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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Oboy, it's spring

And at least we got to have a nice little walk today.  Frankly, I couldn't get warmed up all weekend and laid low.  But today, with a bit warmer weather, and the construction crew away because of the early rain ( or maybe Bobby Orr's birthday is a union holiday), we hit the trail to the trail...

And there's the 2017 new blockage of the trail to Scrappy's Landing...

His Eminence was sing to us...

Caught him with his big mouth open

Outside of birds, we did have one other sighting.  After exiting the boardwalk,  a groundhog came out from underneath, ran up the bank, looked at us, and returned whence he came.  Scrappy, six feet away, wasn't paying attention as usual.  I did snap an upside down pic under the boardwalk (out of the sun...)-

...and if you squint hard that might just be him in that little arc of grass dead center...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Message- the prayers of nehemiah

This week, as I finished up Nehemiah, I noted that the thing that separates this book's narrative is the author stopping nine times to pray during it.  In looking those nine times over, the prayers separated themselves into three sets of three.  And I think we can learn from each one about how to pray in certain situations.

The first group, let's call them the hotline to God.  And I do that because they were three prayers that, unlike the others, didn't ask God to keep something in mind, but to act.  And that group leads off right at the beginning, in Chapter 1, v5.  And it is the longest, for good reason.  The situation: Nehemiah had asked a friend about the conditions in Jerusalem (this was just prior to Ezra's rebuilding of the walls), and the report wasn't good.  Nehemiah knew the conditions there were a result of Israel's past sins against God.  Therefore, it started with a detailed confession of sin.  Then he shifted into a prayer of repentance for the people, and finished by asking God to remember His promise to bring the people home if they repented.  I think this is important that this is where we need to focus our opening prayers.  Looking through our lives at our sin, and confessing it, and repenting of it, is the first thing to do when our situation sucks.

The second was exactly the opposite.  This was in 2:4 when he faced King Artaxerxes, wishing to take leave of the court to help his people in Jerusalem.  When the moment came to pitch his cause, he paused "to pray to the God of Heaven".  We are not told what this prayer was; however, it must have been just a reach out from the heart to God, for the whole thing happened between Artaxerxes asking what was bumming him and his answer- and I doubt he had a lot of time to bow down and formally pray at this point.  We learn from this that, in case of immediate need, God requires no more than a deep-seated reflection on our part.  Sorry, any of y'all that use the "I didn't have time to pray" excuse.  See, he prayed the long prayer in anticipation of going to the king- in anticipation of the troubles ahead- so that when push came to shove, all he had to do is think back and remember the time he had already spent on his knees.

The third of this set occurs in 6:9, when his enemies were trying to weaken his resolve.  This too, was a simple prayer, for strength.  Nothing elaborate, no long pleas.  Just a simple request.  And that is all we need at that moment of weakness;  remembering, though, that that strength is a "foot in the door", and we should use the reprieve to avail ourselves of God's mercy and strength.

Which is a nice segue into the second set, a set in which Nehemiah consistently asked God to remember his good deeds.  I heard a pastor not long ago mention how some people take these prayers as a "salvation through works" excuse, but that this is not what Nehemiah is doing.  The first of these occurs in 5:19.  The people are poor, they have been taxed heavily in the past and but a ton of work in on the walls.  they are about tapped out.  But as Governor, Nehemiah has the right to expect lavish treatment, tons of feasting that was described as the "governor's provision."  Nehemiah, though, recognizes the state of the people, and refuses to put a greater burden on them.    In this prayer, he asks God to remember him "for good, for all I have done for the people".  He's not looking at his works winning him salvation; he's putting off the reward that COULD be his in this life, in anticipation of the reward he expects in the next.  This is a huge concept, not so much materially as attitudinally;  the whole idea of "doing your job as if for the Lord" is based on this very idea- not being upset over the rewards you don't get in this life, but keeping on content that the real reward is yet to come.

The second of this set is in 13:14, where Nehemiah, having completed the Temple project, now looks around and sees all is not well- and it's people who know better causing the problems.  The leaders of the people have not been supporting the Levites with tithes- and they have been forced to abandon the Temple and work fields in order to survive.  In the meantime, the leaders have been enriching themselves, even renting Public Enemy #2 Tobiah to live in an apartment IN the Temple.  He takes them to task, reinstating the tithe, straightening the Temple, and applying foot to the butt of Tobiah.  His prayer after all this was to remember his zeal for the Temple, and not to "wipe out his good" from the ledger.  The point here is not to look at it as 'God might be forgetful', but the motivation- that God should be glorified through worship.  Where the first focuses on the reward of the future, the second focuses on the worship in the present.

The third was his explosion over the city being open for business on the Sabbath.  Had the Levites been on the job, closing the gates at Sabbath sundown, this wouldn't have been going on.  So after a little judicious threatening of the merchants there to tempt the city, he assigned the Levites to make sure the Sabbath was kept.  His prayer after that was to "remember my good and spare me for the greatness of Your Mercy".  The Hallmarks of prayer are worship and obedience, and this is the second of those.  So in sum Nehemiah teaches us to focus on worship, obedience, and keeping the final reward in mind.

The final set involved a trio of "remember THEM" moments, the 'them' in question being the enemies of God and the people.  The first was in 4:5, where Tobias and big buddy Sanballat (Public Enemy #1) basically made fun of their work toward rebuilding the walls.  "Why a fox could jump on it, and the whole thing would come down," they said.  And they'll say it to you- you don't do enough, it makes no difference, etc.  But remember, when they mock the work you do FOR God, they aren't mocking you, they're mocking God.  And Nehemiah's prayer focused on that;  he asked that God remember them for provoking Him.  And where Nehemiah asked to not have his reward wiped out because of his worship, he asks that their deeds here not be wiped out, as they were the opposite of worship.

Second in this set comes at 6:14, where they tried to trick Nehemiah into a murder trap, or at least get him to lose heart and flee from the front lines into the Temple to cower.  And here he had another simple prayer:  "remember them for their works".

Finally, they had gained an inroad into the priestly ranks by tempting them into marriages with foreign women.  Nehemiah knew that this seduction was the most damaging; even Solomon, as wise as he was, fell into this trap.  But the crime that upset Nehemiah wasn't the sexual part of it, but that they had allowed the priesthood to be defiled.  This, then was the opposite of obedience.

In all three sets we can see, if we look hard enough, a single thread.  That thread is Worship, Obedience, and the works that come from them.  We learn to focus on worship, which starts with confession and repentance- and beware of those who seek to weaken our worship.  We learn to seek after obedience- that starts in worship and being aware of what God requires- and not to be seduced by the world out of it.  And we learn that works flow from the first two- requiring us to go to God for the strength to do the work- and not fall for the lies of "you can't do it."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Time Machine co-ordinates VXII42031780

Today we push the Tardis outside of the Martin Era, farther than she's ever gone- to St Patty's Day, 1980.  In the news, race riots are sweeping Miami after 4 cops were acquitted in the death of black insurance man Arthur McDuffie.  Arthur, in addition to (or in spite of) being an insurance salesman, was a traffic law violator with a suspended licence who decided to take off on his motorcycle from the police, with a high speed chase, followed by escape on foot, followed by fighting, followed by his death from a cracked skull.  And, Matti Webb became one of five acts this year to hit #1 in their first week on the Irish charts, with her hit Take That Look Off Your Face.

Yes, it's a St. Patty's Day Time Machine, and frankly, I'm not sure what's gonna happen this show!  Welcome to our first show outside the Martin Era, and let's have some fun!

First St Patrick's day Irish chart trivia:  the most hits on the Irish chart is a tie with 70- and if you have paid attention on our English segues, you might guess the two are Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley.


And our only debut this week belongs to a half-Irish Jewish boy from Brooklyn.  I might be a bit remiss in calling him a boy- he turns 74 in June.  This was the guy whose poster hung on my bedroom wall, the man I have called "our generation's Sinatra."  His new lp coming out in April is called This Is My Town: Songs Of New York, and his name is Barry Manilow.

The medley comes in at #9 this week.


I managed to scare up a 15 station Panel for 1980, and they give us 7 candidates for the new POTM, and here to introduce them is our own Irish President of the week, Sir Paul McCartney!

'ello, and welcome to the show!  Once again, I and me mates thank you for this honor, unlike that snooty sod last week.  Your choices this turn are...

A country and western outfit called the Oak Ridge Boys, with, uhm, Buh-Buh, Buh-buh, Bobbi Sue.  It was at #14 on the Cashbox charts this week.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts have the numero uno on Cashbox this week, with a tune that was first done here in England by the Arrows, I Love Rock'N'Roll.

Hey, wasn't that written by two of the Osmonds?

Er, no.  It was written by Alan Merrill, not Alan AND Merrill.

I know, little joke there.

Very.  Anyway, next we have  Bertie Higgins, another partial Irishman, with Key Largo, which was #11 on the charts.

Journey's Open Arms was at #4.

Folk singer John Denver, and Placido Domingo teamed up for an AC hit called Perhaps Love, which peaked at #59.

Next, my mates in Soft Cell are at #62 and climbing with Tainted Love.

And finally, the lovely lassies of the Go-Gos and We Got The Beat, the #5 song.

There you go, mate!

Thanks, Sir Paul!  And now, I would give you a clue, but I think that outside of knowing that Denver and Domingo aren't your best choice, I'll leave you on your own here.


Next Irish trivia: The most weeks at #1 in Ireland was Bill Whelan's Riverdance at 19 weeks. The most weeks for a song you prolly know is the #3 on the list, Pharrell Williams' Happy with 12.


Thankfully I have all this St Patrick's Day stuff I can horn in here, because I sucked eggs trying to do a 6D on the highest charter nationally without a Panel vote, the #2 That Girl by Stevie Wonder.

(Okay, help me out here.  The blog doesn't come in braille, so everybody just tell Stevie I had a real good story on him.)


And here I have a neat little feature for the UK segment, and I was just about to not do the UK for fear of perturbing the Irish.

So anyway, the #1 in the UK this week in 1980 was a remake of The Lion Sleeps Tonight by a studio act called Tight Fit.  It wasn't too bad, but it got me thinking of all the times that song has charted over the years.  I found 8 times between the UK and the US, starting with Gordon Jenkins' band featuring the Weavers on vocals.  It was one of many that went by the alternate title Wimoweh, and made #14 back in '52.  The Tokens took the best-loved version to the top in 1961, while in Britain a Slim Whitman-on-5 HR Energy type named Karl Denver reached #4 there in '62.  It charted twice in 1972:  Here, it was Robert John who made it to #3, while in the UK a gent by the name of Dave Newman (about whom I could find little other than his death just this last summer) hit #34 there.

Brian Eno, in his early days, just missed the UK top 50 three years later with an electronica version.  Then came Tight Fit, followed by the Tokens reprising it in 1994, which charted at #51.

Now the highest song that hit both charts was J Geils' Centerfold, which was #3 here and #9 there.


I considered doing a top songs by Irish acts deal here, but since I only realized the date when I sat down to type, the best I can manage is a shout out to some of the Irish acts that charted here.  So shouts to Gilbert O'Sullivan, Thin Lizzy, the Boomtown Rats, U2, the Irish Rovers, the Cranberries, Van Morrison, and Chris DeBurgh for a start.

In the meantime, it was a much quicker lookup to learn that the ME has seen three times Cashbox's Hot 100 hit on St Patrick's Day, and thus we have three St Patty's number ones:  Bruce Channell's Hey Baby in '62, Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly in 73, and the Bee Gees with Tragedy in '79.


NOTICE:  At this point, I just discovered that the Musical Tardis was far more damaged by the attempt at the future than I thought.  While my lead in was from 1980... EVERYTHING ELSE is from 1982!  The only reason I discovered that stupidity was that when I went to my notes to do the #80 in '80, I saw that it was ACTUALLY the #82 in '82!  So just in your mind, set everything from the picture of the lovely Ms Webb down to 1982, and if I ever do a 1980, I'll be sure to confuse you with a 1982 lead in!

(But at least I get to use the new meme I made last night...)


Oh, so that #82 at 1982 was Elton John's Empty Garden, his tribute to his good friend and ours, John Lennon, which had just debuted.


And since it is the Beatles' week at the Presidency, I'll mention that they had five songs debut on the Irish chart at #1- Ticket To Ride, Help!, Paperback Writer, Hey Jude, and The Ballad Of John and Yoko.


And now, the M10.

Colony House slips to #10 in their 8th week with the little song that could, You And I.

Sadly for a couple of last week's climbers, room towards the top is at a premium this week, and thus Helpless by John Mayer and Name For You by the Shins do an as-you-were and go back to 8 and 7, respectively.

The former #1 by Chicano Batman, Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm), slips from #2 to #6.  But don't grieve them; they'll be hitting the chart in a big way next week with their latest...

POWERS slams their way up 5 spots to #5 with Heavy.

Tom Jones moves up a precious spot to #4 with I Know.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons rocket from #9 to #3 with Walk On By.

The Pretenders et al slip out of the top spot to #2 with Let's Get Lost.

And before the reveal, I would like to point out that I was amazed to learn yesterday that, although 31 acts have had multiple hits on the M10, and 16 of them hit #1, there have only been three acts- Beach House, Lucius, and The Explorer's Club, who have had multiple $1s.

Until Now.

 The number ones?  M10 says...

...Melody's Echo Chamber with their second #1, Crystallized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And winning the Panel by a 7-3 margin over Open Arms...

Joan Jett and the boys with I Love Rock N Roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, since this foray has been such a "smashing" (more like smashed up) success, let's see if we can slingshot closer to home by going to 1960 next week!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Curses, foiled again

So here I have been, trying to decide whether to finally come out with the first of what I figure will be the first of a few "Stupid stuff Trump does" posts over the whole "By wiretapping he meant" fiasco.  I mean, at a certain point, someone should say, "Look, Don, just let us work out the details on the thing BEFORE you go on Twitter, so we don't have to make such a stupid backtrack."  And we have hit that a few times now, maybe none so bad as having Spicer come out and teach us that the way English is usually spoken is a misconception.  (Of course, Bill Clinton already set that ball in motion by updating the definition of sex vis-a-vis Monica Lewinsky.)  But, while we peacefully watched NCIS: NOLA last night, Rachel Maddow eliminated any purpose in spoofing Trump.

For those smart enough to ignore the news, here's the gig:  Maddow spent half the evening tweeting that she had a "BIG SCOOP" about the President's tax returns, and she was going to expose it on her show at 9 PM.  If I gather the story correctly, she later dialed the enthusiasm down a notch when her "secret source (who we'll discuss in a bit)" let her in on that it was 2 pages out of a 12-year old tax return.  Then, she found out that the White House kindly informed her that publishing a tax document without permission was illegal, wryly commenting that MSNBC must be really hard up for ratings if they want to use illegal methods to publish a non-story.

At this point, I take it, she went into stall mode, waiting for her "secret source" to publish first so she wasn't liable.  And that secret source pissed around and pissed around, so much so that she went into a 15-minute long monologue that left many anticipating that she was about to read from Green Eggs And Ham while she waited.

Finally, she got the go ahead- secret source had published it on his website, and the Daily Beast had reported it.  And guess what that evil, penny pinching Trump did on his 2005 return?  Why, he paid as much in taxes in 1998 alone as I will gross in approximately the next 2,000 years.

Yes, it certainly is.  In fact, it is the cherry on a cake of stupid that has been building ever since someone came up with the bright idea of wanting to see a candidate's private tax return.

Not I.  I could care less about anybody's tax return, including my own.  But it was a lot of fun hearing about "Rachel MadCow" (Laurie's line there) running herself into a brick wall of social retardation.

In the meantime, her secret source, one David Cay Johnston tried to cover himself with, "Somebody stuck it in my mailbox", "Maybe Trump leaked it" and other such nonsense.  Just what I'd expect of a man of his background.  His only real degree according to wiki is "a night high school diploma", and he is considered an "economics expert" despite, as wiki goes on, "Johnston studied economics at the University of Chicago graduate school and six other colleges, earning the equivalent of six years of college credits but no awarded degree, because he took upper level and graduate level courses almost exclusively, and did not remain at any one school long enough."

NOTE:  Just in case you to would like to go for a Masters without having the background to warrant entrance in a real program, his other six schools included San Francisco State, Michigan State, and four other schools that apparently warned him not to use their names in public.

So basically, a lot of ("lot" being a relative term) watched Rachel MadCow pin her credibility's future on a serial drop-out who publishes other people's private info for kicks, rubs all the right "intellectual" bellies and comes out an expert in economics, and thinks that a man who paid $38 million in taxes is somehow cheating the American people.

And the really funny thing?  They are both "investigative reporters", I am told.

Trump won't even HAVE to tweet about THIS one.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday weekend catch-up

So this week's catch-up post comes to you in reverse chronological order.  Therefore we start with today, which had the wheels fall off soon after lunch.  We have an old-style boat made with two longitudinal panels instead of 5 or six side to side ones.  I call it a "whale".  The long panels are about 8 yards long, instead of 3 1/2 yds on normal boats.  So needless to say, I cross my fingers that nothing bad like a defect happens while it's cutting these enormous panels or the fifty thousand or so bands it needs to put it together.

And so, bad thing #1:  These boats are so old, many of them are not on the system with a part number, but with a description, which means instead of it scanning over to my machine, I have to bring it up manually- if I know what the description # is, which I didn't.  This involved a five-minute office trip that got me nowhere I couldn't have figured out myself.  So, "33776A" becomes "SL200LS-ERP-12", and away we go.  I have only about 18 yards left on my fabric roll, and that's about what it's supposed to be, so I have an outside chance of getting it all if nothing else goes wrong.

And so, bad thing #2:  For whatever reason, these big panels have a couple of tight corners that, if the blade is worn and I have the pressure maxed out, it will either reset the machine or break the blade- either of which, on MY machine (thought not on the other) means 8 yards of fabric have just been shot up the butt.  And, sure enough, on the last tight corner on the second panel, the blade broke.  So I changed the blade- not taking into account that the belt on my machine is getting so bad that if I forget to turn the air back on before I home the machine prior to restart, it will mess up the blade.

And so, bad thing #3.  So while I cut some of the bands, my floor lead gets me another roll of fabric ("black cherry"), and soon I am struggling to get the remaining pieces cut.  Struggling, because the blade has a nick from homing it without the air on.  Get all the way to the last piece- and there's bad thing # 4, a defect square in the middle of the last piece.  I take the opportunity to change the blade- again forgetting to turn the air on before homing, #5- and recut that piece.  Change the blade again- this time leaving the air on.  But this time, when I went to put the blade holder back on the machine, the tiny little screw that holds it on fell out and hid, #6.  After wasting 5 minutes looking for it, I turned to the tool drawer for a spare- and found none, #7.  Finally found it after pulling back the belt to see that it rolled into a nearly-inaccessible crevice.

In cases like these, I assume that the boat will sink upon delivery to the customer.

We move on to Sunday, where we saw an exciting NASCAR race that saw my three drivers, Truex, Larson, and Chase Elliot- finish 1-2-3.  And after, Kyle Busch decides to go kick Joey Logano's butt for wrecking him at the end (which may or may not have been what happened.)  But he went to Logano's pit, where Logano's pit crew were, without taking his own guys along.  As you might expect, it did not go well for Kyle.  In fact, it inspired me to make a meme and post it on FB:

And that brings us to Saturday, which featured the birthday of Jessica's son Aaron, who just turned 10:

Lighting the cake

Love the eyes here...

"Yeah, Peanut, when I turned ten, Dad took me to Hooters..."

I can't wait till I get cake...

2 for one- Jessica picking her nose and Shenan showing off her latest hickey.

And later on, I get my first taste of legal Indiana Yuengling 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fighting the Nazis again

I cannot in good conscience after a recent post let the actions of the "Republic" of Turkey go by without comment.  What actions, you say?  Well, it seems that Turkey is having a constitutional referendum on April 16th.  And the government of Turkey wants to get the cause out to its expats in Europe.  That includes low-ball estimates of 3 and a half million in Germany, almost a million in France, over half a million in the Low Countries and in the UK, and 100,000 + in Scandinavia.  So yeah, that's a lot of votes- especially when you ain't home watching what's going on.

The basic controversy in the referendum revolves around one thing- the concentration of power in the hands of the President.  It basically eliminates the counterweight of having a Prime Minister; it expands Parliament by 9%, giving small opposition parties less of a chance; it removes- yes, REMOVES- the power of said parliament to scrutinize ministers and hold the government (AKA the President) accountable.  Now admittedly it ain't all bad; a lot of clauses help to de-fang the military as a political force, and that MIGHT be construed as a good thing, and it lowers the voting age, and makes a Parliament veto more workable.  But, I'm not here to talk their politics.

Here's the deal- several European countries are exercising their rights as sovereign nations to not allow government campaigners on their territory.  They have seen the propensity of their immigrant populations to political violence, and want none of that.  More importantly, they want to uphold the rights of THEIR countries as sovereign nations and not just campaign ground for people who, either by working or welfare-ing, are sucking the national teat.

The stakes have been steadily rising.  Angela Merkel tried at first to pass it off as a community-choice thing, and not necessarily a policy of the German government.  Her reward for that was Turk President  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to claim in a rally in his own country, "Germany, you have no relation whatsoever to democracy and you should know that your current actions are no different to those of the Nazi period."

Then, in rapid succession, the Dutch escorted a minor Turkish official out of the country after denying her access to the Turkish embassy where she was going to give a campaign speech, followed by refusing to let the Turkish Foreign Minister's plane to land for the same reason.  And what happened next?  First, local Turks proved their point.  From the NY Times:

A protest outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam turned to rioting, and the police in Rotterdam arrested 12 people. A police spokeswoman, Patricia Wessels, told The A.P. that protesters pelted officers with bottles and rocks, and law enforcement officials responded with dogs, baton charges and a water cannon. Ms. Wessels said seven people were injured, including a police officer who broke his hand.

And then... the Foreign Minister replied:

“This is a totally repressive system,” he told the Hürriyet newspaper. “All practices resemble those of the Nazi era.”

Now I'm sure that the extreme anti-Trumpers prolly agree with the thought process that says a nation shouldn't have the power to prevent officials from ANOTHER nation coming into said nation to campaign for an election IN THEIR NATION.  After all, we should be above borders, etec, etc.  But if we lob out said nutjobs and speak to reasonable human beings, we can ask:

1- Is not a nation allowed to keep its own sovereignty and NOT allow the basic operations of another government on their lands?
2- With the political climate and the growing battle between nationals and immigrants in Merkel's Europe, and given the reaction in Rotterdam and other cities, is not the point of not wanting the violence a valid one?
3- What is the "repressive", "Nazi" part of all this?  No nation is not allowing their OWN people to act- only agents of a foreign government are affected.

So then Merkel finally grows a pair and stands up to them, and a slight dribble runs down the Foreign Minister's leg.  From The Independent:

“We will not allow the victims of the Nazis to be trivialised – these comparisons of Germany with Nazism must stop,” the Chancellor added.

“They are unworthy of the close ties between Germany and Turkey and of our peoples.”

Turkey’s foreign minister effectively repeated the comparison within hours, saying that he was not calling current German ministers Nazis, but that their actions were reminiscent of that era.

“We have not called anyone a Nazi,” Mr Cavusoglu said. “Our President made a comparison in reference to certain practices. The trend in Europe at the moment reminds us of pre-World War Two Europe.” 

So you can hold the picture of Hitler over someone's head, then take it down and say, "Sorry, just kidding", and the image goes away?  I think not.  So, in a bit of tit-for-tat, I have two things to bring up to President Erdoğan that I hope stick with HIM.

First, what about the suppression of opposition to the referendum in your OWN country?  From the wiki article:

The AKP government and the General Directorate of Security (police) have both been criticised for employing tactics designed to limit the campaigning abilities of 'No' supporters, through arrests and political suppression. On 23 January 2017, university students campaigning for a 'No' vote on a commuter ferry in İstanbul were implicated by security officers for 'insulting the president', with their arrests being stopped by onboard passengers.[151] On 31 January, Republican People's Party council member Sera Kadıgil was arrested and later freed on charges of 'insulting religious values and inciting hatred' for campaigning for a 'No' vote on social media.[152] In Bursa, a voter who revealed that he was voting 'No' was reported to the police and later arrested.[153]
Municipalities held by pro-'Yes' parties have also sought to limit the campaign events of 'No' voters by denying them rights to hold rallies in public spaces of community halls. Meral Akşener, a leading nationalist politician and one of the most prominent campaigners for a 'No' vote, was stopped from holding speeches when her campaign venues in Yalova and Edirne were abruptly shut down shortly before her events, with posters advertising her events in Eskişehir being ripped down.[154][155] On 11 February while she was making a speech at a hotel hall in Çanakkale, the venue suffered a power cut and was perceived by the pro-opposition media to be a symbol of the oppressive tactics against the 'No' campaign. After initially being obstructed by riot police, attendees at the conference used their iPhone lights to allow the event to continue.[156][157][158]

If you like, you can go to the article and chase down the annotation yourselves.  I won't bother to point out what government THAT resembles.

And number two, anytime President Erdoğan wants to play the Nazi card, I have two words for him.

Smyrna.  1922.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday message: Self Esteem as a bad thing

This week, my listening to pastors while at work netted me a lot of interesting things I hadn't considered before.  But one was a real jaw-dropper.  Sorry, I don't drop microphones.

David Jeremiah was going through the "love is not" section of I Corinthians 13 and had landed on pride.  Now, I know pride is the original sin (nice work, Lucifer) and almost everything bad that has happened on this planet can be laid at its feet.  But sometimes I just want to scream at God, "Why can't a person even just have a little pride, in anything?"  Usually this occurs after a great catch or wonderful deed on my part that makes me feel good, glad to be alive for a change, and followed within moments by my screwing something up.

I get that we are to be humble.  I get what Jesus said in Luke 17:10:

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done that which was our duty to do.’”

 But I still feel like there should be something called self-esteem.  Without it, why bother doing anything?  How do we help the depressed, the suicidal?  And yes, I get that we should base our worth on what God was willing to do to redeem us.  Still, everyone wants to feel like a "good and faithful servant" every now and again.

So as Dr Jeremiah went on about the evils of pride, I kept telling him in my mind, "Don't forget the part where you teach the difference between pride and self-esteem."  He had other ideas.  In fact, he laid part of the blame for an increasingly prideful society ON the teaching of our children the necessity for self-esteem.

This is a concept I am struggling with.  Can it be that our society has made us so hungry for self-worth that we have put it on a pedestal, cleaned it up and declared it noble, when it's just a facet of that original sin?  It makes a wonderful sense that Satan's minions come up with the idea of "competed" trophies, non-judgmental school grades, "you tried, that's what counts" learning, to get us so used to the overboard that we don't notice the problem inherent in "legitimate" self-esteem?

I guess Peter would know what I'm talking about.  He had the biggest "good thing followed by mistake" in history, going from the Rock on which the Church would be built to "Get thee behind me, Satan" in 0.5.  And as such, we look at that incident, and remember what Jesus actually said at the start of that?

Matt. 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven..."

Even when he got it right, Peter got a reminder that it was God who clued him into it.  And the more we are willing to give Him the credit, the better WE do.  That is the self-esteem God intended for us.  Stripped of the self-interest and self-glorification, a self-esteem that comes from obeying God and being rewarded with success in His name.  And this I also get.  Somehow, though, we let this self-centered version of self-esteem invade our psyches.

And it makes us miss the blessing that Peter got.  He was called blessed by Jesus, not because he was smart or gave the right answer, but because God had showed him something of value.  God, who made the universe from smallest to greatest, had given HIM something of His.  And what better way to feel good about yourself is there?