Category Archives: Current Events

My one evening with John McDonnell

John McDonnell, former University of Arkansas cross country and track and field coach, center, and his wife, Ellen, smile as a cover is removed from a statue in his honor during a ceremony Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, at John McDonnell Field on the university campus in Fayetteville. A plaza honoring past athletes and championships was also dedicated during the ceremony.

Back in 2011 my son Wilson and I were in a big crowd in front of Razorback Stadium and we bought 2 tickets on the fifty yard line for the Razorbacks’ game with Tennessee and much to our surprise we found ourselves sitting next to John McDonnell and his son Sean during the game. They were very kind and enjoyed visiting with them briefly during the game but although we knew it was a great honor we did not want to monopolize their time and let them enjoy their father and son time like we were enjoying ours. And there was a special treat in store when we had a perfect front row seat (about 30 rows up approximately) to see one of the all time great punt returns from Joe Adams!!!

UA vs Tennessee football Arkansas punt returner Joe Adams breaks free from the Tennessee coverage on a punt return for a touchdown during the first quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011.

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley looks at the point after attempt that put Arkansas ahead 49-7 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011 //

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams runs back a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011.  (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams runs back a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks tackles to return a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks tackles to return a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks past Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph  to return a punt for a touchdown at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks past Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph to return a punt for a touchdown at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS

In Harry King’s article on Saturday I read this:

“We’re just struggling right now on offense, and I don’t know any other way to say it,” said Tennessee coach Derek Dooley.

That was demonstrated best by Joe Adams’ punt return on Saturday.

My son Wilson and I had the same reaction to Joe Adams’ punt return. We were seating at the 40 yard line on the side of the field that ran down and when he received the ball at the 45 yard line and ran back to the 30 we were yelling “No, no, no,” but that quickly changed to “Go Joe, Go Joe” when he passed the 50 and ran by us.

Here is an article from the Tennessee perspective:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. —Derek Dooley couldn’t find anything wrong with the coverage.

The punt itself might have left a little to be desired, but the Tennessee coach watched his special teams close down the space on the returner and put itself in exactly the kind of position he would have drawn up.

“It was great,” Dooley said.

Everything that happened after came up well short of that evaluation, with Joe Adams shaking off a handful of tacklers, juking past others and then cruising into the end zone with a huge momentum-swinging touchdown that sent No. 8 Arkansas on its way to a 49-7 win against the overmatched Vols on Saturday night at Razorback Stadium.

“We should have had him for minus-10 (yards),” Dooley said. “We had five guys there, we’ve got to finish it.

“We missed a lot of opportunities, there were a ton of missed tackles in space. On the punt return we had about five guys right there and we’ve got to finish them off.”

The Vols (4-6, 0-6 SEC) couldn’t find a way to do it despite getting several sets of hands on Adams, and a couple others just simply whiffed on him during his winding, 60-yard road to a score.

That future staple on the highlight reel for the Razorbacks (9-1, 5-1) only gave them a 14-point lead, and UT had plenty of chances to close the margin and climb back into the game. But the Vols couldn’t overcome their other errors on special teams, from a botched fake on a field goal to a shanked 12-yard punt, which only compounded the issues they were having on offense and defense.

“I mean, we had a lot of missed tackles on that, obviously,” senior linebacker Austin Johnson said. “It was huge for them, it was a huge momentum swing for them because we were still in the game.

“I think it deflated us and we just have to make sure that when those kinds of things happen we have to stay up.”

John McDonnell, famed Arkansas men’s track coach, dies at 82

Associated Press2 Minute Read

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — John McDonnell, the track and field coach who set a gold standard for excellence at Arkansas during his 36 years at the school, has died. He was 82.

He died Monday night, according to a family statement released by the university. A cause was not given.

McDonnell’s men’s teams produced 40 NCAA championships at Arkansas. Under him, the Razorbacks were a perennial power in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. His teams won six national triple crowns, 12 consecutive NCAA indoor titles from 1984-95 and 83 conference titles.

Athletic director Hunter Yurachek called him “quite simply the greatest collegiate coach in the history of intercollegiate athletics” and someone who made an “indelible impact on the hundreds of young men who had the privilege to compete for him.”

John McDonnell won 40 NCAA championships as Arkansas’ men’s track and field coach.AP Photo/April L. Brown, File

From 1984 to 2000, at least one of his three teams captured a national championship. Of his 40 NCAA titles, 19 came during the indoor season, 11 in cross country and 10 during the outdoor season. McDonnell was the national coach of the year 30 times. He took conference coaching honors 49 times.

The Razorbacks, with McDonnell as coach, joined the UTEP men’s team as the only program to claim a triple crown of titles, and then surpassed the Miners with a total of six.

His teams ruled the Southwest Conference and, beginning in 1991, the Southeastern Conference. The Razorbacks won 83 titles (37 SWC, 46 SEC), which included 34 consecutive championships in cross country, 27 from indoor and 22 outdoor.

McDonnell, born in County Mayo, Ireland, was a six-time All-American in cross country and track and field at Southwestern Louisiana. He became head cross country coach of the Razorbacks and then head track and field coach in 1977-78.

McDonnell is in numerous halls of fame, and Arkansas’ 7,000-seat outdoor facility is named in his honor.

He is survived by his wife, Ellen; son Sean; daughter Heather; sisters Philomena Pena, Mary McDonnell and Margaret Carr; and two grandchildren.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31591385/john-mcdonnell-famed-arkansas-track-coach-dies-82%3fplatform=amp

____________________________

I am an evangelical Christian and I have had the opportunity to visit with several atheists over the years. 

On August 7, 2014 I was able to meet another signer of the Humanist Manifesto II, and I must say it we had a delightful time.  I got to visit with Jim and Betty Grace  McCollum, and I gave them a tour of Little Rock Broom Works and how we make brooms and mops. Jim said he really enjoyed visiting manufacturing plants and learning how products were made. As you see below Jim is wearing a Southern Arkansas University shirt where he furthering his education. After living in Rochester, New York for 34 years and practicing law, he moved to Arkansas in 1994. They have been living in Emerson, Arkansas ever since. Below you can see pictured from left to right: Betty Grace and Jim McCollum, Everette Hatcher, and Wilson Hatcher.

Embedded image permalink

 Jim’s mother was  Vashti McCollum, a housewife who later became president of the American Humanist Association. Her U.S. Supreme Court victory in McCollum v. Board of Education established that American public schools must be religiously neutral. I mentioned to Jim that I have visited with Lester Mondale at his cabin in Missouri and he pointed out that Lester was the only living signer of Humanist Manifesto I until his death several years ago.

Tennessee defensive back Izauea Lanier is unable to stop Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright from scoring at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011.  (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Tennessee defensive back Izauea Lanier is unable to stop Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright from scoring at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

____________________

77th D-Day anniversary serves as a reminder of American greatness

________

Saving Private Ryan D-Day Scene

77th D-Day anniversary serves as a reminder of American greatness

Those who made ultimate sacrifice paid for freedoms we enjoy, memorial president says

This Sunday marks the 77th anniversary of D-Day, a pivotal moment in World War II, when thousands of American, British and Canadian soldiers selflessly stormed the beaches of Normandy to help liberate Europe from the grip of the German-led Axis forces.

To discuss the importance of the anniversary, April Cheek-Messier, president of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, sat down with Fox News to talk about D-Day and the lessons the events of June 6, 1944, can teach all Americans.

MEMORIAL DAY: THE MEANING AND HISTORY OF THE HOLIDAY

“This memorial pays tribute to all of our, truly our D-Day veterans, our World War II veterans, to any veteran, I think, who served our country, this memorial is a powerful reminder of service and sacrifice,” said Cheek-Messier, who counts several family members among those who served during World War II. “But what’s really important is that we pass on those lessons to the next generation. That’s really what our veterans want to make sure is happening.”

The National D-Day Memorial, which opened in 2001 and was dedicated by President George W. Bush that same year, has never received any federal or state funding. Instead, Cheek-Messier says, the memorial was the result of a grassroots effort led by those who were there on June 6 to honor their fallen comrades.

“[The memorial] truly was a grassroots effort among veterans to start a national monument to recognize those who served, and those who sacrificed on June 6, 1944,” Cheek-Messier said.

Nearly eight decades after the battle, Cheek-Messier says it’s hard to know how many D-Day veterans remain but they likely only numbers in the hundreds.

“If you think about the fact that there are 16 million who served during World War II, there are only around 325,000 World War II veterans still living today, and of that a very small percentage would be D-Day veterans, and we don’t know the exact number, but you can imagine they would probably only be in a few hundred,” said Cheek-Messier.

Cheek-Messier says the COVID pandemic has hit the D-Day veteran community especially hard.

“It’s been pretty devastating,” she said. “We lost many of them. Many out of just, I think, not being able to see their loved ones and things like that. COVID certainly had an impact in many ways.”

Despite the pain brought on by the COVID pandemic over the last year, and the deep cultural and political divisions among many Americans today, Cheek-Messier believes that D-Day and the memorial can again show Americans what the country can be when it unites.

“I think when people walk around the memorial you get a real sense of that, it’s a good feeling. It’s a good feeling of what we can do as a nation, what we can do as a people when we come together,” said Cheek-Messier.

Unlike during World War II, when nearly everyone knew someone serving the American cause, Cheek-Messier says many aren’t aware of the sacrifices made by veterans and their families. “We’ve kind of lost touch a little bit, I think, with our military and the sacrifices that not only our military men and women make, but their families.”

Cheek-Messier noted that Americans should never forget that the freedoms enjoyed by all citizens today came at the expense of those who served before them, including the thousands who perished 77 years ago defending American ideals along the French shoreline.

“We are here and free today to say the things we want and do the things we want because so many have given the ultimate sacrifice, and I don’t think that we should ever forget that.”

Saving Private Ryan opening cemetery scene

HD – Saving Private Ryan – Death of Captain John H. Miller and Final Speech

The Good Life

by Chuck Colson

Learn More | Meet Chuck Colson

An old man walks down a wide path through a colonnade of evergreens. He has a full head of gray hair, combed from a wavy peak to one side. His eyebrows spike with a grandfatherly flourish toward his temples. He wears a light blue Windbreaker over a golf shirt with a horizontal stripe, Sansabelt slacks, and the crepe-soled shoes his doctor recommended. His gait is quick but stiff – stiff like someone who has just gotten himself up. He marches forward with great intent and purpose, as if he’s hunting out something or someone.Behind him trail his family. His wife is closest, his son and daughter-in- law a step or two farther behind, bracketing their children.

The man’s eyes show that for the moment he’s not thinking of his family, although he seems to be dragging them in his wake. His eyes are at once wide-open yet fixed, poached by what can only be dread. His mouth works in a way that shows his stomach is in his throat. Off to the left his family can see the curve of a long shore, hear the soughing of the waves, and nearly breathe in the scent of the brine. But the man looks neither to his right nor to his left. He keeps stumbling forward, his body tense yet determined.

When he finally turns to his right, he steps onto a vast lawn striped with thousands of white crosses that extend toward the horizon. Here and there a Jewish star adds to the procession of markers that contrast starkly against the green sward. The old man’s pace speeds as he makes his way through this vast cemetery. His family struggles to keep up.

James Ryan’s determined march finally halts in front of a particular cross. The rims of his eyes show red. He wipes at them with a shaking hand, sniffs hard, tries again to breathe. Here it is, his captain’s cross, the name, the date: Captain John W. Miller, June 13, 1944.

He takes another sniff against his watering eyes, bites his lip. He’s almost choking as he struggles to breathe in the heavy air. His knees give way, and he kneels before the cross, his shoulders heaving. His wife is suddenly at one shoulder, his son at the other. He’s glad they are there, but they cannot help with what needs to be done.

He mumbles that he’s all right, and they retreat several steps, leaving him to the thoughts that press so hard he can’t bear the weight.

Not until this moment does he realize that what he has been looking forward to yet dreading is a transaction. An exchange of some kind. For him this visit to the Normandy American Cemetery is no sightseeing tour. It’s a profound action. Even now he cannot say why he believes this to be the case. The emotion that’s seized him declares it to be so, however.

Whatever must happen involves the question that’s dogged him his whole life. The unspoken question that’s brought him here. He feels its presence in every memory, and not only the good ones.

Now that he’s looking at his captain’s grave, Ryan has to ask the question.

Decades earlier, on June 6, 1944, Captain Miller and his men had landed at Omaha Beach, a horror James Ryan had been spared as part of the 101st Airborne. His unit had been dropped into Normandy the night before the sea assault. He later learned from the tales of his buddies and from seeing newsreel footage what D-day had been like. Although Germany had not been expecting the assault at the place Eisenhower chose, the air assault hadn’t softened their positions one whit, and when the armored front of the Higgins boats opened onto the beach, the men were ducks on a pond to the enemy’s machine guns. Many of those sitting forward in the landing craft never had a chance to move from their seats as the Germans opened fire. Those who jumped over the craft’s sides to swim and crawl ashore could only cling to the Belgian gates and iron hedgehogs – the jack-shaped defensive works strewn in rows all along the shingle that prevented tanks from making the initial assault.

The army rangers humped forward in waves, men falling to the right and left every few feet. They were getting hit not only by machinegun fire but by artillery as well. Bodies flew with the explosions. The wounded picked up their severed arms and stumbled a few more feet to their deaths. The waves washing onto the beaches ran red with blood, lapping at the dead, who lay scattered and senseless.

Captain Miller and a few of his company made it to the seawall. Although 50 percent of the men in the first waves to hit Omaha Beach were killed in action, the others broke the first line of German defenses.

Soon after the hell of D-Day, Captain Miller and a squad of seven men were assigned to find paratrooper James Ryan and bring him home – alive. The army’s chief of staff, General George C. Marshall, had personally issued the order for Private James Ryan to be taken out of the war. Ryan’s two older brothers had died in the great assault, and a third brother had been killed in action in New Guinea. Marshall thought that three sons were enough for any mother to contribute to the war.

Captain Miller and his squad found Ryan with remnants of the 506, Baker Company, which had orders to secure a bridge on the far side of a river. The company had been ordered to hold the bridge at all costs – or, as a final defense, to blow it up. When Captain Miller and his squad arrived to take Ryan home, Ryan refused to leave. Miller asked him what he was supposed to say to Ryan’s mother when she got another folded American flag. Ryan replied, “You can tell her that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left. And that there was no way I was deserting them. I think she’d understand that.”

Captain Miller and his squad told Ryan angrily that they had already lost two men in the search to find him. Miller finally decided that they’d make Ryan’s battle their own as well and save him in the process.

The Germans soon came at them – nearly a full company of men, two Panzer tanks, two Tigers. The Americans lured the Panzers down the village’s main street, where they staged an effective ambush. The only thing Ryan had been allowed to do was pitch mortar shells like hand grenades. Captain Miller never let Ryan leave his side, protecting the private every step of the way.

Still, one tank blew their sharpshooter to eternity. Another soldier died in hand-to-hand combat with a knife to his heart. No matter their ingenuity, the squad couldn’t hold off such an overpowering force, and the men made a strategic retreat to the other side of the bridge. In the retreat one of the sergeants was hit and collapsed.

Captain Miller took a shot beneath his ribs as he struggled to fix the wiring on a detonation device. Then an artillery blast knocked him nearly unconscious. All hope lost, Captain Miller began shooting at a tank coming straight at him.

Suddenly, Tankbuster aircraft shrieked down on them, blowing the enemy’s tanks to smithereens and routing their foot soldiers. The Allies’ own armored reinforcements rolled up minutes later.

Of the squad that had come to save Ryan, only two men escaped relatively unscathed. The others were dead or dying.

Captain Miller lay close by where he had been hit, his back slumped against the bridge’s wall. Ryan, in anguish, was alone with his rescuer in the final moments before Miller died. Ryan watched as the captain struggled in his last moments, shot clean through one lung. The captain wouldn’t take another breath, except to grunt, “James. Earn this . . . earn it.”

Were these dying words a final order or charge?

These memories rivet the aged James Ryan, who now finds himself staring at the grave marker and mumbling to his dead commander. He tells Captain Miller that his family is with him. He confesses that he wasn’t sure how he would feel about coming to the cemetery today. He wants Captain Miller to know that every day of his life he’s thought of their conversation at the bridge, of Miller’s dying words. Ryan has tried to live a good life, and he hopes he has. At least in the captain’s eyes, he hopes he’s “earned it,” that his life has been worthy of the sacrifice Captain Miller and the other men made of giving their lives for his.

As Ryan mutters these thoughts, he cannot help wondering how any life, however well lived, could be worthy of his friends’ sacrifice. The old man stands up, but he doesn’t feel released. The question remains unanswered.

His wife comes to his side again. He looks at her and pleads, “Tell me I’ve led a good life.”

Confused by his request, she responds with a question: “What?”

He has to know the answer. He tries to articulate it again: “Tell me I’m a good man.”

The request flusters her, but his earnestness makes her think better of putting it off. With great dignity, she says, “You are.”

His wife turns back to the other family members, whose stirring says they are ready to leave.

Before James Ryan joins them, he comes to attention and salutes his fallen comrade. What a gallant old soldier he is.

Who of us can see this scene from Steven Spielberg’s magnificent film Saving Private Ryan and not ask ourselves the same question: Have I lived a good life?

Does there exist an exact way of calculating the answer to this question? How do we define living a good life? What makes the good we do good enough? Is our life worthy of the sacrifice of others? The unavoidable question of whether we have lived a good life searches our hearts.

Not everyone experiences what Ryan did in such a dramatic way. Yet this question of the good life – and others like it – haunts every human being from the earliest years of our consciousness. Something stirs us at the very core of our being, demanding answers to so many questions: Is there some purpose in life? Are we alone in this universe, or does some force – call it fate, destiny, or providence – guide our lives?

These questions don’t often occur to us so neatly of course. Usually the hardest questions hit us at the hardest times. In the midst of tragedy or serious illness, when confronting violence and injustice, or after seeing our personal hopes shattered, we cry out, “Why is the world such a mess? Is there anything I can do about it?”

There’s a mystery at work in these perennial questions of human existence. I doubt anyone who has ever seen Saving Private Ryan or read great works of literature like Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov or Camus’s The Plague has ever doubted the relevance of such questions. Neither does anyone who has ever marveled at the beauty of the Milky Way or sat weeping at the bedside of a dying loved one.

What distinguishes humans from all other creatures is our selfconsciousness: We know we are alive and that we will die, and we cannot keep from asking ourselves questions about why life is the way it is and what it all means.

And isn’t it odd that we all understand immediately why Private Ryan would feel compelled to live an honorable life? Does he believe that in doing so he can make his comrades’ sacrifice worthwhile? Evidently, he does, and we sense the rightness of this. But why does he feel in their debt? Why does he feel that their actions have to be recompensed by his own, as if blind justice with a sword in one hand and balancing scales in the other really existed? And why should goodness be the means of repaying this debt? Why not revenge? Why should he not set about killing as many former Nazis as possible? Somehow that does not satisfy, though. If sacrifice can be repaid at all, it can be done only by sacrifice, not by slaughter. We know this. But why do we know this?

A broad answer lies in our humanity. Because we are human, we ask questions about meaning and purpose. We have an innate sense of justice and our own need to meet the demands of justice. Moral attitudes differ from culture to culture, but take people from a Stone Age culture in a remote village in Papua New Guinea, sit them down in front of Saving Private Ryan, and they will immediately understand the issues involved. They will understand Ryan’s questions and his sense of gratitude.

The word should in the questions that arise from Private Ryan’s life immediately grounds us in ethical considerations. It implies there must be a variety of answers to these questions. It suggests that some answers are better than others – some are right while others are wrong. So, where does this should come from? What does it mean that we possess an innate sense of these things?

At the very least it points to the notion that we all live in a moral universe, which is one of the reasons human beings, regardless of background or economics or place of birth, are irresistibly religious. If nothing else, we know there is someone or something to which we owe a debt for our existence.

Our questions also presume that we can choose our answers to these questions and act on these choices. The freedom of the human will, even if circumscribed, is built into the way the human mind works.

Commenting on life’s questions, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, in the case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Kennedy asserted that beliefs about these matters define the attributes of personhood. We are who we are, we are the type of creatures we are, because we are obliged to come to our own conclusions about the great questions. Although I disagree profoundly with the legal conclusion Justice Kennedy drew from this observation, I must admit his summary captures what makes us human.3

I can remember when I first began asking questions early in life. I have particularly vivid memories of the Sunday morning in December 1941 when our family was riveted to the radio, listening with growing anxiety to the reports of the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor. I was certain we’d be fighting Japanese soldiers or German SS officers in the streets of our sleepy Boston suburb. I remember asking my father, “Why does there have to be war and bloodshed and death?” He replied – mistakenly, as I now think – that it was all part of the natural process, like famines and plagues that prevented overpopulation.

During the war, I organized fund-raising campaigns in my school, even auctioned off my treasured model airplane collection to raise funds for the war effort. Instinctively I knew I was meant to do my part to protect our freedoms. I wanted my life – even at age twelve – to matter.

I also remember standing in our yard many nights, the world around me in darkness, blackout shades covering every window in the neighborhood, protecting us against the expected air raids. I would stare into the dazzling array of stars above me and wonder where the universe began, where it ended, and what I was doing here. As a student, I struggled to grasp the concept of infinity – what was beyond those stars.

I’ve continued to ask these kinds of questions, especially during times of stress. I’ve asked them in my life as a government official, as a husband and father, as a convicted felon, and then as a Christian leader. Many times in the inner recesses of my conscience I’ve asked Ryan’s questions: Have I been a good man? Have I lived a good life? Sometimes I’ve been unsure; other times I’ve been sure that I have failed. But where do we go to answer these questions? Whom do we ask? Who can tell us the truth about the value of our lives?

While the quest to find answers to such questions can be arduous at times, even heartbreaking, the search for the truth about life is the one thing that makes life worthwhile, exhilarating. The ability to pursue such a search makes us human. Emmanuel Mounier, the founder of the French “personalist” philosophical movement, writes that human life is characterized by a “divine restlessness.” The lack of peace within our hearts spurs us on a quest for the meaning of life – a command imprinted on “unextinguished souls.”4 Pope John Paul II sums up the matter elegantly: “One may define the human being, therefore, as the one who seeks the truth.”5

What will be the truth of our lives and our destinies? Most people want to arrive at Captain Miller’s cemetery cross – or whatever judgment seat they envision – with some confidence that they have lived a good life.

But what is a good life? How does such a life incorporate answers to the great questions? How can such a life be lived?

Have I lived one?

Have you?

(This scene includes violence and bad language) Saving Private Ryan Omaha Beach

________

B.J.Thomas Christian Testimony (passed away today May 29, 2021 at age 78)

B.J. Thomas – Home Where I Belong ( 1976 )

______________

B. J. Thomas: Hooked on a Feeling (James, 1968) – Lyrics

B.J. Thomas – Testimony (1980)

B.J. Thomas – Softly and Tenderly (1982)

B.J. Thomas and Dusty Springfield – As Long As We Got Each Other (Theme …

B. J. Thomas 1942-2021 “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”

B.J. Thomas, ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’ singer, dies at age 78

<img class=”i-amphtml-blurry-placeholder” src=”data:;base64,The singer died Saturday in his Arlington, Texas, home, his publicist said.

(CNN)B.J. Thomas, whose smooth voice made him a country and pop crossover success, died Saturday of complications from lung cancer, his publicist said. He was 78.

Thomas first came to prominence with a cover of the Hank Williams standard “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” spending 13 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. Two years later, he broke into the Top 5 with “Hooked on a Feeling,” a song written by his childhood friend, Mark James.

A movie soundtrack propelled Thomas to superstardom in 1970. He was chosen to perform the Burt Bacharach and Hal David number “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” for the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” punctuating a memorable scene in which Paul Newman and Katharine Ross ride a bicycle together. It was Thomas’ first No. 1 hit.

<img class=”i-amphtml-blurry-placeholder” src=”data:;base64,Thomas performs in Los Angeles in January 2015.Thomas performs in Los Angeles in January 2015.

Despite continued chart success, Thomas fell into a spiral of substance abuse, which he ended after becoming a born-again Christian in 1976. That life change also prompted a transition into gospel music, and he won a Dove Award for his album “Home Where I Belong.” All five of his Grammy wins were for religious-themed songs.

Thomas had multiple hits on the country charts in the 1980s and is also remembered for singing the theme from the sitcom “Growing Pains” (with Jennifer Warnes), which debuted in 1985.

“This is devastating news,” tweeted Joe Bonsall of the country and gospel group The Oak Ridge Boys. “I so loved and respected this man.”

Thomas announced in March that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The Oklahoma native died at his home in Arlington, Texas, his publicist said in a statement.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Gloria, and three daughters.

CNN’s Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.

Related posts:

Christian music from the 1970′s and 80′s

Keith Green – Asleep In The Light (live) Uploaded on May 25, 2008 Keith Green performing “Asleep In The Light” live from Estes Park ’78 Russ Taff – Praise The Lord 1983 (Live)   For Those Tears I Died – Children of the Day Uploaded on Apr 22, 2007 Children of the Day singing For […]

My favorite Christian music artist of all time is Keith Green.

My favorite Christian music artist of all time is Keith Green. Sunday, May 5, 2013 You Are Celled To Go – Keith Green Keith Green – (talks about) Jesus Commands Us To Go! (live) Uploaded on May 26, 2008 Keith Green talks about “Jesus Commands Us To Go!” live at Jesus West Coast ’82 You can find […]

Amy Grant

AMY GRANT tekstovi 800 x 533 | 127KB | tekstovi-pesama.com Michael W. Smith & Amy Grant – El Shaddai – (Live) Uploaded on Feb 15, 2011 MICHAEL W. SMITH with AMY GRANT – EL SHADDAI – (LIVE) — From the album “LIVE IN CONCERT – A 20 YEAR CELEBRATION 2004″ — The View Chatting with Amy Grant in […]

Don Francisco

Don Francisco – He’s Alive Adam Where Are You w/ASl & Lyrics – Don Francisco Gotta Tell Somebody Don Francisco In South Africa – “Jehoshaphat” I Could Never Promise You w/ASL – Don Francisco Dolly Parton – He´s alive (Full song) I saw Don Francisco in concert in Memphis in the late 70′s with my good […]

Dallas Holm

RISE AGAIN – DALLAS HOLM Dallas Holm Harvest Interview 2008 Come unto Jesus   My friend David Rogers invited to a concert at First Assembly of God church in Memphis in the late 1970′s and we got to hear Dallas Holm sing and David Wilkerson speak. Here is some info on Dallas Holm from his website: […]

Petra

I saw Petra in concert in North Little Rock in the 1980′s. Here is the link for the bio. Classic Petra – 2011 – DVD Documentary Uploaded on Sep 17, 2011 The videos published here are for pure enjoyment, these videos are very inferior quality to the quality of the original DVD, please let us bless […]

Skillet is a Christian Heavy Metal Band from Memphis Part 1

Skillet – Monster (Video) Uploaded on Oct 2, 2009 © 2009 WMG Monster (Video) A good friend of our family told us back in the 1990′s that her cousin was part of a new group called Skillet and we had no idea that the group would grow into such a big national hit. The song […]

From Bill Clinton’s Autobiography: “Arafat’s rejection of my proposal after Barak accepted it was an error of historic proportions”

—-

We passed up Renaissance Weekend again that year so that our family could spend the last New Year’s at Camp David. I still hadn’t heard from Arafat. On New Year’s Day, I invited him to the White House the next day. Before he came, he received Prince Bandar and the Egyptian ambassador at his hotel. One of Arafat’s younger aides told us that they had pushed him hard to say yes. When Arafat came to see me, he asked a lot of questions about my proposal. He wanted Israel to have the Wailing Wall, because of its religious significance, but asserted that the remaining fifty feet of the Western Wall should go to the Palestinians. I told him he was wrong, that Israel should have the entire wall to protect itself from someone using one entrance of the tunnel that ran beneath the wall from damaging the remains of the temples beneath the Haram. The Old City has four quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian. It was assumed that Palestine would get the Muslim and Christian quarters, with Israel getting the other two. Arafat argued that he should have a few blocks of the Armenian quarter because of the Christian churches there. I couldn’t believe he was talking to me about this.
Arafat was also trying to wiggle out of giving up the right of return. He knew he had to but was afraid of the criticism he would get. I reminded him that Israel had promised to take some of the refugees from Lebanon whose families had lived in what was now northern Israel for hundreds of years, but that no Israeli leader would ever let in so many Palestinians that the Jewish character of the state could be threatened in a few decades by the higher Palestinian birthrate. There were not going to be two majority-Arab states in the Holy Land; Arafat had acknowledged that by signing the 1993 peace agreement with its implicit two-state solution. Besides, the agreement had to be approved by Israeli citizens in a referendum. The right of return was a deal breaker. I wouldn’t think of asking the Israelis to vote for it. On the other hand, I thought the Israelis would vote for a final settlement within the parameters I had laid out. If there was an agreement, I even thought Barak might be able to come back and win the election, though he was running well behind Sharon in the polls, in an electorate frightened by the intifada and angered by Arafat’s refusal to make peace.

At times Arafat seemed confused, not wholly in command of the facts. I had felt for some time that he might not be at the top of his game any longer, after all the years of spending the night in different places to dodge assassins’ bullets, all the countless hours on airplanes, all the endless hours of tension-filled talks. Perhaps he simply couldn’t make the final jump from revolutionary to statesman. He had grown used to flying from place to place, giving mother- of-pearl gifts made by Palestinian craftsmen to world leaders and appearing on television with them. It would be different if the end of violence took Palestine out of the headlines and instead he had to worry about providing jobs, schools, and basic services. Most of the young people on Arafat’s team wanted him to take the deal. I believe Abu Ala and Abu Mazen also would have agreed but didn’t want to be at odds with Arafat.
When he left, I still had no idea what Arafat was going to do. His body language said no, but the deal was so good I couldn’t believe anyone would be foolish enough to let it go. Barak wanted me to come to the region, but I wanted Arafat to say yes to the Israelis on the big issues embodied in my parameters first. In December the parties had met at Bolling Air Force Base for talks that didn’t succeed because Arafat wouldn’t accept the parameters that were hard for him.
Finally, Arafat agreed to see Shimon Peres on the thirteenth after Peres had first met with Saeb Erekat. Nothing came of it. As a back-stop, the Israelis tried to produce a letter with as much agreement on the parameters as possible, on the assumption that Barak would lose the election and at least both sides would be bound to a course that could lead to an agreement. Arafat wouldn’t even do that, because he didn’t want to be seen conceding anything. The parties continued their talks in Taba, Egypt. They got close, but did not succeed. Arafat never said no; he just couldn’t bring himself to say yes. Pride goeth before the fall.
Right before I left office, Arafat, in one of our last conversations, thanked me for all my efforts and told me what a great man I was. “Mr. Chairman,” I replied, “I am not a great man. I am a failure, and you have made me one.” I warned Arafat that he was single-handedly electing Sharon and that he would reap the whirlwind.
In February 2001, Ariel Sharon would be elected prime minister in a landslide. The Israelis had decided that if Arafat wouldn’t take my offer he wouldn’t take anything, and that if they had no partner for peace, it was better to be led by the most aggressive, intransigent leader available. Sharon would take a hard line toward Arafat and would be supported in doing so by Ehud Barak and the United States. Nearly a year after I left office, Arafat said he was ready to negotiate on the basis of the parameters I had presented. Apparently, Arafat had thought the time to decide, five minutes to midnight, had finally come. His watch had been broken a long time.
Arafat’s rejection of my proposal after Barak accepted it was an error of historic proportions. However, many Palestinians and Israelis are still committed to peace. Someday peace will come, and when it does, the final agreement will look a lot like the proposals that came out of Camp David and the six long months that followed.

A Pastor’s Misguided Attack on Israel

Raphael Warnock chooses to zero in on Israel, the very model of success through personal responsibility, as a problem. Pictured: Warnock gestures to a staffer Oct. 21 after casting his ballot at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

What would our nation look like if every day, every American—of every background and ethnicity—were to wake up with the conviction that they are 100% responsible for the circumstances of their lives?

No blame, no victimhood, no excuses saying that what is happening to them is because of someone else.

It touches, I believe, the heart of Christianity.

At any given moment, you may not have control of what is outside of you. But you have control over what is inside of you. Change what is inside first, and then you will change what is outside.

Stand for your principles in 2021—even in the face of Congress, the media, and the radical Left ganging up on conservatives and our values. Learn more now >>

We have faith in a loving God who wants us to take responsibility, and when there is failure, there is forgiveness and another chance.

Too many in our country are paying a great price by listening to politicians on the left who are telling them the opposite.

Consider the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, who is now running as a Democrat in one of the two U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia.

Warnock, who is black, is a poster child of the left, which embraces the view that the world is unfair, controlled by racists and exploiters.

And for some reason, Warnock, like so many of this point of view, chooses to zero in on Israel, the very model of success through personal responsibility, as a problem rather than a solution.

Just last year, after visiting Israel, he affixed his signature to a Group Pilgrimage Statement on Israel and Palestine.

That statement identifies Israel as an “oppressive” regime, accuses Israel of segregation, speaks of militarization “reminiscent of the military occupation of Namibia by apartheid South Africa” and of “excessive use of force” by Israel in Gaza.

These total distortions of the truth in service of a left-wing political agenda should be a wake-up call.

Regarding the reality of Israel, we can turn to the nonpartisan organization Freedom House in Washington, D.C., which annually rates 210 nations around the world as being “free,” “partly free,” or “not free.”

Israel is the only nation in the Middle East rated “free.”

But Warnock and his colleagues ignore oppression throughout the region and only choose to attack the one country that is free.

This freedom is enjoyed not only by the Jewish citizens of Israel but also by the nearly 2 million Arab citizens of the country. In my first visit to Israel, I couldn’t help but notice the amazing diversity, with Jews from all over the world—white, brown, and black.

Regarding the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, where Palestinian Arabs live, their absence of freedom and prosperity is their own choosing. They control their future, not Israel. Rather than aspiring to build better lives for their citizens, they choose regimes that set a priority to destroy Israel.

In 2005, for example, Israel unilaterally withdrew its presence from Gaza. The Palestinian regime there was free to start building a nation. Rather than doing this, it started lobbing missiles into Israel. The Palestinian Authority prime minister announced, “We are telling the entire world: today Gaza and tomorrow Jerusalem.”

Israeli settlers who were displaced when Israel withdrew moved inland, started irrigating the desert with desalinized water, and, within five years, were exporting $50 million worth of organic potatoes, carrots, and peppers a year.

I wrote about it then, quoting the late Art Linkletter, television personality and outspoken Christian, who observed: “Things turn out best for people that make the best of the way things turn out.”

I said then that Linkletter’s observation captured why Israel has grown and prospered and why Palestinians have languished.

The same is true in America.

At Christmastime, let’s choose freedom and personal responsibility.

COPYRIGHT

______________
Embedded image permalink

Bill Kristol

Published on Jul 20, 2014

The Weekly Standard editor and publisher Bill Kristol discusses Clintons, Pryor-Cotton and 2016.

_____________________________________________________________________

On Friday July 18, 2014 I had the opportunity to visit personally with Bill Kristol who is the founder of THE WEEKLY STANDARD MAGAZINE. I told him that I had the privilege to correspond with both his father, Irving Kristol, and his father’s good friend Daniel Bell back in 1995. I actually gave him a copy of both letters I received back from them and he read them both as we stood there. I told him that those copies were his to keep, and he thanked me for that.
I went on to explain how the correspondence started.  I had come across several quotes from Daniel Bell when I was reading the books HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?  and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer (and this second book was co-authored by Dr. C. Everett Koop). Dr. Koop’s name caught Mr. Kristol’s attention and he said he found that interesting. I pointed out those quotes by Bell led me to eventually begin a correspondence with both Bell and Kristol’s father Irving on the subject of what the Old Testament scriptures have to say about the Jews being returned from all over the world back to the land of Israel.
Finally, I asked how his mother was doing and he said that she was doing very well in fact. I told him how much I respected her work as a historian.
Let me make a few observations about Irving Kristol who I was very fascinated with because of some of his comments in the 1990′s. First, isn’t it worth noting that the Old Testament predicted that the Jews would regather from all over the world and form a new reborn nation of Israel. Second, it was also predicted that the nation of Israel would become a stumbling block to the whole world. Third, it was predicted that the Hebrew language would be used again as the Jews first language even though we know in 1948 that Hebrew at that time was a dead language!!!Fourth, it was predicted that the Jews would never again be removed from their land.
________________

Bill Kristol opines on Pryor-Cotton race, talks about Clinton in 2016

story from Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with The City Wire

The Weekly Standard founder, publisher and editor Bill Kristol says Arkansas is “almost” a must-win for Republicans if they are to take back the U.S. Senate. Appearing on this week’s Talk Business & Politics TV program, Kristol said the Mark Pryor-Tom Cotton U.S. Senate battle is high on national political watch lists and that a Cotton victory is crucial to GOP ambitions. “If Republicans want to win the Senate in November, this one is almost a must-win,” said Kristol, who was in Arkansas as a keynote speaker at the Arkansas GOP’s Reagan-Rockefeller dinner. Kristol said he expects a close race this fall in the high-profile match-up and that there are two reasons why the contest is so tight. “Incumbents are hard to beat and, I gather from my friends in Arkansas, that a Pryor is hard to beat,” Kristol said. He added that outside Democratic group attacks have been effective in tainting Cotton, although he disagrees with their accuracy. Kristol offered his take on why Arkansas has not shifted into a Republican stronghold like other Southern states such as Mississippi, Alabama or Texas. One reason, he said, is the political power of Bill Clinton whom he described as a “very different kind of Democrat” as governor and as president. Clinton “tacked to the center” often unlike President Barack Obama. “Barack Obama is not the kind of Democrat that traditional Arkansas Democrats are interested in supporting,” Kristol said, citing Clinton’s bipartisan budget deals, welfare reforms, and foreign policy efforts. ARKANSAS IMPORTANCE Kristol also said that Arkansas has always carried much sway in U.S. politics owing to its larger-than-life, influential state politicians who’ve made big impacts on the national stage. “Arkansas has always been a state of outsized interest and importance nationally,” he said. Kristol grew up studying Sen. J. William Fulbright, and he’s long watched the careers of other politicians like Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee. “For a small state, it has always produced nationally significant politicians. I think people in Washington kind of remember that,” said Kristol.

While 2014 will be a monumental election year, it’s hard not to think about 2016. Kristol said it’s too early to predict the GOP Presidential nominee, but he sees a reversal of fortunes in what he describes as a “wide-open” Republican field. “Republicans used to nominate the next in line, the second place finisher from four or eight years before. Democrats usually have interesting wide-open races,” he said. “It looks like this time, the Democrats are nominating the next in line — the person who ran second in 2008, Hillary Clinton. Republicans are having more of what looks like a classic Democratic primary — governors, senators, former candidates. A lot of them young, a lot of them untested nationally. As a Republican, I like that.”

Advertisement:

While he voted for Dole, McCain and Romney, he said those Presidential nominees weren’t the best match-ups versus Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. “The irony in 2016 is the Republicans will have the younger, fresher face and the Democrats will be nominating someone whose been around for awhile,” he said.

______________

_______________

Related posts:

Jews and Christians should both support the State of Israel and also the pro-life view! (Plus profile of Norman Podhoretz)

___________________ Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?) Norman Podhoretz – Reflections of a Jewish Neoconservative Jews and Christians should both support the State of Israel and also the pro-life view!!!! I understand that Francis and Edith Schaeffer were good friends with like minded Jews such as Norman […]

Adrian Rogers on Revelation 12 and the Country of Israel!!!

____________ __________________________________   ___________________________________ In light of recent developments in the news the future fulfillment of Revelation chapter 12 does not look so far-fetched. Obviously Israel is the mother that produced the Messiah (verse 1) and Satan is the dragon that dragged 1/3 of the angels out of heaven with him. Jesus is the child who […]

Who are the good guys: Hamas or Israel?

Zechariah 12:3 (KJV) notes, “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” It is amazing how up to date the Bible can be in many ways. […]

My correspondence with Daniel Bell and Irving Kristol about the rebirth of Israel!!!!

Irving Kristol pictured below: In 1980 I read the books HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? by Francis Schaeffer and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by both Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop and I saw the film series by the same names. In those two books Daniel Bell was quoted. In HOW SHOULD WE […]

The nation of Israel and Genesis 12:3 (Series on Israel part 1)

The Birth Of Israel (2008) – Part 1/8 I can’t say I agree with every word from Chuck Colson’s words below but it is a good article though. Covenant and Conflict Israel’s Place in the World Today By Chuck Colson|Published Date: February 18, 2003 When our BreakPoint Managing Editor Jim Tonkowich returned from this year’s […]

Candidate #8 Michele Bachmann , Republican Presidential Hopefuls (“Obama…a betrayal of our friend Israel.″ ,Part 3)

One News Now reports on Friday Obama’s comments a ‘gross error’ GOP lawmaker and Tea Party Caucus founder Michele Bachmann says President Obama has defined his Middle East policy: “blame Israel first.” Supporters of Israel are expressing outrage over President Barack Obama’s call yesterday that Israel give back territory it gained when attacked by Arabs […]

Candidate #8 Michele Bachmann , Republican Presidential Hopefuls (“America has stood with Israel since 1948″ ,Part 2)

  Michele Bachmann released this statement yesterday: Washington, May 19 – Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) released the following response after President Obama’s speech today on his Middle East policy, which included a dramatic shift away from support of Israel: “Today President Barack Obama has again indicated that his policy towards Israel is to blame Israel first. […]

Candidate #8 Michele Bachmann , Republican Presidential Hopefuls (“We will do well to…support ..Israel..”,Part 1)

“Drink Your Energy Drink & Away We Go!” Michele Bachmann Federal Spending & Jobs Summit Michele Bachmann Wikipedia notes: She married Marcus Bachmann in 1978.[17] They have five children (Lucas, Harrison, Elisa, Caroline, and Sophia), and have also provided foster care for 23 other children.[18][19] Bachmann and her husband own a Christian counseling practice in […]

Transcript of President Obama’s speech of May 19, 2011 on Israel

President Barack Obama addresses an audience during a campaign fundraising event, in Boston, May 18, 2011.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne)     Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets President Obama before his speech at the State Department. Clinton introduced Obama, who joked that she has been accruing quite a few frequent-flier miles.   Below is […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! (PART 4 NOBEL LAUREATE Douglas Osheroff, physicist, Stanford )

_________________ On November 2

Why does the hard left glorify the Palestinians? by Alan Dershowitz

Why does the hard left glorify the Palestinians?

In a world in which massive violations of human rights have, tragically, become the norm, why has the hard left focused on one of the least compelling of those causes — namely, the Palestinians? Where is the concern for the Kurds, the Chechens, the Uyghurs, the Tibetans? There are no campus demonstrations on their behalf, no expressions of concern by “the Squad” in Congress, no United Nations resolutions, no recurring op-eds in The New York Times, and no claims that the nations that oppress these groups have no right to exist.

On the merits and demerits of their claims, the Palestinians have the weakest case. They have been offered statehood and independence on numerous occasions: in 1938, 1948, 1967, 2000-2001 and 2008. Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005. Yet, even now, Palestinian leaders refuse to sit down and negotiate a reasonable two-state solution. As the late Israeli diplomat Abba Eban once aptly put it, the Palestinian leadership never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Nor are history and morality on their side. The Palestinian leadership allied itself with Nazism and Hitler in the 1940s, with Egyptian tyranny and antisemitism in the 1950s, and with international terrorism from the 1960s forward.


In 1947, the United Nations divided the land that the Romans called Palestine and the Jews called Yisrael into two areas. It provided a sliver of land along the Mediterranean and a non-arable desert called the Negev to the Jews, who were a majority in that area, and a much larger arable area to the Arabs. The Jews declared statehood on their land. Instead of declaring statehood on their land, the Palestinians and surrounding Arab nations declared war. The Arabs lost and the Jews captured more land. As a result of the war, there occurred an exchange of populations: Hundreds of thousands of Arabs left or were forced out of Israel, and hundreds of thousands of Jews left or were forced out of Arab countries and Arab Palestine.

Again, in 1967, the surrounding Arab nations threatened to destroy Israel, which preemptively attacked and occupied the West Bank and Gaza, which it immediately offered to return — with some territorial adjustments necessary for security — in exchange for peace and recognition. The U.N. Security Council issued Resolution 242, which called for a return of captured territories in exchange for peace. Israel accepted. The Arab nations and the Palestinians, however, issued their three infamous “no’s” — no peace, no recognition, no negotiation.

The Kurds have never been offered independence or statehood, despite treaties that promised it. Nor have the Tibetans, the Uyghurs or the Chechens. But the Palestinians have, on multiple occasions since 1938, when their leader told the Peale Commission that the Palestinians don’t want a state — they just want there not to be a Jewish state.

The Palestinian people have suffered more from the ill-advised decisions of their leaders than from the actions of Israel.

Back to the present: Hamas commits a double war crime every time it fires a lethal rocket at Israeli civilians from areas populated by its civilians, who they use as human shields. Israel responds proportionally in self-defense, as President Biden has emphasized. The Israel Defense Forces go to extraordinary lengths to try to minimize civilian casualties among Palestinians, despite Hamas’ policy of using civilian buildings — hospitals, schools, mosques, and high-rise buildings — to store, fire and plan their unlawful rockets and incendiary devices. Yet the hard left blames Israel alone, and many on the center-left create a moral equivalence between democratic Israel and terrorist Hamas.

Why? The answer is clear and can be summarized in one word: Jews.

The enemy of the Kurds, the Tibetans, the Uyghurs and the Chechens are not — unfortunately for them — the Jews. Hence, there is little concern for their plight. If the perceived enemy of the Palestinians were not the Jews, there would be little concern for their plight as well. This was proved by the relative silence that greeted the massacre of Palestinians by Jordan during “Black September” in 1970, or the killings of Palestinian Authority leaders in Gaza during the Hamas takeover in 2007. There has been relative silence, too, about the more than 4,000 Palestinians — mostly civilians— killed by Syria during that country’s current civil war. It is only when Jews or their nation are perceived to be oppressing Palestinians that the left seems to care about them.

While the United States provides financial support for Israel, we also provide massive support for Jordan and Egypt. Even if the United States were to end support for Israel, the demonization of Israel by the hard left would not end.

The left singles out the Palestinians not because of the merits of their case but, rather, because of the alleged demerits of Israel and the double standard universally applied to Jews. That is the sad reality.

Former CIA director John Brennan as much as admitted this double standard when he complained in a tweet about the alleged lack of empathy by Jews: “I always found it difficult to fathom how a nation of people deeply scared by a history replete with prejudice, religious persecution, & unspeakable violence perpetrated against them would not be the empathetic champions of those whose rights & freedoms are still abridged.”

As Seth Frantzman, a writer for the Jerusalem Post, aptly put it: “In his telling of it, he implied that Jews must have special empathy for others while non-Jews have no special need to be empathetic. Brennan has not … held other countries to a higher standard based on the ethnic and religious origins of their citizens … In short, because Jews endured genocide, they have to live according to a higher standard than those who perpetrated genocide.”

This “benevolent” double standard may sound kinder than the malevolent double standard imposed by members of “the Squad” and others, but it has the same effect: it demands that Israel do less to protect its citizens from rockets and terrorism than is demanded from other countries. The same standard must be demanded of Israel as is demanded of other countries defending their citizens. In particular, the same standard must be demanded of Palestinians and their leaders as is demanded of other groups seeking the moral support of good people.

As of now, the Palestinians have failed to meet that standard.

I support the legitimate rights of Palestinians to a peaceful state, not so much because their history and actions merit it more than others, but because it would be good for peace in the region and for Israel. But I refuse to prioritize it over other more, or equally, compelling claims just because Jews are on the other side.

Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus for Harvard Law School, served on the legal team representing President Trump for the first Senate impeachment trial. He is author of the recent book, “Cancel Culture: The Latest Attack on Free Speech and Due Process,” and his podcast, “The Dershow,” is available on Spotify and YouTube. You will find him on Twitter @AlanDersh.

Irving Kristol pictured below:

In 1980 I read the books HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? by Francis Schaeffer and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by both Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop and I saw the film series by the same names. In those two books Daniel Bell was quoted. In HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? In the chapter entitled, “Our Society,” these words are found:

Daniel Bell (1919-), professor of socialogy at Harvard University, sees an elite composed of select intellectuals. He writes in THE COMING OF POST-INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY (1973), in the chapter entitled “Who will Rule,” that “the university–or some other knowledge institute–will become the central institution of the next hundred years because of its role as the new source of innovation and knowledge.” He says that crucial decisions will come from government, but more and more the decisions of both business and government will be predicated on government-sponsored research, and “because of the intricately linked nature of their consequences, [the decisions] will have an increasingly technical character.” Society thus turns into a technocracy where “the determining influence belongs to technicians of the administration and of its business, its education, its government, even the daily pattern of the ordinary man’s life–becomes a matter of control by the technocratic elite. They are the only ones who know how to run the complicated machinery of society and they will then, in collusion with the government elite, have all the power necessary to manage it.

“Bell’s most astute warning concerns the ethical implications of this situation: ‘A post-industrial society cannot provide a transcendent ethic….The lack of a rooted moral belief system is the cultural contradiction of a society, the deepest challenge to its survival.’ He adds that in the future, men can be remade, their behavior conditioned, or their consciousness altered. The constraints of the past vanish. To the extent that Bell’s picture of this future is fulfilled, Galbraith’s form of the elite will be the actuality.” (Schaffer, p. 224-225)

In the 1990’s I took the opportunity to confront many of the scholars of the sort that Francis Schaeffer had mentioned in his books and Adrian Rogers was mentioning in his sermons and confront them with the evidence that showed that Old Testament prophecies were true and that the Bible could be trusted. Daniel Bell and his good friend Irving Kristol were two of the intellectuals that I had the opportunity to correspond with.

I sent them both a letter that included many scriptures from the Old Testament that showed that the prophets predicted  the Jews would be brought back from all over the world to rebirth the country of Israel again. Daniel Bell responded in a letter dated September 23, 1995:

Dear Mr. Hatcher, Thank you for your thoughtful letter. I don’t know whether or not the prophecies of the Ezekiel are being fulfilled. The very nature of such prophecy, or the parables of Jesus, are inherently ambiguous, and so always opaque. As to the survival of the Jewish people, I think of the remark of Samuel Johnson that there is nothing stronger than the knowledge that one may be hanged the next day to concentrate the mind–or the will. Sincerely, Daniel Bell

On September 21, 1995 his good friend Irving Kristol added this comment, “I am leery of taking Biblical prophecies too literally. They always seem to get fulfilled, some way or other, whatever happens. They are inspiring, of course, which enough for me.”

Let me make a few observations about Irving Kristol who I was very fascinated with because of some of his comments in the 1990’s. First, isn’t it worth noting that the Old Testament predicted that the Jews would regather from all over the world and form a new reborn nation of Israel. Second, it was also predicted that the nation of Israel would become a stumbling block to the whole world. Third, it was predicted that the Hebrew language would be used again as the Jews first language even though we know in 1948 that Hebrew at that time was a dead language!!!Fourth, it was predicted that the Jews would never again be removed from their land.

Now let’s take a look at Irving Kristol’s comments on God.

Irving Kristol 1/6 – Father of Neoconservatism

Irving Kristol 2/6 – Father of Neoconservatism

Irving Kristol 3/6 – Father of Neoconservatism

In this video clip above you will find this exchange:

Mr. KRISTOL: Oh, I’ve never had a problem with God, never. Even when I was a young Trotskyist, I never had a problem with God. I mean, the so-called existence of God was never a problem for me. I mean, I–however you define God–and that is a serious theological matter, what you mean when you use the word `God’ is a serious theological matter. But I had no doubt, ever since I read the opening of the Bible, that, yes, there is such a thing as original sin, and we all live with it. And if you want to understand the human condition, reading the f–opening of the Bible is as good a place as any, the best I think. And so that part of religion has simply never been a problem for me.
LAMB: The last several essays in your book, of the 41, is about Judaism or about being a Jew.
Mr. KRISTOL: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: Where are you? Are you a practicing Jew?
Mr. KRISTOL: Sort of. That is, I’m a member of a Jewish congregation, and I go to synagogue on the high holidays. I attend bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs. I do not observe Jewish law because I never did. I think if I had it to do over again, I would be more observant. But I don’t have it to do over again, and I’m not going to completely change my life now. That’s rather silly, I think. But being Jewish has never been a problem for me.
LAMB: What does that mean?
Mr. KRISTOL: Well, I–I–you know, I…
LAMB: What is being Jewish? I mean, what i–what’s the culture?
Mr. KRISTOL: Well, it’s not a question of culture. It’s a question of identity. I always knew I was Jewish. I never thought of not being Jewish. I was always very pleased to be Jewish. After all, not everyone is a member of the chosen people, and so I just went along. Even when I was not all that observant–I still am not all that observant–being Jewish just came naturally to me.
_____________________
Burt Reynolds knew the gospel when he was young and he when he became  rich and successful he said that he would live his life for his selfish desires when he was young but when he was old he would repent and serve God. Adrian Rogers in a sermon noted that he doubted very seriously if Reynolds would ever get around to repenting when he was old. Irving Kristol’s statement above reminded me of Reynolds. Kristol noted, “I think if I had it to do over again, I would be more observant. But I don’t have it to do over again, and I’m not going to completely change my life now. That’s rather silly, I think.”
Here the words of Christ tells us how those who are not righteous after they did really do long for their friends and relatives to follow the Bible’s directives, but they will not even accept the evidence of someone coming back from the gave if they don’t accept what the prophets had to say.

Luke 16:19-31 The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.________________The famous preacher Charles Finney had some very insightful comments on this passage:The wicked dread to have their friends come to them in this place of torment. You see this feeling most distinctly manifested in this parable. The reason of the feeling is obvious. They are still human beings and therefore it can be no joy to them to have their earthly friends come into their place of woe. They have human feelings. They know they can look for no alleviation of their own woe from the presence of their friends. They know that if those friends come there as they did they can never escape; therefore they beg that those friends may never come. Therefore this rich man prays that Abraham would send Lazarus to his five brethren, to testify to them, lest they also come into that place of torment.The state of mind that rejects the Bible would reject any testimony that could be given. This is plainly taught here, and can be proved. It can be proved that the testimony of one who should rise from the dead is no better or stronger than that of the Bible…When unbelief has taken possession of the mind, you may pile miracle on miracle; men will not believe it. Suppose ever so many should rise from the dead. Men who reject the Bible would not believe their testimony. They would insist either that they had not been really dead, or that if they had been, they did not bring back a reliable report from that other country. They would make a thousand objections, as they do now, against the Bible, and with much more plausibility then than now. Now, they only know their objections are really unfounded; then they would have more plausible objections to make, and would be sure to give them credit enough to refuse to repent under their teachings. They would not be persuaded even then.

My Dinner with Irving

On evangelicals, the evangelical Left, and the Jews

My Dinner with Irving

Several years ago, I gave a lecture at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on the subject of religion and secularism. Afterward, the discussion continued at a relaxed and intimate dinner for selected guests—an occasion greatly enlivened by the presence of the late Irving Kristol, then an AEI senior fellow, and his wife Gertrude Himmelfarb, the distinguished historian. As usual, Irving had plenty to say. In particular, when the subject turned to the distinctive character of evangelical Christianity, he pronounced himself in a manner that I (and others in the room) remember vividly to this day. “Well, after all,” he remarked, with casual assurance, “religion is what you’re born with.”

But no, I insisted in response, that was precisely what evangelicals don’t believe. There are no grandchildren in the kingdom of heaven, they like to say, which is their way of asserting that religious truth is something each person must come to individually through a process of personal conversion, a process that does not require a church or a priest but is thought to be a direct and unmediated act of “coming to Jesus.” Hence there are no legacy admissions, for this faith cannot be inherited or otherwise passed along; it must be re-appropriated freshly by each generation. This is why evangelicals say, following Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, that one must be “born again.” The first birth is not the one that counts.

Irving was completely unmoved by my impromptu catechesis. “Religion is what you’re born with,” he repeated, unraveling an amused smile and seemingly all the more pleased with a formulation that had kicked up some dust in the room. Even his wife sitting next to him, who knows a very great deal about Anglo-American evangelicalism, clearly thought him off-base. “Irving, you don’t understand. . . ,” she started, but then gently shook her head in an exasperation no doubt earned through years of experience.

As for me, with my deep respect for Irving, I couldn’t help beginning to wonder whether he may have understood something important that I was missing.

This little episode came to mind as I read Robert W. Nicholson’s thoughtful open letter to American Jews about evangelical-Jewish relations. It came to mind partly because Kristol was one of the first prominent American Jewish intellectuals to proclaim that Jews ought to be less dismissive of their evangelical admirers, but indeed should learn to cherish evangelicals as loyal and reliable allies, preferable in most ways to secular liberals. This declaration brought down on him a level of wrath and ridicule and repudiation that was stunning in its vehemence. Irving fully expected that reaction, and never showed any sign of being upset by it. He realized that the religion that his Jewish detractors were born with—militantly secular liberalism, welded to a sense of ethnic identity—would impel them to deal harshly, even savagely, with his apostasy.

One thing that Nicholson perhaps underestimates, given his typically evangelical generosity to the ideal of the free and uncoerced conscience, is just how difficult, how very nearly unthinkable, it is for most American Jews to imagine taking seriously the beliefs of most evangelicals. It is hard to judge—and as a non-Jew, I perhaps have no business even trying—whether the greater force in producing this near-unanimity is cultural consensus or cultural fear. Both probably play a role, and the fears involved are powerful ones, manifested not only publicly but on the most intimate levels.

I think of a Jewish friend, a man of impressive intellect and great moral courage, who converted to Christianity after two decades of waiting . . . for his mother to die. If this sounds like the material for a great Jewish joke, it is also powerful testimony to Irving’s contention that religion is what you are born with. For if this man had really fully believed that his eternal salvation depended on his acceptance of Jesus as his savior, would he have waited all those years? Would he have waited ten minutes?

That may be putting it ungenerously. Loyalty to what you were born with carries a weight of moral obligation all its own, not only for Jews but perhaps for Jews especially. Strangely, it seems that this logic of loyalty persists even when the specifically religious elements in Jewish identity have been all but banished in favor of full-bore secular liberalism. That would certainly help explain the vehement reaction to Irving’s daring to say a good word about an evangelical-Jewish alliance.

All this goes to underscore the importance of Nicholson’s message. It is a message that today needs to be heard more than ever as Israel faces mortal peril in a world where it is increasingly alone and abandoned, with anti-Semitism, having acquired a new lease on life, on the rampage. Under the circumstances, American Jews need especially to overcome their hardwired prejudices and see the clear truth that 300 million evangelicals have been, and still are, arguably Israel’s most stalwart non-Jewish allies in the Western world.

Just as important, what needs to be understood is that this stalwart support is not imperishable and that it cannot be taken for granted in the future. Nicholson supports with his own research and interviews the important work of Gerald McDermott in identifying the rise of an anti-Israel movement within American evangelicalism, potentially a very serious and consequential departure.

Nicholson is right about this, and the movement he describes is real. At the same time, however, I would urge caution lest one exaggerate the extent or the durability of anti-Israel evangelicalism—or, for that matter, the size and influence of the American evangelical Left altogether.

Anti-Israel sentiment among evangelical elites is strongest in the academic world and in international missions and relief groups. But the actual influence of such groups on the larger world of American evangelical churches is debatable. One can count on the fingers of two hands, with fingers left over, the number of voluble and publicity-savvy figures on the evangelical Left like Sojourner’s Jim Wallis. (Frank Schaeffer, whom Nicholson quotes as urging “an end to the largely unchallenged influence of Christian Zionism,” is a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy.) And Bethlehem Bible College, while a seedbed for the kind of pro-Palestinian revisionism that is enjoying a run of popularity with the American evangelical Left, is not itself an American college.

So I would be wary and vigilant, but not unduly panicked. The fact is that evangelicalism thrives on a flat and somewhat amorphous ecclesiastical structure, without popes or bishops or prelates. This renders it hard to be captured by ideological missionaries—particularly ones who openly reject the authority of the Bible as so many on the evangelical Left do.

Moreover, figures like Wallis have badly tarnished their credibility by their near-total identification with Democratic-party politics. They made a reputation for themselves post-9/11 by opposing the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies, but their abject and total silence as the Obama administration has continued those same policies, expanding them into areas like the use of unmanned drones to assassinate putative terrorists, has left them utterly discredited in the eyes of many of their idealistic young followers. For years, the evangelical Right has been accused of choosing Caesar over God by aligning itself with the Republican party and conservative politics. Now the charge applies in spades to the evangelical Left.

In any event, much more important, and more worthy of concern, are the “mainline” Protestant denominations, including the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church, and others. Their antagonism to Israel is blatant and of long standing; of even longer standing is their fealty to the standard desiderata of theological and political liberalism. Indeed, the growing liberalization of American evangelicalism can itself be seen as a convergence with the beliefs and views of these churches, bleaching out the particularisms inherent in the Jewish and Christian faiths and reducing them to a bland universalism. This is a movement that speaks to the status anxieties of the rising generation of young evangelicals, affluent, suburban-bred, and socially mobile, who are intent that, whatever else their church will be, it will not be the church of their fathers. That is generally what they mean in proclaiming their ideal of a “countercultural” faith.

I do not mean to sound dismissive of this generation. I often lecture in evangelical colleges, and I love the students I meet there. But I am struck by some of the very phenomena that Nicholson describes. They appear to be getting a very limited education, particularly in politics and economics. Instead, they are heavy on emotivism, a disposition that leaves them prepared to speculate endlessly about what they imagine “Jesus would do” but poorly equipped for engagement with challenging points of view.

How to overcome these limitations and what they might portend? I can think of few better ways than by bringing such students into a fuller awareness of the Jewish roots of their own faith. For how can one possibly grasp the Christian doctrine of vicarious atonement, or the meaning of the Eucharist, without understanding how those ideas are grounded in Jewish understandings of sin, guilt, and expiation? How to understand the source of human rights and inviolable dignity without recurring to the biblical belief that man is made in the image of God?

To be sure, the evangelical-Jewish alliance will always be at least partially a matter of strange bedfellows. That can’t be helped, and it shouldn’t be denied. The differences are profound. But at the same time, there is a deep commonality, going to the heart of both faiths and revealed by and through the course of two millennia of human history. It is, I think, most succinctly expressed in the idea that both traditions worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That phrase carries the weight of a distinct cosmology, anthropology, and moral universe.

This, in other words—and in ways that Jews perhaps understand better than evangelicals—is the religion that both groups have indeed been “born with,” as Irving was right to suggest. That bedrock fact points to at least the possibility of an alliance destined, in the fullness of time, to be of far more than mere political convenience.

___________________

Wilfred M. McClay is the Blankenship Chair in the history of liberty at the University of Oklahoma and director of its Center for the History of Liberty. 

_______________________

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

The answer to finding out more about God is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

____________________________________________________

Adrian Rogers: An Old Testament Portrait of Christ

Published on Jan 27, 2014

I own nothing, all the rights belong to Adrian Rogers (R.I.P.) & his website http://www.lwf.org. Story of Abraham is told.

______________________________________

Adrian Rogers: Why I Believe in Jesus Christ

Adrian Rogers: The Biography of the King

Related posts:

Former atheist Antony Flew pointed out that natural selection can’t explain the origin of first life and in every other case, information necessarily points to an intelligent source!

______________ Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known spokesperson […]

DARWINISM RECONSIDERED article from 2005 quotes Antony Flew, Richard Dawkins, Jonathan Miller, and Phillip Johnson

______________ William Lane Craig versus Eddie Tabash Debate Uploaded on Feb 6, 2012 Secular Humanism versus Christianity, Lawyer versus Theologian. Evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig debates humanist atheist lawyer Eddie Tabash at Pepperdine University, February 8, 1999. Visithttp://www.Infidels.org and http://www.WilliamLaneCraig.com ________________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel […]

Antony Flew interviewed by Benjamin Wiker and the two reasons Flew left atheism!!!

_______________________ Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 Debate – William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens – Does God Exist? Uploaded on Jan 27, 2011 April 4, 2009 – Craig […]

Kyle Butt notes that Antony Flew left Atheism but fell short of making a profession of faith during his lifetime

_________________ Antony Flew – World’s Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God Uploaded on Nov 28, 2008 Has Science Discovered God? A half-century ago, in 1955, Professor Antony Flew set the agenda for modern atheism with his Theology and Falsification, a paper presented in a debate with C.S. Lewis. This work became the most widely […]

Gary Habermas explains the reasons for Antony Flew’s change of mind

_____________   Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his […]

The finest article on Antony Flew’s long path from Atheism to Theism!!

___________________    This is the finest article yet I have read that traces Antony Flew’s long path from atheism to theism. How Anthony Flew – Flew to God Among the world’s atheists there was hardly any with the intellectual stature of Anthony Flew.  He was a contemporary with C.S. Lewis and has been a thorn in […]

Antony Flew incorrectly wrote that George Wald later abandoned atheism!!!

  Making Sense of Faith and Science Uploaded on May 16, 2008 Dr. H. Fritz Schaefer confronts the assertion that one cannot believe in God and be a credible scientist. He explains that the theistic world view of Bacon, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday and Maxwell was instrumental in the rise of modern science itself. Presented […]

Antony Flew opened himself up to the possibility of accepting Christian teachings although never making a public profession of faith

Discussion (2 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas ______________ Atheist Lawrence Krauss loses debate to wiser Christian Published on Sep 13, 2013 http://www.reasonablefaith.org More of this here The Bible and Science (Part 02) The Kalam Cosmological Argument (Scientific Evidence) (Henry Schaefer, PhD) Published on Jun 11, 2012 Scientist Dr. Henry “Fritz” Schaefer gives a lecture […]

Part of the reason Antony Flew left atheism can be found in this Paul Davies’ quote “Science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview!”

  Conversation with John Barrow Published on Jun 16, 2012 Templeton Prize 2006, Gifford Lectures 1988 British Academy, 1 June 2012 _______ Many Christians are involved in science and John D. Barrow is one of the leaders of science today. Here is his bio: John D Barrow John D. Barrow was born in London in […]

Antony Flew, “I was particularly impressed with Gerry Schroeder’s point-by-point refutation of what I call the MONKEY THEOREM” or the “the possibility of life arising by chance using the analogy of a multitude of monkeys banging away on computer keyboards and eventually ending up writing a Shakespearean sonnet!”

____________   Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 ___________   __________ Antony Flew, “I was particularly impressed with Gerry Schroeder’s point-by-point refutation of what I call the MONKEY […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 372 Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons Featured Artist is Eddie Martinez

Woody Allen Things worth living for

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative. Take a moment and read again a good article on Woody Allen below. There are some links below to some other posts about him.

Francis Schaeffer two months before he died made the following comments in Knoxville, TN in 1984 and he comments on Woody Allen:

I would emphasize and it grows on me always with intensified strength the older I live that there is only ONE REASON to be a Christian and that is because it is TRUTH. There is no other reason to be a Christian.

The reason to become a Christian is not because it gives you butterflies in your stomach on Sunday morning. The reason for being a Christian is because it is true.

We at L’Abri talk about it being TRUE TRUTH and we are talking about it not just being religiously true but true in all reality. In other words, if you don’t have the Bible and you don’t act upon it, it isn’t that you just don’t know how to escape hell and go to heaven, you do that too happily, but it also is true that without the Bible we won’t know who God is and we would know who people are.

That is what is wrong with our generation and that is why it accepted abortion and the infanticide and youth euthanasia came in quickly with such a flood because this generation doesn’t understand who people are.

I don’t know if you say the TIME editorial a short time ago called THINKING ANIMAL THOUGHTS. It did so much better than most of our evangelical magazines did on dealing with this because what they said was (it was from a non-christian point of view) if you take away the biblical view of who God is and man being made in his image then there is no basis for a distinction between human life and other forms of life. You only have distinctions and that is life and non-life, and he carried it out quite properly to its extension. What right does the human race to perform experimentation’s on animals if the human race is good and the human race is only the same qualification of life? This author really understood the game much better than most Christians seem to understand it.

What I’m saying is without the Bible it isn’t just that you don’t know how to go to heaven, but without the Bible you don’t know who people are and you don’t know what this world is. When you watch the birds fly across the sky  if you really don’t have the Bible to tell you who created this world and what the world is even the birds flying across the sky is very different. We have many people that come to L’Abri that have thought this out to the very end properly and that is there is no meaning to life, no meaning to life, no meaning to human life. They are not wrong. They are right.

The younger generation who grab the needle and shoot it up because they can’t find any meaning to life, they are not wrong. They are right. if you take the Bible away it is not just that people are lost for eternity, but they are lost now. They have no meaning to life…. If I was talking to a gentleman I was sitting next  to on an airplane about Christ I wouldn’t necessarily start off quoting Bible verses. I would go back rather to their dilemma if they hold the modern worldview of the final reality only being energy, etc., I would start with that. I would begin as I stress in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE about their own [humanist] prophets who really show where their view goes. For instance, Jacques Monod, Nobel Prize winner from France, in his book NECESSITY AND CHANCE said there is no way to tell the OUGHT from the IS. In other words, you live in a TOTALLY SILENT  universe. 

The men like Monod and Sartre or whoever the man might know that is his [humanist] prophet and they point out quite properly and conclusively what life is like, not just that there is no meaningfulness in life but everyone according to modern man is just living out some kind of game plan. It may be knocking 1/10th of a second off a downhill ski run or making one more million dollars. But all you are doing is making a game plan within the mix of a meaningless situation. WOODY ALLEN exploits this very strongly in his films. He really lives it. I feel for that man, and he has expressed it so thoroughly in ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN and so on.

September 3, 2011 · 5:16 PM

Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life

In the final scene of Manhattan, Woody Allen’s character, Isaac, is lying on the sofa with a microphone and a tape-recorder, dictating to himself an idea for a short story. It’ll be about “people in Manhattan,” he says, “who are constantly creating these real unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves” because they cannot bear to confront the “more unsolvable, terrible problems about the universe.” In an attempt to keep it optimistic, he begins by asking himself the question, “Why is life worth living?” He gives it some thought. “That’s a very good question,” he says, “There are certain things, I guess, that make it worthwhile.” And then the list begins: Groucho Marx, Willie Mays, the second movement of Mozart’s ‘Jupiter Symphony,’ Louis Armstrong’s recording of Potato Head Blues, “Swedish movies, naturally,” Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, “those incredible apples and pears by Cézanne, the crabs at Sam Wo’s … Tracy’s face.”

This list acts as an important hinge in the film’s narrative, the point at which Isaac suddenly becomes aware of his feelings for Tracy and resolves to go after her. But within the list there is also something far greater being communicated, something which, I believe, can be described as the central subject of nearly every Woody Allen film, or, perhaps, as the thing that compels him to make films in the first place. Isaac is conveying here a belief in the sheer power of art, its ability to provide a sense of worth to an otherwise empty existence. Art, Woody Allen seems to be saying, is the only valuable response – or the only conceivable response – to the dreadful human predicament as he sees it.

~ ~ ~

“My relationship with death remains the same: I’m strongly against it.”

~ ~ ~

Recently, at the Cannes Film Festival, Woody Allen was asked about what motivates him. He simply laughed and said, “Fear is what drives me.” Work, for Allen, is a wonderful distraction from the “terrible truth” – the ostensible meaninglessness of life, the apparent futility of all human endeavour, the inevitability of sickness, the unescapable prognosis of death. Film-making, like the “unnecessay, neurotic problems” dreamt up by the characters in Isaac’s short story, diverts Allen’s attention away from this reality, from the fear that presents itself when he stops to think about the fact that eventually everybody dies, “the sun burns out, and the earth is gone, and … all the stars, all the planets, the entire universe, goes, disappears.” So this fear is the reason for his prolificity, the impulse behind all of his artistic achievements. Manhattan, Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Sleeper came about, first of all, as distractions, projects that prevented him from having to “sit in a chair and think about what a terrible situation all human beings are in.”

I believe there’s a lot of truth in Woody Allen’s perspective. We distract ourselves constantly, we refuse to think about the meaning of our existence, we skirt around the inevitable. Certainly – and he acknowledges this – Allen is not the first person to have hit upon this truth. It’s been recognised by thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, the Buddha and the writer of Ecclesiastes. And Allen knows, too, that one can’t live in a perpetual awareness of this fact. Such a life would be crippling torment. Indeed, it’s this very torment that Tolstoy found himself in after having realised that there was “nothing ahead other than deception of life and of happiness, and the reality of suffering and death: of complete annihilation.” After realising, in other words, the sheer absurdness of human existence, the meaninglessness of life without God. In his Confession he writes:

My life came to a standstill. I could breathe, eat, drink and sleep and I could not help breathing, eating, drinking and sleeping; but there was no life in me because I had no desires whose gratification I would have deemed it reasonable to fulfil. If I wanted something I knew in advance that whether or not I satisfied my desire nothing would come of it.

We can’t live like this, says Woody Allen. We must provide ourselves with necessary delusions in order to carry ourselves through life. He remarks that, in fact, it’s only those people whom he calls “self-deluded” that seem to find any kind of real satisfaction in living, any peace or enjoyment. These people can say, “Well, my priest, or my rabbi tells me everthing’s going to be all right,” and they find their answers in what he calls “magical solutions.” And this recourse to the “magical” he dismisses as nonsense.

It’s worth comparing Woody Allen’s pessimistic agnosticism with the utopian atheism of someone like Richard Dawkins. Evidently, the former worldview is entirely consistent with non-belief in God, but it’s not clear that the latter is. In fact, it appears unfounded, false. Dawkins removes God from the picture entirely, yet clings persistently to a belief in life’s meaning, grounding this meaning, it appears, in natural selection. There’s a contradiction here in Dawkins’ thought. On the one hand, he claims that science “can tell us why we are here, tell us the purpose of human existence,” yet, on the other, he insists on characterising natural selection itself as a blind mechanism, containing “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference.”

Whilst I myself do believe in God and don’t share Woody Allen’s agnostic belief, I can respect his consistency, his willingness to acknowledge an existence without God for what it really is: “a grim, painful, nightmarish, meaningless experience.” His worldview follows naturally from what Heidegger termed the state of human “abandonment,” the absence of God in all human affairs. Dawkins’ worldview, however, doesn’t – it’s an embarrassing mishmash of strict empricist and naturalistic belief with what really amounts to a kind of foggy mysticism, a belief system according to which human beings can create for themselves an objective purpose. What he fails to realise is that this purpose is nothing more than a delusion, a mere appearance of purpose. It might get us up in the morning, but, once again, it’s no more real than the neurotic problems dreamt up by Isaac’s characters.

~ ~ ~

“It is impossible to experience one’s death objectively and still carry a tune.”

~ ~ ~

Let’s return to Woody Allen’s seemingly affirmative opinion of art. Given his lifelong insistence on the belief that human existence is “a big, meaningless thing,” how are we to make sense of Isaac’s list? Is it really possible to reconcile Woody Allen’s adament nihilism with his invocation of the power of art, its ability to stand firm in the face of such a “terrible truth”? The point to be made, I believe, is a very subtle one. In that same interview at Cannes, Allen talks about the role of the artist as he sees it: essentially, they must respond to the question that Isaac poses, “Why is life worth living?” Faced with the emptiness of life, they must try to “figure out – knowing that it’s trueknowing the worst – why it’s still worthwhile.” Allen isn’t, I believe, claiming that art can provide objective meaning to life. Such an assertion would conflict with his unswerving pessimism. Instead, he’s saying that the essence of art, what animates it, what inspires it to flourish, is a courageous struggle against this “terrible truth.” The artist, he says, must confront the futility of life, look at it in the face, embrace it in all of its hopelessness and despair, and provide humanity with an honest reply. The question we should ask in response, then, isn’t, ‘Can Woody Allen justify his belief in objective meaning as embodied in art?’ I don’t think he believes in objective meaning, a necessary purpose for human existence. Rather, the question should be, ‘Is it possible for the artist to look squarely at the human predicament and supply humanity with a worthwhile answer?’

And this, I want to say, still isn’t possible. As we’ve seen in the example of Tolstoy, one can’t live one’s life in full awareness of its apparent futility, of the imminence of death, of the falsity of one’s happiness, and yet carry on as normal. One would end up utterly debilitated. And if this is indeed how artists have been living for centuries, confronting the inevitable, facing the dismal truth, then art itself is an inexplicable phenomenon.

~ ~ ~

“On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done just as easily lying down.”

~ ~ ~

The answer isn’t to appeal to art as something that can provide human existence with objective meaning. Such a ‘faith in art’ would merely beg the question, ‘But why is art so special?’ How can art, if viewed as just another custom, an event within the world, give purpose and value to human life? How can that which is within the world give meaning to that which is also within the world? Meaning, I believe, can only come from without, from a personal God who transcends the world, yet is immanent within it, actively involved in human existence, instilling it with significance and worth. One of the purposes of art, I believe, is to reflect the being and glory of God, who is the ground of being itself. Far from art being an escape from a “terrible truth” or a desperate attempt to confront and suppress nihilism, it should be seen as an affirmative activity, an act of creative celebration to be enjoyed in the company of our good Creator God.

Featured Artist is Eddie Martinez

Here is a complete list of all the posts I did on the film “Midnight in Paris”

What can we learn from Woody Allen Films?, August 1, 2011 – 6:30 am

Movie Review of “Midnight in Paris” lastest movie by Woody Allen, July 30, 2011 – 6:52 am

Leo Stein and sister Gertrude Stein’s salon is in the Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris”, July 28, 2011 – 6:22 am

Great review on Midnight in Paris with talk about artists being disatisfied, July 27, 2011 – 6:20 am

Critical review of Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris”, July 24, 2011 – 5:56 am

Not everyone liked “Midnight in Paris”, July 22, 2011 – 5:38 am

“Midnight in Paris” one of Woody Allen’s biggest movie hits in recent years, July 18, 2011 – 6:00 am

(Part 32, Jean-Paul Sartre)July 10, 2011 – 5:53 am

 (Part 29, Pablo Picasso) July 7, 2011 – 4:33 am

(Part 28,Van Gogh) July 6, 2011 – 4:03 am

(Part 27, Man Ray) July 5, 2011 – 4:49 am

(Part 26,James Joyce) July 4, 2011 – 5:55 am

(Part 25, T.S.Elliot) July 3, 2011 – 4:46 am

(Part 24, Djuna Barnes) July 2, 2011 – 7:28 am

(Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso) July 1, 2011 – 12:28 am

(Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore) June 30, 2011 – 12:58 am

(Part 21,Versailles and the French Revolution) June 29, 2011 – 5:34 am

(Part 16, Josephine Baker) June 24, 2011 – 5:18 am

(Part 15, Luis Bunuel) June 23, 2011 – 5:37 am

“Woody Wednesday” The heart wants what it wants”jh67

I read this on http://www.crosswalk.com which is one of my favorite websites. Life Lessons from Woody Allen Stephen McGarvey I confess I am a huge film buff. But I’ve never really been a Woody Allen fan, even though most film critics consider him to be one of the most gifted and influential filmmakers of our […]

“Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 6)

  “Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 6) This is “Music Monday” and I always look at a band with some of their best music. I am currently looking at Coldplay’s best songs. Here are a few followed by another person’s preference: My son Hunter Hatcher’s 15th favorite song is “trouble.” Even though […]

“Woody Wednesday” Allen once wrote these words: “Do you realize what a thread were all hanging by? Can you understand how meaningless everything is? Everything. I gotta get some answers.” jh31

Woody Allen, the film writer, director, and actor, has consistently populated his scripts with characters who exchange dialogue concerning meaning and purpose. In Hannah and Her Sisters a character named Mickey says, “Do you realize what a thread were all hanging by? Can you understand how meaningless everything is? Everything. I gotta get some answers.”{7} […]

“Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 5)

“Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 5) This is “Music Monday” and I always look at a band with some of their best music. I am currently looking at Coldplay’s best songs. Here are a few followed by another person’s preference: Hunter picked “Don’t Panic,” as his number 16 pick of Coldplay’s best […]

Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it jh55

(If you want to check out other posts I have done about about Steve Jobs:Some say Steve Jobs was an atheist , Steve Jobs and Adoption , What is the eternal impact of Steve Jobs’ life? ,Steve Jobs versus President Obama: Who created more jobs? ,Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it ,8 things you might not know about Steve Jobs ,Steve […]

“Woody Wednesday” A review of some of the past Allen films jh32

I am a big Woody Allen fan. Not all his films can be recommended but he does look at some great issues and he causes the viewer to ask the right questions. My favorite is “Crimes and Misdemeanors” but the recent film “Midnight in Paris” was excellent too. Looking at the (sometimes skewed) morality of […]

Good without God?

(The signs are up on the buses in Little Rock now and the leader of the movement to put them up said on the radio today that he does not anticipate any physical actions against the signs by Christians. He noted that the Christians that he knows would never stoop to that level.) Debate: Christianity […]

“Music Monday”:Coldplay’s best songs of all time (Part 4)

Dave Hogan/ Getty Images This is “Music Monday” and I always look at a band with some of their best music. I am currently looking at Coldplay’s best songs. Here are a few followed by another person’s preference: For the 17th best Coldplay song of all-time, Hunter picks “42.” He notes, “You thought you might […]

Lessons about Trump and Trade by Dan Mitchell

Lessons about Trump and Trade

Like President Reagan, I believe in free trade rather than protectionism.

So you won’t be surprised that I agree with the message in this video

To elaborate, one of the big lessons of the Trump era is that he undermined his good policies – such as tax reform – by imposing higher taxes on global trade.

Sadly, he didn’t realize that a “trade deficit” is largely an irrelevant statistic. Indeed, it’s merely the flip side of having a capital surplus.

To state the obvious, it’s not a bad thing when foreigners decide they want to invest in the United States economy. Heck, it’s a good thing, a sign of economic strength.

Professor Douglas Irwin of Dartmouth made the same point, and many additional points, in a column for the Wall Street Journallate last year.

After four years, what have we learned? Many things, but especially that old economic truths still have value: Tariffs don’t reduce the trade deficit. …Economists have long pointed out that the trade deficit is driven by macroeconomic factors, particularly international capital flows. …The merchandise trade deficit was $864 billion in 2019, more than $100 billion higher than in 2016. …Tariffs are paid by consumers, destroy jobs and hurt the economy. Mr. Trump insisted that China would pay for the 15% to 25% duties that he imposed on $300 billion of its exports. In fact, the tariffs were passed on to American consumers, who paid more… Take steel. Higher prices might have saved some jobs in the steel industry, but..steel protection is a job-destroying policy. Economists at the Federal Reserve found that the steel and aluminum tariffs reduced overall employment in manufacturing by 75,000 workers.

But destroying jobs was just one negative effect of protectionism.

We also got more corruption, as the Wall Street Journal opined.

…it’s time to point out one unsightly effect of the Trump tariffs: expanding the D.C. swamp. …As Mr. Trump’s tariffs began to bite, Congress sent hundreds of letters to the USTR, supporting specific tariff exclusions. …Rep. Steny Hoyer signed a letter, “on behalf of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus,” asking for an exclusion on smoke alarms. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis sought one for Honda’s lawn mower flywheels. For Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, it was BedJet’s “ultra-thin adjustable bed ‘device.’” For Congressman Doug Collins, Home Depot’s light fixtures. For Sen. Patty Murray, empty coffee K-cup pods. Some of these exclusions were granted, and many weren’t. It’s difficult to know if lobbying by Congress made a difference… One substantial downside is more political interference in the economy. Pretty swampy.

We saw something very similar when President Obama was granting waivers for Obamacare. That was just one of the ways insiders got rich lobbying politicians for special treatment under government-run healthcare.

Let’s wrap this up.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal in March, Senator Pat Toomey and former Senator Phil Gramm conclude Trump’s protectionism was a failure.

In his first two years as president, Mr. Trump lifted regulatory burdens and pushed through a major tax cut, which triggered a broad-based rise in income and employment. He then turned to his protectionist agenda, which reduced economic growth and failed to deliver Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin in the 2020 election. Protectionism failed both as economic policy and political strategy. …As Mr. Trump found when he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, the resulting increase in jobs in those industries was small. …Jobs gained in the steel and aluminum industries after the tariffs were dwarfed by jobs lost in industries that use steel and aluminum in their manufacturing process, not to mention the jobs lost due to foreign trade retaliation. …Innovation, technological development and the capacity of a market economy to adapt to change provide our only sure path to job creation and prosperity. This is a lesson all politicians, but especially Republicans, need to learn from the economic and political failure of protectionism in the Trump era.

Amen.

Protectionism didn’t work. It didn’t create jobs, and it didn’t even buy votes.

Which is why I hope this meme is the lesson that people remember from the Trump years (also the message we should have learned from the Hoover years).

The bottom line is that “Tariff Man” hurt himself and hurt the economy.

P.S. Sadly, Biden has not reversed many of Trump’s protectionist policies. But that’s not a surprise given his support for statism.

P.P.S. Though I hold out some hope that Biden will utilize the World Trade Organization as a tool to expand trade, thus reversing one of Trump’s mistakes.

Big-Government Republicans Enable Big-Government Democrats

I get asked why I frequently criticize Republicans.

My response is easy. I care about results rather than rhetoric. And while GOP politicians often pay lip service to the principles of limited government,they usually increase spending even faster than Democrats.

Indeed, Republicans are even worse than Democrats when measuring the growth of domestic spending!

This is bad news because it means the burden of government expands when Republicans are in charge.

And, as Gary Abernathy points out in a column for the Washington Post, Republicans then don’t have the moral authority to complain when Democrats engage in spending binges.

President Biden is proposing another $3 trillion in spending… There are objections, but none that can be taken seriously. …Republicans had lost their standing as the party of fiscal responsibility when most of them succumbed to the political virus of covid fever and rubber-stamped around $4 trillion in “covid relief,”… With Trump out and Biden in, Republicans suddenly pretended that their 2020 spending spree happened in some alternate universe.But the GOP’s united opposition to Biden’s $1.9 trillion package won’t wash off the stench of the hypocrisy. …I noted a year ago that we had crossed the Rubicon, that our longtime flirtation with socialism had become a permanent relationship. Congratulations, Bernie Sanders. The GOP won’t become irrelevant because of its association with Trump, as some predict. It will diminish because it is bizarrely opposing now that which it helped make palatable just last year. Fiscal responsibility is dead, and Republicans helped bury it. Put the shovels away, there’s no digging it up now.

For what it’s worth, I hope genuine fiscal responsibility isn’t dead.

Maybe it’s been hibernating ever since Reagan left office (like Pepperidge Farm, I’m old enough to remember those wonderful years).

Subsequent Republican presidents liked to copy Reagan’s rhetoric, but they definitely didn’t copy his policies.

  • Spending restraint was hibernating during the presidency of George H.W. Bush.
  • Spending restraint also was hibernating during the presidency of George W. Bush.
  • And spending restraint was hibernating during the presidency of Donald Trump.

I’m not the only one to notice GOP hypocrisy.

Here are some excerpts from a 2019 column in the Washington Post by Fareed Zakaria.

In what Republicans used to call the core of their agenda — limited government — Trump has been profoundly unconservative. …Trump has now added more than $88 billion in taxes in the form of tariffs, according to the right-leaning Tax Foundation. (Despite what the president says, tariffs are taxes on foreign goods paid by U.S. consumers.) This has had the effect of reducing gross domestic product and denting the wages of Americans.…For decades, conservatives including Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan preached to the world the virtues of free trade. But perhaps even more, they believed in the idea that governments should not pick winners and losers in the economy… Yet the Trump administration…behaved like a Central Planning Agency, granting exemptions on tariffs to favored companies and industries, while refusing them to others. …In true Soviet style, lobbyists, lawyers and corporate executives now line up to petition government officials for these treasured waivers, which are granted in an opaque process… On the core issue that used to define the GOP — economics — the party’s agenda today is state planning and crony capitalism.

Zakaria is right about Republicans going along with most of Trump’s bad policies (as illustrated by this cartoon strip).*

The bottom line is that Republicans would be much more effective arguing against Biden’s spending orgy had they also argued for spending restraint when Trump was in the White House.

P.S. It will be interesting to see what happens in the near future. Will the GOP be a small-government Reagan party or a big-government Trump party?

Or maybe it will go back to being a Nixon-type party, which would mean bigger government but without mean tweets. And there are plenty of options.

If they make the wrong choice (anything other than Reaganism), Margaret Thatcher has already warned us about the consequences.

*To be fair, Republicans also went along with Trump’s good policies. It’s just unfortunate that spending restraint wasn’t one of them.

—-

March 31, 2021

President Biden  c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Please explain to me if you ever do plan to balance the budget while you are President? I have written these things below about you and I really do think that you don’t want to cut spending in order to balance the budget. It seems you ever are daring the Congress to stop you from spending more.

President Barack Obama speaks about the debt limit in the East Room of the White House in Washington. | AP Photo

“The credit of the United States ‘is not a bargaining chip,’ Obama said on 1-14-13. However, President Obama keeps getting our country’s credit rating downgraded as he raises the debt ceiling higher and higher!!!!

Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict

Just spend more, don’t know how to cut!!! Really!!! That is not living in the real world is it?

Making more dependent on government is not the way to go!!

Why is our government in over 16 trillion dollars in debt? There are many reasons for this but the biggest reason is people say “Let’s spend someone else’s money to solve our problems.” Liberals like Max Brantley have talked this way for years. Brantley will say that conservatives are being harsh when they don’t want the government out encouraging people to be dependent on the government. The Obama adminstration has even promoted a plan for young people to follow like Julia the Moocher.  

David Ramsey demonstrates in his Arkansas Times Blog post of 1-14-13 that very point:

Arkansas Politics / Health Care Arkansas’s share of Medicaid expansion and the national debt

Posted by on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Baby carrot Arkansas Medicaid expansion image

Imagine standing a baby carrot up next to the 25-story Stephens building in Little Rock. That gives you a picture of the impact on the national debt that federal spending in Arkansas on Medicaid expansion would have, while here at home expansion would give coverage to more than 200,000 of our neediest citizens, create jobs, and save money for the state.

Here’s the thing: while more than a billion dollars a year in federal spending would represent a big-time stimulus for Arkansas, it’s not even a drop in the bucket when it comes to the national debt.

Currently, the national debt is around $16.4 trillion. In fiscal year 2015, the federal government would spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion to fund Medicaid expansion in Arkansas if we say yes. That’s about 1/13,700th of the debt.

It’s hard to get a handle on numbers that big, so to put that in perspective, let’s get back to the baby carrot. Imagine that the height of the Stephens building (365 feet) is the $16 trillion national debt. That $1.2 billion would be the length of a ladybug. Of course, we’re not just talking about one year if we expand. Between now and 2021, the federal government projects to contribute around $10 billion. The federal debt is projected to be around $25 trillion by then, so we’re talking about 1/2,500th of the debt. Compared to the Stephens building? That’s a baby carrot.

______________

Here is how it will all end if everyone feels they should be allowed to have their “baby carrot.”

How sad it is that liberals just don’t get this reality.

Here is what the Founding Fathers had to say about welfare. David Weinberger noted:

While living in Europe in the 1760s, Franklin observed: “in different countries … the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813) was a Scottish lawyer, writer, and professor. Tytler was also a historian, and he noted, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Milligan

April 6, 1816

[Jefferson affirms that the main purpose of society is to enable human beings to keep the fruits of their labor. — TGW]

To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, “the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.” If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra taxation violates it.

[From Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Albert E. Bergh (Washington: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), 14:466.]

_______

Jefferson pointed out that to take from the rich and give to the poor through government is just wrong. Franklin knew the poor would have a better path upward without government welfare coming their way. Milton Friedman’s negative income tax is the best method for doing that and by taking away all welfare programs and letting them go to the churches for charity.

_____________

_________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

Related posts:

Welfare Spending Shattering All-Time Highs

  We got to act fast and get off this path of socialism. Morning Bell: Welfare Spending Shattering All-Time Highs Robert Rector and Amy Payne October 18, 2012 at 9:03 am It’s been a pretty big year for welfare—and a new report shows welfare is bigger than ever. The Obama Administration turned a giant spotlight […]

We need more brave souls that will vote against Washington welfare programs

We need to cut Food Stamp program and not extend it. However, it seems that people tell the taxpayers back home they are going to Washington and cut government spending but once they get up there they just fall in line with  everyone else that keeps spending our money. I am glad that at least […]

Welfare programs are not the answer for the poor

Government Must Cut Spending Uploaded by HeritageFoundation on Dec 2, 2010 The government can cut roughly $343 billion from the federal budget and they can do so immediately. __________ Liberals argue that the poor need more welfare programs, but I have always argued that these programs enslave the poor to the government. Food Stamps Growth […]

Private charities are best solution and not government welfare

Milton Friedman – The Negative Income Tax Published on May 11, 2012 by LibertyPen In this 1968 interview, Milton Friedman explained the negative income tax, a proposal that at minimum would save taxpayers the 72 percent of our current welfare budget spent on administration. http://www.LibertyPen.com Source: Firing Line with William F Buckley Jr. ________________ Milton […]

The book “After the Welfare State”

Dan Mitchell Commenting on Obama’s Failure to Propose a Fiscal Plan Published on Aug 16, 2012 by danmitchellcato No description available. ___________ After the Welfare State Posted by David Boaz Cato senior fellow Tom G. Palmer, who is lecturing about freedom in Slovenia and Tbilisi this week, asked me to post this announcement of his […]

President Obama responds to Heritage Foundation critics on welfare reform waivers

Is President Obama gutting the welfare reform that Bill Clinton signed into law? Morning Bell: Obama Denies Gutting Welfare Reform Amy Payne August 8, 2012 at 9:15 am The Obama Administration came out swinging against its critics on welfare reform yesterday, with Press Secretary Jay Carney saying the charge that the Administration gutted the successful […]

Welfare reform part 3

Thomas Sowell – Welfare Welfare reform was working so good. Why did we have to abandon it? Look at this article from 2003. The Continuing Good News About Welfare Reform By Robert Rector and Patrick Fagan, Ph.D. February 6, 2003 Six years ago, President Bill Clinton signed legislation overhauling part of the nation’s welfare system. […]

Welfare reform part 2

Uploaded by ForaTv on May 29, 2009 Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2009/05/18/James_Bartholomew_The_Welfare_State_Were_In Author James Bartholomew argues that welfare benefits actually increase government handouts by ‘ruining’ ambition. He compares welfare to a humane mousetrap. —– Welfare reform was working so good. Why did we have to abandon it? Look at this article from 2003. In the controversial […]

Why did Obama stop the Welfare Reform that Clinton put in?

Thomas Sowell If the welfare reform law was successful then why change it? Wasn’t Bill Clinton the president that signed into law? Obama Guts Welfare Reform Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley July 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm Today, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare […]

“Feedback Friday” Letter to White House generated form letter response July 10,2012 on welfare, etc (part 14)

I have been writing President Obama letters and have not received a personal response yet.  (He reads 10 letters a day personally and responds to each of them.) However, I did receive a form letter in the form of an email on July 10, 2012. I don’t know which letter of mine generated this response so I have […]

Quadruple the Cost, 11 Years Late

It appears that only a fraction of the spending proposed in a new $3 trillion to $4 trillion bill would go toward an already too-expansive definition of infrastructure. Pictured: Engineers discuss the progress of an infrastructure construction project. (Photo: Sornranison Prakittrakoon/ Moment/Getty Images)

The media were flooded Monday with news that the Biden administration is working on a colossal new $3 trillion to $4 trillion spending plan.

While full details are not available yet, the plan appears to be another left-wing grab bag of big-government proposals. Rather than stimulating the economy, it would stimulate bigger government while funneling unprecedented amounts of power and money through the hands of politicians in Washington.

All this comes on the heels of President Joe Biden signing into law on March 11 a badly flawed $1.9 trillion legislative package that was originally marketed as a COVID-19 response, but which was more focused on left-wing pet causes, such as bailouts for union pension plans and unnecessary handouts for state governments.

Just a day later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., released a statement calling for bipartisan work on legislation that would focus on infrastructure. While there were good reasons to question how beneficial or “bipartisan” such legislation would be, there was at least a chance of finding some across-the-aisle support.

Want to keep up with the 24/7 news cycle? Want to know the most important stories of the day for conservatives? Need news you can trust? Subscribe to The Daily Signal’s email newsletter. Learn more >>

But the potential for bipartisanship was quickly scuttled by news of the latest multitrillion-dollar plan.

It would be bad enough if the latest plan was just a big-spending infrastructure package. However, it appears that only a fraction of the new spending would go toward an already too-expansive definition of infrastructure.

Instead, most of the new spending and tax subsidies would go toward expanding the welfare state, including “free” tuition for community colleges, “free” child care, and other handouts that lack right-of-center support.

This would likely be the largest expansion of the federal government since the “Great Society” of the 1960s, even eclipsing Obamacare in scope.

Reports indicate that Democrats might attempt to split the plan into two bills—one focused on social spending that passes narrowly along party lines, the other focused on actual infrastructure aimed at winning bipartisan support.

However, it’s clear that the $3 trillion-plus total price tag is already souring prospects for bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

House Republicans boycotted the annual Ways and Means Committee “Member’s Day” hearing on Tuesday in the wake of news reports on the plan, since they indicated that Democrats have already made up their minds to pursue as much spending as possible through the legislative procedure known as reconciliation.

Coincidentally, two respected nonpartisan groups released reports this week that show why Biden and Pelosi should pause their aggressive agenda.

First, the Congressional Budget Office published a paper demonstrating what would happen if a sustained increase in federal spending were coupled with big tax increases to pay for the spending.

While the analysis points to different long-term effects from different types of taxes, any tax-and-spend approach would lead to reductions in economic growth and personal income that are larger than the size of the tax hikes.

For example, the analysis found that having 10% more federal government would mean a 12% to 19% reduction in personal consumption.

And that’s a conservative estimate. Most estimates show tax hikes shrink the economy by two to three times more than the revenues they raise.

That doesn’t mean Congress could escape the consequences of a continued spending spree by simply adding to the national debt. The CBO paper cautions that that would not only impose significant costs and divert resources away from the private sector, but it also would be unsustainable and increase the risk of a devastating financial crisis.

Along the same lines, the Government Accountability Office released a sobering reporton the nation’s poor financial health.

Now that Congress has passed a combined total of $6 trillion in legislation in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic (more than $48,000 per household), it must quickly address the unsustainable growth of major benefit programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Even before the pandemic struck, these programs were on a path to bankruptcy. Addressing these shortfalls in a way that is fair to both current retirees and future generations who will have to foot the bill is one of the greatest policy challenges facing the nation.

Unfortunately, Washington is exacerbating the problem by adding excessively to the national debt and potentially stunting economic growth with higher taxes.

While the Biden administration has repeatedly claimed that it will only seek to raise taxes on the wealthy, a government of the size that it’s seeking would require amounts of money that can only be generated through steep across-the-board tax increases on middle-class Americans.

Regardless of whether those taxes are levied tomorrow or in a few years, they would be an inevitable part of expanding the size and scope of the federal government.

Rather than continuing down the path of centralized power and socialism, lawmakers should recognize the costs associated with endless federal spending and chart a course toward financial responsibility and prosperity.

If they don’t, it will be the public’s duty to hold them accountable.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we will consider publishing your remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature.

March 31, 2021

President Biden  c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Please explain to me if you ever do plan to balance the budget while you are President? I have written these things below about you and I really do think that you don’t want to cut spending in order to balance the budget. It seems you ever are daring the Congress to stop you from spending more.

President Barack Obama speaks about the debt limit in the East Room of the White House in Washington. | AP Photo

“The credit of the United States ‘is not a bargaining chip,’ Obama said on 1-14-13. However, President Obama keeps getting our country’s credit rating downgraded as he raises the debt ceiling higher and higher!!!!

Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict

Just spend more, don’t know how to cut!!! Really!!! That is not living in the real world is it?

Making more dependent on government is not the way to go!!

Why is our government in over 16 trillion dollars in debt? There are many reasons for this but the biggest reason is people say “Let’s spend someone else’s money to solve our problems.” Liberals like Max Brantley have talked this way for years. Brantley will say that conservatives are being harsh when they don’t want the government out encouraging people to be dependent on the government. The Obama adminstration has even promoted a plan for young people to follow like Julia the Moocher.  

David Ramsey demonstrates in his Arkansas Times Blog post of 1-14-13 that very point:

Arkansas Politics / Health Care Arkansas’s share of Medicaid expansion and the national debt

Posted by on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Baby carrot Arkansas Medicaid expansion image

Imagine standing a baby carrot up next to the 25-story Stephens building in Little Rock. That gives you a picture of the impact on the national debt that federal spending in Arkansas on Medicaid expansion would have, while here at home expansion would give coverage to more than 200,000 of our neediest citizens, create jobs, and save money for the state.

Here’s the thing: while more than a billion dollars a year in federal spending would represent a big-time stimulus for Arkansas, it’s not even a drop in the bucket when it comes to the national debt.

Currently, the national debt is around $16.4 trillion. In fiscal year 2015, the federal government would spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion to fund Medicaid expansion in Arkansas if we say yes. That’s about 1/13,700th of the debt.

It’s hard to get a handle on numbers that big, so to put that in perspective, let’s get back to the baby carrot. Imagine that the height of the Stephens building (365 feet) is the $16 trillion national debt. That $1.2 billion would be the length of a ladybug. Of course, we’re not just talking about one year if we expand. Between now and 2021, the federal government projects to contribute around $10 billion. The federal debt is projected to be around $25 trillion by then, so we’re talking about 1/2,500th of the debt. Compared to the Stephens building? That’s a baby carrot.

______________

Here is how it will all end if everyone feels they should be allowed to have their “baby carrot.”

How sad it is that liberals just don’t get this reality.

Here is what the Founding Fathers had to say about welfare. David Weinberger noted:

While living in Europe in the 1760s, Franklin observed: “in different countries … the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813) was a Scottish lawyer, writer, and professor. Tytler was also a historian, and he noted, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Milligan

April 6, 1816

[Jefferson affirms that the main purpose of society is to enable human beings to keep the fruits of their labor. — TGW]

To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, “the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.” If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra taxation violates it.

[From Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Albert E. Bergh (Washington: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), 14:466.]

_______

Jefferson pointed out that to take from the rich and give to the poor through government is just wrong. Franklin knew the poor would have a better path upward without government welfare coming their way. Milton Friedman’s negative income tax is the best method for doing that and by taking away all welfare programs and letting them go to the churches for charity.

_____________

_________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

Related posts:

Welfare Spending Shattering All-Time Highs

  We got to act fast and get off this path of socialism. Morning Bell: Welfare Spending Shattering All-Time Highs Robert Rector and Amy Payne October 18, 2012 at 9:03 am It’s been a pretty big year for welfare—and a new report shows welfare is bigger than ever. The Obama Administration turned a giant spotlight […]

We need more brave souls that will vote against Washington welfare programs

We need to cut Food Stamp program and not extend it. However, it seems that people tell the taxpayers back home they are going to Washington and cut government spending but once they get up there they just fall in line with  everyone else that keeps spending our money. I am glad that at least […]

Welfare programs are not the answer for the poor

Government Must Cut Spending Uploaded by HeritageFoundation on Dec 2, 2010 The government can cut roughly $343 billion from the federal budget and they can do so immediately. __________ Liberals argue that the poor need more welfare programs, but I have always argued that these programs enslave the poor to the government. Food Stamps Growth […]

Private charities are best solution and not government welfare

Milton Friedman – The Negative Income Tax Published on May 11, 2012 by LibertyPen In this 1968 interview, Milton Friedman explained the negative income tax, a proposal that at minimum would save taxpayers the 72 percent of our current welfare budget spent on administration. http://www.LibertyPen.com Source: Firing Line with William F Buckley Jr. ________________ Milton […]

The book “After the Welfare State”

Dan Mitchell Commenting on Obama’s Failure to Propose a Fiscal Plan Published on Aug 16, 2012 by danmitchellcato No description available. ___________ After the Welfare State Posted by David Boaz Cato senior fellow Tom G. Palmer, who is lecturing about freedom in Slovenia and Tbilisi this week, asked me to post this announcement of his […]

President Obama responds to Heritage Foundation critics on welfare reform waivers

Is President Obama gutting the welfare reform that Bill Clinton signed into law? Morning Bell: Obama Denies Gutting Welfare Reform Amy Payne August 8, 2012 at 9:15 am The Obama Administration came out swinging against its critics on welfare reform yesterday, with Press Secretary Jay Carney saying the charge that the Administration gutted the successful […]

Welfare reform part 3

Thomas Sowell – Welfare Welfare reform was working so good. Why did we have to abandon it? Look at this article from 2003. The Continuing Good News About Welfare Reform By Robert Rector and Patrick Fagan, Ph.D. February 6, 2003 Six years ago, President Bill Clinton signed legislation overhauling part of the nation’s welfare system. […]

Welfare reform part 2

Uploaded by ForaTv on May 29, 2009 Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2009/05/18/James_Bartholomew_The_Welfare_State_Were_In Author James Bartholomew argues that welfare benefits actually increase government handouts by ‘ruining’ ambition. He compares welfare to a humane mousetrap. —– Welfare reform was working so good. Why did we have to abandon it? Look at this article from 2003. In the controversial […]

Why did Obama stop the Welfare Reform that Clinton put in?

Thomas Sowell If the welfare reform law was successful then why change it? Wasn’t Bill Clinton the president that signed into law? Obama Guts Welfare Reform Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley July 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm Today, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare […]

“Feedback Friday” Letter to White House generated form letter response July 10,2012 on welfare, etc (part 14)

I have been writing President Obama letters and have not received a personal response yet.  (He reads 10 letters a day personally and responds to each of them.) However, I did receive a form letter in the form of an email on July 10, 2012. I don’t know which letter of mine generated this response so I have […]



APRIL 20, 2021 1:47PM

Quadruple the Cost, 11 Years Late

By Randal O’Toole


SHARE

The California high‐​speed rail project was originally projected to cost $25 billion and is now projected to cost $100 billion. It was originally expected to be complete by 2020; now they are saying some time in the 2030s. Since they don’t have the money to complete it, it may never get done, and the part that will be finished serves the least‐​populated part of the route.

Hawaii has its own rail debacle that sounds like California’s system on a smaller scale. Honolulu decided to build a rail transit line that was originally projected to cost less than $3 billion. The latest estimates are that it will cost $12 billion including finance charges. The line was supposed to open in 2020; now they are saying 2031. But that date may be irrelevant because the transit agency building the project is $3 billion short of what is needed to finish it, and the part that will be finished serves the least‐​populated part of the route.

These two examples are a little extreme, but rail transit projects on average cost about 50 percent more than their original projections and very few end up costing less than 20 percent more than projected. While it is too soon to tell for California or Honolulu rail, ridership projections also average 70 percent more than actual ridership. A planning process that systematically overestimates benefits and underestimates costs is effectively biased towards capital intensive, high‐​cost projects.

This makes it particularly frightening that the Biden infrastructure plan calls for spending $85 billion more on transit. Transit carries only 1 percent of passenger travel in the United States and zero percent of freight, yet under Biden’s plan it would get nearly as much money as highways, which carry more than 85 percent of passenger travel and nearly 40 percent of the nation’s freight.

Biden’s proposal specifically calls for bringing “rail service to communities and neighborhoods across the country.” But rail transit was rendered obsolete by buses nearly a century ago, which is why between 1920 and 1975 around a thousand cities replaced rail lines with buses. Only when the federal government agreed to pay part of the cost of building new rail lines did many transit agencies get interested in new rail transit construction. Since then, the number of cities with rail transit has quintupled.

This is just one way in which the Biden infrastructure plan will waste money. Another is a “fix‐​it first” provision associated with Biden’s proposed highway spending. Although highways nominally get a little more money than transit ($115 billion vs. $85 billion), the “fix it first” rule means that states will not be able to build new roads until all existing roads are considered to be in good condition. No such rule will be applied to transit.

In fact, America’s state highways and bridges are already in pretty good condition. The number of bridges rated to be in “poor” condition has declined from 124,000 in 1992to 45,000 in 2020. The average roughness of pavement has also declined, meaning fewer potholes. These improvements were made without a giant infrastructure bill.

Transit infrastructure, meanwhile, is in terrible shape and deteriorating faster than agencies are maintaining it. The latest estimate is that transit needs $174 billion to get into a state of good repair. (It would cost a lot less to convert most rail transit to buses, which could be done in most cities whose initials are not NYC without harming transit systems.) If a fix‐​it first rule should be applied to anything, it would be transit.

An even more fundamental flaw with the Biden plan is that it completely ignores recent events, namely the pandemic. Even after everyone is vaccinated, it is expected that more people will work at home, fewer jobs will be located in downtowns, and more households will move to lower density areas. All of these changes hurt transit ridership, which is not likely to recover to more than about 75 percent of its pre‐​pandemic levels. This is a bad time to increasing spending on transit infrastructure.

The federal government should stop giving cities incentives to build expensive rail transit lines they don’t need. If Congress really wants to help infrastructure, it should just give money to the states based on a formula that takes population, land area, and miles of passenger travel and freight shipping (or user fees) into account and let the states decide how to spend the money.

MUSIC MONDAY Chris Martin wrote “But didn’t we have fun? Don’t say it was all a waste”

COLDPLAY Fun feat. Tove Lo

“Fun”
(feat. Tove Lo)

[Coldplay:]
I know it’s over before she says
I know it falls at the water face
I know it’s over, an ocean awaits
For a storm
The sun and snow
Rivers and rain
Crystal ball could foresee a change
And I know it’s over, parting our ways
And it’s done

[Coldplay:]
But didn’t we have fun?
Don’t say it was all a waste
Didn’t we have fun?
From the top of the world
Top of the waves
You said forever, forever always
We could have been lost
We would have been saved
Now we’re stopping the world, stopping it’s spin
Oh come on don’t give up
You see me give in
Don’t say it’s over
Don’t say we’re done
Oh, didn’t we have fun?
Oh, didn’t we have fun?

[Coldplay & Tove Lo:]
I know it’s over before she says
Now someone else has taken your place
I know it’s over Icarus says to the sun
And so it sinks in, lightning strikes
You’re too forced to force his glide
The fact that it’s over, the fact that it’s done

[Coldplay & Tove Lo:]
Didn’t we have fun?
Don’t say it was all a waste
Didn’t we have fun?
From the top of the world
Top of the waves
You said forever, forever always
We could have been lost
We would have been saved
Now we’re stopping the world, stopped it in its tracks
Nothing’s too broken to find our way back
So before it’s over, before you run
Ah, didn’t we have fun?

[Coldplay & Tove Lo:]
Just you and me, you and me
We were always meant to, always meant to
You and me, you and me
We were always meant to, always meant to
You and me, you and me
We were always meant to, always meant to
Hey-ey-ey-ey

Oh, didn’t we have fun?

Oh, didn’t we have fun?

[Coldplay:]
But didn’t?
Maybe we could again

Coldplay – Amazing Day (new song) (lyric) testo + traduzione (lyrics)

Related posts:

The Spiritual Implication of Coldplay songs

_________ Coldplay – Midnight At the bottom of this post are links to other articles about the spiritual implications of some Coldplay songs. Midnight (Coldplay song) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “Midnight” Song by Coldplay Recorded 2013 at The Bakery and The Beehive (London, England) Genre Ambient, experimental rock,electronic[1] Label Parlophone, Atlantic Writer Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, Jon Hopkins, Chris Martin Producer […]

“Music Monday” The most popular posts in the last 30 days about the spiritual quest of Chris Martin of Coldplay that can be found on www.thedailyhatch.org

These are some of the most popular posts in the last 30 days about the spiritual quest of Chris Martin of Coldplay that can be found on http://www.thedailyhatch.org: Chris Martin of Coldplay unknowingly lives out his childhood Christian beliefs (Part 3 of notes from June 23, 2012 Dallas Coldplay Concert, Martin left Christianity because of […]

Steve Jobs, Death, Woody Allen, Ecclesiastes and the band Coldplay

_________________________ (If you want to check out other posts I have done about about Steve Jobs:Some say Steve Jobs was an atheist , Steve Jobs and Adoption , What is the eternal impact of Steve Jobs’ life? ,Steve Jobs versus President Obama: Who created more jobs? ,Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it ,8 things you might not know about […]

“Music Monday” Coldplay the documentary with pictures and videos (Part 7 )

Coldplay Live 2003 Backstage Chris Martin revealed in his interview with Howard Stern that he was rasied an evangelical Christian but he has left the church. I believe that many words that he puts in his songs today are generated from the deep seated Christian beliefs from his childhood that find their way out in […]

Are Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin looking for Spiritual Answers? (Coldplay’s spiritual search Part 4)jh62

  I wrote this article a couple of years ago. Are Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin looking for Spiritual Answers? Just like King Solomon’s predicament in the Book of Ecclesiastes, both of these individuals are very wealthy, famous, and successful, but they still are seeking satisfying answers to life’s greatest questions even though it seems […]

Insight into what Coldplay meant by “St. Peter won’t call my name” (Series on Coldplay’s spiritual search, Part 3)jh61

Coldplay seeks to corner the market on earnest and expressive rock music that currently appeals to wide audiences Here is an article I wrote a couple of years ago about Chris Martin’s view of hell. He says he does not believe in it but for some reason he writes a song that teaches that it […]

Will Coldplay’s 2011 album continue on spiritual themes found in 2008 Viva La Vida? (Series on Coldplay’s spiritual search, Part 2)jh60

Views:2 By waymedia Coldplay Coldplay – Life In Technicolor ii Back in 2008 I wrote a paper on the spiritual themes of Coldplay’s album Viva La Vida and I predicted this spiritual search would continue in the future. Below is the second part of the paper, “Coldplay’s latest musical lyrics indicate a Spiritual Search for the […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 368 My letter to Adam Levine who appears in the video “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash FEATURED ARTIST IS Damien Hirst

____

Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down

Johnny Cash’s version of the traditional God’s Gonna Cut You Down, from the album “American V: A Hundred Highways”, was released as a music video on November 9 2006, just over three years after Cash died. Producer Rick Rubin opens the music video, saying, “You know, Johnny always wore black. He wore black because he identified with the poor and the downtrodden…”. What follows is a collection of black and white clips of well known pop artists wearing black, each interacting with the song in their own way. Some use religious imagery. Howard sits in his limo reading from Ezekiel 34, a Biblical passage warning about impending judgment for false shepherd. Bono leaning on a graffiti-filled wall between angel’s wings and a halo, pointing to the words, “Sinners Make The Best Saints. J.C. R.I.P.” A number of artists wear or hold crosses.

Faces in Johnny Cash God's Gonna Cut You Down music video

Artists appear in this order: Rick Rubin, Iggy Pop, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Kris Kristofferson, Patti Smith, Terence Howard, Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Q-Tip, Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Chris Rock, Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, Sir Peter Blake (Sgt Peppers Artist), Sheryl Crow, Denis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Amy Lee of Evanescence, Tommy Lee, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks), Mick Jones, Sharon Stone, Bono, Shelby Lynne, Anthony Kiedis, Travis Barker, Lisa Marie Presley, Kid Rock, Jay Z, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons, Corinne Bailey Rae, Johnny Depp, Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Rick Rubin and Owen Wilson. The video finishes with Rick Rubin traveling to a seaside cliff with friend Owen Wilson to throw a bouquet of flowers up in the air.

March 16, 2019

Adam Levine

Beverly Hills, CA 90210-5213
USA

Dear Adam,

I understand that you are Jewish. If Johnny Cash was here today, I bet he would share something like this below from the scriptures. Johnny was a student of the whole Bible. He wrote the book THE MAN IN WHITE about the apostle Paul and it took him 10 years to write and in that book you can tell that he spent much time in research asking Jewish leaders what life was like for the Jews in the 1st century in Palestine while being occupied by the Romans.

I know that you will spending lots of time in the scriptures and I wanted to share with you some key scriptures that talk about the Messiah.

Uniqueness of Jesus

Who Is Jesus Christ?

By Bill Bright

What if you could predict that a major world event would take place five minutes from now? What if you could accurately describe what would happen? Would knowing the future give you unusual power? Would anyone believe you? Possibly some would, but how many would not?

Many people do not believe the Bible, yet it miraculously foretells hundreds of events, sometimes in minute detail, and usually hundreds – sometimes thousands – of years ahead. Some prophecies concern cities and countries, such as Tyre, Jericho, Samaria, Jerusalem, Palestine, Moab, and Babylon. Others relate to specific individuals. Many have already been fulfilled, but some are still in the future.

Jesus Christ is the subject of more than 300 Old Testament prophecies. His birth nearly 2,000 years ago, and events of His life had been foretold by many prophets during a period of 1,500 years. History confirms that even the smallest detail happened just as predicted. It confirms beyond a doubt that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Son of God and Savior of the world.

The following chart lists some of the amazing predictions concerning Jesus Christ, together with the record of their fulfillment:


His Birth
Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 7:14
Fullfillment in Jesus: Matthew 1:18,22,23

His Birthplace
Old Testament Prophecy: Micah 5:2
Fullfillment in Jesus: Luke 2:4,6,7

His Childhood in Egypt
Old Testament Prophecy: Hosea 11:1
Fullfillment in Jesus: Matthew 2:14-15

The Purpose for His Death
Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 53:4-6
Fullfillment in Jesus: 1 Corinthians 15:21; 1 Peter 2:24

His Betrayal
Old Testament Prophecy: Zechariah 11:12-13; 13:6
Fullfillment in Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16; 27:3-10

His Crucifixion
Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 22
Fullfillment in Jesus: Matthew 27

His Resurrection
Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 16:9-10
Fullfillment in Jesus: Acts 2:31


The printed version of this study contains 29 pages of preparatory notes not included in the online version of this study. Click here to order the printed study guide, The Uniqueness of Jesus.

Isaiah 53-54

English Standard Version (ESV)

53 (A)Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
And to whom has (B)the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
(C)and like a root out of dry ground;
(D)he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
(E)He was despised and rejected[b] by men;
a man of sorrows,[c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[f]
he was despised, and (F)we esteemed him not.

(G)Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
(H)smitten by God, and afflicted.
(I)But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
(J)and with his wounds we are healed.
(K)All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
(L)and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
(M)yet he opened not his mouth;
(N)like a (O)lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, (P)who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
(Q)and with a rich man in his death,
although (R)he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet (S)it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;[g]
(T)when his soul makes[h] an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
(U)the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall (V)the righteous one, my servant,
(W)make many to be accounted righteous,
(X)and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 (Y)Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[j]
(Z)and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[k]
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
(AA)yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

The Eternal Covenant of Peace

54 (AB)“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of (AC)the desolate one (AD)will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
(AE)“Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
(AF)For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.

“Fear not, (AG)for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
(AH)For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
(AI)and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
(AJ)the God of the whole earth he is called.
(AK)For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
(AL)For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
(AM)In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
(AN)but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer.

“This is like (AO)the days of Noah[l] to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and (AP)my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 (AQ)“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, (AR)I will set your stones in antimony,
(AS)and lay your foundations with sapphires.[m]
12 I will make your pinnacles of agate,[n]
your gates of carbuncles,[o]
and all your wall of precious stones

You and I have something in common and it is the song GOD’S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN. You were in the video and my post about that video entitled, People in the Johnny Cash video “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” is the most popular post I have done in recent years. It ranked #1 for all of 2015 and I have over 1,000,000 hits on my http://www.thedailyhatch.org blog site. The ironic thing is that I never knew what a big deal Johnny Cash was until he had died. I grew up in Memphis with his nephew Paul Garrett and we even went to the same school and church. Paul’s mother was Johnny Cash’s sister Margaret Louise Garrett.

Stu Carnall, an early tour manager for Johnny Cash, recalled, “Johnny’s an individualist, and he’s a loner….We’d be on the road for weeks at a time, staying at motels and hotels along the way. While the other members of the troupe would sleep in, Johnny would disappear for a few hours. When he returned, if anyone asked where he’d been, he’d answer straight faced, ‘to church.'”

There were two sides to Johnny Cash and he expressed that best when he said, “There is a spiritual side to me that goes real deep, but I confess right up front that I’m the biggest sinner of them all.”

Have you ever taken the time to read the words of the song?

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler,
The gambler,
The back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Well my goodness gracious let me tell you the news
My head’s been wet with the midnight dew
I’ve been down on bended knee talkin’ to the man from Galilee
He spoke to me in the voice so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of the angel’s feet
He called my name and my heart stood still
When he said, “John go do My will!”

 Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand

Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s down in the dark will be brought to the light
You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
___
Johnny Cash sang this song of Judgment because he knew the Bible says in  Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.” The first part of this verse is about the judgment sinners must face if not pardoned, but the second part is about Christ who paid our sin debt!!! Did you know that Romans 6:23 is part of what we call the Roman Road to Christ. Here is how it goes:
  • Because of our sin, we are separated from God.
    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)
  • The Penalty for our sin is death.
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
  • The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ!
    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
  • If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins!
    For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)
    …if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

PS: I have enclosed a booklet entitled THIS WAS YOUR LIFE! If one repents and puts trust in Christ alone for eternal life then he or she will be forgiven. Francis Schaeffer noted, “If Satan tempts you to worry over it, rebuff him by saying I AM FORGIVEN ON THE BASIS OF THE WORK OF CHRIST AS HE DIED ON THE CROSS!!!”

  • American singer and civil rights activist Odetta recorded a traditional version of the song. Musician Sean Michel covered the song during his audition on Season 6 of American Idol. Matchbox Twenty also used the song before playing “How Far We’ve Come” on their “Exile in America” tour.

  • The New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem have also covered the song.[citation needed] Canadian rock band Three Days Grace has used the song in the opening of their live shows, as well as the rock band Staind . Bobbie Gentry recorded a version as “Sermon” on her album The Delta Sweete. Guitarist Bill Leverty recorded a version for his third solo project Deep South, a tribute album of traditional songs. Tom Jones recorded an up-tempo version which appears on his 2010 album Praise & BlamePow woW recorded a version with the Golden Gate Quartet for their 1992 album Regagner les Plaines and performed a live version with the quartet in 2008. A cover of the song by Blues Saraceno was used for the Season 8 trailer of the TV series DexterPedro Costarecorded a neo-blues version for the Discovery channel TV show Weed Country (2013). Virginia based folk rock band Carbon Leaf covered the song many times during their live shows.
  • Chart positions[edit]

    Moby version: “Run On”[edit]

    Chart (1999) Peak
    position
    UK Singles Chart 33

    Johnny Cash version[edit]

    Chart (2006) Peak
    position
    UK Singles Chart 77

  • American Idol contestant ministers in Chile

  • SANTIAGO, Chile (BP)–Sean Michel smiled through his distinctive, foot-long beard as he slid the guitar strap over his shoulder and greeted the crowd at El Huevo nightclub with what little Spanish he knows. The former American Idol contestant and his band then erupted into the sounds of Mississippi Delta blues-rock.But unlike other musicians who played that night, the Sean Michel band sang about every person’s need for God and the salvation that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ.”We came down [to Chile] to open doors that other ministries couldn’t,” said Jay Newman, Michel’s manager. “To get in places that only a rock band could — to create a vision for new church-planting movements among the underground, disenfranchised subcultures of Chile.”The Sean Michel band recently traveled through central Chile playing more than 15 shows in bars, churches, schools and parks. The group consists of Southern Baptists Sean Michel, lead singer; Alvin Rapien, lead guitarist; Seth Atchley, bass guitarist; and Tyler Groves, drummer.”Although we’re a blues rock ‘n’ roll band, we’re an extension of the church,” Michel said. “We’re kind of like ‘musicianaries,’ if you will.”MISSIONS-MINDED MUSICIANSThe band formed after Michel and Newman met as students at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. While there, the two began recording and selling Michel’s music as a way to raise money for mission trips to Africa and Asia.”We were just trying to raise money for a mission trip, but we’d also seen God speaking to people through the music,” Michel said. “So we were like, ‘Well, maybe we need to do something with this,’ and we became a music ministry. But it’s always been rooted in missions and … in the Great Commission.”Michel graduated from Ouachita in 2001, Newman in 2004. In 2007, Newman talked Michel into auditioning for American Idol. The exposure Michel received through the television show gained a wider audience for their ministry.”The whole American Idol thing was so weird,” Michel said. “We just kind of went on a whim. But the Lord used it in a big way.”During his tryout, Michel belted out a soulful rendition of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” The video of the audition went viral on the Internet.Soon he was doing radio interviews in which he identified himself as a Christian and directed listeners to the band’s Gospel-laden MySpace page. On their next mission trip to Asia, Michel and Newman found that being recognizable gave them access to venues they couldn’t have entered before.The band is now an official extension of First Southern Baptist Church of Bryant, Ark., where the musicians have long been active members serving in the music and youth ministries. Every mission trip they have taken has involved working with International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries.”We’re Southern Baptist,” Michel said. “That’s who we roll with.”

    TOUR DE FAITH

    “With short-term mission trips, you can plan, but you just got to be willing for your plans to change,” said Michel. When the band arrived in Chile, they were surprised to find that their schedule wasn’t nearly as full as expected. Almost no public venues had booked shows, and many rock-wary churches had declined to host the band.

    “The biggest barrier we had was the pastors,” said Cliff Case, an IMB missionary in Santiago, Chile, and a 1984 graduate of Ouachita Baptist. “The older pastors on two or three different occasions gave excuses for not doing it. It was a real frustration in that sense.”

    Disappointed by the lack of interest, the band prayed for God’s help. They met Jose Campos — or Pépe, as the band came to know him. Campos works with music and youth for the Ministry of the Down and Out, an independent Christian ministry that seeks to reach the often-overlooked demographics of Santiago.

    Campos was able to use his connections to book shows for the band in venues they wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

    “Had we met Pépe (Campos) two or three weeks before the group came, there’s no telling how many shows we might have done,” said Case, who met Newman at Ouachita when Case and his wife, Cinthy, were missionaries-in-residence there.

    Campos booked the show at El Huevo, possibly Chile’s most popular club. Playing there has given the band musical credibility among Chilean rockers. And, one Chilean church reported that a youth accepted Christ after hearing Newman talk before a show. The band already is contemplating a return tour next year.

    OPENING NEW DOORS

    Sharing the Gospel through their songs is only the beginning for the Sean Michel band. Their vision is to be a catalyst to help churches — and missionaries — connect with the lost people of their communities.

    “God is not saving the world through rock bands,” Michel said. “He’s saving the world through the church. And it will always be through the local body.”

    The band wants to see churches take ministry beyond the church doors.

    “If you’re going to want to legitimately reach lost people, you’re going to have to get out,” Michel said. “Go out into the dark places. Those are the places we need to be to reach out.”

    The band’s ministry in Chile opened new doors for IMB missionaries to reach the young, musical subculture of Chilean society.

    “They laid the groundwork for more opportunities,” Case said. “Now we have a network of who to talk to and how to get organized. We can focus on how to use the work they’re doing so we can win people to the Lord and plant some churches.”


    Tristan Taylor is an International Mission Board writer living in the Americas.

  • Damien Hirst – The First Look presented by Channel 4

    Published on Apr 3, 2012

    Featuring Noel Fielding

    _______________
    At the 5:00 point in the video above the 1991 artwork “THE PHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF DEATH IN THE MIND OF SOMEONE LIVING” is featured.

    The Scream, a Stuffed Shark, and the Insecurity of Culture

    Last week I took the opportunity of the record sale at auction of Edvard Munch’s masterpiece, The Scream (1895) to reflect on Munch and his work from a theological perspective. But the auctions themselves, which achieved record prices for several artists, raise their own set of theological questions that are more productive and interesting than most media commentary, which cites the disconnect between the art world and the so-called real world, or questions whether a work of art is worth $120 million.  Given the attention that the auctions have received the last few weeks inThe New York Times and the fact that British artist Damien Hirst’s retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London opened last month, I thought it worthwhile to republish a slightly edited version of a blog post entitled, “The Stuffed Shark and the Insecurity of Culture,” originally published at Comment: Public Theology for the Common Good on February 15, 2012.


    Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991

     

    The Art Market

    The media coverage surrounding British artist Damien Hirst’s presentation of over three hundred “dot” paintings at Larry Gagosian’s eleven galleries around the world (most of them painted by his assistants), reminded me of my defense of his most infamous work, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) in the Summer 2010 issue of Comment. Commissioned by the British advertising executive and art collector Charles Saatchi, the fourteen-foot stuffed tiger shark suspended in a tank filled with formaldehyde was sold in 2005 to the American hedge fund executive Stephen Cohen for $12 million and recently donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This work embodies the mysterious opacity of the contemporary art world, which frustrates even the most culturally engaged Christians.

    I wrote that Christians need a more robust understanding of the rich and complex habitus of the contemporary art world, consisting of the labyrinthine network of institutional and sociological fields that can make a stuffed shark a highly successful and valuable work of art. I argued that the cultural mandate—what Andy Crouch calls “the relentless, restless human effort to take the world as it’s given to us and make something else”—includes the messy and sometimes unsightly and smelly sausage-making that characterizes the means and mechanisms by which art makes its way from the studio to galleries, private collections, and museums. I went further to suggest that with its holy days, liturgies, relics, and other practices that maintain belief, the art world operates like a religion. And that should command our interest, whether or not we like the stuffed shark or find problematic aspects of the institutional framework that made it possible.

    But there is a much darker side to the contemporary art world, which economist Don Thompson explores in The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art (Palgrave/ Macmillan, 2008). The book analyzes the mystifying economic structure that characterizes contemporary art at the highest echelons. For Thompson, this art world is defined by insecurity. “Never underestimate,” states an auction house director, “how insecure buyers are about contemporary art, and how much they always need reassurance.” Insecurity is the fuel that powers the network of auction houses, galleries, museums, and interpretation, which serve as validating mechanisms, reinforcing decisions to acquire, represent, exhibit, or review an artist’s work. Thompson’s book suggests that this rarely has to do with the quality of the work of art itself, but the leverage of secondary indicators. “The value of art often has more to do with artist, dealer, or auction-house branding, and with collector ego, than it does with art.” But the collector’s ego is fragile. “Most of all,” Thompson writes, “they want reassurance that, when they hang the art their friends will not ridicule their purchase.” Whether it is $12 million for a stuffed shark or $200,000 for a canvas with oil paints smeared on it, collectors need to be confident that their purchase brings power, prestige, and cultural capital.

    Artists who work at this elite level know this and develop their own strategies to provide such reassurance. “The job of the artist,” Francis Bacon once said, “is always to deepen the mystery.” The strange personas and outrageous gestures of Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, and Maurizio Cattelan are intentionally crafted efforts to enchant collectors, easing their insecurity. In an age when collectors and dealers regularly consult a website called Artfacts (www.artfacts.net), which ranks artists like stocks, rising and falling on a daily basis, such strategies are absolutely necessary to preserve any creative autonomy and human integrity.

    The insecurity that haunts collectors and dealers can crush artists, forcing them into a high-stakes game of behavioral poker, in which their very livelihoods and identities are determined by a small group of wealthy but unpredictable collectors pursuing entertainment and validation. To dismiss this as antithetical to the integrity of art over-idealizes it and distorts the social and institutional fabric from which the work emerges. Moreover, this situation is the same for a painter of landscapes as it is for Damien Hirst.  It was also the same for artists like Munch, whose decision to return to Norway was a strategic effort to diversify the market for his work before the outbreak of World War I.

    Edvard Munch in his studio, 1938

    Culture and Law & Gospel

    For the Lutheran and Reformed traditions, the cultural mandate is the foundation upon which vocation is built, encouraging culture-making and faithful presence in contemporary culture. After the Fall, however, we must exercise this God-given responsibility and desire to cultivate the earth east of Eden, in Cain’s city of Enoch. Culture thus bears the mark of Cain, the curse of toil and hardship. It is what is produced by our desperate wanderings, geographically and spiritually, and our greatest cultural monuments are often wrought through violence and death. Leo Tolstoy’s wife, Sofia, who sacrificed her life to serve her husband, wondered how many people would have to be consumed to enable the fire of genius to burn. It is impossible to read  The Death of Ivan Ilych or Anna Karenina and not consider the pain and misery that the production of these undeniably humanizing works caused to the author’s friends and family, not to mention to Tolstoy himself.

    This is tragic because great works of culture, whether paintings, poems, or cathedrals, are embodiments of a God-given urge for eternity, monuments to their maker’s existence, to their physical and emotional presence as image-bearers of God, and their ultimate identity in Christ. They can be a beautiful defiance of their mortality and a powerful intuition of grace, which is God’s final Word. Crouch writes in Culture Making, “All our culture making must be bound up in this prayer—that what we make of the world will last after the world itself has been rolled up like a scroll.” This is as true of the non-Christian as it is for the Christian. This is also why art often functions like a religion–it is an aesthetic means of justification.  But as a religion, it is based on law. And it can crush, even while it inexplicably produces work that sings the melody of grace.

    The “curious economics of contemporary art” that Thompson explores is the result of the internalization of insecurity and unsatisfied desire—that is, law. Modern and contemporary art becomes what Reformed pastor and author Tullian Tchividjian has called “self-salvation projects,” characterized by the efforts “to do more/try harder.” Like the builders of the Tower of Babel, art becomes a means by which we  ”make a name for ourselves” (Gen.11: 4).

    Although Tchividjian’s primary target is the confusion of law and gospel that distorts the two words by which God makes himself known to us, it offers significant secondary implications for modern and postmodern cultural analysis. Horton observes, “Although the goal of the law, according to Paul, is to silence the world before God, modernity is one long filibuster in which the sovereign self refuses to yield even to the Speaker of the House.” What are we to make of works of art produced by such a filibustering sovereign self, crushed by the law, kicking the goads, and for whom art is the only salvation, the only hope for eternal life? From this vantage point, there is much more at stake than simply the merits of the stuffed shark as a work of art and talking about “worldview.” In fact, most Christian worldview thinking operates as a legal scheme that cuts one off from experiencing the presence of grace in contemporary art and culture.

    Grace and Art

    But the mark of Cain is not only a curse but also a blessing. “Because of God’s common grace,” Horton observes, “no culture is entirely devoid of any sense of truth, justice, and beauty.” As Paul writes in Colossians, it is in Christ that “all things” hold together, even poems and paintings made by filibustering sovereign selves. Viewed through the lens of Christ, who says from the cross, “It is finished,” we can receive these works, like The Scream and the stuffed shark, wrought from fear and violence, as gospel and as grace, receive them as part of the liberating power that frees us to create and experience, to make and be shaped by culture, and be a faithful presence in a world in which Christ is working to make all things new, and in whom we have all we need.

    Referring to the implications of justification through the finished work of Christ, Lutheran theologian Gerhard Forde asked, “What are you going to do now that you don’t have to do anything?” This is a freedom that can come only from beyond the hills (Psalm 121), a freedom no artist can manufacture, only receive, and to which the artist can only respond.

    ______

    __

    _

    ______________________

  • Related posts:
  • Johnny Cash (Part 4)

    I got to hear Johnny Cash sing in person back in 1978.  Here is a portion of an article about his Christian Testimony. The Man Came Around   “Being a Christian isn’t for sissies,” Cash said once. “It takes a real man to live for God—a lot more man than to live for the devil, […]

  • Johnny Cash a Christian?

    I got to see Johnny Cash perform in Memphis in 1978 and I actually knew his nephew very well. He was an outspoken Christian and evangelical. Here is an article that discusses this. Johnny Cash’s Complicated Faith Dave Urbanski <!– var fbShare = { google_analytics: ‘true’, } tweetmeme_source = ‘RELEVANTMag’; –> Unwrapping the enigma of […]

    Johnny Cash (Part 3)

    I got to hear Johnny Cash sing in person back in 1978.  Here is a portion of an article about his Christian Testimony. The Man Came Around   A Walking Contradiction Cash’s daughter, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, once pointed out that “my father was raised a Baptist, but he has the soul of a mystic. He’s […]

    Johnny Cash (Part 2)

    I got to hear Johnny Cash sing in person back in 1978 at a Billy Graham Crusade in Memphis. Here is a portion of an article about his Christian Testimony. The Man Came Around Cash also made major headlines when he shared his faith on The Johnny Cash Show, a popular variety program on ABC […]

    Johnny Cash (Part 1)

    I got to hear Johnny Cash sing in person back in 1978. Here is a portion of an article about his Christian Testimony. The Man Came Around Johnny Cash was not ashamed of his Christian faith—though it was sometimes a messy faith—and even got some encouragement from Billy Graham along the way. Dave Urbanski | […]

  • People in the Johnny Cash video “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”

    Wikipedia noted: Johnny Cash recorded a version of “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” on American V: A Hundred Highways in 2003, with an arrangement quite different from most known gospel versions of the song. A music video, directed by Tony Kaye,[1] was made for this version in late 2006. It featured a number of celebrities, […]