Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Father-in-law’s Pride

Yes, yes, I know that pride is hurtful in so many ways. I do believe, however, that is the pride one takes in oneself. I feel quite at liberty, with God’s approval, to rejoice in the activities of a family members who so obviously meet with His approval also. When my granddaughter begs to hear a reading of Bible stories my heart swells. When my son, as a four year old, responded to adults who jokingly asked him to share his ice cream cone by offering them the whole thing, I rejoiced. I am elated by those who do that which, in my heart, I know pleases the Almighty.

My son-in-law, Doug Koch and family are deeply involved in Las Vegas Outreach. I mentioned the effort in a post last fall about a man who was able to pursue his heart’s desire to bear witness on the street full time. His employer understood his unhappiness at work, and he and other businessmen pay him a salary and include a full benefit package, and his only responsibility is to offer Jesus Christ to any one who will listen. He sets his own hours and works where ever he is felt led. He is associated with Las Vegas Outreach.

To better understand the program, I urge you to bring up the video on Youtube and enjoy their efforts for yourself. The first man to speak is the individual above. The guy in the black shirt is Doug. He is a pediatric counselor at a major hospital in Las Vegas and also involved with cystic fibrosis patients. With five kids, two home schooled, the family is fairly well occupied. As both a family leader and one of the principals in the Outreach, Doug has proven the typical hostility that some have to their son-in-laws is not appropriate in this case. No man could reasonably ask for a better one.

As a Restorationist, I am happy to see the main thrust of the program is to share the story of and importance of Christ to all without any special influence from a specific denomination. This program celebrates the central figure and endeavors to inform the general public about their critical future.

If you find their challenging work of interest, feel free to quote, cite, or forward the good news. They would really appreciate your support. While I’m at it, I would mention that printed tracts and million dollar bills don’t come cheap; neither do 5-minute videos. If you feel led, any donations would be appreciated. At the most, these kids need continuous prayers for their success in spreading the word.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The enclosed video, (Click on VIDA DE PERROS) is an absolute “must see.” Fortunately it is so skillfully done that knowledge of Spanish is quite unnecessary. Click the link and then deny that it does not affect so many relationships we have in our lives. The example is poignant enough in the example which is the subject. It is surprising in that the dog hung around that long in the face of indifference on the part of the kid.

This remarkable animal brings us a complete and effective sermon on our interaction with others at any level. He represents the dis-respected “other” who is carelessly ignored and therefore justifiably insulted. My companion saw the video and immediately ran to get Gus (our Brussels Griffon/Shih Tzu) for an unsolicited hug and head rub. I, on the other hand, had guilty thoughts of the times I have unceremoniously dumped one of the cats on the floor when they took a position in front of the computer monitor. Food and shelter are not sufficient return for the confidence and love they exhibit. The entire menagerie has the individual capacity to react to inattention to their devotion.

The video serves us well for our families, friends and business associates. Are we so tied up in our own selfish lives that we are at liberty to dismiss those who care for us without acknowledgment? I pray that our twenty-four years of marriage has not left me with little more than control of the TV remote. The cashier at the super market offers a greeting and inquiry into my health and well being. Do I genuinely seek after her condition as well? Can I get out of my manufactured haste long enough to respond with sincerity and actual interest?

I am certain that when Jesus was on the cross he was preoccupied with the pain and could easily have been forgiven for concentrating on His situation. Under those extreme conditions, He demonstrated concern for those hanging beside Him. He reached out with comfort, reassurance and promise. For his tormentors, He begged forgiveness. Thus He demonstrated the behavior which should be sought but which we all so conveniently ignore. Sooner or later, everything returns to Calvary.

I have no idea who created the video. Their genius, compassion and insight should be acknowledged, not by public acclaim, but by a sincere effort on our part to repent of similar action and a renewed attempt to share our lives with others. A hearty thanks to whoever it was.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Public Speaking 101

Some have it, some don’t, and some fake it; public speaking ability, that is. First a disclaimer: I do not believe that the ability to speak well should be the sole criterion for the office of president of the United States. I also do not believe that the failure to correctly know the name and the obscure pronunciation of the leader of “Whatever-stan” is a condemnation of any candidate. Those of us who write have the support and comfort of readily available reference material to enhance our image. Extemporaneous speakers have no such crutch. They must rely upon actual knowledge.

As I listened to the massacre at Saddleback I was haunted by the voices of two prominent figures from the past: Frances Bodie and Mrs. Bielski. The former was my high school speech teacher and the latter refined the instruction at George Washington University. The message from both was identical; don’t take the podium unless you are familiar with the subject. To become more at ease sharing with an audience, both encouraged practice speeches with subjects that the speaker had intimate knowledge—dogs, food, jobs, etc.. As I listened to my fellow students address the group on deep subjects such as the sleeping habits of their kitty or the importance of peanuts from Georgia their wisdom was revealed. Once comfortable with an audience, they then were able to refine their skills and speak to less personal subjects. The thorough knowledge of the subject content was still required.

Both instructors were very impatient with unnecessary interruptions in delivery by words or sounds which detracted from the presentation. One of them dropped pennies in a coffee can each time “er”, “uh” or other infractions were observed. A 20-cent speech was worth a sure F. Both interpreted these delays as lack of knowledge and preparation.

Absent a paid and polished clergy, the Restored Church enjoys the ministry of a wide variety of men of great faith and understanding of the scriptures. Over the decades I have been privileged to enjoy presentations by men who had little formal education, on a subject, Jesus Christ, which is near and dear to their hearts and upon which they were prepared to expound endlessly. Although the grammar could often be faulted, they carried the message and were well understood by the congregations. Their position was abundantly clear: they love Him. They did not stutter or struggle for words to express themselves. Although clean, well groomed and presentable, it was obvious that the important thing was the message with little or no emphasis on the speaker.

The typical meeting for Alcoholic Anonymous lasts exactly one hour. Frequently, groups will bring in a speaker to occupy 55 minutes of that period. With a life now filled with benefits of sobriety, none have any difficulty using that time to tell their story and share the benefits that have received through the program. They have no problem avoiding the pitfalls of the extemporaneous speaker because they have “been there” and the subject is the keystone of their new lives without alcohol. Again, the grammar may be faulty but the testimony is clear and believable because it is true. They have come to the truth and it has freed them to share with others and they succinctly and anxiously do so.

When I hear a speaker struggle to formulate his thoughts I strongly suspect his motives, his veracity and his experience with the subject. Verbal delaying tactics only exacerbate that conclusion.. It is especially painful when the person making the address has come pre-advertised as being a remarkable speaker. Any fool can read a canned pitch. To watch a man stumble through responses to questions about matters upon which he professes expertise is embarrassing and prompts examination of his qualifications. The contrast in the two principals in the Rick Warren forum came as a complete surprise. It was not so much McCain's even, capable and controlled demeanor—one would expect no less from a man of his background—as his counterpart's nervousness and general aura of not being comfortable and at ease. He presented an entirely new face.

I would not have been surprised to see the stage flooded with secret service men demanding to know “What have you done with Obama?” This was not the man we have seen so capably reading from a teleprompter. This was not the self-assured polished individual in the campaign ads. I strongly suspect the man we saw was, for the first time, exposed as the unsure, inexperienced amateur that he actually is.

A commenter on Little Green Footballs nailed it:

“Obama has spent a lifetime immersed in political theory; McCain has spent a lifetime immersed in political reality.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 51

What a glorious time to be alive! God is in His heaven and all’s right with the world. Since 7pm Saturday night with time out for sleep (finally) and church this morning (blessedly) I have been sounding the waters of the political blogs to gain an impression of others on the experience at Saddleback.

First, as I noted yesterday, I seriously misjudged Rick Warren and his ability to present an evenhanded offering of the two principal presidential candidates. He did exactly that and gave us an unvarnished look at these two men. The format was terrific, the delivery unbiased, and as a whole it was wonderful. Every American owes a debt of gratitude to Pastor Warren for his role in the proceedings..

Of the 1000 or so posts and comments which I have read there has been a recurring refrain about John McCain’s answers to some of the questions. After listening to the other man stammer and stutter for an hour and missing his teleprompter desperately, I did enjoy listening to McCain’s rapid fire responses. In review of the tape, the outstanding example had to be in response to his question, “When does life begin?” When posed to Obama, it took a 47.5 seconds to illicit a confused and disorganized response. When addressed to McCain, the reply came in exactly 2.2 seconds; “At the moment of conception.” No equivocation; no ifs, ands, maybes, buts, or howevers, clouded the response.

On issue after issue, McCain responded with clarity and welcome brevity. Some media commentators questioned his pre-forum preparation hinting that he may have had some prior knowledge of the questions. Others pleaded that Obama had just endured a long flight to reach California from his vacation hideaway in Hawaii and was worn out from the ordeal. I have made the flight and it’s just a little over three hours. In thinking the issue over I have decided there is far more to it than these superficial details.

John McCain responded exactly as his total background would have demanded. He was raised in a military family with a high ranking father. His college life was as a midshipman at the US Naval Academy. As a Naval officer, he chose the rigorous demands of flight school and subsequent assignment as a line pilot off a carrier. In all of these activities he was subjected to an unusually high standard of discipline. In each one he was required to know, without error, where he was at all times and be able to execute his duties to the utmost.

The preparation for that kind of life is vital for survival. I have known many pilots and flown with a few on occasion. There is little room for “feelings” and equivocation on their part. They deal with physical truth regarding the performance of their craft, weather, and in McCain’s case, enemy action. They acquire discipline in operating the craft that keeps them alive to fly again. When flying with friends I have noticed that the mood changes from the pre-flight ritual and continues until we leave the aircraft and it is tied down. They are still friends but they take on a completely different persona. They become serious and attentive to detail far beyond their normal selves. Many of their actions while in the aircraft are conditioned responses to the realities of various situations. Were it otherwise, I would have been uncomfortable flying with them.

I came away, as a result of these observations, with the conclusion that John McCain knows just who he is, what he is doing, and most important, where he expects to end up. His responses have been conditioned through aforethought and serious planning. He does not, nor could he, make it up as he goes along. It’s all there in advance through years of thought and preparation.

This isolated event will not determine the outcome of the presidential sweepstakes. For those fortunate enough to watch, it may well be a watershed event. At the least, we shall all have something to chew on at Thanksgiving besides turkey and the hapless Detroit Lions.

It’s Buffalo this time….

I’m going to continue to pound this issue until law enforcement cleans up its act and takes responsibility for becoming scrupulous in advance of “no knock” raids on civilians. This time it is from Buffalo, NY and involves a family of eight who had the misfortune to live one floor below the “subject” apartment.

After breaking down the door, terrorizing the kids and injuring the father, they decided it was the wrong address and went on about their business. The wife admitted to a “criminal” record of traffic offenses but the raid was a disappointment otherwise. In this case the cops did offer an apology but no one has showed up yet to repair the door or stepped forward to pay the husband's hospital bill. The police did continue on and raid the floor above but found no cause to arrest or otherwise charge any of the occupants.

These people are almost universally protected from penalties for injuries or property damage as a result of these raids. This is unconscionable….

Syracuse Tire Gauges has come up with a surprising development coincident to Obama’s bizarre solution to the energy problem—“get your tires inflated to the proper level.” That was his recommendation plus “tuning up” the old jalopy. Even ignoring the fact that “tuning up” is a left over from the days, years ago, when I actually labored setting timing and adjusting points on my fleet of one car, proper inflation is spot on for assuring at least one aspect of fuel economy. Fuel injection has replaced the necessity of “tuning” at least by the shade tree mechanic.

The bigger story is in the devotion of the ownership of the Syracuse Tire Gauge Corp and their link to the Obama campaign. It’s really no big deal but I do find it amusing. Follow the link to the story as reported.

And finally,

The weather has cooled significantly so I have resumed the labor of continuing to assemble the cover for the deck. It has been a joy to watch the thing emerge from pre-sleep thoughts in bed, scratching those plans onto graph paper and then watching the whole thing come together. I looked at the work so far and decided that God really knows how to direct an amateur planner and carpenter. He has supplied the energy, physical strength, and the endurance to see it through. I’ll be glad when it’s done and He and I can have some time alone out there to rejoice together. Trust me, without Him, none of it would have been possible. Okay, so Jan did hold up one end of a board or two. I’ll keep you up to date....

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon