Saturday, July 04, 2015

The father of US currency should stay on US currency

I'm in favor of putting the images of important women from our history on US currency. 

But I hope that this will never be done at the expense of honoring Alexander Hamilton. 

George Will has rightly said that we honor Jefferson, but we live in Hamilton's country. 

For his indefatigable advocacy of the ratification of the Constitution and his work as the first secretary of the treasury, through which he helped unite the United States of America, no one had more to do with fashioning the nation we live than Hamilton. 

I feel that apart from George Washington, Alexander Hamilton was the greatest of the Revolutionary War-generation.

See here.

Saturday This and That (belated-and-after-two-weeks-of-being-MIA-&-now-it's-July-4 edition)

Some things that have caught my eye lately...

Sports as spectacle...
...(Or spectacles in sports.) My buddies and I used to amuse ourselves by creating what we considered to be funny baseball rosters. You know, things like Best All-Time All Left-Handed squad or Best Name All Stars. My favorite was the All George list inspired by the presence on the Reds roster of George "Sparky" Anderson, George Foster, and George Thomas Seaver. has now published its 1985 All-Eyeglasses Team. Fun screen show.

Last words and final moments of...
...38 U.S. presidents. Of course, being a history nerd, I knew many of these already. The most poignant death bed scenes of all our presidents was that of George Washington, who showed the same magnanimity and courage in dying that he had always shown in living. Visiting the Mount Vernon bed room in which it happened is something that will always stay with me, as will the boarding house in which Abraham Lincoln died and the Warm Springs room in which Franklin Roosevelt passed.

Can you tell me how to get...
...away from Sesame Street? After forty-four years at the same address, Sonia Manzano is retiring, presumably heading to where the air is sweet.

Just because you knocked the patient out, doctor...
...doesn't mean he can't hear you.

Rent a crowd...
...dream product for the politician trying to simulate momentum.

Microwave your corn on the cob...
...Shared this last year. Love fixing corn this way. No muss, no fuss, quick.

Where's the religious extremism...
...we were warned would erupt after the Supreme Court's same sex marriage decision?
Labeling peaceful proponents of traditional marriage “religious extremists” is as misleading as it is mean-spirited. (from The Washington Post)

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion trashed by Oregon's labor commissioner

Remember the Oregon couple who got sued for refusing to bake a cake for a same sex wedding?

The bakers in question are Christians who did not want to violate their consciences by providing a cake for a same sex marriage celebration. It wasn't a matter of discrimination, since the Sweet Cakes Bakery had taken orders from gays and lesbians in the past. Their objection was to same sex marriages.

The same sex couple sued for emotional damages and the Oregon labor commissioner has ruled, evidence to the contrary, that the bakers were guilty of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Furthermore, the husband and wife team who own the bakery have been ordered not to speak of the case.

Out goes freedom of religion and freedom of religion for this couple in one fell swoop.

This disturbs me as an American. I hope that the couple will appeal.

Here's the story from The Oregonian.

Friday, July 03, 2015

'Become America' by The Call

The Call was an American rock band that came to some level of popularity at about the same time as an Irish group called U2. As I've written elsewhere, the bands had a few things in common. While mining different strains of rock music, they both evidenced: a passion for life, a passion for justice, and faith in Christ.

The death at age 60, of Michael Been, the Call's lead singer and main composer, in 2010, brought an end to the band and silenced an important voice.

This song, born partly of faith and partly of patriotism, is a non-ideological, but forceful, call to America to live up to its promise.

It seems appropriate for this Fourth of July weekend.

(Frankly, I paid no attention to the visuals in this fan-created video. The song itself is what's important to me. So, I'm not sure what's in it.)

A blogger, Rick Klau, who like me just now, looked in vain some eleven years ago for the lyrics to Become America, online. So, he presented them on his blog. I post them below, with thanks. Klau's blog was the only place I could find the lyrics.
When will America, become America
When will America, become America
When will the home we love
Mean freedom for everyone
When will America, become America

When will the killing stop
When the last child has dropped
How long must mothers’ tears
Rain down on streets of fear
When will the home we love
Mean justice for everyone
When will America become America


When will the struggling poor
Walk with their heads held high once more
Children playing on haunted streets
Politicians weave their spell
Promise spoken from the mouth of hell
When will America become America


With their very lives they gave
Soldiers, the young and brave
Shame for the world to see
A mystery to you and me
Angels will keep their watch
Heaven will count the cost
When will America become America


Monday, June 29, 2015

Paul's counsel for Christians living in these days

These words from Paul's letter to the first century church at Rome are ones that challenged me during my devotions this morning. They also strike me as an important admonition for we Christians, generally, in these days:
Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” (Romans 15:2-3)
This is "inside baseball" talk. In other words, Paul is addressing it to Christians regarding their behavior toward those who are not Christians (along with fellow believers). Others.

Paul doesn't mean that we are to please our neighbors through a kind of spineless acquiescence to wrong.

He means, I think, adopting the same attitude as the One Who saved us from sin and death, the attitude of Christ Himself.

Christ confidently walked with God the Father, compassionately helped those in need, listened patiently to those who were without God in their lives, upbraided those who claimed faith but behaved hypocritically, and always, whatever His behavior toward others, sought to "build them up."

Building up others is not some self-esteem thing.

It means serving our neighbor, going out of our ways to be helpful.

It means building them up by allowing them to see God's truth revealed in Jesus Christ working in our lives.

It means being prepared at all times to give them an account of the hope that Christ has planted in us.

It means taking the time to pray for and with them.

It means taking the time too, with the neighbor who is willing, to read and study and explain God's Word so that they too, can trust in and live with the God of the universe.

As we do so, we can count on receiving the same kinds of insults that greeted true God, true man, Jesus. Along with the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the promise of a resurrected life with God, earthly insults are part of the deal. Bank on it.

But just as Jesus only achieved His mission through a cross, we who follow Him must endure the cross...
...the cross of honest repentance before the Lord,
...the cross of accepting God's will and not our own over our lives,
...the cross of others' misunderstanding of our faith
...the cross, maybe, even death for our faith.

Resurrections--whether the little resurrections we experience along life's way, or the grand resurrections we will experience one day--are always preceded by crosses.

But we can be assured that all who endure their crosses with trust in Christ always will know resurrection.

These times call for Christians to build up our neighbors through our service and our love.

We are to speak the truth in love and be servants, just as our Lord Jesus has served us.

These are not times for hurling insults or political plotting or self-indulgent sulking.

These times also call for Christians to "cheat." 

Don't rely on the political or judicial systems to vindicate you. 

Don't rely on presidential candidates or media campaigns to uphold or "legitimize" you. 

Instead, Christians, cheat, by which I mean, employ the power that God gives to all who bear Christ's name--who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever

  • Steep yourselves in God's Word, so that God's supernatural power resides within your human frame, and pray to God in the name of Jesus. 
  • Pray that God will help we who make up His Church to love and serve others. 
  • Pray that God will give us the wisdom we need to speak truth to the misinformed and needy majority in our land. 
  • Pray that God will use our service and our words to plant seeds of repentance and new life that comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone to our neighbors. 
  • Pray for strength, for peace, for hope, for revival. 
  • Pray that God will help you to be ready for anything.
  • Access the wisdom, guidance, and power of God that every Christian has the privilege to claim through their relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Love. Serve. Pray. Study God's Word. Do it for your neighbor even more than for yourself. Be ready for the insults. God's Word...and do it for your neighbor even more than for yourself.