Monthly Archives: July 2013

On Screaming

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I’m sitting here this morning with a mountain within me of things to rail against; there is so much wrong with the world today that I literally don’t know where to start. I want to scream at the US government for driving this country and the Constitution into complete and utter ruin. I want to scream at every last one of my fellow Americans, including myself, for giving the keys of our nation to all those morons in Washington DC. I want to scream at ourselves for not doing enough to save this, the greatest society since the dawn of mankind. I want to scream at all the hatred and killing and war and greed and evil that has enveloped the world like a wet towel, all in the name of religion and freedom and race and sexual orientation and pride and prejudice and fear and honor and all the other insane reasons to split us up from each other. I want to scream at all the good people who sit at home silently watching the news, knowing something has to be done but not doing it. I want to scream at all the outright lies and the half-truths and closed minds and open hands stretched out wanting things they feel entitled to. I want to scream for those who have no voice, for those who have screamed so much they’ve become hoarse, for the children of the world who are going to have a tougher life than we are now. I want to scream at the futility of screaming.

But screaming can only get me so far. I can scream until I’m blue in the face, and then I’ll have a sore throat and a blue face. On Facebook today a Libertarian friend warned us all to ‘gird our loins’ to in the fight against the downfall of our nation, and another friend responded “No, Americans will roll over and do nothing, wide scale revolt (most likely necessarily armed) is now required in order to retore the U.S. constitution, however, there’s simply too many sheeple and not enough common sense human beings left in the world, sorry, but the united states is over, we have too many sports fans . . . for anything to change.” As I read those words I thought “He’s probably right. It is too late. All I can do prepare for the worst and concentrate on caring for my own.” But this is the type of attitude that will certainly bring my friend’s prophesy true; this is the attitude that got us here to start with. So with what voice I have left in me, I bellow “NEVER GIVE UP!”

Matthew 7:12 gives us the words of Jesus saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When you live this truth you are not giving up. Remember His words in Matthew 26:52: “He that lives by the sword will die by the sword.” Take this to heart, not to judge others, but to remind yourself that what you put out is what you get back. Implement Christ’s declaration of the two great commandments in Matthew 22:37-39: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” While you’re in the book of Matthew, read chapters 5 through 7, or what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. It contains guidelines for how to transform you life, how to ease the suffering of your troubled heart, how to make a change, how to not give up. Even if you are not a Christian, you will find the life, words and ministry of Jesus an excellent yardstick for being.

No, I can’t go out today and change the mess those stinking politicians have made of our country. No, I can’t go around shaking everyone by the shoulders and telling them to wake up and make a difference in their life. No, I can’t repair the divisiveness that plagues society; I can’t make haters stop hating. I can’t end hunger and pain on the whole planet. No, I can’t turn it all around and save the world. Not by myself. But I CAN try to live my life through Christ’s example. I CAN share the Good News with those whose lives touch mine. I CAN transform my life from a screamer to a DO-er. I CAN let God’s love flow through me, to use my unique talents for His will.

I can tell someone today that I love them. I can treat those who I interact with as I want them to treat me, and not expect them to reciprocate. I can calm a troubled heart when I come across it, even if it is my own. I can and I am and I will. This is the opposite of giving up. It is giving.

by Jay T Harding       jaytharding.com

The Need for Virtue

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When our great nation was still in its infancy, the leaders who arose did not do so out of greed or ambition. In fact, those kind of thoughts were discouraged by making their salaries low and their duties high. There was a standard of virtue that required public servants to follow if they were to be trusted with affairs of state. I’m not talking about Puritanical elitism, but basic common decency and respect for our fellow man. State representatives were gleaned from the people, and not expressly from the ranks of lawyers and career politicians. Our Congressmen were farmers, merchants, land owners, laborers, artisans, craftsmen, sailors AND attorneys. But the important thing to note here is that Representatives, regardless of their station in life, were well read and qualified to tackle the most difficult issues of the time. They were, almost without exception, honest, trustworthy, God-fearing, respectful, sober-minded and morally upright. More often than not a person elected to public office did so at risk of losing their business, their land and their fortunes, but they did so out of a deep indwelling desire to serve their country and their fellow man.

Jump forward a couple of hundred years. Our nation is being run by charlatans, criminals, liars, adulterers and otherwise morally bankrupt individuals who seek only to gain power, privilege and wealth. I don’t even have to give you examples of this because that would be like showing you a few trees while standing in a forest. Somewhere along the way we have lowered our expectations, and now is in imminent danger of being buried alive by avarice and materialism. We once were a nation of values; now we are a nation of decadence. We once were a nation under God and indivisible; now we serve political correctness and stand hopelessly divided on practically every issue of importance. Our leaders once listened to the will of their constituents; now they listen to the greasy hands of special interest groups. Our leaders once served out of duty and honor; now our leaders serve out of the love of money and power.

Listen to what some of our Founding Fathers said about this issue:

Benjamin Franklin wrote “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

Thomas Jefferson penned “ It is in the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour. . . . degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats into the heart of its laws and constitution.”

Patrick Henry said “Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”

John Adams declared “Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.”

Virtue, freedom, happiness and patriotism must be renewed with every generation or the Republic will dissolve into anarchy, fascism and complete tyranny. We as citizens must insist – no, we must demand that our public servants on every level of government be held up to the most stringent and scrupulous of moral standards. Even more basic should be our desire to revive the strength, love, respect and virtue of our own families, for from this wellspring will future leaders be born.

There is no better time than Now to begin to repair the tattered vestiges of our nation. If not now, it will certainly and eventually be too late to save the Union.

 

by Jay T Harding    http://www.jaytharding.com

Getting What They Want

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Right now, there are Americans all around you who struggle daily to put food on their table, who do not make enough money to sustain them, so they pay the rent and utilities to keep from becoming homeless and then take what little is left to put gas in the car and then spend the rest on cheap, generic groceries that will hopefully but not always stretch until the next paycheck. Chances are, the ones who are employed are forced to either work part-time and thus become ineligible for health insurance, or if they are eligible, must give a quarter of their pay to have it, and then have to pay deductibles and a percentage of the care. Usually, if given a choice between food and health care, many opt to remain uninsured and pray they or their children don’t become sick. If Obamacare is forced down peoples’ throats, the majority will have no choice but to starve, or become dependent on the government for survival. This is exactly what Progressives want.

Many of your neighbors couldn’t afford to go to college when they were young, and can’t afford to send their own children to college. If they do try to get a degree they must lean on the government for student loads and then amass a debt so large they could never hope to pay it back. Even with a Bachelors or Masters degree, there are so few jobs that the competition is rabidly fierce, and employers – whose number one priority is to make money – treat their employees as cattle because they know the workers are desperate to keep their jobs; the employers know their employees live in daily fear of losing their job, so they develop the attitude that the workers are nothing more than warm bodies that can be replaced, not worthy of respect or even their own humanity. This prevailing attitude occurs in all levels of the work force, from upper management to the janitor. It is especially hard on minorities. To the majority of Americans, higher education leads only to greater debt and uncertainty. There are only sharks and minnows in our national sea of industry. This is exactly what Progressivism wants.

Look around you. Half of all those you see are dependent on the government in one form or another, whether it be food stamps, unemployment insurance, disability or welfare. If you are one of the few who make good money and lack for nothing, drive through your city and you’ll see them. Be brave and take a bus and you’ll meet them en masse. You may live in a pocket of wealth, but everywhere around you is a growing segment of the population increasingly desperate and seething with frustration. This is exactly what Progressivism wants.

The virtues and morality that forged this nation over two hundred years ago, the deep faith in and worship of God, the precepts and examples that led our Founding Fathers to create the greatest document short of the Bible – the Constitution of the United States – are in perilous danger. Human life has been devalued and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ has become ‘stick it to ’em before they stick it to you.’ The traditional family unit has almost completely disappeared. Hope has been replaced with despair. Children have nowhere to turn except through violent video games, gangsta rap and drugs. The very landscape of our nation’s values has been altered, and this is exactly what Progressivism wants.

The system is being set up to fail, and the government is stepping up and stepping in to take over. We are marching toward fascism, and it looks like there is no way to stop it. The institutions we have always relied on to fortify and refresh our liberties are mute and powerless. The information media are already in lockstep with those whose goal is to remove our freedom and enslave us. The middle class, that bastion of the American Dream and backbone of small business, is being choked to death with taxes and regulations. Our nation is saturated with the mold of Progressivism, and Socialism seems inevitable.

Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” I am ready to fight tyranny by whatever means possible, even if it requires my blood. I am old and weak, but the Spirit of Christ gives me the strength I need to call the alarm, to pick up the flag and wave it in the face of those who hate it, to defend myself against attack, to be bold and unafraid, to support those political leaders who share my beliefs and values, to overcome.  This is exactly what Progressivism does NOT want. The time to act is now. Now!

 

by Jay T Harding http://www.jaytharding.com 

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Spotting a Counterfeit Conservative

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Treasury Department agents  learn how to spot counterfeit bills by spending hours examining authentic bills. In a political sense, we must learn how to spot a liberal by being familiar with conservatism. This becomes even more crucial as a growing number of Republican candidates pretend to embrace conservative values while believing in and seeking the liberal agenda. The yardstick of conservatism is rather straightforward and simplistic. I like the definition laid forth by the website www.conservatism.com “Conservatism is rooted in the concepts of personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. The role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.” Become familiar with this definition, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and you’ll be able to spot a counterfeit a mile away.

Jesus said “Each tree is known by its own fruit.” (Luke 6:44) This is never more true than when you look at the voting record of an elected public servant. However, this becomes  a bit more difficult when considering an untested candidate. It is a sad fact that the voting public has become jaded in regards to believing the rhetoric being handed out like pastel-colored cotton candy. More and more Americans have given up on the election process, and for more than not trusting the candidates or believing them all to be cut from the same cloth. Regarding Presidential elections, a common complaint among non-voters is that the Electoral College actually chooses who the President is and that their vote doesn’t really matter. This attitude is infectious and filters all the way down to the local level. Those of us left who do vote are always inundated with the same spiel. The incumbent will either wave their accomplishments or the present causes they are mired in, and the challenger will tout a myriad of promises to change what the incumbent has done. More often than not, political campaigns spend more time degrading their opponent than explaining their stand on the issues. Regardless who wins (and it seems to the vast majority of politicians that winning is the bottom line), they find themselves being pulled to shreds by special interest groups, and their promises and public dreams are tossed upon the waste heap of time. The machinations of politics is always geared for the good of the people; unfortunately the good of the people is the first thing that is ground up by the very machine that was created for its benefit. After witnessing and pondering on the reality of American politics, it is not surprising to find that the prevailing agenda is run by the political party that is better organized and propped up by deep-pocketed sponsors. It is time, NOW, for Conservatism to rise from its sick bed and fight back, and that requires all of us who hold to its principles.

The road our nation is roaring down is paved by forces diametrically opposed to conservatism. Instead of being ‘rooted in the concepts of personal responsibilities’ we are rapidly becoming a society that blames others for our mistakes, and who are increasingly dependent on the government for sustenance and support. Instead of a limited government, we find our elected officials engorging the current bureaucratic monster while implanting new appendages to grasp and trample our remaining liberties. Our free market is no longer free or marketable, thanks to the shackles being slapped on by crippling programs such as NAFTA, or allowing the work force to be flooded by illegal aliens or allowing costly and unnecessary tariffs to be placed on our goods. Don’t forget the impact Obamacare will make upon our free market, either. Instead of individual liberty, we are finding on a daily basis that these are disappearing at an alarming rate. Instead of practicing traditional American values such as religious freedom, democracy, public debate, family, compromise and integrity, we find them constantly under attack by extremism and political correctness. Our ‘strong national defense’ is not being used as such.

Recognize and support true conservative candidates, and hold them accountable for advancing conservative values. The authenticity and gleaming truth of conservative values will expose liberalism for what it is, and by spotting counterfeit conservatives and removing them from office, this nation will hopefully begin to heal. Perhaps we can enter a new age of prosperity and global respect.

Progressivism Stole The Handle

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I just saw the 1985 movie “Runaway Train” with John Voight and Eric Rogers last night. It’s about these two escaped convicts, and they jump on a train hoping to get away, except the elderly engineer has a heart attack and dies and the train’s brakes fail and it turns into an unstoppable rocket. As the characters try to find a way to stop the train before it runs out of track and kills them, an old Jethro Tull song popped into my head and wouldn’t go away. You know how it is. The song is “Locomotive Breath” and the lines that kept bouncing around my head were “Old Charlie stole the handle and the train won’t stop going, no way to slow down.” So there I was with these images and song in my head, and it occurred to me that that our country is just like that out-of-control locomotive, except it wasn’t Old Charlie who stole the brake handle, it was the Progressive movement.

We are barreling toward our demise, my friends, and the engineer is doing everything he can to derail it so that he and his dream team of progressives can take over and let the bloated government pick up all the pieces and put them back together again while blaming conservatives for the mess, then assume total control. You see, Progressives have been trying to turn the United States into a Socialist nation for over one hundred years, and while it has made certain headways (alarmingly so) it isn’t satisfied with the speed by which this is happening. They absolutely hate Conservatives, and hate the Tea Party even more, because they represent free enterprise, capitalism, individual rights and limited government, among other things. Since Progressivism can’t eliminate the voices of reason and freedom, they’re doing everything they can to eliminate the legislative, judicial and executive brakes of our checks and balances so that we have no choice but to crash. Some could argue that the Progressive movement has practically taken over the judicial system, from the Supreme Court on down to State Supreme Courts and District Courts. Look what’s happening with Obamacare. Look what’s happening with same-sex marriages. Look what’s happening with late-term abortions. Look what’s happening to our right to bear arms. Look what’s happening with free speech. Look what’s happening to freedom of religion. Look at Agenda 21 and how it is permeating our government at the local level as it bypasses the US Congress. Look at the record number of food stamp recipients. Look at the record number of Social Security Disability claims. Look at the overwhelming number of US citizens who are in one form or another latched onto the government teat. Look at the obscene number of illegal aliens pouring over our border on a daily basis, putting more stress on our weak economy (brought about by the Progressive agenda), our overworked and understaffed health care system, and our general security. Look at how Progressivism is using the rusty blade of political correctness to keep everyone on their toes lest they get dragged through the streets and vilified by the state-controlled media. Look at the media. If you only watch CNN or MSNBC (actually, if you were to watch MSNBC you would be doubling their viewership) you would have no clue that this country is headed straight toward destruction.

This country is currently an out-of-control locomotive with no brakes, and we the citizens are being pulled along to our doom. The sad things is that most citizens have absolutely no idea that the U.S. is on a collision course with political, economic and social collapse, and Progressivism is the only entity prepared to take over in the event of disaster. Most citizens don’t know, and the ones that do don’t care, as long as they get their government check every month.

We need a strong leader who can slow the national train down and somehow, hopefully reduce the impending damage. We don’t need some slick talker who specializes in sound bites and empty promises. We need a leader with fire in their belly, a strong sense of outrage, and the courage to speak the bald truth.  Let’s just hope it’s not too late to save us. I believe we are headed to certain derailment, thanks to the incremental influence of Progressivism. Hopefully we can minimize the damage and survive. If not, this country will be completely controlled by the government, and tyranny will reign.

My Journey Through Islam (While Holding Rumi’s Hand)

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In 1986 I heard about a 13th century Persian Sufi poet by the name of Rumi, and being a lover of poetry, set out to find anything of his that had been translated from the original Persian to English. I found an old copy of The Mathnawi of Jalàlu’ddin Rúmi by Reynold Nicholson and fell in love with his writings. For instance, Rumi once penned: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Over the years I accumulated quite a bit of his work and in the process learned a great deal about Rumi and Sufism. Sufism is considered to be the mystical branch of Islam, intent on the annihilation of self and complete union with God. I had always been fascinated with mystical paths, and Sufism seemed the most profound and enlightening. In the ‘90s I joined one local Sufi group after another, trying to find a fellowship of true spiritual friends. Unfortunately, all of these groups were nothing more than mere shadows of Sufism, combining Native American and Eastern religious practices to form a buffet-style of pseudo-mysticism. I continued to study the work of Rumi by reading such books as The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks and The Sufi Path of Love by William Chittick. It seemed the more I read Rumi’s poetry and teaching, the more intrigued and attached I became.

In 2000 I read a book called Rumi: Past and Present, East and West by Franklin Lewis and came to a realization that although Rumi was completely devoted to the Sufi path, he was first and foremost a Muslim. I thought to myself, ‘If someone as enlightened as Rumi follows Islam, there must be something profound in that religion.’ I went to a local mosque and began learning about Islam from the Imam, who also gave me my own copy of the Qur’an and told me where to read. When I mentioned Sufism, the Imam frowned and said “That is not true Islam. They believe they can become equal to God, and that is bad. Be Muslim, then Sunni or Shiite. Not Sufi. They have saints, and there are no saints in Islam.” This discouraged me, but I continued to study Sufism privately even as I learned about Islam. Rumi wrote: “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

I was told by the Imam and others who I met at the mosque that Islam is a peaceful religion and largely misunderstood by the rest of the world. I have to confess that my knowledge of Islam was scant at best, so I eagerly took in all that I was told. I wanted to experience the ecstatic state Rumi wrote about, and sought it through the religious path he followed.

Much of what I learned about Islam was how to conduct my life, the things I could and could not do to gain the favor of Allah. Frankly, I found the rituals somewhat comforting, knowing that millions of others around the world were doing the same thing.  I especially loved to pray in the mosque, with others or alone. I found that when I made my supplications while prostate on the floor, I would often enter into a profound state of humbleness, awe and love. I rarely prayed without tears flowing down my face in gratitude and devotion. In February of 2001 I recited the following and became a Muslim: “La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah.”  which means “I testify that there is no true god (deity) but God (Allah), and that Muhammad is a Messenger (Prophet) of God.” I had finally found my path to God.

I went to the mosque almost daily, praying and studying. Rumi wrote: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” I believed that I could have a greater understanding of the mystical union Rumi wrote about by immersing myself in Islam. I felt especially close to my Muslim brothers and sisters after 9-11 because I felt the anti-Muslim backlash was wrong. But over the next few years, the more I read the Quran the more uncomfortable I became. It seemed everywhere I turned there were threats of damnation if the teachings weren’t kept, absolute hatred toward the “Children of the Book” (Jews), and countless urgings to use violence against unbelievers.  I read Surah 5:33 that said, “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.” and Surah 5:51 that says “O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them.” Then, when I read Surah 22:19-20 I finally realized the true nature of Islam. “But those who disbelieved will have cut out for them garments of fire. Poured upon their heads will be scalding water by which is melted that within their bellies and [their] skins.” Even more disturbing was finding out about the prophet Muhammad, how it seemed he was possessed more likely by a demon than an angel when he supposedly dictated the Quran, how he urged his followers to commit acts of terror, and how he married the little girl Aisha when she was six and had sex with her when she turned nine. I became disenchanted with Islam and felt as if I had been hoodwinked into believing one thing when it was the exact opposite. It occurred to me that the reason mainstream Muslims didn’t want to recognize Rumi was because he taught non-violence and compassion toward others, and sought to find the divine in all. This was anathema to modern Islam. Rumi once said, “Ignore those that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death.”  I broke ties with the religion in 2004 and turned my back on it.

One year later while singing in my little sister’s Baptist choir I became consumed by the fiery conviction of the Holy Spirit and found myself prostrate again, this time at the foot of the cross, where I gave my life to Jesus Christ and became born again.  Here is where I found the heart of Rumi, in God’s divine Grace and Mercy. Rumi wrote once: “Not only the thirsty seek the water, the water as well seeks the thirsty.” The words of Christ heal me on a daily basis, and His presence humbles and guides me to righteousness.  The message of Jesus was that of love, pure and simple. In John 13:34 he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” In the eight years since my conversion to Christianity I have grown even closer in understanding and spiritual maturity.  To be sure, there is a long, long way to go; the journey of growing closer to and becoming more like Christ requires a lifetime of dedication, prayer, study of the scriptures and fellowship.

There is absolutely no comparison between Islam and Christianity. I am grateful to have experienced firsthand the reality of Islam, and instead of condemning it, want to reach out to Muslims and help them realize the truth about their religion, that it is filled with hatred toward all who do not believe, and is dedicated in committing jihad through violence and terrorism and chaos until all non-Muslims are dead or converted. I want Muslims to know that true salvation is found through the Lord Jesus Christ, who willingly gave His life for the sins of the world so that if we but believe in him we will have everlasting life. I want my Muslim friends to study the Quran carefully; I want them to learn all they can about the life and teachings of Muhammad. I want them to understand the true agenda of Islam, to really let the murderous intent and countless threats sink into them. Then I want them to study the Holy Bible carefully. I want them to learn all they can about the life and teachings of Jesus. I want them to understand the true agenda of Christianity, to really let the message of God’s incredible love for us all wash through them.

Rumi’s words still inspire me, and my love for Christ makes his poetry even more special. He wrote, “Stop the words now. Open the window in the center of your chest, and let the Spirit fly in.”  I hope the eyes and hearts of Muslims are someday opened so that the Holy Spirit can lead them from fear to blessed salvation.