Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Midweek Miscellany

The following post isn't very "pastoral"--it is more just some of my thinking about a number of matters that have come my way recently.

First things first--some music for you to enjoy...




Then, on to some other things...

Who knew that ice melting and refreezing on a roof could form "ice dams" that would cause water to build up and then find pathways into your building?  Well, we know that now.  We've had a few form here at the church--even reaching down to our offices from the roof two stories above!  Thanks to all those around here who are trying to deal with wet sills, walls, and floors.  We wanted some touch up on some things anyway, right?

I told a number of new residents to the village this year that we haven't really gotten lots of snow during the winters--a couple of significant storms each winter.  Well, nothing like this year to make me a liar a most inaccurate reporter of weather.  Hey, that means I could work for the TV stations!

Al Mohler's writing and thinking is so good, I almost feel as if I should just tell people to wait for him to comment on something to get a good perspective.  He does not disappoint again as he answers a question I have gotten a number of times about the new pope, Francis.  Now that he has been selected by TIME magazine (a publication with ever dwindling subscription numbers) as "Person of the Year," what should we think?  Is he really changing things.  My answer is no, he is only saying things differently.  Mohler runs with that view and does so incredibly clearly in a post you can find here.

This may be a little too political for some, but can I just say this this ad encouraging people to talk about healthcare while drinking your hot cocoa in your adult onesie is about as depressing as the whole promotional campaign for the effort, and  the rollout of Affordable Healthcare itself.  In three years' of preparation, our government could not put together a website to handle the traffic.  It could not figure out that promises that you could keep your health care if you liked it would never be honored so that the President could let people know beforehand that he had mis-spoken.  It cannot fulfill its own targets and deadlines and so the Executive Branch has simply said laws that were passed and signed are "postponed"--for which there is no constitutional warrant.  But it can craft an ad campaign aimed at young people who have, until now, typically not purchased health insurance, that makes them look vain and silly.  In another ad, a couple is pictured and the girl is hoping the guy will make sexual advances, now that she knows she has contraceptive coverage.  This is what our leaders think of this generation.  While there are more than a few narcissistic examples, if I were a twentysomething I would be offended at the "faux-hipster" target image that seems to have driven the ad campaign.  And don't get me started on the irony of calling something "Affordable Health Care" when most people are seeing costs go up.

While I'm being too political, let me say that I support the efforts of members of both parties to craft a budget, however flawed it may be.  Everyone got a little something, and everyone had to endure pain to their own constituencies.  That is what politics has always been when we have divided government.  If people don't like it, then they should elect all people from one party.  Until they do, you get compromises and very limited progress.  Our representatives have been elected to govern, and this is the first time in years we have had a budget.  So, I congratulate them on the effort and trying to do what they have been elected to do.  Politics, it has been said, is the art of the possible.  In this case, this was what was possible to accomplish; not the perfect.

Finally, I haven't said much about this for a few months, but I am disappointed that immigration reform did not get voted on in the House of Representatives.  I am supportive of the bill passed by the Senate last spring (unlike many who have spoken against it, I have read its provisions and it is not amnesty, not unfairly letting people jump in front of others in line, not giving an easy path to citizenship, etc.).  I believe that finding a solution to deal with the status of 14 million people who are here and will not be going anywhere is important.  I was reminded of this last week, when a member called with a request for assistance in helping a family with a serious "immigration" problem.  It seems that an undocumented worker in Columbus was arrested at his work and is being prepared for deportation.  He is married to a U.S. citizen, and has six children, all U.S. citizens.  He has worked and never been on any assistance.  But because he overstayed his visa, he is being deported.  The family will wind up on assistance as a result.  Dad will be barred from the country for years.  If the rest of the family leaves the U.S. to go with him, they will head to a place where he has no job, and they have never lived.  Shouldn't there be a way for a situation like this to be resolved short of deportation and the forced splitting of a family?  Is it better that he work and support his family while doing what is required to become a citizen than it is for him to have to leave and the family to go on government assistance?  In his country there is no "line" for him to get in to seek a visa since he is not a college graduate in a desired field.  This is more than a political issue, it is a family issue, a moral issue, and an economic issue.

Duck Dynasty Dad in Trouble.  Phil Robertson, patriarch of the clan, spoke out against homosexuality in an interview with GQ Magazine (really?  Duck Dynasty fashion in GQ?).  He said things that none of us would be surprised about--calling those who engage in the practice "homosexual offenders" (as does Paul in 1 Corinthians)--which certainly caught their network by surprise, so they have banned him from the show for an indefinite period.  Seems it's cute to have a family pray on a show, but if they talk about less popular aspects of their faith publicly, that will cost you.  Unless the faith is something other than biblical Christianity.  DISCLAIMER--I have not read the interview, only the report and the action of the network.  I'm  just wondering how you do this "reality" show and edit out the patriarch.

Now, let me end with something completely fun, non-pollitical, and somewhat impressive:  watch as this gentleman sight-reads (as in the first time he's seen the music) the theme from the cartoon series "The Animaniacs."