our rage.

I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at age 17, but the years before are still stored in my memory, along with the dregs of feeling oppressed and powerless.

So when Barack Obama\’s pastor — as a black man — rails at the hostility and oppression that he perceives to be inherent in white culture, it neither confounds nor distresses me. I understand it.

When he speaks those things as a man of God, however, it deeply grieves me. It is one thing to drink from the chalice of bitterness, but another thing entirely to stand at the altar in the house of God, and offer it as a vessel, fit for the communion of God\’s holy saints.

Quote of the Day, 3/25/08

03/25/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“If you don’t mind smelling like peanut butter for two or three days, peanut butter is darn good shaving cream.” — B. Goldwater

The Council’s Ruling — Bedtime

03/24/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | No Comments

This and every Monday, the Bweinh!tributors, having convened in secret for hours of reasoned debate and consideration, will issue a brief and binding ruling on an issue of great societal import.

This week’s question — What is the ideal bedtime?

The council was unable to reach a majority ruling on this issue.

Tom offers this opinion, joined by David and Djere:

Going to bed any time except when one is tired is not only an exercise in futility, but helps cement the clock’s stranglehold on our lives.


Erin offers this opinion, joined by Chloe:

Any time after a good story and a hot drink.


Mike offers this opinion:

10:15…because I can’t get up whenever I want.


Josh offers this opinion, joined by MC-B:

An 11 o’clock bedtime allows one to watch any primetime TV or enjoy some time out but still have a reasonable night’s sleep before a work day.


Connie offers this opinion:

11:30. Right after the news and weather. You’re up -to-date for tomorrow and ready to slumber.


Job offers this opinion, joined by Tom:

Midnight. A day seen dutifully through to its completion.


Djere offers this opinion, joined by Job:

Midnight. Nothing worth doing is worth doing if you have to get up before 8 a.m.


Steve offers this opinion, joined by Erin:

My body says midnight, but my mind consistently says 1:30 am.


Next time: Who is the best author of all time?

He That Hath Ears to Hear, Part IV — Thorns and Weeds

03/24/2008, 9:00 am -- by | No Comments

Don\’t close your eyes,
Don\’t close your eyes —
This is your life . . .
Is it everything you dreamed that it would be?
When the world was younger . . .

— Jon Foreman, Switchfoot

I have a friend named Chuck, and I remember a conversation we had seven or eight years ago about how our zeal for the things of God can diminish with time. We were reminiscing about when we first got saved — how we were going to change the world, how we witnessed to anything that moved, how we went on the streets, and handed out tracts, and preached in the jails. In fact, Chuck made a confession to me that we both found quite humorous at the time. He said that he was so on fire for God when he first got saved and started reading the Bible, that he became absolutely convinced he would be one of the “two witnesses” spoken of in Revelation; he could not conceive of his life ending any other way.

I don\’t really need to tell you the rest, do I? I saw Chuck\’s wife in Wal-Mart a while back on a Sunday afternoon, and she told me they are “out of church,” as they call it down here. Why? They are building a new house, and the weekends are the only time they have to oversee the work being done by subcontractors. When the house is finished, though, they are planning to look for another church.

In this last section of the parable, Jesus compares people who get consumed by “the cares and riches of this life” to the seed that falls among thorns and eventually gets choked out. I\’m a pure exegetic preacher, so I see no other way to deal with metaphors than to trust that Jesus was correct when he defined them as cares and riches. How could there be another application than what Jesus so clearly stated? Cares and riches — these choke the word of God in our life so that we bring no fruit to maturity.

Cares are unavoidable; we have to work, mow our lawns, raise our kids, file our taxes and pay our bills. But we cannot let these choke out the work of God in our life. That\’s what Luke 13 and Matthew 7 are all about. We cannot live like the unbelievers. We cannot worry about the things that the world worries about.

Riches, Paul told Timothy, are deceitful and hurtful, plunging men into all manner of evil. The pursuit of riches has left many a person “pierced through with many sorrows.” Any conception you have of Christianity that allows you to put Jesus on a back shelf while you deal with your life, or pursue riches, can only hurt you and bog you down. It will only kill the work of the word of God in your life, and it will keep you from accomplishing what you have already heard from God.

1913 Ad of the Week — If I Were A Young Man…

03/24/2008, 2:00 am -- by | No Comments

This is the third in a series of real ads from the 1913 World Almanac…

What, Luther? What would you do??
What words of wisdom have you — the GREATEST LIVING HORTICULTURIST, inventor of 113 new types of plums alone — to impart to us, the youth of America?
Perhaps you were the first to think of making fuel from switch grass! Maybe you wish you’d spent a little less time on plums, and a little more time at the dog track! There’s even a chance you would have knocked off that pesky New Hampshire dentist for whom the California media capital was named, because you’re king of the Burbanks, Luther, and no one should forget it!!
A man like Dr. Luther Burbank surely has some wisdom to impart to us — right?

The “Pecan Nut”? Seriously?
You can take a look at the whole ad here. My favorite part is where the pecan-hawking company claims the nut is “ten times more valuable to you than life insurance.” Yeah. That’s a good plan.
“Yeah, we had to sell the farm to bury Dad, but on the bright side, that sure was some great pie at the memorial service…”

Clash of the Titans LXXV: Money in Politics

03/21/2008, 10:00 am -- by | 1 Comment

In this corner, supporting less money in politics, is Erin!

And in this corner, opposing limits, is Steve!

I’ll be the first to admit that I am generally less informed than the average high school sophomore about politics, though you might not know it from how animatedly I like to shout at my more conservative friends (either because I perceive more holes in their arguments than those more liberal, or I just like to be argumentative). Writing this clash is largely the result of my foolish and hasty statement of belief that there is too much money in politics. This is based on a deeper idea which I will try, briefly, to explain.

Whether or not spending more money will make a potential presidential candidate more likely to get elected: I’m sure this can be proved and disproved many ways, and has been already. It’s the nature of numbers, the ability to be manipulated. There are always new statistics coming out, to exhibit or ignore one side of the argument or the other.

Whether the president or other politicians make too much money: that is for each person to decide as well. The current congressional salary (2008) is $169,300 per year. The annual salary of the president was increased to $400,000 per year, including a $50,000 expense allowance, and the vice president makes $221,100.

So given the facts that “not just anybody” gets elected to public office (thank goodness!); one must have at least some degree of personal means, influence, and experience to get elected; and that the majority of politicians have families, businesses, and hobbies to support — are these salaries too much? I have heard that every president ever elected took a pay cut when he entered office. So are they being paid too much? I think so.

The bigger idea that I want to address (which I am only in the early stages of thinking through) is that there is too much money in society as a whole.

I am just as a slave to money as the next hapless American college student. I am studying at a college that, by the time I graduate, will have collected in payment for my undergraduate education more than the golden $100,000 that seems to represent a comfortable income for middle class America. So I will have paid — or have promised to pay — what a great deal of middle class families strive to make in a year. Isn’t that too much?

And why do middle class families feel that $100,000 would be a comfortable amount to live on? Property and income tax. Utilities. Groceries. Food. Clothing. Hobbies. Family outings. Transportation. The same things that lower-class and upper-class families spend money on. Isn’t there a simpler way to do all this?

Instead of going to a theme park that costs $60 per person and wastes electricity flinging souls around on aerodynamically sexy roller coasters, why not wade in a river and catch crawfish — or make a game out of clearing brush away from an old campfire-pit, not worrying about how soon it gets done or how well? Why must we take three trips to town each day to cart kids to school, get items for a honey-do list, and pick up a pizza for dinner?

Simplicity is just that: simple. Some might say that it is for the simple-minded, and I will admit that I have said that to myself many times. But when I say that there is too much money in politics, I am lumping politics in with life in general: things could be done a lot simpler and a lot cheaper. Yes, it might require cutting back. Creativity. Sacrifice. But wouldn’t we be the better for it?

I’ll see your bet and I’ll raise you. Not only do I disagree that there’s too much money in politics, I actually believe that there’s not enough.

I’m happy to admit that the money we have in the system now might not be the best money. It might not be used for the best things. It might not be spent for the best reasons. But I’m convinced that it’s impossible to actually get the best of all those things — and any attempt to try is likely to produce even more problems, while unconstitutionally limiting speech. Frankly, the problem isn’t money, or more correctly, the speech that money facilitates. The problem is accountability.

Whenever possible, I like to err on the side of freedom. That’s especially true when it comes to matters of how people can spend money they have earned. Take Mitt Romney, for instance. He received a lot of criticism for spending tens of millions of his own money in an attempt to become the Republican nominee for president. But why? He earned it honestly, in business, through hard work and effort. And although many less affluent candidates sneered that he was trying to “buy the nomination,” the results actually proved that dollars alone do not lead to electoral success.

Yet many remain convinced not only that money is the main key to winning elections, but that there’s something inherently wrong with money in politics. And this opinion, often informed by a confusion of the effects of money and incumbency, has led to a system that drastically limits the way we can spend our money, and what we can say when we do.

Well, call me old-fashioned, friends, but I happen to take the First Amendment at face value. You’ll remember it from high school; it’s the part of our Constitution that states (among other things) that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. When “reformers” prevent me from spending money to espouse a certain view on the political stage, how can they pretend this is anything other than a restraint on speech? How can they defend it in light of the text of the First Amendment?

Maybe you think that the danger of money influencing politics makes these laws a necessary compromise, a proper exception to our First Amendment rights. But I answer you — what speech could possibly be more important to protect from government regulation than that speech which criticizes the government?

I support greater transparency, so we can know who writes the checks before we cast our votes. But the current system is designed to just shut it all down, like we’re a bunch of children, too stupid to understand issues, willing to vote for whichever candidate runs the glossiest ads. Please explain to me — I would love to know! — how we are helped by this convoluted system that prevents a group of Americans from publicly talking about a candidate, favorably or unfavorably, within 60 days of an election, when the information is most relevant.

Presidential candidates in 2004 spent about $661 million in that race. That sounds awfully high, doesn’t it? But it turns out McDonald’s spent $635 million in advertising by itself — back in 2001! General advertising for “cooking products and seasonings” topped $675 million four years before that! And way back in 1998, $720 million was spent on alcohol advertising JUST INSIDE STORES.

I happen to think that the future of our country — the First Amendment — is a little more important than Mrs. Dash and Captain Morgan.


Quote of the Day, 3/21/08

03/21/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“As out of Jesus’ affliction came a new sense of God’s love and a new basis for love between men, so out of our affliction we may grasp the splendor of God’s love and how to love one another. Thus the consummation of the two commandments was on Golgotha; and the Cross is, at once, their image and their fulfillment.” — M. Muggeridge

Human Hearts

03/20/2008, 4:30 pm -- by | No Comments

To be a human being is to be a failure. To have been born of woman and lived among men is to have been spawned and nurtured by a fallen race; a race that could not abide in its original position of favor with the Almighty God of the universe, but rather, was overcome by sin and fleshly temptations.

In many respects it is an exercise in futility. Even as Christians we serve a God who commands us to be like him and supplies us with His Holy Spirit to accomplish such an end — sending His own Son to die on the cross to remove our sin, so as to make the whole thing possible! And yet it seems impossible, for we continue to sin after we are saved, we still fall short of his expectations.

God tells us in Peter\’s first epistle: “Be ye holy, even as I am holy.” Jesus tells His disciples that if they love one another, even as He loved them, then the world will know that they are His disciples. John repeated this, saying, “He that sayeth he believeth in Him ought also so to walk, even as He Himself walked.” Men, called to live like God; we can\’t even live like men.

There are days that I take comfort in the fact that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Sometimes it helps to know that my brothers and sisters deal with all the weight of sins that Paul said “so easily beset us” — but not today. Today it only increases my distress to know that there is no one beyond the siren call of sin and carnality. The only man who ever lived above the fray, and pleased His heavenly Father, was Jesus.

My only hope is to cling to Him — with all the desperation that the human heart can feel — and to trust that His blood will cover me, and bid the avenging angel to pass over this hovel, and let God be pleased to spare the miserable creature inside.

Battle of the Bands XLIX

03/20/2008, 1:30 pm -- by | No Comments

Here are the next batch of band names from Luke (Lamplight moves on!)


Bible Discussion — Luke 12

03/20/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | No Comments

This week, looks at the next chapter of Luke, Luke 12.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

Luke 12 is a somewhat long discourse covering many of the pitfalls that we face as we walk out the journey of our faith as Christians. It provides encouragement — some of it from common sense, some from warnings of what’s to come.

Luke uses the majority of this chapter to present some of Jesus’ teachings on priorities in a disciple’s life. Who should you fear? The one that can kill you and send you to hell. What should you be thinking about? His Kingdom, because He can take care of our business for us, if we are about his business for Him, and when He returns, He\’s going to be very interested in what we were doing for Him.

This chapter is narrow in narration — it is mostly just Jesus talking — but broad in content. Warnings to be watchful, to be frugal, to share, to be peaceable, and not to worry, all vie for the readers attention.

It can be easy to get bogged down in all of these instructions in just the way that Jesus did not intend. The people to whom he spoke were familiar with Jewish legalism, and so this itemizing of ways to “live out the new Covenant” would have made sense to them. What is easy to ignore, however, is that these are simply outward expressions of a life lived with every thought captive to the large purpose of devotion and service to the Kingdom of God.

These people are trampling on each other to hear what Jesus has to say. Devotion, selfishness, or both?

In the parable about watchfulness, Jesus refers to “one who does not know and does things deserving punishment,” and says that such people will be “beaten with few blows.” What does this mean concerning those who die without hearing the Gospel?

Peter asks whether or not the parable Jesus is telling was intended for more than just the 12. Seriously, Peter?

(Herein I show my own Christianese background — I already know Jesus\’ answer, and struggle to put myself in Peter\’s clueless, and very familiar, shoes).

One of my favorite scriptures, Matthew 6:33, is also here as 12:31 — “But seek the kingdom of God, and all of these things shall be added to you.”

Josh: Rich Fool
David: Girded Loins
Erin: This Very Night
MC-B: Many Sparrows
Steve: The Ravens; Last Penny

Continued here!

Joke of the Day, 3/20/08

03/20/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

A guy walked into a bar, ordered four shots of the most expensive Scotch, and quickly downed them, one after another.

The bartender said, “Wow, you look like you’re in a hurry!”

“You would be too if you had what I have,” the man said.

“What’s that?”

“Fifty cents.”

He That Hath Ears to Hear, Part III — Stony Ground

03/20/2008, 1:30 am -- by | No Comments

Are you in a pattern in your life where you start well, but never finish? Is the cycle of your walk with God one of repentance, proclamation, and good intentions — but at the end of the day, no apparent progress? Does no work of God in your life last very long before you again backslide and run from God?

This is what Jesus addresses in the next section of our parable — “the seed that fell on stony ground,” those with no root who wither away when trouble or persecution comes.

What keeps the Word from sinking down and developing strong roots? The problem is what’s below the surface — the hidden rock, the obstacle that keeps us from doing business with God. The only reason for a root not to progress to a deeper place to nourishment and water is the interposition of something immovable and unyielding.

What are you hiding? What are you afraid of? Moving this object will not be as horrible as you think.

God loves you. Anything that He requires of you in exposing sin — your own or perhaps another’s — will only be a blessing. He has no desire to harm you, but some things cannot be healed until they are exposed to the light, so that they can be killed.

In the famous tract, My Heart, Christ’s Home, the writer compares salvation to literally turning his house over to Jesus. Jesus strolls through it, looking at the library, workshop and other rooms — and many changes have to be made. It turned into a horror story for me when Jesus found the hall closet and commented on the stench emanating from it. The writer was put off by the request to clean out that dark little closet, so Jesus turned around to leave, saying, “I’ll be out on the front porch. I can’t stay in a place that smells like this.” The writer relented, and he was finally freed from the secret sins he had buried in that small dark place.

I recently saw a news story about a 29-year-old youth pastor who came forward to confess that he had killed a man at 16, before he was saved. He had been hiding it for 13 years. I can’t imagine the courage this required, but I too have been in the place where I’ve said to God, “No! I can’t dig this up! It’s too deep! It’s too messy! Everyone will see it and the scar it leaves on the ground! You can’t ask this of me!”

He can ask, though, and He does. And if we refuse to yield, the growth — the relationship — is over, until we relent and let Him move the thing that lies hidden, below the surface.

But I promise you: it always brings joy and indescribable peace when it’s accomplished.

March Madness?

03/19/2008, 6:00 pm -- by | 5 Comments

Few things interest me less than the spring frenzy surrounding college basketball. Despite the fact that I was 5\’11” all through high school (oh yeah — that was fun), basketball never interested me — until, that is, my daughters began to play.

My eldest daughter\’s team won a sectional title and made it to the regional state quarterfinals, the first team in school history to make it that far. As a senior the next year, Rose scored her 1500th point and her team was poised to go all the way, until they were knocked out by one point in their first, last and only loss of an amazing season. What a terrible disappointment. Nothing can bring me to laughter quicker than when one of my children is laughing — and nothing brings me to tears faster than when one of them is hurting. We mourned this death.

Three years passed and it\’s my other daughter’s senior year. Sarah’s team started the season with a one-point loss in a preseason tournament hundreds of miles away. Continued here!

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