Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Man Who has Your Ear, has Your Heart

   The man who has your ear, has your heart. If someone is not in good favor with you, often that would change if you gave them audience, listening to them and why they do what they do.
  You are more likely to dislike someone being talk about than someone you take the time to talk with.
  We believe the face that is before our face. There are two sides to every story, it is said. Yet, too often, we come to judgement after hearing only one side.

Monday, August 25, 2014

'Nothing Touched the Trigger, but the Devil's Right Hand'

   Let a great singer teach you the danger of guns. Steve Earle. The character in his song spots his first pistol when just a boy, and figures it the finest thing he ever has seen. He asks if he can have one once he grows up, and his mama drops the eggs she is carrying and blows up, telling him the pistol is the devil's right hand. Well, he ends up getting a gun, anyway, the first one being a cap and ball Colt. The song preaches that, "It can get you into trouble but it can't get you out," words that speak the truth of the gun, if it is to be used for more than self defense. The second gun he buys is a Colt 45, "called a peacemaker, but I never knew why. Never knew why. I didn't understand, 'cause Mama said the pistol is the devil's right hand."
   Well, Steve Earle's songbook character ends up in a card game, and his opponent cheats, so he shoots him dead. They drag him into court the next morning, and ask him how he pleads. "Not guilty," he says. "You've got the wrong man. Nothing touched the trigger but the devil's right hand."


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Carrie, Elvis and 'How Great Thou Art'

   A song so wonderful, one wonders (I do, anyway) if it isn't the greatest song ever. Neat that Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill (Carrie singing, Vince picking on the guitar) performed "How Great Thou Art" at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2011. It ranks as one of the most-famous performances of the song ever.
   Elvis. Elvis sang the song a number of times, and his performances are also wonderful. From what I can see, Elvis came closer than any artist ever to claiming the song as his own, so many times did he perform it. He won three Grammys, but none were for rock performances. All three were for gospel music and two of them were for  album of the year for "How Great Thou Art" in 1967 and song of the year for "How Great Thou Art" in 1974.
   Carrie and Elvis both grew up singing gospel music, with the influence spilling into their careers.
   Wonder who else has sang "How Great Thou Art"?









Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ferguson: A Quick Assurance was Needed

   A quick, quick assurance was needed. The protesters would have been less likely to protest, and the rioters would have been less likely to riot, had there just been an assurance that justice would be served.
   Someone needed to say, "We take gravely the possibility that the killing was unjustified. Justice will be served. If the officer is guilty, he will be held accountable. Justice must be served."
   And, right from the git-go, there needed to be the officer's justification. He needed to say why he shot Brown and why the shooting was justified.
   If there was such assurances, I did not hear of them more than a week into this affair. Then, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon stepped up to call for justice for the deceased's family. "A vigorous prosecution must now be pursued," he declared. His website would state that use of the word "prosecution" was not meant to prejudge the case, but referred to all duties and responsibilities of the prosecuting attorney. If that was what he meant, it would have been good had he been able to communicate it better, for it did come off as if he was saying officer Darren Wilson is guilty.
   An assurance from Wilson that he was justified? Finally, word came this week that he is contending Brown was rushing at him. If this is true -- if defending himself from Brown trying to wrestle the weapon from him, or defending himself against fist blows, or defending himself against Brown rushing toward him were truly the reason or reasons for killing Brown, that should have been stated from the git-go in hopes of dampening the riots and protests that we've seen.
   From the witness accounts I've seen, yes, I am concerned the shooting was unjustified. Yes, I can see cause for outrage. Not addressing that outrage, not promising justice, was a mistake both in terms of how to handle a volatile situation and in terms of showing respect for the concerns of the protesters.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Economy: Give it Freedom, or You Might Give it Death

   Freedom of religion, freedom of speech . . . freedom of economy. That last one never quite made it into the Bill of Rights. Nor has it been protected as well as many of our other freedoms.
   "One out of three jobs requires a government license -- government permission just to work," Sen. Mike Lee said Thursday.
   "And, once you have a job, there are thousands of pages of, 'Don't do this. Not like that. That's not approved." Lee said.
   Regulations stifle job creation, and enterprising efforts. In a Nation that stands upon freedoms, it is ironic that America's economy seems to have as many restrictions placed upon it as does that of any nation in the world.
   Give it freedom, or you might give it death. Maybe not a complete death, but America's economy will never know the full life it could have unless it is freed from government regulations.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why do not the Gazans Flee?

   Why do not the Gazans flee? Syrians flee. Kurds flee. Hondurans flee. Why is it Gazans stay put instead of fleeing the country? Have they no country to flee to?
   I do a quick word search and it pops up their fleeing to a U.N. site, but that would be right there in the Gaza Strip. And, I see how Israel asked them to flee, but Hamas told them to stay put.
   What kind of government, if it were intent on the safety of its people, would tell them to stick around and get shelled?
   Perhaps the answer is in that they are there not simply to have a place to live, but to be staking out a place in Israel. And, to leave would be abandoning their mission. Or, perhaps it is that other Arab countries will not have them. I am just not in the know. I do not know the answers as perhaps some of the readers of this blog do. Englighten me, then.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Steps of Repentance and the Prisoner Who Could Use Them

   If remorse is a step to overcoming sin, isn't it also a step to reforming a person of criminal conduct? And, is there anything society can do to encourage remorse when the prisoner is in jail?
   One thing might be to have the prisoner learn about the victim, learning about the needs, the good works, and the dreams of that victim, all in hope the criminal might recognize the harm he has done. The criminal needn't be given details he doesn't already have, such as where the victim lives. Also, the criminal could be given case histories from other similar crimes, showing how harm was done.
   If the idea is to reform the criminal, it seems the criminal needs to repent. If so, what of the steps of repentance: (1.) feeling remorse, (2.) offering a confession, (3.) asking for forgiveness, (4.) rectifying the harm, as much as possible, and (5.) not repeating the crime. If these are true principles, it seems they should be used to help reform criminals.