Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

I missed the discussion led by Ken Kolenbrander and Anne Donovan the day this book was discussed so I didn’t hear whatever they had to say about it. Since then my good friend Ausma loaned me her copy to read. I have just finished and while it is still fresh I will attempt to state what I gleaned from it.
It was well written and clearly stated the needs of the people of the world but more importantly described how their condition could be improved if only those of us proclaiming to be Christian actually began to live as Christians. I include myself in this condemnation as there were many times in my life when I looked the other way. Without being too hard on myself I did my best to provide for my family, my company, our employees, our customers and our community. We were always active participants in our church and made contributions with treasure and talent whenever we could. I only share these thoughts as all thru the book Mr. Stearns asks us to think in terms of individuals with the sure conviction that if we did we could change the world.
There is a chapter on Time, Talent and Treasure. It matters not if we are billionaires we can make a difference. There are some at Rosemont that work in soup kitchens. Others visit the sick and offer friendship and companionship. There are many ways to help others less fortunate than ourselves.
There was a study made that is mentioned in the book. It compared the lives of people who claimed to be born again Christians and Atheists. Their behavior was very similar, much of which was not to be admired. He takes from this that words don’t determine actions but good works do. He insists that faith is foremost but also that faith without good works is empty. He points out the staggering sum that could be amassed if Christians as a dedicated group would tithe and give a substantial portion to improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.
I am going to close by saying that most of us consider that we are a Christian Nation. If that is so, why do we spend staggering sums on armaments of all kinds? How can this be doing Christ’s work in this world? A tiny portion used properly could help to improve lives and reduce hatred among nations and religions. Our government thinks granting loans so countries can purchase arms from our protected defense industries, is being of benefit. I say no. Help dig wells, build school houses, treat the sick and show them how to be self sufficient, the benefit of that type of program would be beneficial and who knows we just might increase harmony throughout the world. Perhaps even other religions might want to participate in humanitarian programs as well.
The HOLE he refers to is the lack of carrying out God’s promises. Mouthing platitudes and singing in the Choir on Sunday just isn’t enough. I hope many of you will read this book and further that discussion groups probe it further.

Jack B. Walters
May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flyboys-a book review

By James Bradley

Mr. Bradley also authored Flags of Our Fathers. I have read both books. He is another author that does extensive research before writing. This included personal visits with Japanese soldiers who were involved with captive flyers on the Island of Chichi Jima. This was an outpost manned by 35,000 soldiers. It had two mountain peaks which had been used to install radio equipment for communication to Japan. It was located near to Iwo Jima. There were eight prisoners. Only one lived. He had been sent to Japan and survived the war. Another pilot shot down near the island was rescued by a submarine. His name was George H.W. Bush. The two crew members in his plane did not survive.
One by one the prisoners were executed after being stabbed with sharp sticks or bayonets. They were then beheaded and in a number of instances their livers and strips of flesh from their thighs were cut out and fed to officers. This all came to light during interrogation. The details were filled in by Mr. Bradley hunting down and persuading soldiers to tell their story.
The main story is about these men as young lads who eagerly signed up to be part of the Navy’s Air Arm, some as pilots, others as gunners or radio men. We get to know them and their families.
Woven into the book is a snapshot of how brutal the war was on both sides. The Japanese soldiers were treated harshly by their officers and non coms. They were taught to obey all orders without question. If they died it was for the Emperor and they would be rewarded. The slaughter of Chinese soldiers and civilians was carried out methodically and without any semblance of humanity.
One of the stories is about the B-24 Bombers taking off from an Aircraft Carrier to bomb Japan early in 1942. Psychologically it was effective both in America and Japan. We needed a lift from all the bad news. The Japanese were stunned that the war could come to their sacred lands. All of the planes crashed before reaching the Chinese Airfields due to the task force being discovered 200 miles short of the planned take off. To punish the Chinese over 200,000 were slaughtered in the area closest to Japan as they assumed the planes had used airfields in China.
We do not always come off as the good guys. The author traces our history leading to this latest conflict. I will let you discover the data when you read the book. Read it and get a refresher on how brutal war is.

Jack B. Walters
May 21, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

SB 1070 - What happens now?

The Arizona Legislature has created quite a furor by passing this legislation. In the final analysis the only positive aspect will be that the subject of illegal immigration and drug smuggling has been elevated in the consciousness of those Americans who are concerned about matters such as this.
This letter is being written with a heavy heart as I am probably the only one who has it all figured out. Those who have taken offence at the heartlessness of Arizonans can rest easy for I am sad to tell you that nothing of consequence will occur. The reason I can say this is that the will of the majority has been continuously thwarted for many years now. Knowing the heavy burden we have been forced to live with we have taken every opportunity to vote for any proposition designed to stop the invasion into our State.
Several years ago we approved strong penalties against employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants. The thinking was that if jobs were not available they would return to their own country or migrate to other parts of the country. That was callous on our part but we felt if it worked as we hoped then other States could pass their own laws to do the same thing. Over time the illegals would be squeezed out. The problem is that the law has not been enforced. The reasons given were lack of funds and higher priorities. To date only two firms have been identified. One of them had already closed their doors and no action has been taken against the second firm. Perhaps it was a mistake in the wording of the resolution in that proper funding was not included. In my opinion the answer is that those in positions to enforce just do not agree and have sat on their hands defying the will of the people.
SB 1070 with a few exceptions will not be enforced. To start with random stops are prohibited, so the advice I would give to those here illegally is to have your vehicle in good operating condition. Be sure head and tail lights are working and obey all traffic rules. If in a 25/mph construction zone, drive 22/mph, etc. Do not give law enforcement officers an excuse to pull you over and question you as to whether you are in America legally. If you are pulled over just show your drivers license whether obtained fraudulently or legally and you will be free to go on your merry way.
It should be readily apparent that there are two sanctuary cities i.e.; Flagstaff and Tucson. Both City Councils have voted to sue the State. Whether their suits are successful or not, I ask you what directions will they pass on to the Police Chief and how hard will they come down on any officer who takes the initiative to follow the law. I think you know the answer to that. There will be a few deportations. You can be sure the Arizona Daily Star will print heart wrenching stories about families being broken up and how they just wanted to be good citizens living here whether they came legally or not.
We all know that neither political party in Washington has the fortitude to enforce laws that have been on the books for decades fearing backlash and lost votes from the Hispanic Community. There will be many sound bites but the only result, if any, will be a repeat of times past with citizenship granted to millions. Hollow threats about keeping others out will be just that, hollow threats and so America will become more Latinized on a steady trend until the majority has been attained. At that time we will be just like Mexico and the other Central American countries with corruption the rule. I of course will be long gone when that occurs which is the reason I feel compelled to make my voice heard now.
I am not totally depressed as there are a few brave souls out there trying to resolve this issue in a reasonable fashion. Perhaps in the end reason will prevail. We can only hope. In the meantime those in favor of open borders should relax and enjoy the fact that nothing will change as a result of

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
May 14, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

God and Ronald Reagan

A spiritual life
By Paul Kengor

I have a good friend at my church who reads as much or more than I do. She is a Christian in every sense of the word. Her first name is Ausma. She handed this book to me to read with the admonition that she knew I had been disillusioned by the policies of Reagan when he was president. She wanted me to understand the depth of his Christianity. This book clearly states the truth of her thinking.
It doesn’t change my thinking in regards to legislation passed during his years in office. I won’t take your time now by listing them. There were many that have led to the disasters we are living with today. Be that as it may, this book opened my eyes to the essential goodness of this man and his life long belief in Christianity and his resolve to help all peoples everywhere enjoy the freedom to live with their beliefs without fear of persecution as was happening so severely in the Soviet Union and the satellite states under their control.
This book takes us to his childhood with a devout mother and influential clergy who were close to him. He offended the communist elite in Hollywood by railing against that ideology. His greatest success was opening up Russia and to some extent China and allowing religious freedom. Premier Gorbachev must also be given credit. Reagan felt that deep down Gorbachev was a Christian. At any rate Reagan throughout his years in office did everything he could to accomplish this goal. It was of course successful. The Berlin wall did come tumbling down and the Soviet Union was dissolved with the satellite states regaining their rights to function as free countries.
The above was the result but reading the book gave me an insight into the deeply held beliefs he had and how they were developed and nurtured along the way. I now have a much greater understanding of this unique personality who was our president during the perilous cold war years.
I recommend reading to those who enjoy history and believe religion can be a positive influence.