Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Puppy Bowl

As February 3rd nears, excitement has raised to a fever pitch for the upcoming bowl game. Who will emerge as the reigning champion? What spectacular action will become the long remembered memory of the occasion? Will there be another half time wardrobe malfunction? The answer to these and any other questions in anticipation of the event can be obtained by tuning in to the “Animal Planet” on February 3rd at 3 pm.

Animal Planet? You read it right. The fourth annual Puppy Bowl will air concurrent with the Super Bowl on Super Sunday, February 3rd. If your interest level in professional football is on the wane because your favorite team isn’t involved, this is a superb alternative. It is the second most watched TV show in that time slot. Viewership exceeds that of the State of the Union address. Originated in 2005 as an alternative to the big game, it has become increasingly popular. Yes, there are those who really don’t care about football.

The format is simple. Take a mock stadium, put in ten to twenty puppies (no more than three months old) of varying breeds from a local animal shelter. Cover it in green outdoor carpet with yardage markers. Provide a referee (human) to throw the flag to cover any inadvertent accident and let the fun begin. Don’t worry if you don’t see your favorite breed in action, substitution is frequent and you’ll probably spot it sometime.

At about one-and-a-half hours along, a half time show provides a dozen or so kittens with a scratching post for your entertainment. For your “water bowl’s eye view” of puppies drinking, a puppy cam is installed beneath a clear glass water bowl. While you may not see a long bomb into the end zone, there is enough rough and tumble to satisfy every taste.

Folks, this is television at its best. Exciting, wholesome, funny, clean, and immensely entertaining, it definitely ranks as a “must see.” Every participant is available for adoption so everyone's a winner. Remember, Sunday, February 3rd, 3 PM, join me and watch it and laugh.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A New Religion

With 6,000,000,000 people in the world, give or take a few, we definitely have a ready market for religions. Here in the United States, with only 225,000,000 people but with greater freedoms and opportunity to pursue individual faiths, we have far more than our share. All too often the reason is other countries often have a state imposed religion or at the least one which is tacitly endorsed by the government. In some theocracies, following a creed other than that which is state sponsored can be dangerous to the point of death. Often these involve interpretations of God or at the least, a higher power of some sort with a variety of names.

While the lexicographers list the “service or worship of God” as the first definition for religion, they also include: “set of beliefs or religious attitudes”, “scrupulous conformity”, and finally, “cause, principal, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Even though God rates the number one spot, He is completely ignored in the remainder. Please note in the final definition the use of the word faith. “Belief in that for which there is no proof,” seems a convenient way to encapsulate its meaning. For those of us who relate words like faith and religion with the worship and adoration of Almighty God it may seem a corruption to attribute the usage to a more secular interest. Words have meaning and they are not always confined to our narrower usage.

The largest single contingent of fresh-faced “new” believers among us here and certainly world wide are those who adhere to the cult of Global Warming -- or climate change if you prefer. The prophet for the group, a necessary position, is none other than our very own Al Gore. His book, movie and endless computer models serve as a canon of scripture. The evidence of evangelical outreach is huge; not only by the “high priests” of the movement but with the complicit activity of the press and agenda driven governmental agencies. This theocracy is supported by individual governments and has gained international support from the United Nations. Watching the leadership of the group has its “Elmer Gantry” moments as they pollute the atmosphere with their jets and build mansions of energy guzzlers and go on to preach repentance over carbon offsets and cutting down trees. In their defense, few religions have ever been thoroughly cleansed of hypocrites.

In further parallel; dissenters are shunned in academia; attempts at silencing of contrary voices is near universal; and any effect of the sun as a causative factor is treated as lunacy. The propaganda mill for this entire fiasco is operational 24/7. No day passes without a reminder of their insidious campaign to inculcate one and all with their dire message. All disagreement is met with claims that “you” just don’t care about the earth. All ears are closed and the mouths run at a fever pitch. Pictures are painted of Philadelphia with suburban beach front property and vegetables being raised nine months a year in the Yukon Territory.

Ah, if only we would see the light and sign the Kyoto accords. Obviously if that industrial and economic giant, the United States would only abandon its industry and life style, the world would be a better place. Never mind that China, India and other titans of world production would be exempt. We are the villains. They choose to ignore the fact that without Kyoto we have an exemplary record of reducing carbon and improving air quality.
I am sorely pained when I observe otherwise thinking people buy into this scam. If you believe this tripe, better you should rush home and answer that email from Solicitor Benjy Matubo from Nigeria offering to share his 15 million dollar inheritance. Just because it’s on the network news at six and ten does not make it true. Repetition of identical falsehoods is no reason for their validation.

Although I have traveled extensively, I need do little more than look out my window to see superficial changes in the landscape. Our planet is alive! It is not a dead hunk of rock. It does indeed have a vulnerable surface layer which is highly susceptible to variance. To deny these changes would be foolish and ignore all geological and atmospheric evidence. This earth is in a constant state of flux.

To offer anecdotal evidence of either global warming or wage a denial is non-productive. By hand picking isolated circumstances to support either position serves only to serve the interests of the individual involved. The most embarrassing example of this is the attribution of climate change to Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans. New Orleans was destroyed by government operatives engaged in poor pre-hurricane performance (see US Corps of Engineers and NO Levee Control Board) well in advance of the fact. The largest damage was not from the winds but from the water. This highly predictable outcome has been advertised for decades. As a former Louisiana resident, I have observed the state government and attained familiarity with the mind set of the people. In my view, there was absolutely nothing surprising about the disaster.

Personally, I love this earth. God has allowed me a paradise to call my home. I also recognize my responsibilities for the maintenance of our little rocky top property in the woods. It is not perfect, but then neither am I. When we chose the property, we realized that the summer would be hot and the winter could be cold. Like much of the Midwestern US, the last four years have found blistering summer days and, like this morning, days which start at seven degrees. This is weather – not, climate change. If you want a safe wager however, put your money on my being on my local golf course on Monday.

I trust the 10 day forecast from NOAA to be reasonably accurate. All too frequently even that changes within the ten day window but I understand. The only truly solid fact I have acquired over the years about weather forecasting is that it will be subject to change. The religion of global warming assures me that the same computer modeling which may well result in the cancellation of my golf plans can, with absolute accuracy, predict the level of the seas in a hundred years. It has to be true; the prophet (Al Gore) said so.

True believers hate dissension, controversy and examination of truth. For one to even suggest that global warming is a clumsy attempt to inhibit the economic growth of the United States and its friendly industrialized allies is to be characterized as one imbued with capitalist greed. I am amused to be counted among the successful capitalists who have acquired great wealth upon the backs of third world workers. That’s why we clip coupons and shop at Wal-Mart. Class envy, long an instrument of the leftists, is one of the prime movers of the faith. Stir up the masses to encourage the disruption of the economy by preaching gloom and doom and creating blame where it does not rightfully belong. I believe that snake handlers could mount a better defense of their faith. At least they believe that God will protect them.

If this post accomplishes nothing else, I hope it encourages you to not accept without thorough examination, all life changing propositions. Learn to recognize opinion versus fact. Dare to be the one who says, “Whoa!” If you read it here and think it is not accurate, tell us. We live in a world of lies clothed in slick presentation but lacking in supporting empirical evidence. If you have trouble sorting it out, accept the suggestion of following James: 1: Ask of God.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Detroit School Book Depository, Roosevelt Warehouse

I make constant allegations which, to a varying degree, I can back up with easily proven evidence. Today, I have the goods. I have long maintained that the worst possible stewards of the minds of children are the government minions in charge of public education. The offering of the day is, I’ll admit, regionally affected by factors other than just the school administration. However this is exemplary of that old parable about the talents. In this circumstance, the talents were not buried or allowed to remain idle; they were willfully destroyed.

The link contains nineteen pictures of various views within the depository. They loaded slowly for me because with satellite internet service, I only download at 350 KBs. You needn’t look at them all. Just a few will give you the idea.

At first view, one suspects a fire or a flood caused this carnage. Closer inspection reveals that any fires were limited and probably set by vandals. Obviously, any time you neglect a building, depreciation of the structure will allow excessive moisture in and ruin the interior and its contents. Some of the chaos evident in the photos was caused by the recovery of usable furniture and lumber from the areas shown. One rarely sees a bookcase or pallets. There is also the presence of “gang” signs every where with its obvious implications.

Although I have no confirmation, it would be a safe wager that many of the people responsible for this building are still on the payroll. There is no reason to believe under current policy that they would have less job protection than the incompetents who man the classrooms. Given its size, one can only imagine the immense actual dollar cost of its construction and contents. Having examined some text books in current usage, it is entirely possible the destruction of some of these would work for the good of the students.

This travesty should concern us as Christians at many levels. First in my mind is the matter of stewardship. The Master took a dim view of waste. He was concerned with the acceleration of assets and their care and keeping. See talents, sheep, oil for lamps, wheat and tares, and other familiar biblical stories and references. From Genesis 1 he gave us the gift of our earth and its contents for our careful use. The only examples of willful destruction are reprisal in the face of sin or the acts of the sinners. Those who are not among the faithful to His teachings are promised a terrible end in the latter days. Even though not local, this waste of resources can probably be traced to our individual communities to a lesser or, God forbid, greater degree.

Our second highest concern should be loss of liberty in the process of teaching the young. The need for this building was the storage of teaching materials. Yes, it was more than likely they used it to martial material for distribution during the school year. But I see its primary function as the warehousing of unused and “out of date” teaching aids. Is a physics book out of date because they repealed the laws of gravity? Is a math text no longer useful because speed problems are expressed in “mph” rather than “kph?” Is a literary work (see “Huckleberry Finn”) obsolete because we can’t see political correctness in the genius of the author? In today’s world, No Child Left Behind equates to “no child left to think.” We all recognize the effort to ban any text in any subject which offers the slightest defense of creationism or its author, God Almighty. Thus, by banishing these volumes to their fate of being destroyed through neglect in the depository makes sense to the formers of the new social construct. Once abandoned, any text which sees Jesus Christ as other than an historical curiosity can be allowed to molder and rot. Given the Divine nature of the US Constitution I would not be surprised to see hundreds of copies lying in waste under the rubble.

Anyone who has driven through Detroit in the last decade has seen a city which more closely resembles Würtzburg shortly after World War II. Having seen both, I feel qualified to make the comparison. Vast empty spaces between crumbling buildings inhabited by feral former pets form a ring around the central business district. It has a CBD which boasts some of the most expansive and beautiful buildings in America. Built primarily for visitors on the back of US taxpayers it fulfils the definition of “bread and circuses.” The easy explanation is the decline of the auto industry. While a factor, it is simpler to point to moral decay and citizen ennui. Make no mistake; I am describing an American City, and a very large one.

Before we point the fingers at Detroit with too much enthusiasm, we should also look at our own communities and school districts. While probably not as extreme as the example cited, are the monitors of our own local school systems doing an equivalent proportional amount of damage to the children in their care? Have you, as a Christian parent or grandparent, checked out the situation in your district? If you think that kids are going to complain about getting a “softball” education, you can think again. The path of least resistance is very attractive to all of us and especially to kids. With five kids and twenty grandchildren, I have more than a passing acquaintance with their thinking.

I thank God for my daughter and one daughter-in-law for their efforts to home school my grandkids. A third is giving it prayerful consideration. Although each is a solid Christian home with a very active participating father, that is not my prime consideration. I very much want them to have the opportunity to be challenged and fail! I want them in an atmosphere where there are no stupid questions. I want them educated where the qualities of a mother’s love prevail. I freely admit to excessive pride in these families and their zeal to keep the government out of their lives. I have rendered unto Caesar and concluded I would rather render unto God.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


In a fit of atypical sensitivity, I questioned my bride this morning about what seemed obviously, some distress. As usual, she denied any problem and, fighting back tears, continued in her work. Fearing that I had committed some unknown high crime, I later pressed the matter in the hope of finding the cause of her angst. She finally confessed she had received a note from a close relative in response to a suggested book which she found spiritually outstanding.

The writer of the note revealed in the text, not agnosticism but absolute disbelief. Since my wife has an exemplary faith in Jesus Christ and the tenets of the Gospel, that reply brought serious questioning of “where she went wrong.” The matter prompted a discussion of some length.

Several things came up as we attempted to figure out why the aforementioned relative had so firmly come to these conclusions. Being well versed in her history, I had a measure of understanding, not sympathy -- understanding. We sawed back and forth and finally singled out selfishness as the villain. This is an easy conclusion because the condition is nearly universal to some degree or another in each and every one of us.

As previously argued on these pages, we have survival mechanisms hard wired into our psyche which render us primarily concerned for our own well being. As babes, we scream for food, comfort and attention. We progress to a more sophisticated level, protecting our own toys, space, and importance in the family. As teens we are introduced to more and more interest in the carnal self and are constantly reacting to our peers, not just in the family, but in the world at large. If nothing interrupts this process, the result is inevitable. Our pre-adult years are spent often within the confines of our own existence. Under these circumstances, it is difficult not to realize that, “it’s not about you.”

We question some adults, who are far from the realm of childhood, and wonder when they will “grow up,” a euphemism for diminishing selfishness. Some never do. They continue to clamor for attention and their entire world view is a mirror for their own needs. You know these people. They populate our divorce courts, rehabilitation centers for drugs and alcohol, hospitals, prisons, and congress. I didn’t just throw that in to see if you were paying attention. Unfortunately, it is frequently apropos. Each is a rampaging example of selfishness and almost every social ill can be traced to it. Infidelity, personal gratification, hypochondria, crime, and, for that matter, earmarks of other peoples' money as a re-election device can be traced to love of self. None of these people have the greater good of mankind as their central purpose. Their exposure to the teachings of Jesus Christ have either been inadequate or ignored.

Recognizing selfishness in oneself is not an easy matter but it is absolutely essential for a professing Christian. As a foundation for the humility we are advised to seek and the repentance necessary for salvation it is of the utmost importance. Success in the issue is difficult to quantify. It cannot be seen in terms of the absolute. It exists on a sliding scale. With the total absence of self comes a degree of perfection which would make us an immediate candidate for translation to the heavenly realm. Does that mean it is a hopeless endeavor? Speaking personally, I easily recognize the various levels of selfishness which have guided me to harm not only myself but others. This realization has drawn me to see in Jesus Christ the answer to all of life’s problems. Even though I see Him as a solution I recognize, even today, a varying sublimation of self and elevation of Him. I would love to tell you the process is final but must share that I am a work in progress. I offer this as a disclaimer for those who don’t realize I am writing this for me as well as for you.

There is a finite amount of space in our hearts and minds. We may either choose to fill the void with love of self or the love of Christ. Along with the love of Christ comes the love of others. He did not suggest it; He commanded it. I know; your back aches, your car payment's due, your sister ran off with the pool boy, the preacher offended you, and your boss is a minion of Satan. But, is that an excuse to offend everyone else in your life? Does it become a reason to withdraw your tenderness and not address the needs of others? We are advised not to hide our light under the bushel but shine as a beacon to all as an example.

I must re-emphasize that this is an ongoing procedure. Filling the voids with the spirit of the Lord, to be successful must be constant. Any departure from this effort will result in failure and all its consequences. I have encountered a few professionals in my life whose constant focus was on practice: a couple of doctors, lawyers, and certainly some athletes who have recognized this as an essential aspect of their careers. Is not our pursuit of the Lord’s purpose in our lives not worthy of practice as well? Further study of the scriptures, a good word to a brother, random acts of kindness and a general sense of a good example go a long way toward practicing what we preach. I fully realize that it might forestall some of our selfish interests, but then, that is what this all about, isn’t it?
While I cherish the fellowship with other believers I fully understand that my future rests upon my personal relationship with God. I find it non-contradictory that I face judgment based upon my actions alone. I cannot run, neither can I hide. As my knowledge of Him has increased and my heightened awareness of His purposes has taken over my thoughts I am far more comfortable facing the realities of the future.

As far as the relative who caused all this introspection in the first place, my immediate thought is to seek the Lord in prayer. The second response is to enlarge the scope of the example we set by assuring her that all our love is available and, like it or not, so is the Lord’s. The most important thing is to continue the contact and not run away from any confrontation, because once dialogue ceases, any chance for ministry disappears as well.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 21

We shall start the rant this morning with a quote: “The saddest aspect of life right now is that is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” Isaac Asimov

I would suggest that Mr. Asimov nailed it. It could also be modified by substituting people for the word science. The information age has provided the data. God can indeed help us with the wisdom part, but only if He is sought.
I may have isolated part of the problem with the church. In my initial exposure to the faith, in Bedison Congregation, Far West Stake, in the sixties, each priesthood member was employed as a “hands on” farmer. This closeness to the land was expanded by a system of preaching exchange within the Stake to include priesthood largely from neighboring congregations with a primarily agricultural bent. Most were limited in formal education but were extremely accomplished in their chosen vocations as tillers of the soil. They also pursued their priesthood duties seriously and effectively.

Their knowledge of the Scriptures was at a level of advanced degree college work. Their social and counseling skills, though not polished, were exemplary. As visitors came to the pulpit, we saw clothing accurately described as “Sunday Best” and only worn four or five hours a week. No thought had been given to style. The faces were tanned from the sun, even in winter, and their strong hands showed evidence of hard work. As they spoke, the king’s English was not always the rule, but God’s message was unmistakably constant. I marveled at their clarity and faith and came to realize how “God driven” these men actually were. In comparison to the slick, articulate presentations I had received from the pastors of other faiths, I came to feel that these men presented truths which had been otherwise unavailable. As I review the vocations of the faithful prophets and visionaries of the Testaments, I see far more tent makers, fishermen and men of husbandry than I do bankers, lawyers, and accountants. Please don’t plead that those latter occupations didn’t exist then, they did but often identified by different titles.

In the final analysis, my spiritual development progressed to baptism under the guidance of these holy men. My further growth has been a constant striving to live up to the example they set of following the Master without question. I really do miss them. I miss the unequivocal positions they held on doctrine. I miss the upraised voices in prayer and supplication. I miss their ability to make Jesus Christ a living factor for so many of the congregation. Not a myth or an entertaining story but rather they presented a living God ever active in our lives.

Am I suggesting that one needs to be a farmer to be an effective representative of Christ? Absolutely not. I am not saying that you can’t do the work of the Lord unless you are immersed in agriculture. I am also not saying that you can’t be Satan’s tool if you are. I am only reporting anecdotal evidence from a happier time in the church when those to whom I was exposed were working the land.

Carpenters, farmers, and throwers of nets all break a sweat in their daily work. They must “get out of themselves” to accomplish their tasks. In the process, they often get their hands dirty and calloused. They tend more generally to deal in solving life’s problems and in seeking these solutions, to call on the Lord. Also, they have learned to accept the adversity which living on the land and dealing with weather and the fickle nature of some crops and animals bring. They deal in realism. Feelings never helped birth a calf or plow a row of corn, only skill will do that.

Please consider one final note on the parables of the Bible. Given the times, they were often couched in terms of a subsistence society. Thus, they are often more understandable to those who more closely live that life today. Although not easily discerned by some in today’s world, separating wheat from tares was and is an every day task for those who provide our food and clothing.

Yes, I have known men of great faith, with exceptional spiritual gifts, who were merchants, engineers, teachers and bean counters. It is not my intention to insinuate they do not have a good spirit. My only contention is that I personally have benefited more in my growth in the faith from the counsel of humble men of the soil.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon