memorial day miscellany

On this Memorial Day, I’m grateful for those who have made a day of rest, recreation, and BBQ possible. We take so many freedoms for granted in this country, and people died for those freedoms. So today as we get in our cars and go wherever we want without checkpoints or worry about IEDs, when we stop into the grocery store and purchase what we want, when we gather together freely, when we are safe in our own homes, let’s remember why that is so.

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I’ve lived abroad and visited many countries, and that has made me even more grateful for this one. We have something special here that is worth preserving, and so many have given their lives to do just that.

Now, on to a rather random collection of links around the internet:

~ A thoughtful post from CDR Salamander

~ I’m a big Dennis Prager fan, and I really liked his piece on The Bible vs. Heart. Here’s a peek, but read the whole thing:

For well over a generation, we have been living on “cut-flower ethics.” We have removed ethics from the Bible-based soil that gave them life and think they can survive removed from that soil. Fools and those possessing an arrogance bordering on self-deification think we will long survive as a decent society without teaching the Bible and without consulting it for moral guidance and wisdom.

If not from the Bible, from where should people get their values and morals? The university? The New York Times editorial page? They have been wrong on virtually every great issue of good and evil in our generation.

They mocked Ronald Reagan for calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” More than any other group in the world, Western intellectuals supported Stalin, Mao and other Communist monsters. They are utterly morally confused concerning one of the most morally clear conflicts of our time — the Israeli-Palestinian/Arab conflict. The universities and their media supporters have taught a generation of Americans the idiocy that men and women are basically the same. And they are the institutions that teach that America’s founders were essentially moral reprobates — sexist and racist rich white men.

When the current executive editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, was appointed to that position she announced that “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion.” The quote spoke volumes about the substitution of elite media for religion and the Bible in shaping contemporary America.

The other modern substitute for the Bible is the heart. We live in the Age of Feelings, and an entire generation of Americans has been raised to consult their heart to determine right and wrong.

~ How Tim Keller made peace with the wrath of God. I love this.

~ Victor Davis Hanson asks  Why Read Old Books?

~ Thankful people are happy people.This is so true. The converse is true, as well. The people I know who are bitter and angry are ungrateful people who think they deserve more than they’ve been given. Gratitude is attractive, and there are few things less attractive than ingratitude. Fortunately, we have a choice in the matter.

~ Here’s a good reminder on holding the things of this life loosely:

If there is one thing this life has taught me, it’s that I must hold loosely to everything. Everything. I can’t put down roots anywhere; I will never find stability. I will never grow old in one house. I may someday have to evacuate with the clothes on my back. Or, I may just get robbed blind.

But it’s okay. Because it reminds me that I shouldn’t love this life too tightly anyway. This life is not all there is, and it’s definitely not worth fretting over.

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. C. S. Lewis

~ God’s Mercy in Messed Up Families:

Why is the Bible loud on sinfully dysfunctional families and quiet on harmonious families?

Well, for one thing, most families aren’t harmonious. Humanity is not harmonious. We are alienated — alienated from God and each other. So put alienated, selfish sinners together in a home, sharing possessions and the most intimate aspects of life, having different personalities and interests, and a disparate distribution of power, abilities, and opportunities, and you have a recipe for a sin-mess.

But there’s a deeper purpose at work in this mess. The Bible’s main theme is God’s gracious plan to redeem needy sinners. It teaches us that what God wants most for us is that we 1) become aware of our sinfulness and 2) our powerlessness to save ourselves, as we 3) believe and love his Son and the gospel he preached, and 4) graciously love one another. And it turns out that the family is an ideal place for all of these to occur.

But what we often fail to remember is that the mess is usually required for these things to occur.

~ Doug Wilson on Gedunk Government:

Our tendency is to evaluate based on what the government does or doesn’t do, instead of evaluating on the basis of what the government — with the powers assigned to it — is capable of doing. We want our choices to reduce to a left wing party that can throw billions away on green energy and does, and a right wing party that can throw billions away on green energy and virtuously decides not to. How about a government is not allowed to even think about it?

In the Navy, we used to call vending machines gedunk machines. You put your money in, pulled on the knob, and gedunk, there was your candy bar. We are living in the age of gedunk government. Everybody stands in front of the vending machine, with the attention span of a hummingbird with ADHD, and waits impatiently for their product. There are right wing products and left wing products, but everybody wants their product now. Nobody thinks anymore about who is building the machines. Nobody thinks about what might happen if the supplier of the machine sells to another distributor. What might happen then?

I’m off now to enjoy a day off of work & a day with my family. My son and his fiancée surprised me this weekend with a visit, and that has been a very nice surprise indeed. We’re all getting together with my parents and sister’s family to feast this afternoon.

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours,
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