The World According to kcillini77

September 16, 2009

I’ve Moved!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kcillini77 @ 9:09 pm

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December 20, 2008

The Sky is Not Falling

Filed under: America,Church — kcillini77 @ 12:17 pm
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Lately I’ve been taking  in all of the news stories and op/ed pages decrying Barack Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to give an invocation at his inauguration.  When I read inane comments from pundits calling Warren a “radical” for not supporting gay marriage, I am tempted to react like a typical culture warrior.  It bothers me that there is obviously a movement underfoot to re-image American values as extremely liberal.  And if we look at recent history in Europe, the writing is probably on the wall that the transformation will eventually be successful.

But I truly believe this is not a battle for Christians to engage in.  The vocal liberals and “new atheists” are doing their best to provoke us into a war of words.  They want us to feel attacked and focus our energies on an emotional battle.  Momentum is on their side to gain the sympathy of the majority and they feel the time is now to break down what we would call “American values” and turn them on their heads.  But it is not time to fight.  It is time to abandon the fight for power and get back to the work that Jesus has called us to.

For so many years American Christians have lived under an illusion that our country is a Christian nation.  That we have some kind of favored status with God because our founding fathers believed in Him and Christianity has been the faith claimed by the majority of Americans.  In basking in this false security, we have become lazy and lost our passion for the Gospel.  We’ve replaced it with passion for self-righteousness and morality.

The Church in America is terrified right now.  It’s worried about losing clout.  It’s worried about kids leaving the church.  It’s worried about declining morality.  And in some circles that fear has led it to give up and wait for some kind of impending rapture so it can enjoy heaven while its neighbors finally see that it was right all along.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)

There is no reason for us to fear.  What we are really seeing is the reality that our illusion of a “Christian” America has blinded us to for so many years.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. (Romans 8: 5-8)

For so long we’ve lived in an environment where everyone went to church on Sunday and kept up external appearances of righteousness.  Meanwhile, all sorts of atrocities have continued to be committed in our country because while we held public behavior in check, America as a whole has always been hostile to God and unable to please him.  Is that a defect of the U.S.A.?  No, it’s the human condition.  It’s the reason we need the Gospel.

And it’s the reason that, rather than a call to arms, the current state of our country is a call back to the Gospel.  Back to our first love.  Back to loving our neighbors as Christ loves them.  Back to being the Church.  Back to rejoicing in all circumstances.  Back to repenting of our lust for power.  Back to making it our ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind our own business and work with our hands so that our daily life may win the respect of others (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).  Back to Jesus.



December 14, 2008

Stuff

Filed under: America — kcillini77 @ 8:54 am
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I know I’ve been remiss in posting, and I’m not putting much work into this one either.  But I came across this column in my newspaper on a flight last week and thought it was a great analysis of the American disease we all have in some form or another.

November 9, 2008

It’s time to stop shouting and start listening.

Filed under: Abortion,America,Christianity — kcillini77 @ 6:23 pm
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Based on some conversations I had with a couple people who read my last post, I thought it would be appropriate to make some clarification on my stance regarding voting for pro-life candidates.

My last post could very well be construed as saying that it was not worthwhile to vote for people with a pro-life stance and perhaps even as advocating the position of the pro-choice lobby.  That was not my intent at all.  And I’m not against overturning Roe.  I just think that we need to be working to get on base first before we start trying to hit the home run.  What I do think is that we need to hold pro-life candidates accountable for making small steps where they can to hold off the extremist views held by some of the pro-choice lobby.  The loophole surrounding the “health of the mother” in the third trimester needs to be beefed up.  We cannot have people like George Tiller in Kansas having people travel from out of state for third trimester abortions because he is willing to claim every woman that visits him is in grave danger of dying if their baby is not terminated.  So we should be pushing candidates to introduce legislation requiring some sort of ongoing accountability and scrutiny on those doctors performing third trimester abortions to make sure that it is only done when there is no other way to keep from the mother being harmed (which will make these abortions MUCH rarer).  Any legislation that has a chance of making abortion rarer should be examined and pursued if logical and enforceable, so long as it does not go to the other extreme (I wouldn’t support anything that involves punishing mothers who had an abortion.)

My main point regarding the focus of the pro-life lobby is that, while the overturning of Roe v. Wade may be attainable in our lifetime, it should not be the goal we focus all of our efforts on.  If by some means that were to be achieved right now, it would be by the slimmest of margins in terms of public opinion.  Granted, right and wrong are not determined by opinion polls.  But we live in a democracy, not a theocracy or a dictatorship.  The only way we will truly as a country come together and end abortion is to come to a place where the vast majority of Americans agree on when life begins.  If we can agree on that, we will agree that abortion of a life is murder.  We won’t come to this place simply by forcing a law into place.

We have to get there by changing hearts and minds.  We won’t do that by shouting.  We have to stop demonizing those who hold a pro-choice position.  We seem to currently be at a place where we think we know what the other side is, we find it reprehensible, and we’ve stopped listening.

But there’s hope.  I encourage you to read this opinion piece that I read in the KC Star yesterday. The author holds a pro-choice view.  Even after reading it, you may not quite understand how she can hold the position, but you will notice some concessions.  To quote from the article, “Medical advances continually push back the date of viability. I acknowledge that my position is difficult and dicey.”

Lots has been learned scientifically since Roe, and it leans very favorably toward the view that life begins at conception.  Even pro-choice advocates are starting to realize that.  If we do away with the “us vs. them” mentality and start listening, I believe we can start making headway to reduce the number of abortions in this country significantly. But the longer we stick to demonizing pro-choicers and going for the home run of overturning Roe v. Wade, we keep the conversation from occuring.  We need to listen.  We need to love.  We need to do our part in small ways and stop thinking that the answer is purely in getting a court decision reversed.

November 6, 2008

God is fiercely Pro-Choice and fiercely Pro-Life

prolifeantiobama

Never fear.  There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it.  Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.  No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  Those who seek find.  Tho those who knock it is opened.  -C.S. Lewis, “The Great Divorce

One of the principle tenets of our theology is free will.  God steadfastly refuses to use his omnipotence to make His creation follow him.  If there is no choice, there is no love.  Conversely, it also means that humans are capable of great evil and our history has borne that out.  But despite the atrocities committed over the centuries, God remains fiercely committed to allowing us to choose good or evil.  And because we ALL choose evil, he sent His Son to shed His blood and cover that sin for those of us that seek Him.

Knowing this nature of God, I think the doom and gloom I hear from many conservative Christians due to the election of a staunchly, even activist, “pro-choice” candidate is misplaced.  No, I’m not saying Barack=God.  Hear me out.

Life begins at conception.  Intentionally aborting after conception is killing a human.  It’s murder.  It’s a horrible choice to make and the numbers of abortions performed annually amount to genocide.  I know.  And I understand the one-issue voter who will only vote for candidates that support an overturning of Roe v. Wade are sincerely trying to save countless lives.  But before we proclaim a curse upon the land for voting in someone who has vowed to sign the Freedom of Choice Act and start devoting lots of time and energy to finding and grooming new, attractive, pro-life candidates, we should ask ourselves a huge question.  Are our political activities in response to the scourge of abortion what God wants from us, or is he calling for us to refocus our efforts?

Ever since I was a child the majority of campaigns I have seen coming out of churches in an effort to save lives lost to abortion have focused on either protest or election of certain candidates.  These efforts have been going on for many, many, years.  We have elected countless pro-life candidates.  Abortion continues at an alarming rate.  Most people who point this fact out are told something along the lines of, “Yes, but the key is that the President nominates Supreme Court justices.”  The hope is that there will some day be enough justices on the bench to hear a case and overturn Roe v. Wade, declaring abortion illegal.  That would be considered the ultimate victory to most pro-lifers.    When the pro-choice lobby raises hypothetical scenarios about an overturning of Roe v. Wade involving back-alley abortions, millions of kids on welfare, suicides by potential mothers, etc. they are generally dismissed by pro-lifers as rhetoric.  But in the absence of changed hearts they are very real situations that will need to be dealt with in a post-Roe U.S.  Do we have a thought-out practical answer to how to deal with them?  And what will be the legal consequence of having an illegal abortion?  Rather than treating a scared teenage mom who made a bad decision with compassion and grace, will we throw her in the slammer to punish her further?

My wife volunteers time at a pregnancy center that I think models what our response to abortion should be.  It’s a place where women are educated about what is growing inside them and how valuable that baby is.  It’s a place where they are loved and encouraged to carry the baby to term.  They are mentored and supported on an individual basis according to their needs both before and after the birth of their child.  Low-income mothers are helped with obtaining the things they need to care for their child, or helped with the process of adoption should they choose that.  And women who have had abortions are greeted with open arms and grace.

What if all of the people who vote pro-life as a rule and mourn the deaths of innocent children volunteered for organizations such as this, started new ones, and made it such that there was one in every small town and dozens in every large community?  I think a massive movement of genuine care, love, grace, and monetary support for women and children would do FAR more to lead toward the eradication of abortion than an overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

Choice is not the enemy.  God allows us to choose all sorts of evil, even murder.  Without choice we cannot love.  So those of us who are pro-life should adamantly and proactively choose to love.  We don’t show our love by protests and voting.  We do it by, well, loving.


James 1:27 in action

Filed under: America,Christianity — kcillini77 @ 6:14 pm
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In the middle of all the politically based letters to the editor in today’s Kansas City Star, I also found this:

I’m an 81-year-old widow. On a recent Saturday I shopped at Target. At the checkout counter I reached into my purse to get my credit card. It was gone, and so was my checkbook. I told the cashier, “This is not going to ruin my day!” She put my three bags aside until I came back with the payment.

As I was getting into my car, a woman called to me: “Here are your groceries.” Assuming she had been behind me at the checkout and thought I had forgotten them, I said, “Thank you, but I have not paid for them.” She replied. “I did.”

I asked for her name, but she refused. I called after her, “God bless you,” and drove home with tears in my eyes.

That incident was a jolt. It happened for a reason. I’m waiting with trembles for God to point out what my payback opportunity will be.

P.S. I found my credit card and bank book where I left them.

Gayle Spellman
Lenexa


November 2, 2008

Jamey Johnson – In Color

Filed under: Music — kcillini77 @ 8:21 am
Tags: ,

For some reason, the artist requested embedding be disabled for this video, which is why it wasn’t working in my previous post.  So just follow this link to the youtube video.

I really like this song because of its reminder that our elders are people we should be listening to and learning from, because they have been through life “in color”.

October 26, 2008

How You Know Your Dedication to Craft Beer Has Gone Too Far

Filed under: Beer — kcillini77 @ 10:55 pm
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Hopefully this guy’s at least getting some advertising dollars.

Sara Groves – I Saw What I Saw

Filed under: Music — kcillini77 @ 8:24 am
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October 25, 2008

Where’s My Bailout?

Filed under: Home,Money — kcillini77 @ 8:21 am
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So my 401k has dropped about 50% of its value over the last couple of months.  Big deal.  The only reason it was as high as it was is that I started out buying stocks in 2001 after the last crash.  As far as I’m concerned, this is just another opportunity to increase our investments and buy stocks while they are cheap.

But there is one thing that keeps bugging me amid all of this talk of rescues and bailing out irresponsible homebuyers.  How about rewarding the responsible homebuyers in some way?  Specifically, cancel my PMI.  Let me explain.

During the housing boom, many people were buying and flipping houses with regularity in an effort to move up the social ladder.  This was a common scenario:  Joe the plumber takes $5,000 and buys a $100,000 house with a 95% loan and mortgage insurance.  As house prices were escalating, he could hold the house for a couple of years, sell it for $125,000, and have $30,000 to buy his next house.  Now he had a 20% down payment for a $150,000 house.  He held that house for a couple of years, sold for $175,000 and moved on up the ladder to a  $275,000 house with his $55,000 down payment.  Problem is, as Joe moved up the social ladder, his income was not increasing enough to keep up with traditional 30 year fixed payments on these houses.  But lenders were more than willing to give him loans with baloon payments or even interest only loans so that he could afford the monthly payments and gamble on the house value going up.  So now, Joe’s time of reckoning has come, his house value hasn’t gone up, and he can’t afford his monthly payments.  The government is talking about bailing him out because of the lender’s willingness to make risky loans to him.  Whatever.  Meanwhile, because he had 20% up front for his latest purchase that he had accumulated during the boom, he wasn’t considered “risky” enough to need mortgage insurance.  However, he was one of the most risky homebuyers out there.

In contrast, when my wife and I bought our home, we did not have a 20% down payment either.  We borrowed 95% of the value of the house and agreed to pay mortgage insurance.  However, our motives were different.  We were not looking to climb the social ladder.  We intended to stay in our home for as long as our family could fit in it.  If we ever did move it would be for logistics as our family grew or a lateral move to a similarly priced house that was closer to work or fit our circumstances better.  We hoped home values would continue to rise, but not so we could get into a bigger house.  The minute houses in our neighborhood started to sell for 15-20% higher than our purchase price, we hoped to get a new appraisal for the express purpose of cancelling our mortgage insurance.  Then we would continue paying that $100 per month in order to directly pay down the equity and get out of debt faster.

Needless to say, the actions of all the Joes out there have made it such that our house value has not risen and we are looking at continuing to throw away $1200 per year on insurance designed to protect the lender from “risky” borrowers such as us.

I’m not asking for much.  Just for the government and the lenders to look a lot more closely at who the risks are.

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