Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Best Of...For Your Weekend Reading

* “Trump’s Expansion of Mexico City Policy Is a Major Victory in Protecting Life” (Congressman Chris Smith, Daily Signal)

* “A Win for the Deep State” (Andrew Klavan, PJ Media)

* “Feminism Drives People to Deny Basic Facts” (Dennis Prager, Daily Signal)

“Social-Justice Math Class: ‘Math Has Been Used as a Dehumanizing Tool’” (Katharine Timpf, National Review)

* “8 Major Reasons I Oppose Planned Parenthood” (Denny Hartford, Vital Signs Blog)

* “Strategies for Dealing with the Persecution of Christians” (Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism)

* “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Come True? Just not in the Way Feminists Think” (John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera, Breakpoint)

* “Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media” (Wes Pruden, Washington Times)

* “How Barack Obama Conspired with an Enemy to Undermine U.S. Foreign Policy” (John Hinderaker, Power Line)

* “When doctors say No: A law professor defends physicians' right to conscientious objection” (Michael Quinlan, Mercator)

* “Why Russia Can’t Be America’s Ally: What Putin Doesn’t Want You to Know About Moscow’s Persecution of Christians and Covert Support for Radical Islamists” (George Barros, Providence)

8 Major Reasons I Oppose Planned Parenthood

1) Planned Parenthood kills preborn babies for profit. Hundreds of thousands of babies. And by payments to surgical abortionists and sales of chemical abortifacients, Planned Parenthood is raking in millions of dollars every year. They are the largest abortion-providing business in the world.

2) Planned Parenthood is the most aggressive promoter of abortion rights in the U.S. and abroad. It's influence in Congress, the United Nations, in state governments, in social service agencies, and among government educators is huge.

3) Planned Parenthood promotes (and enables) sexual promiscuity, even among very young teenagers.

4) Planned Parenthood promotes sexual perversion and does so with obscene and blasphemous materials.

5) Planned Parenthood holds firm to the racism and elitism of its eugenics founders.

6) Planned Parenthood has been caught on many occasions in criminal cover-ups of statutory rape. They have also been caught in selling fetal body parts and other criminal activity.

7) Planned Parenthood operates many unsafe, unsanitary abortion clinics. It has had several abortionists who have killed adult women through botched abortion. It dispenses very dangerous abortifacient drugs in an unprofessional manner like over the phone and through "at home abortion kits." It works continually against parental rights and control. It works continually against any and all limitations on abortion.

8) Planned Parenthood now makes over $540 million from taxpayer-funded government health services grants — every year!

Shouldn't you be opposing Planned Parenthood too?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Top Ten for Your Weekend

Among the examples of quality, relevant journalism from the last few days are these 10 gems.

* “World Cyber War I?” (John Hinderaker, Power Line)

* “Hysteria, overblown hooey part of the fake news cycle” (Charles Hurt, Washington Times)

* “The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys” (David French, National Review)

* “Walls fall in on Obamacare” (Editors, Washington Examiner)

* “The Ugly Racism of Karl Marx” (Walter E. Williams, Daily Signal)

* “After 100 years, there is still life in the Communist nightmare” (Marion Smith, Mercator)

* “Christians are Leaving the Girl Scouts Over Its Connection to Planned Parenthood” (Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews.com)

* “Scouts on the Outs with LDS” (Family Researh Council’s Washington Update)

* “West ignores Indonesia's slide toward Islamic extremism” (Michael Cook, Mercator)

* “Trump Should Adopt an International Religious-Freedom Policy with Teeth” (Tina Ramirez, National Review)



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Surrendering...Without Even a Fight

I quote from  a recent letter from a dear brother in Christ and active pro-life colleague, Dr. Greg Gardner in Birmingham, England.

...My wife is reading the excellent biography of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. I don’t know what Bonhoeffer would have made of all this accommodation to culture, biblical illiteracy and weak leadership. 

...There are several things you mention [in your letter] that resonate but none more so than your comments about the local church. To unfriendliness and a lack of engagement in the culture I would add a lack of intentional discipleship preparing young people for life. Yesterday I attended the annual conference of the Christian Medical Fellowship. There was a seminar given by two retirees from Glasgow on intelligent design which was very good. One of them showed a slide from the Discovery Institute that stated that in one recent survey only 1% of youth pastors ever addressed science-faith issues. Yet this is one area that youth struggle with and according to the book You Lost Me, bad teaching in this area makes a young person more likely to drop out of church in their 20’s. 

After the talk I went up to one of these guys and asked him if he had ever been invited to talk to the youth group in his local church on this subject (about which he is quite knowledgeable and a good teacher). 

He hadn’t.

Alas, the age of capitulation continues.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Want To Check Out Our "When Swing Was King" Newsletters?

To better inform and encourage those of you who are interested in our “When
Swing Was King” ministry, we thought we would start posting on the Vital Signs Ministries website the pdf versions of the quarterly newsletters that we distribute to the residents of the 13 senior care facilities that we visit every month.

We have so far created 3 editions of these 4-page, large-print newsletters which feature big band trivia, a personal note from us, seasonal quotations and Scriptures, and more. So, for your review (and a bit of fun too), here they are.

The Spring newsletter.

The Christmas edition (2016).

The Autumn edition (2016).




Friday, May 05, 2017

An Enlightening Compilation for Your Weekend

* “Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say” (Stephen Adams, Telegraph)

* “Islamist Terror: ‘The Real Bomb Is in the Books’” (Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine)

“Video Exposes Top Pro-Abortion Politicians Misleading People to Defend Planned Parenthood” (Brian Gottstein, LifeNews.com)

* “Why Conservatives Are Unhappy With the Final Spending Bill” (Rachel del Guidice, Daily Signal)

* “Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Liberty Is Worse Than Useless” (David French, National Review)

* “DOJ: One in Four Federal Inmates Is Foreign-Born: Justice Dept. says cost of incarcerating non-citizens in federal prisons exceeds $1.2 billion” (Brendan Kirby, Polizette)

“The war on freedom is rotting our intellectual life” (Denyse O'Leary, Mercator)

* “Pope Francis’s Communist Mentor” (George Neumayr, American Spectator)

* “What Caused Venezuela's Collapse Is No Mystery — Except To Economically Illiterate Journalists” (Editorial, Investor’s Business Daily)

* “Airbnb’s political correctness hits home” (Peter C. DeMarco, Mercator)

Video: Politicians Lying About Planned Parenthood To Keep Tax Money Flowing

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Culture War Updates

One of the services provided by Vital Signs Blog is to offer every few days a small collection of some of the excellent and relevant articles (mostly from the alternative media) dealing with issues of the culture war. Here's the latest of those collections.

* “Did O’Reilly Finally Go Too Far?” (Victor Davis Hanson, National Review)

* “How Political Correctness Holds African-Americans Back” (Walter E. Williams, Daily Signal)

* “Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump” (Geirge Neumayr, American Spectator)

* “Taxpayers Fund Lawyers To Defend Highly Paid Federal Managers Under Fire” (Luke Rosiak, Daily Caller)

* “Scott Walker Deals Another Blow to Big Labor in Wisconsin” (Ted Goodman, Daily Signal)

* “28 people shot in less than 18 hours in Chicago” (Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune)

* “Former FEC Chairwoman Calls for ‘Regulations’ of Political Speech on the Internet” (Ian Miles Cheong, Heatstreet)

* “Earth Day Dopes” (John Stossel, Town Hall)

* “Off the Rails, Again and Again: How Washington ensures that rail travel in the Northeast Corridor remains a nightmare” (Steven Malanga, City Journal)

About This Lack of Gratitude Thing...

Returning home after walking my regular course one afternoon last fall, I came across an unusual scene.  In front of the Christian school that I pass by were two men I know who work there. One was kneeling beside the sewer opening at the curb while the other was actually lying on the pavement and trying to reach down inside.  A nicely-dressed woman was standing nearby.

I stopped to help and discovered they were trying to retrieve a schoolbook that had somehow fallen down into the sewer and which was lying, safe and dry for the moment, on a bit of concrete shelf.  Being dressed down in shorts and T-shirt and already dirty, I offered my help and got down beside my friend.  Though taller and having a longer reach, I couldn’t get to the book either even though I got down as far as I could into the sewer opening.  Even using a pole with a gripping device wouldn’t work.

Well, we worked at it quite awhile before my friend thought about possibly prying the manhole cover from its rust-encrusted position so that he could drop inside.  It wasn’t easy and the iron cover proved heavy and cumbersome – but it worked.  Once we had that done, it took just seconds for him to retrieve the book and but another minute to maneuver the manhole cover back into place.  Our efforts had produced a successful conclusion and, I don’t know about the others, I felt a wonderful sense of achievement.

But the most notable detail of this story was one that wasn’t wonderful at all for that was the inaction of the young girl whose book had been saved.  During the whole time of the adventure – 15 minutes since I had showed up and who knows how long before that  – she merely sat in a nearby car, messing with her phone.  It was the girl’s mother who had stood alongside watching our efforts in her daughter’s behalf. The mom was encouraging and very grateful.  But, even when the book was retrieved, the girl herself displayed no gratitude, not even interest. The mother was embarrassed when she finally had to direct her daughter to roll down the window to acknowledge the favor.  The girl let the car window come down, took the book from her mom’s hand, gave us a slight and quick smile and…zip…up went the window again and she returned her attention to her phone. The mom repeated her own thanks and assured us that her daughter was grateful too.  The evidence of that, however, could hardly been weaker.

I shook hands with the other guys and thanked them for their efforts in behalf of the student.  I thanked them too for letting me be a part of the project for, when all was said and done, it had been kinda’ fun. But, as I walked the rest of the way home, I thought about how sad an example this presented of modern youth, even in Christian circles.  Self-centered. Ungrateful.  A haughty indifference to elders – even when beholden to them.  Indifference to parental expectations or feelings. And being so tied to “social media” that true social responsibilities are ignored.
 
I wonder — will those of us who are older finally recognize the trouble our youth are in (and, through them, the whole culture) because of the counter-productive polices we’ve practiced in the schools, the church youth programs, parenting priorities, and the tragic extent that we have allowed kids to be engulfed in technology, fad and fashion, and Hollywood media? And, even if we recognize the situation, will we begin to take steps to rebuild among our youth respect, responsibility, a work ethic, humility, real life skills, rites of passage, and a personal devotion to both the precepts and the power of biblical Christianity?

Make no mistake, this is a critical matter, one that must be seriously and continually addressed. If not, the future of Christian culture (short of heaven) is bleak indeed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Post-Easter Review

We have all been busy about other things these last several days (and rightly so) but now, at the beginning of a new week in the trenches of the culture war, I suggest several articles that are too good to slip by unnoticed.

* “The Israel-Palestinian Peace Process Has Been a Massive Charade” (Daniel Pipes, Mosaic)

* “Trump’s Syria airstrike was a huge loss for Putin” (Ralph Peters, New York Post)

* “Dynamic Christianity vs. the Benedict Option” (Rachel Lu, National Review)

* “Charges Against Pro-Life Investigative Journalist David Daleiden are Totally Bogus. Here’s Why” (Matt Heffron, LifeNews.com)

* “Why Hillary Clinton Deserves Planned Parenthood’s Award” (Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review)

* “President Donald Trump Signs Bill to Overturn Obama Rule Forcing States to Fund Planned Parenthood” (Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com)

* “Congressman Says Corruption in Washington Is ‘Worse Than You Think’” (Rachel del Guidice, Daily Signal)

* “At Least 20% of SEIU’s Budget Went to Politics” (Bill McMorris, Washington Free Beacon)

* “Rod Dreher, Meet Leo Strauss and Friends” ( Mike Sabo, American Greatness)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

All Aboard the Chattanooga Choo Choo...and More

Wow. We have quite a lineup for the April 2017 “When Swing Was King” and things got off to a fine start yesterday evening at House of Hope up on north 52nd Street. Only 12 more shows to go!

We are also pretty excited about discovering a Blue Tooth speaker setup that will be of terrific help to us in a couple of our venues.

Here is this month's excellent song list.

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra (Vocals by Tex Beneke, Paula Kelly, the Modernaires) -- “Chattanooga Choo Choo”

2) Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (Vocals by Ray Ebery & Helen O'Connell) -- “Green Eyes”

3) Artie Shaw Orchestra -- “Begin the Beguine”

4) Benny Goodman Orchestra (Vocals by Martha Tilton) -- “The Lady’s In Love With You”

5)  Benny Moten & the Kansas City Orchestra -- “Moten Swing”

6) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (Vocals by Frank Sinatra) -- “Fools Rush In”

7) Lawrence Welk Orchestra -- “Alley Cat”

8) The McGuire Sisters -- “Sincerely”

9) The Mills Brothers -- “Lazy River”

10)  Freddy Martin Orchestra -- “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

11) Vaughn Monroe Orchestra -- “There, I’ve Said It Again”

12) Sammy Kaye Orchestra -- “Daddy”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hey Business Leaders! Stop Giving Money to the Giant Abortion Corporation, Planned Parenthood.

I occasionally post some of my letters in hopes that others will follow suit.  And that’s because the evidence remains strong that individual letters make a difference – to politicians, preachers, and business leaders.  In this particular case, I utilized the information at 2nd Vote to send letters and emails to dozens of big companies who give money to Planned Parenthood. (As if the millions PP makes from destroying preborn kids and the millions more they get from government agencies aren’t enough.)

I encourage you to check out 2nd Vote also…and write a few notes of your own. You’ll be interested, I bet, in the companies they list who worked against the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Together, we can create a much greater impact in promoting a culture of life, justice, and decency.

Dear PepsiCo officers,

I recently became aware that your otherwise reputable company is continuing to give money to a most irreputable business; namely, the abortion conglomerate that is Planned Parenthood.  This, of course, is the same Planned Parenthood that continues to lie about providing mammograms and other health care, that works incessantly against traditional sexual morality and parental authority, that has been engaged in the grisly and illegal selling of fetal body parts, that champions the most graphic and profane sex ed materials, and that destroys in their mother’s wombs hundreds of thousands of preborn boys and girls through the barbaric means of curettes and suction machines. 

Please stop debasing your company (and our culture) by giving money to Planned Parenthood.  Until you do, I must forego doing business with your company and I will inform family, friends, fellow church members, blog readers, and others of your grossly unwarranted support of Planned Parenthood.

Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries
Omaha, Nebraska

And 2nd Vote also gives you some of the companies that stay out of leftist causes. So, I wrote letters to many of them as well. Here’s a sample:

Dear Wendy’s,

I understand that your company has resisted pressures to give money to organizations and businesses that engage in leftist political agitation, the promotion of indecency, or in other anti-life and anti-family causes.  Please know that this is a breath of fresh air for most American consumers and is, therefore, a very good business tactic.  Indeed, it has not only persuaded me to frequent your company more than I have, but I will also be recommending your company to my family and friends. 

Thank you.

Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries
Omaha, Nebraska

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Weekend Review

There's a number of topics today, some covered by different, even disagreeing,
perspectives. But they're all valuable articles that will prompt clearer thinking, more effective conversation, and more specific prayers.

* “Syria: After the Airstrikes” (Editors, National Review)

* “The Message in the Missiles” (Scott Johnson, Power Line)

* “No to Bombing Syria” (Daniel Pipes, National Review)

* “Why Susan Rice’s Role In The Obama Spying Story Is A Big Deal” (Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist)

* “Why the media want to bury the Susan Rice ‘unmasking’ news” (Editors, New York Post)

* “BOMBSHELL: The Obama Spying Scandal Started Long Before Trump” (Bre Payton, The Federalist)

* “GOP Calls on Trump to Honor Promise to Defend Religious Liberty” (Todd Starnes, The Stream)

* “Mob Rule on Campus” (Harry Stein, City Journal)

* “The President Is This Presidency’s Worst Enemy” (Jonah Goldberg, National Review)

* “Flawed Climate Models” (David R. Henderson & Charles L. Hooper, Hoover Institution)

* “Hillary Clinton's book plan proves she still doesn't get it” (Emily Jashinsky, Washington Examiner)

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Monday, April 03, 2017

Who's for Peace in the World? Not Planned Parenthood!

The car pulled into the Planned Parenthood parking lot this morning with a bumper sticker lauding “Nebraskans for Peace.” I spoke to the PP employee when she got out of her car: “Surely you’re aware of the startling hypocrisy of a Planned Parenthood worker trying to promote a message of peace. After all, you guys make war daily on the most innocent and helpless of all human beings…and you utilize the most cruel and painful methods to do so. Mother Teresa once said that the greatest killer of peace in the whole world was abortion. She couldn’t have been more accurate. And you know in your heart that's true. So, how about it? You have the opportunity to do more than merely pose as a peacemaker; you can actually do something about it. Quit this barbaric job and start working to protect preborn boys and girls from slaughter. You really want peace in the world? Then let’s start with protecting the sacred peace of a mother’s womb.”

Friday, March 17, 2017

Questions from My Prayer Walk

During my walk yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time using one of the Scripture passages I had with me as a springboard for my prayers. It was Ephesians 5:8-11. That passage is translated by the New American Standard editors as “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord, walk as children of Light for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth, trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.”

It is a stirring exhortation — rich in describing the believers lofty and secure position in Christ and yet with an emphasis on the stern responsibility we have to continually walk in His Light. But though I have always preferred the NAS version, believing it to generally be the most accurate in conveying the original language text of the Bible, thinking and praying through that passage yesterday reminded me that any translation needs to be looked at carefully and in comparison with others, if not the language of the original text itself.

That NAS passage yesterday raised two red flags for me.  The first problem was the first capitalization of “Light.” There were no capitalizations, of course, in the original Greek.  It is merely a practice of English translators (natural and right enough) to identify proper nouns; that is, names of persons and places.  But, in this case, the capitalization of “Light” unavoidably suggests that it is God.  (The only other possibility is that the editors were personalizing a force in the same way Greek philosophers would personalize and thus give a capital letter to wisdom or nature or truth.  Such a practice, of course, has continued into our day as people use capital letters for nature, providence, and, in the case of some Marxists, history.)

But I’m pretty sure the NAS guys weren’t using a personification for a force or an ideal here. That certainly isn’t the practice they use elsewhere. So, again, I figure they must be equating the “Light” they capitalize as another name, as it were, for God.  That would be wrong, however, as it would then equate the Christian recipients of Paul’s letter with God.  That can’t be.  Faith in the atoning death of Jesus for one’s salvation from the penalty of sin creates a relationship between two distinctly separate beings – man and God.  Man doesn’t become God. Man isn’t absorbed into God.  No, each man’s unique identity remains (although gloriously changed) after his salvation decision.  The capitalization in the verse is inappropriate.  Again, please note — this isn’t an error in the original text. It’s an error by the NAS translation committee.

By the way, that first “light” is not given a capitalization in the King James, the New King James, the ASV, the Common English Bible, the Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition, the ESV, the Geneva Bible, J.B. Phillip’s New Testament, the NABRE, the NIV, the RSV, Young’s Literal Translation, and others.

The second problem was in verse 10 and that was the phrase, “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” After thinking through this for quite awhile yesterday, especially in comparing the phrase with the rest of the passage, I was kinda’ muddled.  What or who was “trying to learn?” The “fruit of the Light?” The “Light” itself?  The three virtues mentioned just before?  None of these made sense to me.  So, it had to be the believer, the one who had been called “Light” earlier.  Yet if one displays the fruits of the Spirit (“all goodness, righteousness and truth”), it must be because he is abiding in Christ (walking in the Spirit) and is thus already pleasing the Lord. So where does this “trying to learn what is pleasing to God” fit in? Answer -- it doesn't.

As I talked to God about my confusion, I began to remember another verse that seemed to deal with the same matter.  But the more I tried to remember it, the more I began to think I was already remembering this same passage…but in a different translation.  And, sure enough, when I got home I found that the King James version (and others) cleared up my confusion completely.  And that’s because the Greek word that the NAS translates as “trying to learn” is “dokimazontev” which doesn’t mean “trying to learn” at all.  Rather it means to test,  examine, prove, or to recognize as something as genuine after examination. Thus the King James translates verse 10 as “proving what is acceptable to God.”

Now, of course, that makes sense.  A Christian walking in the light of the Holy Spirit will produce the fruits of His light – all goodness, righteousness, and truth. And it is that lifestyle of obedience to God that will prove to the watching world that we are truly His disciples. Our authentic sanctification is what we offer to be evaluated. Are we the real deal? Do we truly know Christ and are living in His light? Then it will show. Verse 10 is, therefore, a grand promise of our effectiveness as His followers if we only yield to the Holy Spirit.

It was neat to experience.  The use of a Bible text in my prayers led me to a careful consideration of the text’s meaning.  And then honestly seeking out answers produced them. Those answers then led to some profound new applications of that text to my life and ministry and future.  So, thank you, Lord, for being the Light…for being my Light…and for revealing Your holy truths through the Word.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"You Make Us Feel Normal"

“You know, you bless us so much by coming.  You make us feel normal.”

This was said to Claire a couple of nights ago by one of the ladies at a senior care facility that deals exclusively with dementia and other memory loss issues. It’s one of the 12 facilities where we present “When Swing Was King” every month.  Claire, not surprisingly, was deeply touched by the woman’s kindness and appreciation.  For although we know the people in our audiences are, in fact, quite special, we’re also aware that for people who must deal with pain and loss, who are carefully watched over and cared for, who understand that they no longer function as they once did, feeling “normal” can be very special indeed.

The same lady, one of “When Swing Was King’s” most enthusiastic fans had held my hand earlier in the evening and told me, “When you guys come, you take away the loneliness.”  And then, because she holds firmly to the belief that both Claire and I grew up in her neighborhood, she added, “But you kids have always been nice.”

Later on we received a couple of other endorsements but these were from unexpected sources.  One was from a family member of a resident who wasn’t even in our audience but he had come in and sat down behind the fireplace where we hadn’t noticed him.  Before he went back to visit his loved one, he made a point to tell us, “You folks have a very good program.  Very professional. I liked it a lot.” And, as he expressed that complement, he was seconded by a fellow who had been painting the walls in the hallway behind the utility room where we had set up.  We ended up speaking with him for awhile as he praised the quality of music and the interesting stuff we shared about the musicians.  He even thought I should do a radio show because “you sound just like a disc jockey.”  Fun stuff.

Oh yes, one more tidbit from last night.  Before the program started we were, as usual, visiting with the residents who came in early.  One lady asked Claire, “Are you with this program tonight?”  As Claire pointed first towards me and then her computer in front of the projector, she answered, “Yes, my husband there is the talent and all I do is push these buttons.”  (The talent line, by the way, comes from a private joke we share going all the way back to my first trip to Burkina Faso). Anyhow, the lady smiled, patted Claire’s hand encouragingly and said, “Oh, I’m sure it takes talent to push buttons too!”  Of course, she’s right!

My, my. What a time we have with “When Swing Was King.”

Friday, March 10, 2017

Being Joyful

“The child of God is, from necessity, a joyful man. His sins are forgiven, his soul is justified, his person is adopted, his trials are blessings, his conflicts are victories, his death is immortality, his future is a heaven of inconceivable, unthought-of, untold, and endless blessedness — with such a God, such a Savior, and such a hope, is he not, ought he not, to be a joyful man?” (Baptist pastor, Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878. Quoted in Randy Alcorn’s remarkable book, Happiness.)

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Swinging Into March

Yesterday Claire and I started into the March schedule of “Swing Was King” and we're as excited as ever about this outreach into senior care facilities in our area...and sometimes way beyond.

What a blessing for everyone involved -- residents, family members, facility staff, visitors, and Claire and me! This month we are also passing out the third of our 4-page “When Swing Was King” quarterly newsletters which feature big band trivia, seasonal quotes and Scriptures, a quiz, and a personal note from us. That is being received very well also.

If you'd like to come along and see why this ministry is such a hit, please check the monthly schedule and let us know when you'd like to join us. We (and the residents of the care facilities) would be absolutely delighted to have you there for the party.

By the way, here's this month's song list:

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra -- “Pennsylvania 6-5000”

2) Lionel Hampton Orchestra -- “Flying Home”

3) Harry James Orchestra (Vocals by Kitty Kallen) -- “It's Been a Long, Long Time”

4) Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra -- “Blue Room”

5) Larry Clinton Orchestra (Vocals by Bea Wain) -- “Deep Purple”

6) Duke Ellington Orchestra -- “Satin Doll”

7) Artie Shaw Orchestra -- “Stardust”

8) The Mills Brothers -- “Till Then”

9) Benny Goodman Quartet -- “Avalon”

10) Dean Martin -- “Cha Cha de Amor”

11) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra -- “Opus One”

12) Judy Garland -- “The Trolley Song”

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The State of the Union (A Follow Up)

Here are a few of the best, brightest, and most important articles from the last few days. And, naturally, most come from the alternative media.

* “News, Fake News, Very Fake News: A Primer” (Roger Kimball, PJ Media)

* “The Oscar for Hypocrisy” (Editorial, New York Sun)

* “Doctors gave fake medical opinions to help win citizenship” (Frank Main, Chicago Sun-Times)

* “Meet the terrorist behind the next women’s march” (Kyle Smith, New York Post)

* “The West Submits to Blasphemy Laws: Forward to the Middle Ages!” (Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute)

* “George W. Bush's daughter will headline Planned Parenthood fundraiser” (Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner)

* “A Star Is Born” (Editorial, New York Sun)

* “Press coverage of Trump in first month of office: 88 percent ‘hostile,’ says new study” (Jennifer Harper, Washington Times)

* “Hypocrisy: 7X More Coverage for Sessions Debacle than Holder Contempt” (Mike Ciandella and Rich Noyes, Media Research Center)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

What a Catch!

Even an experienced angler like Bing Crosby would agree that this collection of news and commentary makes for a truly excellent catch. Plus, you wouldn't find any of these if you were fishing in the muddied waters of the mainstream media!

So, go ahead. Check 'em out.

* “Abortion chief: home abortions ‘safer than aspirin’” (SPUC)

* “Shame on the Silent Christian Leaders Who Refuse to Stand Against Government Tyranny” (Michael Brown, The Stream)

* “The student Left’s culture of intolerance is creating a new generation of conservatives” (Charlie Peters, Telegraph)

* “Resistance Has Nothing to Offer Conservatives” (David Harsanyi, National Review)

* “Former Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic Director: ‘Planned Parenthood Treated Women Like Cattle’” (Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com)

* “The Media Bulls Have Met Their Matador in Trump” (Roger L. Simon, PJ Media)

* “The Silence of the Lambs” (About our disappointing Congress) (Ann Coulter)

* “The Kids Aren’t All Right: What the Gender-Identity Revolution Has in Common with 1960s’ Drug Culture” (Scott Beauchamp, Public Discourse)

* “Media Ignores Videos 33 Million Watched Catching Planned Parenthood Denying Prenatal Care, Ultrasounds” (Katie Yoder, LifeNews.com)

* “Haley’s Comet” (Editorial, New York Sun)

Defending Marriage, Sexual Purity, and Freedom in Nebraska

I was pleased to join with many Nebraska clergy and with pro-life, pro-family
leaders throughout the state in signing on to a letter written to the Nebraska Unicameral's members who are considering a very unhealthy bill, LB173.

As Nate Grasz, the Policy Director of Nebraska Family Alliance, describes it, LB173 would create “a protected class for sexual orientation and gender identity [which] would be unlike any other protected class. Plus, contrary to proponent claims, legislation like LB173 isn't used to stop discrimination - it's used to silence dissent. These laws empower the government to punish people who object to promoting messages or participating in events that conflict with their beliefs…Laws like this are used to punish people like Baronelle Stutzman. Baronelle is a 72 year old grandmother and florist from Washington. Baronelle declined to create custom floral arrangements for Rob Ingersoll's same-sex wedding, though he was a long time customer….It is our hope that the Nebraska Legislature will again reject this law so that good Nebraskans aren't forced to choose between their their livelihood and their sincerely held beliefs.”

The letter below was written by the good folks at Nebraska Family Alliance. It is an excellent one, one that I was pleased to sign AND which I suggest you use as an inspiration to write a similar letter to your own state senator.

Dear Members of the Nebraska State Legislature,

We write as Christian pastors and faith leaders, representing thousands of Nebraskan families who worship in our churches, who support works of mercy and charity for Nebraska's poor and marginalized, and who contribute to the vibrancy, integrity, and common good of our state.

We write to express our common Christians convictions, especially as they pertain to LB173, a bill which you are now deliberating.

We believe that every single human being is created in the image of God, and is deserving of justice and respect, without exception, and regardless of age, ability, sex, sexual preference or orientation, personal identity, or race.  We believe that violence or hatred perpetrated against anyone, based on these personal characteristics or any others, is wrong.  We believe that our obligation to every human being is love.

We also believe that human sexuality is properly expressed in the union between one man and woman in marriage.  This belief is common to religious traditions and philosophies around the world, and is held sincerely by people of good will across Nebraska.  We do recognize that our belief is not shared by all Nebraskans, but it is a fundamental component of our faith, and a belief deserving of respect in a pluralistic society.

The United States Constitution guarantees that all Nebraskans should be free to live and act in accord with the convictions of their conscience.  Religious institutions, family businesses, and private individuals should not be compelled to condone or participate in activities which violate their religious mission, or their sincerely held religious beliefs.  We believe that LB173 represents the potential to compromise the right of Nebraskans to religious liberty. 

The protection of religious freedom is central to the ideals of our great nation, of our great state, and of all pluralistic democracies.  On behalf of families across Nebraska, we ask that as LB173 is considered, our fundamental right to religious liberty be respected.

Please be assured of our prayers, and our gratitude for your public service.

Sincerely,

Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries
Omaha, Nebraska

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Few Tips on Improving Your Prayer Life

In this month’s Vital Signs Ministries letter, I have passed on a few practical tips on improving one’s prayer life. I hope you’ll find them helpful.

And, of course, that brief letter can be found on the Vital Signs Ministries website right here.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Catching Up

From the weekend -- and the auspicious start of this week -- comes a list of some of the web's best reading. Have at 'em.

* “How Obama is scheming to sabotage Trump’s presidency” (Paul Sperry, New York Post)

* “Teen Vogue’s Pro-Abortion Assault on Underage Girls” (Stephen Herreid, The Stream)

* “Hillary's ‘Future Is Female’ Femme-A-Goguery” (Michelle Malkin, Town Hall)

“The ever-expanding family of LGB acronyms” (Michael Cook, Mercator)

* “Planned Parenthood Still Hasn’t Produced an Annual Report. Here’s Why That’s a Problem.” (Melanie Israel, Daily Signal)

* “Why is Saturday Night Live News?” (John Hinderaker, Power Line)

* “Rogue Federal Bureaucrats Threaten Trump’s Agenda” (Fred Lucas, Daily Signal)

* “Report: 72 convicted of terrorism from ‘Trump 7’ mostly Muslim countries” (Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner)

For Progressives, Paranoia Lies Deep

From Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt over at NRO:

Comedienne Sarah Silverman, on Twitter yesterday:


As many Twitter users pointed out, it’s not a botched swastika; it’s a pretty standard utility line marker. Now that you’ve had it pointed out to you, you may start noticing them on the sidewalk in your community, too.

Silverman later wrote that her misinterpretation reflected the unbearable amount of anti-Semitic hateful messages she gets on social media. Presuming that’s the case, that’s awful; no one deserves to be treated like that.

But her instinctive reaction does give a sense of the troubling place that her mind is right now, and she doesn’t seem to be alone. We’ve entered an era where one significant chunk of the American people – the passionate Left – have concluded that the driving force behind those who disagree is pure evil. 

Why Keep Giving Tax Money to Planned Parenthood? (Answer -- We Shouldn't!)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

"When Swing Was King" Swings Into February

Yesterday, Wednesday the 8th, Claire and I started in to the February schedule of “Swing Was King” and we're as excited as ever about this outreach into senior care facilities in our area...and sometimes way beyond.

I say way beyond because, in addition to our 12 regularly-scheduled places every month (Omaha, Bellevue, and Blair), we've also presented “When Swing Was King” shows in senior facilities in Lincoln, central Nebraska, northwest Iowa, the front range of the Colorado Rockies, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. We sometimes do the programs for church groups too. And everywhere we go, the audiences are thrilled to hear the old music, see the photos of the 1940s and 1950s, learn fun trivia about the songs and the musicians, and enjoy visits with folks they have graciously taken to their hearts.

What a blessing for everyone!

If you'd like to come along and see why this ministry is such a hit, please check the monthly schedule and let us know when you'd like to join us. We (and the residents of the care facilities) would be absolutely delighted to have you there for the party.

(P.S. It's almost worth it just to hear what I have to say in the introduction to Song #11.)

By the way, here's this month's song list:

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra (Vocals by Ray Eberle) -- “Blueberry Hill”

2) Ethel Merman -- “There's No Business Like Show Business”

3) Duke Ellington Orchestra -- “Chelsea Bridge

4) Harry James (Vocals by Helen Forrest) — “I Had the Craziest Dream”

5) Artie Shaw Orchestra -- “Blue Skies”

6) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (Vocals by Frank Sinatra, Connie Haines, and the Pied Pipers) -- “Oh, Look At Me Now”

7) Gene Kelly -- “Singin' In the Rain”

8) Chick Webb Orchestra -- “Strictly Jive”

9) Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (Vocals by Helen O'Connell) -- “I’m Stepping Out with a Memory Tonight”

10) Benny Goodman Orchestra -- “Here's Love In Your Eyes”

11) Rosemary Clooney (Bass vocals by Thurl Ravenscroft) -- “This Ole House”

12) The Mills Brothers (Backed by the Hal McIntyre Orchestra) -- “Glow Worm”

Monday, February 06, 2017

Article Roundup: Ronald Reagan's Birthday Edition

* “Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data” (David Rose, Daily Mail)

* “Conservatives Offer Solution to Repeal Obamacare, Defund Planned Parenthood: Pass 2015 Bill Again” (Melissa Quinn, Daily Signal)

* “No Thug Left Behind: Obsessed with “racial equity,” St. Paul schools abandoned discipline—and unleashed mayhem” (Katherine Kersten, City Journal)

* “America's murder rate is rising at its fastest pace since the early 1970s” (The Economist)

* “Better School Choice in Nebraska – The Time is Now” (Nate Grasz, Nebraska Family Alliance)

* “Audi Just Stepped On A Rake With ‘Equal Pay’ Messaging In New Super Bowl Ad” (Bre Payton, The Federalist)

* “Life Sentence in Sudan for Czech Missionary” (Faith McDonnell, Juicy Ecumenism)

* “Struggling woman with dementia euthanised in Netherlands: Relatives had to hold her down so that the doctor could give the lethal injection.” (Michael Cook, Mercator)

* “Science, embryonic autonomy, and the question of when life begins” (Ana Maria Dumitru, Mercator)

* “Rogue Federal Bureaucrats Threaten Trump’s Agenda” (Fred Lucas, Daily Signal)

A Wonderful Life Story (Thanks to Courage, Love, and Science)