Archive for May, 2010

I could write for days about how I feel on this amazing day so many Americans and other citizens of the world have cast aside. But I won’t.

Suffice to say, there is a mountain of sentiment and a sea of memories for this day. It’s more than a three-day weekend. It’s more than a reason to take off work. It’s much more than a whimsical, political preference. It’s more than anything we can muster.

Watch the video and remember… And oh, by the way, this ain’t the forum to flare off your anti-war sentiments. Know that. It’s about the people in the war, not the ration behind it.

They gave, so we could keep. They went, so we could stay. They died, so we could live.

God bless all the families of those we commemorate this hallowed weekend. Peace.

By the looks of national TV ratings, not many people have been watching the “Miss USA” pageant for the past… decade.

And with the exception of Carrie Prejean and her Christian eh, purchased endowments, no one on earth could name the last nine Miss USAs, save Donald Trump. And he could only do it with his wife’s help.

Enter newly crowned Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih. Come on down! You’re the contestant on “Something is just not right.”

Sure, she's cute... but look behind her mosque.

According to ABC News (and the aforementioned link… with video), the triumphant walk for the new Miss USA took her straight into controversy as a Muslim woman who flaunts her beauty, and who once flaunted it so well she won a stripper contest.

Shortly after the release of pictures showing Fakih cradling a dozen roses across her strapless white dress while balancing a shimmering tiara on her head, came photos of Fakih in red short shorts, a tiny tank top and towering stilettos while balancing against a pole.

Fakih won the “Stripper 101” contest which was sponsored by a Detroit radio show Mojo in the Morning in 2007.

Well, good times. Had this mess came out about Prejean before the gay marriage hullabaloo, she would have been lampooned. But then again, her mouth and insatiable appetite deserved that ire anyway.

But here is this nice little Muslim girl, and because we can’t hate on any other religion sans those associated Jesus Christ, this ‘private dancer’ gets a pass for earning a quick buck.

Keep it classy, America.

However, since Christians aren’t allowed to espouse any views against this flashdance, then what about her homies in Hezbollah? According to FOX News, meh?

In an interview Tuesday with Lebanese television, Hezbollah official Hassan Fadlallah reportedly had few glowing words to describe Fakih, who became the first Muslim American on Sunday to secure the crown. “The criteria through which we evaluate women are different from those of the west,” Fadlallah told the television station, AFP reported.

In other words, “We haven’t seen the tape yet, but when we do, her USO tour will be interesting.”

Of course, even comparing her with Hezbollah, the hub for terrorism is a farce… and a conservative one at that. Thanks CNN:

“Absolutely not,” Fakih told CNN’s Octavia Nasr. “That is a stereotype and a prejudiced statement made by only one reporter who had made that title before I was crowned Miss USA.” The blogger’s accusation “was completely made up out of her own prejudiced mind,” she said.

So, back to the stripping.

Anyone outraged by this? Not so much because only the people who work for Donald Trump and the families of contestants seem to watch this mess any longer.

However, it is alarming how many people aren’t talking about this. Typically, that number directly reflects the many people who were lighting their torches and arming themselves with pitchforks over what we believed was a kind-hearted Christian speaking her mind and faith.

Can anyone say, “Double standard.”

What Fakih is no more worse than half the women who begin as drunken troglodytes during Spring Break and end up as fodder for “Girls Gone Wild” or something they will surely regret when they reach… sobriety.

Heck, she was wearing more clothes in the video than on stage during the swim suit competition. The premise is the flagrant double standard.

The winners of this competition used to be positioned for role model-hood. Entertaining the masses while showing girls around the world how to be a dignified woman with purpose and passion.

Instead, with the inclusion of silicon valley (no, not the tech place in California) and scruples so elastic, I could slingshot a canoe with them, the Miss USA contest is no more than a contest for 15 minutes and an opportunity to get lots of swag in the name of yourself.

Is that the Arab-American way? Nah, but she’s a step in the right direction. Unfortunately.

Imagine: You are not one of those hypocritical nutbags who picket abortion clinic and fancies the occasional bombing, all under the guise of God’s love.

Instead, you are a nun… who is the administrator at a hospital… and one of your patients is 27-years-old, pregnant and about to die. The catch? The delivery of the fetus will kill her.

As children of God, we are taught to value life. Now, you either value the one dying on a hospital bed or the one said fainting soul is about to deliver.

Confused? Watch the tape from CNN:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Nevermind WWJD for now. What would you do?

The local Catholic diocese knew what they would do – they excommunicated the nun “automatically.” There’s the love of God for you. Keeping it classy, Phoenix Catholic guy:

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, indicated in a statement that the Roman Catholic involved was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action. The Catholic Church allows the termination of a pregnancy only as a secondary effect of other treatments, such as radiation of a cancerous uterus.

Listen, I despise abortion and I think most girls and women who get them flippantly do so without considering the grave consequences, the impending guilt and the fact that they are just using a doctor’s tool as after-the-fact birth control for a casual night of having fun in most cases.

Exception? Meet the golden rule. At least where narrow-minded Catholic bishops are concerned.

The battle for human life isn't always an easy one to explain

Sometimes, you just want to run head first into the sign, right?

Here lies a woman with her entire life in front of her, and with a cancerous uterus that is choking that precious life out of her. She is pregnant and if that baby is born, it will do so without her mother from day one.

Did Sister McBride make the right decision? Did she pay little regard for one life to save another? Do you even care because all you hear is “Blah blah blah… abortion… blah blah blah.”

On one hand, you have the hospital – a Catholic hospital – backing Sister McBride’s decision:

“In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother’s life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy,” hospital vice president Susan Pfister said in an e-mail to the newspaper [USA Today].

Then, we have head of the local diocese who could care less:

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.”

Sister McBride had to make a split-second decision despite the scowl of her boss upstate. She didn’t have time to consult her Monsignor in a time of despair. She couldn’t say 18 rosaries before the baby time of gestation was up. The clock was ticking and two lives were in jeopardy.

She made a choice, and for that moment of sheer anguish, she was given her walking papers and kicked clean out of the Catholic Church. Nice.

Never mind the theological impunity Catholics believe they have to kick a child of God out of his or her home. It’s wrong, but blame anathema I suppose?

Would God ever disown a child who has accepted the blood of Jesus? No.

Believing this stance was probably too wussified, the Pontiff’s bible architects of the Middle Ages believed the Papacy should exercise the right to oust someone from the graces of the church because of a grievous slip-up. And the rest is history.

So, um, who is excommunicating all the predators inside the Catholic Church? No one, you say? Moving on…

Father Kevin O’Rourke, a canon lawyer at Loyola University in Chicago, is familiar with McBride’s case and say it is “very unusual” for a nun to be excommunicated. He says, “In order to have an excommunication be valid, the person has to act out of deliberate desire to violate the law…there has to be malice involved.” O’Rourke says there doesn’t appear to be malice involved in Sister McBride’s decision.

If you are so hell-bent on bashing this woman, then show me the malice in this story.

She’s not one of those twisted counselors who guide a 16-year-old girl away from parental reason just to have a “simple procedure.” This is a nun caught in a metaphysical tug-of-war and I don’t think you will hear any arguments from the woman whose live she saved as a result.

Yes, the agony of losing a child is beyond something to bare. Tell that to the girl’s parents who would have lost their daughter if the baby was delivered. No one wins.

The moral of the story is: there are no moral absolutes here. As Christians, we have to accept shades of gray, don’t we? Because if you can color this story in only black and white, I would like to introduce you to a spiritual box of 64 crayons and abruptly stick your head in the sharpener.

There is no right or wrong in situations like this. 50% of the people affected will be hurt and offended. And only one person gets blamed for it.

However, instead of cloaking the nun in the arms of a loving Savior, for whom she has dedicated her entire adult life; the Catholic Diocese would rather use said arms, wax WWE and clothesline the hell out of her.

Now that was a wrong decision. Think anyone is going to hold the Bishop accountable? Meh?

Sister McBride is taking her exile in stride by taking the high road – no comment, no post thoughts. Although she is no longer considered “Catholic”, she is still very much “Christian.”

And isn’t that what really matters?

I have often uttered a phrase of resolution, and typically it is directed at apathetic Christ followers (or those who say they are… but meh?) for their lack of commitment:

Get off your blessed assurance and do something!

Jesus in an orange

Jesus? Orange you glad something is being done?

How can you expect God to work through you if he can’t get to you? (MEMO to all pastors: You may use that free of charge, but uh, source a brother).

Many Christians are faced with the dilemma on a frequent basis.

It’s no secret most folk walk their walk in their pastor’s shoes. Regardless of the size of his feet, at least he is doing the walking… and that is quite okay for those lethargic slugs.

Now, that pandemic is being addressed through the “Orange Movement.” Yeah, the “Orange” movement:

At a time when an estimated two-thirds or more of the younger generation is walking from the Christian faith after high school, churches (yellow for light) and families (red for heart) are realizing the need to become true partners.

Oh, I see. The red… and the yellow… carry the one… get orange… yeah, moving on:

Todd Clark, founding pastor of Discovery Church in Simi Valley, Calif., contends the Orange philosophy combats what he calls “surrogate faith.” Just as a surrogate mother carries a child that is not her own but for someone else, there are many Christians who are carrying a faith that is not their own, Clark explained at The Orange Conference.

Oh, testify my brother! Ain’t that the truth? How many Christ followers end up broke, busted and disgusted because their faith level can’t exceed John 3:16? And that is because they watch a lot of football?

There is something to this color coding of faith. We are to be the light of the world, and we are washed by the blood of the lamb. But what happens when they can’t get through us to see Jesus?

We have to meet them in the middle. And trust me, if you suck as a witness for Christ, then they will blow right by you who should be all orange and miss the scarlet red love of Jesus.

Pastor Clark is on to something, Wall Watchers. Something we should all mind closely.

“They (parents) want us to do baptism to them (children) and not with them; they want us to basically program out the child’s life to where the church is responsible for their faith rather than the parent and that way the parent never has to go to God. They can get everything through their favorite book,” Clark lamented.

However, what happens to that lazy Christian when that lukewarm pablum book is out of reach? How does this person walk on the water when he hasn’t spent time in the Bible long enough to know how to swim? How can a child become a child of God when the only father he knows doesn’t introduce him to the father in heaven he should know?

Evidently, the answer is somewhere between red and yellow.

Jesus. In Orange.

Orange Jesus is watching you.

Home and church are two crucial links to someone’s walk with Christ. And if the homelife is rocky, church isn’t going to be a picnic.

Also, is church folk act like – well, you know – church folk, then meditation with God at home is going to be about as long as Wilt Chamberlain’s… well, his mama’s… pinkie.

Very few things in life are really as they same, but most of can rely on the colors of the rainbow. The prism of which we use to look at life is about as real Jesus wants us to be.

Providing we are not color blind or so completely desensitized from the light of God that all we see is black, then we should understand what it takes to be effective for Christ.

We are far from perfect, so being red is obviously out. And unless you represent the entire body of Christ (and by the way most of you drive… and still have an Ichthus on the ride, you do not), then I would suggest avoid yellow and working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Because, quite honestly, as long as you are sitting on the couch praying and wishing for more Christians to do your jober, something, the only thing you will be working is my last nerve.

Lord, hear my orange prayer.

BP's huge oil spill is about to hit land across the entire Gulf of Mexico

Something wicked this way comes

The Gulf of Mexico is murky, toxic and is literally a sea of despair. The video is harrowing. The threat to the environment, ecosystem and the seafood industry is alarming.

And yet, the silence from the Church on this travesty is deafening!

Why?

Aren’t we to be stewards over this planet? Do we not have dominion over the fish of the sea? Should we not protect the gifts God Almighty has bestowed upon us?

Then why does it seem the Church could care less about the tragic state of affairs in the Gulf of Mexico? As long as it doesn’t affect church attendance on Sunday, you’re cool?

This is far from a “liberal rant,” but rather as a child of God disgusted by his siblings when someone has just whizzed all over the gift Daddy bought me. Make no mistake – that is precisely what BP is doing as long as that spicket can’t get corked 30,000 leagues under the sea.

If you need any tug at your heart, consider these numbers, thanks to Newsweek:

  • 400 different species are being threatened by the oil
  • 7,000 square miles of federal fishing area has been closed because of the spill
  • $14 billion is the price tag of BP’s oil spill… so far
  • 3.5 million gallons of crude oil has been spilled in the Gulf. Helllloooo Exxon Valdez.

And none of that creates a prayer group, a vocal televangelist or even a reporter knocking on the door of any random pastor? Stunning.

An ichthus, a fish for Christ can swim in this oil and make a difference

It's time for us to swim upstream and make a difference

If anyone should be advocating the newly formed “Gulf Aid,” it should be the Body of Christ. We should be first in line to donate resources, offer time and pray for the near $1.6 billion in economy that has stopped to a grinding halt due to this mess. No deep horizons for those small business owners.

Seafood trade – done. Gulf restoration – back to the drawing board. Safety for the ecosystem – not a chance.

Hey, Church? Want a mission field? How’s the gulf sound right about now? You could send a team of volunteers to serve in the Gulf, do your part and help restore a broke, busted and disgusted economic system down there.

Listen, pastor of the Generic Church Assembly. I understand you are all bunched up about the immigration policies in Arizona, the health careless plan of Barack Obama and whatever else your cronies are babbling about around the water cooler, but this should matter to you and your congregation.

Why? Other than the aforementioned reasons rooted in theology, did you know Earth Day was actually not created by the far leaning left, but rather has a little to do with some right standing Pentecostal folks? In other words, God cares about this place so we should too!

Just think… five years after the worst natural disaster leveled the Gulf; the worst environmental disaster is about to topple that distinction. Meanwhile, can’t we at least pray for God’s hand to bring about healing and restoration here?

I challenge you to challenge your pastor about this issue. Folks, we need to pray. We need to take that dominion out for a spin and see what it can do.

And if that’s not enough, we need to do something. At least, that’s what the world would not expect.

I would love to disappoint them. Namely in this case.

P.S. If you know anyone in your church that was chanting, “Drill Baby Drill” during the last election. I would recommend a suggestion for you to said tool, “Go Clean Baby Clean.”