Bitter?

This is one of the bitterest things that I have ever read.  It would be very funny except for the kids involved.  I don’t know why everyone needs to live their lives like a Springer episode.  This guy is a father and a professional, and I don’t care how much of an ungrateful b—- his wife is, he should know better.

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There is Nothing Wrong with ‘Xmas’

I remember when I was a child how offended my mother would get when she saw the word ‘Xmas’ on a commercial or at a store.  She would really become angry saying, “There they go again trying to take Christ out of Christmas.”  On some level, I can understand her unhappiness.  Today, with the ACLU and the court system actually trying to remove any reference to Christmas, it is understandable that Christians would be on the defensive.  Almost daily we are faced with stories about long-time traditional festivals that are replacing the word “Christmas” with “Holiday” or “Festival.”  Seinfeld sublimely underscored many of these attitudes with the famous “Festivus for the Rest of Us” episode.

However, Christians who become offended at the word Xmas, simply have not studied what the word actually connotes.  In early Christianty, the X was actually a Greek letter pronounced “Chi” or “Kai.”  It was the first letter in the Greek word for Christ.

Due to persecution, early Christians would use the X as a symbol meaning Christ and denoting themselves as Christians.  The familiar Fish symbol seen on many cars goes back to this tradition.  The symbols that look like IXOYE (pronounced ‘ixthus’ or ‘icthus’), are really a Greek acronym denoting: Jesus, Christ, of God, Son, Savior.  The Greek word is actually an acrostic that spells out ‘fish.’

So, you see, when you spell Christmas with an ‘X,’ you are just paying homage to 2000 years of Christian tradition.  You can even use it as a tool to teach others when you hear them asking, “Why is Christmas spelled with an “X”?

Does the Constitution Say Anything About Grooming Issues?

There are several reasons that it would be good to go back to the 1950s.  One of these involves grooming issues.  Back then, a man wore his hair short, the only way his barber knew how to cut it.  Of course, there was the occasional ‘greaser,’ but even those guys had nice hair by today’s standards.

It was the 60s and hippies that destroyed hair in America.  The 70s were just an extension of the 60s and in the 80s hairstyles were just a mistake.  It took us until the end of the 1980’s and the introduction of the show “Friends” to finally get a handle on hairstyles once again.

In the last few years, for the most part hairstyles have improved, except in one area, the dreadlock.  Dreadlocks are way out of hand.  This phenomenon seems to have come out of the sports world, and proliferated itself on the heels of the institution of the ‘Emmitt Smith Rule’ in which players were no longer allowed to remove their helmets in the field of play.

Players like Troy Polamalu have started to wear dreadlocks so long that they come out of their helmets and go significantly down their backs.  The problem is that the league did not deal with this issue early on.  There are several reasons for the league to outlaw this nonsense:

  1. It’s unsightly.  It just looks bad.
  2. It’s not part of the uniform.  In a league where you can be fined for not wearing your socks in the correct manner during a game, It seems to be a little hypocritical to allow a player to wear his hair so long that neither the player’s number nor his name can be seen clearly.
  3. It is either dangerous or unfair.  I believe that it is dangerous to tackle these players by the hair (though it could serve as an effective deterrent).  It could easily break a neck, but on the other hand, it is unfair to protect these players against being tackled by their hair as it covers their whole back in some cases.  There was actually a flag thrown for unsportsmanlike conduct in a Cowboys/Steelers game when Polamalu was tackled in this manner after an interception.

Of course, this is all bogus, and the league will have to deal with it eventually.  Now, the player’s union has become involved in support of the players who want ridiculously long hair, and the league has allowed the argument to be changed into a racial issue.  This will make it much harder to deal with.

A similar subject occurred this week when a court allowed a Rastafarian to sue his employer, Jiffy Lube over a new policy that required employees to be clean-shaven.  He is suing on religious grounds.  I do not see how this lawsuit (which was dismissed once already) can be allowed to go forward.  There is no inherent right to dress the way you want to in the workplace.  Many jobs require their employees to wear uniforms, and most county health departments will not allow employees at restaurants to have facial hair.  What happens when a Muslim woman claims that she must wear a head-covering in her job at a bank, for instance?  Or, what if some kooky religion that bans clothing comes along?  Will we then be forced to employee a naked nurse (I actually support this in some cases)?  The implications are huge, and as we all know, in the civil courts in America precedent is everything.  Once Pandora gets out of this box, we are all in trouble.

In closing, Get A Haircut!

How Petty Can a Person Be?

Unfortunately, it is not that much of a surprise to find petty parents involving themselves more in more in their children’s lives, often to the emotional or even physical detriment of other children.  People can be pretty petty.  There are the famous cases of the “cheerleader murdering mom” and the mom who got in a fictitious internet relationship with a teen on line which eventually resulted in her (the teen’s) suicide.

When I started reading this story about a young man who was not being allowed to play baseball because he was too good, I thought that I was going to get to blog about another case where expectations were being lowered and mediocrity encouraged.  This unfortunate trend seems to be the norm in our society at this time.  For a good example, all you have to do is look at the Dallas Independent School District where failure is no longer an option, it’s a feature.  Students no longer get a zero for homework that is not turned in, and failing grades can be reattempted until they are passed.  That’ll get those TAAS scores up (please read this sentence with sarcasm).  This doomed policy will only last until the state threatens to take over the district for low test scores, and they’ll do it.

I expected that this rush to mediocrity was behind the story of a young man in New Haven, Connecticut who was being told he could not play baseball anymore because he pitched too well.  Occasionally a child who is physically larger and stronger that the other kids will be allowed or asked to play a grade-up in football.  This can work out for all involved because the kid who is, say, 50 pounds heavier than his peers will not be able to really hurt them, and he will find a greater challenger and quicker advancement playing with children who are better and more his size.  Baseball is different.  It is mostly a skill-based game where cognitive ability is more important than size and strength.  In the original Foxnews and Google News stories, it was portrayed that this young man was being kicked out of the league because he was too good- specifically, because he threw too hard and the parents were scared of him.

If this were true it would be bad enough, and it would be indefensible, but unfortunately, it appears that the truth is even worse.  Something in the story did not sound right, so I followed the link to the local paper, and therein lay the sad, petty story.

It seems that Jericho Scott is a very good pitcher for a nine year old.  So good, in fact, that Reynaldo Reyes, the president of the league, who also happens to own the barber shop that sponsors the best team in the league, approached Jericho and his parents about joining the league, and his team of ringers.  Jericho was already playing in another league, but decided to take up the invitation.  However, instead of joining Reyes’ team of ringers, he joined another team coached by one of his father’s friends. 

You would think that the league would have been all for this.  Adding a good platyer to a team that was not as good would add to the competitiveness of the overall league.  That just makes sense.  Unfortunately, the team that Jericho joined was not supposed to go 8-0, and be unbeatable this season.  They were supposed to be just another punching bag for the team of ringers whose parents all have thoughts of future professional baseball careers dancing before their eyes.

So, in the grand tradition of parents who become involved in sports everywhere, the parents of the ringer team, and the president of the league decided that Jericho was dangerous (to their winning percentage), and had to be stopped.  They demanded that this child be removed from the league, and not allowed to pitch.  When he took the mound, the umpire forfeited the game for them, and later games have been called-off.  The team has now been ordered to disband, and the coach and Jericho have been kicked out of the league.  Now, of course the court battles will begin, and who knows who will win as the truth will be obscured by feigned parental concern.  In the end, all we are really left with is a nine year old boy crying on a mound wondering why, and a bunch of loser adults who should be ashamed of themselves.

God Loves Joel Osteen

I have been following the sham of a trial that was Sharon Brown suing Victoria Osteen for assault.  Many people simply hate ‘religious’ people for some reason.  Sharon Brown sought to cash in on the hatred of these people.  I have no doubt that Victoria Osteen felt that she was not receiving service commensurate the price of her first class ticket, but I also have no doubt that she expressed her feelings to attendants in a way that may have come across as pretentious or licentious.  This being said, as the foreman of the jury correctly said, “My personal point of view (the lawsuit) was a complete waste of time because the incident didn’t rise to any kind of level. I fly all the time. I’ve seen a lot worse than that happen on airplanes.”  This puts the whole thing in perspective. 

The only thing left now is for Continental to fire Sharon Brown.  Here we have an effective, objective determination of what happened.  A jury of her peers, no less, determined that Sharon Brown is a lying person who is willing to go to extremes when attacking a person.  For its own financial safety and the financial security of its customers, they must terminate her.

I was pleased with the verdict, but I was a little disturbed by some of the Osteen comments after the trial was over. I really liked what Joel had to say, “We’ve grown through it and learned to trust God and do the right thing,” he said. “Life is a test. We really have tried to live out our faith, what we teach (at church) and that is love your enemies, do the right thing when the wrong things happen, have a good attitude even when things aren’t going well.”  This is a very appropriate statement and basically put the whole thing into a nice theological nutshell that can be used to teach other Christians how to deal with trying times such as this.

Victoria’s comments, while endearing, were not nearly as theologically sound as most of her husband’s were.  She said, “I expected it because it’s the truth and I know the truth always stands firm.”  If she is speaking in an eternal sense, which I doubt, she is correct, but though this sounds nice, it is hard to support the statement temporally (in the world where we live).  There are two was to determine what God says: Specific Revelation and General Revelation.

Specific Revelation is best described in terms of the Bible itself.  This occurs when God decides to speak to someone directly with a person and reveal Himself or His will.  It is best to find this sort of revelation in the Bible.  At times this may occur when God actually does speak directly to someone, but it is important to remember that anyone can claim that God has spoken to them (see David Koresch).  Always be cautious when someone tells you God told them something he wanted to tell you.

General Revelation is how God speaks through His creation.  God indeed has chosen to reveal himself through his creation.  General Revelation is just as legitimate a form of revelation as Specific Revelation.  If you ever find that God’s General Revelation does not match up with your interpretation of His Specific Revelation, then you probably have a problem with your interpretation of what the Bible is saying.

When I heard Victoria’s statement, I thought, “if the truth is so apparent, and ‘the truth stands firm’, then why would God withhold the truth of the situation involving Caylee Anthony from the world?”  Does God feel that this situation with Victoria Osteen is more important?  I think not.

 Just because a statement sounds good does not mean it is theologically sound.  A good example of this is the old ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness” adage.  It not anywhere in the Bible in case you were wondering.

The point I am making here is that there is little support for the statement, “the truth always stands firm.”  I looked in twenty different version of the Bible and found that these things ‘stand firm’:  God’s word, God’s love, the house of the righteous, God’s solid foundation, the family of God, and the Earth.  It also states that “…he who stands firm to the end will be saved” in several places.  While it may be argued that several of these verses can be applied to this situation, it is difficult to apply any of them wholesale to a Christian who is standing on principle. 

If anything, the Bible promises persecution for Christians who stand on their beliefs with an accompanying promise of salvation for those who ‘stand firm to the end.’  God’s General Revelation does not support the statement that ‘the truth always stand firm’ in a temporal sense either.  It is a fact that lies are sometime accepted by people as the truth.  Christians have to simply weather this storm, and realize that if they stay true to the end, they will be rewarded (often in eternity).  As the Bible says, “The Sun shines on the righteous and the wicked.”  Osteen’s statement comes off a little as the health, wealth and prosperity doctrine that television preachers are often accused of supporting.

Joel’s statement, “It’s a great vindication and shows us the faithfulness of God,” left me thinking, what about those who have to suffer through the trials and tribulations that Christians are promised on this earth?  Does their inability to find vindication in this life speak to God’s faithlessness?  I am all for praising God, but the Osteen’s myopic response to this situation, could confuse people who experiencing their own trials.