Sunday, October 26, 2014

One In The Spirit

Today's topic is Baptists versus Catholics, but first, a little personal historical perspective.

As everyone knows, I was born on the second floor of Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia in 1959. In 1959, Marietta was considered a far out exurb of Atlanta. By 1972, that began to change and change fast. Marietta became one of the fastest growing suburbs of Atlanta. Ground zero for this growth was the area I lived in known as East Cobb.

Before 1972, the people that moved to East Cobb were mainly from the Midwest. The differences between someone from the  Midwest and someone from the South are slight. We say "y'all" and they say "you guys". For some reason, all of the Ohioans I met pronounced "Wash" as "Wersh". They drive better in the snow than we do.

However, in 1972, the people that began moving to East Cobb were from the Northeast. The real Yankees. The people that were not the typical Southern mutt mixture of Scotch-Irish. The folks were of a definite ethnicity: primarily Italian.

I was in eighth grade when a girl named Lynn was brought to a class I was in. The teacher stumbled over her name (which ended in a vowel). Lynn corrected her and she had a heavy Boston- Pahk the cah(r) in Hahvuhd Yahd-accent. I remember looking at her thinking "I've heard about these people but I've never seen one before".

One thing all of these people had in common was that they were all Catholics. Before then I had known maybe three Catholics. Now they were everywhere. My brother told me that Catholics came in Masses and I believed him.

Now let's explore some of the differences between Catholics and my denomination, The Southern Baptist Convention.

Title of  Clergy

Catholics: "Father"

Baptists: "Brother (first name)" or "Brother (last name)" or "Dr" if they somehow got a doctorate from an accredited seminary or if  the seminary sounds accredited.


Catholics: Sprinkling babies

Baptists: Dunking kindergartners and then redunking them in high school after they have their first beer.


Catholics:  It is okay to dance as long you leave room for The Holy Spirit.

Baptists: Dancing leads to sex, even with married couples, and therefore, should be avoided. (However, I will say every Southern Baptist girl I knew when I was young could really boogie.)

Social Drinking

Catholics: Yes, please.


Not As Old Baptists: It is okay unless you cause your brother to stumble and you wouldn't want that on your conscience now would we?

Young Baptists: Yes, please.

Of course there are many other doctrinal differences that I'm in no way qualified to discuss. However, there is one area of agreement: There is a God who loves us and sent his Son to die for us. God is interested in us and doesn't abandon us even though there are times when it seems he does.

Once during the initial stages of my wife's breast cancer journey, I was driving home in the typical Georgia December rain and I thought about 1 Corinthians 13: 12.  "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."  I burst into tears, which I never do. My brother had died seven months before and there I was facing the possibility that something bad could happen to my wife. But that verse gave me comfort because  "I am fully known" by the creator of the universe.

I have a friend that was a part of the Great Northern Migration to East Cobb. She said that a boy came up to her at school and said she was a Yankee that was going to Hell because she was a Catholic. His grandmother told him.  My grandmother never told me any such a thing and neither did my mother or father.

This friend has helped me pray my son into his first job and I've prayed for her daughter to escape a corporate downsizing, which she did. My friend lights a candle. I mention it during prayer and praise in Sunday School. God listens and he doesn't mind that we don't go to the same church.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


It’s unbelievable, it’s strange but true
It’s inconceivable it could happen to you
You go north and you go south
Just like bait in the fish’s mouth
You must be livin’ in the shadow of some kind of evil star
It’s unbelievable it would get this far  ~ Bob Dylan

Okay, I know that only one person in the United States has died from Ebola. But a month ago that number was zero.

President Obama, yesterday, warned against "hysteria". As if you are wrong to be just a little bit worried about a disease that kills almost 70% of the people it infects. This from the same administration that is having a literal cow about what high schoolers eat. Joe Scarborough tweeted out: "It would be eas­ier to trust ap­peals for calm if of­fi­cials didn't act as if it is ab­surd to fear a pathogen that liq­ue­fies or­gans."

True, more people have died from obesity than Ebola in the United States. But they don't wash an airplane down with Clorox multiple times when a passenger brings on a donut.

Peggy Noonan, as usual, describes it perfectly. "Again, the public isn’t hysterical but concerned. One reason is that they have witnessed a series of bad decisions by the government and its institutions. Another is that they know there’s no one to trust in this crisis, no official person who is in charge and seems equal to the task."

Does anyone seriously trust President Obama in this situation?  Honestly. What in his background, his demeanor or previous performance  would lead one to believe he has any clue on how to handle this?

I know where this will go. Any time you criticize President Obama you hear a myriad of responses, the nicest being the accusation of rank partisanship. Am I saying Bush or McCain or Romney would have done better? No, I have no idea how they would have responded. I do have a feeling that they wouldn't have appointed Ron Klain as the "Ebola Czar".  Klain's main qualifications for the job appears to be that Obama knows him and Kevin Spacey played him in a movie.

Klain may be a brilliant move. He might whip everyone into shape and calm everyone's nerves. Maybe. I'm just saying that there was nobody in this country who said, "Whew! Thank God Ron Klain is in charge!"

Again, there are pros and cons to every issue, but really, what is the objection of a travel ban from the effected West African countries? The President said, "Trying to seal off an entire region of the world—if that were even possible—could actually make the situation worse.” He doesn't say how banning travel from a country that is spreading a pathogen that liquefies organs is "sealing it off" or how it would make the situation worse.

I will translate what the President said. He is actually  saying "You are being stupid. Shut up and let us smart people handle this. Geez. I gave up a fund raising trip for this?"

Some critics of the travel ban say it wouldn't work 100% so why do it any way.  Well, we know what doesn't work. What doesn't work is what we have now. Noonan says, "The burden is on those who oppose a ban to make a hard, factual, coherent and concrete case. It is telling that so far they have not been able to."

Part of the problem with the Obama Presidency is that the Big Media-The New York Times, Washington Post, etc-has always treated it as it was special, and that's never good for an administration or a country. Even today, they still treat him like a rock star. The Times sometimes acts likes stenographers for The White House instead of  the Fourth Estate.

However, Frank Bruni of The New York Times, who is never on a Fox News panel says this: "Ebola is his presidency in a petri dish. It’s an example already of his tendency to talk too loosely at the outset of things, so that his words come back to haunt him. There was the doctor you could keep under his health plan until, well, you couldn’t. There was the red line for Syria that he didn’t have to draw and later erased."

Bruni continues, "Still, he has to make Americans feel that he understands their alarm, no matter how irrational he deems it, and that they’re being leveled with, not talked down to, not handled. And he has a ways to go."

It is unbelievable that after six years, he still has a ways to go.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Click (Part II)

Note: This is what you are seeing on television if you live in the State of Georgia.

"I'm Nathan Deal and I approved this message:  (voice over) The State of Georgia is number one in all of the areas that's worth being number one in. Football. Women. Songs About Pickup Trucks. Nathan Deal promises to continue all of this great work as long as it doesn't snow. Vote for Nathan Deal. As long as it don't snow, we're good to go."


Commercial opens with Jason Carter sitting at a table. " Y'all, I know I got this famous last name  but I don't even like peanuts. Anyhoo, the middle class doesn't have a say at all in this state and I have a plan to let the middle class have a say. I want to improve education. I mean, it can't get any worse. We've got to hire more teachers so they can post vacation pictures of their feet at the beach on Facebook".


"I'm David Perdue and I approved this message:  (voice over) OBAMA! MICHELLE NUNN! LOVERS! FOR  REAL! WHAT WOULD MICHELLE NUNN DO IF THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO PLANT A BIG OLD SLOPPY KISS ON HER?"  (video tape of Michelle Nunn: "I would defer to the President's judgment") David Perdue wearing a coat and tie: "We don't need any of that hanky-panky in Washington. Defund Obamacare, Close our boarders. Make it easier for companies to outsource."


"I'm Sam Nunn's homely daughter and I approved this message":  "Ah'm Zale Miller and ah'm tared of all of the fussin' an' fightin that's a goin on in Wurshington. Thems peoples up thar er bridge barners not bridge billders. Now, this here youngin' ain't much to look at, but youins don't wanna send no Barbie doll up dere". Camera backs up to show Michelle Nunn sitting next to Zell Miller. "Governor Miller, thank you for whatever you said and I guess you mean it."


Jason Carter commercial: Various Middle Class People.  Middle Class Woman: "I just don't like Nathan Deal- he looks like a preacher whose always doin' a building project." Middle Class Man: "I just want Nathan Deal to sit at my dinner table. I'd be, 'Hey, Nathan Deal, pass me the taters' then he would understand the plight of middle class people. I just wish there was somebody else to vote for."


Nathan Deal Commercial: "Jason Carter with all of his fancy talk, using 'words' that have 'syllables' trying to impress us with his plans that he doesn't tell you how he's going to pay for it. He's never run anything in his life except for that fat mouth of his. Boy, wouldn't we like to slap the Carterness off that face. Oh, anyway, re-elect Nathan Deal."

David Perdue Commercial: "Do you really want to look at Michelle Nunn for six years? Lord."


"My opponent, David Perdue, says I helped fund terrorists, which is a lie and the only Republican I know said it was mean. David is an example of the doo-doo heads that are in politics now and if they would just shut up and let smart people like me run things everything would be better for people like you in Georgia. I promise I have never heard of Barack Obama. I'm not even sure where Georgia is".


(Voice over) "Nathan Deal. My God."


(Voice over) "Jason Carter. Shoot me now"


(Voice over) "David Perdue. What a creep."


(Voice over) "Michelle Nunn. I'm going to stick my head in the oven."