Monday, November 17, 2014

The Pick of the Weekend

Here's a few articles from around the web that you don't want to miss.

* “Clamping Down on Religion” (In this brief but important article, NRO’s Kathyrn Jean Lopez interviews Ed Clancy, director of outreach and evangelization for Aid for the Church in Need.)

* “The lies that are central to Obama’s agenda” (Kyle Smith, New York Post)

* “Officials say U.S. military readiness for war, competitive edge worsening” (Andrea Shalal & David Alexander, Reuters)

* “One Nation Under Godlessness: A high school in Colorado Springs bans students from meeting outside class for prayer and fellowship.” (Michelle Malkin, NRO)

* “Joe Wilson Was Right” (Jack Cashill, American Thinker)

* “India’s war on women turns deadly: Thirteen women have died as a result of the latest mass sterilisation camp.” (Carolyn Moynihan, Mercator)

* “Obama Is Now Lying About His Lies” (Peter Wehner, Commentary)

* “HHS still doing business with firm that twice defrauded Medicare” (Sarah Westwood, Washington Examiner)

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Awesome Power of Music!

You want an idea of why we are more excited than ever about "When Swing
Was King," Vital Signs Ministries' outstanding outreach into nursing homes and senior centers?

Then, by all means, check out the clip and the article below. And then check in with "When Swing Was King."

Caring for patients with dementia will probably be one of the biggest human dignity issues of our century, as the proportion of elderly grows across the globe. It seems disgraceful to warehouse them in nursing homes, but often there are few alternatives.

So I was really delighted to see a ray of light in a new documentary, Alive Inside, which won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for an American documentary. It features the power of music to raise patients out of their torpor. Sometimes the effect of placing earphone and an iPod on an unresponsive patient slumped in a wheel is little short of miraculous…

Michael Rossato-Bennett, the director of the award-winning documentary, “Alive Inside,” says his life was transformed by making the film. “I hope it will bring the story of Dan’s work to the world and awaken hearts and minds to the healing power of music. Music has great lessons to teach us about what it means to be human. I learned that from the sweet and vulnerable souls I met making this film.

Through music, we have the power to help millions of people awaken to who they are and what they can be. Music gives us the ability to reach a population that might otherwise be unreachable. It allows us to touch hearts and ignite souls. Through music, we can help the old and the aging sustain their humanity and by doing so, inevitably, we’ll prove our own.”

Read more of the Mercator article by Michael Cook, “Bringing the elderly back to life with music.”

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Congratulations, Conservatives. Now What?

Here's an idea. Copy the picture above (or some creation of your own) and print it off to make “congratulation cards” to the conservatives you supported in Tuesday's elections. On the inside (or simply the back side if you go with a postcard format), tell them the four things on which you want them to press "fast and furious" as soon as they take office. (Those items, of course, will be different for the various offices your candidates won.)  And keep a copy of your card so you can refer to those priorities in your next communications.

It’s not enough to get these folks elected. Nor is it enough to applaud them (or ourselves), or feel satisfied and happy. The job of governing with principle, efficiency, and wisdom is now at hand. Our prayers, encouragement, and perseverance to keep our political representatives accountable are more important than ever.

By the way, what are the priorities I’m sending along? Well, to Ben Sasse, Joni Ernst and others heading to the U.S. Senate that I prayed for, cheered on, and supported in various ways, those priorities are:

1) The de-funding of the mega-abortion business that is Planned Parenthood.

2) Increased military might in order to better protect America from her enemies.

3) Protecting the Constitution from activist ideologues being appointed to the Supreme Court.

4) Much stronger protections against vote fraud.

In my card to those winning in Congressional races, since it is not the duty of Congress to confirm judicial nominees, I substitute #3 for “Dismantling ObamaCare."

So, what do you say? Send in your cards and letters today. We mobilized for their election. Let’s stay mobilized to insure these folks govern the way they promised.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"I Will Never Forget"

“You know, I understand what you’re saying.  And you’re right, I know you are.  And I appreciate your being here and all that you’re offering to help me and my baby.  Really, I do.  But you just can’t get around my immediate problem and so I’m afraid I don’t have any choice.  That’s not how I want it and I wish I could undo some stuff but I can’t.  So, yes; I know this is sin, a very serious sin, and I hope somehow, somewhere my baby will forgive but I have to do this.  Because if I don’t go through with the abortion, I’d never fit in to my prom dress.”

Read the rest of this month’s Vital Signs letter right here.

Does Culture Trump Politics?

Liberals expend tremendous effort changing the culture. Conservatives expend tremendous effort changing elected officials every other November — and then are surprised that it doesn’t make much difference. Culture trumps politics — which is why, once the question’s been settled culturally, conservatives are reduced to playing catch-up... 

In 1986, in a concurrence to a majority opinion, the chief justice of the United States declared that “there is no such thing as a fundamental right to commit homosexual sodomy.” A blink of an eye, and his successors are discovering fundamental rights to commit homosexual marriage.

What happened in between? Jurisprudentially, nothing: Everything Chief Justice Warren Burger said back in the ’80s — about Common Law, Blackstone’s “crime against nature,” “the legislative authority of the State” — still applies. Except it doesn’t. Because the culture — from school guidance counselors to sitcom characters to Oscar hosts — moved on, and so even America’s Regency of Jurists was obliged to get with the beat... 

If the culture’s liberal, if the schools are liberal, if the churches are liberal, if the hip, groovy business elite is liberal, if the guys who make the movies and the pop songs are liberal, then electing a guy with an “R” after his name isn’t going to make a lot of difference...

Read the rest of Mark Steyn’s compelling article, “Why the real battle for America is over culture, not elections,” in the New York Post.

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Annual" Tree Lighting Event Cancelled After Just One?

You're kidding me, right? After just one event, the "annual" Christmas Tree Lighting at the Andy William Moon River Theater in Branson has been tossed aside.

Well, not without a polite protest and an effort, however mild, to get the theater folks to reconsider.

Below is the note I sent to the Branson newspaper, a few radio stations, the Chamber of Commerce, and the tourism bureau. We'll see what happens.

Last year we had a wonderful time at the First Annual Christmas Tree Lighting outside the Andy Williams Moon River Theater. Though the event received almost no promotion at all, there were around 300 people on hand (even before the matinee audience exited the theater) to enjoy the festivities, including remarks and music from the Lennon Sisters, the Osmonds, and other Branson stars. We also enjoyed delicious cookies handed out by the cutest of Santa’s elves.

We are planning a return to Branson this fall and were looking forward to attending the Second Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. However, a call to the theater office resulted in the news that there wouldn’t be one. Wow. That was a bummer. We were told there had been “a change of hands” and so the event was off. That’s really unfortunate for with a minimum of effort, the tree lighting could provide a lot of community unity as well as positive publicity for the theater and the Branson area. Plus, it could make for a great kickoff to the Christmas season, completely true to the tradition that Branson’s Christmas begins when Andy Williams says it begins!

So, what do you say? Is there any way that the powers that be might reverse their decision? It seems a pity that such a neat idea should fade away after such a promising start. Perhaps we’ll have to bring cookies from our home here in Omaha and pass them out in front of the tree there, in sad recognition of a lost opportunity.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Is the Fleetwood Mac Tour a Good Idea?

I see that Fleetwood Mac is back on tour.

In fact, I just watched clips of three songs they performed live for the Today show and though interesting, it confirmed my longstanding conviction; namely, that after a certain period of time rock and roll singers should retire and let their body of work stand at its apex, not in an unending anticlimax consisting of reunion tours, albums of re-interpreted standards, and concerts with younger, full-throated, "backup" singers whose voices are miked-up to help cover the aging voices of the stars.

Rock singers, do yourselves a favor. Do interviews. Act. Write your memoirs.

But please, stop singing.

By the way, note the debonair yet stately look of Mick Fleetwood in the photo above. (He's the tall fellow on the left.) Do you note the resemblance to our old friend, the late Calvin Miller? One of his later photos is here on the right.

Calvin, as many of you know, was a dear pastor, preacher, writer, teacher, artist, and family man whose career included a long stretch here in Omaha as the pastor of Westside Church, a large Southern Baptist congregation. We still miss him.

And as hep a cat as Mick Fleetwood most likely is, I can assure you the multi-talented, extremely personable, and devoutly spiritual Cal Miller beats out even Mick Fleetwood on cool.