Thursday, November 20, 2008

A few interesting presbytery meetings!

Tuesday, Nov 18th, was the third Tuesday of the month. In many presbyteries, this is the night of the scheduled presbytery meeting. There were two separate meetings that night that I was interested in.

The first was at Woodchuck-Servant Presbytery. The Open Theological Declaration was voted down by a 8 vote margin, but referred to a Presbytery Task Force. You can read about it here. I was wondering what would happen, and while saddened, not surprised that this would happen. The good thing is that its not going to go away. These are things that need to be talked about, especially if the change to the Fidelity and Chastity clause gets voted down, then what happens. Its going to be an interesting set of votes coming down.

The second was at Nother Completely-different Presbytery, where a friend of mine was approved to move to Candidate status in preparation for ministry. This was not a given, and my friend was somewhat nervous. The friend's spouse told me that the Presbytery made it very easy for the Inquirers who were moving to Candidate status. Their examination consisted of telling the assembled commissioners a 3 minute long version of their faith journey. They were also the first item on the docket after approval of previous minutes, and so on, so they'd be able to leave right after worship.

Evidently, there were three Candidate candidates (kinda redundant, no?). Anyway, from what I understand, the first rambled all over the place, the second read from a prepared script not really looking up to get eye contact, but my friend's spouse said that when my friend got up to speak, and started out with the first phrase of her journey, those who were reading papers, and such, stopped and listened. There was humor and some chuckles from the commissioners, a few nodding heads, and they were in the palm of my friends hand. Of course, the spouse is telling me all this, so I figure that this is a biased report with all the baggage that comes with that.

That said, my friend is now a Candidate.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Blog Retirement

I just read that Toby Brown of a A Classical Presbyterian blog is going to hang up his pen. Not totally, but he has made it evident that he feels that the Spirit is leading him to take his talents in a new direction.

I suspect that Toby will be visible on the many blogs both he and I read, so that his insight will not be totally lost, but he is retiring his blog at the end of this week.

Which is sad, there has been much on Toby's blog that has made me think and grow into a Reformed Catholic, with emphasis on the Reformed.

Blessings Toby !!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday Five

Once again, I've found a RevGalPals Friday Five that I can join in on.

Presbyterian Gal asks:

1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?

2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone?

3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you?

4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you?

5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples?

Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print?

1. Growing up in the NY/NJ area, it was DICK TRACY !!

2. Hmm ... hard to say. I always follow SALLY FORTH, as its carried in my local paper, but I now follow ROSE IS ROSE online as it was the strip I loved at my previous state of abode. Between the two, I find ROSE IS ROSE more often then not makes me laugh out loud.

3. Charley Brown ... for one, I always say Good Grief when something happens, for another, something is always happening to me !!

4. Somewhat true! You can find answers to almost anything going on today in the comics. Need political advice: see Doonesbury, Opus (sniff), Mallard Fillmore. Marital Advice: see Sally Forth, Rose is Rose, For Better or for Worse. Trouble with coworkers: Dilbert, computers: PC and Pixel (online comic).

5. They're consistently funny and true to life. Charlie Schultz inparted his Christian values into Peanuts in a way that appealed to all, Christian and non-Christian alike. Blondie has kept its starting premise from the 1930's, that is, Dagwood is always the hapless, sandwich-loving office manager and husband, who Blondie always one-ups. And Dennis is everybody's 5 or 6 year old, so everyone could relate.

Bonus: I'd love to see Pogo return. One of the first strips that was a Sunday comic, yet had an editorial edge about the national scene. It skewered without regard to right or left, and still left the 'skewee' (??) laughing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

This Yellow Dog's Side Did Not Win !!

Some say that I'm a Yellow Dog Democrat, that is, if the Democrats put a yellow dog up for election, I'd vote for it. That's not necessarily true, but coming from a blue collar Democratic household, it has a ring of truth. I've not lived in a state with a party line vote selection in over 30 years, right now I do.

This area of the state uses electronic voting machines, so voting is touch screen, you could vote party line in less than 15 seconds if you're good, 30 seconds if you're really slow. That said, when I was at the polls I noticed it was taking people a lot longer than it would have by voting party line. I suspect it was a very considered vote both nationally and locally.

In this election, I voted for the other guy. I've always been a contrarian, more often than not, winding up on the other side of the Presidential vote. Primarily because I vote on issues, not on whether a guy looks good in a suit on TV. Based on my background, I voted for McCain on a lot of issues that I have strong opinions on.

1: Support of the military, and of the modernization of our military weaponry. We may decide to stop for the next 4 to 8 years, but other countries not so friendly to us have not. Witness the interesting move of Russian missiles near to the Russian-Polish border !!

2: Support of a pro-life position. Now I'm not against abortion on demand during the time defined in Roe v. Wade. This may make me an apostate in some pro-life eyes, but its my opinion that people make mistakes, or accidents happen. A child should not be brought into the world that will not be loved from the moment of conception. That said, I reject any thought of abortion past the that time as listed above.

3: He was totally vetted, as I mentioned in my previous post, there are still a few unknowns about our next President.

That said, I finish with an email I wrote very early Wednesday morning to a friend:

McCain conceded about 30 minutes or so ago, a very good and honest speech. I hope he'll still be the maverick in the Senate and give the Majority Party some heartburn.

FWIW ... I do NOT like having an Executive and Legislative Branch controlled by one party. There will be no check or balances until the next Congressional election in 2010, which is way too long.

This is why I voted for McCain for President, I would rather have someone who can work with the Congress, yet willing to tell them NO, then someone of the same party who is less than willing to do so.

That said, we're all Americans and I'll support the new President where I can, and oppose him where I must.

God Bless America !!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just too much going on !!

I've not blogged for about 10 days. The reasons for this are many, one of which was an eye problem that I thought was cured, but returned without warning. That said, its cleared up now and hopefully, will not return.

Then there has been this election season. ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHH !!
Enough with the ads. Neither candidate says anything, and in order to find out what is what, you have to do some deep research. The average voter is not going to do that, they'd rather see what Jay Leno, or the Early Show has to say. I've actually heard a coworker tell me that his sister-in-law is going to vote for the Democratic candidate because she liked his wife !!!

Of all the inane reasons to vote for a candidate!! However, there are others. I'm worried that the country is more likely to go for the 'not-Bush' (that is Democratic) candidate, in much the same way that in 2000, people voted for the 'not-Clinton' (that is GOP) candidate because they're tired of what Bush has wrought.

Again trying to find out more about the candidates' positions is aggravating. Even when you go to their websites, the candidates really don't give answers that you can find easily. You can go to the tax reform site setup by the Democratic candidate to find out 'how much you could qualify for' under his plan, but it doesn't tell you how we're going to have to pay for it??

Everyone wants tax cuts, but no one wants to pay for the costs of government. Everyone knows there is fraud in goverment, but no one wants their earmarks for their favorite pork pie cut. The unions want to pay less for insurance, but they don't want their taxes raised, but who will help pay for the insurance that the Democrat is espousing.

Then there's the other side. I'm glad to hear that he's going to let the estate tax changes expire, but then I'm not so sure that reducing tax rates right now is a good idea. We need to have income to pay the national debt, and we won't get that by reducing tax rates anywhere.

In the meantime, foreign investors are buying up what they can, because the economy is in a downturn. Hey, why should they go to Neiman Marcus (European companies), when they can shop at K-Mart (USA)??

Final thought on elections ... QUIT THE ROBOCALLS !! I got calls from Obama, McCain, one of the state's Senators, even the Atty General of the State all asking for my support. I'd be flattered, except all they do is take up my time spouting the same drivel I'm trying to avoid on TV (thank God for DVRs).

Can you tell I'm sick and tired of all of this. I voted for McCain for a number of reasons:
1. He's a decorated Navy vet. He's had command responsibility, he knows about war, and also knows that you shouldn't take on two areas at once. The biggest problem of the past 8 years was that "W" did not finish the task he started in Afghanistan, but had to show Hussein who was boss (my emphasis). If we were on a war footing as in WW II, we'd have no problem with the manpower nor the supplies to keep going full tilt in both areas. The fool didn't do that, nor did he get good advice (or got it and didn't listen) to find Osama bin Laden first and neutralize that threat. I fully believe that John McCain would do what is needed to extract us from Iraq, and find bin Laden, and do it swiftly and efficiently.
2. He's a known quantity. All of his skeletons are out of the closet (No pun intended). There is nothing for him to hide, as its mostly all known. As one pundit put it this past Sunday: "why are people prepared for vote for a man where whole years of his life are not being explained or explored?". Its what I don't know that I'm afraid of.
3. He's not Bush! I know, that refutes what I said I was worried about initially, but in this case I meant it to mean that McCain "has been there". He wasn't flying F102's in Texas keeping that state from being invaded by the Commies during Vietnam, he was 'in theater' risking life and limb, and getting captured for it.
4. I happen to like the Separation of Powers between the Executive, the Congress and the Courts. Having a President and a Congressional majority of the same party would tend to negate any check and balance that having the President of one party and the Congressional majority of another would give us, the common people. FWIW ... after this election, we'd have 2 years of a House and/or Senate rubber stamping whatever the President and/or Congress wanted to do. A lot can be done in two years that could never be undone, after all, Congress hardly ever eliminates a program once they start it !!

OK ... such is my election day rant for today. I'm not going to post tomorrow in case I'd have more to rant or crow about.

And so it goes ....