Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Love Your Kids? Kill Your TV?

According to a study by the journal Pediatrics young children who watch TV have a 28% higher chance of developing ADHD when they are in early elementary school.
We found that early exposure to television was associated with subsequent attentional problems

our findings suggest that preventive action can be taken with respect to attentional problems in children. Limiting young children’s exposure to television as a medium during formative years of brain development consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations may reduce children’s subsequent risk of developing ADHD

And do we need all that mindless crap going through our minds? Man am I guilty of just using TV to numb my brain. I guess it is cheaper and more legal than other addictions, but really, should we as decent human beings aim higher than television?

I do like to watch my Falcons and movies are fun. But I find myself and my kids flipping channels or watching stupid brainless shows. And why?

An ancient writer says, 'whatever is true, noble, pure, right, excellent - think on these things." Wouldn't we all be better served to follow this wisdom?

Back When I Had A Spine

We kept our TV in a closet until our kids were 8, 6 and 3 and got it out only for videos and stuff. I think the only reason it stays out now is that we're all addicted to LOST and The Office (and I'm too lazy to put it away and get it out.)

I watch most of the programs my daughters watch (not all because I'm a great fan) so I can relate to them about it. We talk back to the screen, point out the stupid and wrong things purported in shows and commercials (and debates and SNL Weekend Update) but I wonder if we'd be better off just killing the whole thing....

Is it un-American to kill your TV?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stupidity Happens Up North, But No Redneck Jokes Yet

This is terrible news. An 8 year-old boy accidentally shot himself with an Uzi while under adult supervision at a gun show. Absolutely a tragic day for that family and anyone who remotely appreciates the constitutional right and to bear arms responsibly.

But the adults at that event were STUPID to let an 8 year-old hold a loaded machine gun, much less fire it.

And you know what I'm curious to see? How does the rest of the media (yes, I am technically a member of the media now that I have a blog) handle the news and commentary?

If this had happened in one of my beloved home states in the South, every comedian (except maybe Jeff Foxworthy) would make redneck jokes about it and comment on how people in rural America cling to their guns and religion - oh wait, that was a presidential candidate who said that... sorry, I'm mad and rambling.

This little boy died at a gun show an hour from Boston Massachusetts because his parents were stupid. People do stupid things everywhere and people loose their lives.

Why? Because actions have consequences. That is the moral order of the universe.

THINK! Ideas and actions have consequences! Say "NO" when kids ask to hold or shoot loaded machine guns! Say "NO" when it is the right thing to say but isn't popular!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Yeah, sometimes I am shocked! God hears and answers our prayers! My friend and our brother in Christ Jesus is OUT of JAIL and home with his family! Wow! I don't know anymore details than that, but it is not a joke and has been confirmed. So I'm partying!

If you wanted to get caught up, I wrote about the likelihood of him being hanged like his father here and his initial imprisonment here on 9/11.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Check Kiting Weakness

Does anybody remember 'check kiting' and how it worked?

I think it is actually illegal. So don't do this! But I have friends who told me back before banks were so automated, it took about 3-4 days for a check you wrote to clear the bank and the money to actually be taken out of your account. So even if you had $2 in you account on Friday, you *could* write a check to pay for groceries on Friday, get paid on Monday and take the deposit to the bank before the check came through. The money floated over the weekend, hence the term 'kiting.'

I am a 'prayer kiter.'

At the foundation of my life, I am weak. I minister and preach and lead my live, my family and this church (pretty much do everything) expecting that the deposit of Christ's power is going to get there even when I am empty and before I hit the ground.

I live off of the anticipated generous prayers of God's people like I used to kite a check.

Please pray for me today. Pray not that I externally conform to some set of rules or have some mysterious feeling, but that I love my heavenly Father and don't fall for the temptation to live like an orphan, but rather fall like a beloved son into the arms of the Most High God.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hanged for Being a Christian

How long before Christians in America face this reality?

OUR FAMILY is being systematically and illegally persecuted, tortured and murdered.

Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Pictured - father, hanged in 1980 and son Ramtin, currently arrested and awaiting judicial outcome. From the Telegraph article

This is the first and only article in the mainstream media in the US or Europe about the national movement in Iran to execute Christians. From the Telegraph in the UK.

Excerpts from the article Saturday:
Hanged for being a Christian in Iran
Eighteen years ago, Rashin Soodmand's father was hanged in Iran for converting to Christianity. Now her brother is in a Mashad jail, and expects to be executed under new religious laws brought in this summer. Alasdair Palmer reports.

Last Updated: 8:55PM BST 11 Oct 2008
Rashin Soodmand, whose father was hanged in Iran for converting to Christianity
Life for Rashin Soodmand, her siblings and her mother became extremely difficult after her father was executed in Iran for the 'crime' of abandoning his religion Photo: PAUL GROVER
Hossein Soodmand, Rashin's father, was hanged in Iran after converting to Christianity. Her brother Mashad is now in death row awaiting the same fate
Hossein Soodmand (left), Rashin's father, was the last man to be executed in Iran for apostasy. Her brother Mashad is now in death row awaiting the same fate

A month ago, the Iranian parliament voted in favour of a draft bill, entitled "Islamic Penal Code", which would codify the death penalty for any male Iranian who leaves his Islamic faith. Women would get life imprisonment. The majority in favour of the new law was overwhelming: 196 votes for, with just seven against.

Imposing the death penalty for changing religion blatantly violates one of the most fundamental of all human rights. The right to freedom of religion is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in the European Convention of Human Rights. It is even enshrined as Article 23 of Iran's own constitution, which states that no one may be molested simply for his beliefs.

And yet few politicians or clerics in Iran see any contradiction between a law mandating the death penalty for changing religion and Iran's constitution. There has been no public protest in Iran against it.

David Miliband, Britain's Foreign Secretary, stands out as one of the few politicians from any Western country who has put on record his opposition to making apostasy a crime punishable by death. The protest from the EU has been distinctly muted; meanwhile, Germany, Iran's largest foreign trading partner, has just increased its business deals with Iran by more than half. Characteristically, the United Nations has said nothing.

It is a sign of how little interest there is in Iran's intention to launch a campaign of religious persecution that its parliamentary vote has still not been reported in the mainstream media.

For one woman living in London, however, the Iranian parliamentary vote cannot be brushed aside. Rashin Soodmand is a 29-year-old Iranian Christian. Her father, Hossein Soodmand, was the last man to be executed in Iran for apostasy, the "crime" of abandoning one's religion. He had converted from Islam to Christianity in 1960, when he was 13 years old. Thirty years later, he was hanged by the Iranian authorities for that decision.

Today, Rashin's brother, Ramtin, is also held in a prison cell in Mashad, Iran's holiest city. He was arrested on August 21. He has not been charged but he is a Christian. And Rashin fears that, just as her father was the last man to be executed for apostasy in Iran, her brother may become one of the first to be killed under Iran's new law.

Not surprisingly, Rashin is desperately worried. "I am terribly anxious about him," she explains. "Even though my brother is not an apostate, because he has never been a Muslim – my father raised us all as Christians – I don't think he is safe. They assume that if you are Iranian, you must be Muslim."

Her brother's situation has ominous echoes of her father's fate. Rashin was 14 when her father was arrested. "He was held in prison for one month," she remembers. "Then the religious police released him without explanation and without apology. We were overjoyed. We thought his ordeal was over."

But six months later, the police came back and took her father away again. This time, they offered him a choice: he could denounce his Christian faith, and the church in which he was a pastor – or he would be killed. "Of course, my father refused to give up his faith," Rashid recalls proudly. "He could not renounce his God. His belief in Christ was his life – it was his deepest conviction." So two weeks later, Hossein Soodmand was taken by guards to the prison gallows and hanged.

Life for Rashin, her siblings and her mother became extremely difficult. Some Muslims are extremely hostile to people of any other religion, never mind to those who they consider apostates: Ayatollah Khomeini declared that "non-Muslims are impure", insisting that for Muslims to wash the clothes of non-Muslims, or to eat food with non-Muslims, or even to use utensils touched by non-Muslims, would spoil their purity.

The family was supported with financial and other help from a Christian church based in Iran. That support became even more critical as Rashin's mother began to lose her sight. Rashin herself was eventually able to leave Iran. She now lives in London, married to a fellow Christian from Iran who successfully applied for asylum in Germany.

It took years for Rashin to understand how her father could have been legally executed simply for becoming a Christian. In 1990, there was no parliamentary law mandating the death for apostates. What, then, was the legal basis for Hossein Soodmand's execution?

On one subject, however, sharia law is unequivocal: men who change their religion from Islam must be punished with death. So when the judge heard the case of Rashid's father, he could refer to sharia and reach a straightforward decision: the death penalty. There was no procedure for appeal.

Nevertheless, in the 18 years since Hossein Soodmand's execution, there have been no judicially sanctioned killings of apostates in Iran, although there have been many reports of disappearances and even murders. "As the number of converts from Islam grows," notes Ms Papadouris, "apostasy has again become a serious concern for the Iranian government." In addition to 10,000 Christian converts living in Iran, there are several hundred thousand Baha'is who are deemed apostates.

There is another factor: President Ahmadinejad. "The President didn't initiate the law mandating the death penalty for apostates," says Papadouris, "but he has been lobbying for it. It is an effective form of playing populist politics. The Iranian economy is doing very badly, and the country is in a mess: Ahmadinejad may be calculating that he can gain support, and deflect attention from Iran's problems, by persecuting apostates."

The new law is not yet in force in Iran: it requires another vote in parliament, and then the signature of the Ayatollah. But that could happen within a matter of weeks. "Or," says Papadouris, "it could conceivably be allowed to drop, were there a powerful enough international outcry".

Time may be running out for Rashin's brother. She believes that the new law will be applied in an arbitrary fashion, with individuals selected for death being chosen to frighten others into submission. That is why she fears for her brother. "We just don't know what will happen to him. We only know that if they want to kill him, they will."

This is 'sharing in the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Are you ready?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Your Vote Does Not Count - And I'm Glad

Shocking isn't it?!

Yeah, I've been out of town celebrating my wife's birthday, but I have not lost my touch for saying things that tick people off... It's good to be home.

Here's the truth about the Presidential election. In all the fuss over who we are going to vote for (or not vote for) I actually read the US constitution the other day and it still provides absolutely no basis for a general election of the president of the USA. (Article II, Section 1)

So electing our next president is out of your hands in two ways.

One Way Your Vote Doesn't Count

If you failed to pay attention in 8th grade social studies class, here's the deal. The 50 States through the electoral college elect the President. No matter what it looks like on the ballot you fill out, you and I have no ‘official’ vote - our states commission a group of people who vote for president and they could all go crazy and cast their votes as they want - and there is no legal basis to undo the work of the electoral college. (Remember the 2000 presidential election?)

Second Way Your Vote Doesn't Count

Both our major party presidents sound like they are running for the office of 'King.'

They are making promises that they can’t keep. The President is limited by the constitution from doing MOST of the things they promise to do. The legislative branch is limited too. It’s crazy talk. Don't be fooled by either.

By the way, Christ is already King - and He didn’t need or ask for our vote.

Why I'm Glad Your Vote Doesn't Count

If you know Christ Jesus is King and in total control, then it puts this election in perspective and gives us so peace. It reminds us who believe in Christ that we are here to serve as His ambassadors. He'll take care of the political issues.

He always has and He always will.

Jesus left us with a question that puts this election in perspective: Will He find you and me faithfully serving Him?

Or are we wasting our time and energy obsessing over such a small matter as the president of the USA for the next four years?