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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Comics

Border Fencing
Papal Authority
Freedom And Justice For All
Duly Noted
Maccaca Business
In Kind Campaign Contribution
True Torture
Rape, Pillage, and Burn
Truth In Advertising
Come On
Compromised
Due Reward
Sulfuric Standing
Naw Lense

And my favorite for today: Details, Details

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Word For The Week

A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"

"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Luke 18:18-25
What makes you rich? Many people associate the accumulation of capital as constituting richness, but by what standard would you consider yourself to be rich? Some find riches in the love of their family. Some find riches in their accomplishments. Some find riches in the applause of others, but many, many people find riches in cold, hard cash. Whatever the source of one's riches, be it a mountain of money or an abundance of affable acqaintances, one who considers themselves to be rich will almost certainly reject the Kingdom of God.

A rich man is significantly different from a man with riches. A rich man will often respond to the good news of Jesus Christ in the same manner as David Chappelle's caricture of Rick James: "I'm rich!" A rich man will often view his current state as sufficient - he's rich. A rich man will often reject anything said by anyone else that does not validate his current way of life - he's rich, and if you don't get that then that's your problem and not his.

Not so, the man with riches.

The man with riches does not identify himself with his riches - his money is a means to and end, his acquaintences are appreciated by they in no way define him. The man with riches differentiates between who he is and what he has, and such a man can indeed accept Jesus Christ. Peter owned a fishing business and led a comfortable life, yet he accepted and followed Jesus. Cornelius was wealthy enough to have several servants in his household yet he accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Having riches does not automatically mean that the possessor will reject Jesus Christ, however one who identifies themselves with their riches will virtually always reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It's a matter of priorities.

Rich men put their riches before everything else. The rich man who works all day and all night to get that promotion, neglecting his family and friends. The rich man who passes by the homeless without giving them anything but his contempt. The rich man who refuses to submit to any authority other than his own, such a man will most certainly reject the Kingdom of God - even while pretending to be a subject of the King.

It has been said that many people are willing to accept Jesus, but only on an advisory basis. Jesus isn't your personal Dr. Phil or Magic 8-Ball - He is the creator of the universe, the one whose "Let there be" sparked the biggest bang in history - and He wants each of us to have abundant life in Him, to find our richness in Him. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." Jesus said, "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life." Jesus said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Will you seek after Jesus, or are you already rich?

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to be rich in Him,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Comics

Theory Of Evolution
Snake Bitten
Duck Blind
Pay To Play...
...Or Stay At Home
Benedictus
Pope Mobile
Outrageous Sentiment
Daily Outrage
Nope
Insulted
Is Our Leaders Learning
Let Them Eat Spinach
Compromised Principles
Useful Information
Pinky Up
Absolute Truth
Your Tired And Poor
Truth Sayer
Unintended Consequences
Newspeak
Vote Republican
Support The Troops
GOP Voter ID
Duty Calls
Debased Deprivation
BDSM Elmo
Conditioned Response
Dubya
Fill 'Er Up Premium

And my favorite for today: RIP

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 10:45 AM :: (0) minds freed

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chavez's Gambit

One of the most foolish thing that one can do is to esteem your enemy lightly, to believe him to be a fool. It is then that your enemy can do you the most harm because you grossly underestimate him, thinking him incapable of doing you harm. Republicans would have you to believe that Hugo Chavez is some unhinged nutcase just spouting off at the mouth, but the truth of the matter is that the Venezuelean President is an uncanny politician and a shrewd tactician.

It is thus that I had to ask myself why it was that Hugo Chavez would go into Harlem - possibly the most Democratic district in America - and relentlessly berate the man who occupies the Oval Office. It's not that Chavez was incorrect in anything that he said (albeit slightly exaggerated), but surely Chavez knows the political calendar in America - it's election season and Bush's enablers are about to be routed in the midterm elections. Surely Chavez knows that by berating Bush on American soil he forces (some) Democrats to defend Bush. Surely Chavez knows that by defending Bush Democrats increase Bush's polling numbers, but if they failed to defend Bush then their own numbers would plummet. Surely Chavez knows that bolstering Bush's polling numbers or deep-sixing Democratic numbers will increase the chances of Bush's enablers maintaining their grasp on power. So why would Hugo Chavez knowingly help Bush to keep his majorities in Congress?

It serves both of their purposes.

Bush needs to keep a majority in the House just to stay out of jail - it's about that simple. John Conyers with subpeona power as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee? Bush needs to do whatever it takes to keep that from happening, even if it means dealing with one whom he himself considers to be a devil.

For Chavez, a neutered George W. Bush does him no good. Hugo Chavez is building up a ton of political capital internationally by being the one to stand up to George W. Bush. Nobody needs to ally themselves with Chavez if Bush is kept in check by a Democratic Congress, so it helps Chavez if Bush is free to do as only George W. Bush would dare to do when unrestrained by annoying things like the oversight of Congress or the limitations of the Constitution.

Both Bush and Chavez want an unrestrained George W. Bush - Bush on G.P., Chavez for his own political gain and, by extension, for the good of the Venezuelan people: if foreign countries take a liking to Chavez then economic cooperation won't be too-far behind for all of Venezuela. Chavez thinks that an unrestrained Bush poses no real threat to Venezuela since the U.S. military is bogged-down in Iraq and he's actually doing Bush a favor - giving Bush a local boogeyman to rile up Bush's base - but Chavez would be wise to learn from Saddam Hussein: when it comes to the Bushes, today's friend is tomorrow's leather slave.

Deal with the devil and you will get burned.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:30 PM :: (1) minds freed

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Unintentional Comedy

I was going through my daily read of blogs when I stumbled across this gem of a comment:
I can't help but love the way ya'll love each other. I can't wait until God blesses me with someone absolutely amazing.
Unforgiving B*tch | Homepage | 09.19.06 - 8:57 am | #

Now I don't mean to put her on blast per se, but I found this to be insanely hilarious.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:30 PM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Faith-Based Folly

It turns out that all the noise made in some quarters about Black churches selling out to the Bush administration is much ado about nothing - less than 3% of Black churches have participated in Bush's Faith-based initiatives. WaPo spins this to say that Bush is not using the initiatives for political gain, but that is transparently false. The truth of the matter is that Black folk have simply used Bush instead of being used by Bush - those who have taken advantage of Bush's initiatives are the same ones who took advantage of a wide variety of grants prior to Bush. There is no question that Bush would like to translate his faith-based initiatives into electoral gains, but Blacks have a long history of smiling in the face of those who cut the checks and then taking care of the interests of Black folk once clear Mr. Charlie's personal space.

And most of the churches taking the funding are among the most liberal.

Think about that.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:09 AM :: (2) minds freed

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Word For The Week

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:1-5
Sometimes you just want to say, "Fughetaboudit!" Ever feel like Sisyphus, toiling away at a task that will never actually accomplish anything? Ever feel like you were absolutely wasting your time? Ever want to holler and throw up both your hands? Nothing wll get you to that point quicker than for people to receive your best efforts with a collective, "Yeah, whatever."

I know many ministers who faithfully fulfill their mandate to preach the Word every Sunday, many of whose followers greet their words with, "Yeah, whatever." I know how frustrating it is to work and prepare all week just to be greeted by the faithful with an unambiguous ambivalence. It is just as frustrating for those of us who write to those who at-best merely tolerate our presence. Tolerate, as in, "Well, I'll put up with this for the sake of being polite, but I really wouldn't complain if I never had to endure this crap again." How much more frustrating is it for those of us who write on behalf of those who would much rather read about puppies or petunias or even poltergeists or The Pirates of Penzance than to put up with some preacher pontificating about some poignant points pertaining to the priority of Christ.

Tolerance.

I know the frustration of many a blogger who has poured themselves into blog post after blog post after blog post just to look at their comments and find nothing but chirping crickets. I know people who have writen exceedingly insightful opinions and yet nobody respond or acknoledged their insights. I know people who have poured their souls into post after post after post without anyone feeling or even acknowledging their pain. I know people who have stood firm for that which is right without so much as an at-a-boy or a pat on the back or any other affirmation. I know the frustration, so what should we do when nobody seems to be listening? What should we do when nobody seems to care if we even exist, let alone what we're actually saying? What should we do when everyone within earshot of us seems to collectively say to us, "Yeah, whatever!"

Preach the Word.

I liken it to conversing with a Republican about the futility of Bush's Misadventure In Mesapotamia. No matter how rational the argument, no matter how emotionally compelling the presentation, they - like a tree planted by the river - they shall not be moved. No matter how many pie charts you show them or how many bar graphs you present to them, no matter what kind of statistical analysis you come up with or what historical argument you present, they simply don't like Democrats and they won't trust liberals and they will support their Commander In Chief no matter what you say or do.

Some folk are just stuck on stupid.

Be that as it may, we who are called by the name of Christ are called to preach the Word, in season and out of season. When folk applaud us we are to preach the Word. When folk would rather we shut up about all this God stuff we are to preach the Word. When folk need a word of encouragement we are to preach the Word. When folk need to be told about themselves we are to preach the Word. When folk need to be informed we are to Preach the Word. When folk aren't trying to hear a thing we have to say we are to preach the Word. In all things - in season and out of season - we are to preach the Word. Not just "preachers" who stand before the congregation every Sunday, but everyone who is called by the name of Christ - every Christian - we are to preach the Word, for in our every word, thought and deed we are indeed preaching, testifying about Jesus Christ. What are we testifying? What are we preaching? That Jesus is a right-wing Republican who cares nothing about the economic sin, about preying upon the poor and downtrodden? That Jesus votes Democratic and cares nothing about social sin, misplaced sexuality and cracked-out covetousness masquerading as marketing campaigns? Are we preaching that Jesus is essentially nonexistent by our lives that do not reflect His nature and our words that never mention Him? What do we preach in our lives and in our conversation?

We need to preach the Word!

We need to preach the Word because the time will come - and is clearly already here - when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths, making stuff up to make themselves comfortable. It is for such a time as this that Christians are called to preach the Word.
Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
I know: "Yeah, whatever."

It's preaching season.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to hide His Word in your heart,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday Comics

Divided States of America
Leading Democrats
Ann Richards, RIP
Stuck On Stupid
Hara Kiri
Die Bold
Miserable Failure
Postmodern Spelling
Fake It
Support The Troops
Casa Blanca
Those Were The Days
Poo Flingers
Campaign Strategy
Fall-Back Strategy
Fear Mongers
Embodying The Message
Of One Mind
2001 Remembered
Useful Propoganda
Clinton Did It
Thank You Hamas
Right And Wrong
BS Redux
Common Thread
Buyers' Remorse
Public Enemy #295,734,135
Oderint Dum Metuant

And my favorite for today: Out To Lunch

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 10:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Monday, September 11, 2006

White People Are Scum Until Proven Otherwise

Offended?

You probably should be, except those aren't my thoughts. You see, saying something like that should raise the hackles of just about everyone regardless of their ethnicity - with a few notable exceptions. It would be equally offensive if someone were to say, "Black people are scum until proven otherwise" or "Latino people are scum until proven otherwise" or "Arab people are scum until proven otherwise." It wouldn't matter if the speaker just extinguished a burning cross on their front lawn or just recovered the remains of their relative who had been blown to bits by a suicide bomber at the local bistro, the statement would be panned as absolutely inexcusable. We would certainly empathize with the victim and excoriate the offender, but we would also condemn the sweeping generalization of an entire ethnicity in no uncertain terms.

So I wonder if anyone will say a word about someone who declares that men are utter scum until proven otherwise? Lord knows that I empathize with her - if I had a daughter and someone laid their hands on her then I'd soon have a date with old sparky after going all Carl Lee Hailey on them: "Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in Hell!" - but is it OK to declare all men utter scum? That is no different than if I were to say to my children, "Don't fool with them White devils - they're utter scum until proven otherwise." You would think that by now we would have learned where that mentality leads...


Have we learned nothing?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:00 PM :: (1) minds freed

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Word For The Week

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

"What is it you want?" he asked.

She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?"

"We can," they answered.

Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Matthew 20:20-28
A mother's love for her sons knows no bounds, logical or otherwise. It is often said that a mother will throw her husband under a bus for the sake of her sons - even throw herself under the bus for the sake of her sons - but the bond between a mother and her sons is something unusual, something irrational, something special.

Unconditional love.

When we're trifling Mom still loves us. When we're acting a fool Mom still loves us. When we've been caught red-handed doing dirt Mom still loves us, believes in us, and is often willing go on CNN to declare our innocence before a condescending world. There is nothing that we have done to earn our mothers' love. There is nothing that we have done to justify our mothers' love. The truth of the matter is that our mothers often love us in spite of a mountain of evidence that ought to tell them that they should have cut us off a long time ago, yet they still love us anyhow. They still look out for us anyhow. They still try to get us the hook-up when we in no ways deserve it, simply because we are their sons.

Unmerited favor.

The wife of Zebedee, mother of James and John, came before Jesus with her two sons to try to get them the hook-up, to try to get them prime-time positions in Glory. She did not make a merit-based case, giving evidence of how her sons deserved the positions of honor. She did not make a pragmatic case, arguing the utilitarian value of elevating her two sons to positions of honor. She simply asked for Jesus to command that her two sons be positioned by His side in His Kingdom. Jesus' inner circle consisted of three disciples - Simon Peter and the two sons of Zebedee - and it would seem that the mother of James and John wanted this circle to tighten to two.

A mother's love can drive her to do some unusual things, as anyone who has been involved in cheerleader wars can attest, but Jesus didn't even address her - He addressed the sons of Zebedee, James and John, telling them that they knew not that for which they asked. Too often we ask for things without understanding the implications of a granted request. As children many of us asked for a puppy to love as our own, but we didn't understand that the puppy needs cleaning and walking and feeding and a pooper-scooper. As teens many of us had our eye on that certain someone, not understanding that they had more issues than the New York Times. As young adults many of us wanted a certain job with a certain company or organization, just to find out that all that glitters isn't gold. Too often our $10 mouths ask for things that our 50¢ behinds can't handle - just like the mother of James and John.

Jesus asked the sons of Zebedee, "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" They flippantly answered, "Yes" and Jesus responded with something that probably rocked their worlds - they would indeed drink from His cup but He could not command for them to be seated at His right and left - that perrogative belonged to the Father, not the Son. Jesus essentially told them that kissing up to the boss won't advance your career; sending your mom to make a request that you yourself were to cowardly to make will not advance your position; maneuvering politically will not change your relationship with God. We are not saved by works or politics or plenary indulgances - we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

It is a state of grace.

Each of us who has been graciously saved through faith in Jesus Christ is indeed a grace case, and when you walk in this state of grace you treat people differently than those who are walking according to the flesh. Those who are operating according to the flesh look to position themselves over others in order to lord authority over them, while those who walk in this state of grace look to lower themselves into a servant's position. Those who are the lord of their own lives - the captains of their own souls - look to glorify themselves, to make themselves look good, to magnify themselves in the eyes of men, while those of us who submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ look to lower ourselves such that we may glorify God in our service to men. When you're walking in this state of grace you smile in the face of those who hate and despitefully use you. When you're walking in this state of grace you can love the father that abandoned you, the uncle that abused you, the cousin that called you everything but a child of God. When you're walking in this state of grace you model the mind of Christ, the Imago Dei, the very image of God. When you're walking in this state of grace you let your light so shine that men might see your good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. O taste and see that the Lord is good in the life of a grace case.

But it gets better.

In the hereafter we will be with Jesus in Glory. Each of us who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ will move from grace to Glory. There will be no more weeping and wailing over there. There will be no more sobbing and crying over there. There will be no more pain and suffering over there. In that day - in that great gettin'-up morning - we will go from grace to glory, taking residence in our own dwelling place that Jesus has prepared specifically for each of us; what God has for me is for me, but what God wants from me He will get from me as well. When God decrees blessings I receive them in full, and when God decrees work I receive it in full. God blesses us to be a blessing to others, not merely to enjoy our blessings all by ourselves. James and John were looking for positions of authority, but they didn't understand that with great authority comes great sacrifice. James and John truly drank from Jesus' cup - James was the first of the disciples to be killed for his faith in Jesus.

"Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

Be careful what you ask for, it may come sooner than you think. Walk in this state of grace, seeking to serve others out of our love for Jesus Christ such that our Father in Heaven might be glorified, our brothers in the Spirit might be edified, and someone through our example might seek to be justified in the eyes of God.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to walk in that state of grace,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (1) minds freed

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Comics

Crikey
Newspeak
Osama Bin Forgotten
Queer Eye...
...For The Anchorguy
Possibly Prophetic
God Save The Queen
Half-Empty Promises
Works Of Fiction
Purple Haze
Intel Failure
Master Bait And Switch Artist
Dead-Enders
Ad Infinitum
McJobs
Babel Fish
Objective Truth
Appeasers
Fascism Redux

And my favorite for today: Never Forget

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:45 AM :: (1) minds freed

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dead Tired


I'm beat and really don't have a whole lot to say right now - although the more Bush gives speeches the better the Democratic chances appear at retaking Congress. The Rude One put that in context pretty well today. Anywho, I'm off to sleep - gotta be sleepy rambling on and on about nothing.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:13 PM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Word For The Week

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going."

Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

John 14:1-6
Heaven is real, too. One thing with which we who place our faith in Jesus Christ can take comfort is the fact that we need not fear judgment after we die - once we are absent from this material world we will be present with the Lord. Jesus has returned to the right hand of the Father to prepare a place for us, such that when we have breathed our last breath we, like the thief on the cross, will be with Jesus in Paradise on that very day.

For we know the way where He is going.

Jesus Christ is the way to heaven - the truth is that there is no eternal life outside of Him. Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father but through Me." Some would like to compare that statement to Jesus standing in the way of those trying to get to God, being an obstruction to those who would come to God, but the truth of the matter is that man's sinfulness has erected an impenetratible wall between man and God - our iniquities have separated us from our God; our sins have hidden His face from us, so that He will not hear. Jesus has created a gate in the midst of that impenetratible wall so that people can get to God, but nobody can get to the Father in eternity unless they go through the gate - the way, the truth and the life, Jesus Christ.

But people want to chart their own path.

God has given each of us free will, and each of us can choose what path we will take in this life, but every path does not lead to the same destination. In fact, according to Jesus, there are really only two paths. Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." There may be many lanes on the broad path, but ultimately every lane on the broad path leads to the same destination - a cliff that flows into the Lake of Fire. It comes as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of humanity chooses their own lane on the broad road that leads to destruction, but it is the responsibility of the Christian to point people to the narrow road beyond the small gate that leads to life everlasting, eternity in the presence of God, such that some might choose life in Jesus Christ.

Like Tom Bodett says, we'll keep the light on.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to rest in Him for all eternity,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday Comics

Extreme Makeover
Lifestyle Preferences
Pandora's Place
Let Them Eat Brie
U.N. Decree
General Amnesia
Scissors
Personal Responsibility
Priorities
Guilty As Charged
Memoirs Of A Geisha
Plan B
Rejected Outliers
Jomentum
Spit Wads
Tick Tock
Tomayto Tomahto
Screeching Halt
Rambling Wreck
Heckuva Job
Character Issue
Dell Dude
Cut And Run
Labor Day
Life --> Art
Buck Buck Buckaw
Herr Goebbels
Weekend Warriors
Reagan's Legacy
Trickle-Down Economics
Burka Please

And my favorite for today: Crash And Burn

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:16 AM :: (0) minds freed

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