The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Gov. Huckabee Decides God No Longer Omnipresent

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Poor little god!

Gov. Huckabee says God has been “systematically . . . removed from our schools.” (You know, as in: “should we be surprised that our schools become places of carnage?”)

I have seen people removed from schools.  A police officer – usually large – escorts away a scrawny 7th grader who’d done something along the lines of smoking dope in the bathroom. The kid vanishes, last seen as a pair of small eyes barely elevated enough to peer solemnly out the cruiser’s back door window. Removed.

Apparently, something similar happened to Gov. Huckabee’s god.

Too bad. Some kind of law enforcer that must’ve been, stronger than god and all. Some pathetic little god that was, too, that heavies could just toss him into the back seat and whisk him away.

I wonder what god it was.  Does it sound like the same one who spoke to Job:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angelsshouted for joy?”

And

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
or lead out the Bearwith its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

Has that God ever been small enough to be “systematically removed” from any place in the cosmos?

See, I know students and teachers and administrators and bus drivers and secretaries and custodians and para-professionals who pray their way through every day of their public school careers. They’re pretty convinced that “the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him . . . ” Right there. In school. They don’t pray “on street corners” “to be seen by others,” (as Matthew describes – and that kind, when commanded by staff people, is illegal, thank God.) They pray, instead, secretly, to a God who is unseen, believing that he hears and responds.

That kind of prayer in school is protected by every court in America.

Wouldn’t that kind of God have to be present now, right now, everywhere, no matter what people do? And, as far as that God being “systematically removed,” well, LOL.

 

 

 

What? People who care might impact budget?

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Nate Silver, the bright statistical analyst over at FiveThirtyEight, points out that left-leaning Democrats in the House may have more influence on the debt ceiling/budget cutting wars than it seems: Mr. Boehner may not be able to pass a bill without their help.

Any what might that look like?

The payroll tax cut could be a winner all-around. It’s something most liberal Democrats would like, particularly if it comes on the employee side rather than the employer side or if it is specifically tied to job creation. It is one of the few vehicles available to Mr. Obama to provide for economic stimulus. And, given that the accounting in any deal is likely to be fuzzy, it might give Republicans some cover to say they had voted for tax reform rather than a net tax increase.

Maybe it’s a way to bring a tiny grain of “the least, first” priority to negotiations that appear to bode ill for America’s poor and middle class.

It’s worth reading, here.

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Written by Monte

July 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Posted in economy, Politics

Wikileaks Iraq war logs: every death mapped | World news | guardian.co.uk

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Copyright law apparently prohibits reproduction of this amazing graphic; I hope you’ll give it a glance anyway.  Follow the link to scan Baghdad via Google Earth, with every lost Iraqi life – at least, those we know about – marked.

Wikileaks Iraq war logs: every death mapped | World news | guardian.co.uk.

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Written by Monte

October 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

A little longer . . .

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Still thinking and praying. Thanks for your patience. Please do keep checking back!

Written by Monte

December 31, 2009 at 11:12 am

Posted in Blogs

Church for a new era

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Those of you following the life of New Oaks Church may find this story encouraging. Here’s Donnie Miller (pastor of the Trinity Family Church in Gardner, KS) telling of a change of direction:

A New Era begins for TFC

Donnie Miller

There was an energy level among the congregation on Sunday that I haven’t experienced for a long time. People kept telling me, through smiles and hugs, how much they love the changes that have just happened.

These changes have been a long time coming. Last spring, we began a numerical slide that has resulted in our Sunday morning worship attendance being between 2/3 – 1/2 of what it was a year ago at this time. Toward the beginning of that slide, after a very lowly attended Sunday in March, I spent a sleepless night talking with God and wrestling with my fears and hopes. My fear was that if we continued to “do church” as we were at the time, we might not continue to exist. That fear lead to a hope, a hope that TFC could stop focusing on “doing church” and become more intentional about “being the church.” At about 4 AM, I got a pretty clear picture of the changes we could make.

I began sharing those changes with staff, the board and then ministry leaders; everyone was on board with the ideas. Last summer, we polled the congregation to find out approaches were working and to gauge their openness to the potential changes. The surveys revealed an almost unanimous support of the structural changes our leadership was considering.

Discussion groups

In August, we took a big first step in introducing Discussion Groups to Sunday AM worship. To say these groups have been a success would be the understatement of the year. Every Sunday, over 90% of the congregation participates in discussion groups. This past Sunday, only ONE person skipped discussion groups and that was because of a family emergency. It was almost hard to hear the other members of my group over the dull roar of the conversations happening all over the commons. The introduction of Discussion Groups, as well as “Ask Anything” Sundays, have all been a part of our effort to take a more dialogical approach to Sunday morning worship.

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Could “Government is the problem” be part of the problem?

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Like so:

Government is bad,
therefore,

We should cut its funding whenever we have a chance to do so.
Of course, then …

Government agencies end up under-staffed, under-equipped, and unable to keep up (years-long immigration-hearing delays come to mind, or the Katrina response, or …)
And,

Government’s best and brightest administrators get fed up and leave, finding industry positions that ask less and pay more,
Which opens the door for …

Incompetent, patronage-appointed bureaucrats become administrators (“Great job, Brownie!”)
And, Presto!

Proof!  Just look at how badly this agency functions!  Government is the problem! It can’t do anything right!

Maybe the idea that “government is the problem” needs to be replaced with “bad government is the problem.”

Finally, a related quote:

(Newser) – Barack Obama’s former car czar says he had no choice but to fire GM’s Rick Wagoner. “Everyone knew Detroit’s reputation for insular, slow-moving cultures,” Steven Rattner writes in an essay for Fortune. “Even by that low standard, I was shocked by the stunningly poor management that we found, particularly at GM, where we encountered, among other things, perhaps the weakest finance operation any of us had ever seen in a major company.”

Aha!  “Business is the problem?”

‘Course not.  Bad business is the problem.

sig1_100w

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Time to think and pray

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Vanishing Water

Image by Fr Antunes via Flickr

Hello dear friends:

Thank you for dropping by.

I am away from blogging for one month to focus on a couple of life direction questions.

Please keep me on your reader – I’ll be back about October 17.

I am so grateful for your presence on this journey!

All the best,

sig1_100w

Written by Monte

September 17, 2009 at 11:09 am

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