Monday, June 29, 2009
When I look at the galaxies
on a clear night out at sea -
when I look at the incredible
brilliance of creation,and think
that this is what God is like,
then instead of feeling
intimidated and diminished by it,
I am enlarged . . . I rejoice
that I am a part of it. The
salt of the sea-spray joy.
Listen to your life. See it for
the fathomless mystery that it is.
Touch, taste, smell your way
to the holy and hidden heart
of it. Love as a wave loves
the beach touching washing
forming, gently, continuously.
Unrelenting, but able to
wash gently around the
child's feet, ever forming
grains in sands hourglass time.
Because in the last analysis
all moments are sacred moments
and life itself is grace manifest.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I have written on this subject several times before within other context. I now make this subject priority one, as I believe it should be.
Our country is in deep trouble. Financially, diplomatically, and most of all in the lack of engaged citizenry. We have become a nation of extremes. We either are extremely left, extremely right, extremely liberal, extremely conservative, extremely religious, extremely secular, extremely Democratic, extremely Republican and predominantly, extremely apathetic. We tend to pigeon hole ourselves within a selected group and parrot what that group says, believes and votes for. By such ideological slotting, we can then disengage brain and let the other members of said groups think for us when it comes to our citizenry and politics. Just like in sports, we pick a team and then bash every other team. We second guess the coaches and berate losing players. Here is the difference. In politics and good engaged citizenry, WE are in fact the coach, owner and players. We would like to place blame on an administration, party or group. Just like in so many other facets of our lives, we have shunned responsibility and accountability.
Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong. ~Richard Armour
There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle. ~Alexis de Tocqueville
We'd all like to vote for the best man, but he's never a candidate. ~Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard
There must be common ground which we can all stand upon. We must find that common ground. I believe we can all agree on keeping our republic sovereign and autonomous. I sincerely feel we stand to lose that soon should we continue down the path we are on. How can we accomplish this? We must start locally by approaching the party of which you are not a member of. If you are not now, or have ever been a member of any party, good. We must forgo this party mentality. I know it will be difficult to accomplish. Start by developing relationships with people of every party. Stop refusing to talk to liberals/conservatives. Be a citizen, not a republican/democrat/libertarian. Love liberty, not a politician. Love freedom, not television. Love your country, not dogmatism.
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right. ~H.L. Mencken, 1956
All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field. ~Albert Einstein
The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. ~P.J. O'Rourke
The future is up to us. We have to understand that we are the government. We have to become engaged in the process. We have to insure our posterity enjoys the same freedoms and liberty that our forefathers secured for us with hard knocks and blood. We have to understand that it is our noble charge to secure this future. The days of laziness and lackadaisical approaches are over. The party is over. Should we allow things to take the course those who would destroy our republic for their financial gain would want, which is what we are currently doing, we will lose our monetary autonomy and with it, so goes our republic.
Midas, they say, possessed the art of old
Of turning whatsoe'er he touch'd to gold;
This modern statesmen can reverse with ease -
Touch them with gold, they'll turn to what you please.
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America? ~Author Unknown
Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. ~Ronald Reagan
We must educate our youth on the rights and duties of citizenship. We must get our children engaged in the process. To do this, WE must be engaged in the process. Ask questions. Take the time to call your representatives. Force change by numbers of those us engaged. Take up the mantle of good citizenship and be a good example for our youth to emulate. Take responsibility and be accountable. Be Americans one and all. This house is once again divided. This house will not stand as such.
Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country - and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians. ~Charles Krauthammer
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. ~Doug Larson
One ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark, its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time, one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase - some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno or other lump of verbal refuse - into the dustbin where it belongs. ~George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," Shooting an Elephant, 1950
Friday, June 26, 2009
The ocean takes me to a place of peace
I feel the ocean’s soul and I'm content, I have no worries, I'm at ease
What I would do to live in the ocean and bathe in the sand
Swim at every sunrise and mesmerize every sunset
I want to run on the beach and dive in the waves….have no regrets
Swim like a dolphin and grow with the coral reef
I want to be a part of the ocean like the ocean is a part of me
I feel the oceans soul and it pulls me in
Into a place of happiness and peace, I am the ocean
The ocean is a beautiful place but it can take you in
Swim...swim fast with the waves and you'll be okay
I'm loved by many and I see love
I see you holding hands and staring at the moon
I see you walking hand in hand, I knew you would come
Sit by my shore and wait for the sun
I'll make the day beautiful and allow the sun to reflect off of me
Come to me and let go of your thoughts and fears
I am the ocean, swim with me and I'll catch your tears
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Times are tough. You pick the time. Financial, political and moral. I believe these tough times are intrinsically tied. We have sold out the family. We have devaluated our love of family, the traditional family, and our fellow citizen family. Because we don't stick together as these families, we have lost the team spirit and the strength in numbers we use to enjoy as a benefit of any of these important family groups.
CHANGE IN THE DEFINITION OF THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY
The first example is the shifting value of the traditional family and the definition of it. Let me preface this by saying that I am not homophobic, nor do I hate homosexuals. Neither do I believe that people are born that way. I believe they might be born with the propensity for this aberrant behavior, just as I believe that some people are born with the propensity for any other weaknesses of the flesh. This is spelled out clearly in the New Testament. I prefer to use New Testament examples of the Word so as not to confuse the old law of salvation by works, by which I would render ambiguous my motivation for these quotes and my feelings on the subject.
"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the
lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies
between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie,
and worshipped and served the creature more than the
Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God
gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did
change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the
woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men
working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves
that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as
they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave
them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are
Romans 1:24-28, KJV
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the
kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of
themselves with mankind [homosexuals],"
1 Corinthians 6:9, KJV
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man,
but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for
sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers
and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers,
for them that defile themselves with mankind, [homosexuals]
for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if
there be any other thing that is contrary to sound
1 Timothy 1:9-10, KJV
"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes
condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample
unto those that after should live ungodly;"
2 Peter 2:6, KJV
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in
like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and
going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example,
suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
Jude 1:7, KJV
I also believe that it is something to be looked at as a weakness by the individual and something they should attempt to avoid or preclude, not something to acquiesce to. I believe that we should love and offer to the homosexual the same love and opportunity for help we would offer a drug addict, alcoholic or person with any other form of sexual addiction/s etc.
The current push for the adoption of same sex marriage laws in many parts of the country in the name of liberty are a manifestation of the erosion of the traditional family. Only a man and woman can conceive a child, therefore I believe that only a man and woman should be parents. Any compromise of this pragmatic premise,(my late grandfather used the "it's a simple plumbing issue" analogy) is a moral compromise and a slide into immorality for not only those who would abrogate this tradition, but a handicap to the children raised by same sex unions. Children need a father. Children need a mother. I do not believe that there should be a law against co-habitation of same sex adults. I also believe that adoption of children by same sex couples should be precluded except in extreme circumstances where the child might be a genetic child of one of the partners. I know, I have just breached a controversial and volatile subject. I am willing to listen to any argument. I am rarely fixed in a position unless God has locked that position in for us clearly in the Bible, dogmatism being my pet peeve. Of course, I don't believe the government should dictate morality one way or the other.
CHANGE IN OUR CITIZEN FAMILY
Slowly we have changed our perception of the traditional family. So have we changed our perception and approach to our citizenship (our American family). We have become disengaged, apathetic, unappreciative and uninformed. We have become so very lazy and spoiled. It is exactly what the government would want. The government does not have your family's best interest in mind anymore. Let me repeat that -The government DOES NOT have your family's best interest in mind. The government is an oligarchy controlled by bankers. I worked in the banking industry for many years and have seen the slimy underbelly of this industry. They realized early on if they could get hold of the purse strings of the government they could themselves profit from the giant amount of money which could be generated by the illegal income tax. They accomplished this in several ways. First in 1913 by the creation of the Federal Reserve Act. Woodrow Wison afterward had much regret after signing this act into law and had this to say about it -
"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."
Since then, the taxation of the public has increased at a rate commensurate with the money addicted spending of said public, and that of the politicians they choose. Tax collection and the defense of those accused of tax crimes has become a large industry. Not much has changed since Luke wrote about tax collectors and the feelings of people about them, nor has much changed about the sins of those who would so overly tax the public.
Rome's method of collecting taxes was to employ as tax collectors locals who knew who had money and where they kept it. A province was divided into tax districts. Locals would bid for the contract of collecting taxes in a district. The bid was the money they were contracted to pay the government; whatever they collected over that amount was theirs to keep. The chief tax collector (such as Zacchaeus in Luke 19:2) owned the contract for his region. Then he would employ others to collect taxes in the various villages. Tax collectors were widely regarded as thieves and robbers. Perhaps the Jews told "tax collector jokes" the same way we tell "lawyer jokes," we don't know.
 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him,  and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.  But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
 Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Luke 3: 12-13
 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
The spend and spend and spend mentality of entire population, politicans included are so increased as to have precipitated the creation of the two income household. This has caused further erosion of the traditional family we discussed earlier and greatly increased the amount available for the government to spend at it's discretion.
Remember,the tax on earnings of the second household member begins where the last dollar of the first earner leave off. The middle income famly is more deeply leveraged than in history and the second income is completely negated by expenses of services (e.g. eating out etc.) which would be moot with a household member at home to provide these. Child care for instance was an expense almost non-existent in the 1970's now it accounts for @ 30% of a two earner family with children. The cost of health insurance, cars, mortgages and interest on credit card debt has all at least doubled since that time. All of this money goes directly into the pockets of the bankers and financiers.
For what we spend we get less. Today for a normal non-cessarian child birth, insurance pays for 24 hours after normal delivery as compared to 5 days in '71 in some places by legislation because they were trying to push them out (pardon the pun) sooner. This practice is well known in the trade as "send em home quicker and sicker". There is also what I call faux insurance. Although you believe your family is covered. Here's a laugher, in Utah the (not sure about this guy's title, but maybe secretary of insurance?)politician in charge of the committee on insurance achieved the goal of insuring everyone, except it doesn't cover hospitalization.
Houses are no longer purchased based on the same reasons we bought them for in the 1970's People are buying schools. Let me define that statement. In side by side comparisons in Boston, in neighboroods measured for crime, sidewalks, racial composition, convenience to shopping, etc., 5 points in the difference in scores of reading for 3rd grade increased home prices by tens of thousands of dollars. Now you understand the real reason behind the school ratings system in Texas based on TAKS scores. In san diego, they did a study, parents would rather live by a toxic dump, than where they believed schools to be underperforming
The slow erosion of employer sponsored benefits has shifted the burden to the individual who when left without a safety net due to said erosion now shifts the burden to the government as the government, and the bankers would want. This facilitates the government's desire to justify the illegal income tax and create the illusion of our dependence on them.
Our entry into the workforce has also become more difficult with college degees being expected, not just desired. Twice as many people now believe that the '68 moon landing was faked, as believe you can make it in america without a college degree.
In a major shift from the early '70s, when almost no one went to pre school, now almost everyone does. What took 12 years of free education to successfully enter the workforce then now takes 18 years. The family's cost for pre-school in some places although state subsidized approaches that of state institutions for higher learning. This is incomprehensible to me.
Now with that said, there is much more to learn, much more. not all of it is neccesary or useful in todays work force, but we feel obligated, as well we should to highly educate. The additional expense incurred by your average family for this lengthier and higher education is an additional burden. Families pay for 1/3 of that privately. Many through loans, many through grants, but all from our pockets no matter the route. Once again, interest and income for banks increases and increases.
Friday, June 19, 2009
One of the primary reasons that we find ourselves in the financial fix we are in now is due to the irresponsibility of financial institutions owned by corporations, and large corporations who practice such irresponsibility with impunity due to their corporate status which provides us no recourse to hold said corporate entities accountable (short of the board of directors in only the most agregious situations - Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 Precipitated by the Enron fiasco). Irresonsible lending and mis-managed business were rewarded by "bailing out" these idiots and crooks, further ratifying the recent pernicious trend of lack of accountability. Now we are essentially printing script and throwing it at a problem which begs for some responsible accounting. Once again, I must say, Common sense and logic nearly always conflict with a purely government solution. Or, what is the only thing the government does well?- - -Nothing
Bank local folks. Make sure it's not corporate owned. When you can, shop local. Get out of your company's 401k or insure it (especially if it is a large corporation). Don't let a "fund" manage your finances. Buy gold. Don't use credit cards. Dump your variable rate mortgage. Tighten your belts. Be frugal and pragmatic when you shop. Save gas when you can. And for gosh sakes, stop watching the idiot box! Read with your family, volunteer somewhere, take a class with your kids or spouse in art or something that interest you all, get involved in a cause you believe in and let's get our Republic back.
Your Cynical Servant,
Capt. Gene D. Tomlinson
Thursday, June 18, 2009
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Now I don't know about you, but after accepting a gift this wonderful from our Lord, it is hard for me to be negtive about anything. There are many people though, who find themselves caught up in negativity whether it be their own, or that of others.
Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.) ------------------------------God has given us everything we need to live the abundant fulfilled Christian life. We need to learn how to use what we have so that our lives will overflow with joy and thanksgiving.
It’s undeniably true that there will always be people in this world who see the glass as half empty. These are your negative people, who typically see the worst in a situation, no matter what the situation may be. Communicating with these people, whether they are friends, family, or coworkers, can often be difficult, exhausting, and can hinder your happiness. Why are these people negative though? Once we know the answer to this question, and gain some understanding into the problem we can find solutions to beating the negativity that these people possess.
The Good & Bad Sides
To every situation there is in the world, there is always a “good side” and a “bad side”, or positive and negative sides. These positive and negative sides are typically subjective and dependent on the person who views the situation. In reality there is no situation that is strictly good or strictly bad. This is all determined based on the perception of the person who has the view. People who view the positive/good side are known to be optimistic, while people who view the negative/bad side are pessimistic.
The classic “glass with water” analogy proves this pessimistic/optimistic theory that the way we view things subjectively ultimately determines if a situation is positive or negative. In reality, the glass has water in it taking up half its volume. It isn’t “half empty” nor is it “half full”, those are opinions based solely on an individual’s judgment.
It’s important to realize and understand that situations have both a good and a bad side. Choosing one side over another limits your ability to find the real truth that lies in seeing the broader picture. We folks are lazy these days. Very lazy as comared to our forefathers. It is sometimes easier for us to claim one side, and when that side is the "bad" or negative side, we by our laziness choose it. Sometimes conciously, but most times subconciously. If we put our spirituality and God into this equation, though it may take more work, thought or time, before long it will become habit to make Him a part of every decision we make and perception that we have.
People who are overly negative are depressed. This is typically the main reason why negative people always see the worst in a situation. They can be depressed for many reasons, and it’s possible they are despondent about a certain topic or situation because it has hurt them in the past. Whatever the reason, they reflect their sorrow on the world around them, seeing only the bad things in life, which makes them even more depressed, and thus continues this downward spiral of negativity.
Once we realize that a person is depressed, we want to help them if we can. We don’t want to see our friends and family in pain. So, we try to help them cope with their sadness, or fix their problems and reasons for their depression. What happens though is that these people can’t really be helped until they want to be helped. It isn’t until a depressed person realizes that they are depressed, and desires to make a change for the better, that they can be helped. If you feel that a friend of family member of yours is depressed, I seriously recommend having them discuss with a professional such as a psychiatrist about their depression as it can be a very serious problem leading to physical harm and death.
I have known negative people who after I had told them good news about myself, were the first to show their cynical attitude and point out why it isn’t good news at all. I knew that these people were only trying to sap my happiness, and I ignored their ill-willed comments. People should be happy for the success of their friends, family, and the people around them. Instead of feeling bad about not having someone’s success or achievements, these defeatists should use it as a learning experience and stepping stone to change their own lifestyle. Like I said, it is much easier to perpetuate a negative attitude than to change it.
If you know a person who shows this type of jealous negativity, I would recommend avoiding them if you can. Share your positiveness with them as best you and offer yourself as a good example for them to emulate. If they are incapable of listening (many are) than seperating yourself from them might bring them to the realization that you are uncomfortable around them. These people believe that you are part of their problem, even though in actuality you aren’t, so it is best to stay away from them, because they will only continue to attempt to make you feel badly about your achievements.
Breaking the Negativity Virus
Negativity is truly a virus of the personality. It infects the mind of one person, and that person continues to spread the virus to other people. It’s extremely important that you don’t become infected, and here are a few tips on how to break the chain of infection from the Negativity Virus:
Trust in your own opinions
Negative and positive views are only opinions, and you should realize that no opinion is a fact, so trust your opinion above the opinions of others if you don’t agree with them. It’s important to get the opinion of many different people anyway, so don’t focus on a single negative one. Remember that your happiness is valuable to you and no one has the right to take that away from you if you don’t allow it.
Show the good in the bad
If you know a pessimistic person that always points out the bad in situations, you can combat the attitude by telling them the good in the situation, or even have them tell you the good in the situation. Pessimism is based on a subjective view of something, so it is helpful to have a pessimistic person realize that there is a good side as well to be seen.
Be kind, but don’t be an ego feeder
Negative people often search for people to feed their egos to make them feel better about themselves, which is only a temporary gratification. It’s important to be kind to the people around you, but don’t overdo it to the point that people talk to you just for an ego boost.
Include the negative person in a positive situation
Sometimes it can really help to change the outlook a person has just by including them in a fun event, or happy situation. People can sometimes be truly missing out on the great things that life has to offer, so if you can, try to include them in something fun that you are doing. You may just happen to guide them back on the right track.
Isolate yourself as a last resort
Sometimes there are people that no matter what you try to help or resolve a person’s negativity, they remain pessimistic. At this point, I recommend breaking ties with these people, and isolating yourself from them. There isn’t much else you can do to help, so it is pointless to continue subjecting yourself to their negative attitude.
Dealing with negative people can often seem like a daunting task, one that leaves you feeling sapped of energy, but once you understand the cause of a person’s pessimistic attitude, you can help try to fix it or recommend someone who can. Trust in yourself and do your best to see the great things in the world while trying to eliminate the bad. If you do this and do it well, eventually the pessimists will follow.
The way we see the world is only a matter of perception
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Greed. When asked recently what I thought was the biggest problem our country faces, this was my response. "Absolutely" said the inquisitor, "Our politicians are all greedy so and sos who can't control their money drunkness." Now, God bless this man, he made the statement sitting in a nice restauraunt sipping a $15 cocktail complaining about the gas mileage his Escalade is getting. Now let me preface this by saying I don't begrudge anyone for buying what they feel they can afford. My problem is with people feeling the need to buy things which they really can't. And in turn our politicians doing the same with our taxes. The hubristic nature in which they wield OUR money is what sticks in my craw. Especially when there is no money to spend.
Here is an except from Ron Paul speaking recently on war spending. It is fantastic and eye opening. Everyone should be aware of the fiscal nightmare this bit outlines. The IMF is just what Dr. Paul calls it - "A destructive organization." The International Monetary Fund's agenda does NOT, repeat, does NOT consider the best interest of the United States or any other country for that matter. It is solely concerned with it's own agenda. It is an international consortium of banks and financiers concerned with the agendas of it's members. It's board consist of high level bankers and financial consultants, all from the financial community. Bankers are in business to make money with money, within which lies the conflict of interest between your tax money and the IMF. Or any organization concerned with income based on holding on to either your money or your collateral. Here is the big problem, unfortunately our financial arrangements currently in place with the Federal Reserve, have our politicians "strung out" (pardon the drug parlance)on tax and spend mentalities. The IMF knows that should we continue down this course, it will achieve what it desires, - a global currency. With the loss of our monetary autonomy, will follow the loss of our Republic.
"Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this conference report on the War Supplemental Appropriations. I wonder what happened to all of my colleagues who said they were opposed to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wonder what happened to my colleagues who voted with me as I opposed every war supplemental request under the previous administration. It seems, with very few exceptions, they have changed their position on the war now that the White House has changed hands. I find this troubling. As I have said while opposing previous war funding requests, a vote to fund the war is a vote in favor of the war. Congress exercises its constitutional prerogatives through the power of the purse.
This conference report, being a Washington-style compromise, reflects one thing Congress agrees on: spending money we do not have. So this “compromise” bill spends 15 percent more than the president requested, which is $9 billion more than in the original House bill and $14.6 billion more than the original Senate version. Included in this final version – in addition to the $106 billion to continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – is a $108 billion loan guarantee to the International Monetary Fund, allowing that destructive organization to continue spending taxpayer money to prop up corrupt elites and promote harmful economic policies overseas.
As Americans struggle through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, this emergency supplemental appropriations bill sends billions of dollars overseas as foreign aid. Included in this appropriation is $660 million for Gaza, $555 million for Israel, $310 million for Egypt, $300 million for Jordan, and $420 million for Mexico. Some $889 million will be sent to the United Nations for “peacekeeping” missions. Almost one billion dollars will be sent overseas to address the global financial crisis outside our borders and nearly $8 billion will be spent to address a “potential pandemic flu.”
Mr. Speaker, I continue to believe that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home from Iraq and Afghanistan. If one looks at the original authorization for the use of force in Afghanistan, it is clear that the ongoing and expanding nation-building mission there has nothing to do with our goal of capturing and bringing to justice those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan does not make us safer at home, but in fact it undermines our national security. I urge my colleagues to defeat this reckless conference report."
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
We Texans think about David Crockett more in the context of his participation in our revolution than we do of him as a congressman. He was one of the first true conservatives and learned about the people's feeling on spending the hard way. This is a very interesting read and quite timely.
The following is a story of David Crockett speaking on government spending and the events which led him to his opinion of it.
Not Yours To Give
Col. David Crockett
US Representative from Tennessee
Originally published in "The Life of Colonel David Crockett,"
by Edward Sylvester Ellis.
One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:
"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.
"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."
He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.
Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:
"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.
"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.
"I began: 'Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called
"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."
"This was a sockdolager...I begged him to tell me what was the matter.
" ’Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.
…But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.'
" 'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’
“ ‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’
" ‘Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.'
" ‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.' "The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'
" 'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'
"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:
" ‘Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'
"He laughingly replied; 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.'
" ‘If I don't’, said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.'
" ‘No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.’
" 'Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name.’
" 'My name is Bunce.'
" 'Not Horatio Bunce?'
" 'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.'
"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.
"At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.
"Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.
"I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him - no, that is not the word - I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.
"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted - at least, they all knew me.
"In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:
" ‘Fellow-citizens - I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.’"
"I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:
" ‘And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.
" ‘It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the
credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.'
"He came upon the stand and said:
" ‘Fellow-citizens - It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.'
"He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.'
"I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.'
"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday.
"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased--a debt which could not be paid by money--and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."
The difference between cowardice and courage is how one reacts to change. Within that reaction - lives the mettle of men. The quality of that mettle rests upon one's answer to the quesion, - from whom do I seek approval? Within that decision - is one's morality. Within that morality is the rock of courage.
When we face difficult change or challenge with our morality firmly in place, our actions will be without fear knowing we can look in the mirror and be accountable to ourselves and God. Only then can we stop being the skulker, fearful of change and challenge. Thereby freeing ourselves from the chains of cowardly indecision, complacency and disappointment, and stride the world as a hero for our Lord. Not just expecting, but embracing change and challenge and turning them to our benefit as His soldier and a champion for change, challenge and ourselves.
Within those principles - lives the adventure of life, and we become an instrument for change, not a victim of it.
~Capt. Gene D. Tomlinson
Monday, June 15, 2009
Oftentimes, our agendas run contrary to God's. The discomfort that is visited upon us in this world is of course, not what we would have chosen for ourselves. Neither is an easy path for us chosen by God. He loves us more than we love ourselves. His plan can anger, hurt, disturb and baffle us. His love however isn't manifest in a worldy manner. His love is often reserved for us in Glory, where our loved ones shall share this grand plan of His with us. Our own selfishness and visceral need for comfort and instinct to survive can fog our vision and make it difficult to see which fork in the road to take. Lift us up Lord, that we can see over the fog of this world and the forks in the road and down that path and through the seasons of our lives.
~Capt. Gene D. Tomlinson
Sunday, June 14, 2009
"Forgiveness is deciding to wipe clean our hope for a better past and to accept the role of others in our "not so perfect" lives. It is placing blame only inwardly and never outwardly. It is loving those who would bring us discomfort and visit upon us the harshness of this world, knowing they too are children of God. It is understanding the price paid by our Savior and His Father for our imperfection and placing upon that gift an intrinsic value. It is reconciling ourselves, to ourselves. It is the true transcention from our worldly selves, to what our Lord would have us be. Forgiveness is love, God style."
~Capt. Gene D. Tomlinson
One of the primary reasons that we find ourselves in the financial fix we are in now is due to the irresponsibility of financial institutions owned by corporations, and large corporations who practice such irresponsibility with impunity due to their corporate status which provides us no recourse to hold said corporate entities accountable (short of the board of directors in only the most agregious situations - Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002). Irresonsible lending and mis-managed business were rewarded by "bailing out" these idiots and crooks, further ratifying the recent pernicious trend of lack of accountability. Now we are essentially printing script and throwing it at a problem which begs for some responsible accounting. Once again, I must say, Common sense and logic nearly always conflict with a purely government solution.
Bank local folks. Make sure it's not corporate owned. When you can, shop local. Get out of your company's 401k or insure it (especially if it is a large corporation). Don't let a "fund" manage your finances. Buy gold. Don't use credit cards. Dump your variable rate mortgage. Tighten your belts. Be frugal and pragmatic when you shop. Save gas when you can. And for gosh sakes, stop watching the idiot box! Read with your family, volunteer somewhere, take a class with your kids or spouse in art or something that interest you all, get involved in a cause you believe in and let's get our Republic back.
Your Cynical Servant,
Capt. Gene Tomlinson
This is a letter I wrote to our local State Representative, Susan King in support of
(HCR)50 Texas sovereignity on February 20th (which just passed at the end of May)
Honorable Representative King,
Greetings. I write today to echo the sympathies of Governor Perry and to voice my support of (HCR) 50. I sincerely hope that you will stay true to the idealism that you have heretofore shown, and to eschew the temptation to be bent and swayed by the strong peer pressure which you are bound to experience. Remember the undiluted storm of idealism of the framers and use that same strong wind which filled their sails to drive you through these choppy waters and use the morality that was their ballast and keel to keep you steadfast in the storm.
We your constituents, trust and rely on you and your peers to keep our State sovereign and efficacious. Support House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads as follows-
The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States reads as follows: "The powers not delegated to the
United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the
States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people";
The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of
federal power as being that specifically granted by the
Constitution of the United States and no more; and
The scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment
means that the federal government was created by the states
specifically to be an agent of the states; and
Today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated
as agents of the federal government; and
Many federal laws are directly in violation of the
Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and
The Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of
the United States of America and each sovereign state in the Union
of States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal
government may not usurp; and
Section 4, Article IV, of the Constitution says,
"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a
Republican Form of Government," and the Ninth Amendment states that
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not
be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people";
The United States Supreme Court has ruled in New
York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that congress may not
simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the
A number of proposals from previous administrations
and some now pending from the present administration and from
congress may further violate the Constitution of the United States;
now, therefore, be it
That the 81st Legislature of the State of Texas
hereby claim sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise
enumerated and granted to the federal government by the
Constitution of the United States; and, be it further
That this serve as notice and demand to the federal
government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective
immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these
constitutionally delegated powers; and, be it further
That all compulsory federal legislation that
directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal
penalties or sanctions or that requires states to pass legislation
or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed; and, be it
That the Texas secretary of state forward official
copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, to
the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the
senate of the United States Congress, and to all the members of the
Texas delegation to the congress with the request that this
resolution be officially entered in the Congressional Record as a
memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.
I would also ask you take a minute or two to read and/or re-read some of my favorite quotes.
First a few from Andrew Jackson over 150 years ago regarding his attitude toward a government owned bank etc. -
"It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes."
"The bold effort the present (central) bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it." - "Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin!
Next, Abraham Lincoln on corporations. -
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes
me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places
will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.
God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."
Next, several by John F. Kennedy -
"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."
"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis'. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger-but recognize the opportunity."
"A man does what he must.. in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures.. and that is the basis of all human morality."
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."
"I look forward to a great future for America - a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose."
~John F. Kennedy
And finally, Martin Luther King Jr. -
"In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
~Martin Luther King Jr.
Thank you for your time Representative and Kindest Regards,
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Apprehensive, nervous and filled with elation
We crawl behind the wheel, now no trepidation.
Our egos sitting proudly at our side
We begin the embarkation
On our Joy ride.
Sunshowers drenching the day and our lives as we pass those
who’ve chosen to stop and smell a rose,
We hold the wheel of our sturdy steed
Mustang or mayhap a Charger, I suppose
fulfill the need.
Boldly we steer confidently we navigate hazards that appear
Fine tuned machines are we, what? Fear?
A bumpy road here, a spinout there,
We are the sports model dear.
We do not care.
Try this oil.Try this gas.It’ll make you look good as well as go fast.
Wear and tear? What? Ha, we’re made to last!
If not, I’ll get her fixed, I got the warranty.
Plus there is the cash amassed,
Of course you see.
How long will she be in the shop to fix the engine and the brakes?
I don’t remember using them for heaven sakes.
Why is there a balance due on the repairs?
Do you know what might cause aches?
Must be the stares.
Ah, back on the road! Fog, rain, snow the wipers how fast they go!
Why is there ice why sleet and why does the wind strongly blow?
Careful, look out we sure don’t want to wreck!
I’m not a weather man, I don’t know.
Hey! What the heck?!
Man, that sure is a big dent. How do we replace metal with, uh, body fill?
That sure as hell won’t rust! Though it makes a painful bill.
Ah, back on the road. Little vibration now?
In the gas tank, I drop this pill?
That’s better, wow.
Can you see out as good as you need? Come partner, reduce your speed.
This steering wildly, blindly and sowing wild seed,
Is becoming for me increasingly hard.
Besides, there is of a family to feed,
I’m a retard.
Watch, take care, slow down, don’t waste time, make haste wait what? Boy?
When this thing started, I thought it was, all for Joy?
Not tight fist, closed eyes and clenched jaw,
Waiting for the airbag to deploy.
It’s just too raw.
Nice sunset huh? And how the birds sing! See how they quickly take wing?
Come on around young folks. Look already they’ve got a ding!
I don’t blame them though I don’t suppose,
Stop, I hear something, an ice cream bell ring!
Oh look, a rose!
I would like to share with you an imaginary letter from the pen of the Apostle Paul I put together several years ago. It is what I imagine the Apostle Paul might have said were he writing a letter to American Christians in 2005 A.D. And here is the letter as I envision what he might have said……. Gene
I, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to you who are in America, Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
For many years I have longed to be able to come to see you. I have heard so much of you and of what you are doing. I have heard of the fascinating and astounding advances that you have made in the scientific realm. I have heard of your dashing subways and flashing airplanes. Through your scientific genius you have been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains. You have been able to carve highways through the stratosphere. So in your world you have made it possible to eat breakfast in New York City and dinner in Paris, France. I have also heard of your skyscraping buildings with their prodigious towers steeping heavenward. I have heard of your great medical advances, which have resulted in the curing of many dread plagues and diseases, and thereby prolonged your lives and made for greater security and physical well-being. All of that is marvelous. You can do so many things in your day that I could not do in the Greco-Roman world of my day. In your age you can travel distances in one day that took me three months to travel. That is wonderful. You have made tremendous strides in the area of scientific and technological development.
But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress. Your poet Thoreau used to talk about "improved means to an unimproved end." How often this is true. You have allowed the material means by which you live to outdistance the spiritual ends for which you live. You have allowed your mentality to outrun your morality. You have allowed your civilization to outdistance your culture. Through your scientific genius you have made of the world a neighborhood, but through your moral and spiritual genius you have failed to make of it a brotherhood. So America, I would urge you to keep your moral advances abreast with your scientific advances.
I am impelled to write you concerning the responsibilities laid upon you to live as Christians in the midst of an unChristian world. That is what I had to do. That is what every Christian has to do. But I understand that there are many Christians in America who give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. They are afraid to be different. Their great concern is to be accepted socially. They live by some such principle as this: "everybody is doing it, so it must be alright." For so many of you Morality is merely group consensus. In your modern sociological lingo, the mores are accepted as the right ways. You have unconsciously come to believe that right is discovered by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion. How many are giving their ultimate allegiance to this way.
But American Christians, I must say to you as I said to the Roman Christians years ago, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Or, as I said to the Phillipian Christians, "Ye are a colony of heaven." This means that although you live in the colony of time, your ultimate allegiance is to the empire of eternity. You have a dual citizenry. You live both in time and eternity; both in heaven and earth. Therefore, your ultimate allegiance is not to the government, not to the state, not to nation, not to any man-made institution. The Christian owes his ultimate allegiance to God, and if any earthly institution conflicts with God's will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it. You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.
I understand that you have an economic system in America known as Capitalism. Through this economic system you have been able to do wonders. You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has ever known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is the danger that you will misuse your Capitalism. I still contend that money can be the root of all evil. It can cause one to live a life of gross materialism. I am afraid that many among you are more concerned about making a living than making a life. You are prone to judge the success of your profession by the index of your salary and the size of the wheel base on your automobile, rather than the quality of your service to God.
The misuse of Capitalism can also lead to tragic exploitation. This has so often happened in your nation. They tell me that one tenth of one percent of the population controls more than forty percent of the wealth. You have allowed government programs and handouts take the place of Christian benevolence. It is easy to point a finger at your government and say that it was them who took the responsibility away from the church, but this happened because there were glaring needs which you as Christians left untended. That lack of love of your fellow man allowed secular humanist to make a strong argument. If you are to be a truly Christian nation you must solve this problem. You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. You can use your powerful economic resources to wipe poverty from the face of the earth. God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. God intends for all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe "enough and to spare" for that purpose.
I would that I could be with you in person, so that I could say to you face to face what I am forced to say to you in writing. Oh, how I long to share your fellowship.
Let me rush on to say something about the church. Americans, I must remind you, as I have said to so many others, that the church is the Body of Christ. So when the church is true to its nature it knows neither division nor disunity. But I am disturbed about what you are doing to the Body of Christ. They tell me that in America you have within Protestantism more than three hundred denominations. The tragedy is not so much that you have such a multiplicity of denominations, but that many of them are warring against each other with a claim to absolute truth. This narrow sectarianism is destroying the unity of the Body of Christ. You must come to see that God is neither a Baptist nor a Methodist; He is neither a Presbyterian nor a Episcopalian. God is bigger than all of our denominations. If you are to be true witnesses for Christ, you must come to see that America. We are one body and are to work in unison. Oh if you were to just spend as many ecclesial calories loving and dispensing God's grace as you did getting it "right"...
But I must not stop with a criticism of Protestantism. I am disturbed about Roman Catholicism. This church stands before the world with its pomp and power, insisting that it possesses the only truth. It incorporates a level of hubris that becomes a dangerous spiritual arrogance. It stands with its noble Pope who somehow rises to the miraculous heights of infallibility when he speaks ex cathedra. But I am disturbed about a person or an institution that claims infallibility in this world. I am disturbed about any church that refuses to cooperate with other churches under the pretense that it is the only true church. I must emphasize the fact that God is not a Roman Catholic, and that the boundless sweep of his revelation cannot be limited to the Vatican. Roman Catholicism must do a great deal to mend its ways.
A great man was in your country just 50 or so years ago. His name was Martin Luther King Jr. He said that “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, rather the silence of our friends.” You must rise up and speak out America if you are to survive as a moral nation. With this attitude you migh be considered a dangerous radical. Sometimes it might mean going to jail. If such is the case you must honorably grace the jail with your presence. It might even mean physical death. But if physical death is the price that some must pay to free your nations’s children from a permanent life of psychological death, then nothing could be more Christian. Don't worry about persecution America; you are going to have that if you stand up for a great principle. I can say this with some authority, because my life was a continual round of persecutions. After my conversion I was rejected by the disciples at Jerusalem. Later I was tried for heresy at Jerusalem. I was jailed at Philippi, beaten at Thessalonica, mobbed at Ephesus, and depressed at Athens. And yet I am still going. I came away from each of these experiences more persuaded than ever before that "neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come . . . shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.
I must bring my writing to a close now. Timothy is waiting to deliver this letter, and I must take leave for another church. But just before leaving, I must say to you, as I said to the church at Corinth, that I still believe that love is the most durable power in the world. Over the centuries men have sought to discover the highest good. This has been the chief quest of ethical philosophy. This was one of the big questions of Greek philosophy. The Epicurean and the Stoics sought to answer it; Plato and Aristotle sought to answer it. What is the summon bonum of life? I think I have an answer America. I think I have discovered the highest good. It is love. This principle stands at the center of the cosmos. As John says, "God is love." He who loves is a participant in the being of God. He who hates does not know God.
So American Christians, you may master the intricacies of the English language. You may possess all of the eloquence of articulate speech. But even if you "speak with the tongues of man and angels, and have not love, you are become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
In Him, Paul
With Love to all who’s eyes this might meet. Capt. Gene D. Tomlinson
"Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up
easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more
slaves." ~D.H. Lawrence
How you ask? Our soft and privileged living has put us in a place where we perceive everything as disposable and replaceable. In our minds, everything has a price tag, or more appropriately, a UPC code. We are taught from childhood that if one wants something, one should find a way to accumulate the wealth to buy that want. Even our souls. Tithe, give to the Church, send an offering overseas to a hungry child or a foreign mission. Why do we remit these? Is it because we truly are concerned about the financial condition of the Church, the empty stomach of said child, or needs of the mission? Maybe sometimes, but more likely it is because it makes US feel better. It somehow washes away the guilt ridden fact that we are driving to the grocery store in an SUV that cost what it would take to fund any one of the above entities for a good long time (especially the hungry child). But the $5 we pledge somehow placates our need to feel "charitable" or "altruistic". We feel that by sitting in a pew and dropping a pittance in the plate somehow makes us a charitable Christian. Maybe praying for an ill friend or acquaintance, or forwarding an email "prayer wheel" might fill our perceived spiritual requisite. It's the "little dab will do ya" and off to the restaurant so we can hurry up and eat and get home to watch "Family Guy". Couple of cocktails and a prozac and off to never-never land and a good night's rest so we can get right back to solving the world's problems tomorrow. Break something? No problem, buy another. Lose something? No problem, buy another. I think the size of our trash cans paint for me a pretty good picture of our attitudes and lifestyles. Remember when we carried out one metal can to the curb once or twice a week? Now we haul out a plastic sack that size at least once a day and chunk it into a dumpster big enough to hold, well, Pavarotti. We keep nothing anymore.Add to this list of disposability and replaceability, the mentality with which we perceive our great country. Nothing confirmed. Rush to the polling place and place your vote. Put a bumper sticker on aforementioned SUV. Listen to the news and complain about how things are going, or not. With that we are "politically active" or "publicly engaged". Ha. I wonder what the framers would think about that heavy handed approach to our government? "Little dab will do ya". Yeah, I've heard of something called The Constitution, but, hey that is what I voted for those folks for. Let them handle it. Yeah, I know a guy who is always quoting it, but man, these days you've got to be careful because the boss is a staunch demo-republi-crat and if HE finds out that I am voting something besides a straight ticket and compiling a pamphlet that may run contrary his pigeon-holed dogmatism. Why I might lose my job! My benefits, my mortgage, my big screen! The country will take care of itself if people will just vote for MY candidate! I am a Republi/Demo/conervo/liberalcrat. I parrot what Rush, Obama, Bush, PBS, Fox News say. I know that I am politically engaged.
"Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture,
grandparents pots and pans, the used things, warm with generations of human
touch, essential to a human landscape. Instead, we have our paper phantoms,
transistorized landscapes. A featherweight portable museum."~Susan Sontag
"This will be the land of the free, only so long as it is the home of the
"To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence.For want of modesty is want
of sense.If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines,Immodest words
admit of no defense,For want of modesty is want of sense."
"For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing
your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you
wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet, at the
same time, express yourself as firmly fixed in your present opinions, modest,
sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed
in the possession of your error. And by such a manner you can seldom hope to
recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose
concurrence you desire."~Benjamin Franklin
Here is our challenge. How can we effectively and immediately take up the mantle of good and engaged citizenship. How can we be an example for our youth? How can we be the kind of American that all will want to be while preserving the principles and beliefs of the framers? What can we do to reach the most ears and to gently and morally educate? What can we do today for our republic tomorrow? What must we do to embolden? What must we do to be that example to emulate?What simple but effective action can I do as a citizen? How can I give back? What issues in my area are in need of attention? How can the hand of my humble leadership take my children and those they know to a different America than the one we see approaching us today? As a citizen of an America that generations of people have fought to preserve, how can I show those who would like to learn to be a better American citizen, to free their minds enough to own them, to choose their battles so as to win them?What can I do to help them?Whether it is in education of the public, feeding of the hungry, housing of the cold or love of the unloved. This is the higher purpose of our nation. When our countrymen realize this, we will heal. Not by political action, not by violent revolution, not by dogmatism and insistence, but by gentleness and kindness. These powers heal. That is why we have advocated so strongly education first. Not strong and divisive action. We hope you understand these things.With that being said, let us remind ourselves where we come from and of the things that would aim to divide us. Let us resist those things as if they were death, as if they were the spoilers of our prosperity, as oftentimes they are. Let us advocate a return to that place of origin and let us hold accountable all actions up to this point so that we may by reproof or by recognition, return to a greater good. Let us respect one another enough to not criminalize dissent but engage the dissenter so as to dissolve all barriers between us. I co-wrote much of this letter with my friend Paul A. Mabelis from Rochester, NY. I am from Abilene, TX. There could be no more opposite cultures in our country than the two from which we come, however we stand as an example that all of us have a common interest. Citizenship, patriotism and love of country.Let us be conscionable in our efforts to restore the republic and retrieve what we have lost; for with this premise shall we have the promise of a renewed Republic proud once again in its independence, shining in its example, worthy of its stature and rich in its citizenship.