Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Around and Around We Go....Part 2

One of the predominant issues of discourse in the early days of this the 21st century has been about zealots of various discriptions. Of late many of these discussions have centered around the separation of church and state. We have heard from politicians, theists, deists, atheists, Islamists, fundamentalists, Baptists, Catholics, Christians, Methodists, Mormans, and Buddahists to name but a few.

My observations of these various groups as well as others has led me to the following conclusions for your consideration;

A) All of them have extremists in their midsts.

B) The extremists in any given group are a very minute percentage of the group. They just happen to be good salesmen!

C) All of those extremists hold the view that their way is the only right way.

D) Most of the members of any given group do not adhere to nor in most cases are even aware of the most damaging of these extremes. As I said the leaders are good salesmen and even better liars when confronted by their followers.

In recent weeks both journalists and politicians have peered out from behind their bunkers to proclaim that we are a Christian Nation as per the intent and decree of our founding fathers.
Christendom in that sense includes Catholics, and Protestants alike. We should all be able to get along since we all believe the same things right? WRONG! If you have any doubts ask any Irishman about that one.

As an example of the hole in the Christian Nation thesis, there was a news clip on NPR this morning concerning a Hooters Restaurant opening in Waco, TX. It seems that a preist came out to bless the event while the Christians showed up to protest its being being built in the first place!

Another from my past. Several years ago the mayor of my home town was to marry a local lass.
One of them was catholic and the other protestant. The bride wanted to have the ceremony in the newly constructed Christian Church mainly because it had more seating capacity and better
reception facilities. The Elders had a closed door session and emerged with a nay vote because of
differing beliefs of the two congregations. The result was lots of bad press for both groups and the Christians thereafter got billed for their parking lot polelights for the first time in the eighty plus years they had been there.

The other more damaging and long lasting side affects of both of these examples was, is, and will be the breech between the members of both groups that don't know what the fuss is all about. They will however in most cases continue to follow their leaders. This is the sad fact that drives me to extremes.

If anyone surmises that I am targeting any particular group, rest assured I'm not. These two instances just happened to be handy. I am, if nothing else, an equal opportunity protagonist. I will question any who wish to feed out of both sides of the pig trough and then claim to have not gotten their white shirt dirty.

I read a comment on another site last evening that said something to the effect that the constitutional separation of church and state prevented the state from assuming control of the church, but did nothing to prevent the church from asserting control of the state. Far fetched as this may sound, there is historical precedant for this very situation. Yes it could happen in the good ole USA!

Comment if you dare and as always, more to follow!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Around and Around We Go....Part 1

And where we stop is within the blink of an eye of where we began! Sad, but oh so true.

This post will probably turn into a series because there is too much stew in this pot to eat in one meal. Be that as it may, it's been cooking long enough and now it is time to serve it up. By way of disclaimer be informed that it may be hot so consume at your own risk! Hopefully that will allay any lawsuits from the "I didn't know it would burn me!" crowd.

My first case of indigestion centers around last Sunday's Courier Journal front page article concerning Bob Russell's passing the torch to his second in command over at Vatican II (Southeast Christian). Since I have publicly stated to all who would listen that my personal beliefs are contrary to this or any other organized religious group it would be fair to ask why I care.

The simple answer is a two parter. First, I have seen the devestated look of total disbelief in the eyes of too many good, honest people when they initially discovered the truth they had followed for a lifetime really wasn't true after all. Second, after choosing to be uninformed, the three things that I detest the most in humanity are dishonesty, hypocracy, and those who take advantage of ignorance for their own gain. Educating the uninformed would be an option!

The non denominational Christian Churches, with which Southeast is or at least used to be alligned, all claim to have many beliefs in common. The following are a couple of the highlights;

A) The Bible is the inerrant word of God (literally) "Where the Bible speaks,we speak; Where the Bible is silent, we are silent!"

B) After the pattern of the 1st century church, the local congregation is autonomous and is governed internally by a board of elders & deacons who are elected by its members. On major issues such as land acquistion, building programs, and hiring/firing of ministers the board makes recommendations and the membership then votes yay or nay with the majority carrying the day. The day to day operation is carried out by the ministerial staff under the supervision of the board of elders.

I have several axes to grind but it's getting late so I'll limit myself to a couple here. #1) I could have sworn that somewhere in that inerrant word of God I read something negative about building monuments and worshipping idols. On the few occasions that I have been inside the edifice on Blakenbaker I was overcome with two haunting images from my childhood teachings.
The first was the account in the gospel of Matthew 21:12-13 when Jesus entered the temple, saw the money changers, graft, & corruption transpiring therein and went beserk! Second is the vision of horror of nails being driven thru his hands and feet! Whether or not either event actually occurred does not alter the fact that they are indelibly planted in my mind and I left there with a knot of anger and shame in my gut. Anger that they could build such an obcene structure in the name of good and shame that I ever was gulible enough to support such ventures. I hauled finished copper for a number of years and I got some idea as to its worth.
With that kind of cash available, there is no reason for hungry homeless people in our midst!

#2) This one goes more to truth in advertising. Earlier we mentioned the fact that the membership got to vote on major changes. According to the CJ this change of the guard was decided on by Bob Russell and the board of elders way back in 1999 yet I've never heard or read anything about a congregational vote on the subject. This fact probably should not concern me as I am not a member of this group. Still, I can't shake the image of those haunted faces when they realized they had been had.

Stay tuned, more to come!

DNA Seminar

I found this in my Email today and although it may already be out there it was news to me so I thought I'd share it.

What are the rules, regulations and codes that building and home owners need to know? How do we make changes in our Neighborhoods?

You are invited to attend a Seminar
featuring representatives of the City of
New Albany’s Building, Traffic and Code Enforcement department
Monday, January 23
5 p.m.
The White House Center
222 Pearl St., New Albany

Who knows, we might glean some new information.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Oooops! II

On my previous post I inadvertently turned off the comments feature. That oversite has been corrected so if anyone would like to revisit it feel free.

New post forthcoming this weekend. Stay tuned !

Thursday, January 05, 2006

2006 Off to a Roaring Start

From my perspective life as we know it appears to be looking up in New Albany. We aren't thru the first week and already the local brewery is back on line, a new restaurant is scheduled to open downtown soon, we have a refuse contract signed, and my garbage got picked up today just like it always has on Thursdays. Hooray!!!

Perhaps I've missed something but I don't understand what the SOLNA group is so fearful of. My experience in New Albany has always been that if I wanted information about the source all I've had to do was ask the source directly. That may very well required some research and footwork on my part to determine who the source was for a given issue but I have yet to fail in my quest. Following the chain of command looks good on paper for the military but if I have a question for the mayor, I'm gonna ask the mayor personal like. If I find out later that he lied to me, I'm gonna call him on it straight up in person.

This is the only intelligent way I know of acquiring factual information and keeping our elected public officials honest. It's also the only way I know to create trust between government and the public. Obviously this approach is not practical for the Governor of the state nor the President of these United States but for city and county officials the only reasons not to are lack of concern, laziness, or fear. As for the latter, contrary to popular belief, They can not eat you!!

As long as one approachs a civil servant in a civil manner, there is no reason for him/her to dodge a question unless he/she does indeed have something to hide. My personal experience has been that most folks in public office really do want to know what our concerns and views are in order for them to do their particular jobs well. What they don't want is to be embarrassed in public by rumors, false accusations, or flat out misinterpretaions of something they may have said/not said or done/not done.

It was pointed out to me earlier this week that the word agenda is not a dirty four letter word. We all have them every day when we get out of bed. For most of us it is to get through our workday so we can go home to our families and enjoy the fruits of our labors. For most of our policemen it is to keep our community safe. For most of our sewer workers it is to keep the lines clear and the apparatus running so we don't drown in our own refuse. And for most of our elected officials it is create and maintain a community that is pleasant to both live in and visit.

Having said that, if one cannot get satisfactory answers to direct questions, public debate becomes a legitimate productive option. But if and only if we have the facts before us to debate.
Without them we are just more talking heads putting spins on non issues.

So remember; "Just the facts ma'am!"

By the way, congrats to the Bistro New Albany! I'm hungry already.