Saturday, August 30, 2008

Personal Notes

This has been one of those weeks when everything has come together at once. The demands on time have been unrelenting. First, the time had come to stop resting on my laurels and get the roof on the deck before winter. I probably had been reluctant because it required placing large very heavy pieces of green treated lumber in position well over my head. The temperature went well over 90º and that didn’t help much.

I was then interrupted by my duties at the golf course. It’s not a hard job but it does take time and, of course, requires I get up very early in the morning to start the early birds on their way. Personally, I prefer to play after 9 am, but other golfers have their personal preferences and my job is to keep them happy—and fed.

Due to some recent rains, for which I thank God, the grass here on the ridge has grown beyond belief and needs attention. Four acres to cut and since it is out of control, it also has to be swept as well. For the gardening impaired, that means dragging a lawn sweeper and picking up clippings, leaves and sticks; in other words, covering the ground twice. The reward for doing this is sitting on the front step/deck/porch and admiring what God has provided for my stewardship..

These things in themselves would make for a busy week but wait; there’s more! As a self-confessed political junkie, I feel obligated to not miss a word of the national political conventions. Since this week was the quadrennial madness for the Democrat party, they held my attention when I was not involved with the above. You have heard all the critical announcements and no doubt heard the significant speeches (?) and come to some early conclusions. Pro or con, they made some sort of impression. Obviously, like the upcoming Republicans will, the Democrat politicos found much to praise about their candidates, their history and their programs.

Personally, I am far more interested in the accompanying shenanigans “off the tube” and reading the comments on the blogs in reaction to both the doings in the hall and in the smoke filled rooms. Most of the truly critical decisions are made well out of sight. I am convinced, after reading some observations, they should be. After all, don’t we all prefer to do our dirty laundry in private?

One curiosity in Denver, which will no doubt be repeated in Minneapolis, is the press presence. Allegedly 15,000 folks with some sort or other of press credentials showed up for the convention. Officials, party delegates, and other authorized personnel numbered roughly 3,500. That amounts to about 4.2857 press for every person on business in the Pepsi Center. That would include ushers, secret service agents, vendors, janitorial people, musicians, senators, wives and an ex-president or two. If the states were indeed equal that would be 300 press passes per state. Were they rewarded with any event worthy of that sort of coverage? I can only assume that with that huge blanket of coverage, you are completely up to date on everything that happened.

One more curiosity came out of the Pepsi Center. Above is a picture of the happy candidates and their families. Is it just me or is the youngest of Obama’s kids the only one who seems normal in the picture? The Bidens look like a toothpaste ad or possibly a shot one would use to advertise the departure of a luxury cruise ship. The members of the Obama family seem to have some sort of rictus which results in a tight lipped grimace with little apparent joy. The little one who is not the least phony or self conscious is the only one pictured who shyly offers the viewer a tiny wave of recognition. Bless her heart..

To wind up a way-too-busy week, we were treated to one of the finest examples of political finesse I have ever witnessed. McCain’s staff demonstrated their grasp of security and managed to provide a national surprise this morning which wiped away any affect the Obama acceptance speech might possibly have generated. Suddenly, the official nomination was completely overshadowed by the announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate. In today’s world of lightning fast communications the name Palin came away from the shadow of the mountains and glaciers of Alaska and became a household word—before noon!

Regular readers know I have followed elections since Eisenhower and have never seen such an electrifying event. I now fully understand the expression “caught flat footed.” The Republican faithful are asking, “Sarah who?” Many are overjoyed to see their man’s choice of a “conservative to the core” executive. The Democrat party seems to be completely flummoxed by the event. In their pleadings of protest they have largely sought to establish lack of experience on the only principal with actual executive experience in the race. This has been a golden day for a political addict.

Next week, Gustav permitting, the Grand Old Party will convene in the twin cities. Several more nights of “a man (or woman) who…” will prevail and we will all get a look at them. I wouldn’t turn down a full night’s sleep but I shall make every effort to keep Zion Beckons up in better shape than I have this week. Please forgive me.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 52

They say that politics makes strange bedfellows. Is that not more true today than ever in the past? For your amusement, here are some collected remarks about one of the candidates. After you read them, I shall furnish the name of the commenter.

“My impression is [Obama] thinks that if we leave, somehow the Iraqis are going to have an epiphany of peaceful coexistence among warring sects. I’ve seen zero evidence of that.” This is an assessment of Obama’s Iraq plan on September 13, 2007.

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” This was a comment to the New York Observer.
“But — and the ‘but’ was clearly inevitable — he doubts whether American voters are going to elect ‘a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate,’ and added: ‘I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.’” This is a continuation of the Observer interview.

“If Iowans believe campaign funds and celebrity will fix the debacle in Iraq, put the economy on track, and provide health care and education for America’s children, they should support another candidate,” said [ ] for President Campaign Manager Luis Navarro. “But I’m confident that Iowans know what I know: our problems will require experience and leadership from Day One. Empty slogans will be no match for proven action on caucus night.”

All were directly from the newly anointed vice-presidential candidate, Joe Biden. Apparently they decided to kiss and make up. This promises to be a great deal of fun, certainly through the convention in Denver. At the least they are both on the same page when it comes to murder of the unborn—they are “fer” it.


The preacher came up with one this morning that was unfamiliar to me. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention. He was discussing the holding of a grudge and the damage it causes to our relationship to God. He pointed out that the measure of our own forgiveness is affected by our ability to forgive others. He used a graphic illustration to make the point.

Visualize an equilateral triangle. Place God at the apex. Place yourself in the lower right at the junction of the base and the side. Place the individual you have aught against in the remaining corner on the left. As your relationship with Him increases, the distance between you and your brother must (it is a basic mathematical reality) decrease as you ascend the side toward Him. As he comes closer to God, the distance between you must again decrease. Each step each of you takes to close the gap is, of geometric necessity, going to elevate you on the triangle and you will both come closer to God as your mutual enmity decreases.

True to His promise, as you treat him as the brother he is, your Father in Heaven will recognize it and continue His forgiving nature. Since it is, periodically, an issue I have to address, I am grateful for the example.

Are Americans Selfish?

We really don’t have to look far to find examples of folks, in any nation, who demonstrate extreme examples of self-interest. And yes, there are some Americans who seem selfish beyond belief. Are they the exception or the rule?

To listen to some groups, everything which is wrong on the planet is caused by the United States and its people. The conspiracy nuts are certain we imploded the twin towers on 9/11 with government approval and our own explosives. Others can’t understand our will to bring relief from despots and genocidal maniacs. Finally, our critics allege that we are greedy, stingy, uneducated and tasteless. Unfortunately, the mass media tends to support these spurious charges and encourage our detractors.

In recent weeks, I have had the rare privilege to come in contact with active missionaries from a variety of denominations. One family from Jan's local Baptist congregation with years in Kenya, our own Lee Reynolds and Dale Stafford (Reynolds with years with the Navajo in Pinon, AZ. and Stafford on various trips to Nigeria) and a chance meeting with a couple on furlough from Nicaragua at the golf course. Each has shared marvelous stories of success in bringing the message to the locals as well as in humanitarian efforts. August must be furlough month.

If that were not enough, I came across this article which warmed my heart for the devotion to others demonstrated by these people cited here. They are certainly not in it for the money, the comforts, or the public acclaim. The work they perform is necessary and of vital interest to the people involved. Take some time and read some of this journal and find how just how intrinsically good our people really are. When you bring it up, read what’s there. Click on some of their other web site references and get a rich understanding of Operation Continuing Promise.You will feel better for the knowing.

Since the foregoing has left a wonderful feeling in my heart for my fellow citizens, I shall desist from my usual closing shot at some selfish villain and enjoy the good attitude it has brought. I truly love my country and what it stands for. My fellow Americans seem to have the ability to make me proud with extreme regularity.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon