January 28, 2009

How would you answer this question?

I just wanted to post a follow-up to my previous one:

In any debate of ethics it's important to think through issues from as many sides as possible and take into account as many contingencies as possible. Otherwise, we end up losing credibility for our position and are easily dismissed by those opposing whatever issue is in question.

Case in point:
What should be the penalty if abortion were to be made illegal?

How would you have answered if you were one of the people interviewed--or if someone were to ask you these questions in a discussion of the subject?

I'd love to hear some responses from the Dojo on this one before giving mine...


January 23, 2009

36 years of genocide and counting...

Though it didn't get much press this week due to all the inauguration events, yesterday marked the 36th anniversary of the worst legal decision in the history of the Supreme Court. That such a poorly-reasoned decision could pass in the nation's highest legal body is baffling. That it resulted in the legal killing of over 40 million people (more than six times the number of victims of the Holocaust!) is heart-wrenching and represents the biggest blight on our nation's history record. May God change our hearts and the hearts and minds of those who support this social injustice, just as he changed the hearts and minds of those who supported past evils such as slavery, lack of women's rights and relocation of Native American populations.

And for those who, like President Obama, still insist that there is uncertainty regarding when life comes into existence and that it's "something only God can judge", Abort73.com has more than enough clear, scientific, and medical evidence to show how false this claimed ignorance truly is.

Please read the following article and pass it on to anyone you can so that we can continue to act in accordance with God's wisdom: "Open your mouth on behalf of those unable to speak, for the legal rights of all the dying. " (Pro 31:8 NET)

Page Summary:
It is false to claim that no one knows when life begins and dishonest to argue that abortion does not kill a human being.

January 19, 2009

A different look at the Israeli-Gaza fighting...(warning: meant to start discussion, not endorse either side!)

Right off the bat I want to make clear that there are no pure "good guys" and "bad guys" in any conflict in the Middle East. Regardless of what any Iranian Prime Minister or Texas Dispensational TV Preacher may claim, neither side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict constitutes "God's People."

That being said, I was curious as to how the recent bombardment of Gaza by Israel in retaliation for Hamas' ongoing rocket attacks into Israel might sound to those in the world who are not devoted to one side over the other. So with the magic of Microsoft Word's "Find/Replace" editing function, I've taken an article from Yahoo and substituted different names for the groups and individuals mentioned in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I wanted to find another country in history that had been involved in conflicts within its borders over disputed land and colonization. In order to truly turn the mirror on myself, I chose the following.

Taken from: http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090119/wl_time/08599187245900

[The names of the groups involved has been changed in order to give a different perspective on “internal” conflicts]

America and Native Americans Agree to Cherokee Cease-Fire. Will It Last?

“The American Congress decided on Saturday night to unilaterally end its 21-day war against Native American militants on the Cherokee Reservation in Cherokee, N.C. as of 2 a.m. Sunday, bringing an end to a conflict that has left more than 1,200 Native Americans and 13 Americans dead.

On Sunday, just hours after the American statement, The Cherokee Nation announced that it too was declaring a weeklong cease-fire, while also demanding that American troops withdraw from Cherokee within the week.

After holding talks with European leaders in Washington on Sunday, American President BushBama said: "We don't want to stay in Cherokee, and we intend to leave as soon as possible."

Both sides traded shots after their separate announcements, but Cherokee residents say that the cease-fire seems to be gaining strength, and Native Americans have emerged from their refuges to assess the damage of America’s three-week long air and land assault against The Cherokee Nation in Cherokee.

President BushBama told newsmen after the Saturday night Congress meeting, "All of our goals have been achieved successfully. The Cherokee Nation was beaten." He added, "If The Cherokee Nation decides to keep shooting, we're ready to strike back forcefully." (See TIME's photos of the violence in the American Southeast)

America was facing rising international outrage over its Cherokee Reservation offensive, in which nearly one-third of those killed were women and children, according to Native American health workers. In trying to root out The Cherokee Nation fighters, America subjected the Cherokee Reservation, which teems with over 1.5 million Native Americans, to scorching fire from aircraft, naval gunships, artillery, tanks and troops backed by helicopter gunships.

The cabinet sources told TIME that there will be an interim period "to allow the dust to settle and see how The Cherokee Nation reacts" before America decides to pull out its troops.

Ending the fighting now allows America to boast that it has hammered The Cherokee Nation and restored the Secular nation's military might in the Americas, which was tarnished by its inconclusive war in 2006 against Lakota fighters in South Dakota. America is also satisfied by promises made by Australia and the Europeans to provide technical assistance that will supposedly help the Mexican government stop the flow of weapons to The Cherokee Nation in Cherokee through smugglers' tunnels. The U.K. pledged on Friday to help stem the international traffic of arms from Guatamala and other suppliers to Cherokee.

But a cease-fire without The Cherokee Nation and America’s mutual consent may be the most temporary of band-aids. Inevitably, The Cherokee Nation claimed that despite the devastation its fight with America has wreaked on Cherokee, the best the Americans could do was slow - but not stop - the barrage of rockets arcing out of Cherokee. The Cherokee Nation's Cherokee Reservation leader Chief Tomochichi claimed "a Popular victory" over America. Up until the last minute before America declared its cease-fire, The Cherokee Nation was firing rockets. Five hit the ports of Savannah and Charleston as well as the inland towns of Charlotte and Atlanta. And unless The Cherokee Nation is obliged by Mexico and other Native American states to sign a truce with America, rather than following America’s example of declaring its own, it may be only days or weeks before the Native Americans or one of the myriad militant groups in Cherokee decides to take revenge for the American assault and again start firing rockets into southeastern America. And that, judging from BushBama’s warning, would result in America again pummeling Cherokee Reservation.

By declaring a unilateral cease-fire, America can argue that it is not legitimizing The Cherokee Nation, which it considers to be a gang of terrorists. But even though a few of The Cherokee Nation' leaders have been killed, along with hundreds of its fighters, America cannot pretend that The Cherokee Nation no longer exists. Even beaten and bloodied, The Cherokee Nation are still a force to contend with among Native Americans.

The Cherokee Reservation conflict has raised The Cherokee Nation' stature in the Native American world and, more importantly, among Native Americans. In Native American eyes, The Cherokee Nation are plucky champions - David fighting the American Goliath with homemade rockets instead of a slingshot - while America sees them as killers who hide behind their civilians and who are willing to sacrifice them for propaganda triumphs. But if America insists on imposing the same punitive sanctions it kept on Cherokee Reservation's 1.5 million people before this war, it will only strengthen The Cherokee Nation and fan the Native Americans' hatred towards America.

A unilateral cease-fire practically guarantees that America and The Cherokee Nation are destined for another bloody brawl. And once again, the victims will be the Native American civilians whose streets and homes in Cherokee are turned into a battleground.

With so much blood spilled in Cherokee, it will be difficult for America to gauge the proper response to another provocation by The Cherokee Nation. What will happen once the cease-fire begins without The Cherokee Nation? If a rocket is fired from Cherokee and lands in a crowded American schoolyard, what then? How will America respond? There is not much left in Cherokee to destroy.”


Of course, any discussion of Middle East conflicts is going to be heated, controversial, and inevidably leaning toward one side or the other. My goal in writing this is to get everyone, particularly those in the body of Christ who refuse to see any side other than Israel's (because of erroneous interpretations of Biblical passages concerning "Israel" that have been popular for the past 150 years, and rampant since the secular state of Israel was established after WWII) to try to see this whole situation through the lens of those not sympathetic to Western secularism...or perhaps through the lens of the many many Palestinian Christians who are caught up in this debacle and feel forgotten by their brothers and sisters in Christ here in America.

Thinking together...


January 14, 2009


This was from "A Faith and Culture Devotinal" which I've mentioned on here before. It's such a great point that many people haven't seemed to grasp, particularly within Christianity, that I wanted to post it in the Dojo:

The Irony of Intolerance
by Greg Koukl

In today's world, one word is invoked as the No. 1 rule of civil behavior and conversation: "tolerance." And while most people think they understand what it means, a recent discussion I had with high school students exposed some fuzzy thinking on the subject.
I begand the discussion by writing two sentences on the board. The first, "All views are equally valid," expressed a popular understanding of tolerance. All heads nodded in agreement. Nothing controversial here.
Then I wrote the second senteice: "Jesus is the Messiah and [Non-Messianic] Jews are wrong for rejecting him." "You can't say that," a student challenged, clearly annoyed. "That's intolerant," she said, noting that the second statement violated the first. What she didn't see was that the first statement violated itself.
I pointed to the first statement and asked, "Is this a vew, the idea that all views ahve equal merit?" The students all agreeed. Then I poitned to the second statement--the "intolerant" one--and asked thesame question: "Is this a view?" Slowly my point began to dawn on them.
If all views are equally valid, then the view that Christians are right about Jesus and [Non-Messianic] Jews are wrong is just as valid as the idea that Jews are right and Christians are wrong. But this is hopelessly contradictory. They can't both be true.
"Would you like to know how to escape this trap?" I asked. They nodded. "Reject the popular misunderstanding of tolerance and return to the classical view." I turned to the board and wrote two principles I learned from Peter Kreeft of Boston College:

Be egalitarian regarding persons.
Be elitist regarding ideas.
"Treat people as equally valuable, but treat ideas as if some are better thanothers," I said, "because they are. Some ideas are true, some are false. Some are brilliant, others are dangerous. And some are just plain silly." To say so does not violate any meaningful standard of tolerance.
Real tolerance, I explained, is about how we treat people, not ideas. Classic tolerance requires that every person be free to express his ideas without fear of abuse or reprisal, not that all views have equal validity, merit, or truth.
By contrast, the popular definition of tolerance turns the classical formula on its head:
Be egalitarian regarding ideas.
Be elitist regarding persons.
If you reject another's ideas you're automatically accused of disrespecting the person (as the student did with me). On this view, no idea can be opposed--even if done graciously--without inviting the charge of incivility. The offender can then be personally maligned, publically marginalized, and verbally abused as bigoted, disrespectful, ignorant and--ironically--intolerant.
This view of tolerance has gone topsy-turvy: Tolerate most beliefs, bot don't tolerate (show respect for) those who take exception with those beliefs, especially politically correct ones. Contrary opinions are labeled as "imposing your view on others" and quickly silenced. "Tolerance" becomes intolerance.
Whenever you are chared with intolerance, always ask for a definition. If tolerance means neutrality, then no one is ever tolerant becasue no one is ever neutral about his own opinions. This kind of tolerance is a myth.
Jesus had no need for this kind of manipulation and no interest in it. He took the confrontations as they came and engaged them with intelligence, confidence, and grace. He answered his critics with truth, not with empty charges of intolerance. and he was willing to pay the price for his convictions inwhat was then a truly intolerant world.
Jesus understands real intolerance better than any of us, not as its perpetrator but as its prey. In the end, though, he was victor, not victim, defeating all intolerance by an act of sacrificial love."

January 11, 2009

Real change, or rhetoric? Let's hope the former!

My friend and fellow GS Pastor, Ron Dozier, sent me a link to the following letter yesterday. It was so good I wanted to share it with the Dojo, as you all know my passion on this issue:

Mr. Obama, Is Change Really Gonna Come? Asks Day Gardner, National Black Pro-Life Union
by Staff January 9, 2009

WASHINGTON, (christiansunite.com) -- Day Gardner, President of the National Black Pro-Life Union, submits the following and is available for comment:

Okay so here we are. Despite still lingering questions about his eligibility, Barack Obama is about to become the first non-white president of the United States of America. Many black Americans have come to view an Obama presidency as the final frontier in the vast universe of racism while white America hopes that having a black man in the White House will finally redeem their racist past once and for all. I believe with regard to race the best white America can honestly hope for is that an Obama presidency will serve as a type of bridge over the racial gap-- keeping in mind--the gap is still there. I believe the best that blacks can realistically do at this point is exhale--in hopes for eventual and absolute equality.

I think most Americans, me included, are looking to see what "change" will come from the man who made the word his entire campaign strategy.

To answer the question of what needs to be changed in the black community especially, we must look seriously at what was--how were things before Mr. Obama?

Before Barack Obama was elected president Planned Parenthood and other abortion organizations managed to kill 17 million black children by abortion since 1973, making abortion the number one killer of black people.

Before Obama, 36% of all abortions were performed on black girls -- abortion facilities are still purposefully placed in minority areas.

Before Obama, Planned Parenthood which is an overtly racist, billion dollar baby killing machine-- drenched in the blood of black folk, received over 300 million of our tax dollars to continue the vicious dismembering and killing of innocent children.

Though I did not vote for Barack Obama, it is my hope that he will prove be the greatest president of all time. It is my hope and prayer that he will have the strength needed to refuse to be bought off by the big abortion guns and advocates. I hope and pray that he will hear the small voices of black children and all children in the womb crying out to be born. I hope and pray that he will see that every child born and unborn is equal in God's eyes and therefore deserving of birth. Children are not expendable. I pray that he will act speedily to stop the stream of tax payer funding to the billion dollar Planned Parenthood.

Mr. President-Elect , will you please change what Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GH Bush, Clinton and GW Bush wouldn't or couldn't? Abortion has killed more 50 million children in just over 30 years. On behalf of the children I implore you--the campaigner for change--to change that!

Day Gardner is president of the National Black Pro- Life Union, an organization founded to serve as a clearing house to coordinate the flow of communications among all African American pro-life organizations and individuals in order to better network and combine resources. www.nationalblackprolifeunion.com


Let us continue praying for President-elect Obama, that God would grant him the wisdom to govern wisely and change his position on the greatest social injustice we face in this country today.


January 8, 2009

See, Jiujitsu can save a life!

A friend emailed me this story today (thanks, Bonnie!) and it was too good not to share with the Dojo! Enjoy!

9 year old boy uses jiu-jitsu on a pit bull to save a young girl and her dog.
January 5, 2009 · By MatRatz.com Staff

"9-year-old Drew Heredia is being called a hero after he put a pit bull in a rear naked choke to save a girl and her dog from a vicious pit bull attack.

Heredia who has been training at Bakersfield Brazlian Jiu-jitsu for about 2 months says he and a friend were walking her small dog Tuesday when, out of nowhere, a pit bull jumped on the dog.
The 12-year-old girl tried to save her little dog and the pit bull turned on her.

Heredia says he jumped on the dog and applied a chokehold and held the dog for 20 minutes until an animal control officer arrived.

“At first I wanted to kick it, but then I thought, it’s not a good idea because it could get my leg,” said Drew Heredia.

The girl was taken to Mercy Southwest Hospital where she was treated for puncture wounds.

The pit bull is being quarantined at the animal control office, where it will be euthanized after 10 days.

No one has claimed the dog.

The other dog was not hurt. It ran away during the attack, but returned home to the girl Friday afternoon."


This story is a fantastic illustration of how martial arts training, when done properly, teaches kids not only self-defense techniques (or in this case, dog-defense!), but also quick thinking (don't kick the dog!), control (hold until help arrives!), and confidence (save the little girl's life by acting quickly!).

As a lifelong martial artist, and current student of Brazilian Jiujitsu, it's rewarding to hear accounts like this where someone knowing "Ultimate Fighting" (what many people erroneously lump grappling martial arts together as!) actually ends up saving lives.

Now I just hope someone like a Caesar Milan, comes and takes care of and rehabilitates the pitbull and that its owner/s is held accountable.


ps: If anyone is interested in learning Brazilian Jiujitsu (extremely valuable for women especially, as it is very very effective defense against sexual assault), let me know and I'll help you find a place to train. If you're in the Charlotte area, come train with us at Leadership Martial Arts! It's a great non-intimidating friendly atmosphere and we love meeting and training with new people!

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