We’re at War Hoss!

“It’s hard to look up to a man whose ear is always to the ground.” “We’re at war Hoss!” “We need statesmen, not politicians.” Those are just some of the catchier quotes from callers to Hugh Hewitt’s show. I must tell you the passion runs deep, as does the ire due our conservative Senators unwillingness to do the right thing. Cowardice in a man and leader is a very ugly thing.

There is very little in life I find as ugly as cowardice. Especially when it comes from people who purport themselves to be leaders. That’s why I’ve joined with Hugh Hewitt and other conservatives who are contacting our Senators who are considering signing a resolution expressing non-confidence about sending additional forces to Iraq.

The Senate just confirmed General Petraeus 83 to 17 in the Senate. General Petraeus and Secretary Gates have stated that signing and backing any such resolution will only serve to embolden the enemy and put our soldiers at further risk.

Just this last week five American’s were killed…murdered…when their helicopter was shot down. This is a preview of coming attractions if the enemy smells the fear from our leaders, their lack of support for our military and confidence in their ability to win this war. Loosing is not an option. We must win. Be wise and be a 9/11 American…not a 9/10 American.

Please contact the Senators listed below by e-mail, fax or phone…or all three. Let them know your concerns if we as a nation fail to back our military. Take “The Pledge” and get a clear message to our Senators.

Senator McConnell: Phone: (202) 224-2541 Fax: (202) 224-2499E-mail here.

Senator Lott: Phone: 202-224-6253 Fax: (202)-224-2262 E-mail here.

Senator Kyl: Phone: (202) 224-4521 Fax: (202) 224-2207 E-mail here.

Senator Ensign: (202)-224-6244 Fax: 202-228-2193. E-mail here.

Senator McCain: Phone: (202)-224-2235 Fax (202)-228-2862. E-mail here.

Senator Warner: Phone: (202) 224-2023 Fax: (202) 224-6295. E-mail here.

Senator Cornyn: Phone:202-224-2934 Fax: 202-228-2856. E-mail here.

Senator Smith: Phone: 202-224-3752 Fax: 202-228-3997. E-mail here.

Senator Coleman: Phone: 202-224-5641 Fax: 202-224-1152.E-mail here.

1/24/07 At the End of the Day…Regrets?

Tonight while studying the book of Ezra in Bible study…I was surprised by the verse that I found thought provoking.

At Kindred Community Church on Wednesday night one of our Elders, Dave Dunn teaches a Bible study. Dave is a wonderful Bible study teacher. His knowledge of the Bible, history and his heart for God help him to paint memorable pictures that remains with me each time I hear him teach. Sometimes listening to Dave teach…I feel like I could step right into the passage we are studying and be there. He makes the Bible come alive and the people of the Bible seem real, not just characters or names on a page…but real people.

For a couple of months now…we have been studying the book of Ezra. While I’ve read it before…it now means more to me as we’ve gleaned spiritual nuggets along the way.

Tonight’s passage was from chapter eight, verses 24-36. From this passage…the verse I want to remember and take with me is from verse 31b, “The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.” To always remember and never forget…that our God, my God is faithful…and He is good and He loves His own and provides for us.

But the verse that struck me was verse 31a, “On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem.”.

Why that verse you might ask? Well when I read that…I started thinking about what we had studied earlier. When the call went out to the Jewish exiles living in Babylon…not everyone wanted to return to Jerusalem. Some had grown use to and were comfortable staying in Babylon. So instead of returning to Jerusalem…they chose to stay in the foreign pagan land of Babylon.

But what I really wonder about…was on that day that the Jews, about 8,000 in number, chose to set out and return to Jerusalem…what were the Jews that remained in Babylon thinking? After all the preparation leading up to their departure was quite visible as they assembled by the Ahava Canal. It was obvious that God’s hand and favor was with them…even moving through King Artaxerxes.

Were they relatively oblivious to the Jew’s leaving? Or were there any folks looking on with a feeling in the pit of their stomach realizing that they made the wrong choice. That they missed their shot to return to the land that God had given them? And now it was too late. Or was it too late? Would Ezra have accepted anyone who made a last minute decision that they wanted to return with the rest of the Jewish exiles?

I think of the phrase that Charles Stanley frequently uses. “I can choose to obey God and see what He will do, or I can not obey God and spend the rest of my life wondering what God would have done in my life.”

It seems like the daily obedience in life prepares me to be obedient to God in the big decisions. I must have a listening ear towards God…with a mind, will and spirit willing to obey. That means trusting God…even when things don’t seem to make sense…from a human perspective. Leaving room for a work of God…not always planning everything out according to my handiwork.

I think one of my biggest challenges is having a listening ear towards God. I fill my days to overflowing. I love Bible studies, church and meetings…and listening to podcasts from my favorite pastors. Goodness knows there is enough of the everyday chores to eat up any remaining time. I find it hard to just be still…and listen to God.

I think there is something patently different about reading God’s word…than meditating on God’s word and waiting for God to speak. God doesn’t always do things quickly or on my time frame. It would also require me to choose to tune out some of the other distractions…some that are even quite worthy. I guess this is one that I will have to ask God to help me and guide me on.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

What would my choice have been if I had been one of the Israelite exiles in Babylon? Would I have stayed in Babylon…or returned to Jerusalem?

Take the Pledge…Not One Stinking Dime!

My dear Republican Senators…let me caution you…to not even go down the road of signing a resolution that criticizes the President and his commitment to send additional troops to Iraq. I promise you…if you sign any such resolution…not now, not ever will I give another dime to you, your campaigns or the National Republican Senate Committee if they do not unreservedly condemn your cowardly actions. Boys and girls…it time to stand up and back our troops.

Your life is not on the line in Iraq…have the courage, the moral courage, to back our men and women serving in Iraq. Don’t get wobbly weak knees now.

If you disagree with President, then tell your reasons…but offer a better solution. Never, ever take away support for the military that is serving.

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt has come up with a pledge to take for those who are committed to the men and women serving in our military. Below is the pledge taken from Hugh’s website. Please also be sure to let your Republican Senators know your concerns…and the consequences if they go down a wrong road.

The Pledge

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

Take the pledge, and tell the NRSC:

NRSC
Ronald Reagan Republican Center
425 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
202.675.6000
webmaster@gopsenators.com

Then e-mail Senator McConnell and Senator Ensign, and tell them too. Senator McConnell’s phone number is (202) 224-2541. Senator Ensign’s phone number is (202) 224-6244.

GOP activists and donors built the GOP senate delegation, as well as the majority that was punted away. They can disassemble it as well, and GOP support for a neoappeasement resolution is exactly the way to start that process.

The Congressional GOP has to realize it cannot have it both ways –you can’t be for victory after you were against it.

And GOP senators –alone or as a group– definitely cannot count on the support of the base if any of them vote for appeasement.

A Nobel American…Mark J. Daily

Lieutenant Mark J. Daily

Killed in Action…January 15, 2007

This magnificent piece was written by Lieutenant Mark J. Daily and is posted on his website Mark Daily at My Space. Mark was killed in action on Monday, January 15, 2007 in the city of Mosul when a bomb under his vehicle exploded. Three other soldiers were killed in the explosion: Sgt. Ian C. Anderson, 22, of Prairie Village, Kan.; Sgt. John E. Cooper, 29, of Ewing, Ky.; and Spc. Matthew T. Grimm, 21, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Please take a few minutes to read this young man’s take on the Iraq war. When you consider not supporting our military and choosing to cut and run…please read Lieutenant Daily’s post telling why he joined the military, knowing full well he would be in Iraq.

Why I Joined:

This question has been asked of me so many times in so many different contexts that I thought it would be best if I wrote my reasons for joining the Army on my page for all to see. First, the more accurate question is why I volunteered to go to Iraq. After all, I joined the Army a week after we declared war on Saddam’s government with the intention of going to Iraq.

Now, after years of training and preparation, I am finally here. Much has changed in the last three years. The criminal Ba’ath regime has been replaced by an insurgency fueled by Iraq’s neighbors who hope to partition Iraq for their own ends. This is coupled with the ever present transnational militant Islamist movement which has seized upon Iraq as the greatest way to kill Americans, along with anyone else they happen to be standing near.

What was once a paralyzed state of fear is now the staging ground for one of the largest transformations of power and ideology the Middle East has experienced since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to Iran, Syria, and other enlightened local actors, this transformation will be plagued by interregional hatred and genocide. And I am now in the center of this. Is this why I joined? Yes.

Much has been said about America’s intentions in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and seeking to establish a new state based upon political representation and individual rights. Many have framed the paradigm through which they view the conflict around one-word explanations such as “oil” or “terrorism,” favoring the one which best serves their political persuasion. I did the same thing, and anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (though there are countless like me).

I joined the fight because it occurred to me that many modern day “humanists” who claim to possess a genuine concern for human beings throughout the world are in fact quite content to allow their fellow “global citizens” to suffer under the most hideous state apparatuses and conditions. Their excuses used to be my excuses. When asked why we shouldn’t confront the Ba’ath party, the Taliban or the various other tyrannies throughout this world, my answers would allude to vague notions of cultural tolerance (forcing women to wear a veil and stay indoors is such a quaint cultural tradition), the sanctity of national sovereignty (how eager we internationalists are to throw up borders to defend dictatorships!) or even a creeping suspicion of America’s intentions.

When all else failed, I would retreat to my fragile moral ecosystem that years of living in peace and liberty had provided me. I would write off war because civilian casualties were guaranteed, or temporary alliances with illiberal forces would be made, or tank fuel was toxic for the environment. My fellow “humanists” and I would relish contently in our self righteous declaration of opposition against all military campaigns against dictatorships, congratulating one another for refusing to taint that aforementioned fragile moral ecosystem that many still cradle with all the revolutionary tenacity of the members of Rage Against the Machine and Greenday.

Others would point to America’s historical support of Saddam Hussein, sighting it as hypocritical that we would now vilify him as a thug and a tyrant. Upon explaining that we did so to ward off the fiercely Islamist Iran, which was correctly identified as the greater threat at the time, eyes are rolled and hypocrisy is declared. Forgetting that America sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler, who was promptly confronted once the Nazis were destroyed, America’s initial engagement with Saddam and other regional actors is identified as the ultimate argument against America’s moral crusade. And maybe it is.

Maybe the reality of politics makes all political action inherently crude and immoral. Or maybe it is these adventures in philosophical masturbation that prevent people from ever taking any kind of effective action against men like Saddam Hussein.

One thing is for certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Often times it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are.

So that is why I joined. In the time it took for you to read this explanation, innocent people your age have suffered under the crushing misery of tyranny. Every tool of philosophical advancement and communication that we use to develop our opinions about this war are denied to countless human beings on this planet, many of whom live under the regimes that have, in my opinion, been legitimately targeted for destruction.

Some have allowed their resentment of the President to stir silent applause for setbacks in Iraq. Others have ironically decried the war because it has tied up our forces and prevented them from confronting criminal regimes in Sudan, Uganda, and elsewhere.

I simply decided that the time for candid discussions of the oppressed was over, and I joined. In digesting this posting, please remember that America’s commitment to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his sons existed before the current administration and would exist into our future children’s lives had we not acted. Please remember that the problems that plague Iraq today were set in motion centuries ago and were up until now held back by the most cruel of cages.

Don’t forget that human beings have a responsibility to one another and that Americans will always have a responsibility to the oppressed. Don’t overlook the obvious reasons to disagree with the war but don’t cheapen the moral aspects either. Assisting a formerly oppressed population in converting their torn society into a plural, democratic one is dangerous and difficult business, especially when being attacked and sabotaged from literally every direction.

So if you have anything to say to me at the end of this reading, let it at least include “Good Luck” Mark Daily

An Unexpected Hero

Eighteen years ago when I first met Mike…I wouldn’t have guessed that one day…I would consider him a hero.

Today…as I look at what he has accomplished over the years…he’s become one of my hero’s. The quiet kind…that live an ordinary life of excellence and perseverance. Not looking for applause or recognition…but someone who has a passion for excellence that he applies to everyday life.

Not to say that Mike is obsessive compulsive…but by golly when he does something it has to be done right. And when it’s not…it wouldn’t be unheard of to see Mike edit, correct, change, revise…or start all over again. Not just the big things like properly documenting an investigation, installing cameras or preparing an emergency manual. But things as simple as wrapping up a power cord to put in his well organized computer bag.

When it comes to training and showing people how to do it right…call on Mike. If you need a manual to aid in training…call Mike.

When I found myself ready to pull my hair out…because a less than conscientious employee was turning in another sloppy report or file…I could always find an understanding soul to commiserate with when I talked to Mike.

After a while…we all just learned to accept these quirks as Mike just being Mike. I use to like to tease him and tell him we were going to get him therapy. But honestly…when I grow up…I want to have that same passion for excellence that Mike does.

I probably I realized how extraordinary Mike is when tragedy struck his family…leaving him as a single parent. Without hesitation…he stepped up to the plate. A devastating experience for anyone…but he committed himself to being the best dad that he could be to his beloved daughter. Through love…they got through it together…and still do.

You might think that one so neat, tidy and organized is way too serious. Let me assure you…that’s not so. Mike is a fun loving guy…and always appreciates a good joke. When you get the likes of Mike, Peter C. and Kris together…watch out. Add to that equation…the instigators Robert or Louis…you’d better take cover. You’re likely to be the next target of their latest joke!

Through all these years…Mike has had a deep desire to go into law enforcement. Ever since I first met him…I knew he’d make a great cop! If I ever turn to the dark side…and had to be arrested…I’d want to be arrested by Mike.

Not only is Mike a man of excellence…he is a practical soul. Leaving a company that you’ve been with for over twenty years…is not an easy decision. Even if it means pursuing your dream. Not a lot of folks have that kind of courage.

However…when our company was recently sold…Mike decided to make that leap. He decided to pursue his dream…and go into law enforcement. Not only do you have to apply…you have to undergo background checks and numerous tests to make sure you are fit to serve. So…after he applied…then came the waiting game. After many months…I was so excited when Mike shared the good news…that he had been accepted into the Sheriff’s program.

Then came the hard part…many weeks of training. Lots of folks enter the program…but not all finish. It’s a tough program that weeds out those aren’t able to cut it…or decide it’s not their cup of tea. Mike’s a practical man…and did not over estimate his chances of success. He knew he had a tough road to hoe…but took it one day at a time.

This week I received a note that Mike is graduating from the Sheriff’s Academy and will begin working in the field he’s aspired to for ever so long. Timing is everything…and unfortunately…I won’t be able to attend the ceremony. But I’ll tell you…I’ll be there in spirit and bursting in pride for this man who is my friend and my hero.

Phrases like…simply the best…seem contrived and over the top. But when you hold that phrase up to the pattern of Mike…it’s a very close match.

May the Lord protect you as you serve and protect our community…in this, your life long dream fulfilled. My prayers are with you. Congratulations Mike!

1/15/07 At the End of the Day…Questions

I’m very tired after a long day in which I was on the go from beginning to end. In part from fatigue…and in part from studying God’s word and contemplating God, my life and so much more…I have many questions swirling around in my head. On some…I have a glimpse of insight, but others…I have only layer upon layer of questions.

What does it mean to be conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ?

What does that look like in mind, will, emotions, attitude, actions and behavior?

As I grow to be more like Jesus…how and in what ways will I change?

I want to know…I mean really know Jesus in a deeper and more personal way. What exactly doest that mean? What will I have to do to know Him more?

No easy answers…but oh what an adventure. If life’s not a grand adventure…then what’s it all for?

I am done…I’m finish…I’m no longer willing…to live a settled for life!

1/14/07 At the End of the Day…Mixed Bag

Being that it’s Sunday…I almost feel obligated to have a post of a more spiritual nature. Indeed God was part of my day…as He is every day. Church was most excellent today. As I close everyday…I thank God for brining me to such a loving and wonder church as Kindred Community Church. Also I give thanks for living in this amazing country…in which we are able to freely worhsip and study the Word of God.

However…my post this evening may seem relatively frivolous. Each Sunday after church I go to see my mother and we watch a movie. Some old movies…some new. It’s the one time during the week…where I may actually sit down and rest for an hour or two.

This week…I chose to watch “The Goodbye Girl” dating all the way back to 1977. It’s one of my all time favorites. (Good golly…that’s 30 years ago. Jeepers creepers…I’m getting old!)

The Goodbye Girl is a charming, funny, touching romantic comedy. Richard Dreyfuss’ character Elliot is ever so cute and charming. Who could resist falling in love with one so fun, whimsical and romantic…okay, okay and sexy too? What a charmer he is. I find that I still identify with Paula, Marsha Mason’s character…one who has been hurt and is vulnerable…but covers it up with her quick, witty attitude…hiding her softer side for fear of bearing more scars.

I find that old movies that I once loved have become like comfort food for my emotions and soul. All too frequently I avoid romantic movies…since they seem to act as a painful reminder of my single status. But every once and while it’s nice to wrap around the thought of a nice romance…try it on for size. Boy oh boy…it feels ever so good. It reignites the hope that one day that deep longing and prayer will one day be answered.

Despite sneaking in a short nap…watching “The Goodbye Girl” was just what I needed.

On an uglier note…have I ever told you how much I hate Alzheimer’s? I hate it! Well my mom has Alzheimer’s as do all the residents of her section of the assisted living facility.

One of the ugly things with Alzheimer’s is how it robs you of your dignity. It’s wretched. There are days…when time with my mom is reduced to me reminding her to chew and swallow or wipe her nose when it’s running.

But that was the least of today’s ugliness. In the middle our time together in walked Floyd. Normally he is the sweetest man around…with his smile and easy going disposition. It’s not uncommon for the patients to get confused and disoriented and forget which room is theirs. So I gently try and steer them in right direction.

However today…Floyd would have none of that. He was quite agitated and wouldn’t cooperate. Something as simple as taking his hand and showing where he needed to go…wasn’t working. It’s amazing…for an elderly person who is quite frail and unsteady…how strong they can be. So I was surprised when not only did Floyd resist me leading him back to his room…but he was pushing me away.

It was a rather disconcerting situation. Alzheimer’s patients don’t always listen to reason. So trying a normal tactic like speaking in a soft, calming voice, taking his hand…didn’t get me anywhere. There’s no telling what Floyd was actually agitated about. The whole situation left me with a pit in the middle of my stomach…and a prayer that this won’t go on much longer. Somedays I feel like I can’t take much more of it…someday I just don’t want to take much more of it.

Not a pleasant day visiting my mom today. More and more…she is loosing her ability to relate. She doesn’t speak too much…and regular conversations are a thing of the past. Right now it’s mostly time spent together…hopefully doing something she enjoys.

To end on a good note…she does enjoy her Frappuccinos or Ice Blended drinks. I do have fun trying to select a new or different flavor to bring her each week.