Friday, May 2, 2008

Iniquity, Is It Full?

A man on the moon; small pox nearly eradicated, a weapon to slay nearly a hundred thousand with one explosion, daily conveniences fit for kings, all, in the midst of ease and comfort unimaginable in earlier times, are the norm for us today. Civilization has arrived. At last we control the universe—or do we?

Surely we have it all. Were there ever a people with so much genius? Was there ever a civilization with a comparable level of ability and accomplishment? Surely the microwave and the Blackberry demonstrate our superiority to the architectural wonders of Macchu Picchu. The Nasca lines, visible only from extreme heights (space?) must have originated from an earthly purpose and not any awareness of the possibility of being seen. The ability of the ancient Paracas to perform delicate brain surgery absent today’s modern implements simply demonstrates good luck and not skill. The pyramids of Egypt were a result of brawn, sweat and slavery with little imagination or talent.

In our endless egotism, we have become convinced that our accomplishments—and they are many—have totally separated us from our ancient ancestors. In fact, we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we have chosen not only to fail to acknowledge their magnificent accomplishments in the hard sciences but also to ignore the hard lessons they learned about their relationship with God.

Yes, their God and our God are one in the same. The same God who created the whole affair has been monitoring this ongoing enterprise from the beginning. He has patiently endured watching His greatest creation—we were made in His image after all—avoid His teachings and violate His laws. He has offered us unimaginable gifts, many of which we have squandered, and watched as we offered up praise to graven idols. We are no different from the ancients in that we see a “messiah” behind every lamp post and choose to ignore the one true God. That “messiah” can be a man with a false or self-serving doctrine or even wealth, fame, power or the other endless sources of our pride.

When God promised the children of Abraham the land of Canaan, it was with the proviso that it would not be until much later. He knew the Amorites would eventually become so iniquitous that they would necessarily have to be replaced. In a state of Divine fairness He would not deprive them of their holdings until their iniquity was full. (Deuteronomy 32:4)

We have seen His hand in the destruction of various societies, steeped in sin, by various means. Whether flood, earthquake, volcano, drought or miraculous (see Sodom and Gomorrah,) God will end the practice of ignoring Him. Fortunately, in the last example, I believe that it would be possible to fulfill the requirement for salvation which He offered. I do believe “one righteous man” could be found. Considering our moral position and the spate of recent earthquakes in unusual locations, I may be wrong. Throughout the scriptures, the Lord has offered man the opportunity for repentance in advance of His final actions.

One might believe that observation of the paths taken by the Israelites to finally be allowed to enter the Promised Land would have resulted in their absolute devotion and adherence to the commandments of God. We need look no further than Manasseh to falsify that premise. This King of Judah learned the hard way. Read 2 Kings 21:10-15 to fully understand what happens when God has finally had His fill. “I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it up side down,” states His intent in everyday terms which carries a meaning easily understandable to even the most ignorant.

Inherent in all this is the judgment of nations. The early fathers of the country understood all too well the cost of offending God. Madison observed in 1840 that, “Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.” Samuel Adams said, “Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general character.” Thomas Jefferson in 1794 stated, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever”

God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. He will tolerate us only so long as we permit it by adoration, praise, and repentance. The only question left then is of our response to Him and His immutable laws. Our fate is in our hands as He has clearly stated that which He expects of us. He will keep His end of the bargain. The only remaining question is when our iniquity becomes full.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I am grateful to Jonah Goldberg for clearing my mind on some issues surrounding the concept of unity. We generally accept it as a good and necessary thing. I do encourage one and all to step back and examine whether it really is or not.

The only real need for unity in His church would appear to be the singular belief in Jesus Christ and the scriptural understanding of the meaning of His life. Trivial tradition of service order, who can and who cannot share the gospels, identifying church leadership, and other man-made minutia all are meaningless if we fail to understand Him. If one does not understand sin, repentance, and the salvation brought about by his sacrifice and resurrection, then the entirety of the balance is meaningless.

Although not always visible, we do indeed have leadership; and it is not we who lead. It is Him who has set the standard and leads us to our reward. If one is totally preoccupied with prophets, first presidents, patriarchs, seventies, etc. when does one find the time and energy to seek the loving care of the Highest Power available? Our Lord demonstrated, during his time with us in person, that He was the absolute master of the impromptu. When faced with thousands by the sea who hungered for the word: He first fed them and slaked their physical thirst. As a living, breathing, genuine man, He understood the needs of those who were present. Was He concerned by the lack of a proper altar, the qualifications of those who served, or their credentials in the temples where they worshiped? No, He understood the message He came to share. He wanted for his flock that which He knew He was about to demonstrate, resurrection and ultimate salvation.

I truly believe that with the appearance of agency for man, any hope of earthly unity went out the window. Any veteran of the family dinner table realizes the fruitlessness of the search for absolute unity. Yes, we do provide a period of amnesty within our circle, regardless of the measure of importance, to achieve temporary common goals. However, for all to be ever of the same opinions and desires, excepting our love of the Lord, we can not be consistent over the long haul. Each is governed by his own personal view of matters both great and small.

Even in the pursuit of the Christ, no matter how individually devoted, we all enjoy a unique experience. Some I know claim visions, dreams, experiences, burning in the breast and other spiritual happenings. Most of these good people sincerely believe these things actually occurred. Our acceptance is then necessarily based on our knowledge of the individuals or by earnest prayers seeking confirmation. I am probably more accepting because of the personal response to prayer by the Lord and what I consider to be some strong personal testimony. Over decades He has healed my body and my soul and given me direction of incomparable worth. I also understand that any of my testimonies, regardless of their power, belong to me alone and are not comparable to any other mans. They are neither better nor worse; they are mine alone. They are mine to hold in lieu of that which I can not see.

In the same vein, my offenses against the Almighty are also mine. They are not the responsibility of any unified group. Subsequent repentance is also mine to exercise. This is no way means I should ignore the wise counsel and the often great words I hear from a pulpit or from a brother. If I am truly unified with Christ I should seek Him wherever He may be found. Often what I hear is uncomfortable but that is part of recognizing sin. I am fully aware that separation from God offends Him mightily and I need to be constantly on the alert to avoid it. Here again, it is a personal matter and does not depend on an organized hierarchy to be implemented.

So, how did unity become the hallmark of those in Independence who would have us make them our leaders? Here, we need to visit the opposite word, divisiveness. I believe rather than accept that each man has agency and more important a personal relationship with God, they see this independent responsibility as contrary to their own personal goals and ambitions. Is it any wonder then that we would question their agenda when individual members put the understanding of Christ in the forefront of their desires to the exclusion of organization and power structure? Divisive celebrates the necessarily personal relationship each of has with his Maker. Unity requires that relationship to be sublimated to a common human goal.

We are advised to become one with Christ. In choosing companions I attempt to determine that those I associate with share that goal. In that effort, when successful, I find that unity is a natural consequence and not something forced on me by men. We become one in our shared love of the Savior and a desire to entreat others to do the same. As I review the many wonderful relationships I have had with various Saints over the last few decades, I have come to understand that I was drawn to them by the obvious evidence of their commitment. As I have matured, my commitment has strengthened – not perfected. As my emphasis shifts to becoming one with the Master and less tied to organizations I feel an enhancement of the spirit and a keener understanding of my rightful goals.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Ed. Note: On this National Day of Prayer it might behoove us to think in terms of unity for all of us: the whole country and its leaders, not just the "The Church" and its leaders. jm

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Company We Keep—Part II

Yesterday we outlined a few friends of Obama and their ideological and financial influence on the candidate. Today, we continue to examine some more folks, their resumes, and question the wisdom of these associations. In this case we have a candidate who claims her experience in the White House is a positive factor to consider while voting. Given our views on the bonds of marriage, we agree that viewing a couple as a unit is an acceptable proposition. Therefore, we shall consider them a team and equally responsible.

I referenced my mother yesterday and shall emphasize another bit of wisdom she frequently offered. “Don’t take money from strangers.”

Marc Rich—In the final hours of the Clinton administration, among the pardons granted, rose the name of Marc Rich. He fled to Switzerland years previously to avoid facing charges of illegal trading, racketeering, and tax evasion ($48 million.) In addition to his other white collar crimes he was also accused of trading with Iran during the hostage crisis during the Carter administration.

His ex-wife, Denise, gave generous donations and attained friend of Bill status to allegedly gain the pardon.

Sant S. Chatwal—He raised about a half million for the 2000 senatorial campaign and pledged at least $5 million for the presidential campaign in 2007. It’s easier to raise huge sums when one doesn’t pay taxes. The IRS is seeking $4 million and the State of New York wants another $5 million in back taxes. He is also sought in India on charges of bank fraud.

Having a flush campaign war chest is apparently more important than understanding the source of the largesse.

Vinod Gupta—Gupta is in charge of infoUSA, a business in Omaha which paid Clinton more than $2 million in “consulting fees.” He is a list broker who sells the names of the most vulnerable seniors to confirmed con artists. Armed with the names, they proceed to bilk the unwary oldsters by appealing to their specific weaknesses – various illnesses, gambling addiction, and other infirmities. In 2002, he flew the Clintons in his private jet to a vacation in Acapulco. You do remember the picture of the happy couple supposedly dancing on the beach.

Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie—An Arkansas restaurateur, Charlie managed to gain about $2.2 million from foreign corporations (patently illegal) for the DNC and helped pay close to half a million of Clinton’s legal bills. Among the more nefarious activities was a meeting set up at the White House with a Chinese arms dealer.

During the 1997 Justice Department campaign finance investigation, Charlie was among the first indicted.

John Huang—His best known stunt was the solicitation of funds from nuns and monks of His Lai Temple in California. The huge sum gathered from those who had taken a vow of poverty was apparently reimbursed by the church. In addition to $250,000 from a South Korean company, an additional $450,000 was raised from persons of questionable citizenship.

In addition to having free access to the White House, he was awarded a “top secret” clearance by the Commerce Department. In fairness, one should point out that the majority of the $3.4 million raised for the DNC was returned. That had to hurt.

James Riady—Another source of foreign money funneled into the DNC and the campaign coffers, Riady is described as an Indonesian banking magnate. For his complicity in giving the tainted funds, he made the largest campaign finance settlement to the Justice Department in history for his 1992 shenanigans.

Riady was also closely associated with John Huang both in Arkansas and on the national scene.

Johnny Chung—A Taiwan born Californian, gave $366,000 in personal and corporate funds to the campaign and the DNC. It was alleged that the Chinese government supplied a large part of the funding. Most of the money was returned but not until Chung had made 49 visits to the White House. On one occasion he arranged for five Chinese businessmen to attend a taping of a Clinton radio address for a $50,000 donation.

His most reprehensible quote was, “The White House is like a subway: You have to put in coins to open gates.”

If you have time on your hands and some curiosity, you may wish to “Google” the following names: Roger Tamraz, Peter F. Paul, Aaron Tonkin, Jeffrey Epstein, John K.H. Lee, Pauline Kanchanalak, Ng Lap Seng, Abdul Rehman Jinnah and Ron Burkle. You will find a string of individuals breaking the law, skirting the law, and for the most part, just laughing at the law. They all have one thing in common: they would applaud a Clinton presidency.

In legal circles a corporation is treated in many ways as a person. One of these is the International Profit Associates (IPA) which Clinton addressed in December 2001. The employees donated over $130,000 to the senatorial campaign. The company was rocked by sex scandals involving the CEO and sales manager. I’ll spare you the details but the Hillary campaign brushed it off and kept the money. Even Blagojevich (Illinois governor) and Doyle (Wisconsin governor) afflicted with legal problems of their own rejected the monies tainted with the scandal.

With no apparent objection from the presidential spouse, the Lincoln bedroom has acquired a “revolving door” reputation as a string of supplicants for the presidential ear have passed through. I think Motel “6” would have been a cheaper place to hang your hat for the night.

Although these examples are mostly concerned with processing “dirty” money through the campaigns they are often excused by claiming alleged “friendships.” We have spoken of friendship previously and I don’t remember money being part of the discussion. But, if that is the definition they choose to assign to the relationship then I shall acquiesce and repeat my mother’s warning about the “company we keep.”

After two days writing about these people I think I need another bath.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Company We Keep

I had an excellent mother. She was loving, kind and wise. As a single mom, she provided my every need often at the expense of her own personal desires. In exchange for her care I was expected to live by her rules. Thank God! Otherwise who knows what I might have dreamed up?

One of her most insistent requirements was constant monitoring of my associates. At the time I didn’t realize her excessive interest in my friends was a protective device. She would subtly direct me away from influences which she saw as destructive. As a high school teacher in a small town she had the pulse of the community in current terms and was probably more aware than the average.

In the fifty-eight years since I left her care I have come to appreciate her wisdom. It is not that I blame my occasional errancy on others but I do see them as a contributing factor. It is also an indicator for me in evaluating the associations of people in their choices. In our current hour we are asked to make decisions on prospective national leaders. As an obvious result the angel on my shoulder reminds me to observe the “company they keep.” Let’s take a look at some of them.

Bill Ayers – During the height of the Viet Nam War, this guy was an admitted leader of the terrorist group, Weatherman. A splinter of the Students for a Democratic Society (Communist driven) the Weatherman espoused violence in reaction to the war. Ayers summed up the ideology saying, “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.”

In his book Fugitive Days, Ayers claims he “participated in bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972.” Ayers later said (in 2001) about the thirty bombings the Weatherman were responsible for, “I feel we didn’t do enough.” When reflecting about the use of bombs in the future he wrote, “I can’t imagine entirely dismissing the possibility.”

In a botched bomb making session in 1970, the device prematurely exploded and killed three Weathermen including his girlfriend. Its target was a dance for soldiers and their dates at Fort Dix, New Jersey which would have killed a huge number. From then on, he was wanted by the FBI. Because the Feds conducted an improper surveillance, the charges were subsequently dropped.

We are then left with this infamous quote from the book Destructive Generation: “Guilty as sin, free as a bird, America is a great country.” The outcome was not to prosecute but rather reward. Today he is a Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois, has written several books on parenting and education, and sits as director for the Woods Fund of Chicago. After the ill-fated bombing he married another Weatherman.

Bernadine Dohrn – As the wife of Bill Ayers, we can safely give her complicity in almost all of the above. She falsely claimed, “We rejected terrorism. We were careful not to hurt anybody.” In addition we can add her remarks concerning the infamous Sharon Tate murders in their Benedict Canyon mansion in 1969 at the hands of Charles Manson and others. “Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork in the victim’s stomach! Wild!” She later claimed the remark was a joke.

After nearly a decade on the run as wanted fugitives, both Dohrn and Ayers surrendered in 1980. Although the original charges had been dropped, Dohrn served probation for bail jumping and aggravated battery. Later she served less than a year in jail for refusing to testify at the trial of Weatherman Susan Rosenberg for armed robbery. There continues to be an ongoing investigation by law-enforcement in the killing of a policeman in San Francisco in a bombing in which Dohrn is a suspect.

The price for all this is a BA from the University of Chicago in political science and a JD from Chicago school of Law. She is now a professor of law at Northwestern University and Director of the Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice. She also serves on boards and committees of the American Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jeremiah Wright – If your television is broken, your newspaper service interrupted, you don’t own a computer and you need to get the radio in your car repaired, you have probably not heard the outrageous remarks of “pastor” Jeremiah Wright. Otherwise I must conclude you are not paying attention or just plain don’t care

He is on a current campaign to explain some of the assertions he has made both from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ and to figures in the media. To remind you of his speeches, here are few to ponder:

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye.”

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.” (2003)

“Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run! We [in the U.S.] believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God.” (Sermon)

“In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01. White America and the western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.” (Magazine article)

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” (Sep 2001)

These quotes, coupled with the allegation that America funded and discovered a distribution system for AIDS in Africa reveal the deep seated hatred and prejudice of this man. Where is he now? He has officially retired from Trinity and settled down in his $1 million dollar mansion (elders eat your heart out) and is making a constant stream of appearances with the talking heads to defend his outrageous comments.

Tony Rezko – In the convoluted money circles common in Chicago politics, Rezko is known as the “fixer..” Currently under indictment on corruption charges, he was accused in grand jury findings of bribes, kick backs and nebulous financial dealings involving millions of dollars. The only public figure mentioned in the indictment is Illinois governor Blagojevitch. The trail is ongoing and like any other charge, Rezko is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

So what do all these people have in common? Each has been identified as a friend of the same political candidate for president – Barack Hussein Obama. Ayers and Dohrn have held fundraisers for and share seats on various community boards. Wright claims the candidate as a twenty-year member of Trinity, married the couple, and served as the inspiration for Obama’s book. In addition to holding a post on the candidate’s election team, he is claimed as mentor and advisor. Rezko hired Obama around ’92 and was invaluable in his bids for both the Illinois legislative post as well as his successful US Senate bid. All of these ties are self-admitted and Obama has shown no inclination to distance himself from any of them.

These people have done well for themselves and the association speaks to me more regarding the character of the candidate than the individuals mentioned. Their failings are obvious. The memory of my mom does make me question the capacity of any man who cultivates such companions. The editor of the blog has warned me that no one really cares. She may be right but I am altruistic enough to believe that some of our readers do.

This type of camaraderie is not the exclusive property of Obama. Tomorrow we shall examine some of the close ties of another candidate. In the meantime, the republic could certainly use a mention in your daily prayers.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 35

Good morning! It’s a gorgeous day in the Ozarks. There is a lot to complain about today and we shall get to it presently. Before we go there, let’s think about limericks. That familiar and delightful meter has been with us a long time and still retains its popularity. I confess to adjusting this one somewhat to alter the tempo but I can’t claim it as original:

There once was a man named Al Gore,
Who loved ethanol to the core.
Then grain and rice,
Went way up in price,
Now he’s blamed for starving the poor.
Is anyone interested in a solution to the impending doom of encroaching hunger? Would you be interested if I told you it is FREE! That’s right; it wouldn’t cost you a dime. The solution lies in the simple expedient of repealing the subsidy on foodstuffs which are congressionally enabled in the ethanol program. What we are entering here is the realm of unintended consequences.

To demonstrate their willingness to “do something” about the stranglehold which OPEC has on our fuel, our masters in DC came up with this entire ethanol mess. In typical governmental style they proceeded to throw money at it. They offered the farmer an opportunity to finally grow more corn and other crops to supply the burgeoning bio-fuel production with government subsidies. Farmers have dirty days but they don’t have dumb ones. They took the money.

A quick look at some numbers demonstrates the foolishness of the program. It takes roughly 500 pounds of corn to fill a twenty gallon gas tank with ethanol. For about a third of the world’s population, that is enough to feed one adult for an entire year. My Explorer would use that twenty gallons on less than three trips to church and back. You figure it out, Verona, MO to Miami, OK. Those five hundred pounds of corn could also be used to feed a cow which could provide milk, calves, and finally a decent T-bone and some hamburger. I didn’t even mention a new pair of boots. Let’s also assume that my numbers are of by a factor of ten: That would only result in feeding an adult for 36.5 days.

Were it not for a suicidal desire on the part of legislators to appease the farm lobby, this problem could be easily solved by repeal of the legislation. It is well know that there are other sources of biomass which are equally useful in the production of substitute fuels.

Embracing the perspective of the people who experience actual hunger and not that sinking feeling when you find Taco Bell closed early, we see the prospect of unaffordable and unavailable food stuffs. If the raw food is not there at any price, they will have to do without. For most people in the disadvantaged world, food can represent 50% to 70% of an individual’s total expenditure. But, you cannot buy that which does not exist.
UPDATE: To complete the irony of the above entries, please consider the following. Way back in 1994, the original biofuel legislation had passed the house and went to the senate for confirmation. It stalled there with a 50-50 deadlock. As the constitution mandates, the tie-breaking vote was furnished by the vice-president who presides over the senate and only votes in case of a tie. He voted and the issue then became the law.

Do we remember the name of the vice-president in 1994? Ah yes, it was Al Gore.
I am more than a little puzzled this morning with the outcome of the raid on the compound in Texas of the Yearning for Zion Sect. I am puzzled but not surprised. I am never surprised when the authorities raid a “sect,” especially in that neck of the woods. We do remember Waco and the late congregation who died under the hands of the BATF, FBI, and with the OK given by then Attorney General Janet Reno don’t we? There is apparently something about crossing the line into Texas which suspends constitutional protection.

Child Protective Services, regardless of location has a long and infamous reputation as an unwieldy and poorly managed service of the government. I rarely cruise the net without seeing yet one more example of overkill from these folks. This latest escapade will rank right up there with some of the largest and more outrageous. Separating lactating mothers from their babies, putting impressionable preschoolers in strange foster homes, forcing 5 to 10 year olds into alien environments without indictments – let alone convictions – of parents is patently unjust. Surely this is not the will of the good people of Texas.

In no way do I wish to defend the practice of polygamy or encourage arranged marriages for underage girls regardless of their faith. Law enforcement has tools to arrest, investigate and pursue legal remedies for the preceding. There was no need to totally destroy the familial relationships and traumatize those youngsters. I would hope we will soon see some evidence that the men involved will be called to account and the law can then stop picking on the helpless under the guise of protecting them. Have we totally forgotten the presumption of innocence in matters such as this? If Texas has a beef with members of the sect, let them prove it in a court of law and not in the nursery.
Some guy in Indiana received one of those annoying phone calls from an eager campaigner for one of the candidates. He patiently listened to the pitch of promises for hope, change and a great America. When the surveyor then asked for his response, it was simple. “I want a pony!” The caller responded, “What?” “I want a pony. You have promised everyone everything else and I have always wanted a pony!” The phone went dead.
The struggle continues on the center place message board. Amid warnings from the moderator they continue to assert that which they sincerely believe. You will not find a contribution to the dog fight by this writer. I am reasonably certain that I would be deleted, banned, folded, spindled and mutilated upon the first post. Further, Lois, Jared, Jay and others express their opinions and interpretation of the scripture far better than I. They also do so with a sufficient degree of modulation to avoid the wrath of the masters.

As in all things, I am content to believe that the will of God will prevail. Although I am not eager to join the heavenly realm, I will admit that I do have the desire to learn the absolute truth of many of the issues being discussed. That is, I’m certain, the only venue where it prevails.

In the meantime, be at peace and look forward to a lengthy piece on the “company we keep.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon