Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Lying King

Today we have an arresting interpretation of an incredibly popular Disney offering: “The Lion King.” Personally, I have never been much of a fan of either comic books or animation in film. Both, in my view, lead to lazy scholarship. To not realize they have an influence would be to devalue them and ignore their potential. One’s personal preferences are often enjoyed at the risk of not understanding the importance that other forms of media have on people.

My reaction to this piece when I first saw the reference to the “Lion King” was to avoid it out of habit. That would have been a mistake. It is extremely well done and of course, as you shall see, was superbly presented. The background language is German but since it has sub-titles, there is no risk of losing anything in the translation. It’s not very long so click on the link and enjoy.

I seriously doubt this will get much play for obvious reasons.

On a separate note, my editor and web-wench, Jan, will be attending our daughter’s graduation in New York later in the coming week. Past the Monday Morning Rant, posting will be in my incapable hands. Between wrangling cats and scratching dogs I shall make an attempt at posting. If I fail—and that is the most likely outcome—please find it in your heart to forgive me.

Since she will be driving, I will ask you to remember her in your prayers for her safe return. Make no mistake, I have complete confidence in her skills; it’s the others on the road I fear.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Old Refrain

During the Great Depression—capitalized because of the importance of the devastation it caused—in the thirties, entertainment was sparse and unaffordable. The money was just not there for even the least expensive of treats. Current comparisons being made about the state of our economy today and conditions during that period are ignorant, uninformed and revisionist history of the worst order. Forget the pundits and check with your relatives and friends over seventy-five for the real story. Persons standing in bread lines had little interest in the latest movies, books or stage performances. It became a society of self-providers.

Thus, when a “singing convention” came to town it was a huge event. For folks my age just the words “singing convention” will bring a rush of memory and good feelings. The event featured a huge tent set up in a vacant lot with wooden benches and at least one creditable musical instrument (piano, organ, or ?) and song leaders with sufficient lung power to overcome the lack of amplified sound. The theme was religious and generally non-denominational but the music was entirely familiar regardless of one's association with any protestant church. During the service, one of the visitors took the podium and railed against sin and encouraged repentance. However, the prevailing ministry lay in the hymn after hymn that the group offered. I have strong memories of scuffing my feet in the sawdust and seeing a sea of moving fans (provided by a local funeral home) in the hands of the audience as they sang songs of praise for their Lord. As usual, at the close of the service, there was an altar call with numerous responders. Occasionally, healing ministry was offered as well. God knew that everyone there needed some sort of help that only He could provide. It was a rite of summer.

A typical feature of most hymns is the refrain; that part of the work which repeats the central message of the song. I often find myself quietly humming or just recalling some of those heavily stressed verses. Today, I noticed I was repeatedly singing “we will walk in the light, in the light, in the light; we will walk in the light, in the light of God.” You remember the tune and probably find the recollection comforting. Music is one of His greatest gifts in that every person can participate and therefore enjoy an individual benefit as well as contribute to the massed congregation raising their voices. The repetition of ancient truths adds to our knowledge of the Lord and refocuses us on His work for us and the direction He seeks.

I also remember that in many hymnals, a scriptural reference was provided, from which the origin and intent of the verse were derived. As your familiarity with the hymn becomes more sound, time spent in mastery of the music then turns to more thorough understanding of the message. It then becomes circular in that the hymn suggests the theme and then that in turn suggests the hymn which then reinforces the message and on and on and on. As I thumb through many modern song books, this feature appears to be omitted.

The other thing which, although not missing in the absolute, has become less of a factor in the music of faith is the frequent reference to the unlimited power of God. Hymns which celebrate that majesty and omnipotence are gradually giving way to the softer side with more emphasis placed on “peace and love” and less on “All hail the power….” I believe they both deserve equal time in our vocal praise and neither should be ignored. When the subject arises I am frequently accused of sounding bellicose. It is then that I point out the level of courage and strength required to exhibit the love of others and the Savior. Many have suffered and died to follow that command to love one another. To not be armed with both is to meet the adversary unprepared.

I shall always be grateful to those who drug me off to those “singing conventions.” They led me to a vastly enhanced appreciation of Christ and His message. You can only imagine the magnitude of importance that we all placed on the event. Relative to the times, it was a major show; a marvelous training ground for a restless kid; and, a memory of one of the happiest times of my life.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Christian Fault

I offer this to identify a failing of many, many Christians. We have been subjected to endless admonishments of acceptance of others. We are commanded to love one another and to “look for the beautiful, look for the true.” With this charitable attitude it is easy to allow our guard to be lowered and to be drawn into dangerous traps and snares,

It is not enough to “know God;” we must also be savvy enough to recognize Satan in all his various poses. Looking for a red suit, horns and a tail would certainly identify the adversary, but unfortunately he does not assume this cartoon identity. He comes dressed as others in our acquaintance, equipped with glib speech and an other-worldly ability to deceive. Through treachery and guile on his part and a wholesome Christian outlook on the part of the believer we observe an imbalance of purpose which enables us to stumble, or at the least be pictured as doing so.

This was abundantly apparent in the Gibson/Palin interview recently featured on ABC. As I watched I was somewhat disappointed in the result. It appeared disconnected and not up to the usual level I have come to expect from Governor Palin.

Thanks to Mark Levin, I now know why.

He has furnished a complete transcript of the interview as it originally took place. The text he supplies is the original, as recorded, with only one addition. In a comparative evaluation, Mr. Levin has taken the trouble to show, in bold face and underlined that which was edited from the original. The editing has removed significant portions of her answers to critical questions and paints her response in a far different light than she intended.

The net result is to provide a useful piece of propaganda tailored to suit the needs of the opposition party. Missing on the ABC presentation are the powerful statements in regard to our national defense, energy policy and relations with foreign governments. The artful editing then projects a view of Mrs. Palin which is remote from her views and remarks as previously established.

She is the victim of a fault which most of us have fallen for at least once in our lives and probably more. She extended trust where caution would have been better advised. I am appalled that her managers did not recognize this potential honey trap and take the necessary steps to avoid it. Allowing ABC to do their own editing is equivalent to sending the fox to guard the hen house.

As individuals, we are bombarded with false promises and shady propositions on a daily basis. If you doubt this; check your mailbox or turn on your television. There is a huge industry of people who indulge in double speak and for that matter double cross. You experience offers constantly to brighten your smile, lose pounds of ugly fat, better your love life, and make millions buying gold, real estate, junk bonds, time shares and prosperity gospel.

Open your bible at random and see how far you have to read before God imparts a clear warning to be wary of deceivers. It is a constant recurring theme. Like much other advice which He so lovingly provides it often goes unrecognized.

Life is not all puppies and fuzzy kitties. It is laced with pitfalls and devious devices which I truly believe are the works of Satan, which prey on our obligation to love and accept others. This acceptance is necessary to carry on the work of the Lord but it does not require that we become fools in the process.

I freely admit to outrage in the example cited. This is a problem which I shall work out with the help of my Redeemer. I can only pray that it heightens my awareness and prepares me to deal with the vicissitudes which life presents and continue to work for that which serves my brother, my family, my nation, and most important, My Lord.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday Morning Rant 55

Mid-September, life is rushing on and the feel of Fall is breezing through the Ozarks. We missed church yesterday due to the flood caused by over 4” of rain the night before. We are not in the flood plain but once we drive down the hill from our little bit o' Heaven, our only exit road runs adjacent to the Spring River and yesterday the road was the Spring River. It had washed out last spring and I feared repetition. Compared to what others have suffered from hurricane Ike we are thankful to only be inconvenienced instead of inundated.

How Pelosi honed her experience

Given her current attitude about the experience level of the Republican vice-presidential candidate you may be interested in a reprint of a brief interview with the Speaker on the importance of motherhood in honing her skills. This appeared in the Ladies Home Journal shortly after the Democrats regained control of the house in 2006:

LHJ: You are a mother of five and were a homemaker for many years before entering politics. You say in your book that the skills you honed doing those things were the same ones you needed when you got to Congress. How so?

NP: Absolutely, and this is what I want women to know, so they recognize the value of their own path, their unique experience. I've been in politics a while, over 20 years in the Congress of the United States, and this is a very rough-and-tumble.... I shouldn't say 'rough,' let me say a very challenging arena to be in. But as challenging as it is, nothing is as challenging as raising a family — nothing. That experience forced me to be disciplined, diplomatic, focused, and successful, and I brought that discipline and focus to the Congress. Also, having a family keeps you focused on the future, which is the biggest inspiration in politics. In order to do what it takes to succeed in politics, you have to be inspired by your constituents, the power of your ideas, and the fact that you speak on behalf of children and their future, whether you have children of your own or not. It makes all the difference in the world.”

Apparently, homemaking experience is only applicable for Democrat women and constitutes an impediment for the other party. To her credit she does have five children (4 girls and l boy) with the youngest about 36 at the time of the interview. Since her appointment to the Speaker’s chair the opinion of the American people on the quality of the congress has diminished to an all time low. Depending on the poll, 16% to 23% of the people approve of the job the congress is doing. All you mothers know that every meal you fix is not a booming success—but Ill bet it’s better than one out of four.

Another clueless scientist

Some genius in Southern California has the answer to global warming. Lets all paint our roofs white. By so doing the nasty rays of the sun will reflect back into the troposphere, allowing less heat and therefore our homes will not consume so much electricity during those cruel summer days. He projects a lessening of average mean temperature of around .02º. This is a great idea unless you happen to live in the “anti-freeze” belt—that would be the other 90% of America—and treasure warmth. Leave it to a coastal sophisticate who’s never been out of town to think this up. This guy actually has advanced degrees! To confirm that this is not some perverse joke, you may check the link here.

No press bias here

Interesting “catch” here from Mona Charon at the Corner on National Review:

“John Roberts interviewing Paul Begala on CNN just now slipped and said "we" when asking how Democrats should respond to Republican attacks.”

This reminds me of George Stepanopolis and his correction of Obama when he said something about his Muslim faith. It would appear that the politicians are not the only ones who occasionally slip and the truth comes gushing out.

Also on the “Corner” a reader sent this quote to Jonah Goldberg:

“Wendy Doniger, a feminist academic at the University of Chicago, writes of Palin in Newsweek: “Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.”

Jonah’s comment was simply: “The left’s new position: Being homosexual is genetic. Being a woman is a choice.”

This stuff really gets tiresome after awhile. Even if the mainstream media won’t pick up on this stuff at least the bloggers will. Incidentally, Jonah’s recent book “Liberal Fascism” is a great read.


There has been much discussion about the use of “present” in the Illinois legislature. It is a legitimate option, just like “yes” and “no.” J.R. Dunn examines it in depth in this piece from the American Thinker.

Although I enjoyed Dunn’s appraisal I found a comment which really provided a fairly tidy synopsis:

“If you never leave a paper trail, there is nothing to follow. If you never make a decision, you can deny responsibility.If you speak in circles or philosophize, people will hear what they want to hear. If you let others speak for you, you can always say, I didn't say that. If you never make a commitment, you don't have to keep your word. If you leave no footprints, no one can see where you've been.If you never go into battle, you will never be tested. Obama has never made a commitment, always lets others speak for him, and has never been tested. With his silver tongue and charisma, he has charmed others into carrying him where he wants to go. Obama wants the title of President, not the responsibility. I question whether he has the courage, inner strength, or the will to take a stand on the overwhelming challenges we face as a nation.”

That was from “Pam, in Florida” who is otherwise unidentified. She does raise some interesting points.

And finally:

I noted yesterday that I thought of Palin’s entry into the campaign as a gift from God. In further thinking I was reminded of a quote from Abraham Lincoln on seeking the Almighty to align with his goals for the nation:

"I am not at all concerned about that, for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side."

According to the figures, we have picked up some new readers for Zion Beckons. Let me offer a warm welcome and encourage you to check in often. We occasionally “step on toes” here so I hope you have a tolerance for that sort of thing. Through it all, the blog is dedicated to Jesus Christ and hopefully, our lives and the lives of our readers are dedicated also. It’s good to have you and “y’all come back now—ya hear!”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Answered Prayers

I think I have just about run through every emotional response possible in the last few days. The surprises of the election season have come at me thick and fast. I believe it all started at Saddleback Church during the Rick Warren interview with the candidates. It was the first opportunity to hear candid responses from each and form an opinion of who thinks and reacts better when not in a scripted situation. This was soon followed by the conventions with highs and lows for each, plus the stunning announcement from Senator McCain of his vice presidential pick.

As I have maintained in previous posts, this decision to pick Gov. Sarah Palin for a running mate has defied belief in its genius. It has the affect of enervating both sides to rise above their former level of activity and to maximize their efforts to secure their individual goals.

In the case of the McCain supporters, Mrs. Palin represents everything they could possibly wish for in a candidate. Arch conservative, mother of five, experienced in governance, pro-life to the core, quick thinking, and eminently presentable. The timing was perfect and effectively robbed Obama of his moment of glory after his acceptance speech. After reading thousands of comments on the net, I can only conclude that her choice has electrified her party, women, and independents as well. The only person I can think of who has demonstrated no surprise is the candidate himself, John McCain. He has shown no sign other than confidence in his choice.

To say that McCain’s choice has been polarizing would be the understatement of the season.. I have read the blogs, newspapers, magazines; seen television commentators, heard radio personalities and talked to individual citizens and found no one who does not have an opinion one way or the other. No fence sitters need apply. Up until now I was of the opinion that the average bear couldn’t care less about the fate of the nation. I had talked myself into the notion that the vast body politic didn’t pay any attention until the last week of October. Traditionally, candidates pick running mates who can enhance the name recognition factor. Before she was named, Mrs. Palin’s reputation stopped somewhere around Tok Junction. Today, I suspect, that only those in a coma or otherwise incapacitated (down a well, in solitary confinement or afflicted like Helen Keller) would fail to recognize the name of Sara Palin and be able to furnish a minimal biography. They even know the names of her kids.

The effect on the other side (DNC) has been to supply endless “forced errors” on the part of the candidate and his staff. In their haste to discredit the opposition they have committed a string of gaffes which work to blunt criticism and make them look ill prepared and amateurish. A case in point is the accusation (false) that McCain ignores the internet and can’t even send emails. Of course he can’t. His Viet Cong captors at the Hanoi Hilton subjected to him to bone breaking torture which renders his ability to type nearly impossible forcing him to rely upon his staff.

Such indecency has become the rule in opposition to the GOP ticket and the avalanche of new found support for Mrs. Palin. They have escalated the ad hominem attacks by a ridiculous factor and have wound up looking crass and mean spirited. The candidate who was perpetually on the offense with criticism of and roadblocks to the current administration is now on nearly full time defense. Like any caged, wounded or cornered animal the left has discarded reason and can be found snarling and fighting back in desperation. I can easily imagine the planning sessions of various campaign committees as they throw accusations of incompetence, ineptitude and blame. Were this a third world despotic state, I would applaud it but America deserves better than this on the part of ALL its candidates.

In quiet sober reflection I have questioned how this all came about. It was then that the obvious hit me. I, and millions of other Christians, have daily included the state of the nation in their prayers. They have earnestly sought God’s guidance for our national leaders as we have for over the two and quarter centuries of our country’s existence. Our coinage and currency carry the acknowledgement “In God We Trust.” The folks who offer these prayers to the Almighty believe that He hears them and within the context of His will acts accordingly. Faith does not require that we understand His actions; only that we believe in Him and understand that He loves us.

As I read scripture, I am constantly amazed at the everyday devices which God uses to alter man’s dangerous situations. God sent Joshua on a walking tour to defeat a city. He sent David to represent the Israelites and use the common tools of a shepherd to defeat Goliath. When faced with Pharaoh He provided locusts, frogs, blood and other simple things in massive amounts to convince him. It goes on and on and what I take from it is: deliverance can take any form He chooses for it to take. I would like to think I am a man of faith but I must confess I did not see the answer to the countries problems in a former beauty queen.

This would certainly not be the first time a woman has been the instrument of His will. I should probably be faulted for any measure of reluctance to accept what, upon greater reflection, is obviously a miracle.You may disagree and say that the Creator would not indulge in this type of activity. Only God is all knowing so you may well be right and I may be in error. But, for now, I am more than willing to see a Godsend in this person who ideally fills the role so urgently required to help defeat a demonstrated advocate of the destruction of all we hold dear.

Personally, I shall thank Him for His wisdom and power, and for the gift of Sarah Palin. I doubt if I would get any argument from those innocents in the womb who face death as a result of abortion. Just think about it.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon