Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Masters Begins

Watching the Masters? Will be interesting to see if Dustin Johnson can make it after his fall down the stairs (he withdrew). 
Will called. He’s having a blast working at the Masters. Should be busier today, but he should be able to see a little golf. Knowing him he was there this morning to see Nicklaus and Player tee off. He was already at the course before 9 am.
Chairman Billy Payne's tribute to Arnold Palmer brought tears to the eyes of the ceremonial starters. Who hit the longest opening drive: 81 year-old or 77 year-old Jack Nicklaus? Last wee Jack enlisted Rory for distance pointers, and it appears to have paid off (link below). Tiger Woods had been angling to be part of the ceremony, but Billy Payne probably nixed the idea.
I remember back in the 80’s I thought EEE was THE class. It probably was back then. Funny about all the officers. That’s the way it used to be I guess. For a while C attended a class with older ladies, including Barbara Adair and MC’s grandmother.
At JFBC we’re in a class for parents of teenagers, with three couples we know well. Scott and Robin Condra are also in the class. They’re on the younger side and we’re on the older side. Last week 50 were there to hear Judson Hill (I counted). Most weeks its more, but it was spring break. Lessons and speakers are different most weeks, though some may go 2-3 weeks. But most all the lessons are good – deep and on target, just on various subjects. A missionary, or someone who runs a missions organization or counseling center. Various staff members will come teach. Heather Swilley’s husband taught one week. If anything it’s a good way to get to know staff members, since there are so many of them. One class regular teaches the most, and he does a good job. We’ll have discussion, either among the 75 or so in attendance, or just among the tables where we sit.

The class “director” gives announcements and introduces the speaker. Lots of times he’ll start with a topical icebreaker to get people focused and listening. He’s a funny guy but sometimes over months and years tells the same stories. Last week was the third straight year he welcomed everyone with the same spring break greeting: “glad to have all the people here who weren’t invited to someone’s lake house.” I know I sometimes repeat myself, but try hard not to.
2017 is the first baseball season since 1884 without either Connie Mack or Vin Scully.
Worked til 6:20 Wednesday. Both M and Frank ate supper with us: Mexican. The boys went to Kroger and baked a cake. Jeopardy. Braves/Mets. 2016 Master Par three tournament was on – 9 holes in one, including two back to back from Justin Thomas and Ricky Fowler. Gary Player made his record fourth hole in one at the Masters Par three, playing with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Later we watched Blackish and Designated Survivor.
I’ve decided to make the song I’m writing about work will be a show tune, instead of a country song. “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors, instead of “The South’s Gonna Do It Again” by the Charlie Daniels Band. Maybe I’ll do both, but so far I’ve been too busy.
Was going to post my pictures when I was on the moon, but there wasn’t any cell service up there.
Below: Denison discusses the casim between the Republicans and Democrats that is currently dividing the country. Both sides are being babies. Things have gotten worse since the 80’s and 90’s, and the former SPdL pastor tells us why. Will there ever be a common ground? Will it take a huge calamity to bring both sides together? Prediction: in the next seven days Denison will write about the Masters.






The 'nuclear option' and the grace of God

Dr. Jim DenisonApril 6, 2017

"There's so little trust between the two parties that it was very difficult to put together an agreement that would avert changing the rules." This is how Sen. Susan Collins (Republican from Maine) explained the failure of efforts to avoid today's "nuclear option." Republicans are now expected to change Senate rules today so that a simple majority can confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. Democrats warn that this change will damage any prospects for bipartisan efforts in the future.

Senate Republicans are
also considering other rules changes that would further prevent Democratic opposition and speed up the consideration of President Trump's non-Cabinet positions. A spending bill later this month to prevent a government shutdown is expected to be extremely contentious as well.

I remember when Republicans were led by President Ronald Reagan and Democrats by Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill. They battled mightily over policy and party differences but then came together for the country's good. Now we seem to be divided across the spectrum of life, from abortion to sexual identity to marriage to family to taxes to health care to euthanasia. Why?

For an answer, I reached back twenty-six years to a book that coined the phrase that defines our era. In 1991, sociologist James Davison Hunter published Culture Wars. He noted that "America is in the midst of a culture war that has and will continue to have reverberations not only within public policy but within the lives of ordinary Americans everywhere."

According to Hunter, our conflicts are "rooted in different systems of moral understanding." The orthodox system affirms a "consistent, unchangeable measure of value, purpose, goodness and identity." It trusts objective authority sources such as the Bible. By contrast, cultural progressivism believes that humans experience the world subjectively as our minds interpret our senses. As a result, it claims, there is "no objective and final revelation from God" since "moral and spiritual truth can only be conditional and relative."

Take same-sex marriage, an issue that was nowhere on the radar in 1991 but illustrates Hunter's thesis today. Orthodoxy defines marriage as a monogamous commitment between a man and a woman. This view is grounded in the Bible's unchanging teachings on the subject. Cultural progressivism adapts what it considers to be human interpretations of Scripture to the changing realities of society. Each side is convinced that its position is most justified by reason and best for the common good.

The culture wars that have resulted from this conflict of worldviews show no signs of ending. To the contrary, as the electorate becomes more divided, our politics are likely to become even more divisive.

Obviously, I side unequivocally with those who believe that truth is objective and the Bible is authoritative. However, it is important for us to understand the other side of the debate. As Solomon noted, "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion" (Proverbs 18:2). He added, "If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame" (v. 13).

God loves those who reject his truth as much as those who accept it (Romans 5:8). Now he calls us to exhibit the same spirit of grace. As Methodist leader D. T. Niles noted, Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.

As we stand for God's unchanging truth in our changing culture, let's remember that compassion is more persuasive than condemnation.











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