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Dad and I at the Reds game, 6/17/2017.

“See that yellow foul pole,” dad said to me. “Yes,” I replied. “When Johnny Bench hits his home runs,” dad continued, “they have to stay inside of it.”

Memory is a funny thing. It’s strange what we forget, and perhaps even stranger what we remember with crystal clarity, years or even decades later.

That snippet of a conversation between dad and me took place over 40 years ago. The year, I think, was either 1973 or 1974. I was just a kid and was at the ballpark for my first ever major league game. It was the Reds versus somebody at Riverfront Stadium.

I recall a couple of other things from that day. I remember we sat in the blue seats, just a few rows behind the Reds dugout. I also recollect a foul ball coming pretty close to us, but not quite close enough to catch.

They say baseball has a way of uniting fathers and sons in a way different from other sports. That certainly was true in our case.

Growing up in Cincinnati in the 70’s as I did, I had the privilege of watching the Big Red Machine at its finest. All of us in my family naturally were big Reds fans. So there was that.

Further, there was little league. My dad was either a coach or manager of my team for several seasons, and we spent a lot of time together practicing, especially pitching.

I wasn’t a great natural talent, my brother has all the real athletic talent in the family, but dad taught me how to throw strikes and spot my pitches where I wanted. With his help and patience, I managed to be one of the better pitchers in my league for a few seasons. To this day, I still remember the rush of striking out hitters.

And although my baseball career, such as it was, ended long ago, one thing hasn’t changed. Dad and I are both still big Reds fans.

But baseball lessons we’re the only thing dad taught me. You see, dad was Tim the Toolman long before there was a show called Home Improvement. And as you would expect from any good do-it-yourselfer, he was constantly in need of a gopher. My labor was cheap and available, so as you can probably imagine, I was constantly involved in one of his projects or another.

When I was helping him build a piece of furniture, I remember the painstaking effort he put in to making sure the legs of the table he was building were strong and stable. He expertly cut the joints in the wood, glued them in place and clamped them together so they would dry n place.

But then he did something that puzzled me. He had me help him drill countersunk holes for woodscrews and put in crews to hold the legs along with the glue.

So I asked him, “Why are you bothering to put screws in to hold the legs in place when you’ve already glued them in.” Replied dad, “Because the screws make the joints stronger, and I don’t want this table just to look well-made, but actually to be well-made.”

That made a big impression on me.

To have true quality, it wasn’t enough for something just to look good on the surface, but it had to be thoroughly good, possessing quality both where it is seen and where it is not.

It was no accident that dad believed as he did about his carpentry and other pursuits. For his philosophy of craftsmanship really was just an extension of his faith in Christ.

As the apostle Paul teaches, God’s people are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. And great master craftsman that he is, God is not satisfied with a surface morality that appears good on the outside but is full of rottenness on the inside. No. But when God calls his people to saving faith, he effects a radical change in them from the inside out.

In Christ, God’s people are pronounced righteous at the bar of his perfect justice through faith in Christ alone and sanctified by his Word and Spirit. Christians are not just to look good, but to be good.

So thanks, dad, for a lifetime of lessons. You taught me to throw a fastball and to hammer a nail. Most of all, you taught me in word and in deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Happy Father’s Day.


Hodgkinson Shooting

The baseball field where James T. Hodgkinson carried out Wednesday’s attack.

Shots fired! Whither America? I refer, of course, to the latest violent outrage committed by a representative of the political left and what it means for America’s future.

By now, you’ve doubtless heard about how the former Illinois home inspector James T. Hodgkinson walked up to a Washington D.C. baseball diamond, asked if it was the Republicans out there, and upon being told yes, opened fire, wounding four and dying in a shootout with the D.C. police.

While liberals sought to deflect blame, putting the onus for the shooting on conservative support for Second Amendment gun rights, a more likely cause can be found in the violent rhetoric and actions of the left itself.

For more than a year, liberals and progressives have engaged in a hate campaign against Donald Trump and his supporters that brings to mind the sort of violence committed at the hands of the Nazi Brownshirts of yesteryear.

And the violence has come, not just from fringe elements of the left such as Antifa, but remarkably enough from the DNC itself.

In fact, given the shrill, over-the-top, non-stop, anti-Trump, anti-Republican vituperation from the left lo these many months, Wednesday’s attack seems less a surprise and more an unavoidable consequence.

Just days before the shooting, reports were circulated about Free Shakespeare in the Park’s staging of Julius Caesar, in which an actor playing the part of Caesar, dressed as Donald Trump, was stabbed to death.

It’s hard to view an outrage such as this as anything other than the expression of the heartfelt wish of many progressives. Whether it’s Snoop Dog taking a .38 to the head of a Trump-like clown, Madonna openly admitting she often thinks about blowing up the White House, or the profanity laced rants of washed up actor Robert De Niro, the entertainment community has done much to incite the sort of violence seen Wednesday.

One might even say these individuals have blood on their hands.

And in case anyone has doubts about just how far beyond the pale the left’s rhetoric has become, just substitute Barack Obama for Donald Trump in any of the above examples. Said one attendee at the staging of Julius Caesar, “To be honest I thought it was shocking and distasteful. If this had happened to any other president – even as recently as Barack Obama or George W. Bush – it would not have flown. People would have been horrified.”

Indeed.

Whither America? I wish I knew. Progressives love to boast about their tolerance, lover and compassion. But those who are on the receiving end of their vitriol may not be so convinced of their goodwill.

As Christians, let us seek the peace of the city, let us pray for our country, and let us not be afraid to condemn those who seek to achieve by violence and threats of violence what they could not at the ballot box.

Sanders and Vought

Bernie Sanders questions Russell Vought in Senate confirmation hearing, 6/7/2017.

Tolerance. It may be the single dominate buzzword or out time. Everyone has heard of it. Progressives claim to have it. Conservatives are berated for lacking it. All must bow down to it. Yet rarely does anyone attempt to define it.

There is a Christian sense to the term “tolerance,” one to which any believer in Jesus Christ would readily affirm, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” As Christians, we are to treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated, “for this is the law and the prophets.”

Negatively, tolerance in the Christian sense does not mean agreeing with everybody, saying that all ideas about God, ethics, politics or economics are equally true. There is truth, and there is falsehood. There is darkness and there is light. The prophet Isaiah condemned those who put darkness for light and light for darkness. As Christians, we are called to proclaim the truth and expose the lie.

Aye, and there’s the rub, at least as far as 21st century progressives are concerned. These folks have infinite patience for every idea under the sun, no matter how irrational or destructive it may be, just so long as they can use it as a weapon to smash what little is left of Western civilization.

For the cultural Marxists, if an idea or action doesn’t shock and offend the Protestant bourgeoisie and serve to tear down their civilization, it is by definition intolerable.

Barak Obama gave voice to this notion a few years ago with his “bitter clingers” remark.

Hillary Clinton showed her contempt for ordinary Americans last fall, labeling a large swath of the American population as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic…they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

Not only does Mrs. Clinton think Americans, her present company excepted, are a bunch of bigots, but she adds that they are irredeemably so. And by stating “they are not America,” it appears that the thinks of these individuals, not as fellow Americans who deserve her respect, but as animals who must be controlled.

And she wonders why she lost the election.

All of which brings me to Bernie Sanders and his remarks in a Senate confirmation hearings this past week. If you haven’t seen the video yet, please take a couple minutes to review it.


The terse exchange between potential deputy White House budget director Russ Vought and Senator Bernie Sanders is packed with theological, legal and political implications. Let’s look at a few of them.

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Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before Congress. 

I’m sick unto death of hearing about James Comey. But no more than I’m sick of hearing about Russian collusion, FISA warrants, special prosecutors and impeachment. Enough already! Anybody with me on this?

 

After watching Democrats and the mainstream media – I know, they’re substantially one and the same thing – work themselves into a tizzy about supposed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, I just can’t take it anymore.  They had high hopes that their new found fair-haired by James Comey would deliver a death blow to the Trump presidency, but that appears not to have happened. 

Even liberal commentator Chris Matthews (no relative) admitted as much.  Said Matthews, “But the big story has always been the assumption of the critics of the president…that somewhere along the line in the last year, the president had something to do with colluding with the Russians…And yet what came apart this morning was that theory.” So for you Democrats, take it from one of your own and just stop it with the Russia, Russia, Russia thing, ‘k?

Here’s the deal: you guys lost the election, not because of the Russkies, but because you had an epically horrible candidate. And you had an epically horrible candidate because the epically corrupt DNC epically rigged the primaries to ensure Hillary was your nominee, paving the way for the Trump administration, the very thing you hate the most in all the world.

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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. – Isaiah 1:7

 

London Bridge Terror Attack_3

Police respond to the terrorist attack on London Bridge, June 3, 2017.

 

 

Dear Britain, we need to talk. I know, I know, talking about sensitive subjects, that’s the very sort of thing we’d all prefer to avoid. And yet, sometimes the very things that are most difficult to discuss are the very things that most need to be discussed. In this case, the uncomfortable subject I have in mind is your ongoing, painful-to-watch civilizational collapse.

For my part, I’d rather not bring up the topic. It would be much more comfortable to keep my nose to the grindstone and carry on as if nothing were happening. And yet, after watching news of the third major terrorist attack in Britain in less than three months, I simply cannot hold my peace any longer. In the words of Isaiah, strangers are devouring your land in your presence. But for all that you do nothing. How can this be?

But in truth, your response is worse than nothing. For not only are you failing to address the collapse of your civilization, each new disaster seems to strengthen your leaders’ resolve to hasten the day when Great Britain, at least as it has been understood for centuries, no longer exists.

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Trump_Paris Accord Speech“We’ll always have Paris.” Those words, uttered by Humphrey Bogart, are among the most iconic in film history.

Fast forward seventy-five years and Donald Trump flips the script, saying Thursday in so many words “We’ll never have the Paris Accord!”

Well, praise the Lord and amen!

The Paris Accord was a disaster for this nation, and Trump was absolutely right to reject it.

Let’s take a closer look

Trump’s Thursday Speech

Running about 27 minutes, Trump’s speech was music to the ears of his supporters and a trigger to his foes.

Said Trump, “Therefore, in order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord…As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens. The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers – who I love – and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production…Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million jobs by 2025…I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States – which it does – …while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters…In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries…This agreement is less about climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States…The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries…The fact that the Paris deal hamstrings the United States, while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries..the real reason why foreign lobbyists wish to keep our..country ties up and bound down by this agreement: It’s to give their country an economic edge over the United States. That’s not going to happen while I’m President…The Paris Agreement handicaps the United States economy…I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris…Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia, and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the U.S. economy than our own citizens and their elected representatives. Thus, our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of America’s sovereignty..AS President, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to the American people.

Not only were Trump’s words a stinging rejection of the globalist Paris Climate Accord, but conversely they represented the single strongest statement of American sovereignty by a president in my lifetime.

Well done, Mr. President. Well, done.

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Nye_UndeniableLast week we looked a Chapter 1 of Bill Nye’s book Undeniable, Evolution and the Science of Creation. This week’s post will examine Chapter 2 of that same book, a chapter titled “The Great Creationism Debate.”

Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham

On February 4, 2014 Bill Nye and Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis (AiG) debated the question “Is creation a viable model of origins?”

The debate must have made a big impression on Nye, for he states at the beginning of Chapter 2 that “in many ways it [the debate] was the impetus for me to write this book.

According to Wikipedia, the origin of the debate were in a video posted by Nye on Big Think titled Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children.

In the video, Nye laments the that “Denial of evolution is unique to the United States.” This is a problem, Nye tells us, because it threatens to retard our progress and prosperity as a nation.

What’s interesting about Nye’s remark about the unique failure of the United States to bow down before the altar of Darwin is that he immediately follows it by saying “We are the world’s most advanced technological [civilization?]. I mean you could say Japan, but generally the United States is where most of the innovation still happens. People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital that we have, the general understanding of science.”

As Nye sees it, the stubborn resistance of Christians to accept Darwinian evolution is a threat to all this.

Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, it may be worth asking, just why is that, at least according to Bill Nye, the one nation where there is strong resistance to Darwinism is also, in Nye’s opinion, at the same time the most technologically advanced civilization?

These two ideas appear to be in conflict. If believing the Bible is really the social retardant Nye thinks it is, would it not follow that the US would be among the world’s most backward nations, not among its leading lights?

It seems to me that Nye, who claims to have a great curiosity about the world around us, would be curious enough to look into this strange [according to his world view] phenomenon, but the thought does not seem to occur to him.

For those interested, a video of the 2014 debate can be seen here.

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