Designated Survivor

My wife and I watched this show when it premiered in 2016. It was a very interesting political thriller involving a major attack on the government of the United States that thrust Kiefer Sutherland’s character (playing the Secretary of HUD) into the oval office as President after everybody in front of him in the line of succession was killed by a bomb. It was a good show, with spies, secret plots, machinations, drama, and moments of levity sprinkled in. The characters were engaging and you couldn’t help but root for the President’s success. The show ran for two seasons on ABC and then it was canceled.

Fast forward to this month. We haven’t had Netflix for several months, but signed up for a free trial that was available, and I noticed that Netflix had picked up the show and just released a third season of ten episodes. My wife and I started to watch the first episode last night.

I say “started to watch” because it was horrible. It’s like Netflix took a gourmet meal and poured vomit all over it. We couldn’t even finish the episode. They decided that the show needed more cursing (we hit three F-bombs and quit watching). As I did more research, I found out that now they’ve decided to make main characters gay (because we all know every single show now has to have gay characters, even though gay people are 2-3% of the population). There’s prostitution, sex, profanity, transgender characters, disgustingly crude references in conversation that I won’t repeat here, and they’ve turned the President, who in the first two seasons was a kind of “every-man”, into a white male version of the liberal savior who cares about all the liberal issues and none of the conservative ones. According to the reviews I’ve read online he spends the whole ten episodes fighting against the Republicans and the Democrats are strangely absent.

It’s sad that Netflix (and the rest of Hollywood) feels like this is the kind of garbage that we should be “entertaining” ourselves with, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. As I peruse the rest of what is available on Netflix right now, the only thing of value are the good shows I’ve already seen, and the Disney content. So no, we will not be paying Netflix a dime and will be canceling this subscription.

The older I get, the more I notice the world moving further and further away from what is decent and right and good. It’s like they are daring each other to be as shocking and ungodly as they can possibly be. It only makes me long for the return of Christ. Even so….

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Minnesota’s 5th District

I keep seeing this thing on Facebook and other sites claiming that the only reason Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is in congress is that President Obama sent 70,000 Somali refugees to the 5th Congressional district of Minnesota.  The people that post this nonsense are assuming a lot of things. For one, they’re assuming that 100% of these 70,000 people are of voting age and they ALL vote Democratic. 

First of all, the numbers are wrong.  Suffice it to say there are only 69,000 Somalis living in the entire state.  The 5th district itself only has 58,000 residents born in “Sub-saharan Africa.”  That certainly includes Somalia, but many other countries too. 

Then let’s get to the population of the district. The census bureau says that, as of 2017, there are 721,389 people in that district.  Only 343,358 of them voted.  Now that’s 48% of the total number of people.  I’m sure some of those people are not of voting age, but that’s still thousands of people not voting.

Even IF there were 70,000 Somalis living in MN-5, and IF they all were of age, and IF they all voted Democrat, there were still an additional 197,703 people in that district that voted Democrat. And the Republican challenger got 74,440 votes.

So now we get to the crux of the matter.  The problem with Minnesota’s 5th district is not that there are too many Somalis in it, it’s that there are too many DEMOCRATS in it. The last time that district sent a Republican to DC was 1960. Pick an election from that point on, and the Democrat candidate beat the Republican challenger by double digits every year. Seriously, I looked. Between 1863 and 1962 the Republicans won that seat in all but three elections. But for some reason the tide turned in 1962, and the DFL party won 52%-48% and they haven’t lost since. Most years the DFL candidate gets around 70% of the vote in that district.

Here’s a breakdown of the election results by percentage since then:

YEAR  D% vs R%

2018        77-21
2016        69-22
2014        70-24
2012        75-25
2010        68-24
2008        71-22
2006        56-21
2004        70-24
2002        67-26
2000        69-23
1998        67-28
1996        64-28
1994        62-37
1992        63-28
1990        73-27
1988        72-25
1986        73-26
1984        70-27
1982        66-29
1980        70-26
1978        62-38
1976        71-26
1974        74-25
1972        66-24
1970        57-42
1968        58-42
1966        60-40
1964        62-38
1962        52-48

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I Am Nobody

As a child my parents told me I had so much potential. Usually it was when school came easy for me so I just skated by easily, and they were upset I wasn’t operating up to my potential.  I remember one time my dad said “You could be anything you want to be.”  I took that to heart, and so I became nobody.

I didn’t set out to become nobody, but the choices I’ve made in my life (some good, some bad) have brought me to this point in my life. Some of it I’m sure is God’s providential hand, and some of it is the natural consequence of my own choices (which God takes into account). 

What do I mean when I say I’m nobody? I’m nobody special. I’m nobody important. I’m nobody that you would see me coming and turn around to get my autograph or take a picture to prove you met me. I’m not impressive or outstanding really. I will almost certainly die having accomplished nothing of note or consequence.  99.9% of the world will almost certainly not notice when I am no longer here. 

I have had two professions, really: nursing and pastoring. I have won no awards in either career.  I’m a good nurse, but not the best nurse ever.  I’d like to think I’m a good pastor, but that’s not for me to say.  I try my hardest, but I see other men my age (and younger) attaining to positions and offices that I never will.  I’m not sure if I will ever pastor a church larger than 100 people (not that there’s anything wrong with that). 

But I serve my God. I put one foot in front of the other every day and try to do what He asks. And whatever job He has for me, I do it willingly and gladly, even if men never see or think highly of me. And that doesn’t bother me really, because I’m not doing it for them.

Psalm 84:10 says:

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
            I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
            Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

That means it’s better to be a doorman for God than live outside of His will. it’s better to be a nobody for God than to be a somebody for the world. I am happy serving God wherever He sends me.

God does not require us to be spectacular. He just wants us to be faithful.

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There has been a lot of talk going around lately regarding reparations for slavery in the United States. I decided that since nobody asked, you obviously want to know what I think about it.

I am pro-reparations. I believe that if someone harms someone else or steals from them, they should pay a penalty. The Bible expresses the same principle over and over in the Law of Moses (Exodus 21:22, 28-36; 22:4-14; Leviticus 24:19-21). Now I’m not saying that the Law of Moses is in effect, but the principle of reparations for harm done is there. If I steal and eat my neighbor’s cow, I should have to replace the cow with a similar cow or other financial penalty. If I rob a bank, I should have to pay back what I have stolen. So the issue of reparations is a personal one.

But the problems with the current issue of reparations for slavery in the United States are legion. Should someone who wrongly enslaved another person pay them restitution for the years of their life that were taken from them? Absolutely. But there is not a single living American who has personally and legally owned slaves, and there is not a single living American who has personally and legally been enslaved by another American. The last American slave died in 1971.

There are people calling for reparations today. There is currently a bill being considered in Congress. I’m curious how they are going to handle this issue.

Just as an aside, the mantra of some politicians continues to be that “the government” will pay for this or that. Anytime you hear “The government will pay…” remember that the only source of income the government has is YOU and other Americans. So when someone says “the government will pay…” just substitute “YOU” for “the government”.

But are reparations even possible? I came up with a list of questions that need to be answered before any attempt at reparations can be made:

  1. What is the criteria that qualifies someone to receive reparations? Skin color alone? Not every black person was a slave.
  2. What about non-black slaves such as the Chinese? Do they get reparations? Because any reparations paid for one slave should be paid to all descendants.
  3. What about people who have immigrated to the United States and become citizens since 1863? Should they be required to pay restitution since they had nothing to do with slavery?
  4. What about black people living in the US that have no slave ancestors? Why should they get “reparations” if their family was not involved at all in slavery?
  5. How would a person prove that they are the descendant of a slave?
  6. What about black people who have white ancestry? Should their white side pay reparations to their black side, so it’s a wash?
  7. Who pays the reparations? Only white people? If a person is mostly genetically white but has black slave ancestors, what then?
  8. What about the black slave owners? Will their descendants have to pay reparations?
  9. How much should each person get? How do we determine what amount is sufficient? If we go off the average cost of a slave in 1860 was $800, which is $24,364 in today’s money, should that amount be split between all descendants or should each descendant get that much? Can the United States afford to pay this massive fee (looking at our debt and deficit, I already know the answer is no)?
  10. Is this a once for all reparation or an annual thing? Just like with the minimum wage discussion, when is enough enough?
  11. If all taxpayers pay into the fund, aren’t we asking the reparation recipients to partially pay for their own reparations?

These and many other questions are almost impossible to answer, and reveal the complete ludicrousness of attempting to penalize certain people for something their ancestors did 156-398 years ago. And that is why I am against this idea. People should be held responsible for their own transgressions, but not the transgressions of their ancestors, because where does it stop? Every ethnic group I’ve ever heard of has been oppressed in history by at least one other ethnic group. Where does it end?

Personally I believe this is an attempt by certain politicians to basically bribe their constituents into voting for them. “I got you that reparation money! Vote for me!” If you wanted to help black citizens of the United States better their lives, there are better ways to do it than simply giving them money.

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Antisemitism Alive and Well in US House

For years his enemies have accused Congressman Steve King (R-IA) of being a racist. Despite all proof to the contrary, they finally took some quotes taken out of context from the New York Times and said, “SEE!!!” If they had proof he was a racist, they would have brought it out before the election in November. But they don’t. All they can do is misquote him.

Fast forward to February. Freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) makes antisemitic statements, just as she has for years. The Democrats in the house do absolutely nothing about it. March: Omar makes more antisemitic statements.
Journalists ask Omar to denounce antisemitism. She refuses. Democrats do nothing. Let’s examine the timeline comparing the accusations against King and those against Omar:

January 10: NYT interview published calling Steve King a white supremacist.
January 11: Steve King denounces white supremacy on the house floor, stating he is NOT a white supremacist.
January 14: Steve King removed from all committee assignments.
January 15: House passes resolution denouncing white supremacy (and by implication, Steve King)

Five days. That’s how long it took.

February 10: Omar tweets criticism of Jews generally and Israel specifically.
February 11: Democrat leadership (including Pelosi) criticize the tweets calling them antisemitic and “deeply offensive.”
February 12: Omar says, “I am grateful for Jewish allies…”This is taken as an apology. No action is taken.
February 27: Omar makes vaguely antisemitic comments again.
March 3: Omar is criticized by House members for her antisemitism.
March 6: Omar repeatedly refuses to deny her antisemitism.

February 10th to March 7th is 25 days. Twenty-five days and no action has been taken against this blatant racist bigot in the House.

At what point will Pelosi and the Democrats pass a resolution against antisemitism like they did with white supremacy?
At what point will Omar be removed from HER committee assignments?

Either we need some consistency here or there’s a bunch of people that owe Congressman King an apology. Maybe both.

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Heavenly Pleasure

I’ve heard people say, “I’m glad I’m going to heaven, but what are we going to DO for eternity?”  And that’s a valid question: what is heaven going to be like?

The answer is: I don’t know.  We do have some indications in Scripture. Revelation 22 mentions fruit, so eating is probably a possibility.  Jesus says there will be no marriage.  We do know that there will be no more sin, no more suffering, no more crying, and no more pain.  This post isn’t meant to be a comprehensive statement about what heaven will be like.  I just had a thought, and decided to share it. 

You know how certain things in life make you feel good? These activities vary widely. Petting a cat. Hugging someone. Giving someone a really special gift. Emptying your bladder after holding it too long. Laughing really hard. Sharing sex with your spouse. Eating things that taste really good.  Backrubs. Doing nice things for people.  The list goes on and on.  These feelings of pleasure come from God. These are psychological and biological mechanisms given by our Creator which make us feel good. 

So here’s my thought: what if being in the presence of God makes us feel that good? What if living with no sin, with the curse of sin lifted brings mental, emotional, and physical joy like we have never known before on earth?  What if the pleasure that comes from earthly things is just a small taste of what it will be like to finally fulfil our intended purpose: that of worshiping God day and night? It is possible. I don’t know for sure, I only suspect that in fulfilling our true purpose before God we will experience something like this.

But what I do know is that we are not supposed to live for the pleasures of this earth, twisting the gifts of joy that God has given us into sinful desires and actions.  Do not choose the pleasure of sin over the joy of following God and doing His will. 

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. – 2 Peter 3:10-13

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Steve King is Not Racist

On the one hand we have a mass of liberal democrats and the New York Times (but I repeat myself) who are telling us that Congressman Steve King is a racist, white supremacist, neo-nazi.  On the other hand we have….well, Republicans telling us that they agree with the Democrats.

Let’s examine the evidence.

  1. Steve King has stated repeatedly that he is not a racist, white supremacist, or a neo-nazi, most recently last week from the floor of the House.
  2. Steve King has made some comments that, taken out of context, can be made to appear as if he supports white supremacy.
  3. In October of 2016, according to the NYT, “Mr. King meets in Austria with leaders of the far-right Freedom Party, including Heinz-Christian Strache and Norbert Hofer. The party was founded in the 1950s by former Nazis.” He met with these people. Talking to someone is not the same thing as agreeing with them.
  4. His largest crime according to the NYT articles about him appears to be that he is actually proud of the accomplishments of white people, not unlike black people are proud of black accomplishments, latino people are proud of latino accomplishments, etc.

I have not heard one quote from him that is racist.  I’ve heard several quotes that the left would consider racist (such as “English should be our official language”) but are not actually racist. The closest thing he’s ever said that could be seen as racist is that there are Mexican drug mules bringing drugs into the US illegally. And yet this article and this article and this article show that it’s true.

If Steve King went on TV tomorrow and said, “All Mexicans are criminals” then I would reject him and label him racist.  But he has not done so. He has actually stated, “One of my most strongly held beliefs is that we are all created in God’s image and that human life is sacred in all its forms. All of my life’s work, all of my public record, all of my bills, all of my votes, all of my activities support that statement, that human life is sacred in all of its forms and that we are created in God’s image.”   

The resolution that the House voted on yesterday condemning white supremacy passed by a vote of 424 to 1.  You would think that the one was Steve King, but it wasn’t. He actually voted FOR the resolution condemning white supremacy. The one negative vote was from a Democrat who didn’t want to go on record condemning white supremacy, but instead wants a resolution censuring King.  Well Rep Rush, thanks for spoiling our chance to state emphatically on MLK’s birthday that the House unanimously rejects white supremacy.

As for Congressman King, I don’t know what is in store for him. He’s a true conservative, and as such, is a major target for the left.  I’m sure there are people reading these words that think I’m naïve or willfully ignorant, because you are just absolutely positive you know what’s going on inside Mr. King’s head.  Well I’ve seen racism, and he’s not it. I will continue to support Congressman King, I will continue to pray for Congressman King as I pray for all our leaders, that he would make wise choices, that he would do what is right, and that he would trust in Christ as Savior if he has not already done so.

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