Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fantasy Land

The rhetoric of party politicians and world leaders in recent days causes me to wonder what planet these folks think they are on.

The State of Union Address by President Bush put me to sleep within minutes. Nothing new, nothing particularly hopeful.

The Democratic Response was even worse - let's roll out our alternative stats on the economy, critique the Iraq policy (not hard to do), but offer no real solutions in foreign or domestic affairs.

CNN and Fox News battle over Barak Obama's elemenatry education, as if there have been no intervening experiences in his life. It looks like CNN has it right. Obama is not a dangerous terrorist - I think he is another empty-suited politician, but that is for another column.

The EU thinks it can bring peace to the Middle East and help run a Palestinian State - but Abbas and Co. are still unwilling to give real guarantees to Israel. Meanwhile, an aging Jimmy Carter continues to mix shoe polish and toothpaste when speaking on world affairs. Carter is not a Holocaust denier, but he is anti-Israeli and in his dotage he is moving dangerously to the extreme on this issue. If only he could have been content building houses...

Global warming is a fact - but the amount of human contribution remains a legitimate subject for debate. Now we have Weather Channel celebs calling for the decertification of anyone who departs from the party line. The U.N. is about to publish a major report "with the most evidence yet" of human contributions to climate change. Why the hysteria? It is simple - money for research and the hope of globalists to coercively direct the USA's economy. By the way, serious ecological issues in Europe, Russia, China and India go almost unreported. There is a dirty little fact about the EU - they already have all the nuclear power they need!

Two Border Patrol officers are in prison for shooting a drug dealer, who, even after being given immunity, kept on smuggling drugs into the USA. Democrats shout "justice" (cheap votes eventually) and Republicans "opportunity" (cheap non-union labor) - but no one has a plan to secure our borders. WalMart wants a port in Kansas and the Left is still singing "Imagine."

After listening to all the rhetoric, I conclude that most of our leaders are marooned on Fantasy Island. We have horrible deficits and trade imbalances, illegal immigration out of control, war-on-terror strategies in shambles and find the headlines dominated by the content of a movie no distributor will purchase.

The Republicans moved to Fantasy Island in the 1980s as they cut taxes (a good thing) but have not curtailed the growth of spending. The Democrats moved to the Island in the late 90s when Clinton claimed that the "surplus" (it does not exist) in Social Security could eliminate the deficit and pay down the national debt.

The UN is the caretaker of this Island. The UN honors Palestinian martrys and shows maps without an Israeli state, all the while claiming to be an honest broker. The billions embezelled by UN officials in the oil-for-food scandal under Saddam Hussein remain in the Caymans.

The EU, especially France, in in charge of the blueprints for the Island's buildings. French politicians suffer collectively from Multiple Personality Disorder (Yes, my therapist friends, I know that MPD is now called Associateve Disorder - AD) - they rule a state run by elite technocrats, yet their international language is leftist and always anti-American. They claim to be cultural leaders, yet they are about to be conquered by foreign Muslims who refuse to assimilate.

Finally, our Fantasy Island needs a host. Who better for this than Hugo Chavez? His Marxist, nationalist and racialist language is straight from Che and Fidel's playbooks of the 1960s, backed by street mobs and oil money.

Ricardo Montalban, where are you in our hour of need?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Speaking

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Meet Dr. Charlie Self
Charlie is a minister, professor, author and speaker. He is a “Messenger to the Thoughtful” committed to empowering all people to fulfill their destiny. Charlie’s presentations call us to “Think Deeply and Act Decisively.” Charlie serves individuals and organizations with Coaching, Strategic Planning and Keynote Speaking. He is presently the Associate Professor of Church History for the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. He is a speaker with MVP Seminars in Berkeley, CA.

Charlie and Kathleen, (a professional artist, see colorbrush.com), are celebrating 30 years of marriage and have three adult children. Kathy has completed several commissions and her work is in collections around the world. She has the unique calling to “bring beauty to a broken world.”

Charlie has been a minister since 1979. He has served local communities as a pastor and missionary in Belgium, Northern California, Washington, DC and Oregon. Charlie is also a coach and consultant to organizations, helping with Vision and Master Planning. He is an associate of The Institute for Innovation, Integration and Impact. (inst.net and repurposing.biz)

Charlie has four earned degrees: BA, MA in History; an MA in Theology; a Ph.D. in History. The History degrees were earned at University of California Santa Cruz; Theological studies were completed at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. He appears frequently as “Dr. History” on the Brian Sussman Show on KSFO Hot Talk 560 AM in the San Francisco area (see ksfo.com)

Charlie has been involved in professional post-secondary education since 1981. He has been a professor of Bible, Theology, History and Philosophy at Bethany University, Continental Theological Seminary (Brussels, Belgium), George Fox University, Western Seminary, Northern California Bible College, and The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

Charlie is the author of two published works, The Divine Dance and more recently, The Power of Faithful Focus (co-authored with Les Hewitt). Both are available on Amazon.

Charlie is available to speak and is booking 2011 dates now. Contact him by email at drcharlieself@yahoo.com or by phone at 408-307-1339.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What CAN We Control?

The coming weeks will feature numerous predictions of the future - especially for 2007. We will be deluged and disgusted or inspired and informed as we sift through all the pundits' prognostications.

As we face this onslaught of information, there is the danger of slipping into one of two equally self-defeating mentalities. The first is resignation and retreat. "The world is going to do what it is going to do, so I'll find my bunker-oasis-escape pod and hope for the best." The second mode is hyper-activism: "If we do not face these issues head-on right now, Armaggedon will arrive by St. Patrick's Day." How do we navigate between the Scylla of fatalism and the Charybdis of frenetic, unfocused activity?

Often we think we have no control over "big" things and only limited control over our own daily lives. As people of faith and integrity, however, we have more opportunities to impact the world than we may at first realize!

We can not control the weather - but our personal and community habits can change local ecosystems and perhaps give our children a better world! After all, we are swimming in lakes and rivers that were cesspools in the 1950s and 1960s.

We can not control our politicians - but we elected them and we can unelect them. We can communicate clearly on issues that matter. Most of all, we can take repsonsibility for our neighborhoods and cities and help create a climate free from fear.

We can not control the decisions of enemies bent on our destruction. But we can pray for peace, work for solutions, speak the truth in love and refuse to give in to despair.

We do not pull the world's economic strings - neither do the politicians in Washington. (They only think they do!) But we can give, save, spend wisely, and work with others to allieviate suffering and create alternative (legal) economies high on compassion, sacrifice and joy.

We do not (and should not) control the thoughts and actions of others. (Here I am not referring to appropriate parenting or project management.) We can however, speak persuasively, and by our actions compel others to consider their ways and perhaps join us in transforming our world.

In the end, we must learn the twin skills of self-discipline and releasing others from untoward expectations.

For 2007 - what can we expect? And what should we do? Consider the following:

We can expect in 2007:

More international tension - are our homes places of peace?

More economic changes - are we giving and managing well?

More crazy, immoral actions from celebrities - are we keeping our thoughts and actions (and computer screens) clean?

More egocentric politicians spinning the truth - are we telling ourselves the truth about the issues that concern us?

More information about just about everything - are we trying to be wise and not just "smart"?

Next week we will add detail to this list as we look at Iran, Israel and the USA at this moment in history. For now, let's be empowered and know that what we do DOES make a big difference!