Thursday, June 17, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

It's been said that no good deed goes unpunished, and ABC News reports that a 14-year old Florida boy learned that lesson the hard way. Last week, the boy, known as Edwin, went to the Burlington Coat Factory in Orlando where he saw a 3-year old girl without a parent. He told the child that he would find her mother. Edwin's mother saw him with the girl, asked him what he was doing, and he told her he was trying to help.

It was at this point he made his big mistake, thinking the girl's mom might have been outside the store in a group of women who were talking. Off Edwin went. The little girl followed. When Edwin saw the girl outside, he took her hand. His mom followed.

While Edwin was looking for the girl's mom outside, the mother was inside looking for her missing child. A customer told her the girl was seen leaving with a man (Edwin is a very large boy) and the mother rushed out of the store, just as Edwin was bringing the girl back in because he hadn't found her mom. Next thing he knows, he's being arrested and charged with kidnapping. Poor Edwin. I wonder if he had it to do all over again if he'd help. Probably not.

We've become so jaded by the criminals who run amuck in our culture that we can't recognize when someone is trying to help. Is it really likely that a 14-year old predator would take his mom along when trying to kidnap a child? Is it likely that after being outside with the child, a kidnapper would then bring her back into the store? Come on.

Now, Edwin has an arrest record and even though the girl's mom decided against pressing charges, the Orlando police say they are moving forward with the case.

Edwin, I'd sue.

This poor kid could have been on the street doing drugs that day. He could have watched and done nothing as a little girl wandered aimlessly in search of her lost parent. Had he just ignored her, he wouldn't have been subjected to the questions and charges that have been heaped upon him. Edwin's lawyer is asking the court to expunge his arrest and surely she'll get her wish.

In a world where we complain because no one will help his fellow man, it's tragic that when a teen tries to help he's treated like a thug. I understand why the store manager had to call the police, but the surveillance tape clearly showed that Edwin was telling the truth about the order of events. It's a hard lesson learned.

I hope in spite of all of this Edwin doesn't change. I hope he'll be willing to help the next time a child is in trouble. I hope that the officials in Florida do the right thing and make him a hero instead of a convict. Hold your head high Edwin. You did do the right thing. Perhaps next time instead of terrorizing a kid who simply tried to help, the cops should look to the mother and ask why her kid was running around unattended in the first place.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Just Don't Think It's Funny....................

Officials at the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio say they'll rebuild a 62 foot tall statue of Jesus, destroyed by fire last night. The Hamilton,Ohio Journal News reports that lightning struck the statue during a severe thunderstorm causing 700-thousand dollars in damage to the structure and the church theater behind it.

The statue has long been the center of controversy and jokes because of its size, with some calling it "butter Jesus" and others "touchdown Jesus" because of its outstretched hands. This morning, social media outlets are filled with gallows type humor about its destruction. With all due respect to my friends who think it's funny, I just don't see the humor behind the loss.

First of all, as a Christian, I find the burning of any statue that depicts Christ to be tragic. I also don't find a 700-thousand dollar loss to any church to be particularly funny, since that is a huge amount of money for any non-profit to absorb. While I understand that art appreciation is subjective, and the sheer size of this particular icon on I-75 has fueled the controversy, it's the oversight of what the statue symbolized that bothers me.

Yes, a statue is just a statue, but there seems to be a mean spiritedness about this one, and sadly from many people who call themselves Christian. It was a statue of Jesus Christ! How can you call yourself a person of faith if you mock the destruction of a religious icon, even if you thought it was ugly? Living in nearby Hamilton, which is known as the Sculpture capital of Ohio subjects me and my neighbors to hideous displays of artist's art. However, even though I find many of them distasteful I would not find it funny if their hard work was burned to the ground.

I find it odd that as the disgust over "the Jesus" continues that most who are laughing have never complained about the towering sign just south of the church, that promotes Hustler Hollywood and pornography. Sure,for some, the argument is the same old mantra that adults have the right to view porn if they wish. Perhaps that's true, but likewise, church leaders have the right to build a 62 foot tall statue of Christ if they wish, and at least "the Jesus" didn't promote the degradation and over-sexualizing of women. I find it a bit disappointing that Christians and otherwise decent human beings don't seem to get this. Personally, I'm glad the church has decided to rebuild.

If the Solid Rock Church's decision to build the statue was to get people talking about God, then "the Jesus" fulfilled it's purpose, and is continuing to do so even though it's gone. As I drove by the wreckage this morning, I was amazed at the number of people standing on the side of the interstate, photographing the scene. Perhaps they wanted a momento of their joy over its destruction. Perhaps they were saddened because the statue of their Lord is gone.

For me, I won't debate the validity of the art, and I won't laugh in the face of it's ruin. Instead, now that I've said my peace, I will simply borrow the words from Joshua, Chapter 24:15 which says: "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." I think this verse says it best, and I will continue to serve Him, even if He's six stories tall.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

911----You Need What?

I seriously think people have lost their minds. Fox News reports that an Alliance, Ohio woman called 911 this week, drunk and in search of a husband. (Didn't people used to go to bars for that?) Anyway, Here's a transcript of "Audrey" as she ramps up her search for Mr. Right.

Drunk, desperate Audrey: “Get me that husband.”

911 operator: “You need to get a husband?”

Drunk, desperate Audrey: “Yes.”

911 operator: “Do you know you can get arrested for dialing 911?”

Drunk, desperate Audrey: “Let’s do it.”

911 operator: “You want to get arrested for dialing 911?”

Drunk, desperate Audrey: “Absolutely.”

Audrey was arrested and spent three days in jail. Talk about "Looking for love in all the wrong places." As I read this I thought that surely this was just one sad woman with an obvious drinking problem, but upon further research, what I found in regards to fake 911 calls was just bizarre.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that a 32-year old Pasco, Florida man repeatedly called 911 because his mother stole his beer. My favorite comment from that posted the story? One reader complained that we shouldn't take this lightly. In his opinion, mothers nationwide need to be warned that stealing your kid's beer is a criminal offense.

There are tons of them. The best? (or worst in this case) reports that back in 2003 an elderly woman called 911 frantic because her mailman was passed out on the floor. The call went something like this:

Dispatcher: 911, how may I help you?

Woman Screaming: Help! Help!

Dispatcher: Calm down Ma'am, What is the problem?

Woman still hysterical: My mailman is passed out on the floor and I don't think he's breathing!

Dispatcher: Allright Ma'am, I've dispatched an ambulance

Woman: Hurry, he just blinked his eyes but I still don't think he's breathing

Dispatcher: Ma'am, perhaps he just fainted

Woman: No, no, I gave him a scratch off lottery ticket and he fell to the floor!

Dispatcher: Well he was probably just in shock

Woman (still screaming) No, he won $200-thousand dollars and I was so mad, I hit the (bleep, bleep) in the face with a frying pan!

I'm laughing so hard my stomach hurts. Hmmm, perhaps I should call 911?

Better not.

While dialing 911 is a serious matter, and people who misuse the system should be arrested, you just have to laugh at how far people will go.(or how far alcohol will take them). Since I've heard the term "Wacky Wednesday" overused by advertisers, let's call today just that. I'm looking for wacky 911 calls. Post them here. I'm sure my cop friends will have some that will make the above look tame.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I love it when I get my first big laugh of the day before 8 a.m.

What a hoot. USA today reports that in protest over the Gulf Coast oil spill,the minor league baseball team, the Brevard County, Florida Manatees, has dropped the term "batting practice" because the initials of the term are BP.

Team members of the Milwaukee Brewers Class A affiliate, say they will now take "hitting rehearsal" instead of "batting practice" because of their outrage over the oil spill that may affect Florida's beaches this summer.

With no disrespect to the Manatees, it must be said. This is ludicrous! Is this the best idea they can come up with to show their outrage over the spill? What about a portion of ticket sales being earmarked for beach clean up? There just has to be a better idea.

For those who like the gesture, perhaps they should push for all phrases that have the letters B & P in them to be dropped from our language until the spill is cleaned up. No more "big person" or "blueberry pie" or "big papa." (of course those who use this term are going to be subject to being a blog feature on their own). Perhaps Americans should stay out of "Bairdford, Pennsylvania, unless the city changes it's name.

I'm sorry Manatees. While this has been wonderful publicity for your team, it seems that your attempt at political correctness is really more about generating the fan dollars that this kind of attention can bring. I will say though, the "hitting rehearsal" term does add a certain amount of drama to the process of practicing hitting baseballs, so perhaps I'll grab my opera glasses and make a roadtrip.

One final thought. In a related story, President Obama is now receiving heavy criticism on Fox News for getting mad about the oil spill, and using an expletive while discussing the issue with a reporter. While I just hate to show an understanding attitude toward the president I don't think it's fair for reporters to demand he get mad, and then criticize him for doing so. I do understand that using an expletive is not exactly presidential, and I agree that he should avoid doing that in the future. But he was mad, darn it.

Perhaps the next time he gets that mad, he could reverse the Manatee's decision not to use any terms starting with BP. Perhaps the hot new cuss word in America should be just that: He could say: "You're a big BP!" "BP you!" "That BP!" Who knows,in America, it may just work.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Maybe Just a Small Hissy Fit Mr. President?

There's an interesting debate underway in regards to the president's reaction about the BP oil spill in the Gulf. His supporters say they don't need to see him scream and shout to know he's mad about the spill. His opponents say he needs to show more emotion, claiming his sense of calm gives the impression he doesn't care.

I'm torn.

I do believe the president,(like most Americans) is angry over this disaster, which is now expected to loop the entire state of Florida, and will likely involve the Atlantic coast by mid-summer. How could any leader not be angry over the destruction that the spill is causing? But does he need to kick and scream to make his point?

Not Really.

First, he doesn't have that kind of personality. He seems to typically remain calm, no matter what the situation, which ultimately is a great characteristic of leadership. Likewise, his getting emotional will not clean up one drop of oil any faster.

That being said, the other side has a point as well. President Obama seemed to show more excitement when Paul McCartney arrived at the White House recently, than he has at any point since the oil crisis began. He did delay getting involved with BP, and he does seem a bit too patient with the oil executives as they continue to make one blunder after another in their attempts to clean up the mess.

While one has to admire the president's ability to keep his cool, one can also remember the comfort brought by George Bush as he stood in the rubble in front of the World Trade Center vowing to make those who caused the damage pay. While it's been said that his show of emotion ultimately got us into two wars, I believe his display actually gave angry Americans someting to hold on to on the darkest day of our lives. A willingness to show emotion on that day, also showed a sign of great leadership. A true leader can show a sense of anger while keeping a clear head regarding his responsibilities.

While we need calm leaders, we also need to know that they care. There would be no point to President Obama throwing a hissy fit as the BP leaders scratch their heads over what to do next, but it would be encouraging to see him kick up a small fuss when yet another attempt at clean up has failed. The residents on the Gulf coast need to see that. America needs to see it. Ultimately BP needs to see it, so they feel a bit more pressure to get this clean up show on the road.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What WOULD Jesus say?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she believes she must pursue public policies "in keeping with the values" of Jesus Christ, "The Word made Flesh."

CNS (Cybercast News Service) news reported yesterday that Pelosi, a Catholic, said at a May 6, Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill that she is asked all the time "What is your favorite this?" "What is your favorite that?" She said one time she was asked "What is your favorite word?" Her answer to that question was "My favorite word is the Word, is the Word," making an obvious reference to Jesus Christ who is called The Word in the Book of John.

How Baffling.

First, Pelosi favors legalized abortion and voted against the ban on partial birth abortion that was enacted into law in 2003. Psalm 127:3 highlights the value God places on children,saying, "Truly children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." With that in mind, it would seem that Pelosi misunderstands what the term "The Word" means in John 1. The "Word" was Jesus, and Jesus was/is God. As outlined in Psalm 127, God loves children. Clearly, Ms. Pelosi does not.

Likewise, her comments at the Catholic Community Conference also included her saying that "we have to give voice to what that (the Word) means in light of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word.

Huh? "that?" The Word is a "Who" not a "That"

Did God really intend a reference to His Son to be a vehicle for political debate over 2000 years after it was written? Of course not. Was Pelosi really twisting scripture to suggest that the biblical reference to "The Word" was somehow a protection for the pro-choice values she supports? Likely. Is the Speaker really so naive that she thinks using (or misusing in this case) scripture at a Catholic Conference will somehow win her votes in the next election? She clearly does not get it. Most of us who truly claim Christianity as the basis for our faith, have read the Bible and we understand that Jesus Christ was not sent to earth to support any political agenda, let alone one that so obviously contradicts His Father's teachings.

Perhaps even more shocking was Pelosi's comment that you could "Fill it in with anything you want" making reference that non-Christians could use the term "Word" to mean anything.

Excuse me?

As someone who respects all faiths, and all people's right to choose what or who they want to believe in, I would ask that if our Speaker is going to quote the Bible she needs to understand that "The Word" only means one thing. Jesus. It is a Christian reference. I don't quote the Koran when trying to make a Christian point, and it is only respectful that Ms. Pelosi not quote the Bible when trying to win points with a conservative group while clinging to her liberal values that suggest God is whoever man wants Him to be. He is not.

It is almost laughable when misinformed politicians choose to throw around Biblical truths for the sake of their own personal gain. I say almost laughable because it is so bizarre. It is also scary that someone who has been given so much, so arrogantly cheapens the word of the God she claims to follow. Pelosi's comments remind me of the liberal mantra from a few years ago, that asked "what would Jesus drive," in reference to an attempted boycott on SUV's. As a lifelong Christian, I can't imagine that Christ would have engaged anyone in a debate about the American Auto Industry and the environmental argument. I also can't imagine He would champion anyone using His message to further their own agenda. In fact, the Bible calls that pride, which is the greatest sin of all. As a champion for separation of church and state, Ms. Pelosi needs to remember her viewpoint and keep Jesus out of her bid for more votes. It's disgusting and truly informed people of the faith won't buy it.

Finally, all politicians who continually stomp all over Christianity need to learn from Pelosi's pathetic attempt to reach out to a group she knows nothing about. They want God out of our culture. They want Him out of our government. They want to make it so no one has any public connection to the faith and values our country was founded on. Fine. As Christians we'll press on, but as a group of voting Americans we ask that you don't disrespect us or the God we follow, by twisting His word to mean everything but what it was intended to mean. We don't like that, and if you insist on doing it, it may cost you big time at the polls.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Stop Making Excuses!

While the BP boycott is an excellent idea, it's time to shift gears to a topic that affects everyone, "Personal Responsibility." Fox news reports this morning, that the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson said she was "in the gutter" and drunk when she tried to sell access to her former husband, Prince Andrew, for over $750-thousand American dollars.

When the story broke last week, The New York Daily News reported that Ferguson has been living off her daughters trust funds and was caught on tape smoking and slurping a glass of red wine in front of a pile of unpaid bills. She reportedly asked the undercover reporter who was taping her, for a cash advance of $40-thousand dollars, a wire transfer of $723-thousand, and a promise of future commissions in exchange for access to Britain's royal family.

Bottom line? She got caught so she blamed a drinking problem. This is yet another example of celebrity gone wild, blaming a before unheard of illness after being caught in an embarrassing or illegal situation. Sarah Ferguson now has a drinking problem. Jesse James announced he was a sex addict when he got caught cheating on wife Sandra Bullock. David Duchovny claimed a similar ailment after cheating on his wife actress Tea'Leoni. Anytime a celebrity drops to "C" or "D" status, an appearance on Celebrity Rehab gets their name back in the spotlight once again. It makes one sick to hear all of the excuses. What happened to "I screwed up and I'm sorry?"

I'm not saying that drinking problems and sex addictions don't exist. Sadly, they do, but it seems that many of these celebrities never discover their "problem" until they're embarassed by some undercover journalist and that's just sad. Sure, denial is a problem of addiction of any kind. Most people have to hit bottom before deciding to get help, but it seems that more and more celebrities, (and likewise everyday people) are labeling themselves with this problem or that, as a way to avoid the penalties, or to generate sympathy for their irresponsible behavior.

Our culture as a whole has stopped taking responsibility for our actions, and in many cases there seems to be a sense of pride when people are caught on tape doing something disgusting. Sarah Ferguson is just another example of someone who has crossed the line of irresponsibility and is now going on Oprah to generate some sympathy for her cause, which will ultimately mean more money for her pocketbook. I wish Oprah would say to her, "You know, living off of your children's trust fund is not only reprehensible it is a crime." I doubt she will, but it would be appropriate, and it would be responsible journalism. (which I use the word lightly)

It's time we stop glamorizing the lives and addictions of celebrities and we need to stop making excuses when someone we know is caught "sexting" or beating up another on YouTube. We need to start teaching our children that true addictions can be treated long before their bad behavior makes headlines. Maybe then, they'll grow into responsible adults. It's also time to remind them, that this type of behavior is not acceptable and there are consequences when said behavior occurs.

Finally, it's time that our culture reward good behavior and promote the positive things that many people do everyday. Wouldn't it be wonderful if television shows were created where successful kids and adults were featured as they improved their own lives and the world around them? Even though it would be great, it is unlikely to happen. After all, stories like Sarah Ferguson's have shown us that if a show featured kids or adults without some sort of addiction or violent behavior doing something positive, it is very unlikely that anyone would watch.