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Date:2005-11-22 08:40

I decided to move back to my old blog. Go here: www.petermatthews.blogspot.com.


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Date:2005-11-16 13:56
Subject:interesting statement

"The best way to end that threat (of WMD) once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people,"


More tomorrow

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Date:2005-11-01 08:45

President Bush has withdrawn Miers (good move) and put in Alito (another good move). It will shore up his base and start a fight.

Did I say a fight? Yep, I did. Partisan fights are good things. Democracy is based on it.

Senator Shumer said he was disappointed in President Bush's pick because it will, "divide the country." Of course, one problem with his statement is the assumption that most of the country even knows a new nominee has been put in play -- what with the latest episode of Desperate Housewives to worry about how can one give mental enregy to the Supreme Court? (I know he knows most people don't care, but he can't say that on T.V.)

The bigger problem with Shumer's comment is that dividing the country is a bad thing. That's what happens in democracies -- partisan fights with a winner or a draw at the end of the day!! When there are no partisan fights one is left with despotism. There is nothing like -- oh, say, an election -- to divide the country! I say death to all tyrants and and bring on the fight!!

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Date:2005-11-01 08:31

I took one of those --
What World Leader Are You? quizzes -- came out as Albert Einstein.

I would post the picture but I don't have a clue how to do it on LiveJournal.

Happy All Saints Day!!!

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Date:2005-10-20 08:31
Subject:Fascinating Thought

"The truth of the matter, then, is that while God was always Father, he was not always Creator or Maker."

Thomas F. Torrence, from The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church


Before being creator God was Father. This is tricky. God the Son is eternally begotten from the Father and God the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father (or the Father and the Son depending upon one's view of the filioque). The Father was first -- but not first chronologically. The Father is the arch or fount of the Godhead -- but not chronologically.

Once God created, then kingship, rulership, lordship, etc. came into play.

Once the angels and humanity sinned then wrath, justice, mercy, redemption, grace came into play.

These qualities were always in God. But the ground of these qualities is God as Father. A Father who is eternally begetting and processing.

This is just plain mind blowing stuff -- and -- it move's one to worship.

Gloria! In excelsis deo!

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Date:2005-10-18 07:23
Subject:File Under: God have mercy....

from the Reformatorisch Dagblad:

PARIS - Four years after becoming the first nation formally to legalize euthanasia, the Netherlands is set to amend its legislation to provide for the euthanasia of newborn babies, under certain circumstances.

In 2001, the Dutch government passed a law allowing doctors to end the life of adult patients at their own request. The new directive, which will be debated in parliament later this month and most likely approved without a vote, will extend the regulations to incorporate what is known as the Groningen Protocol. Under these guidelines, parents can give consent for children to be killed, if they are suffering from severe pain and are terminally ill.

„This is dangerous because the question is, what will be the next extension?” said Bert Dorenbos, chairman of Cry for Life, a pro-life organization in the Netherlands. „It can be very dangerous when our lives are in the hands of political parties or subjective groups.”

The Groningen Academic Hospital, where doctors drew up the guidelines, made headlines last year when it admitted publicly that it had carried out euthanasia on terminally ill newborn babies. The hospital claimed the practice was common elsewhere in the world, including in the US.

Government officials said there were 10-15 cases of child euthanasia in the Netherlands every year and doctors were eager for the directive to be adopted so they will not be prosecuted. „Child euthanasia is already being practiced”, Dorenbos said. „And now they will have political approval for it.”

The Groningen Protocol lists several criteria for making a decision on ending a child’s life. There should be severe pain and suffering and no hope for a cure or relief through medical treatment, and an independent doctor must provide a second opinion. Parents must also give consent.

The new guidelines are also expected to call for the establishment of an independent commission which will examine each case. It could refer cases for prosecution if laid-down conditions are not met.

The 2001 euthanasia law and the new directive have drawn little public opposition in the Netherlands. Although the ruling coalition has announced that it would review the country’s abortion and euthanasia laws in November, no-one expects them to be changed. „There is only concern about this among church groups here”, said Dorenbos. „We see there is more concern outside of Holland than in Holland itself.”

Apart from the Netherlands, euthanasia or physician assisted suicide is legal under specified conditions in Belgium, Switzerland and in the U.S. state of Oregon. (Crosswalk)

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Date:2005-10-17 09:49

It is common in discussions about the Civil War to argue that the south had better Generals and simply lost the war because of the north's superior economic power. While it is true that the north had greater economic power and it is true that this contrinuted Union victory, I disagree that the south had better generals.

The truth is more nuanced. Men like Lee and Jackson were far superior as TACTICIANS. During a day of fighting, Lee's skills at maneuvering an Army to win the day were nothing short of amazing. But Lee did not have good strategic vision. I'll use two examples to make my point. First, the invasion of Pennsylvania was an utter mistake. Lee failed to understand that the Pennsylvanian's would feel like the Virginian's felt upon being invaded. Regardless of political views about secession and slavery, it is a deeply rooted human instinct to love hearth and home and want to defend once it is threatened (this is why there were virtually no isolationsits on December 8, 1941). Strategically it was a failure. Second, why did Lee never invade Washington? Weaker Armies that succeed usually do so be grasping the political power of symbolic acts. In Vietnam the Tet offensive was a tactical loss for the NVA and Vietcong. But it was a strategic victory and a turning point in the push toward American withdrawal. One can imagine a horde of screaming rebels charging through Washington. It could have influenced the North -- much of which was ambivilant about the south seceding -- to want to sue for peace. For all of George Washington's weaknesses as a general, he clearly understood this principle and it was central to the Contental Army's eventual victory over the British.

Grant and Sherman understood larger strategy and how military power is intereconnected to economic power, cultural power and politics. As Cluasewitz wrote, "war is politics by other means." It seems Generals like Lee and Jackson wanted to see the war as a romantic feudal contest and could not stand far enough above the fray and see how their actions fit into the larger geo-political strategy for gaining southern independence.

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Date:2005-10-05 08:34

Okay -- I try to refrain from blogging about politics. Being a pastor I want to be careful that folks in my parish do not think that I think less of them because they hold different views than I do(I do not) and I do not want people reading this blog to think that I hold that my views are the "Christian view." Frankly, I do not think there is such thing as Christian policy. Other than on a few extremely obvious things (e.g., I would think it is a Christian position that government ought to outlaw murder), my view is that good people think about these things and good people come down differently on them.

On to ranting...

THE PRE RANT: I hate it when conservatives or liberals act like folks on the other side of the spectrum are evil. People from both sides do it. I hate it. 99% of folks on both sides are good Americans trying to figure out how best our government ought to govern. Okay -- that's out of my system.

THE RANT: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." Gerald R. Ford

When is President Bush going to learn this? He has not met a spending bill he has not signed. Jeesh!! You'd think he is out democrating the democrats. Of course the house and senate are in on the spree too! Bush's base of social and fiscal conservatives are getting pretty ticked off. Maybe they will stay home in 2006. Of course the democrats will love that. But maybe some years of them doing the same thing (If you believe democrats will cut spending in any meaningful way, I have some land in the everglades to sell you.) will take the republicans to the wood shed. Lord knows they need it!

Can anyone say inflation?

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Date:2005-09-28 07:21
Subject: ITS A SHAM

Well -- the congressional hearings about Hurricane Katrina have begin -- and the city isn't even dry yet!!

Caveat -- the following statement does not come from the left or right. This is equal opportunity anger at both democrats and republicans!!!

The politicians are acting like a bunch of sharks with blood in the water. I absolutly disbelieve the sincerity of any politician who has been pontificating against everyone who was responsible for Katrina help. I am sure people screwed up. But the pompous, pontificating, arrogant, noisy, disgusting way the politicians are beating everyone up is sickening.

The Brown hearings (please remember, I am not defending Brown) were a sham!! They put that guy up there so they could have a chance to humiliate him publicly, get on TV and sound tough. My gosh -- and they want us to respect them. Arrrgh.

I generally admire people who enter public service -- but these days are shameful.

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Date:2005-09-16 07:51
Subject:House Warming Tonight

Tonight is the official house warming party at 3425 Tisdale -- the new Matthews' hacienda in Lexington. Looking forward toi food, friends, music and good conversation. Hope everyone fits in the house.

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Date:2005-08-08 12:53

I resonate with this theological statement:

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Benjamin Franklin


The signs of God's love that I most enjoy:

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
Guinness Pub Draught
Newcastle Brown Ale
Bass Pale Ale
Killians Red (this is for drinking after mowing the lawn and/or while grilling)

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Date:2005-07-29 10:16

I am re-reading Truman by David McCullough. I do so about every other year. HST is one of my heroes.

I am in the early stages of the book where McCullough describes HST's high school years. As I was reading it had to slowly face the disgusting and discouraging realization that in the era he lived in, HST was more educated at 16 than I am at forty with a master's degree. JEESH!!

What happened???

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Date:2005-07-21 12:03

Christianity Vanquished in Britain?
Ed Vitagliano
Agape Press

When Lord Bromley Betchworth returned to the United Kingdom (U.K.) after living in the U.S. for 12 years, he returned to a culture that had dramatically changed.

"I was shocked at how moral values had changed in such a short time and how church attendance in mainstream denominations was in free fall," he said. "Four out of five churches were either declining or simply static."

Betchworth wrote those words in the forward to a fascinating new report that seeks to explain the moral breakdown in a once vibrant Christian nation....

....In order to delve into these issues, the interdenominational Ecumenical Research Committee (ERC), convened in 2002, designed and executed a year-long survey of churchgoers "of every denomination and theological persuasion." More than 14,000 people responded to the questionnaire, which was designed with open-ended questions, instead of the more traditional "check box" format. This was done to allow respondents to elaborate on their feelings, rather than being steered to a limited number of options.

READ IT ALL HERE: http://www.crosswalk.com/news/1340991.html

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Date:2005-07-18 19:44

"NOTHING is more powerful to engage our affection than to find that we are beloved. Expressions of kindness are always pleasing and acceptable unto us, though the person should be otherwise mean and contemptible: but, to have the love of One who is altogether lovely, to know that the glorious Majesty of heaven hath any regard unto us, how must this astonish and delight us, how must it overcome our Spirits and melt our hearts, and put our whole soul into a flame!"

Henry Scougal 1650-1678, clergyman and theologian

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Date:2005-07-18 07:36

Okay -- what a weekend. The sale on our house fell through. So -- what's next? Our house in Wilmore is still on the market and we are still hoping to buy a house in Lexington. We are praying and trusting. Please join us.

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Date:2005-07-16 17:50

Okay -- in the last hour some circumstances have changed. Maybe things will work out with the house sale and purchase. Please pray that they will.

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Date:2005-07-16 16:11
Subject:FILE UNDER: I'm Not Making This Up or Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

The sale of our house fell through.

We thought everything was all sewn up this morning. Come to find out there was a miscommunication between us and the buyer regarding the offer on the table. When it was clarified she backed out.

We have withdrawn our offer on the house we were hoping to buy.

Right now we are not sure what we will do next--except go out to eat for really good food tonight!!

More news as it comes......

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Date:2005-07-16 10:06
Subject:IT'S SOLD!!!

Well -- it looks like everything has come together and our house is sold. We close July 29. Yippee!! As we have marketed our house, we have discovered it is more of a fixer upper than we realized. Hey what can I say -- I majored in history -- wanna talk about Pickett's charge at Gettysburg?

Now, we have some details to work out with closing on the house in Lexington that we have an offer on. The original closing date on that was July 20 but that cannot happen. The sellers have not wanted to move the closing date. If they still do not want to move it then we have to buy another house. Finding another house we like should not be a problem -- there are many houses on the market. Still we want the house we have an offer on. Pray that those details will work out.

Whew -- a couple of more steps and a lot of work packing and moving in the next few weeks. Please pray that everything falls together!


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Date:2005-07-13 08:43

Looks like government revenues are up and projected to soar to an all time high. Also, the deficit is going to be lower than projected this year.

The point occured when federal tax cuts were put in place -- a la the Laffer Curve (see below). Seems like evidence that rightly placed tax cuts actually increase government revenues. There are different reasons why higher tax rates lower government revenues. One is that people find ways to shelter excess income from investments that create a good return because the money will be taxed away. When the rate is lower a win/win situation arises -- people invest more money and generate more profit -- so investors gain. Though the tax rate is lower the revenues actually increase.

Some argue that because tax rates are lower taxes are actually lower. The evidence actually suggests that when the rates are lowered to the optimal point on the Laffer curve taxes paid are actually higher. Fascinating stuff.

(according to Wikipedia: The Laffer curve, developed by economist Arthur Laffer and often used to justify tax cuts, is intended to show that government can maximize tax revenue by setting a tax rate at the peak of this curve. The curve is clearly accurate at both extremes of taxation --zero percent and one-hundred percent-- where the government collects no revenue. At one extreme, a 0% tax rate means the government's revenue is, of course, zero. At the other, where there is a 100% tax rate, the government collects zero revenue because taxpayers have no incentive to work or avoid taxes and the government collects 100% of nothing. Somewhere between 0% and 100%, therefore, lies a tax rate percentage that will maximize revenue.)

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Date:2005-07-12 20:52

Another interesting article on aid from Africa -- an interview in Der Spiegel (a german mag) with African economist James Shikwati. Food for thought.

excerpt: "For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!"

The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. The avid proponent of globalization spoke with SPIEGEL about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem.


SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa...

Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

SPIEGEL: Even in a country like Kenya, people are starving to death each year. Someone has got to help them.

Shikwati: But it has to be the Kenyans themselves who help these people. When there's a drought in a region of Kenya, our corrupt politicians reflexively cry out for more help. This call then reaches the United Nations World Food Program -- which is a massive agency of apparatchiks who are in the absurd situation of, on the one hand, being dedicated to the fight against hunger while, on the other hand, being faced with unemployment were hunger actually eliminated. It's only natural that they willingly accept the plea for more help. And it's not uncommon that they demand a little more money than the respective African government originally requested. They then forward that request to their headquarters, and before long, several thousands tons of corn are shipped to Africa ...

read it all here: http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,363663,00.html

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